Hurriyat (M) leadership is preparing to visit Pakistan on 15 December 2012 and in this regard has started a process of public contact. There would hardly be a person in the State who has in one or the other manner remained in support of the formal political agenda that Hurriyat (united) gave to the people on 31 July 1993, who would not express his or her best wishes to the Hurriyat delegation during their stay in Pakistan. It would not be the first visit to Pakistan either.
The narrative of Hurriyat agenda that has filtered into the press during its public contacts so far remains unconvincing. Even if one accepts that the input from the various sections of the society is inclusive, yet it remains unreliable on both sides.
Hurriyat (M) has yet to reconcile itself to the fact that it has failed to construct a narrative, which would have the convincing merits, like the statement of Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority which he made at the UN General Assembly on 29 November 2012 before the Vote to grant Palestine non-member observer State status at the United Nations. He said, ““We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine,”.
Kashmiri leadership continues to fail in its understanding of their case and the respective legitimised roles of India and Pakistan. The present representative character of Hurriyat is faced with the same caution, which the UN Security Council gave to National Conference and J & K Legislative Assembly in its resolution 91 (1951) of 30 March 1951. If the international community, that is the United Nations, were not prepared to endorse National Conference and the Assembly which was to be elected, “only from a part of the whole territory of Jammu and Kashmir”, it would not be prepared to accept Hurriyat (M) for any inclusive character in any negotiations with Pakistan or India.
Hurriyat (M) is formally committed to a political agenda that it gave to its people on 31 July 1993 and for its endorsement of the militant component of the struggle. It has yet to debate and convince the people of a sudden need to distance from its 22 year old narrative and the manner in which it has used the political, diplomatic and moral support of the Government of Pakistan, in the best interests of its people. Hurriyat stands to account for the politics and militancy in Kashmir.
Governments of India and Pakistan raved courage to allow Muzaffarabad – Srinagar Bus Service to make travel easy and allow the cross LOC trade to let Onions and Potatoes travel. The two Governments did not need any clearance from any faction of Hurriyat or from any other political party in Jammu and Kashmir. It remains unconvincing that Hurriyat leaders travelling to Pakistan would in any manner be able to influence or impact the Pakistan’s Kashmir policy.
In fact the failure of Hurriyat to present a character and narrative of the kind, presented by Palestinian leadership at the UN and its admitted reliance on the establishment in Pakistan, has shown it in a poor light as an instrument and not as a party to the dispute. It is seen as a useful tool to bash India not in the interests of the Rights Movement of the People of Kashmir but as and when the establishment in Pakistan desires to exact an advantage out of Indian Government. We should learn from Palestinians and should not be seen to be seeking to “delegitimize the Indian State established in August 1947”.
I am sure there would have been a rigorous response when addressing the second phase of the feedback sessionon Tuesday 27 November 2012 chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, “there is a notion across the world that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. The amalgam will urge Pakistan for “legal sanctity” for role of Kashmiris’ as a third party in the settlement of Kashmir issue so that it is recognized as a tripartite issue at the global level.”
After conducting a political agenda (and endorsing militant agenda) for 22 years, it is very disappointing to note that Hurriyat feels that Pakistan has not accorded the “legal sanctity” for the role of Kashmiris’. Hurriyat leaders are far remote from the jurisprudence of Kashmir case and their understanding in regard to “legal sanctity” of Kashmiri role is unreliable. We have reached this impasse because we were readily available with our compliance for a ‘Tuppence’ and have developed a taste to deal ad lib (at one’s pleasure) with our past, present and future. Our leaders feel free to place the whole nation on a barrow and offer them in obeisance. A stop has to be put to this ad lib treatment of our people and acting as laboratory assistants in any non-Kashmiri experiment.
Hurriyat leadership need not travel to Pakistan to urge Pakistan for “legal sanctity for role of Kashmiris’ as a third party in the settlement of Kashmir issue”. It should thank the Government of India for allowing them a “legal sanctity” at the United Nations in January 1948. Hurriyat seems to be incrementing confusion rather than resolving if there were one. Government of India at the 227th meeting of the UN Security Council on 15 January 1948 has concluded its case as follows:
“The question of the future status of Kashmir vis-à-vis her neighbours and the world at large, and a further question, namely, whether she should withdraw from her accession to India, and either accede to Pakistan or remain independent, with a right to claim admission as a Member of the United Nations – all this we have recognised to be a matter for the unfettered decision by the people of Kashmir, after normal life is restored to them”.
Hurriyat has to move in time and stop whipping the sentiments in the name of “countless sacrifices.” In fact it has to ready itself to face the argument that it never had a narrative of its own and the one that it formally adopted in July 1993 was never honoured. It has to accept that its political and militant agenda of the last 22 years has killed the Right of Self Determination for a long time to come by causing the death of a generation.
As regards the realisation by the Hurriyat in November 2012 that “Kashmir issue has many dimensions like social, economic and political” and that “Besides talking about the resolution of Kashmir issue, we need to talk about the plundering of our water resources, power and other things”, one would disagree without risking the loss of a dime that it amounts to being a "Jack of all trades, master of none". There are three duly elected Governments of Kashmir at Srinagar, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit. The manner and merits of these three elected Governments may differ and be questioned but they are elected to address social, economic and political matters of the people living within their constituencies.
One would and should join any effort of Hurriyat or non Hurriyat to challenge “the plundering of our water resources, power and other things”. Unfortunately Hurriyat (M) leadership is unclear on the subject of the plunder of our natural resources. It does not clarify whether it is India or Pakistan or both who are plundering these resources. Prima facie it seems that a reference is made to India. It may be so but the people living in AJK have similar grievance against the Government of Pakistan, that it has plundered its water and power resources.
n fact Hurriyat is too late to wake up in defence of the natural resources embedded in the habitat of Kashmir. It should be noted that it was the Government of India that first raised on 21 August 1957 the question of exploiting the waters of Kashmir by Pakistan at the UN, as a violation of UN Security Council resolution of 17 January 1948 and of other assurances given to India by the chairman of UNCIP. Today India and Pakistan are partners in an agreement on the use of Kashmiri waters.
Unless Hurriyat and other non Hurriyat parties have a credible narrative, our ad lib politics and placing our people on a barrow to be offered in obeisance is a shameful and criminal act. It would have serious consequences and the common man and woman has a right to take appropriate measures. One of them may be that we may find Hurriyat standing in the dock in a legal action.
(Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.)