The all parties meet aimed at seeking consensus on two crucial issues of resettlement of refugees and increase in legislative Assembly seats, not only widened the political divide but also threw up new controversies in its wake that it was a bid to stall the peace process.
Kashmiri political parties linked the meet an its issues as an attempt to sabotage ongoing Indo-Pak peace process and seeking of early Kashmir resolution.
Two major parties of the Valley -National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party- which had shown their distaste for the two issues even before the start of the meet in Srinagar on Saturday- were vociferous in stating that the meet on these issues was an attempt to cause roadblocks in the peace process.
Leader of the opposition and senior National Conference leader Abdul Rahim Rather was merciless in his criticism of the issues at the meet and attributed those to “ partisan and parochial considerations” of the organizers- the government.
“The peace process between India and Pakistan is in a delicate stage. The long suffering people of Jammu And Kashmir State are keen that the process should lead to positive results. In such a scenario, it is imperative for all of us to avoid pitfalls of unnecessary controversies and misunderstandings. The peoples yearning for peace has to override every partisan and parochial consideration,” he said.
PDP’s legislature party leader and Agriculture Minister Abdul Aziz Zargar echoed the NC leader: In our opinion the human angle of the refugee problem should force more paces into the peace process rather than stall it any way. It is, therefore, necessary that we all, irrespective of which religion we belong to or on whatever side of the fence we work single mindedly for the success of the peace process driven by the sentiment of the people of J&K .”
Rather who had piloted the controversial Resettlement Bill in 1982 – that grants resettlement citizenship rights to all those migrated to Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir in 1947 and in subsequent years – opposed tooth and nail the grant of the citizenship rights to the West Pakistan refugees. He pitched for citizenship rights to the residents of PoK first and last and described the move to grant citizenship rights to refugees as untenable in the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
But BJP president Ashok Khajuria had a pointed question directed at him, “ How can Pakistani citizens get citizenship rights in the State and those who are settled in the state for four generations are not entitled to such rights.” “ This is reflective of the communal and petty politics of National Conference and PDP.” He said , it appeared, that there was one script writer for the draft speeches of PDP and NC leaders.