October 2006 News

PDP unveils self-rule formula for Kashmir

28 October 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: The People's Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday unveiled a 'self- rule' formula for resolution of the Kashmir problem and demanded Constitutional guarantees vis a vis Jammu and Kashmir - an elected Governor, separate civil services and a similar set-up for Pakistan occupied Kashmir to ensure peace and stability in the region. Shortly before leaving for New Delhi to lead a non-official Indian delegation to the United Nations, the PDP founder and former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, said at a public rally here that his party was vehemently against exercising Article 356 in respect of Jammu and Kashmir and intervening in the State's affairs. 'The verdict of the people should never be allowed to be negated,' he said. Explaining the basic structure of the self-rule concept, the Mufti said: 'Article 356 should not apply to Kashmir. The Centre should not dismiss our government, which is elected by the people. At the same time, we demand that the Governor be a resident of the State and be elected.' Election of governor The State could have a governor elected alternatively from the Kashmir and Jammu regions. He said exploring the possibility of the regional federation structure was another important feature of self-rule. 'A consultative mechanism can then be evolved between the three units, Kashmir, Ladakh and Jammu, so that important issues are debated over.' He said: 'India is such a democracy where Lalu Prasad said that he would rule from prison and did so for eight years by placing his wife on the Chief Minister's chair. 'In the same manner, the decision we take here shall be the final solution for the Kashmir problem.' He underlined the need for having a separate civil service structure for the State, which in a way would do away with the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service. 'We can have our own Kashmir Administrative and Police Service so that the real power is vested with the people of State.' Challenging the opposition National Conference to put forth a better proposal, the Mufti said: 'The NC leaders, who want the Kashmir issue resolved, should say what their opinion about it [self-rule proposal] is or come forth with a better proposal. Earlier, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, while reading a couplet on self- rule, said the party wanted a final and long lasting solution to emerge. No progress: Mehbooba 'Many accords were signed, but no progress has taken place. We want something concrete to happen and self-rule shall achieve that.' While all the senior PDP leaders were present, the former Deputy Chief Minister, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, was conspicuous by his absence. He was the head of the self-rule drafting committee.


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