Autonomy, Self-Rule! Do Jammu based NC-PDP politicians subscribe? PART II
They may be playing competitive politics over issues of paramount national importance but their every action distances Jammu and Kashmir further from the mainstream. Two days after National Conference moved a resolution in Legislative Assembly to urge the Centre for reconsidering Autonomy Resolution (passed in 2000), seeking pre-1953 position to the State, its MLA Shaffi Uri on Thursday made a passionate appeal, “We should fulfill our promises that we make to the people, be it Self Rule document (PDP) or Achievable Nationhood (Sajjad Lone’s Peoples Conference)”. Both these documents are as dangerous for the national unity as autonomy.
Of course, Shaffi Uri was trying to corner the PDP and BJP for keeping under carpet their ‘Mission-Kashmir’ but the underlying message to both was not to ‘forget’ their agenda on Jammu and Kashmir for the sake of power. He wanted them to be on same page as far as future of Kashmir (read Jammu and Kashmir) was concerned, which is nothing but to dilute the spirit of accession.
Be as it is the position of Kashmir based politicians belonging to all hues, including PDP and NC, but whenever they unfold their sinister agenda, they include Jammu and Ladakh in that too. This is precisely what should concern the Jammu and Ladakh based legislators of PDP and NC. Do they subscribe to what Shaffi Uri referred to when he yearned for fulfilling the promises made to the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh? If the answer of Jammu based politicians is in affirmative they are visualising Jammu and Kashmir as a separate nation, as per PDP’s Self-Rule document.
Hypothetically, if the Self-Rule document is adopted, it will eliminate the sources of ethno-territorial conflicts, entrenched in the traditional notions of sovereignty, self-determination, national and ethnic borders. It is a formulation that will integrate the region without disturbing the extant sovereign authority over delimited territorial space. It will be a way of sharing sovereignty and the self rule being a trans-border concept will have a pan-Kashmir dimension. It will allow sharing of power between two levels of government, for the sharing of sovereignty in a coordinated but not subordinated to one another, each exercising supreme sovereignty in its constitutional prerogatives. So, Greater Jammu and Kashmir will have its own sovereignty.
Greater Jammu and Kashmir will have a Regional Council, a sort of senate, replacing the present Legislative Council and having representatives from PoK. The Regional Council will serve as a major cross-border institution to ensure long-term coordination of matters and interest relating to the State. The Regional Council will provide frameworks within which certain matters between the two parts of the State and their respective mainland, that need to be sorted out to infuse in people a sense of empowerment and a feeling of belonging.
Greater Jammu and Kashmir will have a common economic space, dual currency system and a mechanism to coordinate economic policy. Under the economic integration, a Preferential Trade Agreement would be put in place with India and Pakistan to offer tariff reductions, or eliminations confined to the geographical boundaries of GJAK. Initially it will be restricted to some product categories but gradually it will be a regional free trade area, with no tariffs or barriers. GJAK will maintain its own external tariff on imports from the rest of the world, including India and Pakistan. GJAK will set a common external tariff on imports from India and Pakistan. So, welcome to a new entity, if not a new country, which Self-Rule envisages to make GJAK a hub of activity for the Central Asia?
The system of dual currency will see the currencies of India and Pakistan becoming legitimate tenders within the geographical areas of GJAK.
Now hold your breath, the GJAK will dispense with the Governor, which any other state of the country is having, including J and K, as of now. Instead, it will have a Sadr-e-Riyasat, chosen by the State Legislature. It is not known whether the State will switch over to monarchal or presidential form of the government because there is no mention of Chief Minister or the Prime Minister.
Finally, GJAK will not have Indian services officers by scrapping All India Service Act 1951 and rolling back Article 312; similarly, Article 356 will be scrapped and Article 249, applied to the State in amended form, will be rolled back so that the Parliament cannot exercise legislative jurisdiction over a matter that, otherwise, falls under the State jurisdiction; the proviso added to Article 368, which deals with the powers of the Parliament to amend the Constitution of India and not the power of State Legislature to amend its own Constitution will also be dispensed with.
Will the Jammu based legislators and leaders of NC and PDP be comfortable with such a Jammu and Kashmir under Self-Rule?
(To be continued)