|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Pak jihadis may stall Indo-Pak peace process: J&K governor
September 25, 2007 15:17 IST
The Indo-Pak peace process may get adversely affected if jihadis in Pakistan get an upper hand in that country, Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Governor S K Sinha on Tuesday said.
Interacting with a visiting European Union delegation at Raj Bhavan, he said though jihadis were vocal, they do not appear to dominate the Pakistani majority, who like Indians are forward looking and peace loving.
Sinha in a two-hour interactive session with the EU delegation had free and frank exchange of views on issues like Indo-Pak relations, evolution of fundamentalism in Pakistan, Indo-Pak peace process, special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and the prevailing security scenario.
The delegation led by Luis Filipe Castro Mendes, the ambassador of Portugal representing the current EU presidency, included the Charge-de-Affairs of Slovenia Miklavz Borstnik, Charge-de-Affairs of the European Commission delegation Alexander Spachis, First Secretary of Portuguese embassy Jose Manuel Castro Santiago and the political counsellor of French embassy had discussions with Hurriyat and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leaders.
Answering questions, Sinha said the Kargil war proved to be a turning point when the world appreciated the Indian point of view over terrorism.
"For the first time Pakistan stood isolated internationally for its incursion in the Himalayan region," he said.
"Today, the Indian position on Kashmir stands overwhelmingly endorsed by the EU Parliament's approval of the report of Baroness Emma Nicholson," he said.
To a question, the governor said Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] has been trying to project enlightened moderation unlike Gen Zia-ul-Haq who tried to promote fundamentalist outlook in the Pakistani army and civil society.
He referred to the dialogue process to address the internal dimensions of the Kashmir problem and said five working groups had been set up during the second round table conference of which four have formulated their recommendations and the fifth dealing with Centre-State relations shall be doing so shortly.
Asked about Article 370, the governor said it bestows a special status on Jammu and Kashmir and is a safeguard to preserve its special identity.
He said India is considered internationally as the most vibrant democracy of the third world and within India, Jammu and Kashmir has more self-rule than other states of the country.
The governor made a comparison of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir where the administration is under the tight control of the Central minister in-charge of Kashmir affairs in Islamabad.
"The northern area is in a much worse position where people are totally denied any democratic rights," Sinha said adding, "northern area is the only surviving colony in the world."
Sinha said various separatist organisations need to establish their representative credentials and they cannot be considered the sole representatives of the people of Kashmir.
When the leader of the delegation wanted to know the assessment of the governor, whom he described as an old soldier having in-depth knowledge of Kashmir scenario, about the situation, Sinha said, "Terrorism is losing steam and the situation is gradually improving. We have to take measures for winning hearts and minds of the people."