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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 17:26 GMT
Is there fresh hope for Kashmir?
Mufti Muhammad Sayeed
A new government has been announced in Indian-administered Kashmir, bringing fresh hope that steps might be taken to resolve the long-running anti-Indian insurgency in the territory.

The new chief minister-designate, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, says he wants to "win the hearts and minds of the people" and bring peace.

He has talked about ending abuses and curbing violence.

And ordinary people seemed to welcome a change after years of what they saw as misrule by previous administrations.

But can the new government make much difference on the ground? Is fresh hope for Kashmir justified?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


The new government must act to restore faith

Shashi, Sacramento, USA
The new government must act to restore the faith Kashmiri's have in democracy. It is the mouthpiece of the people who braved bullets for ballots. Creating jobs for the youth, disbanding the special operations group (SOG), bringing more infrastructure and aid from the centre, and preserving human rights are some pragmatic moves expected by the majority of Kashmiri's.
Shashi, Sacramento, USA

There is a lot of hope expected on the current government by the people of Kashmir. The new government seems to be very committed towards bringing peace and development in the region. They are keen on taking a few steps which no other state government has done whole heartedly, like opening dialog with terrorists and dissolving POTA. The new government will have to come out with concrete implementation plans for new development and employment in the region. Lots would depend on the support and cooperation that Delhi provides.
Prabhat Kumar, Seattle, USA


It will be hard for Musharraf to not meddle in Kashmir

Samir
It will be hard for Musharraf to not meddle in Kashmir, there is no other issue in Pakistan that the populace and the ruler agree on more. However, in the medium term there will be no choice but to accept the status quo, especially if the new state government manages the expectations of the people and delivers on the promise of prosperity and security.
Samir

Under extreme pressure of terrorist threats, the Kashmiri people showed the courage to come out and vote for legislature. However, a hung assembly has complicated the situation. The new team has a lot of responsibility to stay focused on the people's welfare and to work towards improving the economic situation of the region.
Praveen Gupta, San Diego, USA

There is hope. As long as Pakistan doesn't promote militancy and proxy war.
Beula Azariah, Chicago, U.S.A

The scenes of jubilation expressed by the Kashmiri's at the new chief minister, and downfall of the Abdullah family, only raises questions on the validity of successive past elections which kept the Abdullah's in power for fifty years.
MK, UK


The new coalition's regime can offer no hope

Ibn Rahat, Kashmir
The new coalition's regime can offer no hope for the Kashmiri's because it can not address the real problems the Kashmiri's are facing. It will have to follow the policies devised by New Delhi. So it has no role to play on its own. With this background, there is no hope for betterment.
Ibn Rahat, Kashmir

Kashmir has been devastated by years of militancy. Now there is a good opportunity for the people of Kashmir to see peace in the region. Punjab gave up arms and is now the most prosperous state in India. If Punjab did it, there is no reason why Kashmir can't return to normality.
Shekar, Cincinnati, USA

How can a government coming out of a fake election process bring peace to the region? The elections in Kashmir were pure drama created by the Indian Government. This is just the denial of the just right of self determination to the Kashmiri's given to them by the UN.
Serkan, Istanbul, Turkey

Have you noticed how in the comments section majority of the people with Islamic names ask for plebiscite in Kashmir while those with Indian names are hailing the elections as a success? Is this because of selective press coverage on both sides of Kashmir?
Maltesh, UK


It is up to the new government to carry out reforms

Anand Tripathi, Chicago, USA
The recently conducted elections and the formation of the new government will definitely restore the faith of the Kashmiri people in democracy. Now it is up to the new government to carry out reforms which they have promised.
Anand Tripathi, Chicago, USA

As long as Pakistani sponsored terrorists are operating in the valley, it is difficult to bring peace in the valley. Either Pakistan has to drop terrorism or India has to take hard steps against Pakistan.
Ashutosh, USA

Yes, I believe that the new government can bring peace and stability to Kashmir. People have voted them for good governance; both PDP and Congress should keep it in mind and deliver the goods without quibbling about power.
Varadish, UK


These elections are no substitute for a referendum

Inam Ul-Haq, UK
From a Kashmiri point of view these elections are no substitute for a referendum or the plebiscite promised to them by the UN. Kashmir must be allowed to decide its own future based on UN resolutions. The whole of Kashmir should be handed over to UN and after 5 years the UN should hold elections to decide the future of Kashmir, similar to what is going on in Kosovo.
Inam Ul-Haq, UK

Realistically, Kashmir will only have peace when the Kashmiri People have true freedom and a right to self-determination as demanded by three UN resolutions, which have yet to implemented by India. PM Nehru has promised to adhere to these UN Resolutions in the past. The lack of commitment to this promise by the current Indian government is illegal and immoral.
Tahir Lone, UK/Kashmir

India should admit its past mistakes and allow the Kashmiri's to decide their own future freely.
Ayub Khosla, New York, USA


The new government has a great responsibility on its shoulders

Rahul Khosla, Lanham/USA
A relatively free and fair election with a moderate voter turn out shows that the people of J&K are tired of the ongoing violence and want peace. The new government has a great responsibility on its shoulders and needs to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated.
Rahul Khosla, Lanham/USA

The election of a local government in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir is a commendable first step. Now, the people of the Pakistan-held part of the Jammu-Kashmir enclave should hold their own election. After that, the two, elected local governments should decide how they will co-exist. India and Pakistan should only act as bystanders and the UN, a co-sponsor. For too long, the egos of the two nuclear powers have stood in the way of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace plan for the Kashimiris.
Igonikon Jack, USA

It appears that the people of Kashmir have chosen wisely. Now, it remains to be seen if the elected government of the PDP can deliver on the promises to its people.
Joya Ganguly, USA

Provided that outsiders do not meddle in the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir, the new government could once again make J&K flourish. If corruption can be curbed and outside interference stopped, I don't see why Kashmir can't return to the harmonious place it once was.
A. Rastogi, Louisville, KY, USA


It is up to them and their new government to work towards peace and prosperity

Haridas Ramakrishnan, Monterey, CA, USA
The Kashmiri people used their opportunity to oust a government they didn't like. Now, it is up to them and their new government to work towards peace and prosperity.
Haridas Ramakrishnan, Monterey, CA, USA

The new government will be as powerless as previous governments have been and the suffering of the people will continue. Let the Kashmiris have the right of self-determination and let them have their own government.
Professor Mukhtar Ali Naqvi, Orlando, USA

The return of the normal heat and dust of politics to Kashmir is reason for guarded optimism. It has the potential to reduce the residual local support for terrorists.
Sridhar, Chicago, USA

The militancy in Kashmir initially started against misgovernance like corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency and a lack of economic development which transformed into an anti-India campaign through its exploitation by Pakistan. The acid test of the new government is therefore its capacity to deliver a clean and efficient government to the people of Kashmir which is what they voted for.
Razdan, Delhi

Both the governments of India and Pakistan as well as the people of Kashmir have to resolve the complicated Kashmir dispute. If the change in government can retain peace in Kashmir, it will not result in conflicts with Pakistan.
Pravesh Saria, Nepal/USA

Kudos to the Indian government for conducting an election in some dire conditions. Now it is up to the local people and their leaders to step up and do what is right instead of listening to extremists.
Narendra Nathmal, USA

The people of Kashmir have voted for parties which are committed to restoring peace and normalcy to the state. Both the coalition partners are also committed to Kashmir remaining an integral part of the Indian Union. The chances of peace and normalcy in the Kashmir valley now depend on the willingness of the Pakistani military establishment, and the militant groups sponsored by it, to respect the verdict of the Kashmiri people.
Vish, Oakland, USA

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28 Oct 02 | South Asia
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