It has long been contested by Hurriyat leaders that the writers and columnists do not come up with pragmatic ideas, which could aid the leadership. Many times, they have complained that it is only the criticism which they have to read every day, devoid of any productive suggestions to cope up with the problems at hand. I buy the argument to some extent, as I believe healthy criticism is extremely important but is just half the job while the other half is to offer proposals and possible solutions.
We cannot deny the fact that Hurriyat Conference has given us its own divisions rather than the dividends of an everlasting peace (resolution), which we were promised, when it was formed on 10th March, 1993. Due to these bifurcations and trifurcations, each leader presents himself to be the beacon of sincerity, truth and loyalty to the cause, which implicitly means others to be disloyal and insincere. This factionalism & disunity creates chaos and confusion. Common masses in Kashmir feel utter disenchantment, not only with the Hurriyat Conference but with the movement as a whole, giving rise to common roadside epithets like ‘Kursi ladeay’ (fight for chair), generalizations like ‘Yim hez che seari choor’(They are all thieves), and more importantly sense of insecurity that they will fight each other even when Kashmir is free, for the right to rule it.
Moreover, it proves to be a huge disservice to the cause, by them when people at International level or with in Pakistan and India realize that just 14 million people in J&K do not have any single leadership with whom they could talk. No matter how much we try to convince them that ‘Right to self determination’ is the goal of all, the fact is that it is just in theory. In actuality, what is acceptable to Mirwaiz, is not adequate for Geelani. What is tolerable to Yasin Malik is not allowable for Shabir Shah or Nayeem Khan. And we all suffer because of that.
My solution is to democratize leadership. Let us arrange to hold an election, for the sole purpose of coming up with the real hurriyat, which will have a mandate and which can rightfully claim to be the representatives of people’s aspirations, as far as Kashmir conflict is concerned. I do understand that there will be technical complications in the execution of such a project but if it is admissible to all the stake holders, we should be able to do it. Since Hurriyat Conference is not a banned organization even as per Govt of India, they should not have any problem with such an exercise, in principle. Pro India leadership should also welcome it as they claim they exist only for the administrative purposes. If it is accomplished, this will serve four major purposes : 1) We shall all know the real leadership of Kashmir, so will the world and especially those who say they don’t know who to talk to, in Kashmir. 2) The total number of voters, which I believe will be monumental, irrespective of the fact who they vote for, will in a way demonstrate the majority support for the movement as a whole. 3). The Hurriyat leaders have always been denigrated for being self-styled, self-imposed, non-elected & worst of all the puppets of Pakistan and being on the payroll of its intelligence agencies with no or minimal support base in Kashmir, by almost all & sundry in India.
I leave it open for the eminent thinkers, philosophers and more importantly legal luminaries to check the feasibility of this idea and if it is not, then is there a way to make it plausible?
(Mehboob Makhdoomi is an MBA from the US with a research degree from the UK.