NC Reiterates ‘joint Paper’ On Kashmir

18 November 2009
Rising Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: The ruling National Conference is ready to sit with its arch rival Peoples Democratic Party and leaders from separatist camp to evolve a consensus on a ‘joint paper’ that it wants to present New Delhi for the final settlement of Kashmir dispute. NC insiders said since the idea of ‘joint paper’ has already been made public by party president and Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah, the Working Committee of the party would meet soon after Eid-ul-Azha to discuss how to go about the ‘joint paper’. The step is first of its kind in the 60 year polity of Kashmir, where a pro-India political party, having autonomy as its agenda, seems ready to choose a ‘middle path’ on Kashmir by taking mainstream and separatist leadership along. “We are scattered, our ideologies and demands contradict each other. We are totally confused when it comes to Kashmir resolution. It is time to shun differences and choose a common path to resolve this issue once for all,” Senior NC leader and MP Mehboob Beg told Rising Kashmir. He proposed of having views from all - Hurriyat Conference as well as mainstream parties – in the joint paper. “The step should not be seen as if NC was compromising on its autonomy proposal. The idea of ‘joint paper’ has already been floated by Farooq sahib and it is now time for the separatist and mainstream leadership to respond to this idea,” Beg said. Another senior NC leader and uncle of chief minister, Sheikh Mustafa Kamal said different groups present their demands regarding Kashmir resolution in “bits and pieces”, which leads to confusion. “Let us sit and evolve a consensus over a ‘joint paper’ so that we could tell New Delhi give us what is written in that paper,” said Kamal, who represents Hazratbal constituency. Seconding Beg’s views, Kamal said there is a need to have a ‘common approach’ about resolution of Kashmir. Rejecting the notion that party was compromising on its autonomy proposal, he said, “We have always maintained that if there is any other solution better than autonomy and acceptable to majority, NC will support it. It is not possible whatever we will write in the ‘joint paper’ will become the final solution of Kashmir but if it will be acceptable to majority of people in the State, we will be having no problem”. Another senior NC leader and MP from North Kashmir Shariefudin Shariq said separatist leaders as well as the mainstream parties should respond to NC President’s idea of carving out a joint paper on the Kashmir resolution. “If they (leaders) claim they are serious about resolving Kashmir, then they should not shy away from sitting together to evolve a consensus on a paper”, he said. A senior NC minister, wishing not to be named, said India was feeling the heat of international pressure on Kashmir. “We should give credit to Pakistan, which on one hand is fighting war on terror and on the other hand is maintaining pressure on international community to push India to resolve Kashmir. We should cash in on this opportunity,” he said. Citing differences of opinion among the separatist leadership, the minister said whom should Delhi listen when the camp is divided and some are demanding right to self-determination, some favour dialogue and some demand self-rule. “This gap needs to be filled and NC has embarked on this mission. I think a joint paper having common views from mainstream and separatists groups should be formed and it can bear be fruitful for the State and for the people,” he added.