Omar hopes Indo-Pak dialogue will not be affected

J&K CM Omar Abdullah Monday expressed hope that certain remarks made by India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden will not have an affect on the dialogue process.

Last Updated: May 09, 2011, 16:04 PM IST

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister
Omar Abdullah Monday expressed hope that certain remarks made
by India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the killing of
al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden will not have an affect on the
dialogue process between the two countries.

"It has taken lot of efforts to put back the dialogue
process back on track after Mumbai attacks. I do not think the
Osama issue is going to affect the dialogue process (between
the two countries)," Omar told reporters here.

The Chief Minister said it would be "very unfortunate"
if the

dialogue process is affected.
"There was talk of warnings (from Pakistan) against
any misadventures from our side but to begin with we were not
thinking of any. It is not only our hope but our demand that
the dialogue process should not be affected," he said.

Army Chief General V K Singh and Air chief P V Naik
had said that Indian armed forces were "competent" to carry
out an operation similar to the one conducted by the US in
Pakistan against bin Laden.

Pakistan army and the government had reacted sharply
warning India against any Abbottabad-like "misadventure",
saying it would be responded to "very strongly" and could lead
to a "terrible catastrophe".

India had said the "momentous" killing of bin Laden in
Pakistan will not change the discourse of Indo-Pak dialogue
but made it clear that use of terrorism as a policy to further
strategic goals was "unacceptable."

On media reports about links between Hizbul Mujahideen
and al-Qaeda, Omar said, "There was no way to independently
verify the veracity of the reports".

"In the two-and-half years of my chairing the Unified
Headquarters (the top security body in Jammu and Kashmir), I
have not come across any evidence suggesting links between
al-Qaeda and militancy in the state," he said.

He said although there was undoubtedly an external
dimension to the militancy in the state, there was no evidence
to show links between the global terror outfit and the
militants operating in the state.

On the Kashmir issue, Omar said the dialogue process
between various stakeholders should be expedited.

"The internal dialogue process, which is currently
going on, need to be expedited. Efforts should be made to
widen its ambit as people of the state are hopeful for the
resolution of the long pending (Kashmir) issue," he said

The Chief Minister, who was addressing media on the
opening day of the civil secretariat here as part of the
darbar move, said separatists should join the dialogue process
as they have accepted that negotiations were the only way to
resolve the Kashmir issue.

"Those who have not taken part in the dialogue process
so far should also join. Since they have accepted that
dialogue is the only way, there is no point in staying away,"
he said.

"We hope that New Delhi and Islamabad will also
accelerate the talks and a solution is found that is acceptable
to both the governments (of India and Pakistan) and also to
people of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

Omar said people of Kashmir wanted peace so that their
day-to-day issues including development ones are resolved.

"I have given clear instructions that development
works need to be expedited. We cannot promise to resolve all
the issue within six months but we promise that we will work
with honesty and sincerity so that the people get the
maximum benefits," he said.

About the call for strike given by hardline Hurriyat
Conference, the Chief Minister said Syed Ali Shah Geelani was
a senior member of the society and he would not like to put
people to inconvenience.

"There are issues on which I do not agree with Geelani
and he does not agree with me. We can agree to disagree but I
am sure he would not like to inconvenience the people through
strikes and protests," he said.

On the efforts of the state government to woo tourists
to Kashmir this summer, Omar said all efforts were being made
but the situation over the past few summers has seen them flee
from the Valley.

"We make our efforts to bring them here every year but
someone chases them away," he said expressing hope that the
situation will not be repeated this year.