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Emulate Vajpayee, talk to Pak: Farooq tells PM

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Warns PDP against bartering J&K interests

Srinagar, Feb 26: Reiterating his call for engaging Pakistan in meaningful talks from border belt of Rajouri along Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah on Monday said peace will remain elusive until the two neighbours sit together and work towards ending their differences in an amicable atmosphere.

“Wars are no solution; wars cause only destruction,” Abdullah said while addressing a day-long National Conference Youth Convention in Rajouri.

According to a party press release, he said border skirmishes and continued shelling have created havoc with people living under perpetual fear.

He said he will continue to vouch for dialogue between India and Pakistan, as he believes it to be the only way forward in heralding lasting peace in the region.

He said he won’t be deterred by him being dubbed as anti-national for speaking the truth, which is to have a meaningful peace process with Pakistan.

The former Chief Minister said the beneficiaries of the peace in the wake of friendly relations between the two countries would be people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have decided their future seven decades ago.

Invoking Atal Behari Vajpayee, the NC president acknowledged the “sincere efforts” made by him in reaching out to Islamabad, first by Bus to Lahore and then by holding Agra Summit, saying the statesman Prime Minister had reassured the neighbouring nation on their soil that India accepts reality of Pakistan.

He said Vajpayee’s initiatives were pleasant breathers in otherwise choked environment and recalled his now famous adage that ‘friends can be changed but not the neighbours’, which he (Vajpayee) had stated during his public meeting at Tanghdar in Kashmir.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi should emulate the spirit of Vajpayeeji, who too belonged to his party, and start a new era of trust and friendship in the region,” Abdullah said, adding the two nations will have to realize, sooner or later, that nothing but talks hold key to ending hostilities.

“Let you carry forward the mission of Vajpayeeji,” Abdullah exhorted the Prime Minister and exuded confidence that Jammu and Kashmir would serve and emerge as a bridge of friendship between India and Pakistan.

The NC president also dwelt upon a volley of subjects and expressed concern over vicious political environment across the country, describing division of people on the basis of religion for votes as dangerous.

He observed that votes should be sought on the plank of nation building, development, upliftment of poor and not by exploiting religion.

“In this grim scenario, the youth have to play a crucial role by negating and isolating all such forces which hoodwink them by generating fear about religion being in danger,” he added.

Expressing dismay over functioning of the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah referred to “nepotism and favouritism” in the process of selection to various posts and said the scenario is so dismal that a civil servant of this dispensation has sought filing of FIR over filling up of several slots.

Apparently referring to alleged backdoor appointments in KVIB, he said the confidence of meritorious youth have shattered, which call for course-correction.

Abdullah said the present dispensation was working “against the interests of the state” and warned PDP not to barter the self-esteem of the people for few loaves of power.

Welcoming pro-active participation of youth in political activities, Abdullah said that NC will continue to provide a vibrant platform to public-spirited activists. He asked YNC workers to participate in the Panchayat elections in a big way, saying this was the first step of the ladder that will take them to heights in politics.

“NC will encourage honest and devoted youth to serve the people in best of their capabilities,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, provincial president Devender Singh Rana decried politics of hate and urged the youth to fight the divisive forces by strengthening the bonds of amity and brotherhood.

“Today, we are being asked to prove our identities and these questions are being raised by those who believe in obeisance at Nagpur as credential of nationalism,” he said and added that India belonged to all, irrespective of religion or cast. He said disruptive forces were doing a disservice to this great nation by sowing seeds of hatred.

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