December 2005 News

Omar Abdullah to discuss 'self-rule' with Pervez Musharraf

5 December 2005
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: On the heels of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's statement suggesting 'self-rule' for Kashmir, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said he would discuss the issue with him and Prime Minster Showkat Aziz. He would present them a copy of the resolution passed by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in June 2000 demanding greater autonomy to the State which, he said, 'is the only solution to [the] Kashmir problem.' At a gathering near the mazar (grave) of NC founder and his grandfather, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, here on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary, the NC president said what Gen Musharraf was talking now was the 'roadmap given by [the] late Abdullah five decades ago.' 'Gen. Musharraf is now talking about India and Pakistan's control over the three subjects of Defence, Communication and External Affairs. These were the basis for the State's accession to the Indian Union,' said Mr Abdullah.'Whether you give it the name of self-rule, self-governance or demilitarisation, this is what is envisaged in the document on autonomy.' Soon after coming to power in 1996, the NC constituted a committee for drafting a report on restoration of greater autonomy in accordance with the 1952 Delhi Agreement. It was discussed in a special session of the Assembly in June 2000 and a resolution passed unanimously. However it was summarily rejected by BJP-led Government at the Centre. Mr. Abdullah said that during his visit to Islamabad in the coming months, he would tell Gen. Musharraf 'if they (Pakistan) had any other resolution by which bloodshed can be stopped we will be ready to discuss.'The NC's stand was vindicated by Gen. Musharraf departing from his stand of seeking a solution in accordance with the United Nations resolutions. 'This is what Sheikh Saheb used to say many decades ago. He demanded the opening of the Srinagar-Rawalpindi road and softening of borders. But at that time he was dubbed [a] Pakistani agent by certain forces in New Delhi.' Coming down on separatist leaders for 'deceiving people with the slogans of Azadi and Pakistan' during the last 16 years, Mr Abdullah asked, 'what have they given the people except graveyards? Every village has a graveyard, courtesy those who promised freedom and Pakistan to Kashmiris'. Mr Abdullah said the former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti 'hoodwinked' public opinion.


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