While reiterating that India and Pakistan had no option but to talk, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President and former Union Minister for Renewable Energy Dr Farooq Abdullah on Saturday, said Islamabad must rein in terror ranks for lasting peace in the region. “Unless tackled, peace inimical elements will continue to cast shadow over normalisation process between the two neighbouring countries”, Dr Abdullah said while addressing National Conference workers here this morning. Besides Provincial President Devender Singh Rana, the party President was accompanied by Sr State Vice President Surjeet Singh Slathia, his Political Advisor Vijay Bakaya , State Vice President Thakur Kashmira Singh, Provincial Youth National Conference President Ajaz Jan, former Legislator Dr. Chaman Lal Bhagat and Provincial Vice President Jugal Mahajan during his visit to Katra and Udhampur. Emphasising the crucial need for carrying forward the Indo-Pak dialogue process, the National Conference President recalled observations of the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, made on the banks of Kishen Ganga in Tangdhar, that friends can be changed and not the neighbours. The two nations, he said, cannot wish away each other and therefore Islamabad and New Delhi must take ahead the current initiative. On obtaining political uncertainty in the state, the former Chief Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir is passing through a difficult phase. He asked the party cadre to close their ranks for meeting the challenges. “A strong National Conference is answer to all the problems confronted to the state”, he observed, adding that the party has braved all challenges courageously with active support of the people. Dr Abdullah said that peoples’ aspirations hold paramount importance in democratic polity and the moment ruling elite suffers from mistaken belief of being ‘kings’ they get distanced from the masses. “National Conference firmly believes in people to be the fountain head of power”, he said, adding that this being core of his party’s philosophy, a major stride was taken in 1996 to steer Jammu and Kashmir on the path of democracy in 1996. He described those years as really difficult and recited the famous couplet, “Mein Akela Hi Chala Tha Janbe Manzil, Log Milte Gaye Karwaan Banta Gaya”. The National Conference President also emphasised need for strengthening bonds of amity and unity, saying the state cannot progress unless equal opportunities of progress and development are made available to all, irrespective of caste, creed, colour and religion. “Any attempt to divide society in bits and pieces on the basis of religion is detrimental for its harmonious growth”, he said and dwelt over certain recent unfortunate developments across the country. He recalled his meeting with Narendra Modi at a function in Gujarat in 2011 wherein he had invited the attention of participants towards strengthening secularism for larger good of the country. “I had told Modi that I want to see the day in my life when I would look in his (Modi’s) eyes and would be able to see my Allah, and when he (Modi) looks in my eyes, he will see his Ram”. Dr Abdullah also referred to local issues and problems confronted to the people in particular. While making mention of the tragic road mishap in Udhampur district, which claimed eleven lives, he said the element of corruption had hollowed the system. He attributed growing road accidents to traffic mismanagement and overloading and said these negatives should be addressed on priority for saving lives of the people. Earlier, the National Conference President visited the residences of Des Raj and S. Kehar Singh, two prominent party workers, at Katra and Udhampur to personally condole their demise. He prayed for peace to the departed souls. Interacting with workers, Dr Abdullah recalled the contribution of Des Raj and S Kehar Singh in strengthening National Conference at grass roots levels.
2015 Kashmir Despatch