Stones, Bullet Can’t Chase Away India: Sajjad2 June 2011
Srinagar: Stating that borders between India and Pakistan cannot be redrawn, Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Lone Thursday said Kashmiris cannot chase away India with bullets and stones and urged New Delhi to start a structured and inclusive dialogue over Kashmir. “Everyone, even a new born in Kashmir is saddled with the baggage ie., unresolved nature of the Kashmir problem. I hope that the India-Pakistan dialogue, which has resumed, will move on,” Sajjad said while speaking during a conclave on India’s Foreign Policy held here in Srinagar. The one-day conclave titled India’s Foreign Policy was conducted by FICCI in partnership with Indian Ministry of External Affairs and department of Political Science, University of Kashmir in Srinagar at Hotel Grand Palace here.It was attended by distinguished academicians, diplomats, Chief interlocutor on Kashmir Dileep Padgoankar and other personalities. While taking part in a post lunch discussion on the theme, “India and Pakistan: Aiming for Peace and Prosperity in the Region”, Sajad spoke about the internal dimension of the Kashmir problem. “It is equally important to address the Kashmir issue at this level. If we look at Delhi -Kashmir dimension, the dialogue process here is unstructured with many variables. These variables are - who to talk and why to talk. The process is not an inclusive one. There is no yardstick or a particular methodology. It is New Delhi which chooses and decides”. Maintaining that dialogue is the only way forward, he said, “We cannot win freedom with stones. We should put our ideas across the table. We cannot throw India out of Kashmir with bullets and stones. If dialogue (civilised mode of resolution) doesn’t inspire Kashmiri people, then the only option left with them is violence”. Stating that onus of gaining confidence of Kashmiris lies with India, Sajjad said, “The problem here is that people of Kashmir expect Government of India to deliver on Kashmir front. India needs to persuade Kashmiris that the dialogue process started by it would be result-oriented and meaningful”. He said the grievances and aspirations should not be mixed. Taking a dig at Interlocutors, he alleged that there is an effort on their part to de-emphasise the main majority narrative in Kashmir dispute. “I fail to understand, what according to them, is the source of dispute. It is Ladakh, Jammu or the Kashmir, which has suffered a lot. It is sad to see that even interlocutors are slipping into a stereotype image over Kashmir. There is an attempt to divide main Kashmir narrative into Paharis, Gujjars, Shias, Sunnis, Ladakhis, Muslims and many more sub-groups or ethnicities,” he said. Stating that equilibrium in the region has shifted more towards Kashmir, PC chairman urged India to start a more structured dialogue over Kashmir. “It becomes very important for GOI to start a structured dialogue process over Kashmir. It should be an inclusive one with no repetitions. Besides, there should be no role for the proxies in this process”, he said. On the role of Pakistan, he said, “Pakistan has to make it clear that it cannot afford another war with India. In the near future, I don’t see India handing over Kashmir to Pakistan. Besides, Pakistan too cannot go on with its posturing over Kashmir far too long”. Terming redrawing of borders over Kashmir as very difficult, Sajjad, however, suggested a rethinking of the concept of sovereignty. “ As a step forward towards the solution, the rethinking of the concept of sovereignty is possible. We can have a unified economic activity in both the divided parts of Kashmir. The two parts can cooperate economically. At least let us find a common reference point,” he added.