Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quiet Diplomacy Impresses Kashmir Politics

Breaking an unusually long lull, the Home Minister P Chidambram’s offer for unique model of dialogue has come as welcome move for all hues of mainstream and separatist outfits in Kashmir but the National Conference President Farooq Abdullah is not quite reconciled even as he has changed stance twice this week much to the political discomfiture of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
There is a sudden burst of positive vibes from Kashmir soon after Chidambram (popularly referred to as PC) declared in Srinagar on October 13 that New Delhi was engaging in one-to-one and two-to-dialogue with different shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir. While the separatists longing for resumption of dialogue and the mainstream parties pushing for it have found Chidambram’s statement inspiring, the model of quiet diplomacy is being welcomes for all as earlier at many occasions separatists have rejected a dialogue which involved other opinions simultaneously.
Chidambram’s Srinagar declarations comes close to the heels of the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference headed by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq making its intentions clear about getting engaged in an unconditional dialogue with New Delhi. It may be recalled here that Early Times had reported in its October 7 issue that New Delhi was engaged into back channel one-to-one dialogue with many leaders in Kashmir but it was not being made known to the people at large for the risk of breakdown in case of wide differences between the engaged parties.
Since there are no conditions attached to the exercise, all parties have welcomed the Home Minister’s announcement. PDP President Mehbooba Mufti says the commitment of the union government to work for a peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue adds a new and positive dimension to Kashmir discourse. She said the Home Minister’s description of Jammu & Kashmir as a place with unique history and unique geography that would need a unique solution is in line with the thinking and efforts of the PDP.
She said Chidambaram could not be more accurate in out lining the contours of the problem and its possible solution when he said that J&K would need its own solution in view of the peculiar back ground of its problems and that no other arrangement could serve a model for the state.
In New Delhi, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, “it (Chidambram’s statement) speaks that there is a greater realisation in Delhi right now, that they do address and accept the fact that we have to move beyond traditional issues and we have to move beyond traditional statements, otherwise we have been only hearing in the last two-three years that Kashmir is an integral part and on those lines. So I think now we are seeing that people are talking in terms of realities on the ground."
"I think all the parties - Kashmiris, India, Pakistan slowly and gradually are realising that we all have to come together. When we talk about Kashmir we talk about regions, we talk about regional aspirations.
While everybody realises that this problem has to have a political solution, it cannot have a military solution. Kashmir problem cannot be resolved by military means, either by force or by suppression," he added.
Interestingly, the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is being seen as a facilitator of the dialogue as he and Chidrambram have been seen echoing almost the same words but National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah seems to be differing on range of issues. Earlier Farooq differed with Omar on the prevailing security situation in state and later on the contours of dialogue. While speaking at the Editor’s conference he virtually put Omar in a piquant position when he contradicted the latter on a range of issues.

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