National Conference Party President Dr. Farooq Abdullah addressed public meeting in Rawal Pora, Khan Sahib today. Speaking on the occasion Dr. Farooq Abdullah said that friendly relations and mutual bilateral cooperation between India and Pakistan was a must for lasting peace and sustained development in the sub-continent and especially in J&K.
Speaking at Khan Sahib Dr. Farooq Abdullah said it was Omar Abdullah who, in the presence of the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi unequivocally and unambiguously said that Kashmir Issue was a political issue in nature and not an economic or governance-related problem and hence needed a political initiative. Dr. Farooq Abdullah said that Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was one of the biggest advocates of Indo-Pak friendship and it was Sheikh Sahib who envisioned the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarbad Road and permanent economic and cultural exchanges between two sides of the Line of Control.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah said that various important Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) including the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarbad Road were fruits of sustained diplomatic engagement between New Delhi and Islamabad and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had nothing to do in the conception or implementation of these historic steps to bring people of the two sides closer to each other.
However, he said, Mufti Sayeed has always invested most of his time and energy in claiming credit for the achievements and work of other people and this is something that PDP has now adopted as its official policy. While political marketing of actual achievements is a common part of politics now, marketing of non-existent work and lies is something that PDP has achieved a specialization in.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah also said that National Conference had advocated the partial revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) while in the government, unlike PDP leaders who chose to stay mum about these issues while they were in power but enacted theatrical, cosmetic dramas while in the opposition as a fig-leaf for sabotaging day-to-day governance in the State.
Speaking on the occasion Senior National Conference Leader and Minister for Finance and Ladakh Affairs Abdul Rahim Rather said that it was PDP that extended the lease on the Tosa Maidan Artillery Range in 2004 when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the Chief Minister of the State. It is for this precise reason that PDP has chosen to talk in hushed, apologetic voices about this issue rather than categorically opposing the extension of the lease. Rather said the government, through the special committee constituted for this purpose, had offered alternatives to the Security Forces and it would be ensured that the lease for the range is not extended.