The road ahead

Come out with a clear roadmap on Kashmir

Binoo Joshi
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 18 2018 11:29PM | Updated Date: Nov 18 2018 11:29PM
The road ahead

There is bound to be a  difference of opinion  on the routes to be adopted to end the conflict. Kashmir, in particular, is a momentous challenge before the people of the Valley, the rest of the country, and of course, Pakistan. The conflicting viewpoints  if aired with  conviction and decency  can help in finding  a respectable and acceptable  solution to the crisis. This leaves no scope for the double standard.

Unfortunately, however,  more and more double standards are visible and audible that have complicated the issue and   transformed  it further from a crisis to the host of crises.

Whipping up frenzy on issues is no answer to any of the issue(s) confronting Jammu and Kashmir. It is important to have cool heads to think and decide which course is  best for the people whose aspirations that the “leaders” claim to be representing.  The word” leaders” is in quotes, because there are so many men and women claiming to be leaders  and ironically  Kashmir is a  place without any leader at all. The “leaders”  are not guided by their ideologies that they claim to be pursuing, but by their personal ambitions in which they don’t have respect for even those who brought them into the politics. It was the mistake of the elderly to have thought that their scions or the relatives could be trusted with the destiny of the people of the  Valley. This is not a reference to the National Conference’s top leadership – President Farooq Abdullah and  his son  and party vice president Omar Abdullah  or for that matter  late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed  and his daughter and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, it is about many others. This reference was necessary to explain that the “ leaders” in the frenzied pursuit of their ambitions  have prevented  a possible solution to the crisis.

Let it be put this way that when the individual ambitions start dictating the discourse,there is a tendency to deflect the real issues  by raking up the contentious issues. It is a known fact that Kashmir issue cannot be resolved by the infrastructure development, employment packages  and flow of funds from the Centre. But should the people be denied of all these opportunities and access to the development, just because a political issue is looming large. The  governance and development cannot be isolated from the politics of articulating the political aspirations. When the  real-time development is interrupted  by peddling and widening the idea of conflict, nei5her development  works, nor the politics works. the net result is violence and bloodshed, for which the  “ leaders” blame Delhi’s “ adamancy” in not addressing the issue.

Turn few pages of history  and pick up the chapter of the National Conference rule under Farooq Abdullah. When Farooq Abdullah took over as Chief Minister on October 9, 1996,  apart from the challenge of the militancy and the rise of the counterinsurgents, there were few other problems too – education system was wrecked by the menace of mass copying. Ali Mohammad Sagar, who  after  few months as minister of State for Home, was made  Public Works Minister, had to deal with the flood of requests to reconstruct the bridges, buildings that had been gutted during the initial phases of militancy in which burning bridges and buildings was considered as an act of bravery. The Farooq Abdullah government devoted money, machines and resources in reconstruction  of the infrastructure.

Ask Sakina Ittoo, how she felt when it took days to take body of her father  Wali Mohmmad Ittoo, a former speaker to her native village. This was an excruciating experience for her family as well. That time, a question confronted everyone, how come the private properties were being constructed  all across the Valley, but the public properties were being destroyed or burnt. Why? The public properties too belonged to the people of Kashmir – the fact that Syed Ali Shah Geelani  made clear to the agitating and aggressive street protestors  in 2010.

The `leaders' are talking about solution to Kashmir crisis, and they have their own papers or non-papers. National Conference is talking about the  autonomy, PDP- Self Rule, separatists right to self-determination  and few others are asking for the third party intervention  from the West and China. Two things need to be clarified, whether the “ leaders” and their parties  have discussed these issues threadbare within their own party forums, and if so, have they attempted to  discuss with other groups. They have not. Except for the National Conference  in 1990s, no other party has deliberated seriously on the issue  of the autonomy, and after 2000, the party has  used this catch phrase without much substance and appeal. PDP’s self-rule document is a Xerox copy of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf’s four-point formula- irrelevant borders  between J&K and Pakistan administered Kashmir ; self governance ;  demilitarization from both sides of the Line of  Control  and joint mechanism to govern  the whole of the State. 

Separatists have reflected in contradictory terms, demanding right to self-determination  under the UN Security Council resolutions – what are they and what are the conditions that India and Pakistan have to fulfill  and most importantly whether these resolutions passed under Chapter 6  of the UN SC are enforceable ? There is no clarity on any of the issues and each of the “ leaders” and parties want to keep it confined to their constituents, forgetting that the resolution would have to be sought for the whole of the state on both sides of the LoC, and  any attempt to make it a preserve of one particular place is a self-defeating proposition. Unless there is a clear roadmap, nothing will  appeal to the people  within the Valley or outside of it.  

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