Kashmir echoes at HT leadership summit
Omar’s AFSPA Move Took All By Surprise: Mehbooba Mufti
GK NEWS NETWORK
New Delhi, Dec 3: Asking New Delhi to accept Kashmir as a problem, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti Saturday said the policies for Jammu and Kashmir should be framed on the basis of human values of democracy and freedom and not just strategic concerns.
“Reducing trust deficit between the people of Kashmir and rest of India can be an important step towards settling the vexed issue of Jammu and Kashmir,” Mehbooba said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.
In Mehbooba’s opinion, concern for views of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, resolution of disputes between India and Pakistan, making peace process irreversible and reviving Kashmir’s connection with the historic Silk Route can help the peace process.
Speaking on the topic “Settling Disputes for a Common Cause”, Mehbooba said India needs to reform its political mindset in the same manner as it reformed its economy in nineties.
“We need to do unto the political thinking of the country what was done to the economic mindset in 1991. Unshackle it from the legacies of the past, make it relevant for a world of today, think ahead and have confidence in institutions and above all people”, Mehbooba said.
“If we were to base our Kashmir policy on the ideological values of democracy, rule of law and tolerance, we will expand the constituency of peace at the micro level of individuals as well as institutions,” she said and added that the state has, unfortunately, experienced highly regulated democracy if at all, in fits and starts, and is best left to be managed rather than governed.
She said the first and the foremost thing is that J&K has to be accepted as a problem instead of subsuming it under the larger rubric of India-Pakistan relations. “It needs to be understood that peace in J&K is more than a mere by-product of good India-Pakistan relations, just like, the ongoing strife in J&K is not a consequence of strained Indo-Pak ties,” she said and added that the resolution of Kashmir issue can be a big catalyst for better India-Pakistan relations, as good Indo-Pak relations can have a positive impact on J&K.
Mehbooba said while Jammu and Kashmir has a special position in the Indian Constitution, it also deserves a special place in the hearts and minds of the entire region. “Amidst the prevailing winds of globalization and regional economic integration, the political leadership has the luxury of conceiving a distinctive grand strategy for the country and the region in Jammu and Kashmir. The strategy has to start with addressing the trust deficit between the two sides,” she said and added that what should remain the core of fairness is the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to move across the borders, unfettered and hassle-free.
“J&K has to be allowed to gain uncontrolled access to its resources and the bounties of nature that are shared by our region as a whole and harness them for our socio-economic benefit. We need our traditional road links with the outside world fully restored including the historic Silk Route. We will need access to Mansarovar and rest of China through Ladakh and a link to Central Asia with Kargil as the take-off point. Similarly, our Jammu province must open us up to the West Punjab and beyond,” she said.
Mehbooba said with Pakistan having granted MFN status to India, given its strategic location, J&K could emerge as a bridge to foster economic integration of the region in the new paradigm of Indo-Pak relations. “A network of existing and new roads connecting the two countries through J&K would not only open up some of the most spectacular parts of the world to tourism, but also contribute significantly to the economic fortunes of the state and the region,” she said and added that the state’s natural resources, including water, instead of being a bone of contention can be used as a bonding agent in soldering economic cooperation in the region.
‘OMAR'S AFSPA MOVE TOOK ALL BY SURPRISE’
Commending the Army for maintaining security in Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba counselled caution about the move by Omar Abdullah government to revoke Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of the state.
Talking to reporters after attending the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, Mehbooba said Omar's move seeking revocation of the controversial law from some areas of Jammu and Kashmir has taken "everyone by surprise, even the Army".
"Revocation of AFSPA, withdrawal of security forces from the civilian areas are articles of faith as far as we (PDP) are concerned because we feel the security forces have done a commendable job," she said.
She said there are "some black sheep" everywhere, some Generals who fudge their certificates but a majority of Indian Army is "very disciplined".
"You have to give them a very honourable exit and to give that you need to go through a very very proper manner where you take everybody on board and don't seem to be looking that you are pushing them out but you are just telling them that OK the job is done and we need space for civilian institutions to function," Mehbooba said.
She alleged the decision of the state government for withdrawal of AFSPA from some regions was taken "in a haphazard manner which took everyone by surprise, even the Army."
Mehbooba said if the state government is serious then the decision like this cannot be "thrown into the face of the country or the State".
"We are very much for revocation of AFSPA but it has to be a part of good governance. Revocation of AFSPA cannot be a substitute for good governance," she said.
She said it cannot be for diverting attention from mishandling or corruption.
Mehbooba said if Omar Abdullah was serious about the revocation of AFSPA, he should have done home work before and alleged it was an attempt to divert attention from the death of NC worker Haji Yousuf.
Demanding complete withdrawal of AFSPA, she said revocation from Srinagar, Samba, Budgam, and Jammu is a "joke on the people" of Kashmir as Chief Minister himself is saying there are no army operations in these areas.
Earlier, during the summit, when President of the ruling party National Conference Farooq Abdullah was asked whether Centre needed to change its attitude, on the issue of AFSPA, he said "of course they are changing their attitude".
He said Home Minister is on board the decision and discussions would take place in the in the Unified Command on the issue. In her speech Mufti had alleged that centre was "regulating democracy" in the state which is creating "Frankenstein" monsters in the state.
"By Frankenstein I mean we have an example of Gilani Sahab. He was elected thrice in the assembly and we have seen him performing, working like any other MLA may he had a different ideology. So, similarly there were people who would have been part and parcel of the democratic process but were stopped from very beginning since 1951 itself," she said.
She also alleged that by rigging 1987 Chief of militant group Hizbul Mujahiddeen, Syed Salahuddin was made out of Peer Mohammad Yousuf Shah. WITH INPUTS FROM PTI
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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