Intra-Kashmir Dialogue Reiterates Old Stands

10 October 2009
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: In a move to provide a platform to discuss the Kashmir issue on civil society level, the intra-Kashmir dialogue organised by the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation on Saturday saw delegates from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Pakistan and all regions of Jammu and Kashmir reiterating their respective stands with one assertion: all-inclusive dialogue is must, so is a solution to this protracted issue. The conference where the delegates were not able to put forth any new ideas and reflect any change in the mindset of parties involved in the issue, the only success was that the meeting was being held in the backdrop of vitiated atmosphere created after the Mumbai attacks between the two countries. “This meeting is a very positive development. All Kashmiri-origin people were able to meet and talk after a long time,” said Dr Humayun Khan, who served as Pakistan’s ambassador to India from 1984 to 1988. “It is unfortunate that a lot of mistrust crept in between India and Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks.” He said the Pakistan government will take action against people, if any, responsible for the attacks. “The new government in Pakistan is keen to restart dialogue with India on all issues,” he added. The conference saw both mainstream and separatist parties sharing a platform, which is a rare sight. People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief spokesman Nayeem Ahmad Khan stressed on solution of the problem saying “all realities should be taken into consideration without people or parties being branded with epithets like anti-national or agents.” CPI (M) leader Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami too underlined the fact that all realities needed to be considered. “I think now even on the government level there should be some seriousness to look at the issue in its totality,” said Tarigami. National Conference’s Mehboob Beg also spoke on the occasion. From the separatist camp, only Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s Hurriyat Conference participated, while other separatist leaders preferred to stay away from the conference. The Mirwaiz faction of Hurriyat conference was represented by Fazul Haq Qureshi who was keen on “how to restart dialogue process and sustain it to resolve the Kashmir issue as per the aspiration of people of Jammu and Kashmir.” Hameeda Bano, a lecturer at University of Kashmir, also spoke on the occasion. “Everybody talks about atrocities and excesses but nobody looks at the root cause of it. Besides, there are no serious efforts to an end to it,” said Hameed, who is also with National Front leader Nayeem Ahmad Khan, an associate of Mirwaiz. While most of the delegates from Kashmir valley focussed on resumption and inclusion in dialogue process, delegates from Ladakh reiterated the fact they were being sidelined. “Everybody talks about cross-LoC trade through Jammu and Kashmir valley, nobody talks about Kargil-Skardu or Ladakh-Gilgit roads,” lamented Asghar Karbalai, former chairman of the Autonomous Hill Development Council, Kargil. Chering Dorjay, chairman of the Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh, raised the issue of “minorities not getting their due in the state.”