PoK, Northern Areas Require Self-rule: Governor
15 November 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Governor, Lt. General (Retd) S K Sinha today welcomed the resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue but regretted that whenever progress seems to be making in any initiative, the terrorists stage violent incidents to assert their presence. In an hour-long interaction with Sebastian Edathy, Member of German Bundestag (Parliament) and York Schueqraf, Political Counselor of German Embassy in India here this morning, the Governor said that yesterday's violent incidents in Kashmir appear to have been timed to coincide with Foreign Secretary level talks in New Delhi. 'It is unfortunate that whenever there is headway in dialogue process or any world dignitary comes to the Sub- Continent, the terrorists strike', he added. The Governor gave genesis of Kashmir problem and said that the peace initiatives would ultimately lead to an amicable solution of the issue, resulting in a win win situation for all- India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. The ultimate solution of Kashmir problem could be on the lines of the European Union, making LoC irrelevant. Both India and Pakistan need to fight unitedly against the common enemies of poverty, ignorance and disease, he added. On being asked about his views on self-rule, General Sinha said that democracy and self-rule are synonymous. India is internationally recognised as the most vibrant democracy of the Third World and within India, Jammu and Kashmir enjoys more self-rule than any other State in the country. He said the national Parliament enacted that the size of State Cabinets be restricted to 10 per cent of the strength of the State Legislature. As this Act of Parliament had not been endorsed by the State Assembly, the former Chief Minister continued to have a jumbo- cabinet, more than double the maximum of 10 per cent prescribed by Parliament. 'Neither President Musharraf nor political parties supporting the demand of self-rule have spelt out its contours', he said, adding that the question of introducing self-rule in Indian Kashmir, does not arise, as it is already existing in a greater measure here than in any other States of the country. However, refinements and improvements can certainly be considered. He cited an example, saying 'we have yet to catch up on Panchayati Raj in our State'. The Governor elaborated on the need for self-rule in neighboring country and observed that the less said the better. He said democracy has been derailed in mainland Pakistan, is highly controlled in PoK and is totally non-existent in Northern Area. He pointed out that no bill passed by the PoK Parliament can become law unless approved by the Minister in charge of Kashmir Affairs in the Central Government of Pakistan. As for Northern Area, he said that is the only surviving colony of the world with the people having no voting rights to the Pakistan Parliament and the local legislature presided over and controlled by nominees of the Central Government. 'Self-rule is needed to be introduced in PoK and Northern Area', he maintained.