December 2003 News

Hurriyat Doves Fly In To Bounce Roadmap Off Top US Experts

3 December 2003
The Indian Express

New Delhi: As the Hurriyat doves led by Maulvi Abbas Ansari wait for the start of the dialogue with Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, they are also preparing to bounce off their 'roadmap'with influential US foreign policy thinktanks. Former chairman Abdul Gani Bhat and Bilal Lone flew to Delhi today-Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is expected Saturday-to meet a team which includes former US Ambassador to India Frank Wisner, Director of the Asia Society and the task force from the Woodrow Wilson Centre for International Affairs. They are expected to arrive over the weekend. The Hurriyat delegates are also planning to meet other Western diplomats, especially from the United Kingdom besides several political leaders. A meeting with Pak High Commissioner Abdul Aziz Khan is on the agenda but given New Delhi's sensitivities, the Hurriyat leaders want the meeting to be held outside the premises of the Pakistan High Commission. 'We will fix up appointments with the envoys from US, UK and European Union from tomorrow and day after we would get down to the business of interacting with them. The Mirwaiz will also join us by then,' Bhat told The Indian Express. 'It will be an exercise in interaction where we talk to people at different levels both official and unofficial. We will try to peep into their minds and get to know their ideas,' said Bhat who is the author of the road map. Top sources said that one of the ideas the Hurriyat is looking at is the set of proposals of the Kashmir Study Group, a US- based think tank founded in 1998 by businessman Farooq Kathwari. 'We are pursuing all possibilities,' said the Mirwaiz, 'The KSG (Kashmir Study Group) too has several interesting proposals and we are seriously looking at them as well.' Without going into details, the Mirwaiz said: 'All the parties-India and Pakistan and we have to budge. Sarni che cheuf hein (Everybody has to give up a slice).' This is echoed by Bhat: 'A solution is only possible if all the parties, India, Pakistan and Kashmiris are ready to budge from their respective stated positions.' Central to the KSG proposals-there are two dozen of them-is the Andorra model, the tiny state which lies on the borders of France and Spain. The KSG brought out a revised proposal in 2000 with three ideas: Creation of two Kashmiri entities, one on either side of LoC A single Kashmiri entity straddling the LoC with its own Constitution Creation of only one entity on Indian side of the LoC. The Andorra arrangement provides a 'maximum degree of autonomy' to both parts of the Kashmir on either side of the LoC, making it porous but fixed-and the whole area a 'demilitarized zone.' In other words, this means 'reconstitution' of a part of Jammu and Kashmir on the concept of suzerainty 'without an international character' with free access to and from both of its larger neighbours. As per the Andorra model, the part of J&K to be reconstituted will be determined through an internationally supervised agreement involving the Kashmiri people, India and Pakistan. The resulting entity will have its own secular, democratic constitution; citizenship; a flag; and a legislature which would enact laws on all matters other than defence and foreign affair.

 

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