Tuesday, April 24, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Leadership crisis in J&K
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 23
The crisis of leadership in Jammu and Kashmir is proving to be the main stumbling block in getting Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s peace initiative actively on the rails.

Even though invitations have gone to all sections of opinion encompassing the various political parties and groups, including the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, as well as Kashmiri organisations in the troubled border state, there is discernible hesitation and fear on the part of the pro-Pakistan section.

“There is indecision in certain quarters to go ahead and take part in the dialogue with the Vajpayee government having appointed Planning Commission Deputy Chairman K.C. Pant as the pointsperson. This is proving to be a major stumbling block in the critical talks taking off and getting down to brass tacks,” observed authoritative sources

It is the firm belief of the BJP-led NDA government that there is no need for the APHC delegation to go Pakistan as they are constantly in touch with the Pakistan High Commissioner in the national Capital as well as their masters in Pakistan.



The preponderant view among Jammu and Kashmir strategists here is that the state sadly lacks leaders of eminence and stature with a vision. In this context they draw pointed attention to the late Sheikh Abdullah and his unassailable influence among all sections of the people. Considering the delicate environment prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir which continues to be plagued by terrorist violence, Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah appears to be the best bet as far as the Centre is concerned.

It is not anybody’s case in the imposing South and North Blocks on the Raisina Hill housing the Prime Minister’s office and the Union Home Ministry respectively that there are any quick fix solutions for the protracted Kashmir tangle.

“The Vajpayee government has been extremely reasonable in getting the dialogue started,” sources maintained. “On the other hand the APHC which is not the sole representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir has sought meaningful talks. The NDA government is prepared to go ahead and evolve something that is implementable.” It is obvious the implementable part is the key element and the bottom line.

Interestingly, sources indicated that the government might not be averse to discussing the February 1975 Indira Gandhi-Sheikh Abdullah accord and implementing some of its provisions for according autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir suited to the special conditions of the state. While ruling out a return to the pre-1953 situation, sources said people in Jammu and Kashmir are firm that there is no going with Pakistan.

One of the clauses of the 1975 accord states: “With a view to assuring freedom to Jammu and Kashmir to have its own legislation on matters like welfare measures, cultural matters, social security, personal law and procedural laws, in a manner suited to the special conditions in the state, it is agreed that the state government can review the laws made by Parliament or extended to the state after 1953 on any matter relatable to the Concurrent List and may decide which of them, in its opinion, needs amendment or repeal.”

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