'There's a ray of hope in the Irish peace process' | india | Hindustan Times
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'There's a ray of hope in the Irish peace process'

The Irish process, All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, has progressed despite certain shortcomings.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2006 14:12 IST
Arun Joshi

All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq sees a ray of hope for Kashmir solution in the Irish peace process, which has progressed despite certain shortcomings, and he would share his experiences with the Pakistani government, when he would visit Islamabad mid-January.

"There is a lesson for us in it," Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who returned after studying the Irish model in Northern Ireland, told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview on Saturday.

The lesson, he said, is "to demonstrate the political will to help resolve the issue. It calls for shedding the dogmatic approach and embarking on a new path  where peace and solution form a primary issue rather than controlling a situation or indulging in oneupmanship."

"We have a package with us from Ireland, which takes care of many issues relating to different groups and ideologies. There is a wide similarity in Jammu and Kashmir's context," he said. "That can show us the way."

"We can borrow something from the Good Friday agreement, and rest we can  workout ourselves. There is no harm in borrowing good ideas, wherever they may come from."

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who represents a moderate face of separatist politics, willing to negotiate in realistic terms — realising the political limitations of both India and Pakistan and at the same time pushing the agenda of aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, said that all the parties need to show a  sense of accommodation.

"What British Prime Minister Tony Blair did, and the way Sinn Fein leadership responded, in Ireland, the way IRA and  military have upheld the ceasefire for the past more than seven years, the inter faith dialogue between Protestants and Catholics, nationalists and unionists in Ireland, everything has a lesson for it."

Here, in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, "we have a situation where there is a need for inter-religious, inter regional and other dialogue to move ahead on the path of peace and solution.

"It is time, when India and Pakistan need to move ahead. India can take a first step and announce a unilateral ceasefire and I am sure that there would be reciprocal step by the terrorists too."

The Mirwaiz, who is widely traveled and has considerably moderated his stand as a result of his interaction with the global leaders, felt that Kashmir solution can be delivered by a pragmatic approach. "We will contribute as much is possible for us to do in the process."