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Plea for serious thought to Musharraf's proposals

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has asked the Centre to give "serious thought" to fresh proposals put forth by Musharraf, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 13:54 IST
Arun Joshi

Peoples Democratic Party Patron and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has asked the Centre to give "serious thought" to fresh proposals put forth by the Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf on Kashmir solution.

"That would lay the basis for making a beginning for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir problem," and stressed that it was imperative "simply because the cost of not doing it will be much higher than the cost of doing it," Mufti Sayeed told External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi Thursday morning, according to a spokesman of the PDP.

PDP sits as a major partner in the ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mufti Sayeed, who on his return from the United Nations, where he had gone as head of the non-official Indian delegation, found an echo of his thoughts that the atmosphere in India and Pakistan was conducive for resolution of Kashmir issue, in the fresh set of proposals of Pervez Musharraf.

Pakistan president has effectively thrown out all the traditional tenets of Islamabad on Kashmir- Plebiscite under the UN resolutions from Islamabad’s Kashmir solution text book since 1948, provided India agrees to staggered demilitarization and self governance under joint supervision of both India and Pakistan. Musharraf has also clearly rejected the option of independence for Jammu and Kashmir.

Most of these points are part of the PDP’s self rule in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mufti Sayeed related the proposals to the international perception about Jammu and Kashmir in the back drop of the current situation in the subcontinent - an overwhelming mood of reconciliation in the state especially after the resumption of composite dialogue between India and Pakistan since January 2004.

Sayeed told the External Affairs Minister that "he operational challenge in Jammu and Kashmir is to establish innovative institutional arrangement that will have political, economic and security character."

"Our basic premise is that the search for a peaceful solution to the Jammuand Kashmir issue could be possible only by giving the institutional arrangement both a political and economic basis," he said.

"instead of allowing the borders to become a barrier to the movement of people, commodities and capital, we must allow the markets to override the dividing lines."

Sayeed said due to historical reasons, the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir remains an important political, though not an economic, partner of both India and Pakistan. "This fact can be attributed mostly to the legacy of partition," he said and added: "even as political significance of Jammu and Kashmir is paramount for both, New Delhi and Islamabad, the economic links between India and Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan and Pakistan Administered Kashmir are limited. Sayeed said time has come that India and Pakistan work out some form of an institutional arrangement and move forward."

"Even though the arrangement design may appear to be constitutionally and legally incomplete and politically premature, a beginning has to be made," he emphasized. The PDP Patron said in view of the emotional surcharge, a one-point-one-time solution for resolution of the problem is a near impossibility.

"What is required is a sequence of measures, which would resolve the situation," he said and added that a step-by-step practical approach is needed for the extrication of the State from the tragic muddle. "But it should not be a matter merely of atmospherics, substantial progress should be made on the ground as well," he maintained.

Sayeed said the aim should be, not going into the complexities of history and geopolitics, but instead, shifting the focus to more practical policy-oriented discussion of a possible solution to the Jammu and Kashmir issue for which PDP's self-rule formula provides a sound basis.

Email Arun Joshi: a_joshi957@rediffmail.com

First Published: Dec 07, 2006 13:54 IST