By K.N. Pandita
Former PoK Prime Minister and well-known political leader, Sardar Attique Khan will be visiting Kashmir on a private invitation of a Srinagar-based friend. State government circles are silently trying to facilitate his 24-member strong delegation’s travel via Muzaffarabad-Uri road in their own vehicles. Attique Khan will be lodged in a super-luxury hotel on Gupkar Road in Srinagar and is scheduled to meet almost all hues of political leadership in Kashmir; nationalist mainstream, opposition, separatists or militants. It appears a mix of social and political visit and indicates the invisible hand of Track II diplomacy in progress. Attique Khan has changed his and his political party’s six decade long stance and accepted Omar Abdullah as the elected leader of the people. Does this indicate a thaw in strained relations between the two countries? We will be happy if the visit of Attique Khan helps in strengthening confidence building measures.
It is a matter of satisfaction that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is trying hard with New Delhi to facilitate the visit of the guests in their own vehicles and will be extending them full courtesy. Now that the minorities in both parts of Kashmir have been fully extirpated, first in 1947 and more recently in 1990, the ground is highly conducive for convergence of ideas between the leadership of the divided Kashmir for a consensus formula once the irritants are no more there. We also hope that Omar Abdullah will mince no words in telling his honoured guests that they should show determination in refusing the ISI and religious extremist organizations of Pakistan the using of their (PoK) soil for running camps in which Pakistani jihadis are trained and then infiltrated into Kashmir to unleash terror, killing and mayhem. If Omar succeeds in convincing them that they should wriggle out of the stranglehold of ISI, then the bizarre visit of the PoK leadership will mean much in making things smooth between the two parts of the State.
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Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan also known as Sardar Atiq;