Published On: Mon, Jun 10th, 2013

Take bold steps

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

A message from Hurriyat (M) to Pakistan’s new government to take “bold steps to solve the vexed Kashmir issue on priority basis”, on 6 June 2013 came after the JKLF and one of the Hurriyat (M) constituent’s Anjumane Sharie Shian (ASS) staged a public measurement of each other’s  demerits. It is an institutional expression against each other and has its own repercussions.  The two political opinions have to live by a sense of reference to the people and remain responsible for their decisions.

Right to speak and right to refuse to listen

The hosts of the seminar on the 24th death anniversary of Imam Khomeini (of Kashmiri origin) seem to have faced time constraint. Yasin Malik and many others have not been able to speak on the occasion. One would simply argue that Anjumane Sharie Shian (ASS) should have rationed the time in advance to avoid any grievance or allegation of discrimination.

It is equally important to accept that if we have failed to bring Azadi by losing a generation in Kashmir, a single speech on a seminar would not have brought heavens down. As part of the preparatory committee of UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in June 1993, I recall that NGOs refused to allow President Jimmy Carter to speak at the opening session. The African NGOs were in the lead in refusing Carter to speak. Jimmy Carter made a point by stating that he has a right to speak and without any further annoyance concluded and left.

A speaker has a right to speak and the audience too has a right to refuse to listen. Unfortunately, Kashmir has a ready pocket of audience and the speaker does not need to do any home work. Anjumane Sharie Shian and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front have to go beyond these constraints. Both parties need to revisit the wisdom of their altercation.

It is no more a private matter. The allegations and counter allegations are in the public arena. The most serious allegation levelled against Hurriyat (M) that “resistance movement is used for personal gains”, constitutes an FIR against it. It would be unfair to single out Hurriyat (M) only. We need to ask many others to check out to find, how they have behaved towards their ‘quantum’ of trust on either side of UNMOGIP supervised cease fire line and abroad. It is important to point out that even non-Kashmiris in Pakistan and others abroad have used resistance movement for personal gains.  We need to take a holistic approach on this matter.

Advice to Pakistan – priceless sacrifices

Hurriyat (M) at its emergency meeting has “desired that Islamabad should take bold steps to solve the Kashmir issue on priority basis in view of the priceless sacrifices offered by the Kashmiri people”.  Hurriyat continues to suffer from a non-preparation before making a comment and from unreliable understanding of the Kashmir case. The basis of their advice to Pakistan should not be “priceless sacrifices”, which seem to have been put on a hold for reasons best known to Hurriyat. The authors of militancy and of post 1990 politics are known and have wound up their project. In principle Hurriyat should engage Pakistan, India and the international community, in accordance with their Constitutional duties described in Chapter II article 2 (i) to (v).

Any ‘desire’ outside the Hurriyat Constitution for which the people, in particular the Kashmiri youth have given priceless sacrifices does not make any sense. It is waste of a meeting and a misdirected desire.

Participation of Kashmiri separatist leadership

Hurriyat even after 23 years of its political struggle and full support of ‘Kashmiri militancy’ all these years is at a point where it is asking Pakistan toensure participation of Kashmiri separatist leadership in any political process aimed at resolving the Kashmir issue.” It is unfortunate that even after the death of a generation, massive violation of human rights and harm caused to ‘life’, ‘honour’ and ‘property’ Hurriyat has failed to entitle itself for the representation. It still needs to seek Pakistan’s intervention to reserve a berth for it in the resolution of the issue. Post Musharraf and post May 11 Election Pakistan, have installed a government which has been voted into power by Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Qadiyanis, Bahais and Buddhists. Pakistan as a member nation of UN can’t advocate the Kashmir case as a Muslim case.

The manner of desiring participation aimed at resolving the Kashmir issue is against their Constitution, against UN resolutions and against the norms of democracy.  Hurriyat (united) has bound itself to a Constitution adopted on 31 July 1993. Chapter II article 2 (i) to (v) bind it to the UN mechanism in particular. United Nations resolutions do not uphold the Hurriyat’s self-serving desire to be the only representatives but sets out a criterion of “PRINCIPALITY” for the leadership. It may be that most of the constituents in either camp do not qualify the UN test of Principality. In addition UN accepts the representative character of Jammu and Kashmir Government and the character of AJK Government as a local authority.

Hurriyat and its support base in Pakistan should have to bear in mind that in addition to pre- partition or post-partition generations we have a new generation in all the three administrations of Kashmir. Post militancy and post 1990 generation has remained exposed to Facebook, Twitter and many such other social platforms. We have to bear in mind that in addition to Muslims we have many other faiths living in Kashmir and Valley over the years seems to have suffered from a singular political character. It has not been duly or in part shared or endorsed by other regions or faiths. Hurriyat has not bothered to travel beyond its domicile and community influence.

Problems for Hurriyat

Today we do not have the Hurriyat of 31 July 1993. It has failed to act in reference to the case of its people (all people). There is a question mark in regard to its representative character as well. Its abilities have been questioned by General Musharraf during his press briefing in Delhi. Prima facie both factions have thrown up their weaknesses and their shadow representation in Pakistan has been a slave of their personal compulsions.

Hurriyat would not have a patient hearing with the new Government, except a common courtesy and the recycled interference in their favour by the elements in the government of Pakistan (elements referred in FBI affidavit in Fai case). Even these elements have gradually realised that they are bound by the rule of law and the jurisprudence of Kashmir case could not be tampered for long. Hurriyat has seriously erred in turning their backs on the people of Pakistan, during their struggle for the restoration of democracy and the rule of law. It has made them look very undemocratic, anti-people and short sighted.

There was no need for them to betray their Constitution, distance from UN resolutions on Kashmir and volunteer as sales men to sell Musharraf’s formula on Kashmir. Unfortunately, Hurriyat could not keep the dignity of its decision to be in Musharraf’s camp at a time when he needs every iota of moral, political and legal support. There is hardly a soul in either camp of Hurriyat on either side of cease fire line who is prepared to own Musharraf in his difficult times.

Lesson from Nelson Mandela character

Hurriyat needs to learn from Nelson Mandela who travelled from South Africa to Washington and stood by the side of President Clinton during The Lewinsky sex scandal case in 1998. Nelson Mandela counselled Bill Clinton through the Monica Lewinsky scandal, helping him to survive the ordeal that nearly saw him removed from office. Nelson Mandela stood by the side of Clinton and said “Africans never betray their friends in times of adversity”.

No regrets, Kashmiris are fair weather friends. Musharraf has to learn to live without Hurriyat.

Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.  He is on UN register as an expert in Peace Keeping, Humanitarian Operations and Election Monitoring Missions. He could be reached on email dr-nazirgilani@jkchr.com


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