Published On: Mon, May 19th, 2014

Modi fear and Kashmir

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

The election results in India and in Jammu and Kashmir should neither be regarded as an upset in people’s choice nor recognised as a cause of any fear. It is 2014 and the common man and woman around the world are taking over as instruments of change in politics. Narendra Modi may have erred in respect of Muslims of India but prior to elections he succeeded to convince the majority of his vision for the future. Modi is due to be elected BJP parliamentary party leader on May 20 ahead of taking oath as Prime Minister.

Modi cannot skip the fact that the real test for BJP and his leadership as Prime Minister starts with the Muslims of India and with the unresolved issue of self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Indian Muslims are the largest Muslim population in the world and equals the populations of Germany, France and Spain. The Kashmiri Muslims are the widely spoken about Muslims in the world. In fact the member nations of the United Nations, including India and Pakistan, continue to remain charged with Charter obligations in Kashmir. Kashmiri Diaspora spread all over the world further remains as a reliable insurance of a just solution of the dispute on the basis of ‘equality’ and ‘self-determination’.

People and the leaders in Kashmir had only two choices, namely, either to endure the status quo managed by Congress and NC in the State or wait for a change in Delhi and Srinagar and engage the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s school of politics who wanted Kashmir to be solved within Insaniyat ke daire main. It is time that all Kashmiri leadership pools wisdom and unites for a convincing engagement with India and Pakistan. And if there is a difficulty, it could go universal and seek an input from the United Nations. There is nothing to fear. In fact Kashmir politics would not be that easy for the new Prime Minister. He has an opportunity to carry forward the political faith of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and build upon it in the best interests of the three people of Kashmir, India and Pakistan.

Special parliament session on Kashmir

The defeat of NC in parliamentary elections should not be recorded as an ordinary change of guard. It is a lesson which NC should have considered more than once during the last 66 years when Sheikh Abdullah addressed the UN Security Council in 1948. NC played truant with its own mandate and continued to content itself with a Ping Pong and shuttle politics between Srinagar and Delhi. Occasions created for it to enforce a benefit in the interests of Kashmiri people have been squandered and the party leadership became increasingly sarcastic about its own people.

Now that the people have shocked NC and have done so very rightly. NC has wasted the opportunity provided in the Indian Parliament to voice the basic case of Kashmir all these years. It could have done so on the basis of assurances given by Sheikh Abdullah at the UN Security Council in respect of Indian application and the question of Indian armed forces in Kashmir.

NC could have used unoffending and engaging means to remind Delhi of her obligations under the Provisional Accession (a Bilateral Agreement) and reminded it of many other obligations taken on under UN Security Council Resolutions. NC did not remind New Delhi that J & K Assembly was elected from only a part of the State and has been declared incomplete and infirm to take any decisions by the UN and by its own Constitution. NC squandered the great opportunity created by the Kashmiri Diaspora for it to interact with the top leadership of Pakistan in London in May 2004 and failed to carry forward the Intra Kashmir consensus and the new beginning in London.

PDP has ousted NC convincingly from the representation in the Indian Parliament. It is all that any political party could manage under a boycott call in Kashmir. The three winning candidates of PDP hold a promise and Muzaffar Hussain Beig remains their star advocate in the parliament. He has the understanding of the jurisprudence of the case and is gifted with the force of argument as well. It would be interesting to see how the Kashmir politics unfolds its carpet in Delhi. How much would Mehbooba Mufti adhere to her home grown culture of politics and how much would she be prepared or forced to compromise?

There is a definite ray of hope and light at the end of the tunnel. Tariq Hamid Karra carries rich family traditions in politics. He has taken the lead in the directions we have missed so far.  Karra has added a new phrase to the existing vocabulary on Kashmir politics. It is encouraging to hear from him that PDP’s newly elected MPs would press for convening of special parliament session on Kashmir and urge new government led by BJP in centre to address Kashmir issue and problems facing Kashmiris.
We notice that Kashmir-specific issues were very rarely raised by NC members in the Parliament. PDP is set to step in the parliament with the burden of promises they had made to the people. It would not be out of character if Hurriyat (inclusive), JKLF, parties outside these folds in particular and the civil society groups (not self-styled civil society groups) invite PDP member Tariq Hamid Karra and further ask him about the details of Masle Kashmir (Kashmir issue) and Masayelay Kashmir (issues of Kashmir) which he intends to raise in the Parliament. This interaction would be very helpful before PDP members seek convening of special parliament session on Kashmir.

Karra has set out his plans and the most important one is to tell the parliament members that solving Kashmir issue was inevitable. “We would raise such voices not just in parliament but outside also”. To bridge the gap between people of Kashmir and New Delhi and bridge the trust deficit PDP has to have a transparent agenda duly debated and approved by the people.
Hurriyat may need to consider

It is for the first time that an elected Member of Parliament from Kashmir seems to have his hand on the handle. Karra has said that his party wanted to take forward Indo-Pak talks.  What is most interesting in this regard is the manner of their involvement. It sounds helpful and convincing. PDP neither wants to defend Pakistan nor support India on the negotiating table but talk about the issues of people.
Hurriyat may need to consider this specific placement of PDP role. Working around the Kashmiri narrative in the interests of the Kashmir case and avoiding to defend or support one or the other country, unless it embeds Kashmir interest is an important step forward.
Human Rights – Recourse to UN Jurisprudence

Hurriyat need to assist PDP members in the Parliament and any other such member to focus on the settled jurisprudence of Kashmir case. Any misdirection in their approach should not be allowed. The Special Session when sought on Kashmir by PDP members should start with the relief available to the people of Kashmir under UN Security Council resolution of 21 April, 1948.
This Resolution has addressed the two Governments of Pakistan and India in regard to the human rights of all State Subjects of Jammu and Kashmir. Government of Pakistan was charged with a duty to ensure that Tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally residents are withdrawn from the State and full freedom to all subjects of the State, regardless of creed, caste, or party, to express their views and to vote on the question of the accession of the State had to be assured.
The third choice of a membership as an independent State at the UN contained in the Indian communication, has for some reason remained subdued during the debate. The deficit in the representation of the people of Kashmir has not been addressed either.
Duties of Government of India

Government of India has accepted duties in the provisional accession of the State. In addition it had to “put into operation in consultation with the Commission a plan for withdrawing their own forces from Jammu and Kashmir and reducing them progressively to the minimum strength required for the support of the civil power in the maintenance of law and order.

UN Security Council resolution has addressed the Government of India on a further regime of human rights that it had to assure while “stationing the remaining forces”. Government of India had to arrange in consultation with the Commission for the stationing of the remaining forces in accordance with the following three principles:

(i) That the presence of troops should not afford any intimidation or appearance of intimidation to the inhabitants of the State,

(ii) That as small a number as possible should be retained in forward areas,

(iii) That any reserve of troops which may be included in the total strength should be located within their present base area.

United Nations remained pre-occupied with the formal free will of the people and charged the Government of India to “ensure that the Government of the State release all political prisoners and take all possible steps so that:

(a) All citizens of the State who have left it on account of disturbances are invited, and are free, to return to their homes and to exercise their rights as such citizens

(b) There is no victimization

(c) Minorities in all parts of the State are accorded adequate protection.
Insaniyat ke daire main

The new leadership in Delhi is uniquely placed to carry forward the political disciplines of PM Narasimha Rao, who said sky is the limit and Atal Bihari Vajpayee who said Kashmir should be solved within Insaniyat ke daire main. It has to institutionalise the dialogue process and admit that no army or State apparatus has ever held a people against their will.

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