National Conference party president and senior cabinet minister in the UPA government Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday said friendly relations and mutual bilateral cooperation between India and Pakistan was a must for lasting peace and sustained development in the sub-continent and especially in Jammu and Kashmir.
While addressing a public meeting in Rawalpora, Khan Sahib in central Kashmir, Abdullah said it was Omar Abdullah who, in the presence of the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi unequivocally and unambiguously said that Kashmir Issue was a political issue in nature and not an economic or governance-related problem and hence needed a political initiative.
Reiterating that it has been his party's policy since inception Abdullah said, "Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was one of the biggest advocates of Indo-Pak friendship and it was Sheikh Sahib who envisioned the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarbad Road and permanent economic and cultural exchanges between two sides of the Line of Control."
Farooq also said that various important confidence building measures (CBMs) including the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road were fruits of sustained diplomatic engagement between New Delhi and Islamabad and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had nothing to do in the conception or implementation of these historic steps to bring people of the two sides closer to each other.
"Mufti Sayeed has always invested most of his time and energy in claiming credit for the achievements and work of other people and this is something that PDP has now adopted as its official policy. While political marketing of actual achievements is a common part of politics now, marketing of non-existent work and lies is something that PDP has achieved a specialization in," he added.
Srinagar - Muzafarabad Road was opened during the PDP regime. Lately PDP has been calling the CBM a great success of the PDP regime in the state and BJP at the centre.
Abdullah also said that the National Conference had advocated partial revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) while in the government, unlike PDP leaders who chose to stay mum about these issues while they were in power but enacted theatrical, cosmetic dramas while in the opposition as a fig-leaf for sabotaging day-to-day governance in the state.