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PM's conference will be meaningless: NC

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
February 21, 2006 22:10 IST
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Opposition National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday reiterated that he will not be available for the February 25 all-party round table Kashmir conference being chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

The former chief minister, while citing personal reasons for his non-participation, also said that the proposed round table meet will be meaningless in the absence of a concrete agenda to be debated there.

Hurriyat won't take part in PM's conference

Addressing a press conference at his residence in Srinagar, Abdullah regretted that such an important conference was being convened without any agenda papers having been distributed to the invited parties in advance.

"We had presented autonomy proposals to the central government that had been adopted by the state assembly, but those were simply trashed by the then Narasimha Rao government," Dr Abdullah said.

Farooq Abdullah not to attend PM's meet

"The Narasimha Rao government had said that sky was the limit when it came to considering autonomy for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Later, it was conveyed to us that the maximum the central government can consider by way of granting autonomy to Kashmir was a change of nomenclature of the governor and the chief minister to Sadar-e-Riyasat and Wazir-e-Azam. What sort of autonomy would that be," he quipped.

He refused to acknowledge that there had been any disagreement over attending the proposed round table between him and his son, Omar Abdullah.

"Omar is the president of the party and there is nobody above the president in the party. If he has decided to attend the meeting, it is within his powers to do so," Abdullah clarified.

The former chief minister also said his party had no clue as to the extent to which the ongoing dialogue between the Centre and the local separatist leaders had proceeded.

In a major setback to the proposed round table meet, the moderate faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference had on Monday dismissed their participation when APHC chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq said that such a conference will only add to the confusion and even damage the ongoing dialogue process.

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar