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Prime Minister special envoy stirs hornet's nest days before Manmohan Singh demits office

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 - 6:20am IST | Place: Srinagar | Agency: dna

Days before UPA-II term ends, prime minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy Satinder Lambah sparked a major controversy by proposing the conversion of the sensitive Line of Control (LoC) into a permanent border between Indian and Pakistan.

"After three wars and long periods of disagreements, it is essential that any agreement must ensure that the Line of Control is like a border between any two normal states. There can be no redrawal
of borders," Lambah said delivering a key note address at a seminar, 'Discussion between India and Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir – a Historical Perspective', organised by University of Kashmir here on Tuesday.

Lambah, a former high commissioner to Pakistan who has been spearheading the back channel dialogue with Islamabad, hastened to add that he was making the suggestion of a possible outline of a solution
(for Kashmir tangle) in his personal capacity.

"The essential prerequisite is that there has to be an end to hostility, violence and terrorism. Once this happens it would be important that military forces on both sides of LoC are kept to the minimum particularly in the populated areas," he said.

PM's special envoy also advocated self-governance to manage the areas on the both sides of the Line of Control. "It would be important to ensure self governance for internal management in all the areas on
the same basis on the both sides of LoC," he said.

Lambah's proposal, however, stirred up the hornet's nest with BJP and the separatists going all guns blazing against the career diplomat.

"A unanimous resolution was passed by the parliament which said that entire J&K including the parts occupied by Pakistan are integral part of India. UPA is on its way out but it is still courting controversy.

They should have desisted from making such statements," Vibodh Gupta, senior vice-president of state BJP, told dna.

Moderate Hurriyat Conference went a step further questioning Lambah's authority to make such proposals. "Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute. There are UN resolution pending. What is his (Lambah) authority?" asked Shahid-ul-Islam, media advisor to Hurriyat Conference.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, however, emphasized the need for continuing the ongoing back channel dialogue between India and Pakistan to move forward on addressing the long pending issue. "It is most important that the new government taking office in New Delhi carries forward the process of dialogue with Pakistan and takes ahead the progress made by Lambah in this regard," Omar said.

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