Farooq wants Bush to influence Pak to live in peace with India
13 February 2002
The Daily Excelsior
POONCH: Hoping that US will again wield its influence on Pakistan to stay in peace with India, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah today asked Islamabad to translate words into action by handing over listed 20 terrorists to India. Addressing mammoth election rallies in the border towns of Poonch and Mendhar this afternoon, the NC supremo referred to President Musharraf’s current visit to America and hoped that President George Bush would give sane counsel to him. If prisoners in Pakistan and Al-Qaeda cadres could be handed over to US, who have been sent to as far as Cuba, what stops them to transfer those involved in IA hijacking and Mumbai serial blasts to New Delhi, Dr Abdullah said, adding that President Musharraf, in his speech, had declined to handover demanded Pak nationals and considering about others. He said that Pakistan has apprehended one of the Kandhar hijackers who is involved in the abduction of American journalist. He said Pakistan is suffering from a perculiar inertia and there is contradiction in its actions and deeds. But, one thing should be candid to them that whatever they do, they can never snatch even an inch of Jammu and Kashmir, he added. National Conference president referred to the border shelling that has rendered lot many people homeless and the cross border terrorism which has claimed a heavy toll and expressed optimism that militancy will go soon from the State. The world has joined together against the cult of violence and terrorism that has posed a big challenge to the civilized world, he said. Taking pride in India’s secular traditions, the Chief Minister said that keeping up the nation’s commitment towards this ideal and National Conference’s cherished agenda of brotherhood, his party will not stoop too low to seek votes in the name of religion, region or caste. He said Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir have to flourish as a single entity and strengthen Indian nationhood. Indicating his departure from the state’s political scene and giving up the leadership to younger generation, Dr Abdullah said he will not leave the country but will remain amid the people to serve them. ‘If at any stage, the mantle of this great country’s Presidentship or Vice Presidentship is bestowed upon me, it will be an honour to the people of Jammu and Kashmir’, he added while saying that Omar Abdullah too will be visiting the Jammu-Poonch parliamentary constituency soon. Lashing out at the former Home Minister, Mufti Mohammad Syed, the Chief Minister said that he hobnobbed with Muslim United Front when his then Congress leaders were supporting National Conference. He said that such leaders now claiming to be great Indians, were visiting ultras families to express their condolences. National Conference has lost many workers and party cadres because they stand for India and secularism. He asked the people to judge the Government by its performance which it ensured while combating militancy at the same time. Jammu and Kashmir has the distinction of being a solitary State that has provided such a huge number of jobs to youth that has not been done anywhere in the country. For strengthening the roots of democracy, elections to Panchayats and other grass roots level democratic institutions, polls were held after two decades. He said the government is committed to devolution of powers to Panchayats and a significant stride has been taken to ensure 33 per cent participation of women in these. Referring to the grant of ST status to Gujjars, he said it is meaningless unless youngsters become capable for competition, for which education is necessary. What is the number of youth in central services, he asked while calling upon them to pursue education vigorously. He reiterated his commitment for equal opportunities to all and said ‘Farooq stands for rights of all and doesn’t believe in discrimination against Pahri people or Gujjers’. Some vested interests are misleading people on caste and religion to further their agenda, he observed. Seeking massive mandate for his party nominee Choudhry Talib Hussain, he appealed to the people to take a right decision by sending a good and vocal representative to the Lok Sabha, who could speak for all and project the problems of the people in right perspective. ‘We want progress and development which is not possible unless peace dawns in the state. Once peace is there tourists will throng in large numbers and investors will invest in the State without inhibition’, he added.