Solutions better than autonomy to solve Kashmir issue welcomed: Omar

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Jammu, Apr 4 (UNI) National Conference president Omar Abdullah today said his party is always open for discussion on the issue of restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir if any ''solutions'' better than autonomy, acceptable to the people, were put forth.

Addressing a press conference here after attending a two-day long Pugwash conference in Islamabad, Mr Abdullah said, ''Nothing but autonomy will restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in the sub-continent as the demand for autonomy falls within the framework of Constitution of India.'' However, condemning the observations made in the recently released book titled 'My Country My Life' authored by BJP prime ministerial candidate L K Advani, the party president said, ''National Conference has always represented the aspirations of the people of the state and its goal was never to achieve power.'' ''National Conference believes that it is the only party that can provide good governance to the state which is borne out by its past record, as the people have always reposed full faith in the policies and programmes of the party,'' he added.

''Our party has always stood for the integration and equal protection of rights of people of three regions of the state.

Autonomy, which is the only viable solution of Kashmir issue, was the main plank of National Conference in the 1996 assembly elections,'' he asserted Criticising the price rise of essential commodities, he said, ''The prices of essential commodities have sky-rocketed because of which the poor and common masses are on the verge of starvation.'' Mr Abdullah flayed the coalition government over anti-people policies and said announcing 70,000 jobs for the unemployed is an election policy to woo voters.

''There should have been transparency in the employment schemes and jobs should be advertised through service selection board (SSB) and recruitment agencies. But, these jobs will be distributed only to Congress workers and blue-eyed behind closed doors,'' the MP said.

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