Chief Minister wants external, internal dialogue channels restored

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday said the Union government was actively working for a political solution to Jammu and Kashmir-centric issues and expressed the hope the problem would be solved amicably before long.

Addressing a public meeting at Tangdhar near the Line of Control in Kupwara district, Mr. Abdullah welcomed the recent statement of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in Parliament on Kashmir.

Mr. Abdullah said that right from the day he took charge as Chief Minister he had been strongly advocating addressing political issues politically and restoring external and internal dialogue channels. His government was working as an active facilitator in this regard and would not come in the way of any political shade of opinion in its effort to put forth its view point peacefully in a dialogue process. “In fact, my government has proved instrumental in granting passports to separatist leaders, giving them an opportunity to discuss their view points across the border or anywhere else,” he said. Any political effort in a peaceful atmosphere through process of dialogue to address the Kashmir issue would always be welcomed and facilitated.

“Avoid mistakes”

The Chief Minister expressed the hope that the Union government would take positive steps to address the political issues in a sustained dialogue process, avoiding the mistakes of the past. Violence had never solved any problem and a peaceful and democratic approach was the only way out.

“The Kashmir issue has political genesis and it originated with the independence of India and the birth of Pakistan. The over 60-year-old problem has become a complex one and requires sustained political efforts by all the stakeholders through a dialogue process to resolve it as per the aspirations of the people of the State,” he said asserting that India-Pakistan talks were imperative.

Mr. Abdullah said he had sought the people's mandate to address development issues and work for the economic welfare of the State, besides creating employment opportunities for the youth. His government was keen to keep the development promises made to the people. “My government is working in this direction and development of health, education, power and roads and buildings has been flagged as important concerns.” He had also finalised a special recruitment programme to engage 50,000 youths in various government departments within the next couple of months.

Taking a dig at the perpetrators of stone-throwing and shutdowns, the Chief Minister said that while they were seeking a better future and best education for their children, they were destroying the career and education of the children of the general public.

Mr. Abdullah appealed to the people to help the government in its efforts to run educational institutions so that students were able to appear for the examinations.