Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday sought to put all speculation in media at rest and dispel apprehensions being voiced by certain political quarters in the country by saying that there was no credible evidence to show any link between Al Qaeda and the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We all know Osama had once spoken about Kashmir as the unfinished agenda of his group but in the unified command meetings I have chaired, I’ve yet to be shown any piece of evidence that would suggest a link between the Al Qaeda and the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir,” the chief minister, who was addressing a press conference here on the opening day of the civil secretariat following the biannual move from winter capital Jammu said.
He said after the Mumbai terror attacks, India-Pakistan relations took a nose dive and it was after hard work done on diplomatic and political levels that the dialogue process between the two sides resumed. He hoped the feared bitterness would not overtake the pace of the peace process in the wake of the Osama bin Laden killing by the US special forces in Pakistan. He said, “There have been statements from Pakistan that we should not imitate the Abbottabad operation or go in for any misadventure. Let me say we are not even thinking about any such thing. Our foreign secretary has made it clear that we will continue to pursue the path of seeking resolution of all issues through peaceful means,” he said.
He urged India and Pakistan to expedite the ongoing dialogue process to reach at a solution on the “old problem of Kashmir”. He added, “But that solution must be acceptable to all including the people of Kashmir.”
Replying questions, Mr Abdullah said he does not think his recent tweets on separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani would have served as provocation for him to issue a general strike call for May 17 to protest arrests by police. Reacting to the octogenarian leader’s taking exception to some of his remarks posted on Twitter, the CM said, “Remarks taken out of context would provoke the situation.”
He hoped that being a senior member of the society Mr Geelani will avoid issuing strike calls as that only creates hardships for the people. He said, “Because of something I said, Geelani Sahib should not inconvenience the people by calling a strike. I earnestly appeal to him that we can take up our differences in a public forum and not through inconveniencing the people.”
He also appealed to the separatists to participate in the dialogue between initiated by the Centre and give up their stance not to talk with its interlocutors. He urged them to read the pulse of the people who, he said, want the peaceful atmosphere to continue so that developmental works pick up pace.
He confirmed that the families of about 700 militants stranded in PoK had so far approached the government and submitted applications on behalf of their wards under the Chief Minister’s rehabilitation policy. Under the police, announced last year after it was vetted by the Union Home Ministry, the Kashmiri youth who went across to receive arms training but are now willing to shun violence and return home to start fresh life will be rehabilitated by the government. Mr. Abdullah said, “Out of these, 125 applications have already been processed.” End it. Asian Age