National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah Wednesday urged India and Pakistan to start a sustained dialogue process. Former chief minister advocated an Ireland-type settlement model to resolve the Kashmir issue.
"Abdullah impressed on the governments of India and Pakistan to start a sustained dialogue process and advocated an Ireland-type settlement model to resolve the procrastinated Jammu and Kashmir issue," an NC spokesman said.
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He added that the NC chief said this while addressing a public gathering at Uri in north Kashmir's Baramulla district.
Abdullah urged the Centre to restore autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest. "Autonomy is the only way ahead to address the political and developmental deficit of all the regions of Jammu and Kashmir. It will secure the secular character of our state and strengthen the bonds of amity and brotherhood," he said.
The Member of Parliament from Srinagar also said a day would come when the people of the state would breathe in a peaceful atmosphere, without any insecurity.
"We should not feel disheartened. The current situation is grave, but we have witnessed even worst throughout the history. At one time in our history, people would not buy the idea that the autocratic rule will end. But a day came when democratic forces usurped the kings's throne with determination and struggle," he added.
Abdullah asked the people to keep the faith and follow the path shown by the prophet of Islam.
"In this hour of grief and uncertainty, we should not let anxiety and hopelessness overpower us. We should follow the teaching of the prophet of Islam in our day-to-day lives. Hopelessness is a curse," he said.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said the NC had to face many challenges since its inception and that scores of party functionaries were "preyed upon by the monster of conflict".
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"Our party was back-stabbed by many political shenanigans and turncoats, but history bears testimony to how they eventually faded on their own. The NC is a people's party, we owe our being to people and we are a grassroot-level party," he added.
Abdullah said the state's special status was "infringed upon by the machinations of national political parties, including the Congress and the BJP, and their attitude has not changed".
"The current situation is no different. People should remain watchful of crafty politicians who are products of these machinations. Self-respect and dignity of our state should not be bartered for a few pennies," he added.
(With PTI inputs)