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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 Farooqseesa ray of hope for Kashmir solution in the Irish peace process, which has progressed despite certain shortcomings, and he would share his experiences with thePakistani 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 modelin Northern Ireland, told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interviewonSaturday.

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 peaceand solutionform a primary issue rather than controlling a situation orindulging in oneupmanship."

"We have a packagewith us from Ireland, which takes careof many issues relating to different groups and ideologies. There is awide similarityin Jammu and Kashmir's context," he said."Thatcan show us the way."

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

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who represents a moderate face of separatist politics, willing to negotiatein realistic terms — realising the political limitations of both India and Pakistan andat the same timepushing the agenda ofaspirations of the people ofJammu and Kashmir, said thatall the parties need to show a sense of accommodation.

"What BritishPrime Minister Tony Blair did, and the way Sinn Feinleadership responded, in Ireland, the way IRA and militaryhave upheld the ceasefire for the past more than seven years, the inter faith dialogue between Protestants and Catholics, nationalists and unionistsin 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 andother dialogue to move ahead on the path of peace andsolution.

"It is time, when India and Pakistanneed 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."

First Published: Dec 30, 2006 14:12 IST