Sunday, September 26, 2010


Srinagar Sep 26 (Only Kashmir): Though Kashmir seems perpetually on the boil, it is not to say that attempts to cool tempers are not being made. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat Conference, for example, believes a shared commitment for dialogue is a step in the right direction. In order to sustain it, he says, there needs to be a process whereby all views, opinions and aspirations are considered before working towards a solution. "Resolving the Kashmir problem should be done in line with what the people want. There should be a Common Minimum Programme, supported by political parties in India and in Pakistan. Our political system needs to rise above vote-bank politics and consider Kashmir a national priority," he says. The Centre should facilitate the setting up of and empowering an official body, a Kashmir Committee. This should comprise senior representatives of all major Indian political parties so that they can engage with representatives of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. "Let this process be transparent, designed to deliver a negotiated solution that's mutually acceptable to all parties concerned," he says. He further said a similar Kashmir Committee should be established in Pakistan. "We will advocate this to political parties in Pakistan. This will ensure that all major political forces in both countries are on board for the peace process. It'll help institutionalize and sustain the process to resolve the Kashmir problem. We must make it immune from domestic politics which can act as a spoiler," the Mirwaiz says. He also adds that they want a meaningful and irreversible process of dialogue, designed to avoid the failures of the past in order to find a solution acceptable to all — India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu & Kashmir. The Centre made visible efforts to engage with Kashmir only when a major crisis had erupted. But once it had blown over, political complacency set in. "Today, we ask not for unilateral political concessions but a joint commitment that guarantees results. This is possible only if serious efforts are made by removing harsh and repressive measures that suppress our fundamental democratic rights," he says.


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