January 2008 News

Solution was in sight, says Baig

26 January 2008
The Hindu

Srinagar: Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig Saturday surprised everyone by praising the National Conference during his January 26 speech at Bakshi stadium here. Baig also hailed Indian policies in Jammu and Kashmir, saying no power can separate the state from India. Praising National Conference, Baig said sacrifices given by the party for development of the state should not be overlooked. He said NC has given sacrifices for changing the fortunes of the state and bringing development here. NC president Omer Abdullah was present during the function. Baig in the on-going budget session had lambasted the National Conference, accusing it of hounding the ministers of Peoples Democratic Party Tariq Hamid Qarra and Qazi Muhammad Afzal. He appealed to local militants to shun violence and come for talks. Mr. Baig, who unfurled the tricolour and took the salute at the parade at Bakhshi Stadium, here said: “India and Pakistan were very close to resolving the Kashmir issue but instability in Pakistan blocked the whole process.” “Negotiations with Islamabad were very fruitful and heading towards a positive direction. Both countries had reached an understanding on many crucial issues and on Kashmir also, they were close to something.” He hoped the situation in Pakistan would improve and the stalled process was resumed to make a fresh move. “For resolving such an issue, good relations between two countries are a must.” He said that Confidence Building Measures initiated as a result of the peace process had a positive impact on the situation. Opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakot roads had given a push to the process, he said. Mr. Baig lauded the role of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi in pushing forward the peace process. “Both these leaders have a positive attitude towards the issue and want friendly relations with Pakistan,” he said. Mr. Baig referred to a recent meeting chaired by Dr. Singh on the issue of Working Group recommendations and said: “This shows how keen Dr. Singh is to mitigate the sufferings of the people. Working Groups are his brainchild and he wants to see that the recommendations made by these groups are implemented in letter and spirit.”

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