Omar Urges K-resolution As Per People's Aspirations

22 November 2014
Greater Kashmir

Sumbal: Chief Minister and National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah Saturday said that India and Pakistan would have to settle the Kashmir Issue according to the sentiments and aspirations of the people of J&K. Addressing election rallies in Sumbal and Kangan, Omar said the people of J&K were the primary stakeholders of their political destiny and any possible solution would have to respect their dignity and sentiments. 'There isn't a moment in my political career that I have wasted in not demanding the resolution of the Kashmir issue according to the sentiments and political aspirations of our people. I have said so as an elected Chief Minister in office and I have said so in front of a visiting Indian Prime Minister. No amount of economic packages or dreams about development can substitute the need for an acceptable and just resolution of our political issue. We can build a thousand concrete bridges and pave thousands of kilometers of new roads but until and unless we build a political bridge that connects the people of this State to their political aspirations, the ground reality will remain unchanged', Omar said. Omar also expressed amusement at certain statements being made by Congress and PDP about the need to resolve the Kashmir issue and to protect Article 370. 'Congress was in power at the Center for decades altogether and Mufti Sayeed was their face in J&K all this while. What did Congress or Mufti Sayeed do to resolve the political issue in Kashmir? Rather, when Article 370 was eroded from 1953 to 1975, it was done by the Congress party at the center and its pliant, puppet regimes in Srinagar with Mufti Sahab as a permanent feature of this operation. Mufti Sahab might have great contempt for the subject of history as he deems it irrelevant but fact is that Mufti Sahab was the face of Congress in J&K and when massive constitutional erosions were made to deprive J&K of what it had been promised through the instrument of accession and through Article 370. How has protecting Article 370 become a concern for Congress and Mufti Sahab today when it was both Congress and Mufti Sayeed that left no stone unturned to erode it in the first place? Why did you illegally depose and incarcerate Sher-e-Kashmir for 23 years due to his stand on safeguarding the political aspirations of our people and for his stand on Article 370 then? The people of J&K have been fooled way too many times because of our tendency to trust and we won't be fooled again', Omar said. Omar also expressed regret that Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi had made certain inaccurate and out of context remarks about the Food Security Bill without taking into account that NC opposed this Bill because it would deprive around 15 lakh people in the State of subsidized ration and foodgrains. 'We will not allow any Bill or Act to hurt the interests and rights of our people - there should be no doubt about that in any political quarter. The interests of the people of J&K are supreme for us. Also I find it amazing that the Congress leadership sees issues with NC today but was appreciative of NC when we were out campaigning for Rahul Gandhi in the Parliament Elections which we fought jointly. If the criticisms are to be deflected towards NC, by the same logic the achievements of the last six years are also singularly to NC's credit. Congress has been in the Government in J&K for six years and has had important portfolios in my Cabinet. Now when elections are here, rather than being confident in their campaigning and trying to show some basic minimum confidence about the report-cards of their own Ministers, they want to pretend that they were in the opposition all this while and want to play the victim card. And sadly the Congress Chairperson's remarks are in the same line too', Omar added. Omar Abdullah also welcomed the apparent decision of Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the separatist leadership to not enforce an election boycott in Kashmir during these elections and rather leave it to the discretion of the people to make their own decision. 'This is a very welcome step by GeelaniSahab and we all need to realize that election boycotts have given the people of J&K nothing but political dis-empowerment and a weakening of our regional character in politics. The elections of 2014 are crucial and an election boycott this time around would have far-reaching, irreversible and detrimental consequences not only on Article 370 or our special status but also our political stature and voice as a people. I hope and pray that people come out and vote in large numbers in these elections and reinforce their defense of their political aspirations and the interests of J&K', Omar said. The election rallies were also addressed by NC General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar, senior NC Leader and candidate from Kangan, MianAltaf Ahmed, and senior NC Leader and candidate from Sonawari, Muhammad Akbar Lone.