Will US exit from Afghanistan impact Kashmir?

JAMMU: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah seems to be at odds with his ministers over whether the US withdrawal from Afghanistan would have any impact in J&K.

While Abdullah has emphasized it, time and again, that situation in the state would remain unchanged after the exit of US-led forces from Afghanistan this year, on Saturday his party colleague and a senior minister in the government contradicted him.

“We are going through a full-fledged war and there are also disturbances at the LoC. Our boys went across the border and came with the arms. The US withdrawal from Afghanistan could affect the situation in our state. Even our immediate neighbour (read Pakistan) has always tried to destabilize us,” the Minister for Planning and Development Ajay Sadhotra told the Legislative Council while opposing the bill to repeal the Enemy Agents Ordinance, 2005 (1948 AD), which was moved by NC legislator Dr Bashir Ahmad Veeri.

Recently during his long speech in the Legislative Assembly, Omar Abdullah had said that attempts were being made to create scare over the revocation of controversial Armed forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

“I was told to wait for one year, and in 2012 I was told that only one year is left for US withdrawal from Afghanistan and it will create ripples in J&K,” Abdullah had said, adding, “I fail to understand how the Afghanistan situation will have impact in J&K?”

Meanwhile, the government was caught on wrong foot when the members sought explanation from the minister why the bill was not introduced despite passing of two years.

“Four sessions have gone by when the government assured that it will bring this bill and table it in Legislative Assembly. Let the government answer what happened to the bill .Will the government tell this august House where they have kept this bill? Does it take two years to go from one House to another?” asked NC’s provisional president Jammu and MLC Davendra Singh Rana.

Rana said the member who introduced the bill two years ago took it back only after the government assured him and the House that they will bring a fresh bill from the government’s side.

Another NC legislator Khalid Najeeb Suharwardy said the Minister for Agriculture Ghulam Hassan Mir had assured the House that the government had no problem to accept the bill when all the members spoke in favour of the introduction of bill and pressed the government to pass it in both the Houses.

Mohammad Ashraf Mir, an MLC from PDP, said the bill had met the fate of autonomy bill, which was passed in both the Houses of state legislature but was summarily rejected by New Delhi.

“The bill has met the same fate as that of autonomy bill. It is in dust bin,” Mir said.

Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, another legislator from NC, said when the lower House passes any bill it reaches upper House for introduction and subsequently gets passed from the council. “But when any bill gets passed from this House why that bill remains always pending with government? We want clarification,” he said.

However, the government in its response said the bill was withdrawn by the member when government gave satisfying reply. “Still let us check the records,” Sadhotra said.

Later, chairman of LC Amrit Malhotra said the records will be checked whether the government had assured it would bring a bill on its behalf or the member had withdrawn while getting satisfied answer from the government.

“We will get record on Monday let us decide then,” Malhotra said.