K N Pandita
Kashmir’s ideologically defunct political leadership in general and the standard-bearers of dynastic rule, in particular, remain obsessed with the proposition that the Union Government should talk to Pakistan for resolving the Kashmir issue. They begin and end their interviews with media persons with this mantra. They think that the world will consider them the victim of the rivalry between two sub-continental powers and in this way will earn sympathy for their cause.
Most of our reporters with popular channels and news outlets being of young age have found little time to go through some fundamental and unbiased literature on the Kashmir issue. They are easily influenced by the devious Kashmir leadership adepts in the art of distorting history and projecting Kashmiris as the victimized lot.
The rhythmic demand for talks with Pakistan suits their political and personal agenda but absolutely no short or long-range advantage for the masses of Kashmiri people. Reiteration of this demand is to convey a subtle message to Pakistan that the Kashmir leadership recognizes Pakistan as a party to the dispute and not an aggressor as stated by the Government of India in its 1948 petition to the Security Council. Will Farooq Abdullah care to read the statement of his father given to the Security Council at Lake Success as part of Indian delegation?
The second and more important objective of the wily leadership in harping on the Pak talks is to send a message to the Muslim population of the valley that the leadership though a beneficiary of the Indian largesse for seven long decades of independence does not go against their love for Pakistan. In doing so, they want to keep their voting constituencies in good humour knowing that the Union Territory is ultimately going to have elections for the assembly.
Beyond these two internal and external objectives, the demand for talks has no sense at all. Both Farooq of NC and Mehbooba of PDP speak of the Union Government talking to Pakistan but they never utter a word of protest about Pakistan sending armed jihadists to kill the civilians in Kashmir and destroy her assets. If they think that Pakistan is not involved in these destructive designs, then why talk to them and not those who are behind the perfidy? They or their crones are the conspirators and not Pakistan.
Farooq has been the longest-in Chief Minister after the demise of his father. He has also been a Union Minister of considerable influence. He is known for his bonhomie with Congress. May we ask Farooq why he never took the initiative of impressing upon the Central Government of talking to Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue? It did not suit him then because money was coming in torrents and nobody dared to ask for the utilization certificates.
Moreover, we are aware that at a given point in time, Farooq Abdullah had designated an associate of his party, then an MP, to get into touch with Pakistan. Grapevine has it that this MP was shuttling between Srinagar and Islamabad on monthly basis. What happened to that informal emissary and his mission? Why should not Farooq come out with that story? His son Omar once publicly said that the emissary was at his job. The people would want to know why it ended in a fiasco and now Farooq is again orchestrating talks with Pakistan.
We would also like to remind Farooq Abdullah that his illustrious father went to Pakistan in May 1964 with the offer of a confederation of three states (India, Pakistan and J&K) already kindled by the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Did not that formula meet the aspirations of the people of Kashmir? But President Ayub Khan of Pakistan, who had reluctantly agreed to meet the visiting Sheikh, rejected the proposal outright, and out of frustration, the Sheikh travelled to Muzaffarabad (PoK) to lighten his agony by talking to the leaders of the PoK. Nehru’s death cut short the Sheikh’s visit to Pakistan.
The Sheikh must have told Farooq the story of his failed mission and also his assessment of the thinking of Pakistan. Pakistan rejected the proposal because it never agreed to the independent status for Jammu and Kashmir, neither then or at present. This should have been the eye-opener for Farooq Abdullah. But alas! Blind to ground reality, he has tried to be too smart forgetting that in politics there are bigger scoundrels at hand to play the game.
Mehbooba’s credentials are far bleaker and suspect. PDP was born from the womb of Jamat-i-Islami, particularly in South Kashmir. Ideologically PDP Chief is not far from the Sheikh or Afzal Beg or Farooq Abdullah; however, she is crude in deception. PDP known to have been created as a counterweight to National Conference agreed to become part of Gupkar Gang and a signatory to the toothless memorandum because except for the signatories nobody in Kashmir remembered it beyond a couple of weeks.
These ‘pro-Pak talk leaders’ of Kashmir would do well to recollect the last phase of the life of staunch pro-Pakistani leader late Ali Shah Geelani. Throughout his life, he swore by Pakistan, danced to their tune, got thousands of Kashmiri youth killed at the behest of Pakistan, filled his coffers out of Pakistani hawala money but was finally dumped as an irrelevant and spent force by his very Pakistani benefactors.
Defining the status of a relationship with a foreign country is the prerogative of the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India. Omar Abdullah has been a Minister of State in the MEA. What did he do during his tenure to impress upon the Central Government to talk to Pakistan? Yes, he might have a role in prompting late Atal Bihari Vajpayee in undertaking the miscalculated bus travel to Islamabad against the saner advice of senior colleagues in the cabinet. Was this not a bold effort by the Government of India to initiate talks with Pakistan? And what was Pakistan’s response? The Kargil war!
Why does not Farooq tell Pakistanis how shameful was their response to Vajpayee’s initiative for talks? Is that country worth talking about in a principled manner?
It is these leaders who gave Pakistanis the licence of destroying and decimating Kashmiris. The task began with the decimation of the Kashmiri Hindus. Kashmir leadership is the victim of dual personality for which it has coined the phrase Kashmiriyat. The day it gets rid of Kashmiriyat will be the day of its redemption.