PDP For Reunification Of Divided Kashmir10 January 2010
New Delhi: Peoples Democratic Party president, Mehbooba Mufti, today urged India and Pakistan to evolve a mechanism for reunification of the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir without altering borders. She also sought restoration of the state’s control over its own resources. Speaking at the inaugural function of the 3-day Pak-India Conference on peace, she demanded result-oriented dialogue on the Kashmir issue, asserting that by merely taking some confidence building measures the long-standing dispute could not be resolved. Mufti said an overwhelming majority of the people in the state wanted independence, but it had different connotations and meanings for different people. For some, independence means “freedom from siege.” However, she said, “We need to find a substitute for freedom”. The borders need to be made irrelevent. There should be a Joint Council of two parts of Jammu and Kashmir. “It is a cruel irony that we were the only state to have opposed partition but its negative impact keeps us alone in the line of fire even after six decades while rest of South Asia has more or less sorted out the issues,” she said. Mufti said the strategic position of Jammu and Kashmir which connected the state with Central and South Asia had been converted into a liability for it because of the competing interests of India and Pakistan. “These interests can converge to the benefit of both the countries if they show the political will to work on making J&K a showcase for the larger SAARC vision,” she added. She said the overemphasis on security aspect had deprived the discourse on Indo Pak relations of social, economic, cultural and human aspects of the problem. “The Western doctrines of security do not suit the realities of South Asia where people are connected by deep bonds of geography, history, religion language and lifestyle,” she argued. Seeing a statesman in the prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and urging him to seize the opportunity of peace in the state, Mufti said Congress party had a young leadership that could help with its present clout in the entire subcontinent to free itself from the discord of the past. “That could be our second tryst with destiny,” she added. She urged the two governments to introduce dual currency in Jammu and Kashmir to help businessmen and traders to increase the cross-LoC trade. She expressed dismay over the Indian government’s reluctance to resume the peace process. “There is need to give the required push to the bilateral peace process,” she said, adding that hawkish elements in India wanted to see Pakistan in turmoil. Mufti said that “a stable Pakistan is in the interest of India. People of Pakistan are fighting against terrorism and India should extend its full support to Islamabad in its fight agains this menace.” She said that dialogue with Pakistan should be result-oriented. There has to be a policy shift towards Pakistan. This would help create conducive atmosphere for resumption of the dialogue.