JAMMU, Feb 14: National Conference working president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said that Indian and Pakistan owed Kashmiris a credible peace process that would result in sustainable solution of Kashmir issue. He added that both the neighbouring countries should stop trying to beat each other at diplomatic fora and claim victory and instead should allow the people of Kashmir win from a peace process.
Addressing gathering of analysts, faculty and students at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, Omar said Kashmiris have suffered a lot due to the fact that India and Pakistan have failed to initiate comprehensive and sustained peace process that would simultaneously facilitate dialogue at both external and internal fronts.
“For what the Kashmiris have gone through, they deserve uninterrupted and undivided attention of both Indian and Pakistan with a demonstrated intention and political will to resolve the political issue of Kashmir,” Omar said.
He said trade, development and operational processes through administrative mechanisms can’t replace a lasting political solution to the Kashmir Issue.
“The issue in Kashmir is inherently one of a political nature and required a broad-based and credible political approach based on the tenets of empathy and statesmanship. The conventional investment in a policy of diplomatic one-upmanship or containment and operational management of the political sentiment in Kashmir has created a prolonged and dangerous phase of political vacuum and uncertainty in Kashmir”, Omar said.
“The institution of dialogue has unfortunately been discredited by rare initiatives taken as fire fighting steps only to be abandoned later. There is a strong perception in Kashmir that such rare political initiatives were taken only to buy time till relative peace was achieved, only to be left midway and abandoned later. This has resulted in an atmosphere of skepticism and hopelessness – which makes the issue even more complex. The first challenge is to restore faith in the institution and processes of dialogue and engagement”, he said.
He added that diplomatic engagement between New Delhi and Islamabad – both on the Kashmir issue as well as generally – has been defined by inconsistency and ambiguity. “While successive Governments in India and Pakistan have engaged with each other on Kashmir, we have achieved precious little as glimmers of hope have turned into despair as all such initiatives were derailed. We need to chart a new way away from egoistical stands and clichés and realize the enormous human costs of a prolonged conflict in Kashmir. For a mutually acceptable, lasting and sustainable solution to be achieved, it is important that both New Delhi and Islamabad rise above domestic challenges and politics and play sober, constructive and result-oriented roles in their engagement on Kashmir”.
“History bears witness to the fact that the most complex, seemingly intractable political conflicts in the world have been resolved through evolution and innovation. Tried and tested formulations of dealing with the Kashmir issue militarily or administratively or as a diplomatic battle are bound to be counterproductive. The time has come to engage with the political sentiment in Kashmir and emulate various successful political initiatives from around the world where such conflicts were resolved. There are various solutions that have been suggested over the years and there are many other agreements and treatise of conflict resolution that could form a basis of general emulation and inspiration. The key to unlocking a future of peace lies in acknowledging and respecting the political sentiment and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”, Omar said.