Published On: Mon, Dec 29th, 2014

Elections 1987 and Elections 2014

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

Vote and its free use so far, is the best known instrument of peaceful change and genuine empowerment of any people. The people of Jammu and Kashmir since 1947 have been to polls around twelve times and have elected 12 assemblies from a part of the State. People on the Pakistani side of cease fire line also go to polls and elect their two other assemblies for Muzaffarabad and Gilgit. Therefore, any suggestion that the recent Vote in 2014 Elections which has thrown up a fractured mandate has any merit in regard to the resolution of Kashmir case is without any merit.

However, the results of the vote in elections 2014 if mishandled or abused for any self-serving reason are embedded with similar and more dangers, as witnessed consequent to 1987 elections. State based political parties and independents (Valley in particular) pleaded the Muslim (and others) voters in the Valley to reconsider the demerits of a poll boycott and vote to keep BJP out of Kashmir politics. Common voter was pushed against the wall in his choice. The unwilling decided to vote at least to ensure that BJP victory does not cause any hurt to his so called special status under article 370, build a barricade against harming the State Subject Law and to keep at bay the so called likely cultural assault, up under the sleeves of BJP.

Voters in the valley have reasons to fall to such pleadings laid with fear. It seems that regional political parties in Kashmir in particular NC and PDP have not moved with times. We live in an age where representatives are chosen to provide a good governance. There are no rulers and ruled today. We have the voter citizen ready to take over as vigilant citizen. If Muslims of India did not have an ongoing and historical issue with BJP, there should not have been any issue with it in Kashmir (Valley) either. It may be that BJP would have provided a better administration as against Baap-Beta and Baap-Bete governance badly ridiculed and questioned by BJP during elections. Congress has wasted all its time in out-sourcing the management to State apparatus, visible and invisible and quick fixes. It has failed to consider the internal and external dimensions of present and future of the people of the State.

Instilling the fear of a threat to the special status under article 370 if BJP came to power has no merit. In India BJP may have a choice to hurt Muslims and other minorities but BJP in Kashmir can’t afford to go for a secret kill. It has to face the people, in particular those who registered an issue by sacrificing 70,000-100,000 people, Pakistan and the United Nations. It would then be the beginning of an all out disaster and no precautionary measures would help Delhi. Vote for NC or PDP in lieu of removing the AFSPA also does not have a merit. AFSPA has no place in Kashmir. It is against the two disciplines governing the presence of Indian army in Kashmir. AFSPA brings Government of India into a breach of the conditions under which these forces were admitted into Kashmir and is a serious violation of the three principles set out by the United Nations for its stationing in Kashmir.

The manner in which election results have surfaced in the valley, Jammu and Ladakh make it clear that BJP would not be in any position to disrespect the sentiment behind the current manner of vote and risk to stir a 1987 like situation. People of Kashmir cannot be managed against their will and the social and political engineering taking place in a discreet manner would hit Delhi in the face in the same manner in which the engineered displacement of Kashmir Pandits has hit Delhi and the Pandits as well.

It is unfortunate that regional parties in particular NC and PDP have continued a lame and blind like relationship with Delhi. These parties don’t want to challenge BJP or any other Indian political party on the jurisprudence of Delhi-Srinagar relations as inked bilaterally and at the United Nations. They seem to be missing the point that if these parties fail to address Deli-Kashmir relations as accepted at the United Nations or as argued by India at the UN, there are other parties outside the territories of Jammu and Kashmir or Delhi’s influence, namely, Government of Pakistan, other member Nations of UN, Kashmiris living under the two administrations at Muzaffarabad and Gilgit and the Kashmiri Diaspora who would intervene at the domestic and at the international level.

Delhi and its support base in Kashmir represent a modern parliamentary where free will of the people is the basis of any governance. There has been a continued complaint that Delhi has always except twice sabotaged this free vote through its local supplants. Elections 2014 in this border State have a lesson and a warning for those who wish to see the Kashmiri Muslim exhausted, humiliated and helpless.

PDP, NC and Congress have campaigned against the entry of BJP in the valley in particular. As a general rule, disallowing any political opinion to reach public during elections, is undemocratic. It is unfair to mislead a voter against any one political opinion, be it BJP. Valley voter has listened to PDP, NC, Congress and independents that BJP is a ‘danger’ and needs to be kept away from the Valley. It would be very difficult for PDP, NC, Congress and independents to cobble a government with BJP and start justifying that there was no danger any more. Asking people to keep BJP away during elections for a personal reason and after elections facilitating BJP to govern would be a scientific rigging of the kind of 1987.

Any new formation in Srinagar, has to be in accordance with the manner of vote and in the best interests of not only the people living on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir but in the best interests of all State Subjects living on either side of cease fire line and in any part of the world.  These people have been recognised in the UN Resolution of 21 April 1948 and UN Resolution of 30 March 1951. In addition to this, Delhi has to satisfy itself, Pakistan and ‘other parties, including the Security Council’ of the United Nations.

There is a confusion in regard to various parties in Kashmir dispute. Indian side does not seem to have its hand on the handle either. The question of parties to Kashmir dispute has been explained by India itself on 23 January 1957 and is contained in para 3 of the minutes of 762nd meeting of the Security Council. While replying to the complaint of Pakistan made in their letter of 2 January 1957, to the President of the Security Council (S/3767), Indian representative Mr. V. K. Krishna Menon stated, “It is not possible to understand a problem, especially a complex problem which has engaged, in the first instance, the attention of the two countries, and the attention of other parties, including the Security Council, over the years – to which I shall refer later, without having the whole picture so that the significance of documents, arrangements and declarations can become realistic and true to fact”.

It is quite clear that the parties are not only India and Pakistan but there are “other parties, including the Security Council”. It is clear that even if NC, PDP or the independents wish to strike a quid pro quo to fool the people of Kashmir, they can’t fool the other parties admitted by India herself at the United Nations. Among other parties Security Council remains an ‘include’ and the phrase “other parties” embeds a plurality of parties.

PDP, NC and the Independents do not have any serious cause to defend article 370 and have just used it as a means to access the fear psychosis of the voter. BJP or any other Indian political party can’t dislodge the manner of evidence that it has presented at the United Nations. Kashmir has a special status without article 370. It has been admitted by India in para 46 of the minutes of same UN Security Council Meeting on 23 January 1957.  Explaining the Indian temporary arrangement with Jammu and Kashmir Indian representative said, “Further in the document it stated: “Let us turn for one moment to the Cabinet Mission Plan of 16 May 1946. In this Plan the proposal was that the States should surrender to the Central Government three subjects – Defence, External Affairs and Communications. That was a plan which, to the best of my belief, every Ruler and every State accepted as reasonable, fair and just.”

The results of Elections 2014 are a new challenge. Most important being that at heart remains the genuine possibility that it could return us back to a 1987 like situation, if political parties are caught red handed engaged in any mischief. Delhi too has to update itself and accept that it can’t cage a Kashmiri in A4 size files for all times or run a test by putting up proxies outside Kashmir to mutilate the character of Rights Movement.

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