In the backdrop of the Centers’ move to initiate a ‘quiet diplomacy’ for the resolution of Kashmir issue, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday organized a seminar on its demand for introducing “self rule” in which former deputy chief minister Muzaffer Hussain Beig stressed that the people of Jammu should not consider themselves as the second grade citizens of the state and should come forward to participate in the political process of the state.
Beig said, “an impression has been created that the negotiations on the Kashmir issue in the past were always valley centric and the Jammu and Ladakh regions were not involved in the process. Both these regions are equally important to us (PDP) and any solution to the problem should be acceptable also to the Jammu and Ladakh regions”. He said that the self rule was a practical solution to solve the Kashmir tangle.
It is worth mentioning that ever since the union home minister P. Chidambaram gave indications of initiating a ‘quiet diplomacy’ in J&K, the valley based leadership and parties have started focusing on the Jammu region. While the PDP held the self rule conference, the separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq visited the Muslim dominated districts of Kishtwar, Doda and Bhaderwah recently to take residents of these areas into confidence.
Addressing participants of the seminar, Beig said it was a positive step that the separatist leaders have now stopped talking about plebiscite.
Beig said that the roadmap for self rule was not a final document and changes could be made in it to meet aspirations of people of different regions of the state. “We have conducted such seminars in Kashmir as well in Ladakh region in which the members of civil society were involved” he said.
Beig stressed that a common economy for both sides of Kashmir should be introduced on the lines of European Union as the leadership of India and Pakistan have sometime ago mooted the idea of making the borders irrelevant.
Referring to the issue of exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley, Beig said that Kashmir was incomplete without their presence. “They should consider returning to their roots in the valley as they have been cut off from their culture and traditions elsewhere in the country where they might be flourishing” he said.
He said that the Kashmiri Pandits have equal rights in the valley as those of the Muslim majority community.
Beig said that during his tenure as chief minister, Mufti Sayed, had taken up with the center, settlement of the problems of the refugees from various areas of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) however these talks remained inconclusive due to change of the government.
Among others, senior PDP leaders Rangil Singh and Daman Bhasin were also present in the seminar.