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PDP stands isolated on self-rule for J&K

By A M Sofi in Srinagar
September 26, 2006 13:47 IST
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The state's ruling coalition partner, the Peoples Democratic Party appears to be isolated on its demand for self-rule in Jammu and Kashmir as all parties, including its ally, the Congress voiced opposition to the idea.

The brainchild of Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf, the idea was welcomed by PDP. However, all parties irrespective of ideology rejected it and opposition National Conference taunted PDP for borrowing the idea from across the border.

Even the state Governor S K Sinha did not hide his opposition to the idea and rejected it, saying the state was enjoying "highest degree of self rule" in the country.

Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad rejected the idea of self-rule. His senior Congress colleauge and Health and Medical Education Minister Mangat Ram Sharma said the slogan of self-rule of the PDP has no relevance in the prevailing democratic set up in the state.

Opposing to the idea, National Conference leaders, including party president Omar Abdullah said the PDP has not been able to spell out the meaning of self-rule.

Omar termed the restoration of internal autonomy as the roadmap for the resolution of Kashmir issue. The autonomy resolution passed by the party in the state assembly in 2000 addresses the wishes and aspirations of the people of undivided Jammu and Kashmir and is a positive way to resolve Kashmir issue taking into account the prevailing

international scenario.

Even smaller parties and groups in the state like BJP and National Panthers Party, are opposed to the idea saying people of the state already enjoy the fruits of self rule.

Ignoring the criticism, PDP asserted implementation of self-rule would result in addressing the basic grievances of the people of the state.

The self rule is not a borrowed idea as is being wrongly projected to create misunderstanding, instead it emanates from the Instrument of Accession and Article 370 of the Constitution, PDP founder and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said.

Defending the party's demand, Sayeed said his party finds a ray of hope and a promising opening in the self-rule proposal for a peaceful, amicable and feasible final settlement of the Kashmir problem.

The PDP recently constituted a seven-member committee headed by former deputy chief minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig to prepare a paper on self rule encompassing both the political and economic aspects of the problem and suggesting an implementable solution.

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A M Sofi in Srinagar
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