Karra Enters Fray, Revives Dual Currency Concept

9 April 2014
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Srinagar: Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and party candidate for Srinagar parliamentary constituency Tariq Hameed Karra Wednesday reiterated PDP's demand for use of dual currency across divided parts of Kashmir. 'There is nothing obnoxious to talk about it (dual currency),' Karra told reporters soon after filing his nomination papers here. He was accompanied by party patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and scores of party leaders and activists. PDP had raised the demand for use of Indian rupee as well as Pakistani rupee across divided parts of Kashmir when it was part of the coalition government with Congress before 2008. As the then Finance Minister Karra had vociferously advocated the dual currency concept as part of roadmap for Kashmir resolution, citing it could be implemented as a step towards larger economic cooperation in among on SAARC countries. 'If European Union can have a common currency and Indian currency can be used in Nepal then dual currency mechanism can also be adopted in JK. We coined a suggestion, which is part of a vision towards Kashmir resolution,' Karra had told media in 2008. However, the party's demand was meted with cold shoulder by New Delhi. Karra today claimed that the concept was part of the former BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's roadmap for Kashmir resolution. Later, Karra said the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also talked about it. 'We had talked about it on the SAARC pattern and that pattern and idea still holds good,' said Karra. To a question on the direct contest between him and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah on Srinagar parliamentary constituency, Karra said: 'It is a fight between injustice and justice and I represent justice.' He alleged people were facing alienation at the hands of the present NC-Congress dispensation. 'People want change and I represent the spirit of the change,' Karra said. Karra who is one of the founder members and prominent faces of the PDP had won 2002 Assembly elections from Batamaloo. Known for his staunch pro-Kashmir stance, he is also the party's key player in Srinagar. However, Karra lost 2008 Assembly elections to National Conference's Irfan Shah. He is pitted against NC's Farooq Abdullah, AAP candidate Muzaffar Bhat and Awami Ittihad Party's Rashid Rahil in the Srinagar Parliament constituency which would go to polls on April 30.