Published On: Mon, Sep 26th, 2011

“Enough, enough, enough”

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Mahmoud Abbas at UN General Assembly (Photo: EPA)

Those who attend the debates at United Nations are familiar with the fact that all circulated statements by speakers, whether heads of states, state representatives or NGO representatives carry a caution “Check against Delivery”. The Statement circulated by Mahmoud Abbas President of the State of Palestine, at United Nations General Assembly Sixty-sixth Session in New York on September 23, 2011 is an example of this caution.

President Abbas’s statement reads “I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of an on-going Nakba: enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.”

True to the caution and more true to his people he did not restrain his warning “enough” to single expression but repeated it three times during his address. “Enough, Enough, Enough” was received with rapturous applause and support by the delegates.

There are lessons for the people of Kashmir if they have a desire to be true to their cause and learn from Palestinian people and leadership. The first lesson is faith in your own cause. President Abbas while advocating his cause said “ Our people will continue their popular peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation and its settlement and apartheid policies and its construction of the racist annexation Wall, and they receive support for their resistance, which is consistent with international humanitarian law and international conventions and has the support of peace activists from Israel and around the world, reflecting an impressive, inspiring and courageous example of the strength of this defenceless people, armed only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of bullets, tanks, teargas and bulldozers.”

Palestinians are “armed only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of bullets, tanks, tear gas and bulldozers” and it made it possible that the leader of the Palestinians before his address to the UN submitted to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, an application for the admission of Palestine on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders, with AI-Quds AI-Sharif as its capital, as a full member of the United Nations. He called upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favour of their full membership. He also appeals to the States that have not yet recognised the State of Palestine to do so.

As a routine which unfortunately had turned more stale this year Mirwaiz remains the lone Kashmiri leader on the sidelines of the 66th Session of UN General Assembly in New York. The other possible components who could have been resourced to complete this routine could not turn up in New York because Nazir Ahmad Shawl and Abdul Majid Tramboo are named in the FBI affidavit lodged in the criminal complaint brought against Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai. It embeds that they could be arrested if they fall within the jurisdiction of US authorities.

It is unfortunate that Mirwaiz continues to agree to be the symbol of this routine and a political narrative which has no merit. He has spoken on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Session to OIC contact group on Kashmir. Before arriving in New York he was able to see the Back Benchers debate on Human Rights on the Indian Subcontinent initiated by Steve Baker conservative Member of Parliament from Wycombe.

The litmus test of the success and failure of a debate in the British Parliament could be gauged from the fact that the debate in the British House of Commons on Kashmir was not reflected in the speech of British Prime Minister who spoke at the UN General Assembly. The other failure could be ascertained by the fact that although Mirwaiz addressed at least three members of OIC contact group on Kashmir, namely Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Niger, yet neither Turkey nor Niger made any reference to Kashmir in their address to the UN General Assembly. I could not say much about Saudi Arabia (Pakistan has yet to speak) because it has not addressed the UNGA by the time I am writing this column. However, it is certain that Saudi Arabia would not behave any different to Turkey and Niger and there would be no reference to Kashmir.

The political narrative of Mirwaiz seems to be out of his control, restrained and out of touch with his people. We have made every effort to make independent inputs to assist him to represent “defenceless people, armed only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of bullets, tanks, tear gas and bulldozers.” It would be an exaggeration to quote President Abbas in entirety in respect of Kashmir. Indians have not used any “tanks” or ‘bulldozers” so far except when its forces have surrounded any house suspected of harbouring an armed militant. One would have hoped that his political narrative in Geneva, London and New York would reflect our national wisdom and represent Kashmiri people who are armed with their “dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of bullets”.

The merits of Kashmir narrative supported by Islamabad have also been exposed after the arrest of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai. Nazir Ahmad Shawl and Abdul Majid Tramboo could not be despatched to New York to assist Mirwaiz for fear of being arrested by the US authorities. The nonappearance of any other credible Kashmiri from AJK Government, AJK opposition, civil society from AJK, people from Srinagar/Jammu or any part of Jammu and Kashmir or from Kashmiri Diaspora at the UN General Assembly goes to prove that Pakistan does not have any credible or reliable interest or understanding of the best interests of the people of Kashmir except for using Kashmir to create a temporary hype to nudge into the ribs of India and cause a timely discomfort or embarrassment.

On the Kashmiri part it is unfortunate that in comparison to President Abbas and his delegation at the UN, Kashmir has been reduced to Mirwaiz and three Kashmiris, who have become subjects of interest for FBI in USA. We should thank our stars that so far there is no spill over of FBI affidavit in the case of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai. Americans could turn very nasty if they decide to elaborate and interpret the FBI affidavit in a different manner making its reach to the doormats of our senior Kashmiri leaders. Such a situation could land Mirwaiz in a very difficult situation during his stay in USA.

It is high time that we revisit the character of our political representation and the manner in which we are being debated and talked about inside and outside Kashmir. If we are an equal people as good as the people of Palestine, we need to check the ownership of leadership claimed on our behalf through the courtesy of Islamabad in the case of separatists and Delhi in the case of mainstream politicians. It is hypocritical that we continue to ridicule and demand accountability of mainstream politicians and let go the separatists domiciled in Srinagar or their likes maintained in Islamabad for their rights and wrongs.

We need to interfere in the interests of “defenceless people, armed only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of bullets”. Unless we do that, no leader would be able say “Enough, Enough, Enough” in the UNGA. They would continue to remain subjects of a very poor political narrative and false hypes created in Geneva and London. We have to challenge the ownership of Kashmir politics in all the areas, namely, political and diplomatic. It can be possible if we take ourselves out of the winter of fear caused by falling prey to private benefits and politics of comfort.

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