August 2006 News

Indian Kashmir working group chief pulls out

5 August 2006
The Daily Times
Iftikhar Gilani

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs Kashmir policy appears to have suffered yet another setback with former Chief Justice of India, Justice (r) AM Ahmadi, pulling out of leading one of the five working groups on Kashmir, sources have revealed. Ahmadi had previously agreed to head the Working Group on Jammu and Kashmirs Relations with New Delhi, including examinations of the demand for autonomy, devolution of powers and special status for the state. During the second Roundtable Conference on Kashmir, held in Srinagar in May, the prime minister had established five separate working groups of political representatives to resolve different aspects of the Kashmir imbroglio. Each group was directed to report back to him with their recommendations prior to the third roundtable conference. Although some charge Ahmadi with having put a spanner in the works, the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) has been quick to identify Abid Hussain, Indias former ambassador to the United States, as a suitable replacement. Abid, recognised as a first class academic, diplomat and financial expert, held for nine years the post of Special Rapporteur to the United Nations on Freedom of Opinion and Expression. He is currently vice chairman of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and is member of various think thanks in both India and the US.


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