Mufti's Joint Currency Draws Joint Flak

15 April 2008

Srinagar: Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s proposal on the use of Indian and Pakistani currencies in the state has come in for severe criticism from different political circles, ranging from pro-freedom Syed Ali Geelani to Hindu nationalist BJP, with the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq being the only exception. Mufti Sayeed on Monday proposed that the government should allow the currencies of both India and Pakistan to be used in Jammu and Kashmir. Reacting to the idea, senior separatist leader and chairman Hurriyat Conference (G), Syed Ali Geelani rejected it as a ruse to further complicate the Kashmir issue. Talking to Greater Kashmir, Geelani said, “Slogans like self-rule, joint management and joint currency are all meaningless propositions put forth by Indian stooges to help New Delhi buy more time and keep the dispute lingering besides covering up the atrocities being perpetrated on the people of the state to muzzle their voice for freedom.” Geelani accused the pro-India political leaders of playing jugglery to help India perpetuate its military occupation in Jammu Kashmir. Geelani said, “Every problem arising due to Kashmir issue in the subcontinent will come to an end once it is resolved through the implementation of UN Resolutions to which India itself is a signatory. Putting forth the ideas and proposals like self-rule, joint control and use of Indo-Pak currencies are no solution to this issue.” Geelani said, “NC, PDP and Congress have a common agenda to strengthen Indian occupation in the state. They are the chips of same block and follow the dictations of the same master-New Delhi.” National Conference president and member parliament Omar Abdullah, while addressing a public meeting at Kandi Kupwara, termed Mufti’s proposal a gimmick to gain political mileage and garner votes in the ensuing elections. Omar termed the slogans like demilitarization, self-rule, and other slogans as nothing but eyewash. Reacting to Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s currency proposal, the Union Minister for water resources Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz has also rejected it as unacceptable. “It is unfortunate that Mufti Muhammad Sayeed does not differentiate between Europe’s joint currency and Pakistan rupee,” he said. Hurriyat Conference (M) senior leader Moulana Abass Ansari, according to local news agency KNS, welcomed the PDP chief patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s proposal. “Hurriyat had put forth this proposal much earlier and the then prime minister of India Atal Behari Vajepayee had agreed to it,” he said. In New Delhi, BJP termed the proposal as ‘’condemnable, outrageous and anti-national.’’ BJP said Sayeed and his daughter were in the habit of making objectionable statements and referred to the one when they talked of joint control of India and Pakistan for running the administration in Jammu and Kashmir. Talking to newspersons, BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the BJP had a very firm stand on the issue that it would not allow pre-1953 situation in the state. It had rejected the special status to the state and would never support two constitutions, two prime ministers and two flags. Till now, none had talked about two currencies, Malhotra said, wondering what made Sayeed to make such a “pro-Pakistani statement.” The Congress, which was ruling the state with support from the PDP should make its stand clear on the issue and must ‘end its ties with such a separatist party,’ he said. For BJP, the Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and it would thwart all efforts by the separatist elements to separate the state from the country, he added.