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Peoples Conference?s a please-all doctrine on Kashmir

Peoples Conference?s document, "Achievable Nationhood" close eyes to new realities of 21st century Kashmir. Arun Joshi takes a look at the paper.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2007 13:19 IST
Arun Joshi

The Peoples Conference’s "Achievable Nationhood" vision is a please-all doctrine on Kashmir.

Except for all those whose vision are grounded in 1947 and deliberately close their eyes to new realities of 21st century Kashmir.

It mulls over merits and demerits of the unprecedented bloodbath for the past 17 years.

The "Achievable Nationhood" appeared to be inspired by the latest statements of the world leaders and also the reports of the non-partisan groups, like the European Union, that have said that the plebiscite and  UN resolutions were "out of step” with the changing times. It has flavour of the Good Friday  Agreement of Ireland of April 10, 1998 and  one state- two systems  of Hong Kong and  so on.

Closer home, it has  taken  some of its contents from the two  self complimentary ideas of autonomy and self rule, and at the same time, it has chosen an equally distant and equally pleasing path toward both Delhi and Islamabad And he released the document on Saturday, exactly a week ahead  of Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s  visit to Pakistan, that is reckoned as a  big diplomatic movement forward between the two countries, among other things, on Kashmir.

The document has tried to tell it in words that the ideas of freedom and independence are more of psychological thrillers. He has injected that thrill in the document by taking recourse to new ideas in the international relations, where the concept of nation- state was  losing its relevance, in the continent where it was born, Europe. Others could follow, that seemed to be the underlined idea in this document.

It is highlighted in the document: "In the new state of affairs the concept of internal sovereignty, economic sovereignty is far more independent than the prevalent concepts of autonomous regions, self-rule, internal autonomy and is envisaged in the academic literature of international law and covers areas like communications, civil aviation, income tax, customs and other duties and levies."

As such, the only surprise in the document is, it has no surprises. It has, however, attempted to say it effectively that 1947 thinking is out of step in  today’s Kashmir which has the urge and aspiration to become part of the globalized world. It wants to move.

Having effectively closed the options of complete independence of Jammu and Kashmir and its  merger with any of the two nuclear powered nations- India or Pakistan- Peoples Conference’s chairman Sajjad Gani Lone in his "vision document” has  underlined that the people of the state cannot be kept hostage to the days and ideas of the  gone by era.

At the same time , by saying ,that  the Peoples Conference’s document that calls for economic reunification of Kashmir and an Indo-Pak joint control over defense and natural resources  and also to some extent on foreign affairs , Sajjad has thrown a challenge to the leadership of the subcontinent that of India and Pakistan to come out with a better option,  if any .

The very words "Achievable nationhood", in fact, ask all others to talk in terms of realities, rather than reversing the clock or offering something utopian.

It is a clever move in a  sense that it  has taken the basic ingredients of autonomy document  of National Conference- the premier political party of the state, and also that of the verbal  editions of  PDP’s  self rule.

He has not forgotten to talk of joint control of defense and water resources, effectively positioning himself as the voice of  Kashmir amenable to both Delhi and Islamabad . Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf’s  four –point formula is essentially  a joint management doctrine.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has already made it clear  that  there  is a possibility of having a joint management in the fields of tourism, trade, water etc. Azad speaks as the voice of the UPA Government in the country, for he comes from the party having the biggest stake in the federal government as also  in Jammu and Kashmir, long before 1947.

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