Rajouri, 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 and former Chief Minister 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”, Dr Farooq Abdullah said while addressing a day-long National Conference Youth Convention here, adding that 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 this to be the only way forward in heralding lasting peace in the region. He said he won’t be deterred by dubbing him as anti-national for speaking the truth, which is to have a meaningful peace process with Pakistan. He 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 National Conference President acknowledged with deep appreciation 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 Vajpayee, who too belonged to his party, and start a new era of trust and friendship in the region”, Dr 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 Vajpayee”, Dr 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 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, Dr 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.
Dr 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, Dr Abdullah said that National Conference 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.
Addressing the Convention, Provincial Youth National Conference President Ajaz Jan said that Jammu and Kashmir was passing through a most difficult phase with the insensitive PDP-BJP coalition pursuing anti-poor policies.
“Youth are worst hit, as their avenues of jobs have been closed and whatsoever openings available are being filled either through backdoor or by indulging in favourtism”, he said, adding that this has blocked the future of unemployed educated. He assailed the present dispensation for lacking transparency and accountability.
Ajaz Jan also took up the issues pertaining to border dwellers, saying they are braving most hostile situation in the forward areas due to shelling. He said lackadaisical approach of the present government has added to their miseries during the past over three years.
The Convention was addressed by the Provincial and District functionaries of the Youth National Conference, who highlighted the various issues, particularly confronted to the youth.
Prominent among those present in the convention included senior leaders Rattan Lal Gupta, Syed Mushtaq Ahmed Shah Bukhari, Mirza Abdul Rashid, Th Rashpal Singh, Jagjivan Lal, Satwant Kour Dogra, Ch. Haroon, Bashir Ahmed Wani, Aslam Khan, Ch. Liaqat, Shafayat Khan, Nirmal Singh besides Vijay Lochan, Abdul Gani Telli, Shafqat Mir, Abid Magrey, Wahid Kasana, Kr Yashwardan Singh, Rohit Bali, Rohit Kerni, Aman Cheema, Tejinder Singh, Qadir Khan, Syead Jat, Tsauddaq Khan, Aijaz Ahmed Zaki, Matti Mir, Pr Pankaj Khajuria, Rajeshwar Singh, Muzammil, Daljeet Sharma, Asha Mehra, Jatinder Singh, Zulfiqar Khan, Zamir Qureshi, Advocate Zaffer and others.