Stand united to solve Kashmir row: Azad
2 November 2006
Srinagar: Maintaining that the restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir was a top priority for the coalition government, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday asked all political forces, including separatists, to help find a permanent and practicable solution to the Kashmir problem. He was speaking at a function to mark the completion of one year of his Government in office. Mr. Azad said Kashmir had remained in the focus of international politics for the past 58 years due to foreign intervention. 'This has made both politics and administration in the State tedious,' he said. Stating that the Kashmir issue could not be resolved overnight, he said even leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah could not take it to its logical end. The former Chief Ministers, Farooq Abdullah and Mufti Sayeed, had laid the foundation to resolve the issue and 'I am also making a humble contribution in this direction,' Mr. Azad said. But, 'I cannot achieve the results alone. So, I make a fervent appeal to all political parties, including separatists, intellectuals, writers and the media, to stand united to find a way,' he said. 'The issue could not be resolved in 58 years, but that does not mean that we continue to spoil another generation and just watch the destruction taking place. What are we doing by charging each other with failures,' he asked. He said his coalition government was committed to bringing peace back in the State. But the peace process and violence cannot go together, he added. 'We need to have a consensus and it is the responsibility of all parties.' Terming the Round Table conferences as historic, he said: 'The Working Groups set up after that have also made significant progress and the fifth group on Centre-State relations will be constituted soon.' He said the fight against corruption and an improved work culture cannot be thrust on people. 'People have to be ready for it and the system as a whole needs overhauling. The mindset has to change.' 'Vote-bank politics' Earlier, senior People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig asked political parties, particularly the National Conference, to forget 'power politics.' 'Let us rise above vote-bank politics and come forward to find a practicable solution within the Constitution,' he said. Mr. Baig said Mr. Azad had provided remarkable leadership to the State in the past year, but his 'best is yet to come.'