Dialogue is the way
…….. and ceasefire is an opportunity that can lead us to peace
Dr. Abdul Majid Siraj
Jun 5 2018
Dialogue offer to separatists is an acknowledgment of respect New Delhi has shown towards them and a rare opportunity for them to reciprocate. ‘Save lives and end bloodshed’ was the message delivered by CM Mehbooba Mufti in PDP convention in Srinagar. ‘Ramazan Ceasefire’ is about to end and persuade gun wielding youth to join the truce’ was the endorsed view from JK Youth Alliance in a dovetail voice. However the unflustered view that is gathering mass may say youth using guns are not a visible feature in losses suffered in the streets of Kashmir to qualify the expression ‘bloodshed’ we refer to. The youth who become violent have no guns in their hands. However militant encounters ending in deaths and destruction of property is a regular feature where the final outcome is known.
The centre has offered peace. ‘People should be grateful to mainstream politicians who prevailed on India to give peace a chance’ emphasized the CM and agreed a truce. However the poignant question that arises is about why point fingers at youth? ‘Who does not want peace? Surely people that are out in the streets do not demand war and violent uproar in their home environs. Their lives are in peril. They must put logic behind enforced activism because as Kuldeep Khoda ex-police chief says a cult is born where educated boys have added a dynamic to the struggle. He calls it ‘glamour’ that may not stand scrutiny because a bullet or pellet may take the glamour agog away in no time. They also look at future with trepidation. Ramazan ceasefire has been mentioned as exclusive gratis offer from the centre. Unwittingly this preposition gives credibility to youth showing violence as against the other side the third most powerful military power of the world to offer a ‘ceasefire’. A media analyst who works for the Chief Ministers office reinforces the tunnel vision of a new hope in case GOI forces stop launching operations in the month of Ramazan that offers a new hope. However it will be difficult for people of Kashmir to assign gratitude either to armed forces or to Holy Ramazan.
Back to the subject of ‘Dialogue’ ‘All roads lead to Rome’ Kashmir and Jammu in peace is every body’s dream and destination. In order to reach there all parties will have to choose a path that converges and does not run in parallel tracts never to meet. Dialogue must have the fuel that drives it. All parties agree to be bound by facts of justice and truth unbiased and untainted. The facilitating factors in arguments must debate, Sovereignty Rights, Territorial nationhood, Statehood, Location of all citizenry rights and privileges that lie with its inhabitants, duties and responsibilities of public and governance or administrators or international well-wisher of humanity who navigate the global politics and powers who oversee the life and living on this planet take opportunity to intercede to move the process forward.
‘Dialogue’ is a revered word which must be the key to move forward. We have an important starting line pivotal to progress. All the way from the start of Kashmir fiasco till now, we have the testimony of Yuraj Karan Singh, Heir Apparent of Jammu & Kashmir State and member India’s Lok Sabha and ex-cabinet minister representing a national political party with us and his comprehensive account of the whole story of this menacing dispute. In his declaration in upper house in Delhi Yuraj deposed as a living witness that accession was signed by his father when he was in the room but Jammu & Kashmir was not merged to India or any other country and therefore is not an integral part of any country. He has the most credibility and prior knowledge that no one in India can challenge. It makes the material laden with logic for all dialogue that may or may not happen with a layout on the table the fact sheet stating where we started from. That is the only road to Rome.
Back in Kashmir some activists MLA’s profess that unless Hurriyat leadership enter into talks with India and Pakistan the world will not recognize people as the basic party to dispute, leaning on the presumption that past seventy years there was complete ignorance in international community about the core problems in Kashmir. Information is readily available and alive in all repositories of the world. UN and its agencies and its standing members have all facts available on their table. It is the big five at the Security Council that need to meet eyes and heart to press justice and effort.
Leaders like Prof Abdul Gani Bhat show optimism about forward movement on Kashmir when ‘people will also be included in talks’. This has not taken in account the experience of reference on the full history of multiple tract negotiations and interlocutory involvement at various times and intermediary talks facilitators that all ended in a cul-de-sac. Bilal Lone a constituent of Hurriyat also recognizes that there can be no resolution to Kashmir unless Kashmiris themselves take decisions at the same time as claiming all joint resistance leadership to push India and Pakistan to talk. What Lone said has relevance if people take their focus off India and Pakistan and collate views based on facts of interventions and occupations and rights violations and condense those facts in a concrete claim that can be voiced before India Pakistan and the rest of the world.
‘Dialogue’ therefore must not be ‘Bilateralism’ that has a checkered record in Kashmir. India Pakistan meets exchange pleasantries, make gestures at each other with eager eyes to ask ‘Which part do you want other than what you already have? or ‘ We can both share /or may be have a joint control. As highlighted in Pakistan ex-foreign ministers book rejected by his counterpart, Mr Yashwant Sinha. ‘Dialogue’ therefore is in danger of imperial subordination of people and ownership of territory. In a realistic ‘dialogue’ there shall be a bi-focal approach to find future for Kashmir, they are land locked now and their communications with the rest of the world must be considered, what are the best chances of trade and promotion of life style or culture, enlightenment for them?. They may not want control of their destiny and recreate obscene history as Africans ruminate their arrival on Liverpool docks predestined to live a life that others chose for them.
Most of this bilateralism saga has been inculcated by the Western countries because they want their own relations with both India and Pakistan on even keel and serving their interests. I had a letter from Boris Johnson acknowledging human rights violations in Kashmir but insisting on India Pakistan mutual dialogue to solve the dispute. Alyssa Ayres senior diplomat in US foreign office in India Strategic Forum said there is no role for the US in settling India Pakistan dispute. This is not like shuttle diplomacy. China lauds India Pakistan for ‘ceasefire on the borders’ but refrains from offering help with a dialogue.
The best summery that could be adduced from peoples’ dialogue participation would be the antecedent points suggested by Syed Ali Geelani. Accept Kashmir as a dispute, withdraw armed forces from populated areas, release all prisoners, and revoke black laws like AFSPA. A comprehensive peace is possible if all parties in dispute make a concerted will to pursue the process to the end, come what may.