Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Natural solution to the Kashmir problem is trifurcation-Prof. Bhat

Natural solution to the Kashmir problem is trifurcation-Prof. Bhat

Punjab Newsline Network
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
By Bashir Assad

SRINAGAR: While stressing the need for realistic but imaginative ideas on Kashmir , senior Hurriyat leader professor Abdul Gani Bhat portrayed trifurcation of the state, on regional basis, as the best available solution to the long pending imbroglio.

While talking exclusively to this correspondent, former chairman of Hurriyat Conference Professor Abdul Bhat Tuesday, talked in length about the options discussed since 1950 at various levels for the settlement of the Kashmir problem.

“In early 50’s Dixon proposed division of the state in his plan while in 1996 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in conformity with the Dixon’s stream of thought proposed trifurcation of the state into three geo-political entities of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh.” Bhat said and added that Valley has a unique identity, history and culture and its people are having a collective political personality, which in no way identifies itself with neither India nor Pakistan.

Lets recall "The Dixon Plan" assigned Ladakh to India, the Northern Areas and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) to Pakistan, split Jammu between the two, and envisaged a plebiscite in the Kashmir Valley” Bhat added. Bhat observed that considering only the present and forsaking the past is to take a very narrow view of the reality. For to be careful of the present without being informed of the past is to have a deceptive view of things.

“Now lets reconcile with the ground realities which simply suggest that Jammu is not part of our struggle, so is not Ladakh, there is a huge constituency in Jammu asking for separate state and we cant drag them” Bhat said adding that Jammu as a region identifies itself with union of India so is the Ladakh but people of Kashmir, true to the sense of history, at no point of time identify themselves with India.

“Then what is the way out? To me, division of state into three geo-political entities is the natural solution. But in this scheme, the division should be on regional basis and one should not mix-up religion with a political problem” Bhat said.

In reply to a question, Professor Bhat said divide the state into three distinct geo-political identities and make Kashmir a free economic zone. “Let both India and Pakistan declare Kashmir as a free economic zone.

‘Let us use the corridor of free trade to free Kashmiris from the twin nightmares of suppression and subjugation. If Kashmir becomes a free trade zone political tension between India and Pakistan will ease. Free trade in Kashmir may well be the gateway for a South Asian Union on the lines of the European Union where the fault-lines of religion, language, region, ethnicity and caste may get eased into the twin ideas of free market and equitable development. let Kashmir be a free trade zone where China, Pakistan, Central Asia and rest of the world can meet Indian business and industry. In nutshell make Kashmir Switzerland of India and Pakistan and the problem is over” Bhat who has been doing much talking since last couple of months on behalf of his amalgam said.

About UN resolutions on Kashmir, Bhat said “ let’s be honest to ourselves and to our people, it is for them ( UN Security Council), whether they do (implement its resolutions) it or not. But it requires approval of both India and Pakistan, so it is a difficult proposition, we should come out of it and search for alternatives”

While making his point Bhat said that when India and Pakistan do talking, that simply means they are looking for alternatives. “In 1962, Z A Bhuttu and Swaram Singh as foreign ministers of their countries did talking for about nine months, what were they talking? They were discussing alternatives. In Shimla Agreement, it (Kashmir) was declared a bilateral issue, what does that mean. That simply means that two countries were exploring options other than the UN resolutions to resolve the issue. When you chose to talking you leave behind UN resolutions, that is it” Bhat averred.

‘Lets not put blinkers on our heads, lets reconcile with the ground realities and look for alternatives acceptable to all, Bhat said and added “ what is acceptable is honourable and what is honourable is durable”.

There is a huge constituency in Jammu for separate state, you can’t wish away. Some time back there was an idea floated for regional plebiscite, that again contradicts UN resolutions on Kashmir. so you are virtually working on trifurcation plan on regional basis” Bhat said

To a question, Bhat said, “ remember, I talk of division on regional basis, religion is not and should not be the basis, it has nothing to do with religion. It is not a religious issue, it is a political issue. Don’t mix-up religion but never ignore it either, lets be realistically truthful, if you mix-up the two you can spill a total disaster.

When asked whether government of India accept the division of the state, Bhat said then come to General Parvez Musharaf’s four-point proposal. “ You have to come to talking, you have to think out of box, you have to accept something which takes care of aspirations of all the concerned” Bhat added.

Castigating UPA chairperson Sonia Ghandi for her remarks on Panchayat elections, Bhat said elections are no solution to the problem. “ India is holding elections in Jammu and Kashmir for last sixty or seventy years, you have as many as thirteen elections to both state assembly and the parliament but the dispute is still hanging fire” Bhat said.

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