SIGNAL FOR HEIR OMAR 

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By FROM MUKHTAR AHMAD in Srinagar
  • Published 4.02.02
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Srinagar, Feb. 4 :    Srinagar, Feb. 4:  Chief minister Farooq Abdullah today hinted that his son, minister of state for external affairs Omar Abdullah, would return to state politics. "I am getting old and my son has served New Delhi enough. It is time for him to serve his home state," the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said while releasing the National Conference manifesto for the byelection to the Jammu parliamentary seat. "Omar Abdullah will actively participate in electioneering in the ensuing Assembly polls. This will add to his comprehension about the broad spectrum of Jammu and Kashmir," he said. Despite the rejection of his demand by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Abdullah stuck his neck out again saying the conversion of the Line of Control into an international border was the only logical solution to the Kashmir problem. The chief minister also asked leaders of the 23-party Hurriyat Conference to contest the forthcoming elections. There "should be no doubt about the fairness of (the) polls", he said. "Let anyone from anywhere in the world monitor the elections." Abdullah's assertion came on a day the Centre's pointman for Kashmir, K.C. Pant, indicated some headway in the effort to get the Hurriyat to join the elections. "Some steps have been made in (the) forward direction. These people (Hurriyat leaders) never talked about polls but now the thinking has changed," Pant said after a meeting with former divisional commissioner of Kashmir Wajahat Habibullah, who reportedly held informal talks with Hurriyat leaders. Abdullah blamed former Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for the present state of affairs. "Had the Mufti acted like a home minister rather than a father, the situation would have been different now," he said, alluding to Rubiya Sayeed's kidnapping by militants. "If any harm would have been done to his daughter, Mufti Sayeed would have been bedecked with a crown." Farooq also lashed out at the propaganda against the Jammu and Kashmir Resettlement Act. "The propagandists even went to this extent in saying that two lakh people were coming to settle in the state from Pakistan and PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir)," he said. "Nobody could enter the state without a visa."