Published On: Tue, Mar 3rd, 2015

National reconciliation on Jammu and Kashmir

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

Time does not stand still. Tomorrow shall be what we make of it today. The long awaited results of PDP and BJP dialogue are over and we have a government in Jammu and Kashmir from today. This column is a generic view of the situation and a more comprehensive column examining the new political discourse and narrative of governance agreed by the alliance will follow.

Jammu and Kashmir if all goes well is to have a Government for next six years and the statement that the new Government will seek a “National Reconciliation on Jammu and Kashmir”, should be lesson to the other sections of the political camp, mainly “Harriet” that the game of politics does not have any lives (chances) and there is no room for any life that it would be simplified for them or any other.
People of Jammu and Kashmir have been tested by our politicians (represented in the first Harriet on 31 July 1993) through a discipline of military match and political resistance and common people have continued to trust them in all experiments of gun, politics and diplomatic efforts. Other measures of resistance like ‘shut downs’ and ‘protests’ suggested by the leadership were equally honoured by the people. Since our leadership (mainstream are also our leaders) has failed to consider ‘what next’, all measures of resistances seem to have lost merit and impact.
Our leaders have tried the mechanism of a direct dialogue. We had a dual advantage that Harriet would meet as one delegation and JKLF would meet as another delegation with the responsible people in the Government of India and Government of Pakistan. The dual representation was forced by our leadership for personal reasons, mainly the false egos. India and Pakistan have met them as one team across the table and would not embarrass our delegations on their understanding of the circle of wisdom.

JKLF chairman has gone to the press to make his party views known about the elections. Press Conferences or regular press statements are now the only weapons left in the hands of our leaders. Yasin Malik could be commended for his sense of duty and responsibility to the people, in particular those who laid their lives while fighting with a gun or being killed in fake encounters, to those who have not questioned his revisit from gun to dialogue (which of course is the reliable civilised instrument) and those who trust that his seemingly simple demeanour makes him less costly and more relevant to the principle of equality and self-determination.

It does not however, make him (and any other leader) any wiser and stronger in his own capacity, without having to broaden the constituency of common programme with the rest. If after elections PDP could dare to say that the alliance with BJP is out of conviction and not out of compulsion, all the factions of Harriet and JKLF should have an immediate concern to justify that their coming together is a dictate of wisdom and in the interests of people. I am not examining the merits of JKLF press conference, except that his challenge to political leaders for a direct election with him in a single constituency has no merit because politics is not a game of ‘simplification’. The one-size-fits-all and over-simplification test used by BJP against AAP in Delhi failed. BJP and Congress both have learnt a lesson in Delhi.

It is clear that politics of press statements is not going to help our leaders and the interests of the people. Gun, hartal, our manner of meetings with India and Pakistan, a restrained domesticated conformity to a cyclostyled kind of an outdated diplomatic work all have not done that well. It does not mean that the wheel of time is going to halt for us or simplify things for us. Mufti Sayeed has a point that ‘politics is the art of possible’. He may be wrong if he considers that art of possible could also mean violating the trust of the voter or using the peoples’ power for self interest. “Politics is the art of the possible, even when there are contradictions” and Kashmiri leaders outside electoral process should iron out the contradictions, if they need to be there anymore.

Mufti Sayeed has said that the governance alliance shall work for ‘National Reconciliation on Jammu and Kashmir’. He added that “We want to make this alliance a turning point in trying to meet the hearts and minds of the people.” These are the commitments that the Chief Minister has made in Jammu and anyone who does not have a political wisdom or political vision to measure up to this challenge, may wish to rubbish it with a ‘hah hah’. It is not so this time. PDP has to survive in Kashmir and BJP in rest of the India. They have to do things that do not discredit them and more so PDP is likely to use this opportunity to find a foothold in Jammu for future. Common man and woman may not be intrigued by this appeal. But when Mufti Sayeed says, “We want to do justice to all people” it touches every household in the State. Everyone would wish to be the beneficiary of ‘justice’ and there is no one who would wish to turn his back on the promise of justice. Our leaders need to understand and debate the question of national reconciliation being marketed by the new Kashmir government. There may be questions about the election manifestos of PDP and this statement.

Under Article 4 of J & K Constitution and also Article 48 the present government does not represent all the people of the state and any reconciliation of this manner has no merit. Five generations of Kashmiri Muslims have been thrown out of the State after 27 October 1947. Therefore PDP and BJP do not represent the electorate that embeds in Article 4 of the J & K Constitution which accredited Mufti Sayeed as the new chief minister.

The main question for the new government would be that Jammu and Kashmir and its people on their own merit remain a subject of right of self-determination at the UN. The United Nations has outsourced a programme of work to Jammu and Kashmir Government (of a different constitution) in co-operation with the UN. India and Pakistan have their respective inputs. People of Kashmir have gone through enormous sacrifice of a generation and endure an uncertain life. The human sacrifice is in no way for any national reconciliation but to press for their right of self-determination. That may well result into a future relationship with India or result into pulling out of this relationship to accede to Pakistan or seek an independent Status.

Jammu and Kashmir does not fit the political and social template of South Africa that the present government has proposed a ‘National Reconciliation on Jammu and Kashmir’. The variables of Kashmir case are different and do not fit into a reconciliation template. Kashmir case has a broader canvass of equality of all people and the determination of a final vote under the auspices of the United Nations is pending.
Would Kashmiri leadership and the people accord any merit to Mufti Sayeed’s agenda to seek a national reconciliation?  One question that we need to agitate at all levels is the demand that the present J&K government should move to the next important level of making it a representative government as identified by the UN.

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