Delhi urged to help settle Kashmir issue
14 March 2006
Islamabad: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) chief Omar Abdullah on Monday underlined that India should help settle the Kashmir dispute in its larger national interest and to end enmity with Pakistan. Talking to a private TV channel, the JKNC leader said that the pace with which Pakistan and India were approaching towards resolution of the Kashmir issue was not in accordance with expectations of Kashmiris. Mr Abdullah, formerly a minister in Indian cabinet, said he had also drawn attention of Prime Minister Manmohan Sing to slow pace of negotiations. “Last year statements of both the countries for the resolution of the lingering issue were laudable but now there is coldness in this respect,” he regretted. He said the Indian prime minister had assured him that a solution would be found through an ‘out of box’ approach. Mr Abdullah stressed that after India had rejected one out-of-box solution it must now present another solution. “India is working with hypocrisy,” he said. The JKNF leader said they had made several proposals to India, including self-governance and autonomy of Kashmir, but no positive response had come from the Indian side. He said India wanted to settle the issue for better relations with its neighbours, end enmity with Pakistan on a permanent basis and tap its resources for welfare of its people. But, he pointed out, several elements in New Delhi wanted to continue status quo. In reply to a question, he said India must respond seriously to Pakistan’s proposals of self-governance and demilitarisation of the Kashmir region. If India, he said, had issued figures showing reduction in cross-border infiltration then why it should not reduce military in the region and why it should not hand over the affairs of the ‘state’ to the local administration. Answering a question, he said statements from India on the Bhasha dam project reflected its obstinate attitude. “Bhasha dam is being constructed as per the Sindh Basin Treaty,” he said.