Civil society asks pro-freedom leaders to unite
‘United we stand divided we fall’
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Nov 22: Stating that differences between the pro-freedom leaders were hampering the Kashmir cause, the Kashmiri civil society on Sunday said it would strive to bring the entire leadership on a common platform.
Rejecting ‘Track-II and quite diplomacy’ as means to resolve the Kashmir dispute, it said all such measures would be futile unless the pro-freedom leaders set an agenda for dialogue and take people into confidence. They also suggested forming a team of experts from different fields to guide the pro-freedom leaders while holding dialogue with New Delhi or Islamabad.
During a one-day conference ‘civil society response to proposed dialogue’ organized by Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies, a group of intellectuals, academicians and people from different walks of life said unity among pro-freedom camp was prerequisite for dialogue with New Delhi. They unanimously agreed that without Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the Chairman of the United Jehad Council Syed Salahuddin dialogue process was futile.
Dr Altaf Hussain, a prominent social activist and member of Coalition of Civil Societies said Kashmiris have been valiantly fighting subjugation for over 400 years.
“But when it comes to collective response, we have failed as a nation. Our leaders have also disappointed us. Government of India has managed to divide them to such an extent that they don’t even talk to each other. The difference between them has hampered the cause of Kashmiris,” he said.
He said Kashmiris were basic stake-holders of the dispute. “Kashmiris should be allowed to be masters of their destiny. The writing on the wall is clear. The sentiment of Azadi is rooted in the DNA of Kashmirs. Time is ripe for pro-freedom leaders to respect the sacrifices rendered by the people and unite.”
The General Secretary of High Court Bar Association, Advocate G N Shaheen castigated the pro-freedom leaders for failing to come up with a road map for Kashmir resolution. “The biggest set-back for Kashmir cause has been that we have failed to break the status-quo for past 62 years. Our resistance leaders never seized opportunities or capitalize on the confidence building measures,” he said
Elaborating he said when the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road was opened the pro-freedom leaders objected to it. “During the economic blockade these very leaders marched along thousands of people on the same road during which many people including Sheikh Abdul Aziz were martyred.”
Shaheen said the pro-freedom camp should develop a consensus before talks. “We are doubtful about any dialogue but we have to move forward to break the status-quo. We can only advise them (leaders) to seize the opportunity without forgetting the aspirations of Kashmiris.”
Noor A Baba of University of Kashmir of Political Science department said the pro-freedom camp should take advantage of China’s stand on Kashmir. “We are not against dialogue but we need to form a strategy including a common minimum program. The talks should not be held for the sake of talks,” he said.
However, Baba said it was the responsibility of the civil society to guide the leaders. “We need to form a team of experts from different fields including legal, geo-political and international diplomacy. We are not questioning the capability of our leaders but they need some assistance. They should understand that Kashmir is a serious issue and it has to be dealt with seriously,” Baba said.
The GK columnist, ZG Muhammad said many dialogues and accords were held between New Delhi and Islamabad on Kashmir for past 2 years. “But none was fundamentally held with Kashmiris, the basic party to the dispute. In Hurriyat constitution there is a provision for negotiated settlement of the dispute. The leaders can talk but with a sole purpose to resolve the dispute according to aspirations of Kashmiris,” he said.
ZG said a section of the pro-freedom camp had been addressing the consequences not the causes. “Ironically some leaders construe demilitarization as pushing the troops back to barracks. They are pushing for pre-89 position on the matter. A diverse interest has developed among some leaders. They have to do some self-introspection and live up to expectations of the masses,” he said.
ZG said the civil society had to act as a pressure group to forge unity among the leaders.
The GK columnist, Arjumand Hussain Talib, said no single party had mandate to talk or table a solution on behalf of Kashmiris. “Pro-freedom leaders have to analyze whether they need to take NC and PDP into confidence before entering into a parleys or they can go ahead on their own. We need to closely examine the nitty-gritty of the whole dialogue process,” he said.
However, he said Kashmiris should not be buoyed by China’s stand on Kashmir. “China and India have emerged as top markets for the globe. We have to find a bargaining chip to make our case strong on the dialogue table,” he said.
The chairperson of Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies, Prof Hameeda Nayeem said the objective of the conference was to form terms of reference and identify contours of the dialogue. “Our leaders have been taking undue advantage of our indifference. It is responsibility of people of Kashmir to give right direction to the cause and its solution. We want the informed section of the society to act as bridge between people and the leaders,” she said.
Former BOSE official, Bashir A Dar said Kashmir dispute couldn’t be resolved in one go. “It will have to be done in phases and it will take time. But our leaders have to understand that New Delhi has never been sincere when it comes to Kashmir resolution. It formed the working committees and didn’t implement its recommendations,” he said.
He said the IAS officers posted in Kashmir were promoting New Delhi’s agenda in Kashmir. “They have occupied all the senior posts here and are damaging our movement,” he said.
Among others who spoke on the occasion included, Qurat-ul-Ain, Shahid Rasool, Shujaat Bukhari, Maroof Shah, Dr Mubarak and Dr Ahad.
‘TRAVEL ON STAPLED VISA’
Srinagar: The Civil society on Sunday advised the Hurriyat (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to travel to China on the stapled visa.
“He (Mirwaiz) should not insist on a separate visa from China. Mirwaiz should be cautious against New Delhi’s attempts to dilute the disputed nature of Kashmir. If the immigration authorities don’t allow Mirwaiz to travel to China, he should not press for it. He should in any case travel with stapled visa like other Kashmiris,” the members unanimously said.
“China is the only country which has acknowledged Kashmir as a dispute practically by issuing a stapled visa to Kashmiris. We are thankful to the Chinese government for acknowledging our struggle for right to self-determination,” they added.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Nov 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Nov 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Nov 2009 00:00:00 IST
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