India-Pakistan peace process must go on: Omar Abdullah (Lead)

December 31st, 2008 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Dec 31 (IANS) Omar Abdullah, the chief minister-designate of Jammu and Kashmir, said Wednesday that war was no solution to India-Pakistan problems and the peace process between the two countries needed to be resumed.Speaking at the “victory rally” of the National Conference (NC) at the Sher-e-Kashmir Park in Srinagar after his arrival from New Delhi, Abdullah, said: “I will address the day to day problems of the people, give them an efficient and honest government”.

Thousands of party workers and supporters rallied with NC flags, a plough in white against a red background, fluttering atop hundreds of vehicles, to receive Abdullah as he reached here Wednesday afternoon after successfully clinching an alliance with the Congress party.

Abdullah is set to lead the new government of the state - at 38 he will be currently India’s youngest chief minister - after the Congress high command in New Delhi Tuesday agreed to extend its legislative support to the National Conference - the single largest party in the assembly.

“The task ahead for me is more uphill than that of my predecessors,” Abdullah told reporters at his Gupkar residence.

“The problem of militancy is still not over. There is a need to carry forward the peace process between India and Pakistan, which is the only way to permanent peace in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

War, he said was “no solution to the problems between India and Pakistan”, stressing the peace measures needed to be carry forward.

The scion of the Abdullah dynasty, who is going to be the third generation chief minister from the family, said: “I do not believe in politics of revenge. All of us will have to work together for the prosperity of the people.”

He said during his talks with the senior Congress leaders in the he had insisted on a deputy chief minister from the Jammu region belonging to the Congress party.

Abdullah said his oath ceremony as the new chief minister of the state will take place after the first 10 days of Muharram during which Muslims observe mourning to remember the martyrdom of Prophet’s grandson Hussain. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar.

He however said some of the new Congress-NC coalition ministers might take oath before the mourning period ends Jan 8, “because of constitutional obligation as the new government has to be in place before the present spell of the governor’s rule ends”.

“The larger arrangement between the Congress and us has been worked out, but the final modalities like the composition of the ministry etc will be finalized after I go to Delhi again.

“After all this is done, we shall stake claim to government formation here”, he said.

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