JAMMU: Invoking the words of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that “you can change your friends but not your neighbours,” National Conference president Farooq Abdullah stressed on Sunday the need for a thaw in India-Pakistan relations.
“Hostilities on borders bring only agonies and miseries to the dwellers, halt agriculture and economic activities, and impact the way of life of every segment of society,” Abdullah said while addressing party workers in Udhampur.
Referring to the recent reiteration by both countries to abide by the ceasefire agreement in letter and spirit, the former J&K CM said the people of Jammu & Kashmir wished and prayed for the success of this measure as it would bring them some sort of relief. He said the choice was simple: either nurture friendship and prosper or continue the enmity and lose any hope for prosperity.
The NC leader said that the two countries are spending a substantial portion of their budgets on defence procurement, thus taking away from welfare spending.
“Peace is in the larger interest of the region, especially as the people of the two countries have been yearning for good relations,” he said.
Echoing apprehensions in the minds of the people of J&K about their lands and jobs going in the wake of the August 2019 political developments, the NC chief said, “Article 370 was not just a Kashmir-centric issue, it was as important to the regions of Jammu and Ladakh.”
“To save the people, especially those of Jammu, from the hegemony of the elite and affluent from neighbouring states, Maharaja Hari Singh brought the law in 1927,” he said. Abdullah exhorted the party cadre to reach out to people and work for their betterment.