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Dr Farooq pitches for Indo-Pak dialogue for lasting peace in region

MENDHAR: Pitching for Indo-Pak dialogue, National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah today said peace in the region will remain elusive unless a conducive atmosphere is made for talks between the two neighboring countries.

"India and Pakistan should work towards this objective', Dr Farooq Abdullah said while addressing a public meeting at the border township of Mendhar on the second leg of his two-day visit to the Jammu Province.

NC President recalled the sagacious and apt statement of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee about ‘friends can be changed but the neighbours' and hoped that this spirit will help both the nations to work for peace.

Referring to the prevailing political scenario, Dr Abdullah expressed surprise over the logic being advanced by the present central leadership that statehood will be restored to Jammu and Kashmir after completion of the delimitation of constituencies and holding of elections. It is strange, he said and recalled the all party meeting with the Prime Minister a few months ago in which he took up these issues. 

Narendra Modi had at that point of time asserted that the gap between New Delhi and J&K will have to be bridged by winning over the hearts.

"Hearts cannot be won by undermining the status of Jammu and Kashmir, which was bifurcated and then downgraded", he said, adding that it must have happened for the first time that any state is transformed and downgraded as a Union Territory. He said the urges and aspirations of the people have to be satiated for lasting peace.

Dr Abdullah decried the attempts of dividing the society for political gains and said this is not good for the unity of the country and integration of the people. He said the nation cannot afford to get fragmented into bits and pieces on the basis of religion. 

He said elections were not to be fought on religion, as these provide an opportunity to put in place responsive governments which serve the people in terms of development and economic emancipation. He advised reactionary forces to refrain from exploiting public sentiments, especially during elections, adding that the growing trend of dividing the people should be eschewed at all costs. 

He lamented the attempts of provoking people on contentious issues for furthering political objectives and said India does not belong to a specific religion but it is a beautiful vase of flowers of different colours. The people of all the faiths have equal rights in secular India, he added.

"In the prevailing vicious atmosphere, the National Conference has a challenging role to keep the flag of secularism high", Dr Abdullah said, adding that religious harmony is imperative for peace and growth. He said his party has kept the flag of amity aloft during most testing times of the history and this spirit will always inspire the cadre.

Senior leader Javed Rana also addressed the gathering, saying National Conference has a chequered history of public service and will continue to shoulder its responsibility in steering Jammu and Kashmir to peace.

Besides General Secretary Ali Mohammed Sagar and Additional General Secretary Dr Sheikh Mustaffa Kamal, prominent among those present on the occasion included Provincial President Rattan Lal Gupta, Mushtaq Guroo, Israr Khan, Th Yashu Vardhan Singh and Zeeshan Rana.

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