January 2006 News

In March, Omar May Talk Autonomy In Islamabad

19 January 2006
The Indian Express

Jammu: Some one-and-a-half months after National Conference president Omar Abdullah submitted the autonomy report to an all-party delegation from the United States (US) in Delhi, he is likely to speak on his party's main agenda - autonomy - in Pakistan where he has been invited to attend a seminar on Kashmir-related issues. 'Yes, I have received the invitation from the organisation and have been assured that there will be no problem regarding the visa,' Omar told The Indian Express on telephone from Delhi on Thursday evening. He added that he is yet to take a decision about his visit to Islamabad. This invite is from an international organisation - PUGWASH Conference on Science and General Affairs. The seminar will be held in the second week of March at Islamabad. Recently, Omar had visited Afghanistan, but did not go to Pakistan. In November last, Omar had submitted a report on autonomy to an all-party US delegation led by Dan Burton. He was assured that after studying the report, members of the US delegation will talk to the Pakistani authorities in this regard. Some months ago, Omar had said that if he is invited by the Pakistani authorities, he will definitely go. However, this invitation is not from the Pakistani government, but an NGO. Interestingly, his father, former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah was denied visa by the Pakistani authorities. He had wanted to visit Pakistan in March last for the cricket matches between India and Pakistan. Omar Abdullah today said that if he decides to go to Islamabad, he will speak on autonomy which is his party's main agenda. 'We have time and again said that autonomy is the only way to solve the vexed Kashmir issue,' said Abdullah Jr. Asked about the Centre's plan to invite other separatist and non-separatist groups, including Kashmiri Pandits, for dialogue, Omar said that his party is advocating the same. 'But it remains to be seen how sincere they are to find a solution to the problem,' Omar said.


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