To whom do Kashmir and Kashmiris belong?

To whom do Kashmir and Kashmiris belong?

If Pakistan is a safe haven for terrorists and ‘Kashmir and Kashmiri are Indian’, there is hardly anything left up for dialogue between Islamabad and Hurriyat

Dr Syed Nazir Gilani

MAY 28, 2018

After a long drawn lull in Indian mood about not talking to the Hurriyat and other stakeholders in Kashmir, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday, May 26, 2018 that the Government of India is ready to hold talks with Hurriyat. If New Delhi is not ‘misguided’ by the revelations volunteered by General Pervez Musharraf and General Asad Durrani in their two respective books and interactions, Indians could not deny the signature of Kashmiri sentiment behind the united Hurriyat. Hurriyat has a constitution that was adopted on July 31 1993 and people have continued to support it, on the terms set out in the constitutional discipline.

He also said that New Delhi was even ready to hold talks with Pakistan if it comes forward to do so. However, the merits of the offer remain complicated for both Pakistan and the Hurriyat. Singh said that Pakistan will have to learn that supporting terrorists is not doing it any good. “If you see, there is consensus emerging in the international community that Pakistan has become a shelter for terrorists.”

Hurriyat has been equally poked in the eye by our saying that ‘Kashmir and Kashmiri are both ours.’ General Musharraf was the first to associate Pakistan with ‘terrorism’ in Kashmir in his book and General Asad Durrani seems to have erred quite similarly.

If Indians have not read too much into the books written by these two generals and taken false guidance from the ‘information’ held within, India has to take steps to talk to five out of the six interest groups identified by the UN Security Council (UNSC) at its 241st meeting, held on February 5, 1948. There is no doubt that both Generals would have studied the discipline of military science to the core. It does not however, qualify them to be experts on the jurisprudence of the Kashmir case.

They may not have held any genuine interest to seek an independent non-party expert inputs on the jurisprudence of UN Resolutions on Kashmir. General Musharraf was in a hurry to turn his back on the confirmed UN mechanism on Kashmir and introduced a four point formula through his book. To appear liberal at the cost of rights and dignity, security and self-determination of the people of Kashmir, he chose to play to the approbation of Indian audience. This required fracturing of the Hurriyat’s ranks and weakening of the Kashmiris, who were staunch advocates of the jurisprudence of Kashmir case at various international forums.

If Pakistan is a safe haven for terrorists and “Kashmir and Kashmiri are Indian”, there is hardly anything left up for dialogue between Islamabad and Hurriyat. India has developed an art to engage Pakistan and Kashmiri leaders, with full control over its lips and watchful of the opposition’s loose lips. Unfortunately, Pakistani and Kashmiri participants don’t take long to ‘lubricate’ their tongues and start talking ‘openly and honestly’. The situation has been described by RAW chief on page 20 of Spy Chronicles, “The three of us sat down with glasses of whisky and started talking. More openly and honestly.” By three he means A S Dulat, Vicky Sood and Asad Durrani.

As a responsible state and advocate of the Kashmir cause, Pakistan should have taken a timely note of General Musharraf’s book and foreseen the dangers of General Durrani’s involvement in Track-II dialogue

General Asad Durrani is a casualty of Track-II Diplomacy, encouraged and blessed by Indian state craft. Kashmir has also become a casualty of Track-II engagement. As long as people of like understanding and matching merit are pitched against each other in these engagements, there is an insurance of parity. The risk of loose lips is minimised. Unfortunately people of a very low calibre, who tend to be looking for inroads are recruited from both sides. These are the foot soldiers to shoulder the Indian values of liberalism and secularism. They have no merit and are embedded as escorts.

Indian state craft is concentrating on vulnerable journalists on both sides and others who have an NGO-cum-business interest around Kashmir. Non-Kashmiris (some Kashmiris as well) with no interest or stake in Kashmir seem to have woken up to seek peace between India and Pakistan and their starting point is a demand to end ‘violence’ or ‘terrorism’ in Kashmir. They do not have much to say about the state terrorism inflicted by Indian security forces on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

As a responsible state and advocate of the Kashmir cause, Pakistan should have taken a timely note of General Musharraf’s book and foreseen the dangers of General Durrani’s involvement in Track-II dialogue. We should not sin against General Durrani more than he has sinned himself because Track-II is becoming an intelligence gathering forum for India. They have used all these engagements to their advantage. The RAW chief spells this out for us on page 19 on the book. He writes, “I did not want to just spend my time with diplomats drinking whisky. I wanted to talk our kind of business”, a reference to General Asad Durrani. Indian side has succeeded to kill two birds with one stone. They have hurt the reputation of the Pakistan army and the Kashmir cause.

The writer is President 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 is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court. Author could be reached at dr-nazirgilani@jkchr.com

Published in Daily Times, May 28th 2018.