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Peace process in tatters: Omar Abdullah

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | September 27, 2003 22:50 IST

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's peace initiative has lost its relevance following the bickering between India and Pakistan at the United Nations General Assembly, National Conference president Omar Abdullah said on Saturday.

"When Prime Minister Vajpayee extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan during his speech in a public meeting in Srinagar this year, I had asked him them in a newspaper article how much political space they had to back such an offer. We were told not to worry. But after he gave an effective reply to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf… at the UN General Assembly, the peace process is now in tatters," he told rediff.com

He praised the PM for taking a firm stand. "Since Pakistan had set the tone by speaking first, Vajpayee had no choice but to take a hard stand."

He ridiculed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's efforts to bring Pandits to Kashmir and instil confidence among them.

"The level of violence has gone up in the last few months," he said.

Leave alone those who are living in migrant camps in Delhi and Jammu, if the Mufti can "instil confidence among those who are living in the valley, he would have achieved a lot", he told rediff.com

He said the Mufti's healing touch policy has lost its significance. "Custodial deaths are continuing. People keep on disappearing on a regular basis and there is no hope of a meaningful dialogue between India and Pakistan on the one hand and between the Government of India and All Party Hurriyat Conference on the other. The split in the Hurriyat has not helped matters in any way," he added.

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