National Conference president Farooq Abdullah Sunday urged India and Pakistan to “imitate the spirit of the Kartarpur corridor” in Jammu and Kashmir by opening all routes across the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB). He said the initiative would not only help boost economic activities on both sides of the border but also help rekindle the flame of friendship between India and Pakistan.
“The state’s topography afforded it a geographical dividend that ceased to persist post-1947. I urge the governments of India and Pakistan to open the traditional routes between the two countries,” Abdullah said while addressing a gathering at Dewan Bagh Baramulla in north Kashmir.
Abdullah, the Member of Parliament from Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, said increased people-to-people contact and other confidence-building measures can go a long way in doing away with the “mistrust”. The NC president said his party has no predilection for power and has never compromised on Article 370 and Article 35 A of the Constitution.
“We were obligated to shore up the alliance with the PDP-Congress following relentless and unfailing attacks on our special position by those who are inimical to the special status of our state. The sole purpose of the anticipated alliance was to put up a strong front against the forces who are fiddling with the working autonomy of our institutions, their hierarchy, and their basic structure,” he said.
He said had the NC been after power and position, his father and party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah would not “have served penitentiary and confinement for more than two decades”.
“Had we in our party shown any inclination for power, I would not have kicked the chair and resigned from the post of the chief minister when Jagmohan was deputed as governor to our state. The honour and dignity of my people is dearer to me than anything. However our struggle has been peaceful and non-violent,” he said.
Referring to the alteration in the structure and working of various institutions in the state, Abdullah said it was “highly unbecoming” of the governor’s administration to “fiddle with our institutions”.
“At a time when a popularly-elected government is not in place it is highly unbecoming of the state governor administration to fiddle with our institutions. The recent onslaught of SAC (state administrative council) on the prime financial institution of our state (J-K Bank) is a point in case. “I urge the incumbent administration to rollback the SAC decision of converting JK Bank into a public sector undertaking, it will prove detrimental to working of the bank,” he said.
The much-awaited Kartarpur corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev.
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