S Qamar A Rizvi
BY any standard of objective analysis, the current recipe for thought— given by a former Chief Minister of the Indian held Kashmir Dr Farooq Abdullah that New Delhi must initiate dialogue on Kashmir with Pakistan— endorses the dictates of wisdom, pragmatism and peace diplomacy regarding pacification of the Kashmir dispute, an open case of India’s political incorrectness. Though for political pundits sitting in New Delhi, Abdullah’s peace notion may not be a comfortable move yet given the political cost and benefit analysis, it seems necessary that the Modi government must take a serious note of Abdullah’s political indoctrination which urges that as for Kashmir, time is running out for India.
In an explosive interview with an Indian news channel, Farooq Abdullah though a controversial Kashmiri figure has spoken an uncontroversial truth by advising theModi government to talk to the youth and start thinking on not a military solution, but a political way.‘ Come down from your high horses…I am seeing a very bad situation. The youth is on boil. Which I have not seen before.’ Replying to a question regarding the violence in the Valley in which eight Kashmiris were killed by the Indian security forces, he said “this is a tragedy and a failure of the government of the day. They could not provide security to the people, and further, it is the present dispensation which the people reject.” Favouring mediation by United State as India and Pakistan have failed to address the Kashmir issue bilaterally, Dr Farooq said New Delhi cannot remain invested in the status-quo.
“We were also opposing any third party mediation on Kashmir and were also in favour bilateral talks between the two countries to resolve the Kashmir issue in the past”, he said adding, “but nothing was achieved and time has come when we also support mediation by third party so that the sufferings of people could end”. “We stand for US mediation to come to an agreement as they did over the water dispute. It was settled by an American. It seems the time has come where America is able to settle this one too,” the former CM said.In November, 2016 Farooq Abdullah said:‘’ Pakistan is one of the stakeholders of the Kashmir issue which even the government of India has accepted, adding that the India will have no option but to start talks with Pakistan so that the “atrocities through which people of Jammu and Kashmir are undergoing will come to an end.”
In December,2016, Omar Abdullah son of Farooq Abdullah and the former CM of the IHK said: ‘’the unrest in Kashmir cannot be blamed on Pakistan, but was a result of “mistakes” made by the Indian government of not engaging with the people of the state. “Do not be under this false impression that the fire you see in Kashmir has been ignited by Pakistan. It is a result of our mistakes”. On Sept.7, 2016, the Hindustan Times observed:‘’ The Modi government’s hardline strategy in Kashmir is a straight lift from the approach suggested by National Security Adviser AjitDoval in 2010. Speaking about protests that year he told policymakers not to overreact and give in. He said the crisis will pass off, “It looks big in the midst of it, they cannot sustain it beyond a point and even if they do there is a price they have to pay.”
In April, 2014 the leader of All Parties Hurriyat Conference Mir Waise Omar Farooq inan open letter to the Indian people wrote:‘’ We urge you to recognise that the Kashmir issue is not a peripheral or isolated one. You must understand and become seized of this important matter. In the past we made many attempts to reach out to you personally and apprise you of the Kashmir issue and the grim situation on the ground…..’’ The Kashmir issue continues to destroy life and obliterate the rights and aspirations of our people in Kashmir who desire only to live free, peaceful and dignified lives. The continuation of this tragic conflict is also a direct threat to your interests and well-being as a people. If the Government of India continues to avoid a political solution to the conflict, if it insists on the continuation of the same unjust and hegemonic approaches, it will spell disaster for the region. This beaten path has already proved to be a policy failure long back. Delaying a political solution has made the situation more insecure and unstable, and the conflict has only become more dangerous with time’’.
Five big political loses/challeng es that India bears or faces today regarding its insane policy on Kashmir are: India’s damaging global image, its heavy military expenditures to occupy the land of Kashmiris, New Delhi ’s strained relations with Islamabad, the growing arm race in South Asia, and most significantly India’s becoming unqualified to gain UNSC membership. The fact is that the BJP’s belligerent foreign policy is a caveat for New Delhi.
Undeniably today, Kashmir is more anti-India than before. Kashmir has completely refused to surrender. And it has declined to give up under any pressure. And it continues to cultivate hopes to change the status quo. The “Doval doctrine”—a reflection on neo-Nazism (advocating irrelevance of morality, legitimacy, human rights and soft power) – is in a complete shambles.The entire world is now fervently concerned about the chronic crisis of the South Asian peace. The root cause of this peace impediment is the continued existence of the Kashmir Issue.
India is still the stumbling block in the way of resolution of Kashmir Dispute. India seems refractory and uncompromising on Kashmir. Another conventional war will be unproductive while a nuclear clash shall destroy the South Asian region beyond recognition. Therefore, the only viable option lies in the political settlement of the Kashmir dispute. The young Kashmiris have become a strong bastion against India’s unwarranted occupation. What prescience demands is that instead of following a path of political insanity or eccentricity, the Modi government must follow a policy of South Asian metanoia vis-à-vis Indian held Kashmir by welcoming a US mediatory role in this regard.
— The writer, an independent ‘IR’ researcher-cum-analyst based in Karachi, is a member of European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on IR, Critical Peace & Conflict Studies.