Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pakistan must be engaged, says Kashmir interlocutor: The Hindu

Pakistan must be engaged, says Kashmir interlocutor
Shujaat Bukhari, The Hindu, Nov 15, 2010.

“The year Pakistan got engaged with India, we saw considerable improvement on ground”

Advocating a role for Pakistan in finding an amicable solution to the Kashmir problem, academician Radha Kumar, one of the three interlocutors on Kashmir, on Sunday stressed the need for working towards credibility of the dialogue process.

Before winding up the second visit to Kashmir and Ladakh, Professor Kumar told journalists that dialogue was important to arrive at a consensus, though there were varied perceptions in Ladakh and Kashmir.

Emphasising that Pakistan's role could not be wished away, she said it was a “necessity” to engage Pakistan in finding a permanent solution to the problem.

“The year Pakistan got engaged with India, we saw considerable improvement on ground. We were close to the Kashmir solution. We would like to see the dialogue process restart from the point it was left off. Unfortunately, the Pakistan government has shown disinclination to resume the dialogue from where they had left off. I hope they will change their position,” she said.

She was accompanied by another interlocutor M.M. Ansari.

Expressing concern over the media's “negative approach,” Professor Kumar said it had a larger role to play in maintaining the credibility of the dialogue process. “Our biggest challenge is to demonstrate the credibility of the process.”

She hoped that a framework for the Kashmir settlement would be possible within the next nine months. “As we said earlier, we are open to a dialogue with all shades of opinions, and that is what we have been doing so far.”

Professor Kumar said the interlocutors had submitted the report of their first visit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

“Our priority is to see what could be the political settlement of the Kashmir dispute. There is universal agreement that everyone wants political settlement of the issue. And it would be better to achieve it sooner than later.”
She stressed that the solution to the Kashmir problem could not be achieved without making changes on the ground. Without elaborating, she said it was must to release political detainees.

'Kashmir roadmap to be ready in next six to nine months' - Times of India
India: Repeal Immunity Law Fueling Kashmir Violence  - Human Rights Watch, Sep, 2010

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