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Omar urges India-Pak to observe ceasefire; targets PDP for not being sincere

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Kulgam: Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today called upon India and Pakistan to uphold the ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC), saying innocent lives were being lost to border skirmishes.

“Ceasefire was the best gift India and Pakistan gave to the areas near the border and the LoC, but since the last few years, we are continuously seeing that it has remained confined to paper only. It is not being implemented. I request both New Delhi as well as Islamabad to please follow the ceasefire as part of the CBMs (confidence building measures)," Abdullah said.

Innocent lives are being lost, he said and referred to the killing of five members of a family in Pakistani shelling today. Two girls of the family were also injured and are in hospital.

"This is too much. We want there should be peace on the border and the LoC,” Abdullah said.

The National Conference (NC) working president was speaking to reporters after a  party convention at Damhal Hanjipora in south Kashmir's Kulgam district on the occasion of the 23rd death anniversary of NC leader and former speaker Wali Muhammad Itoo.

Taking a dig at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Abdullah asked what happened to her announcement of an inquiry into the allegations of nepotism in the recruitment in Khadi Village and Industrial Board (KVIB).

“The chief minister, three weeks before, had assured the youth of the state that an inquiry will be conducted into back-door appointments in KVIB. But, even as three weeks have passed, we have not got a copy of the order from the secretariat. Are her directions not being implemented or has she befooled the youth?” he said attacking the ruling party.

Earlier in his address to the gathering, Omar Abdullah according to a party press release said the Chief Minister stood “relegated by her allies as erstwhile exclusive jurisdictions of the chief minister and the state government had been effectively shifted to the central government and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs”.

Mehbooba Mufti has “summarily surrendered her power to take decisions and has precious little to offer to the people beyond photo-ops and press statements,” he alleged.

He said just yesterday Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh “exposed the duplicity and disingenuous modus operandi of the chief minister and her party when he revealed that the idea to offer amnesty to stone-pelters came from the central government and not the state government.

“This initiative till now was marketed by the PDP as Mehbooba’s initiative but it turns out she had nothing to do with the decision. Similarly, recently the chief minister tried to tell us how magnanimous and reconciliatory she was in seeking relief for a detained photojournalist who had been arrested by the NIA. The NIA came out at rubbished all such claims and said they would continue to oppose bail to the individual and had received no such instructions from the government or the Union Home Minister. Fortunately for the family of the young photojournalist, the honourable courts granted him bail despite opposition from the prosecution,” he said.

He claimed the PDPs “Faustian bargain with the BJP was not an electoral compulsion as the chief minister would like us to believe today”.

“It was a pre-determined, pre-planned tactical and strategic coming together of the PDP and the BJP to reap dividends of a simultaneously divisive, insular and deceitful politics in both regions of the state,” he alleged.

Omar said his party, after the election results of 2014, offered unconditional support to the PDP to form the government with an intention to keep BJP at bay “as their divisive campaign rhetoric and inherent politics of polarization did not auger well for the state's stability and welfare”.

He claimed that J&K had been pushed into the throes of renewed militancy, turmoil and division. While the situation in Kashmir is volatile and unstable, Jammu is on the brink due to BJP’s politics of polarization, he alleged.

“The situation was especially volatile in south Kashmir where the youth stand alienated and disenchanted because of PDP's complete U-turn after 2014. In 2014 mainstream activities in Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag could be conducted freely without any apprehensions. Today, the situation is such that the very idea of the mainstream stands questioned because of PDP’s deceitful preference to power over ideology," he alleged.

“The same young men who were exploited by the PDP in 2014 through its stentorian rhetoric are now being pushed towards militancy as all promises stand broken,” he said continuing his attack.

Abdullah said parents in south Kashmir were weary about the future of their young children as the law and order situation “deteriorates further in the complete absence of constructive, reconciliatory and sincere politics”.

Expressing concern over the growing unemployment in the State, Omar said the PDP-BJP government’s “open patronage to nepotism, corruption and illegitimate recruitment practices has created a deep sense of despondency among the youth.

“While our highly educated, skilled and talented young men and women are recruited under the SRO-202, which the previous government had revoked completely, the kith and kin of the leaders of the alliance are adjusted in plump government jobs on gazetted posts through the backdoor,” he alleged.

He said the youth have lost hope in the system and are being robbed of their fundamental right to dignified, gainful employment.

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