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Kashmir road map ready: Lone

The People's Conference chief says his team had been working on solution since January, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2006 16:37 IST
Arun Joshi

While India and Pakistan are burning midnight oil to resolve the contentious issue of Kashmir, People's Conference is ready with its road map which "reflects the realistic aspirations of the people" of Jammu and Kashmir.

People's Conference chairman Sajjad Gani Lone says of the road map that it is a "solution that doesn't create polemics that lulls the parties into the state of bargaining politics, but offers a sacred permanence".

The road map is ready but is expected to be announced sometime in the first half of next month. It will be announced in the Kashmir Valley, because it concerns them the most, and would be presented to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

People's Conference is one of the leading separatist groups that profile itself as moderate.

Sajjad and his team had been working on the roadmap since January when they met Prime Minister in Delhi. "It is he who simulated this idea," he said of Manmohan Singh whom he finds a man open to ideas and suggestions.

It took People's Conference three-month-long sittings in Gulmarg, far from the maddening crowds, to come up with the document that runs well over 200 pages. To be precise it is 82,000 words divided into five segments.

Talking to Hindustan Times over phone about the road map, which is yet to be christened, Sajjad Lone said it traces the historical perspective of the problem- a clear reference to the pre-partition freedom struggle; and the events of 1947 and the UN resolutions and what happened thereafter.

Secondly, it has spotlighted the current peace process between India and Pakistan. The Kashmir issue has become a big impediment in the smooth flow and exchange of ideas and their translation on ground. "Our roadmap will show how our progress can be achieved on Kashmir," Sajjad said. It is talking of the peace process since Lahore days when the idea of composite dialogue first emerged.

Placing Kashmir in the global perspective, the document has devoted more than 10,000 words on various conflict areas in the world. The Northern Ireland conflict and the solution that appeared working there have consumed a lot of space. "It is the lack of knowledge at times that defies solution and look beyond ideas."

This is the third major part of the document.

It also offers an analysis of what Sajjad Lone calls, "psychology and reality". This fourth part takes into account the mindset and the reality. At times the two gel, on other occasions those are contrasting images. But the attempt has been made to synthesize the two.

Finally, it is the model that dwells on the current situation and how it reflects the sentiments in the realistic fashion.

According to the People's Conference chairman, the roadmap has no room for politics of bargaining. "That kind of solution has a basic flaw. The dynamics keep on changing. Ours aims at seeking a solution that has permanence, in which there is a vast investment of human energy in politics, economics and addressing the sentiments and emotions in an integrated manner, in perfect touch with the ground reality."

In short, there is stress on empirical evidence.

For the success of the road map, he says, "India has to play the biggest role. It has to offer a structural response to each and every issue raised in the roadmap. You can contain violence, but cannot eliminate it altogether unless the imagination of the minds and hearts of the people is won."

Sajjad says, "Supply of weapons don't sustain violence, it is the mindset. Therefore, it is necessary that a solution that is sustainable is to be accepted. The patchworks would yield only fragmented solutions, not the holistic ones."

He claims that his road map contains the "sacred permanence."

First Published: Oct 25, 2006 14:37 IST