‘Stated positions must change for India, Pakistan peace’
Change the stated positions to usher in peace. This was the common ground three politicians, two from Jammu and Kashmir and one from Pakistan, addressed on Day 2 of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.delhi Updated: Dec 04, 2011 01:04 IST
Change the stated positions to usher in peace. This was the common ground three politicians, two from Jammu and Kashmir and one from Pakistan, addressed on Day 2 of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
The captivating session on ‘Settling Disputes for a Common Cause’ also saw Union minister Farooq Abdullah calling for a “controlled democracy” in India, as advocated by former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the summit on Friday.
A while before Abdullah’s suggestion, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti slammed the “regulated democracy” in Kashmir that created “Frankensteins” out of those who wanted to be in the political mainstream.
Noting a change in mindset in Pakistan regarding the peace process with India, seasoned Pakistani politician Asfandyar Wali Khan called for changing the stated positions for normalising ties between the two countries.
Khan, whose Awami National Party supports the ruling party in Pakistan, said, “Two generations in both countries have had hatred for each other. The stated positions have to change for bringing in peace.”
“We cannot be stuck with the stated positions and core issues (Kashmir for Pakistan and terrorism for India) hijacking the dialogue process,” he later said. Khan also called for “sharing of real time intelligence between the two countries to fight terror.”
Sharing the sentiments, Abdullah said, “Pakistan has to accept the reality that it cannot get back Kashmir. And India should accept that it cannot get back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK.).”
“Leaders are the problem. They are stoking hatred for their own personal ends,” he noted. Speaking on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Abdullah asserted his stand that the Act should be removed and claimed that the Centre backs him on the issue.
Meanwhile, Mufti called for bridging the trust deficit between J&K and the rest of India, and slammed what she termed a “regulated democracy”.
Alleging that the 1987 assembly election in the state was rigged, the PDP leader said such events have driven many Kashmiri leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Syed Salahuddin to take extreme positions. Pointing out that Geelani was a three-time elected legislator, she said they all could have been in mainstream politics. Calling for a better understanding of the Kashmir conflict, she asserted that peace in the state “shouldn’t be a mere byproduct of a good India-Pakistan relationship”.