Thursday, 16 April 2015

LoC as international border most viable solution, Omar Abdullah

LoC as international border most viable solution, Omar Abdullah

WASHINGTON: Asserting that the current status quo is not an answer to the Kashmir problem, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has called for converting the Line of Control (LoC) into an international border that allows free movement of people and goods.

"One thing is certain. Status quo is not the answer. If India is going to continue to maintain that the parts of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by Pakistan have to be vacated and till then there would be no solution and if Pakistan continues to insist that Jammu and Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of the 1947 partition then they are going nowhere," Omar said.

"For any solution to work, we first have to recognise that there can be no further transfer of territory between either of the two countries, which means you take the Line of Control and recognise it as an (international) border," the 45-year-old National Conference Working President said.

Delivering keynote address at 'The Kashmir Conclave' organised by the Georgetown University’s student group India Dialogue, Omar acknowledged that his solution would be a tough sell in the two countries as there are vested interests in the two capitals that want the Kashmir problem to continue.

Omar argued this is the most viable solution to the Kashmir problem, given that India itself has recognised this Line of Control even there have been reasons not to do so.
He gave the example of 1999 Kargil war in this regard.

"I know this is not going to be an easy sell. But this is the most viable alternative because I do not see any other alternative that requires either India or Pakistan loose face," he said last night.
"If you de-recognise Line of Control, then it has to be a soft border. It has to allow people to move more freely, for goods to move more freely. I think, this can be an example to the rest of our neighbour," he asserted.
Responding to questions, Omar opposed the idea of international mediation arguing that such a move is not going to work.
"A certain amount of backchannel facilitation would help, but meditation would not work," he said, adding that it is for India and Pakistan to work on a viable solution to the Kashmir problem.
He said that dialogue, not violence, is the only solution to Kashmir problem. Such a dialogue should be not only between New Delhi and Islamabad but also with the people of the State on both side of the border.
In his address, Omar called for creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Jammu and Kashmir that should have equal support from both India and Pakistan.
He lashed out at Pakistan for consistently misleading the world on the UN Security Council resolution and plebiscite.
Referring to the UN Security Council resolution, Omar said Pakistan has not taken the first step in that regard which is removing all its troops and personnel from the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
"Quite clearly the first step was not taken by Pakistan," he said, alleging that for decades Islamabad has been successfully selling its narrative to the world that it is India which is coming in the way of plebiscite.Whereas the truth is different, he said.
He alleged that Pakistan, unlike India, has not only changed the demographics of Kashmir, but also handed over a large part of the State to China, which it is in no position to regain control.
Having changed demographics of its side of Kashmir, Pakistan talks about only plebiscite in the Indian side of Kashmir, he added.

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