December 2007 News

Musharraf no longer saviour of Kashmir?

18 December 2007
The Daily Times

Lahore: Kashmiris, both unionists and separatists, saw President Pervez Musharraf as the one who could clinch a settlement on the disputed territory, according to an article published in Hindustan Times. However, their reaction to the upheaval in Pakistan was in total contrast to that in the rest of India. Strangely, the phenomenon has been little noticed and has aroused no reflection. The jihadis and the extremist fringe, having rejected President Pervez Musharraf’s concessions on Kashmir, speak with an air of vindication, the article adds. Syed Ali Shah Geelani said on November 5, “The suspension of the Constitution and the removal of Supreme Court judges is unconstitutional and against the democratic rights of the people of Pakistan. We (Kashmiris) can’t ignore the developments in Pakistan. These have a direct bearing on us.” On November 4, People’s Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti said on a local TV channel, Take One, “Naturally we are concerned. We have a sentimental and geographical affinity with Pakistan.” The former chairman of the Hurriyat’s moderate faction, Abdul Ghani Butt said, “Pakistan is not the only country where emergency has been imposed.” He also criticised the judges. “There has to be harmony among the three pillars of the state — the executive, the legislature and the judiciary”. There were jubilant celebrations on Musharraf’s re- election as president. This, to be sure, is not the first time that Kashmiris responded to events in Pakistan altogether differently from other Indians. Sumeet Kaul’s report in the same newspaper said, “I had read somewhere that your preconceived notions of nationalism, of Indian nationalism, are severely tested in the Valley. They were. And that, perhaps, was more difficult to come to terms with than even the guns. Wherever we went, we were almost invariably referred to as the ‘guests from India’; not with malice, but casually, incidentally.” Recently, three times in as many weeks — on November 19 and 23 and December 5 — a Unionist, Farooq Abdullah, leader of the National Conference, warned that if violations of human rights continued “the people might be forced to rethink about the accession (of J&K to India in 1947)”. Four incontestable truths sum up the situation today — de-accession is ruled out; popular alienation is deep; Kashmiris yearn for self-rule and reunification — the LoC must be rendered ‘irrelevant’; and lastly, Pakistan must be a party to any accord. The Manmohan Singh-Musharraf consensus respects all four, said the article. daily times monitor


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