Whom Does The Hurriyat Represent Anyway
4 December 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: The split leadership of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, has earned the reputation of raising ever fresh questions about Jammu and Kashmir to block both Indian and Pakistani initiatives for a peaceful resolution of the problems of Kashmiris. And its insistence on blocking these initiatives for peace has blocked all attempts at normalization of Indo-Pak relations, so important for peace and stability in the two nuclear neighbours with promising non-nuclear potential too. Security, stability, peace and development of the region too vitally depended on the peace and stability in India and Pakistan. The arrogance aggression and apathy to peaceful Indo-Pak initiatives, exhibited by the different leaders and factions of the Hurriyat Conference are beginning to raise questions about the very character and credibility of the group of leaders with jarring voices who earned a reputation for being incorrigible road-blockers. The Hurriyat Conference and its colourful but self-righteous factional leaders may feel that they have a point of view, and of course they must be heard. That is the advantage that a democratic system gives them, the freedom of expression, no matter how belligerently and cynically one express himself. But that system also saddles you with accountability. You must also answer questions about your own conduct when asked. The first question which each and every Hurriyat leader must answer clearly and honestly is : whom do you represent anyway? Other questions arise out of that core question. Does Hurriyat represent the Ladakhis? Doest it represent the Dogras of Jammu? Does it represent the Kashmiri Pundits? Does it even represent the entire Muslim population of the valley and Jammu who have been regularly electing their representatives to the Jammu and Kashmir assembly and have produced a series of distinguished chief ministers from the great Sheikh Abdullah to the distinguished warrior for peace and development, the present Chief Minister. They were all distinguished Muslim leaders who played an equally important political and social role at the state level and at the national stage. If religion be their measuring stick then how could be 26 parties and political groupings which patched together to form the All Parties Hurriyat Conference be considered more Muslim and more Kashmiris than those Muslim who were elected as their representatives by the people of Jammu and Kashmir? Let us assume that they honestly want a solution of the so called 'Kashmir Dispute' with the involvement of India, Pakistan and Kashmiris. But then how do they define Kashmiri? Are those living in the valley who voted the Sheikh Abdullah Government to power to launch a democratic system not Kashmiri. Those who elected the Mufti Government into Power ? Are they not Kashmiri ? Why has the All Parties Hurriyat Conference always shied from trying its luck at the democratic polls, winning and establishing its representative character to negotiate its point of view from a position of representative strength duly approved by the people's mandate? The percentage of popular vote bagged by the National Conference led by Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, the PDP led by Mehbooba Mufti, the Indian National Congress, led by leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, bagged election after election also raise another question. Why do people in this Muslim majority population state of India vote for these parties despite poll boycott calls given by the Hurriyat and disaster threats by fundamentalist terrorist groups of self-styled jehadis? Why do they enjoy the reputation of being 'separatists? If they are working for annexation of the entire Kashmir by Pakistan, then whose purposes and intents are they serving? Why do persist with the shame of carrying on a conversation of threats in patronizing tones with other leaders of India and Kashmir? By what right do they consider themselves superior to all Indians, Pakistanis and Kashmiris, who honestly differ with their view on a just and peaceful future for Kashmir and Kashmiris? Some of the Hurriyat leaders have been full of arrogance and effrontery in their reaction to New Delhi's offers of peaceful dialogue. 'No pre- conditions they shouted. Then by what right do they lay their own pre-condition of visiting Pakistan or asking for third-party intervention before consenting to converse ? Have their communication lines with their counter-parts and cohorts in other part of Kashmir and Pakistan suddenly snapped that they must visit Pakistan personally to canvass support for their point of view? Some of the Hurriyat leaders are reported to have indirectly threatened Islamabad too that they would launch 'a peaceful non-violent protest movement' in both Pak occupied and Jammu Kashmir in India. Why has their movement in Jammu Kashmir so far not been so non-violent and utterly negative? There are questions, questions and more questions. If the Hurriyat leaders are not frank and fetching enough with straight forward and credible answers. They are bound to remain teasing and irritating questionmarks.