Published On: Mon, Aug 6th, 2012

Reorient agenda, rearrange priorities

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Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani,
Secretary General – JKCHR.

The decision of the Government of India to allow a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan to make investment in India except in the fields of defence, space and atomic energy is in the best interests of the two people. It proves that democracies mature, correct themselves and become confident of their institutional strengths.

Pakistan on its part has allowed its two banks namely, National Bank of Pakistan and United Bank Ltd to operate in India. Reserve Bank of India has been informed of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) decision of allowing the Pakistani banks to explore opportunities in India. The decision by the Government of Pakistan has far reaching impact on its future relations with India and will create a new and enduring partnership between a broad spread of people of many manner.

People of Jammu and Kashmir have an equal right to enter into a bilateral arrangement of interests with India and Pakistan separate of each other and in many cases into a trilateral arrangement as well. This desire was addressed at the CHOGM-93 meeting held on 21-25 October 1993 in Cyprus. The aide memoire of JKCHR in para 10 stated “The people of India, Pakistan and Kashmir have a right to be free of death and disease, hunger and poverty and our generations have a right to be free and live in peace. This meeting would fail in purpose, if it fails to rave courage to annoy the inter-locking motives of fixed positions of parties on Kashmir”.

The permission from the Government of India and the clearance from the Government of Pakistan to allow its two banks to operate in India involves a corresponding interest on the part of the Government, citizens and incorporated entities in Pakistan to promote the constituency of trust and peace on the streets of India. It means that the political, militant and diplomatic narrative entrusted or owned by the Kashmiri leadership in early 1990s has lost its sponsors.

The authors of the 1990s political, militant and diplomatic narrative have failed and with it have killed the character of the rights movement in Kashmir. One does not need a lecture from renowned mathematician and acting Vice- Chancellor of the Kashmir University, Prof M A Sofi on “General Mathematics” to conclude that the numerical deficit caused by the death of a generation in Kashmir, means the death of the right of self-determination for many years to come. The right is not realisable in the near future and all that we could do, is to keep the principle of ‘equality of people’ and ‘self-determination’ alive.

India and Pakistan are relying on their proxies and the people of Kashmir have suffered the most. Indian democracy would be making a serious mistake if it goes against its innate strengths and reneges on its duties and responsibilities in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan or no Pakistan and UN resolutions or no UN resolutions, Indian Government has a written pledge and its terms of reference to honour in Kashmir. Pakistan failed to keep its August 1947 bilateral agreement with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. India on the contrary has continued to anchor her relationship with the State on the basis of its October 1947 Agreement, which has been quoted by it as a deliverable pledge in the UN resolutions as well.

An easy relationship with Pakistan is the need of the hour and future prosperity of the people lies in it. It does not however mean that Indian democracy would err to steel itself into arrogance and start stereotyping the people of Kashmir. There is a risk that administration in Delhi may be encouraged at the failure of political, militant and diplomatic narrative, that Kashmiri leadership trusted in 1990s and has no sponsors now. It may revert to an unprincipled means to start collating the people and their leaders in Kashmir in A4 size office files and be encouraged to install a colonial control. It would of course be a terrible mistake by a democracy which has matured, has corrected itself and has emerged confident. Pakistan or no Pakistan, UN resolutions or no UN resolutions, Indian union has a pledge to deliver in Jammu and Kashmir and it has a case to answer as well.

Time moves on and it roller skates the interests of the societies. Kashmir cannot be an exception. The new growing trust and partnership between the two countries should cause a genuine reason for our people and leaders to reposition their approach and re-orient their political agenda. Kashmiri leadership as a forwarding looking, mature and reliable wisdom seem to have come to a grinding halt. As long as our leaders remain serious and on the side of the best interests of their people, they remain relevant and respectable. No lack of sponsorship or betrayal would hurt them. It would the people of Kashmir that India and Pakistan shall have to negotiate with. At the end of the day nations have never been short of one honest man and woman.

Without prejudice to the principle of ‘equality’ and character of the rights movement, our leaders and all of us have to address the process and quality of life in all parts of Kashmir. Economic prosperity of our people cannot be ignored. Pakistan is a party to the Kashmir dispute and majority of Kashmiri leaders have heavily banked on this singular sponsor. As a result our leaders have cascaded down to lower heights and have compromised the interests of Kashmiri people. On the one hand Pakistan has sought Indian permission for its citizens and entities incorporated in Pakistan to invest in India and on the other Pakistan Government refused air-route over Pakistan for Srinagar-Dubai flights in 2010.

These international flights would have attracted tourists, investors and an international interest to Kashmir. It would have been good for the economy and politics (Rights Movement) as well. A regular entry and exit into Kashmir would have impacted the human rights situation in a favourable manner. Unfortunately, our leaders have in parts surrendered their interests and have reached a position where they feel helpless in readjusting their relations with the sponsor. The relationship is reduced to an interdependence which is at variance with the interests of the people.

Our leadership shall have to re-orient the political agenda and re arrange the priorities as well. It has to address the growing poverty in the State and the common feeling that some leaders are surfacing exceptionally rich. India and Pakistan without any delay need to float a common economic package for the State to help the common man and woman and make up for the loss caused due to their engagement since 1990s. Hurriyat, non Hurriyat and other leaders who have been referring themselves to people’s validation in the elections, shall have to examine the use of natural resources embedded in the habitat of Kashmir by India and Pakistan, account the funds pledged by OIC at the Islamic Summit in Casablanca in December 1994, account the income earned from Kashmir properties in various parts of Pakistan and examine the demand for compensation and reparation from India and Pakistan for their failed political, militant and diplomatic narratives in respect of Jammu and Kashmir.

Our leaders should take notice of the fact that there are still humane souls like Ram Jethmalani who could notice the presence of large posse of policemen and police vehicles outside the house of Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani. Tomorrow our children shall start questioning the presence of police outside the houses of many other leaders and start asking, if these are non-hostile to our leaders, why should they behave differently with the common man and woman. Indian democracy has many challenges ahead.

Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He can be mailed at

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