Published On: Tue, Nov 9th, 2010

Kashmiri Leadership Failed Again

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Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani, Secretary General – JKCHR.

If anything that has been coming very easily in our way in Kashmir (Valley) from early 1990 is either forming a political party or listing ourselves as a political activist. The desire does not emanate from changing the process of life into a quality of life through the administration of our political beliefs and vision but the post 1990 political culture became (if not for all) a means of employment like any other employment in a Government department.

The militant and political mechanics of these years seem to have lost all moorings and both do not seem to have any internal or external mechanism to understand the fact that loss of life in Kashmir means death of self determination. A continued helplessness and falling into the crevice of poverty, means a continuation of division and control of people by India and Pakistan.

If politics and militancy in Kashmir had succeeded in any helpful manner, our leaders would not have been calling for a civil curfew, running signature campaigns and shooting memoranda to Obama in 2010. The irony is that ‘America does not need rented spotlights to notice what is actually happening in Jammu and Kashmir’. Europe, America and other countries for reasons of diplomacy and intra State relations don’t want to annoy Pakistan for its sponsorship of these ‘rented spotlights’. They don’t want to upset India either by taking a suo moto notice of human rights abuse in Kashmir. Human rights are for all.

President Obama’s visit to India has a silver lining for a conscientious and a thinking Kashmiri. It has exposed the fact that Pakistan as a party to the dispute, as a member nation of UN and as an author of the Constitution Act 1974 in AJK does not have a Kashmir policy. It does not want to energize any substantive activity on the jurisprudence of the Kashmir case. Pakistan does seem to have a desire to throw up the issue of the right of self determination of the people of Kashmir time and again but in practice continues to make serious errors, highly prejudicial and harmful to the Rights Movement of the Kashmiri people.

In fact the establishment in Pakistan is largely responsible for our failed politics and dwarfed militancy. Although use of force remains embedded in undoing an occupation of any kind yet Kashmir did not present itself as a case for the use of a gun by the people of Kashmir. Under UN resolution the 194 countries of the world have taken upon to execute the will of the world in securing the people of Kashmir a right to self determination. It is for the world to decide whether the will of the UN could be administered through the peaceful means or through the use of war machinery. People of Kashmir failed to understand that a war or peaceful resolution should have remained the responsibility of the member nations of UN. Unfortunately people of Kashmir failed to understand that they were not alone in the use of a gun. Without any reference to UN mechanism on Kashmir we decided to precipitate the death of a generation and after 20 years seem to be left with signature campaigns. Political and militant leaders remain equally responsible for the death of self determination and for making the life of common man and woman miserable never witnessed in the history of Rights Movement. The life styles of the three, namely, the political leader, militant leader and the common man say it all.

Governments in Pakistan and the establishment since 1990 have accrued a direct responsibility for the death of a generation, death of self determination and suffering of Kashmiri people. A sincere step should have been to assist the Rights Movement by allowing the UN to assume its role in AJK and Gilgit and Baltistan. Unfortunately Pakistani establishment has avoided to take this step and has not acted in accordance to UNCIP Resolutions in AJK and in Gilgit and Baltistan.

Sponsoring rented spotlights in America, Europe or in other countries, encouraging street protest on certain dates and now floating a Kashmir Children Assembly (KCA) and marching children on the streets of Muzaffarabad , to seek President Obama’s attention is pitiable and a wasteful exercise.

During President Obama’s visit Pakistan – as a sovereign country, party to the dispute and member nation of UN – had an opportunity to break away from the past mistakes and act in the best interests of the people of Kashmir. It should have encouraged the three Governments of Kashmir (two of which are under its control) to use the floors of their respective assemblies and pass unanimous resolutions urging President Obama to urge upon India and Pakistan and to help them in revisiting their obligations under UNCIP Resolutions towards the people of Kashmir. Governments based at Muzaffarabad and Gilgit could have communicated with the third Kashmiri Government at Srinagar for taking a joint stand in the interests of Kashmiri people. Omar Abdullah is under oath to serve the interests of his people and UN Resolutions bind him in regard to his duty in arranging an opportunity for the people to decide upon the question of self determination.

Government of Pakistan does not seem to be under any pressure from Kashmiri leadership or even from the people of Pakistan to start doing what it could do under UNCIP Resolutions. Our leaders (reasons are private) have failed to come clean on the question of self determination of all people as equal people. It has been left as a ‘Muslim right of self determination’ and the impression has been a source of concern for non Muslim Kashmiris and for Kashmiris living in other regions away from Valley.

Our militant and political face of the post 1990 struggle has discouraged the world community and we have lost a considerable trust. Our leaders of all manner don’t bother to understand that article 257 of the Constitution of Pakistan does not discriminate among Kashmiri people and a look at it would surprise and reassure a first time non Muslim reader that his wishes remain ultimate in any determination.

How could Obama not respond to a joint or even individual memorandums from the chief minister of J & K, prime minister of AJK and chief minister of Gilgit and Baltistan made on behalf of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir?

The three would have been discharging their common and individual trust towards their people. UNCIP Resolutions recognize the three political habitats, therefore, India and Pakistan would not have found it at war with their interests. Hurriyat and other leadership outside it and the militant leadership rather than fighting India through stale press statements should have urged upon the three Governments of Kashmir and the Government of Pakistan to present a joint memorandum to President Obama. To make it genuine and credible an appeal could have been addressed to good meaning people in India and Pakistan to play their role in the best interests of all the three people.

It is unfortunate that once again Kashmiri ‘leaders’ in and outside Kashmir decided to act solo and have put themselves up for the attention of President Obama. The effort is self serving and futile. Long live the establishment in Islamabad and Hurriyat in Kashmir.


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