January 2006 News

Mirwaiz Asks Delhi To Give Proposals On Kashmir

11 January 2006
The Daily Excelsior

Srinagar: Chairman of moderate faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, today asked New Delhi to come forward with 'a set of her own proposals' if the lately floated ideas of demilitarisation and self-governance in Jammu and Kashmir were completely unacceptable to the Government of India. He asserted that Kashmir-specific peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad had failed to move beyond one-odd CBM of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road link in the last 18 months and maintained that taking it to a logical conclusion was India's responsibility.In his ceremonial address to the Eid-ul-Azha congregation at Jamia Masjid here today, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed his disappointment over the progress of the Kashmir- specific peace process between India and Pakistan. According to him, this politico-bureaucratic process was underway 'just at a snail's pace' and nothing, with the exception of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus Service, had been achieved in the last one-and-a-half years. 'Let them show some tangible achievement on other CBMs like General Musharraf's demilitarisation and self-governance', Mirwaiz demanded. He said that the Hurriyat was fully supportive of demilitarisation which, according to him, needed a thorough discussion between the two countries and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He insisted that security-related alternatives could be worked out in a debate without prejudice to either country's strategic concerns. Mirwaiz called for an extensive discussion on General Pervez Musharraf's proposal of self-governance between the two nations as well as the people of all regions of the State. He said that the dialogue process between the Hurriyat and New Delhi had also run 'on extremely slow progress' in four rounds of talks and no considerable achievement had been made in the last over two years. 'Pakistan has shown tremendous flexibility (on Kashmir issue). Hurriyat and the people of Kashmir have been equally flexible. But, unfortunately, New Delhi hasn't been. I believe that at this stage the onus of taking the peace process to a logical conclusion lies on India', Mirwaiz contended. Added he: 'If the lately floated proposals of demilitarisation and self-governance are not acceptable to New Delhi, let Government of India come forward with her own set of proposals for the discussion'. In his first public address after returning from a 5-day-long tour of Pakistan and PoK, Mirwaiz claimed that Islamabad was completely supportive of his Hurriyat's 'step-by-step approach' in seeking a permanent resolution to the Kashmir crisis. He said that there were 'certain internal differences within Pakistan' over Gen Musharraf's style of dealing with the Kashmir problem but asserted that everybody in that country had appreciated Hurriyat's role in solving Kashmir. 'There's now consensus that a military solution is not possible. So, everybody in Pakistan is supporting the peace process. Since New Delhi is responsible for the logjam, it's her responsibility to break the ice and move forward', Mirwaiz said without any reference to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's invitation to the Peoples Conference (PC) leader Sajjad Gani Lone. On Tuesday, Dr Singh had formally invited Sajjad Lone to the political process of seeking a resolution to the Kashmir crisis. While Sajjad Lone is believed to be Mirwaiz Umar's bete noire in the wake latter's attendance at the funeral of a militant leader, his elder brother Bilal Gani Lone is representing his own faction of the PC in Umar's Hurriyat. Mirwaiz, Bilal and Prof Abdul Gani Bhat had formed Hurriyat's 3-member delegation that visited Pakistan and PoK from January 2nd to January 7th. The Prime Minister's invitation to Sajjad Lone is yet to generate enthusiasm in the Valley which remained equally indifferent to the Hurriyat's Pakistan sojourn. Notwithstanding his criticism to 'New Delhi's lack of seriousness', Mirwaiz Umar's Hurriyat has significantly not announced its withdrawal from the dialogue process. It is mainly because of this that radical Kashmiri groups like Syed Ali Shah Geelani's 'hardline' Hurriyat and Asiya Andrabi's Dukhtaraan-e-Millat have been spewing fire and dismissing Mirwaiz as a traitor. Significantly again, Mirwaiz has asked for 'New Delhi's own proposals' just a couple of days after General Musharraf's interview to CNN-IBN television network. For the first time, Musharraf had said in media that Pakistan was no more insisting on 'Azadi' as it was 'not acceptable to India'. Musharraf had said that Islamabad was now pursuing 'something between autonomy ('which is not acceptable to us') and 'Azadi' ('which is not acceptable to India'). He calls it self-governance. Interestingly, after his return from Islamabad, Mirwaiz has not talked about his proposition of 'United States of Kashmir'.


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