Omar hopes Indo-Pak dialogue will not be affected
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Last Updated: Monday, May 09, 2011, 16:04
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.


First Published: Monday, May 09, 2011, 16:04

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