April 2001 News

Hurriyat indecision rooted in its failure to lead

22 April 2001
The Hindustan Times
Arun Joshi

Jammu: The indicision in the All-Party Hurriyat Conference — the secessionist conglomerate that claims to be the sole representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir — is rooted in its own failures to lead at a crucial time. Now, when the time has come to show that it is an independent force — free from the shackles of Pakistan, the Hurriyat is shying away from the whole process. First, it failed to decide when to meet and take a decision to device a response to the offer for talks made by the government of India — the kind that it has been asking for all along. It repeatedly insisted on an unconditional dialogue. The government's April 5 announcement met this particular demand. Now the Hurriyat itself is talking of conditions — a visit to Pakistan and Islamabad's involvement in the talks — a clear indication that the Hurriyat leadership has no will or capacity to deal with the situation on its own. Political analysts see in the Hurriyat’s posture an effort to please Pakistan. After all, Hurriyat is Pakistan's creation, nurtured assiduously through its men in Kashmir and the Pakistan embassy in Delhi. The Hurriyat has given a clear indication that it cannot take any decision without the consent of Islamabad. Its dilemma is deeper. Were it only the Pakistan connection, the Hurriyat could have easily rejected the offer for talks and stayed quiet and waited for the government to make the next move. But the Hurriyat did not do that because it cannot and will not out rightly reject the offer for talks because it closes all escape routes for it and also its claim as a political voice of Kashmiris. Moreover, some of its leaders have worked behind the scene to persuade Delhi to make this offer. Their credibility is now at stake. Above all, how would the Hurriyat face its people without having tested its standing through any elections, analysts ask.


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