In an apparent move to cozy up to moderate separatists, Kashmir's largest opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on Wednesday endorsed the views moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed in a letter addressed to Indian electorate.
"A common approach was emerging to the resolution of Kashmir issue, which could prove vital to the efforts at ending the 67-year-long conflict," said Mufti immediately after PDP candidate Tairq Hameed Karra filed his nomination for the parliamentary polls for the Srinagar seat.
Describing the letter of the Mirwaiz as "a big step forward that has the potential of being the basis of a major political initiative," Mufti said, "His party endorses and supports the sentiment and the substance of the Mirwaiz's letter, which can prove to be a historic document if responded appropriately by the national level leadership."
The Mirwaiz, two days ago, wrote a letter to the electorate of the country, published by a national daily and reproduced by several news websites, asking the electorate to make their leaders responsible and push for resolution of Kashmir issue "once for all".
"Your newly elected representatives (those in power and those in opposition) could collectively resolve to take a bold and visionary break from the past and could work together to pursue a serious political and diplomatic effort to resolve the Kashmir issue," he said in the letter.
"Any lasting solution must be a just one and that necessarily means recognising and upholding the Kashmiri people's aspirations and right to self-determination. We are seeking only what is due to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as a matter of legal, moral, and historical right. The solution will have to be acceptable to all parties - India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu & Kashmir," he added.
Backing the Mirwaiz's initiative to create public awareness in the country on the Kashmir issue, Mufti, also former Union home minister, said, "The PDP believes that peace and resolution process based on dialogue will have to be inclusive of all political formations, including the Hurriyat."
The former chief minister said he was happy to see the position of the Hurriyat and the proposals that have been made are very similar to that discussed in PDP's manifesto for the parliamentary elections.
"All the political and economic initiatives have been led by the leadership at individual level; be it the PV Narasimha Rao's 'sky is the limit for autonomy', or Atal Bihari Vajpayee's 'insaniyat kay dairay main' or Manmohan Singh's 'making borders irrelevant'. All these well-meaning initiatives need to be institutionalised for them to have an impact on ground," said Mufti.
Mufti said, "The PDP believes that the opposition and other political parties have an equal responsibility and stake in the well-being of Jammu and Kashmir."
The public endorsement of the Mirwaiz's views has come with parliament elections just round the corner. The Mirwaiz still holds sway in several assembly constituencies in the old city, where the PDP has no takers.