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Prominent political activist and lawyer Nazir Ahmed Malik today joined opposition National Conference here.
Malik, who hails from north Kashmir's Bandipora district, joined in the presence of National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah and senior leaders at a function organised at the party head office 'Nawa-e-Subhu', an NC spokesman said.
He said Malik was a prominent political leader and has previously been the general secretary of the Awami Itehad Party.
Welcoming Malik and his supporters into the party fold, Omar congratulated him and expressed hope that his joining will strengthen the party at the grassroots level.
Speaking on the occasion, Malik said the NC was a beacon of hope in an atmosphere of political opportunism and sell- outs that has engulfed the state and deprived its people of their dignity and rights.
He said he would work tirelessly to strengthen the party at the grassroots level and take its vision and mission to every doorstep.
In his speech, Omar said the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was created to weaken the NC.
"It is important to think how the ink-pot party (PDP symbol) came into existence. This new party came into existence within months of the NC passing a resolution on internal autonomy. We had 28 MLAs. Perhaps they had only 16 but they formed the government and we stayed in opposition.," Omar said.
"The aim behind it was to destroy NC anyhow and (PDP founder and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad) Sayeed left no stone unturned for that, but God saved us," he said.
Omar said PDP was created because several people in the country cannot tolerate the special status of the state.
"There are several people in the country, which we are a part of those who cannot tolerate the special position of Jammu and Kashmir. Who feel that J&K should not have a separate flag and that the ministers here should not swear on their constitution but India's," he said.
Omar said the attacks on the special position of the state, including on article 35A, were happening because the NC had been weakened.
"Such laws are there in Himachal and other states also, but perhaps because J&K is the only Muslim majority state, they target it. If today Article 35A is under attack, it is only because NC is weak.
"If we were strong today or if there was our government (in the state), if we did not need support from others, then perhaps this issue would not have reached this stage," he said.
He said his grandfather and the NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had warned that New Delhi would try to raise leaders in the Valley "so that this nation stops talking in one voice".
"And the same is happening. We are being divided in many ways. First, Jammu is made to fight with Kashmir, then (people are divided) on religion lines. The only aim is to keep people away from being united so that they succeed in their sinister designs," Omar said.