Hurriyat treats Pak as ‘holy cow’
28 November 2002
The Daily Excelsior
B L Kak
Jammu: The All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has, once again, charged New Delhi with pursuing ''hardened stand'' in relation to Kashmir and continuing to attach little importance to the ''need'' for tripartite talks on the Kashmir issue. Pakistan is a ‘holy cow’ for the Srinagar- based 23-party conglomerate, which enjoys finding fault with New Delhi’s role in, and policy for, Kashmir. Ironically, a senior Kashmiri opposition leader, who obtained for himself a passport from the Ministry of External Affairs after solemnly declaring himself a citizen of India not long ago, told a Delhi-based journalist that he did not consider himself an Indian national. Top leaders of the APHC as well as senior secessionist leader, Mr Shabir Shah, have found the NDA Government headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee to be ''insincere'' in its efforts to seek a durable solution to the Kashmir problem. Another secessionist leader, Mr Yasin Malik, may differ with the Hurriyat leadership on some issues, but he, too,like the rest of the secessionists, lauded Pakistan for having demonstrated ''flexibility'' in its approach for resolving the Kashmir issue. If the Hurriyat’s senior functionary, Maulvi Abbas Ansari,chose to administer a warning that neither the change of Government in Jammu and Kashmir nor the economic packages of the PDP-led coalition will divert the Kashmiris’ attention from their ''freedom struggle'', Kashmir’s ‘grand priest’ and former chairman of the APHC, Maulvi Umar Farooq, has gone a step further by terming Hizbul Mujahideen’s actions against the Indian Army as ''freedom struggle''. Nor is all. Maulvi Umar Farooq, who is currently president of the Awami Action Committee (AAC), has declined to accept as ''terrorism'' the acts against Indian security forces. His argument as recorded in his latest interview to BBC: ''No, that’s not when you fight for your rights. Kashmir is a dispute, and the Government of India, the Indian troops have occupied the land. So we are fighting on a military level, a political level, a diplomatic level''. Three more significant points have been highlighted by the high-profile politico-religious figure. First, of course, is his blunt refusal to accept the conduct of elections under the Constitution of India. Second, he has let it be known that New Delhi’s willingness to talk to ''us under the Indian Constitution is just not acceptable to us''. Third, he has not opposed infiltration into Kashmir from across the border. His verdict: ''If somebody comes from there and helps their brothers (Kashmiri people), I don’t think anybody can stop them''. This, if any, is a suggestion to the two sides—to the Kashmir-specific machinery in Pakistan occupied Kashmir to continue to push helpers (infiltrators, in plain language) into the Indian territory in J&K and to his ‘Kashmiri freedom fighters’ to make use of the motivated ‘visitors’ from the other side. Why then blame New Delhi for its ''hardened stand''? The BJP-led Government at the Centre hasn’t opposed talks with all categories of the J&K population. One cannot force New Delhi to submit to the gun-totting militants and their sympathisers in certain outfits in the Valley. New Delhi—the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, to be precise—did reiterate, in recent times, that the Government was prepared to hold talks even with the militants, only if they abandoned the gun and path of violence. Second, New Delhi hasn’t closed doors for bilateral negotiations with Pakistan. All that the Vajpayee Government wants to ensure for purposeful and productive dialogue is Islamabad’s offensive against the militant and subversive organisations in Pakistan as well as complete stoppage of the cross- border terrorism and anti-India propaganda. Can this stand be termed as ''hardened''? Prominent secessionist leaders, particularly the detained heavyweight of the right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the JKLF supremo, Mr Yasin Malik, the Hurriyat chairman, Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhat, the Itehadul Muslimeen chief, Maulvi Abbas Ansari, and Maulvi Umar Farooq, have hitherto avoided demonstrating flexibility, for obvious political reasons, in their attitude towards the powers-that-be in Delhi. More often than not, most of the secessionist leaders and elements have displayed their ''hardened stand'' on the demand for conciliatory talks with New Delhi. Obviously, the charge that the Government of India has adopted ‘hardened stand’ in relations to Kashmir is part of pro-Pak scheme of things. The Hurriyat and other secessionist elements, while accusing New Delhi of having a fault, seem to ignore the fact that they have the same fault. Hence, the relevance of the saying ‘the pot calling the kettle black’.