Will Self Rule work?

Four years after the three interlocutors saw a better option in Peoples’ Democratic Party’s Self Rule, the party made a mention of it during electioneering. The formula has evoked sarcastic remarks from Kashmir born, London based commentator Dr Siraj. He dealt a severe blow to Self Rule proposal while addressing a seminar in Srinagar three years ago. He said, “Self Rule is given to tribals. And this species does not exist in this part of the state at least. The PDP, perhaps, does not know that tribals do not exist in this state.”

The document claims that it would address the internal and external dimension of the vexed Kashmir issue. While the PDP alone can explain what it actually means by external dimension, the internal dimension of the problem, it seems, has not been understood by the party. Jammu and Ladakh have different problems and issues. Jammu stands for greater integration with India. For the time being Ladakh is happy with the dispensation it has got and only wants `azadi (freedom) from Kashmiris. And, Kashmir is neither interested in autonomy nor Self Rule. The moment leaders understand this `internal dimension’ half of the problem would stand solved. The Self Rule document seeks opening of all routes connecting the state to rest of the world. The PDP patron and former Chief Minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed believes the document would   neutralize the negative effects of partition by boosting the trade.  A road, Mufti must know, only leads to destination but can never be the destination in itself. The opening of the Jehlum Valley road has proved it beyond doubt. Apart from taking a few hundred people across the LoC and enabling people of Kashmir to taste Pakistani onions and tomatoes, it has virtually served no purpose. The document urges the government of India not to apply Article 356 to Jammu Kashmir. Article 356 authorizes the government of India to dismiss a state government. “It (dismissing the government) should be left to the legislature,” the document seeks. The document lays down the procedure for appointment and term of the governor. The governor, as per the document must be elected “for six years from Jammu and for six years from the Valley.” What purpose can it serve? And, what amount of Self Rule shall it confer to the state? The PDP believes peace can be achieved by Self Rule. How? The document does not explain.