‘Panchayat Polls Not A Referendum On Kashmir’, Omar14 April 2011
Jammu: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Thursday said the ongoing Panchayat polls is a administrative process just to elect local self-governance representatives at the grassroots level and the exercise should not be construed as a referendum on the Kashmir issue. Talking to media-persons after inaugurating the three day long Baisakhi festival at Zorawar Singh auditorium here, Omar said he is pained to see some sections projecting the Panchayat elections as ‘separatists being shown the door” campaign. “The process will elect and strengthen the local self-government but is not a referendum on Kashmir issue, nor are these being conducted to elect state or central government”, Omar said. He said Panchayat polls should not be highlighted as a victory or defeat of anybody but voters are coming out to find solution to their daily problems. “This is a 16-phase process and we have just completed one phase of it. Let the elections be completed as it would strengthen the grassroots level democracy”, he said. Commenting on the renewed Indo-Pak dialogue process, Omar said; “Unless someone can show me any other credible alternative to the dialogue process till then talks are the only way forward to find a way out of the present imbroglio on Kashmir and other issues.” He said far too much time has been spent in violence and it is only the sustained dialogue at various levels that can find possible solution to issues like J&K, Sir Creek and Siachen. “Violence will not solve any problem and only way is to continue the talks. Be it cricket diplomacy or any other way, I will support it”, Omar said. About any clues found during the investigation in the killing of Jamiat-e-Ahli-Hadees chief Moulana Showkat Shah, CM said that it would be premature to say anything about the investigation being carried out by the agencies. “Police is examining all the clues and as I have said earlier till investigation is not completed, nothing can be said”, Omar said. Pertinently, Omar had recently said in Srinagar that the investigating agencies have laid their hands on some vital clues pointing towards the perpetrators. About the talks process within the state, Chief Minister said that they are trying to expand the ambit of dialogue process in Jammu and Kashmir so that a solution is found to the present imbroglio.