Published On: Mon, Jan 13th, 2014

Sentiment or Merit of Kashmir Case

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

Politics is not about, “I, me, and myself”. It incorporates mature judgment and good conscience. Societies have graduated from points of low esteem to higher levels of accomplishment. Unfortunately social behaviour and political character in Kashmir do not conform to this rule.

In 2014 the political map in Kashmir seems to have lost all its hues and there is hardly any merit to hold the map in hand for guidance. Hurriyat Srinagar that we introduced at the Islamic Summit in Casablanca in Morocco in December 1994 and the Hurriyat that we (JKCHR, WSV, FIDH and others) used to sponsor under various NGO banners at the UN Human Rights Commission and Sub Commission Sessions in Geneva up until 1996 rushed into avoidable discords and we have three pieces of Hurriyat today. We have friends in all the three camps and it would be difficult for India, Pakistan, common Kashmiri and the international community to consider to reconcile with all the three in equity.

By 2014 we find that Hurriyat has closed its first Mission opened (and tolerated by India) in Delhi.  It does not have any reliable audience at the UN, the three Kashmir Centres that it was advised by Islamabad to bless in theory have closed down under weird circumstances. Hurriyat seems to have made a serious error in managing its political narrative. Hurriyat could have remained a respectable and viable institution, if it had not played double with itself and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It failed to live up to the political narrative and discipline enshrined in its Constitution of 31 July 1993.

It is not clear whether Hurriyat Constitution of 31 July 1993 continues to regulate their political discipline or they have let it for “no holds barred” kind of choice. Hurriyat has remained a victim of a series of errors. It failed to make a profit out of the three cease fire announcements, namely, Hizb cease fire announcement of June 2000, Prime Minister Vajpayee’s Ramzan cease fire announcement of November 2000 and Hurriyat cease fire announcement of November 2001.

Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq may have his own reason to dispatch a letter to the Convenor of its chapter in Pakistan. Syed Yusuf Nasim (Convenor) has graduated through various crises and has been exposed to various situations in the past. JKCHR and WSV (World Society of Victimology) have sponsored him to witness and participate in the mechanics of international politics at the UN in Geneva. Without prejudice to Mirwaiz’s decision to write a political demarche to his camp in Pakistan, one needs to bear in mind the maximum contours of the independence and reliability of this chapter. Therefore, a command from Srinagar to Pakistan chapter means a wasted wisdom.

In times of peace this chapter has acted as a regular reflex for the ‘order of the day’ in Islamabad. It begins and ends its day with a hectic political visibility pre-set for it. It does not have the nerve to engage in a politics of debate and dissent in the larger interests of the people of Kashmir. The constituents of the chapter are short listed locally and the local influence carries the day. Even Syed Ali Shah Geelani could not have a say in nominating one of his representatives. Angels nominated this ‘person’ from nowhere and angels bid him to say adieu to Hurriyat G and take up a new assignment in London. Mirwaiz faced the same challenge. He nominated late Mir Abdul Aziz as his representative in the Pakistan chapter. Unfortunately Mir Aziz for reasons of his solid Kashmiri credentials was not allowed to take the charge. Local interest group brought in a person who had just lost his job in the Kashmir Liberation Cell. Peoples Conference chief Bilal Lone made an effort to change his representative in the Pakistan chapter. The local command and control poohpoohed the decision. It may be slightly different (but not completely) today because the iron man has retired after playing an extended long innings on Kashmir pitch.

It does not matter whether Srinagar instructs its chapter in Pakistan or not. We have examples of previous Convenors and other representatives. Some of them either decided to call it a day and returned home or decided to move to other lands of opportunity abroad. The present letter has formally announced the emergence of a third Hurriyat. The antidote for all reactions is the faith in the Constitution. As long as a political forum adheres to its Constitutional discipline, there is room for recovery and reconciliation.

It is now nearly 23rd year of Hurriyat’s political innings in Kashmir politics. Today we have three Hurriyats guarding the ‘Kashmiri Sentiment’. Hurriyat may be right in its statement that it is the custodian of the ‘sentiment’ but the statement is at war with the Hurriyat Constitution. The Constitution enshrines the ‘merit’ of Kashmir case and not the sentiment. Hurriyat may have been misled by the vested interests to use the word ‘sentiment’. Prima facie it adds up to a reduced merit of representing Muslim sentiment and causing a deliberate scare in other State Subjects, including even some Muslims outside the Valley as well.

The word ‘sentiment’ does not reconcile with article 4 and 48 of the J & K Constitution. It violates the principle of equality and self-determination envisaged in UN Security Council Resolutions and UNCIP Resolutions. Even the role of Pakistan in AJK assumed under UNCIP resolutions would lose its merit and if Pakistan continues to reconcile with the politics of ‘sentiment’ in Kashmir its role as a party would become suspect.

We should not be averse to the principal merits of Kashmir case vis a viz India, Pakistan and the international community. It is rooted in the Stand Still Agreement of August 1947, Provisional Accession of October 1947, Indian Petition to UN of 1 January 1948, Defence filed by Pakistan in February 1948, UN Debates and UN Resolutions on Kashmir. The people of Jammu and Kashmir, in part or in full, directly or indirectly, have participated in these situations.

Hurriyat can’t experiment with the merits of Kashmir case. Its narrative has to conform to the merits of resistance from 1846-1990 and to the obligations that Hurriyat accrued consequent to subscribing to a political and a militant narrative in 1990s. The recent post 1990 politics and militancy has resulted in the death of a generation and life, property and honour of the common man and woman has suffered a harm. Hurriyat remains tied to a political programme in its Constitution. Any departure at this point or any failure, neglect or secret compromise (maintaining a false appearance) would end up in criminal liability.

Kashmiri leaders represented in the three Hurriyats and others outside it, have a basic dilemma to resolve. The first has to be in regard to its composition. What is the definition of a leader and what is the criterion to admit a person/persons as a constituent in these three Hurriyats. Would it be right to call a 1-3 member team with a letterhead a political party and able to qualify as a Hurriyat 1, 2 and 3 constituent? Should the point of reference for a one person or three persons (or many) be the understanding of the cause and respect for the trust of the people or registration and accreditation in Islamabad?

Everyone in Islamabad (even in Delhi) does not want Kashmiri leaders to betray their own people and remain ready to act as employees like any other employee in the Government. It is unhelpful to find in 2014 from sources in Pakistan that our leaders who were regulars in visiting Pakistan High Commission in Delhi and in meeting their contacts in Pakistan that India and Pakistan had come close to a resolution on the Kashmir issue on two occasions – once during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time and once with the Manmohan Singh government.  In Kashmiri breaking a news in this manner s called “Nab Taraath”.

It is more than a “Nab Taraath” to be told by sources in Pakistan that during Pervez Musharraf’s rule the two sides (India and Pakistan) had agreed to barter territory between them. Under a formula called Chenab formula, “Srinagar would have remained with India, a small part of the territory West of Chenab would have come gone to Pakistan, and similarly, some of the territory with Pakistan would have gone to India.” Hurriyat leaders have not contradicted the emergence of this plan on Kashmir.

How would the Government of J & K (and Main Stream parties) and people react to this plan as long as India remains a party to Provisional accession, (for the State) designed to protect the territory, life, property and honour of the people of the State has yet to unfold? However, it is important to find out how would the Kashmiri leaders domiciled in Srinagar and engaged in a political and militant war with India, reconcile their future domicile. Would they have migrated to Pakistan or stayed in a Srinagar, administered by India?

Migration may not have hurt many of these leaders but how would they account for a political and militant narrative, which has resulted in the death of a generation and death of self-determination. How would they account for the trust deficit which would impede the future of Kashmiri generations in India or vice versa? Why should Kashmiris accept Chenab formula agreed by their leaders with Pervez Musharraf behind their backs and not consider to seek a renegotiation with India under the terms of Accession directly?  It is the sentiment in Kashmir politics which makes us a misfit and not the merit of it.

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