'Self-rule means better ties between Kashmir, rest of India'
16 October 2006
Indo-Asian News Service
Jammu: Clarifying its proposal on self-rule for Jammu and Kashmir, the People's Democratic Party has said that it has no connection with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's suggestion of self-governance for the state.'Rather, it is a proposal that would effect greater integration between Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the country,' senior PDP leader and former deputy chief minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig told party leaders of Jammu region here Monday.Baig, who heads the party panel that prepared a draft of the proposal, said there were enough 'checks and balances' and 'more such measures could be accommodated before a final draft'.'Besides ensuring equal opportunities for development to people of all three regions of the state, self-rule would make them self-reliant too,' said Baig, who has been interacting with party colleagues for two days.Answering criticism by some political leaders, he said: 'Self-rule does not mean merging the state with Pakistan as it was being projected by opposition parties for their political ends.'Self-rule would automatically eliminate forever the demand for a referendum (on Jammu and Kashmir's status) being raised by Pakistan from time to time in the UN. The Kashmir issue would be solved permanently.'