Prevent India-Pakistan relation from deteriorating further: Omar Abdullah

January 15th, 2009 - 7:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Jan 15 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Thursday the India-Pakistan relationship should be prevented from deteriorating further.”We shall have to ensure that these relations do not slip into reverse gear. Instead of going a step forward, we must not slip two steps backward,” Abdullah told reporters here.

The relations between the two countries deteriorated following the Mumbai terror attacks that left over 170 people dead. India says the terrorists who ravaged Mumbai in November were Pakistanis.

Abdullah said his government was considering bringing back the youth who have crossed over to Pakistan for arms training and were willing to return home to live a peaceful life.

“During the meeting of the Unified Command chaired by me (Wednesday), we also discussed the modalities of trying to bring back the youth who are still on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC) and want to return to their homes,” Abdullah said.

He said the review of cases of people under detention in various jails should be de-centralised from the state level review committee to the district level committees for speedy disposal.

The chief minister said instead of building new assets for the state in near future, the priority of his government would be to make the existing assets fully functional.

“We are preparing a 100-day comprehensive programme which will be implemented so that the people can judge it for themselves,” he said. The programme would focus on education, healthcare, electricity and public health engineering sectors.

The chief minister said the financial relations needed to be established for meaningful cross-LoC trade between the two parts of Kashmir - divided between India and Pakistan.

“Unless financial relations are established the trade across the LoC will remain restricted to mere exchange of gifts between the traders on the two sides,” he said.

Abdullah said the state cabinet would be expanded at an appropriate time.

“After consultations with the high command of the Congress allies, we shall decide on the expansion of the cabinet. I shall be careful enough in the decisions of my government and the sentiments of the people will not be hurt at any cost,” he said.

About the appalling electricity supply situation in the Kashmir Valley, the chief minister said: “One main reason for my today’s visit (to the summer capital Srinagar) has been to address the problem of poor electric supply in the valley.

“The discharge of the rivers here is already very low and the frequent failures of electric transformers add to the existing problems. I appeal to the people to use electricity with discretion so that there is enough for all of us and also to desist from pilferage of the same in any manner.

“My government shall shortly create a pool of reserve electric transformers so that a faulty one is immediately replaced from the reservoir pool till repairs are made to.”

Abdullah said he was visiting Mumbai Friday to meet financial leaders of the country for investments in the state.

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