Jammu- National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said the onus lies with Pakistan for creating a conducive atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir for the resumption of dialogue with India.
He expressed concern over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader in Canada in June and said “this runs the risk of damaging a very strong bilateral relationship” between the two countries.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said it will not be possible for his party to unilaterally support the women’s reservation bill tabled by the BJP-led government in Parliament, given the major flaws in it including the timeline for its implementation.
“We have always supported dialogue between India and Pakistan but a conducive atmosphere is needed for the resumption of the talks between them. It is not only the responsibility of India but the onus is on Pakistan to make that atmosphere conducive for dialogue,” Abdullah told reporters at his party headquarters here.
Referring to the killing of army and police officers in recent encounters, he said the incidents in Rajouri, Kokernag and Srinagar cannot help in creating the conducive atmosphere needed for the dialogue.
He said he has not seen any step from the neighbouring country so far which would help in creating the conducive atmosphere necessary for the dialogue.
“I always remember the words of (former prime minister) A B Vajpayee that you can change your friends but not neighbours. That country (Pakistan) will remain our neighbour whatever we do. But for talks to start, there is a need to make the atmosphere conducive and that country needs to work towards it,” he said.
Asked about the statement of the Canadian prime minister, Abdullah, a former Union minister of state for external affairs, said if he has evidence let him present it before the international community.
“…he claims that it is based on an ongoing investigation. It would have been appropriate for him to wait for the investigation to complete because he has now preempted the findings of the investigation.
“If he has evidence to support his claim, then I would humbly suggest to him that he share this evidence with the international community otherwise the relation with Canada has always been very good and this (his statement) runs the risk of damaging a very strong bilateral relationship. That will be very unfortunate,” Abdullah said.
On the women’s reservation bill tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, he said that given the draft of the bill it will take at least 10 years to get it implemented.
“The bill is talking about delimitation and census before its implementation. That means there is no hope before 2029 and every possibility it will go by 2034. What was the need for convening a special session (of Parliament) when we had to wait for at least 10 years to pass a bill. It could have been brought during the winter session,” he said.
Abdullah said they were hoping that the bill would be passed immediately and implemented forthwith.
“There are flaws in this bill and we would work to get those flaws corrected. I don’t see how it will be possible for us to unilaterally support a bill that we believe still has gaps in it,” he said.
On the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, he said the National Conference always supported their honourable return.
“Who is going to object to that (return and rehabilitation of migrant pandits). I have always said that you won’t need to drag them back. They left from there (Kashmir) because of the feeling of insecurity. You restore that sense of security, they will return,” he said.
He said shifting them from one camp to another camp does not mean anything. “The situation needs to be made such that they return willingly and live wherever they want. We want to see that happen,” Abdullah said.
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