Omar takes on Geelani on Pandit rehabilitation

Omar takes on Geelani on Pandit rehabilitation

11 July 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, today came down heavily on hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for raising doubts on his rehabilitation policy for Kashmiri Pandits and threatening agitation over it. While addressing his party function at the grave of his grandmother, Begam Akbar Jehan, at Hazratbal today, the Chief Minister said that those who have raised doubts about the Rehabilitation policy should also question Pakistan for settling non-State subjects in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). He said that large number of Sindhis, Punjabis have been settled in PoK and a large portion of the region has been handed over to China as well by Pakistan. Omar said that there is not even an iota of truth in Geelani's assertion regarding settlement of non-State subjects in camps established for Kashmiri Pandits. He challenged Geelani of raising the issue of non-State subjects continuously being settled in PoK on regular basis with Pakistan. He said 'We see him often hugging the visiting Pakistani officials in New Delhi. Has he ever asked them about the demographic changes they are doing in PoK? Geelani had recently warned against resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits in separate colonies in Kashmir valley and had termed it as an Israel-type plan to create settlements. He had threatened of agitation across Kashmir if the Government continued with the Rehabilitation policy which he had termed as an Israeli design. He had said that by this policy, the Government aimed at settling non-State subjects in Kashmir. The Chief Minister said that he is thankful to Government of India as it has not settled non State subjects in Jammu and Kashmir like Pakistan did in PoK. He said that these are the people who forced migration of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir and now they are against their rehabilitation in the valley. 'Everyone thinks that befooling people of Jammu and Kashmir is easy but they should understand that people may not react on every time but they are wiser enough to read between the lines and understand what is the story behind the story', Omar said. He said Kashmiri Pandits are integral part of the State who left their home land under severe conditions and their return to their native place is their birth right. 'My Government would facilitate their return as they are the State subjects like others', he added. Omar said that uncertainty in Jammu and Kashmir will remain till the J&K issue is not resolved. He said Jammu and Kashmir is not New Delhi's internal issue as Pakistan has a role as they have occupied PoK. He thanked the Centre for the highest ever financial assistance granted to the State during his tenure. However, he reiterated that political issues are of separate nature and cannot be treated with economic measures. Omar said that the need for resolving political issues of Jammu and Kashmir in a political manner were highlighted by him before the Prime Minister and the UPA Chairperson repeatedly. 'I am continuously batting for this goal whether in power or outside', he added. He said that Indo-Pak dialogue is the only way forward and expressed satisfaction over the talks process between the two countries at various levels. 'We are aware that the bigger issues cannot be settled in just a few meetings, we would emphasize on the need for certain result-oriented immediate measures to address smaller issues like strengthening of cross LoC trade, changing its barter status, easing of visa regime for cross LoC travel, construction of Tulbul navigational lock at Sopore and resolution of Sir-creek', he added. Omar also took a dig at opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) and its leadership for double standards. He said that the PDP never talked of self-rule, demilitarization, double currency and resolution of Kashmir when it was in power. 'I am not like them who raised slogans like self-rule, double currency, demilitarization when they were out of power. They did it only to create difficulties for the then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad', he added. The Chief Minister said that his Government approved and implemented rehabilitation and repatriation policy for the youth who had crossed over LoC but did not took to guns and opened way for their respectable return. 'We also discarded the blacklist maintained by the Police Department for stopping passports to the relatives of militants during PDP regime. PDP raised slogan about demilitarization but we acted on ground and removed 40 bunkers from Srinagar city alone', he added. Asserting that National Conference has defined and well documented agenda for socio-economic and political prosperity of the State Omar said that National Conference will work vehemently to seek political resolution of political issues of Jammu and Kashmir in a peaceful and amicable atmosphere and shall not allow anyone to weaken the special status of the State. Omar said that National Conference has been the custodian and guardian of rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir since its inception. 'We are for the unity, solidarity, brotherhood, communal harmony and equitable development of all the regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh', he said adding that safeguarding rights of people belonging to every caste, creed, colour and religion is benchmark of NC's political ideology. 'PDP hyped the emotions of people but miserably failed when the occasion of delivery arose. They talked too much but showed zero result practically. They mumbled and fumbled when they got the occasion to rise and strike', he said reminding the people of the tall promises made by PDP leadership to the people about 'healing touch' and political resolution of Kashmir issue but doing nothing on ground when this party was in power. The Chief Minister said that Mufti Mohammad Sayed once in his speech at Ganderbal told the gun wielding youth to drop guns as he had come as their representative to talk for them but everyone knows that he never talked for them instead he and PDP leadership opposed the rehabilitation and repatriation policy for the youth who had crossed the LoC when this party was in Government and a resolution supported by National Conference was tabled in Legislative Assembly'. Ridiculing PDP for misleading people and unleashing false propaganda against his Government, Omar said that those (PDP leadership) who talk of water resources of Jammu and Kashmir did not take any steps on the issue during their regime. On the contrary, 'we have levied tax on power companies for utilizing water for power generation and realized more than Rs. 750 crores from NHPC as water utilization tax as a step towards compensation for usage of our water resources', he added. Omar said that Jammu and Kashmir State enjoys special status and National Conference has always stood for it and will continue to nurture and strengthen it in future. 'Hum martey dum tak is position ko barkarar rakhney kay liye khadain rehagain' (We would protect this till we survive). The Chief Minister said that the flag of National Conference represents the aspiration of people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. 'It denotes the State's unity and oneness and stands for equitable development and political stability of Jammu and Kashmir. Our political and development mission is clear and lucid. We stand by our promises', he said and asked the people to give him hand in realizing the mission of Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Madr-e-Meherban for peaceful progressive and new Jammu and Kashmir. On peace and development Omar said that his Government focused on this subject wholeheartedly and achieved glaring results visible to everyone. He said that during his tenure more than Rs. 10,000 crores are being spent annually on development in the State for last three and half years and this will further increase during next two and half years. On empowerment and checking corruption, he referred to the holding of panchayat elections, establishing powerful halqa panchayats, enactment of Public Service Guarantee Act, establishment of State Commission under Right to Information Act, strengthening of State Accountability Commission. He said powers from 14 departments have already been transferred to panchayats and constitution of block and district panchayat councils is in pipeline. Omar said that his Government enacted and implemented Pubic Service Guarantee Act to check corruption and make service delivery time bound. 'We have given you such an historic legislation for which Ana Hazare is threatening hunger strike and Indian Parliament is yet to enact this kind of law', he said adding that by constituting State Commission under Right to Information Act, his Government has given authority to common man to ask questions to the Government which was the authority of only MLAs and MLCs till this Act was implemented. He also cited the example of State Accountability Commission and said that his Government has given teeth to the Commission and made it so autonomous and powerful that it has questioned even the authority of Chief Minister to give ministerial status to the advisors. 'Our mission to make people powerful and involve them in decision making and implementation of development projects', he said and asserted that his Government would continue to work in this direction. 'I had asked you to give me peace, I will carry development to every corner. You have helped and contributed in restoring peace during last one and half year and the development results are clearly visible on ground in every town, village and city', he said adding that his Government has reached out to every corner of the State on development front whether in a big way or smaller one. In his speech, Minister for Finance, Abdul Rahim Rather, Minister for Rural Development, Ali Mohammad Sagar and Additional General Secretary, Dr. Mustafa Kamal paid rich tributes to Madr-e-Meherban and highlighted her contribution for the welfare of weaker sections, women and children. Rather said that the political and development agenda of National Conference is documented and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1952, Dr. Farooq Abdullah during the special session of Assembly on Autonomy and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah recently have categorically and in detail thrown light on it in the State Legislature. Referring to the propaganda of PDP, he cited the example of Bat who cannot see during the light of sun adding that if Bat is disabled to see during the day we cannot blame the sun. He said that National Conference has always upheld the cause of people of Jammu and Kashmir. 'Our socio-economic and political roadmap is well defined and we are working to realize it with our determination and the support of the people', he added. Minister for Rural Development, Ali Mohammad Sagar in his address said that National Conference represents heart beats of people. 'It has stood by the people through thick and thin and its leadership and workers have sacrificed throughout for the cause of the State and its people', he maintained. The Rural Development Minister said that conspiracies have always been hatched against National Conference and its leadership but we know to live in difficulties and conquer the hardships. He said people are the fountain head of our power and National Conference is in power only because of people. He said that Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has dedicated himself to seek peace prosperity and political stability of Jammu and Kashmir. He said his endeavours in this direction are visible before everyone. He said peace initiatives taken by Omar Abdullah are yielding results. 'But his political opponents (PDP) are frustrated by seeing peace taking roots deep and State moving forward on road to progress and development. As such, they are in search of creating law and order situation', he said adding that power is only the goal of PDP. Ali Mohammad Sagar said that people are the witness to the conspiracies hatched by PDP during 1975, 1977, 1983, 1989 and then against its own coalition partner in 2008. 'They did it only to grab power and let loose atrocities on people', he said. In his address the Additional General Secretary, National Conference, Dr. Mustafa Kamal said that Omar Abdullah is spare heading the mission of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah with courage and enthusiasm and the day is not far away when the goal of peaceful and progressive Naya Kashmir is achieved. He said National Conference symbolizes communal harmony, brotherhood, unity between all regions and equitable and comprehensive development of all sections of the society. Various Ministers, Parliament Members, Legislators, National Conference senior leaders, Provincial President, Ali Mohammad Dar, District Presidents and other activists were present on the occasion.