Srinagar, Dec 26 (UNI) Urging for addressing both the external and internal dimensions of the Kashmir issue, Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Finance Tariq Hamid Karra today reiterated his party's demand of troops reduction and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) for a more meaningful and constructive process of political reconciliation.
A senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Mr Karra, said the Kashmir issue can be resolved only by addressing its political, economic and social aspects through a wide-ranging resolution package involving both the external and internal dimensions of the problem.
Addressing a public gathering in the historic Jamia Masjid area of the Shahr-e-Khaas (Old City) here, Mr Karra said the PDP has transformed the state's political landscape by helping create a conducive atmosphere for initiation and continuation of the process of dialogue for a just and durable resolution of the Kashmir issue.
''I would describe the post-2002 approach to governance in Jammu and Kashmir as the citizen-oriented governance that simultaneously addressed their sense of dignity and day-to-day needs,'' he said and added that the policies of the Coalition Government, right from its inception, have, in a great measure resulted in the growing engagement and involvement of people in the political and democratic processes.
Acknowledging that the crucial people-oriented issues raised by the PDP are evoking a positive response from the Centre, Mr Karra said that only through the measures like reduction of troops and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) a way could be paved for a more meaningful and constructive process of political reconciliation and institutional empowerment in the State.
''While the vacation of schools and hospitals by the troops is a welcome step, it must not be the end there, but mark the beginning of a larger process of troop reduction followed by revocation of AFSPA in the interest of peace,'' he said.
Mr Karra said that Srinagar city needs to be cleared of all bunkers before the onset of the next tourist season to minimise the visibility of the security forces.
He said the time has come when the populace of the Srinagar city must also energetically participate in the democratic process to have a greater say in the decision-making and get their due share of development.
He said cutting across political affiliations and ideologies, various shades of opinion from the city must put their act together to ensure succour and relief to the people of Srinagar who have faced the brunt of the turmoil to the hilt.
''We may be subscribing to different political thoughts and ideologies, but certain basic amenities of life like electricity, drinking water, better hygienic conditions, good roads, quality education and healthcare are required by every citizen,'' he said and added that the residents of the city could claim their due share in such facilities only when they have adequate and inclusive representation in the government.