The Kashmiri mainstream leadership is delighted that hitherto separatist-inclined leadership from across the Line of Control has "realised" its relevance in the resolution of the Kashmir issue. And accordingly, the cross-LOC dialogue has widened and become inclusive.
During his recent visit to Delhi, former Pakistan occupied Kashmir President Sardar Qayoom Khan, had a series of meetings with the mainstream leaders, ranging from Chief Minister Ghulm Nabi Azad to his predecessor Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and National Conference President Omar Abdullah.
PoK Prime Minister Attique Khan is son of Qayoom Khan. The duo are the driving force of the ruling Muslim Conference in Pakistani Kashmir. Attique had expressed his wish to visit Jammu and Kashmir and also offered jobs to engineers and doctors from the state in PoK for rebuilding the infrastructure and institutions, devastated by the October 8, 2005 quake.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister has spoken in terms of opening of more contact points at the Line of Control and starting of the trade between the two parts of the state.
"It was a mutual recognition of the fact that we have to work together, in a peaceful manner, for the welfare of the people of the state," said the chief minister. "We have much to cooperate with each other in the field of trade and tourism."
He said that a greater people-to-people contact and trade is possible only through commitment to cooperation, peace and building and investing trust in each other.
Other political groups were equally appreciative of the move that a consensus building drive has involved Kashmir's mainstream leaders. That is a big change, given the mistrust the PoK leadership had about the mainstream parties and leaders of Kashmir all these years.
"We have entered the realm," says PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, who is often profiled as an architect of her party's fortunes. "It is evident change has taken place in the thinking and attitude of the leadership" of the Pakistani part of Kashmir.
"The taboos of the past have been demolished," she said of the times when the Kashmiri mainstream leaders were dismissed as untouchables for they were thought to be surviving in the glory conferred on them by Delhi.
"They ( PoK) leadership has realised that we have our mandate from the people who voted for us in the elections to the risk of their lives." According to her, this change has occurred after the 2002 elections, when people at the risk to their lives voted for the mainstream parties.
"Today, in their eyes, we are equally relevant and important as separatists, if not more."
"The people and leaders from across have realised and recognised this," Mehbooba who recently sat through for a two-hour long meeting her father and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had with Sardar Khan, said.