Kashmir in limbo

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Views from Srinagar

Mubashir Majid Baba

IT has been almost two months of curfew in Kashmir now. With each passing day situation is getting worse and no one from the centre or state is serious to stabilize this situation and bring peace back in Kashmir.
When politicians are not flexible about Kashmir, how can we expect flexibility in managing boarders and territories?
Kashmir is now passing through 70th year of dispute. It has affected peace in the entire South Asian region. So many developments have taken place since 1947 to resolve Kashmir dispute, but all in vain. It was in October 27, 1947 when undeclared war broke out between India and Pakistan in Kashmir barely two months after their Independence from Britain.
Negotiations lasted till 1954 without resolving the Kashmir problem. In 1965 (September 6 -22) a full scale war over Kashmir began India – Pakistan that ended after United Nations called for ceasefire.
In August 26, 1997 India rejected United States offer to mediate to end Kashmir border clashes. India was of the opinion that the differences with Pakistan should be solved bilaterally. In the same year the then prime minister of India, I K Gujral, had said that he was cautiously optimistic that his friendship with Nawaz Sharif will help ease tension over Kashmir, but their meeting on the fringes of a Commonwealth Summit achieved little.
Various rounds of talks were held from time to time between various prime ministers, foreign ministers and foreign secretaries of the two countries, but again without any fruitful results. On February 21, 1999 Vajpayee made a historic trip to Lahore by bus. Vajpayee signed Lahore Declaration which promised to intensify efforts to resolve all issues, including that of Jammu & Kashmir.
In 2001, Vajpayee invited Musharraf for bilateral talks at Agra. The intentions of all political parties from India as well as from Kashmir are not fair to resolve the Kashmir problem. If we go into details during National Conference rule they were saying something different as they now presently say.
Same is the case with the People Democratic Party (PD) as well as Congress party, and even the Congress party dodged the talks between Vajpayee and Musharraf held at Agra.
Present unrest in Kashmir state is also due to the political instability as it has been rightly said that it is the merger of two completely opposite parties.
Sonia Gandhi had welcomed then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s decision to hold talks with Musharraf, but had expressed surprise over the then BJP led government’s change of stand vis-a-vis Kashmir.
Omar Abdullah, the then Indian Minister of State for Commerce and Industry in BJP led Government had said that instead of focussing only on Kashmir, Pakistan should grant the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Status to India to improve trade ties between the two countries.
This indicates how these politicians change their views while in power. Today his attitude is entirely different. While in power these politicians say something and while out of power they completely change their views, ideas about everything.
In the recent press conference, Mehbooba Mufti was asked a question that what is the difference between 2010 and 2016 unrest as in 2010 she was asking for murderers of those killed during that unrest and presently she is holding the hot seat of J&K and doing nothing, thus these politicians continue this blame game and keep ruining our Kashmir.
Vajpayee wrote a nine point charter for Musharraf in which Kashmir figured as the main issue. He had written that there are vast differences between the two countries on Kashmir.
He meant that India is willing to address these differences and move forward. In reply Musharraf had said India was allergic to calling Kashmir a “dispute”, and also said “I would not mind it being described as an issue. We cannot even agree to a word, how can we move forward? The biggest confidence building measure is Kashmir”.
Much has happened since. A lot of debates on Kashmir issue but nothing seems to have come through. What we need is a serious departure from the stated position.
—Courtesy: Rising Kashmir.
[Author can be mailed at mubashirbaba@rediffmail.com]