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PDP finalises Kashmir self-rule proposal

Feb 18, 2007:

The ruling coalition partner in Indian administered Kashmir, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it has finalised the self-rule draft, a proposal floated by the party as a solution for Kashmir issue.

A PDP spokesperson said its Political Affairs Committee (PAC) approved the draft chaired by the party patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and adopted "unanimously as the most viable solution of the problems of Jammu and Kashmir" here last evening.

Senior PDP leader, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, who is the chairperson of the Self-rule Drafting Committee, said the draft was "a multidimensional resolution package taking care of not only the external and internal dimensions but the geographical dimensions of the problem as well."

He said the self-rule offers a multi-layer solution involving constitutional, political, social, trade and economic aspects of the problem with stress on political and economic empowerment of the state's people and not its government. He said it also extends to other parts of Kashmir accommodating the real aspirations of the people, in all the regions of the state, upto the maximum.

Since long PDP has been at the receiving end of the criticism of the opposition National Conference and other political parities who termed PDP slogan of self-rule, 'a hollow one' in absence of a document.

Baig said 'self-rule' was aimed at providing the central element for a comprehensive architecture to be devised for the final and strategic settlement of the Kashmir dispute taking care of the stands and stakes of all the concerned parties including India, Pakistan and the people of the state.

"It aims at the restoration of full empowerment to the people of the state, provided and guaranteed under the Instrument of Accession and Article 370 of the Constitution of India. At the same time it offers adequate remedies and guarantees for the intra-regional and sub-regional issues within Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

The announcement also weeks after the moderate separatist group Peoples Conference, headed by Sajad Gani Lone, released "Achievable Nationhood' a proposal floated by the party for resolution of Kashmir isssue.

Baig said self-rule can't sustain itself without a fair and realistic degree of self-reliance. It will, therefore, entail a policy and action of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible economic and human development, full mobilization and utilization of the resources of the state and a reliable and substantial fiscal support by the centre for valid reasons and on legitimate equitable grounds.

The PDP leaders have observed that the Kashmiri Hindus have an important role to play in the present and future of the State.

Peoples Conference, headed by Sajad Gani Lone, "The return and rehabilitation in the valley of the Kashmiri Hindu minority and their involvement in the peace process is of deep concern to the party. We see Kashmiri Pandits as an integral part of Kashmiri society and essential for the strengthening of the composite, but, pluralistic culture, which has defined Kashmir historically," he said.

PAC members including the former Indian Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed highly acknowledged and admired the Self-rule Drafting Committee, especially Baig for coming up with the "most comprehensive, historic and visionary document" for the permanent and amicable settlement of the Kashmir problem.

The PDP's PAC meeting reiterated its demand for measured reduction of troops from the internal security duty and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) as a confidence building and reconciliatory measure. It also called for vacation of agricultural land, orchards and government buildings acquired by the Indian troops after the outbreak of insurgency in the region.


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