M A I N   N E W S

Kashmir crux: ‘Trust and take people forward’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 22
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and PDP's erstwhile Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Beig underlined the imperative need for decision makers at the Centre to overcome decades of "lack of trust" in the Kashmiris.

Both leaders insisted that the basic challenge in finding a solution to the protracted Kashmir problem is to deal with the inherent mistrust.

"Trust can't flow from Delhi alone. For the past 17 years Jammu and Kashmir has been the crucible of death and destruction. The so-called mainstream or national parties have not been able to evolve a coherent nationalist policy," maintained Mr Beig at a discussion here this evening on a book titled "A J and K Primer" by veteran journalist and columnist B.G. Verhese.

Mr Beig believed that the PDP, NC and the Congress could come out with a policy satisfying the wishes of the people of the state. "Be together and carry forward the people in confronting the vicious propaganda."

Dwelling on the India-Pakistan and the Delhi-Srinagar dimensions, the PDP leader said it was the moral responsibility of the Indian state to strive in fulfilling the yearning of the people of PoK for democracy, autonomy, self rule or whatever one might call it.

Mr Beig made no bones in acknowledging that "there is Pakistan's involvement in promoting militancy and terrorism. The question of building confidence and intra-regional trust must encompass all elements and ingredients of the problem. This is important for Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf because the survival of the neighbouring country is at stake."

If the people of PoK and the northern areas knew what self-rule is, then it must be understood by all that status-quo will not work, he maintained.

Mr Beig remained firm..."please learn to trust. The myth of Kashmir has to be destroyed and overcome. Similarly, the Hurriyat Conference is a great myth and a symbol of the problem. The conglomerate must take part in the democratic process through the process of engagement."

The PDP leader stressed it was necessary to talk to Pakistan and the people of Kashmir who cannot be left out. "We have to address the insecurities of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan want peace. Through political innovation, we can triumph," Mr Beig added.

Dr Abdullah reiterated that that the major tragedy in solving the Kashmir imbroglio was the mistrust created by vested interests in the national capital. If this mistrust was not rectified, “Jammu and Kashmir will feel betrayed and something else will be created,” he warned.

Giving several instances of the mistrust created against Kashmiri leaders, including himself, Dr Abdullah said that Kashmir joined India because of the secular credentials put forth by Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. “The betrayal was not by Sheikh Abdullah but by the people in New Delhi.”

He cautioned that “the day we are united, Delhi will start getting scared.”

Dr Abdullah also stressed that the Hurriyat Conference can never be the main party. He feared that with Hindus and Muslims being divided in the rest of the country, the secular credentials are going to be wiped out. “Please wake up before it is too late,” he emphasised.

The Prime Minister’s special envoy Shyam Saran pointed out the Congress-led UPA government is extremely sensitive to what the leaders had brought to the fore. The effort has been to dovetail the policy on the state with the domestic one.

On the India-Pakistan dialogue, Mr Saran said the Prime Minister has set clear parameters and declared he couldn’t alter the boundary nor abandon the people on the other side of Jammu and Kashmir. The effort has been to adopt a people-centric approach as opposed to a territory-centric approach.

As regards the cross-LoC interaction, the government has been talking about the entire state. This takes into its ambit the people of PoK as well as Gilgit and Baltistan.

Earlier, Mr N.N. Vohra, Special Representative of the Union Government for the Jammu and Kashmir dialogue, said it was heartening that the Indo-Pak peace process had commenced.

The primer by Mr Verghese helps revoke the vast ignorance about all aspects of the state problem. He noted that it was the Prime Minister’s belief that “we must enlarge and deepen the dialogue process and facilitate the leaders in Jammu and Kashmir to point in the direction in which the resolution lies.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |