Mehbooba’s Formula For Peace In Kashmir

30 March 2008
The Statesman

Jammu: Advocating a three-pronged approach for the resolution of Kashmir issue, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Ms Mehbooba Mufti today asked both India and Pakistan to introduce fundamental principles of a solution which would reduce uncertainty and provide a road-map, create a dual power-sharing arrangement which would be based on equal relationships between people of J&K across the border at both sub-state and national levels and combine this power-sharing arrangement with regional and national integration i.e., combining of this arrangement into the framework of Indian and Pakistan polity. “Being fully conscious of the shortcomings of total reliance on intra-state solutions, in order to achieve a stable, sustainable and just solution to the J&K issue, we should combine intra-state measures (decentralisation and power-sharing) with inter-state and supra-state measures,” said Ms Mehooba Mufti while presenting a paper on Kashmir in Pugwash International Conference in Islamabad, Pakistan today. This approach, she asserted, is the only way that would eliminate the sources of ethno-territorial conflicts, entrenched in the traditional notions of sovereignty, self-determination, national and ethnic borders. Both the countries, she said, should allow the people to move across borders, unfettered and hassle-free. Ms Mufti also said all the separatist and militant groups especially Hizbul Mujahideen to be included in the dialogue to evolve a broader consensus for the peaceful resolution of the problem that has brought catastrophic disaster to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and marred the region's economic growth. Regarding Indo-Pak peace process, she said the challenge lies in its sustenance besides ensuring that it is insulated from the day-to-day setbacks that have often derailed the process in the past. “Territories are important but still more important are the people of a place, their civilizational structure and depth, their political aspirations, their creative urges and socio-economic yearnings,” she said adding to keep Kashmir on the back-burner, while seeking to normalize Indo-Pak relations is indeed a dangerous route to take. Stressing on the need to reopen all our traditional road links with the outside world, she said there is need to have an access to Mansarovar and rest of China through Ladakh and a link to Central Asia with Kargil as the take-off point. “The fair deal must inevitably include the prospect of Kashmir's only link through non-snow area to be opened fully so that we explore our traditional markets beyond Pakistan which include Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia,” she said adding we have had almost a symbiotic relationship with Central Asian countries which can be renewed with modern means of communication. Jammu province must open us up to the West Punjab and beyond.