Shabir Ready To Enter Dialogue Process With New Delhi
15 December 2004
The Times of India
Srinagar: President of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) Shabir Ahmad Shah has expressed his willingness to enter into a dialogue process with government of India provided the latter declares that it wants to resolve the Kashmir issue and seeks to talk to Kashmiri leaders. In a message to the Kashmir Conference held in Kathmandu, Shah said,' I believe dialogue can not happen in vacuum. Let India declare this much that it wants to resolve the Kashmir issue and seeks to talk to Kashmiri leaders I declare with authority that we alongwith our resistance fighters would be the first to reach the negotiating table'. The DFP president viewed that if the tricks are played out in the name of dialogue the exercise would only deteriorate the situation. ' We never shy away from dialogue with either of the countries holding the key to the solution. But, the perpetual betrayals by India for past few decades have only bolstered her dubious image as for as talks on Kashmir are concerned. Still, to make peace override the deep down mistrust we risked our public faith by entering into dialogue with New Delhi not once, not twice but many a times in the recent past. This is really unfortunate to see India still harping upon its traditional hard-line policy. Howsoever it may camouflage its maximalist stance in diplomatic couches it is yet to realise the fact that in the changed global atmosphere none can afford to be seen as a roadblock in south Asia peace', he said. Shah observed that now that the economy seems overtaking the political ambitions of the regional powers, Kashmiris are watching in both hope and distress. Hope for a better tomorrow as the economic interests of the regional powers could result in the opening of borders and trade routes, which have been sealed for last 57 years. And distress for a likely dissolution of Kashmir issue in the din of trade and travel, he said. According to him, a middle ground has to be struck wherein economy and politics go hand in hand giving people of J&K a sense of relief. For this the Kashmiri leadership must be involved in a constructive and creative way so that the CBMs undertaken by the two countries are aimed at ground rather than the respective bureaucracies of the rival countries. Before setting out on this high road of peace and development both India and Pakistan ought to realise that by proceeding on the road to peace they may be cutting across the decades old hatred and animosity. And to sustain that good will a settlement mutually agreed upon and ratified by the Kashmiris is the only option, Shah viewed. He added that it is in this context that Kashmiris look forward a substantive and desired outcome from the ongoing composite dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad. There has been progress on various other issues but when it comes to the fate of 13 million Kashmiris domestic compulsions retard the speed of dialogue. However, Pakistan has been accommodative and forthcoming of late. There have been many a declaration Pakistan's part that speaks the urge of that country to settle down the dispute for once. President Musharraf's latest 'food for thought' is the recent example that followed gestures like permission to India for LoC fencing, Unfortunately it is India holding the major portion of the state, that has been going flip flop as far as its approach towards the negotiated settlement of the Kashmir dispute is concerned. This has not only consumed lakhs of Kashmiris but is also eating into the vitals of Indian society, Shah observed. The DFP president stated that the separatists are ready to even evaluate Musharraf's proposals and talk to New Delhi on the subject. 'But, India seems to be interested in a mime show rather than the result oriented talks', he said. Shah stated that majority Kashmiris , despite the perpetual denial of right to self-determination, are no rabid fanatics. He also drew international attention towards human rights violations.