Published On: Mon, Jul 8th, 2013

Hurriyat Needs A Rethink

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

Time and tide wait for none. The caution is as important to a leader as to a common person. It is more important for a leader because he remains in charge or claims to be keeping the trust of many others. He has to look into and beyond tomorrow. There are many tomorrows.
India and Pakistan are homes for people of many faiths and people of non-faith also live here. Leaders of these two countries have a duty to their people, settled without a dispute within their territories. Leaders have a duty to make sincere efforts in the interests of their own people, in the interests of neighbours, in the interests of world at large and to use the instrument of dialogue to resolve disputes.

Nawaz writes to Manmohan

Pakistan has brought forward Ambassador Shahryar Khan for conducting track-II diplomacy in order to improve ties with India. On Friday 5 July 2013 Khan delivered a letter from Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Indian PM Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. Nawaz Sharif has expressed his sincere desire to move forward on improving relations with India. The letter contained good wishes for PM Singh, the government and the people of India as well, and conveyed Pakistan’s sincere desire to move forward on improving relations with India.
These sentiments were warmly reciprocated by Prime Minister Singh. The special envoy also met with Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai. He would also be calling on the India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

Outstanding Issues

During the June 19-23, 1997 India Pakistan talks at Islamabad the two countries have identified eight ‘outstanding issues of concern to both sides’ and have decided to set up working groups to address these eight outstanding issues of concern, in an integrated manner. Kashmir is an include in these eight concerns and not a ‘core issue’ any more. There is a substantive evidence that Pakistan has agreed to disturb its earlier stand on Kashmir. Salman Haider at that point in June 1997 said, “We have our own very strong and active concerns on Jammu and Kashmir and how are we to advance our concerns if not through dialogue”.
Salman Haider further added, “When we talk about the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, there is a juridical element to that. We make the point that parts of Jammu and Kashmir are under Pakistani occupation by military force and that is something that we would certainly discuss”. Without prejudice to the respective positions of India and Pakistan the initiative taken by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sits well with the common desire to use the civilised instrument of a dialogue to serve the interests of the people and resolve disputes.

Hurriyat Narrative

There is no denying that Hurriyat surfaced as an attractive political alliance on 31 July 1993 with at least 31 political, social and religious organization in the fold. It was on 13 September 1995 that an amendment was carried out and around 10 groups were deleted from the list.
Hurriyat owned the political and a militant components of a struggle. We know that the beginnings of Hurriyat started from the meeting on 27 December 1992 held at Mirwaiz Manzil. We have yet to know about the authors of militancy except what has been reported by various analysts and admitted by Musharraf. Hurriyat was able to give its political narrative in its Constitution. It has never looked back to appraise any progress on its documented political agenda.

Losses in succession

Hurriyat made a fundamental error in not engaging the unionist parties at home and other political parties in Delhi. Today Hurriyat is not prepared to accept that Kashmir has lost a generation and this loss in numerical translation means the death of self-determination for a long time to come. Over the last 20 years (1993-2013) Hurriyat has never looked back to note that it has failed in making any progress on its objective 2 (i) listed under chapter II of its Constitution.
Hurriyat does not have the benefit of an independent input and does not seem to have made any genuine efforts to involve the non-Party experts from the civil society and various disciplines of life. It had to content itself with a script and a short list handed over to it. There is a difference between taking on an anti-India agenda and executing the collective interests of all people of the State living under three administrations.

Delhi Awareness Bureau

Hurriyat failed to use overwhelming embrace of Delhi to advance the interests of Kashmiri people. Indian civil society came forward to help Hurriyat to establish its first mini embassy in Delhi in 1995. It could not emerge as a credible seat of Kashmiri Narrative and gradually started losing its glitter. Our leaders failed to respect the obligations towards the host administration (that is Delhi), and turned the Awareness Bureau into a habitat which was not compatible with diplomatic or genuine political activities. Ultimately it was closed down in February 2003 under most unfortunate circumstances. It was first failure of this leadership.

CW1, CW2 and John

Hurriyat succeeded to launch itself at the December 1994 Islamic Summit held in Casablanca, Morocco. Although it did not encompass all regions and all communities, yet the prevailing circumstances in the Valley helped it to attract the sympathy and support. It was looked upon as a genuine alliance of a people engaged in Rights Movement. It has been a victim of its own doing and has reached a dead end.
Hurriyat knew very little about militancy and yet decided to own it. In the same manner it knew very little about the three Kashmir Centres established in Washington, Brussels and London and yet decided to own them. These three Centres have caused the conviction of so called Kashmir diplomacy in USA and for the first time in the history of Kashmir, USA has three witnesses, CW1, CW2 and John who have agreed to give evidence in the case brought against Kashmir Centre, Washington.
These three witnesses have helped FBI to prepare a 44 page affidavit in the United States of America v Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai and Zaheer Ahmad case. Who are these three witnesses? Are they from Valley, PAK, GB, Pakistan or India? And are these three still in Hurriyat ranks or sitting in its proximity?
The other two Kashmir Centres situated in Brussels and London have been closed down. The FBI affidavit has defamed these Centres as being run by elements in the Government of Pakistan (ISI). It has never happened in the history of Kashmir struggle since October 1877 when Kashmiris presented their first memorandum of grievances that a just movement and its leadership has been ever discredited in this manner. Hurriyat has to explain its people in regard to the manner in which these three Centres were established, run, defamed and have now been closed down.

Hurriyat PaK Chapter

The chapter at one point carried a semblance of commitment and dignity. Unfortunately, it was exposed to free Umras, free Hajs, free trips around the world and to the discipline where selling soul to the Lucifer appeared a lucrative option. In no time, as listed in FBI affidavit ‘Rathores’ had their hands on the Kashmir handle and many constituents in the chapter adjusted their loyalties in the local circumstances. Hurriyat in Srinagar may have claims of any control over the chapter, it is yet another tale like the three Centres. These individuals have a fixed monthly worth and have surfaced unworthy as custodians of a trust.

Accountability Factor

Political parties (Union parties) represented in the assembly are subject to an oath and could be questioned on the floor of the house. They remain exposed to a criticism of all kind in the assembly, on the street and in Delhi. Hurriyat continues to benefit from a ‘no holds barred’ and “aut Caesar aut nullus”, that is, either Caesar or nobody (obtain all or lose all) kind of uninterfered politics. It is happening at the expense of a people who have been humiliated, dishonoured and abused in a manner never seen in the last 167 years since 1846.
It appears that Hurriyat usefulness has passed its sell by date. It has reached a dead end in itself and until it corrects itself, rejuvenates itself, makes itself transparent and accountable, very little will be gained. It does not however, mean that failure of Hurriyat or Unionist parties in Kashmir, spells an end to a negotiation between India, Pakistan and the People of Kashmir on the question of “equality” and “right of self-determination” of the people.

Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He is on UN register as an expert in Peace Keeping, Humanitarian Operations and Election Monitoring Missions. He could be reached on

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