PDP self-rule formula sees India, Pak flags together
Kashmir's largest opposition party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is set to ruffle many a feathers by its act of unfurling huge posters showing Indian and Pakistani national flags appearing together in a proposed joint advisory council of two parts of Kashmir on Monday in Srinagar.
"This is a part of the party self-rule to have joint advisory council that will have no constitutional authority but will address issues of mutual interest like tourism, electricity, trade etc… In fact Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has talked about joint mechanism in the past," said PDP president Mehbooba Mufti during the party's 13th foundation day meeting.
The posters bear flags of Kashmir and PoK and Indian and Pakistani flags in a joint assembly.
Showing off the party strength in Srinagar's Lal Chowk by pulling cadres of more than 10,000 from all over the Valley, with Indian and Pakistani flags is a new political stunt to usurp separatists' space and attract sympathy on the ground.
In the past, the party kicked off a controversy by proposing joint Indo-Pak currency.
However, Mehbooba on Monday rejected the notion that the party was pushing for a joint control.
"No, we are not for a joint control of Kashmir by India and Pakistan but joint mechanism,"she said.
Earlier in their speeches, both Mehbooba and PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed took on the Congress party, once their coalition partner, in a rare tirade.
"They (the Congress) subverted the democratic process in 1987 and then in 2008 through tactical rigging. The results are obvious. The present dispensation in J&K has lost its legitimacy," said Sayeed, who was a Congress leader for more than three decades before launching the PDP.
Asking people to realise the power of vote, Sayeed said, "The establishment in Delhi has not been comfortable with strong representative voices from J&K. It has historically promoted hand picked yes-men who can carry out orders of establishment. It is time that the people change destiny and enable us to fight the hegemonic mindset."
The father-daughter duo also lambasted the National Conference-led coalition government for "giving up" people interests.
"Everything in J&K is on sale whether it is jobs, contracts ad transfers," said Mehbooba.
In a joint resolution, the party asked India and Pakistan to resume dialogue at the highest level and slammed the state government for failure to address human rights issues.
"Dialogue process between two countries has been reduced to cosmetic photo sessions without concluding any concrete decisions. J&K do not expect any major breakthrough in the upcoming meeting of heads of the two countries but the process of dialogue must start somewhere," said Sayeed.
The party demanded the state specific confidence building measures in the upcoming meet between Indian foreign ministers' SM Krishna and his counterpart Pakistan's Hina Rabbani Khar.