Media and diplomats can oversee J&K polls: Jaitly
21 August 2002
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: Ruling out possibility of allowing foreign observers during elections to Jammu Kashmir Assembly, a senior state Government official on Wednesday said diplomats of different countries and media persons would be welcome to oversee the September-October polls. ''Envoys from various embassies and the media would be welcome to visit Jammu and Kashmir on their own to see for themselves the fairness of the elections,'' Ashok Jaitly, Principal Advisor to Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said. The State Government would be happy to provide necessary logistic support to such envoys and diplomats who wanted to visit the state during the polls, Jaitly told a two-member British envoys during a meeting here today. However, he made it clear that no ''independent observers'' would formally be permitted for these polls as has already been clarified by the Election Commission. First Secretary, Political, British High Commission in Delhi, David Quarrey and Simon Tonge from the South Asia Departement of the Foreign and Commonwealth in London had a detailed interaction with Jaitly and J and K Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Ahmad Shah separately on the overall situation in the state. Jaitly apprised Quarrey and Tonge about the security situation in the state and the preparedness for holding the coming assembly polls in a free and fair manner. Shah assured the envoys that he will not back out from the talks with the Government to settle the Kashmir issue.