Talk To Delhi On Return From Pak: Omar To Hurriyat

SRINAGAR: Welcoming talks between the Hurriyat (M) and Pakistan, chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday urged the separatist alliance to hold a similar dialogue with New Delhi, asserting that that a “lopsided” process would not yield any result.

“After returning from Pakistan they should also talk to the Indian leadership. No one has put any conditions on them for talks,” he said. 

“The separatists should put their agenda before the people and initiate a dialogue with the government of India unconditionally to work out a solution to J&K centric political issues acceptable to all stakeholders,” the chief minister said at a public function after inaugurating the newly-reconstructed timber bridge at Zaina Kadal in Old Srinagar.

“When it is a universal truth that militancy has achieved nothing, and dialogue is the only way forward to settle problems, the other separatist group should also get involved in talks to address complex issues for the good of the general public and peace and prosperity in the state,” Adbullah said

“Peace is imperative for development, and helps generate wide-ranging economic activities and employment opportunities for people in general and the youth in particular,” he said. “We all have to work together to maintain peace and help push forward the process of development.”

ON OLD SRINAGAR PROGRESS

Describing Srinagar as the heart of Kashmir and the Shahar-e-Khas (Old City) as the heart of Srinagar, Abdullah said that the state had witnessed disturbance and militancy during the past  20 years  which had marred avenues of economic prosperity, education, health, trade and day-to-day activities  

“Shahar-e-Khas has borne the brunt of this situation and its economy and development received heavy jolt,” he said. 

“In order to pull this area out of economic distress and open vistas of progress for all sections of the society in the area, our government has initiated various programmes,” he said.

 “We want to showcase the heritage, handicrafts and art and artisans of this area at the international tourist map and rope in visitors from all over the country and aboard,” he said, adding that over 12 lakh visitors had visited the Valley this year galvanizing the economy of a huge chunk of population dependent on tourism  

“Rest houses and hoteliers in Raj Bagh, Jawahar Nagar and Upper Town have relished the economic benefits of the tourist flow,” he said.  

He said Zainakadal, Maharaj Gunj and other areas in Shahar-e-Khas are known for their heritage characteristics, and shrines of renowned religious scholars and saints in this area could be properly showcased for heritage and pilgrim tourism.

The minister for rural development, Ali Muhammad Sagar, who also spoke on the occasion, batted for special recruitment drives, upgrading of basic amenities, and holistic development of Shahar-e-Khas.

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