Parties In Race For Entry In Roadmap9 February 2011
Srinagar: With the New Delhi-appointed interlocutors likely to come up with the Kashmir roadmap by February end, major mainstream parties expect to see their respective proposals reflected in the report. The ruling National Conference believes any roadmap minus autonomy doesn’t deserve even a look while the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party hopes the interlocutors’ final report would reflect the broad contours of Self-Rule, claiming that it suits the pulse of people.Awami National Conference is of the belief that the interlocutors have no choice other than to include the party’s Greater Autonomy document in their report. Chairman of his own faction of Peoples Conference, Sajjad Lone has left it to the ‘conscience of the panel’ as far as his Achievable Nationhood proposal is concerned. The Kashmir panel, comprising veteran journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and former Information Commissioner M M Ansari, has already studied the various proposals. Senior NC leader and MP, Mehboob Beg said any roadmap having no mention of Autonomy would not be acceptable to the party. “We are for the political empowerment and that is only possible when autonomy is restored. We are not demanding anything new,” Beg said. “We want autonomy for this part and that part of Kashmir as well.” He said economic empowerment and political empowerment were two different things. “We have been witnessing economic empowerment since many decades. It is high time for the political empowerment which is not possible without restoration of autonomy,” Beg said. Another senior NC leader, Sheikh Mustafa Kamal said the roadmap without any reference to Autonomy means “a river without a bridge”. “How can we accept something that is yet to come and ignore something what has been already passed in the State Legislature with two-third majority,” he said, adding that any report aimed at Kashmir resolution should be acceptable to Pakistan, which is party to the issue. “We have already presented the copy of Autonomy to former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf through Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. I still remember Musharaf’s remarks about the document. He (Musharaf) termed autonomy very close to his heart,” Kamal said. The main opposition PDP is of the belief that the party’s Self-Rule proposal was something which suits people of the state. “We are for Kashmir as it existed before 1947. Both Kashmirs were one. We were a nation with own water resources, dignity and identity,” PDP chief spokesman Nayeem Akhter said. “We are for the elected Prime Minister and Governor. The state legislature should be the only authority to dismiss the government.” Akhter said Self-Rule document doesn’t challenge the sovereignty of any of the two nations-India and Pakistan. “We hope the roadmap to be submitted by the interlocutors would accommodate Self-Rule,” he said, adding that the party was also going to start ‘Kashmir resolution campaign’ from February 14. Joining the chorus, ANC vice-president Muzaffar Shah said they have already submitted a document to the interlocutors-‘Report on the review of Central Laws and Provisions of the Constitution of India extended and applied to JK’ (Greater Autonomy). “The document is duly signed by late Ghulam Muhammad Shah and the then forest minister G N Kochak. It was prepared on the directions of the then Prime Minister, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. Unfortunately, the document never saw the light of the day,” he said. Shah said he is hopeful that the Kashmir panel would accommodate the document in the roadmap. “Later, it should be left to the people of State. There should be debates and conferences. We have already suggested intra-Kashmir conference for reaching the final conclusion,” he said. PC chairman Sajjad Lone said he has submitted Achievable Nationhood to the panel, which he termed as ‘crucial’. “If the ideas are relevant, they (Kashmir panel) would accommodate them,” he added.