Losing the Vajpayee way

Hurriyat has acted responsibly. It’s Delhi that has backtracked.

Written by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq | Published:September 5, 2014 12:18 am
The Modi government must realise that Kashmir is a political problem and needs a political resolution. (Source: AP) The Modi government must realise that Kashmir is a political problem and needs a political resolution. (Source: AP)

When India invited Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Delhi for Narendra Modi’s swearing in, there was hope in Kashmir that the new dispensation would carry forward the peace initiative of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It didn’t last.  Delhi soon took the confrontationist approach towards Kashmir and Pakistan, which is likely to be detrimental for all three parties.

The decision taken by Delhi to call off the foreign secretary-level talks with Islamabad just because we met the Pakistan high ­commissioner in Delhi is a move in the wrong direction and contrary to what the Vajpayee government stood for. The dialogue between India and Pakistan primarily focuses on Kashmir and there is no logic in keeping Kashmiris out of it. Delhi’s decision also goes against the basics of international law and justice.

For the past 60 years, Kashmiris have been fighting for their political rights. In the last 20 years, one lakh people have been killed, thousands widowed and orphaned, and close to 10,000 people have disappeared in custody. Kashmiris suffer for a cause, a right they were promised 67 years ago, both by India and Pakistan. Kashmiris have suffered because they wanted a say in the resolution of the issue. They wanted to be heard and their views reflected in any possible settlement. When India and Pakistan sit to discuss Kashmir, they are talking about people, and not cattle. It is our problem and it is about our future.

Delhi needs to understand that Kashmir is not like any other conflict, that it has a history and a context. Kashmir can’t be compared with any other internal dispute India has. Delhi came to this realisation when Vajpayee was in office. He talked about talks within the “ambit of humanity”. That prompted us to respond and we reciprocated the sentiment. We went to Pakistan, a trip that was facilitated by Delhi. In Pakistan, we discussed the four-point proposals, we talked about an out-of-the-box solution.

Pakistan believed that Kashmiri involvement could solve its problems too. Pakistani leaders believed that if Kashmir’s leadership agreed to an out-of-the-box solution, they could sell it within Pakistan as a resolution proposed and accepted by the people of Kashmir.

It was a beginning that could have taken us all a long way. But the UPA government didn’t build on the initiatives taken by ­Vajpayee, despite the many opportunities that came its way. It seems the new government is heading in the same direction — towards a confrontation with Kashmir and Pakistan.

A confrontation is not going to lead us anywhere. At the peak of the armed resistance in Kashmir, the pro-India political parties, including the National Conference, had an anti-Kashmir stand. Even they have realised that the Kashmir dispute needs to be ­resolved. The Hurriyat clearly stands vindicated.

The Modi government must realise that Kashmir is a political problem and needs a political resolution. Delhi’s focus has been on addressing the grievances of the people through economic packages. There is a difference between grievances and aspirations, and that line needs to be drawn. The issue can’t be resolved just by offering sops or holding elections or through military power.

India must stop viewing ­Kashmir through the Pakistan prism. The people of India have been given to believe whatever happens in Kashmir is because of Pakistan. That’s far from the reality. They need to know that Kashmiris are unhappy, that there is anger against India.

It is unfortunate that an impression is being given that the Hurriyat is playing the spoilsport in the Indo-Pak dialogue. This is not what we stand for. The Hurriyat has only contributed to the talks process and will continue to do so. We have encouraged India and Pakistan to talk. We showed the way for a resolution by initiating a triangular dialogue separately with India and Pakistan.
The Hurriyat is a responsible forum. In fact, during our meeting with the Pakistan high ­commissioner we said Islamabad should not give up on its focus on engaging with India. When Sharif visited India, there was an internal discussion in the Pakistan embassy. They wanted us to meet and talk to Sharif. We refused. We told them India and Pakistan must first formalise the dialogue process and then the Hurriyat would come in. We acted responsibly. Now India needs to act responsibly.
There is the overall realisation in Kashmir, India and Pakistan that there can be no military solution, or a solution forced through ­violence to the Kashmir issue, and that the solution will come only through engagement. India, ­however, has discredited the ­dialogue process. It only believes in a militaristic approach. If a ­militaristic or economic solution to the Kashmir problem were possible, the dispute would not have lingered for so long.

This is the time to build on the processes. The problem with Delhi is it forgets Kashmir when there is peace there and firefights when a situation like that in 2008 or 2010 develops. India must change that mindset. Kashmir has seen a transition from violence to non-violence and it is for the government of India to decide whether it wants to take the path of dialogue or confrontation.

For us, dialogue is the only way forward. But Delhi must not push Kashmiris to the wall, where they have to look beyond dialogue for the resolution of the dispute. If Kashmir erupts in violence again then the Hurriyat will not be in a ­position to stop it. We hope India will not push Kashmir back to the 1990s.

The writer is the chairman of the Hurriyat Conference (M)
express@expressindia.com

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  1. A
    Abdul
    Sep 5, 2014 at 11:28 am
    Look Kashmir is not any other part in India. Muslim people in Kashmir don't want to live in India. Indians please don't sell that Secular democracy talks to us.The basis difference between Kashmir and India is that Kashmiris are closer to Islam and they wanted to be guided by Islam and not by fake secularism lead by a Feku PM.
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    1. R
      realist
      Sep 5, 2014 at 4:08 am
      What Vajpayee way? There will only be a Modi way from now on. Get used to it or just cross the border to stan.
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      1. M
        M M
        Sep 5, 2014 at 1:11 am
        It has to be admitted that the dialogue on all the contentious issues is a must to resolve the K-Issue. But, when an opportunity is afforded, Hurriyat prefers to engage itself through stan rather than India. This approach is unacceptable. The Centre's appointed Interlocutors in 2010 made every effort to engage the Hurriyat leaders in the dialogue process but they evaded and avoided meetings with the Interlocutors. Therefore, Hurriayat itself is responsible for perpetuating the resolution of K-Issue. The matter ought to be discussed openly with a clear option that should be acceptable to all the stakeholders. In pursuance of democratic principles, we should be willing to follow a middle path to reach a compromise formulae. Interlocutors have dwelt on the relevant issues, which may be considered by the stakeholders. MM Ansari
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          Ajay
          Sep 5, 2014 at 9:09 am
          We had enough of your dramas...what threat you are giving"ButDelhi must not push Kashmiris to the wall, where they have to look beyonddialogue for the resolution of the dispute.'' Till now you have been pampered by India on Indian tax payers money...we had enough of people like you...Pls dont check the patience of Indian Citizens and dont push the Indians to the wall....you people have driven the Kashmiri pundits out of your state ..how many times you have bothered to visit their camps and look into their grievances..if we Indians do the same to people like you then you will realise their plight..Time is running out for you people...you even dont have the guts to fight elections in your own state..pls do that and then you will come to know where you stand.. But Delhi must not push Kashmiris to the wall, where they have to look beyond dialogue for the resolution of the dispute. - See more at: :indianexpress/artic... But Delhi must not push Kashmiris to the wall, where they have to look beyond dialogue for the resolution of the dispute. - See more at: :indianexpress/artic... But Delhi must not push Kashmiris to the wall, where they have to look beyond dialogue for the resolution of the dispute. - See more at: :indianexpress/artic... But Delhi must not push Kashmiris to the wall, where they have to look beyond dialogue for the resolution of the dispute. - See more at: :indianexpress/artic... But Delhi must not push Kashmiris to the wall, where they have to look beyond dialogue for the resolution of the dispute. - See more at: :indianexpress/artic...
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            Aks
            Sep 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm
            The problem started because of alleged rigging in 1989 but there is no excuse for them to partite in the election now.
            Reply
            1. A
              Aks
              Sep 5, 2014 at 6:26 pm
              which islam are you talking about? wahhabi, Ahmedi, shia?
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                Anil Maheshwari
                Sep 5, 2014 at 7:26 am
                These Hurriyat-pasand Kashmiri Muslims refuse to partite any elections in Jammu & Kashmir and still claim to be the representatives of the Kashmiri Muslims. They seems to be afraid of losing elections as they have no sway over electorate. They are merely paper-tigers, provided platforms by the media and pampered by the IB, the Internal Intelligence Agency and ISI, the stan's Intellegence Agency at the same time.
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                  Pritam
                  Sep 5, 2014 at 5:46 am
                  So you feel you can keep us in gunpoint and ask for the land?? 1.5 billion people are fool?Keep on trying sir! All the best!
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                    aria
                    Sep 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm
                    Fare enough...so then go to stan and use your version of Islam have peace...Please do not bother me...Kashmir has a history of Hindu tradition which was occupied by Islamist and converted to Islam...So do not touch your stupid Islam theory....We are bad boys and Kashmir land is ours..be with us or go to your beloved Jihadi people on other side of the border...You are welcome for one way trip..
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                      Arpit
                      Sep 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm
                      Mr. Kashmir doesn't understand that secession of Kashmir will have a domino effect and result in balkanisation of subcontinent; small states that regularly fight amongst themselves or become client states for bigger powers or become failed states like stan. Cannot allow a couple million Kashmiris to have such effect on Billion plus Indians.No use in Kashmiris joining stan and becoming part of Anti Shia, Anti Christian and Anti Ahmadi hate campaign.The only reason for secession given is anti kafir feelings in Kashmiris' mind. Get rid of that. Hate served NO one.
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                        Ashok Sridharan
                        Sep 5, 2014 at 7:53 am
                        1 lakh killed, 10,000 disappeared, and what about the Kashmiri Pandits? Mr. Farooq has conveniently omitted them? Besides, what does he expect to gain from India talking to the political establishment in stan, when its obviously the army which calls the shots there?
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                          Ashok Sridharan
                          Sep 5, 2014 at 7:55 am
                          Completely agree Mr. Ansari, but with one rider: if India has to hold a dialogue with stan, it'll have to involve their military establishment too. Its only too obvious that in stan, its the generals who have the final say, so its pointless talking to the civilian government alone.
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                          1. S
                            Subhash Bennur
                            Sep 5, 2014 at 6:19 pm
                            Let us ask this Chairman of Hurriyat Mirwaiz umar farooq...With whom India should talk. To Army, Imran Khan or Nawaz Sherrif or Khadri or LeT or Al Khaidah? If you talk to eny one fellow other fellow will stop talks or ensure talks will not proceed further. Otherwise they will start a kargill war or send terrorists to Mumbai etc. Mirwaiz saab, Are you not aware stan now is a frying pan aka fire. It is bankrupt financially or morally? Do you want to push or persuade India to talk to a country which is engulfed in fire. If hurriyat wants to talk to the fire take the call or try in Syria or Iraq or ISIS talking to stan. GOI is telling you that no point in talking to Aag. At least have the wisdom of talking to the right people so that decision can come about. Hurriyat is living in its own make believe world and the Aag will consume them if they proceed further. Not only you are pushing yourself from frying pan to fire but pushing kashmiris. You don`t have any right! Mirwaiz Umar Farooq |
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                            1. S
                              Shashikant
                              Sep 5, 2014 at 10:19 am
                              A committee of Kashmiri Pandit's should also be involve in discussion and all discussion be in front of camera.
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                                Brijkhanna
                                Sep 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm
                                Kashmir is never nor an issue for India. Only issue is to get back POK areas. Hurriyat Leadership throughout have exposed themselves as a proxy for stan Govt and for all those terrorists who try to infiltrate into Valley to disturb peace. andLet Hurriyat Leaders surrender their Pports issued by Government of India and migrate to stan as stateless peoples . Will they accept them. Answer is NO.These so called leaders who are funded by ISI and peoples staying in Saudi Arabia.Have they ever filed their income tax returns if so with whom? Hurriyat Leadership who claim to represent Kashmir Valley, did they ever dared to contest any state embly elections. In fact these HURRIYAT LEADERS ARE PAID AGENTS OF STAN ARMYand should be tried for treason and conspiracy. No doubt there shall be some noise, stone throwing ultimately Kashmiri shall understand their true ideny.Do we have to deal with them NOThese Hurriyat Leaders forget how stan Soldiers and Tribal raped and killed their daughters and sons and pered and raped them in 1947.Do they forget how stan again tried to cut Kashmir into two parts and killed hundreds of Kashmiris in 1965.Very Easy to forget for them the atrocities committed by stan.They talk of self determination or AZADI, forget you shall never it. Instead remedy lies in division of J&K into three parts JAMMU, VALLEY AND LADKH as UNION TERRITORY.Every time any Secretary Level Talk is finalized time, they rush to their AAQA HIGH COMMISSIONER OF STAN IN INDIA. THE PRESENT GOVT SHALL NOT TOLERATE THIS NUISANCE ANY MORE. On the contrary Govt should take all legal measures to investigate their activities and funding and take legal action as permissible under the laws iof the COUNTRY.
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                                  B.D.SINGH
                                  Sep 5, 2014 at 8:02 am
                                  Modi is not as simple as Bajpayee. It is neither possible for stan nor for Huriat to deceive him. What was Bajpayee ways. He was talking with PM Sharif and Musharraf was planning Kargil war. Sir jee, it is not so simple with Modi. He knows such tricks.
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                                    brk
                                    Sep 5, 2014 at 4:53 am
                                    don't Indian leadership represent People of India including J&K? Who is hurriyat and who nominated them as representatives of people of valley? In any case, people of state compose of various communities including muslims and hindus. Where is representatives of Kashmiri Pandits. Hurriyat has been given importance beyond there capabilities. Now they have been shown the real place.
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                                    1. C
                                      Cool Henry
                                      Sep 5, 2014 at 10:14 pm
                                      Abdul Mian - back in 1948, Kashmiris were being slaughtered by the stani irregulars like carrots and radishes...their property was being looted...their women were being raped...dian army was requested to intervene with folded hands. So, Indians shed their blood for well being of Kashmiris. The consequences would be the same if Indians vacated now. Kashmiris will be slaughtered by the ISIS and Taliban...women will be raped...and Indians will be asked to intervene again. So, just read some history, and hope and pray that Indians don't give up on Kashmir. And yeah - thanks for saving the es of Kashmiris from the stani rogues wouldn't be too bad either.
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                                        Desi Politicker
                                        Sep 5, 2014 at 7:01 pm
                                        It is interesting that the Mirwaiz feels the pain of only some Kashmiris, and not of others.Wasn't an entire community (Pundits) not cuted, hounded, murdered, and forced to leave Kashmir? Why is the Mirwaiz not even referring to them? Does his solution to the Kashmir problem not include the Pundits at all?While calling out the many things that Delhi has allegedly forgotten, aren't you also forgetting these rightful residents of Kashmir? Sorry Mr. Mirwaiz, but your hypocrisy is showing.
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                                          TARUN
                                          Sep 5, 2014 at 7:16 pm
                                          brother i am also a resident of jammu and kashmir..Who said kashmiri dont want to live with india.100 protesting people around lal chowk does not represent w kashmir.Every muslim of india is closer to islam,and believe in secularism.Brother just read about kashmiriyat.Does kashmiriyat forbids secularism..??.brother it is very easy to type few lines expressing our views..Brother what u think about muslims of india,,.are they not closer to islam.??Your 2 lines are more than sufficent to create prejudices against kashmiris. pls think before u post anything.Baijaan I KNOW that my words might annoy you.For that i feel sorry.WE WERE SECULAR, ARE SECULAR AND WILL REMAIN SECULAR.......
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                                            Giridharan Velamore
                                            Sep 5, 2014 at 10:13 am
                                            Each PM is unique and so is Mr. Modi. India's current position is that when there are elected representatives in Kashmir, the Hurriyat cannot be afforded any special status/ privilege. Let the Hurriyat prove their worth with the people of Kashmir. There is no point complaining about 1989 Kashmir elections. These days the elections in all of India, including Kashmir is largely free and fair and it has also been confirmed by International observers. So, to the respected Mirwaiz Farooq and his colleagues, prove your worth with the people of Kashmir, that you are more acceptable than PDP and NC. If you say that you it is unacceptable to contest in elections in Kashmir, as it is a tacit agreement of Indian rule in Kashmir, you are only trying to escape the public opinion.
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