December 2006 News

Ireland-like approach needed: Mirwaiz

29 December 2006
The Dawn

New Delhi: Kashmiri leader Mirwaiz UmarFarooq urged India and Pakistan on Friday to consider the mechanism for durable peace in place in Ireland as an inspiration if not necessarily as a model for a solution to the Kashmir dispute. The Mirwaiz, the Valley's most respected spiritual leader, said international organisations and institutions were taking even greater interest today in the quest for a solution to the Kashmir issue than ever before. He declared that a delegation of European MPs would be visiting Delhi and Islamabad in January and also meet representatives of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. “International disputes the world over have their own dynamics and cannot be lined up for a common solution,” the Mirwaiz told a Friday congregation. “And yet I would urge India and Pakistan to work on a model that seeks inspiration from peace that is now in place in Ireland and the continuing engagements to resolve the dispute there in all its forms.” Umar Farooq was in Ireland recently as guest of the British Foreign Office who had invited him to study the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland. The pact was brokered among others by President Clinton. The Irish model was prescribed for Kashmir by President Clinton in March 2003 when he addressed influential decision-makers in Delhi at a symposium. The Irish model again cropped up in a conversation in August this year that President Gen. Pervez Musharraf had with senior Indian writer A.G. Noorani. Gen Musharraf had given a neutral response to Mr Noorani's proposal for an Ireland-like solution. The Ministerial Council between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic may not have executive powers. But if there are regular meetings, trust builds up and they could evolve joint policies by common consent without wielding executive powers. Would Gen Musharraf consider that a good substitute? Gen Musharraf responded by saying he needed to spell out the modalities before commenting one way or another. The Mirwaiz used his Friday sermon also to remind Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that his promise to cut down human rights violations by a “zero tolerance” approach towards the security forces in Kashmir had remained unfulfilled. “The graph of violations has gone up. Innocent Kashmiris are being killed and their homes destroyed as part of an ongoing militarist approach to bring false peace to Kashmir.” A Hurriyat delegation is expected to visit Islamabad soon. There is also a chance that they would meet the Indian prime minister too before he visits Pakistan early next year.

 

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