Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today reminded the nation once again of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee doctrine on Kashmir when she said only dialogue similar to the ones held during the former prime minister's era more than a decade ago could save the Valley.
"There was dialogue when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and LK Advani his deputy. They even held dialogue with the Hurriyat and others," Mufti told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence in New Delhi.
Vajpayee ruled between 1998 and 2004. His approach towards addressing the Kashmir issue came to be called Vajpayee Doctrine. It also included improving relations with neighbouring Pakistan.
THE VAJPAYEE DOCTRINE
The Vajpayee doctrine on Kashmir called for peace, progress and prosperity in the Valley by imbibing the spirit of Insaniyat (Humanity) , Jamhuriyat (Democracy) and Kashmiriyat (Identity of the people of Kashmir).
The doctrine was universally acclaimed by all segments across of political spectrum in the state, including the extremist elements in the Valley.
Vajpayee's mantra included resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including that of Jammu and Kashmir issue in a peaceful manner through bilateral dialogue without any third party intervention.
He carried his message of peace to Pakistan during a bus journey to Lahore on February 19, 1999.
Vajpayee made it a point to visit to Minar-e-Pakistan where he re-affirmed India's commitment to the existence of Pakistan.
He reached out to the people of Pakistan in a passionate speech at the governor's house in Lahore telecast live both in Pakistan & India.
Vajpayee extended a hand of friendship on the basis of reciprocity and mutual trust and called for collective fight against poverty in the Indian subcontinent devoid of terrorism and drug-trafficking.
His emotional speech made Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to say: "Vajpayee Saheb, ab to aap Pakistan mein bhi election jeet sakte haein (Mr Vajpayee now you can win elections even in Pakistan)."
Vajpayee also signed a Lahore Declaration with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on February 21, 1999. As part of the declaration, Pakistan agreed to resolve all bilateral issues between the two countries, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in a peaceful manner and through dialogue and to promote people to people contact.
The Delhi-Lahore Bus Service Sada-e-Sarhad (Call of the Frontier) was launched as a symbol of the efforts of the Vajpayee government to promote peaceful and friendly relations with Pakistan on the basis of reciprocity.
Vajpayee did now allow the bus service to be terminated even when Pakistan army chief Parvez Musharraf launched an attack in Kargil between May and July, 1999, which the Indian armed forces successfully repulsed forcing the Pakistani army to vacate the occupied hills in the region.
However, the service had to be suspended during the heightened tension between the two neighbours in the aftermath of the Pakistan-ISI sponsored terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. It was restored on July 16, 2003 when Pakistan assured the Indian government as well as the international community that Islamabad would not allow its territory to be used for terrorists' activities.
All the setbacks to his dialogue initiatives, including Kargil conflict, hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandhar and terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament, notwithstanding, Vajpayee did not allow the peace process to derail despite serious provocations by the Pakistan army and the ISI.
MUFTI WANTS MODI TO FOLLOW VAJPAYEE DOCTRINE
Perhaps, Mehbooba Mufti wants PM Modi to follow the Vajpayee doctrine to normalise the situation in the Kashmir Valley and lower the tension with Pakistan.
"We must start from where Vajpayee ji left... Modi ji has repeatedly said that he would follow the footsteps of Vajpayee ji, whose policy was of reconciliation, not confrontation," Mufti said. "There is no option but to talk," she asserted.
Mufti's meeting with Modi came in the backdrop of the worsening security situation in the state that has also rattled the ruling PDP-BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir. The government headed by Mehbooba Mufti is under mounting attack in the face of fresh spurt in violence in the state.