December 2005 News

India Ready To Restore 50s Status Of Kashmir

28 December 2005
The Nation

Islamabad: With hectic secret diplomacy under way on 'self-rule in Kashmir' India has indicated its readiness to restore the status of greater autonomy for disputed Himalayan region as was the case back in 1950s. 'Informal talks' are under way between the South Asian nuclear states on Kashmiris' self-rule as was admitted recently by the two sides but what India has showed so far was its willingness to restore greater autonomous status of Kashmir on the pattern of one it had from 1947 up to 1953, said an official source. Anything more than that was unacceptable for India and it has been plainly told to Pakistan as well, he added. New Delhi, he added, was not ready to accede to the demand of complete self-rule for Kashmiris. When the Indian Constitution was drafted after 1947 it contained special provisions for Kashmir which declared the held valley as part of India with article 370 conferring upon it a special status, he said. Under these constitutional provisions, the Indian Parliament's powers in Held Kashmir were limited to communications, defence, external affairs and communications, said the source. This, he added, was what was referred to as the pre-1953 status. He said in other words, Kashmir controlled by India enjoyed autonomy and self-governance, in all central and concurrent subjects listed in the Constitution except communications, defence and external affairs. As for Pakistan, the officials said it was far more than what was given to Kashmiris back in 1950s. Hence, they added the chances to reach an early consensus on the issue of self-governance for Kashmir were not bright. 'It is going to be a very long dialogue process as Indo-Pak talks on Kashmiris' self-governance are at fairly initial stages. Besides, the complexity of the self-governance idea and serious differences over it are going to hinder the negotiations again and again,' said a senior official.


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