Highlighting the geo-political importance of Jammu and Kashmir in Indo-Pak region, National Conference Provincial President Devender Singh Rana on Friday said that time has come for the two neighbouring countries to rise above their stated positions and strive for making this sensitive state an arena of cooperation rather than flash-point of conflict.“This is in the larger interest of the region, as New Delhi and Islamabad cannot always live in military mode, ignoring the fast changing world scenario and deep yearning of their people for peace”, Rana said while interacting with a New Delhi based Think-Tank comprising several prominent civil society activists, who called on him at the party headquarters at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan this afternoon.In a statement issued to KNS, Rana sought end to the seven decade bitter legacy and called for heralding a new chapter by entering into a meaningful dialogue. “ We feel that the leadership of the two countries can make a purposeful beginning in this regard despite the prevailing pessimistic scenario”, he said while stressing the need for paradigm shift in approach from conflict to mutual understanding; from destruction to progress; from economic depression to economic resurgence and from war to peace.
He observed that war is not an option but peace is certainly sustainable.He said Jammu and Kashmir could prove as an economic hub for the two neighbouring countries if sincere efforts were made with open mind. “A small but crucial beginning had been made by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and this doctrine could have been given a chance to sustain”, he said while referring to cross border trade and people to people exchange. He said these confidence building measures worked despite intermittent irritants. To a question how such a scenario can actually be visualized given the hostilities and regular border skirmishes, the Provincial President referred to ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan, saying this did not only sustain for over a decade but had even rekindled a hope for bringing permanent thaw between India and Pakistan.
He said dialogue was the only option to settle issues, as military exercise could just bring disaster and devastation in the entire region. “Indo-Pak dialogue is important for the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have all along been facing the brunt of border tension”, he said and referred to skirmishes along Line of Control and International Border.“If the two countries come on a negotiation table with positive approach, there is no reason why the Line of Control can’t be converted into Line of Peace and Jammu and Kashmir made an arena of regional cooperation”, the MLA Nagrota said, adding that a lot of goodwill is prevailing between the peoples of the two countries, who are averse to continuing the era of hostility and mistrust. “ Let ii not be forgotten that ultimately it is the will of people which prevails in politics whether democratic or otherwise”, he said adding that history is replete of instances wherein it has been proven that ultimately it’s the people who decide their own future. “
Therefore, time has come when people to people contact should be allowed and harnessed for generating an atmosphere of congeniality, leading to peace in the region”, Rana maintained.Responding to internal dimensions of the Jammu and Kashmir imbroglio, the Provincial President said that the road-map is already there provided New Delhi appreciates the need to address the political issues. He said autonomy within the framework of the federal structure is the best suited option for ending political uncertainty and steering Jammu and Kashmir to peace, progress and prosperity. On autonomy, Rana elaborated that a wholesome exercise had been undertaken over one and a half decades ago and also adopted by the State Legislature with two-third majority, which unfortunately remained in the back-burner. “Had a thought been given to this important document, We believe the scenario would have been quite different now”, he said adding that autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir will not only satiate the aspirations of people and regional autonomy to the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh but autonomy to District Development Boards could address the regional and sub-regional aspirations.
To a question, Rana said that discussing autonomy should not be construed as anti-national, as is the case with some ultra-nationalists. “They must appreciate that none other than the Prime Minister of India P V Narsimha Rao had stated that ‘sky is the limit’ for peace in Jammu and Kashmir and the same was articulated by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee when he talked about the solution in the gambit of ‘Insanyaat’.The Provincial President said that intelligentsia and the civil society activists can play a useful role in checking the prevailing drift and generating an atmosphere in which internal and external dimensions of the Kashmir imbroglio can be addressed. “This will be a huge service towards the people of the state as also the country”, he added. (KNS)