Envisioning a new beginning in Indo-Pak relations, National Conference President and Union Minister for Renewable Energy Dr Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said that bonds of friendship between the two neighbours will help in solving the problems of millions on either side of the border and Line of Control.“Jammu and Kashmir in particular will reap the benefits of Indo-Pak friendship”, Dr Abdullah said amid applause while addressing a huge public meeting at Mendhar in Poonch district this afternoon.
The National Conference President was accompanied by the Provincial President Jammu Mr Devender Singh Rana on the day long visit of Mendhar.The Union Minister referred to the softening of borders in the Europe and said: “This has transformed the socio-economic landscape of entire Europe and I don’t see any reason why Indo-Pak region will not progress and prosper once there is mutual trust and strong bonding between the two nations”.
He said the idea of opening roads is not new; it dates back to the era of Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who strived for softening of borders for mitigating the problems of people and giving boost to trade and commerce. He recalled his meeting with former premier of Pakistan Zulfkar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan and said that he wanted to know why Sher-e-Kashmir was so keen for opening of the Muzaffarabad Road. “My reply to Mr Bhuttoo was that Sher-e-Kashmir wanted the people of two countries to have wider interactions and to see for themselves change taking place in various sectors”.
The National Conference President said that opening of roads will herald a new era of understanding, give boost to trade, commerce and tourism and above all open new vistas of people to people contact, which he described held key to peace and stability in the region.He also made a mention of Mughal Road and said that Sheikh Sahib was keen to have it revived for the economic emancipation and easy mobility of the people of Poonch and Rajouri belts. He expressed satisfaction over the pace of work and said this link will give tremendous boost to economic activity and open up new areas for tourism.
Dr Farooq Abdullah expressed his gratitude to the people of Mendhar for their support to National Conference from time to time and hoped that they will continue to make this great movement of Sher-e-Kashmir stronger. He expressed happiness over the homecoming of veterans and elderly workers of the party and said that they have immense responsibilities to make National Conference a strong fort so that it withstands the challenges with more vigour and fortitude.
Referring to the peace and normalcy dawning across the State especially during the past few years, the National Conference President said this momentum has to be maintained. He said the State is on right direction of progress and development under the stewardship of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and hoped that all the regions and sub-regions will benefit from the initiatives taken over the years. He hoped that the State government will continue to focus on the development of far-flung and remote areas.
Replying to questions of media persons on the sidelines of the public meeting, the Union Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir is getting liberal assistance for undertaking development and implementing various welfare measures. He referred to the ambitious Kashmir rail project and said that railways to Qazigund will be commissioned soon. He said that work on the rail project across Banihal was progressing and the day was not far when Kashmir will be connected with other parts of the country.
Earlier, Mr Devender Singh Rana, while addressing the public meeting at Mendhar, urged the National Conference cadre to further intensify their outreach to the people in far-off areas and help them overcome their problems.The Provincial President reiterated that National Conference represented the urges and aspirations of people of the three regions and pledged that the party will remain committed to perform its designated role of steering the State to new pinnacles of peace, progress and development.