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"visionis a please-all doctrine on Kashmir.

Except for all those whose visionare grounded in 1947 and deliberately close theireyes to new realities of 21st century Kashmir.

It mulls overmerits 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 havesaid that the plebiscite and UN resolutions were "out of step” with the changing times. Ithas 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 chosenan equally distant and equally pleasing pathtoward 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 documenthas tried to tell it in words that the ideas of freedom and independence aremore ofpsychological 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, ithas 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 chairmanSajjad 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 andan Indo-Pak joint control over defense and natural resources and also to some extent on foreign affairs , Sajjadhasthrowna challenge to theleadership of thesubcontinentthat 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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First Published: Jan 07, 2007 12:46 IST