December 2006 News

PDP to put self-rule formula on paper

27 December 2006
Indo-Asian News Service

Jammu: The People's Democratic Party (PDP), a major partner in Jammu and Kashmir's ruling coalition, will come out with a document on its controversial self-rule proposal for the state, following criticism that the concept was vague.The party's senior leader and former deputy chief minister Muzzaffar Hussain Baig is drafting a pamphlet in which all aspects of self-rule - its feasibility and implementation - will be explained in detail, party sources said.The need for PDP to come out with a printed version of its self-rule formula has arisen because it is facing criticism that its concept is 'merely verbal' and there is no policy document for people to read.PDP's ally, the Congress, and opposition parties including the National Conference and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have asked the party to clarify what exactly is the idea of self-rule.'The pamphlet will be printed in all three major languages: English, Urdu and Hindi,' a PDP leader told IANS.He said that the self-rule concept would trace the history of the idea, when its founder president Mufti Mohammad Sayeed first discussed it with then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and deputy prime minister L.K. Advani in 2000 as a solution to the Kashmir crisis. PDP was founded in July 1999, soon after the Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan ended. 'This background will help in dispelling a widespread impression that the idea has been borrowed from Musharraf's concept of self-governance,' a party leader said.It will be PDP's answer to the National Conference's report on autonomy, which was passed by the state legislature with a two-third majority in June-July 2000.'The National Conference had offered a fait accompli to the Indian government. We are preparing document after making our idea public and debating with all sections of people. This is the idea which has relevance to all parts of the state and also Pakistani Kashmir,' the party leader said.PDP's self-rule theme is built on having regional federalism, free movement of people from the Indian part of Kashmir to Pakistani Kashmir and vice versa, and free trade between the two parts of Kashmir. Party president Mehbooba Mufti has stated that the idea of self-rule would not challenge the political sovereignty of India or Pakistan though Line of Control that divides the two would be rendered irrelevant.


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