Aftermaths Of Indian PM's Speech
By Naveed Qazi
11 August, 2010
After more than 50 deaths and 50 days of reckless fury, the soft-spoken Indian Prime Minister broke his silence. This silence couldn't have been justified at first place but destruction of public property, massive civil disobedience & martyrdoms made him conceive hostile Indian sentiments in Kashmiri psyche.
Indian Prime Minister addressed the nation, about Kashmir in broken Urdu, totally restraint, disciplined about Kashmiri sentiment now, not uttering words like 'stone pelters' or 'Lashkar' influence and not faulting his neighbor- a political custom- for the long occurrences of protests; a rare happening a Kashmiri could have witnessed. He promised reviewing AFSPA, hinted autonomy, which was designed and eroded by late Sheikh Abdullah. There is a realization shown by him, as now he knows that holding Kashmiris hostage to a badly designed political machinery, championing the cause of rabid nationalism, has just resulted in alienation of the Kashmiri people.
The aftermaths of his speech have received mixed reactions. It was expected as Kashmir holds politics of variance, leaders follow distinct ideologies. It has become clear that there are five approaches to deal with the Kashmir dispute:
National Conference - Indian Congress: Since the dialogue phase commenced, National Conference have been firm advocates of autonomy, a document which was designed and eroded by its founder, Sheikh Muhammed Abdullah. Autonomy also has its rationals in the Indian constitution. The Autonomy Bill has been already passed in 1999, in the state legislature, but was flagrantly dismissed by the central union cabinet, at that time. It includes total exercise of freedom in administration, favors its own parliament, own prime minister, own flag, own anthem, own election commission and annulment of Supreme Court & Comptroller Auditor rulings from India. Only foreign affairs, defense and currency would be controlled by Indian state. Indian National Congress also have shown a soft corner to this document and NC advocates believe that this is the most practical solution to the Kashmir dispute.
Hurriyiat Conference (Mirwaiz): The separatist faction lead by the Mirwaiz of Kashmir, is a centrist secessionist amalgam, willing to discuss the Vajpayee-Musharaf model, which failed to become a reality at the never happened Agra Summit. The model includes unification of Kashmir, phased demilitarization, compensation to human rights violations and making the LOC irrelevant, to encourage free trade. It talks less of sovereignty and focuses more on integration of two Kashmirs. Mirwaiz is non committal to dialogue till revocation of draconian laws, but encourages political debate.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) : This mainstream party, led by former Indian Home Minister, Mufti Muhammed Syed, believes in “Self-Rule Resolution” which is mostly rooted in Musharaf-Vajpayee model, but they also believe in a joint legislature for Kashmir- controlled by New Delhi-Islamabad, shared sovereignty, joint management of resources and dual currency.
Hurriyiat Conference (Geelani) : The separatist faction is led by far-famed separatist, Syed Ali Shah Geelani. This faction believes in initiating a referendum, according to the resolutions drafted by the United Nations. This group also has illustrious history and sentiment towards Pakistan and Islamic reformists. They are mainly non-committal to dialogue and believe in subversive forms of protests to oust Indian existence out of Kashmir.
Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP): It’s an Indian mainstream party, with strong ideological affiliation with Hindu nationalism. They believe in complete integration of Kashmir within India, recognize the current political arrangement, believe in scraping out of Article 370, nationalizing the Amarnath Yatra route, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, encouraging Hindu fairs in the valley and reconstructing and mending Hindu shrines in various parts of the valley.
It seems clear that in order to look for a consensus, the Prime Minister of India will face tough times in repairing the political fragmentation. Kashmir issue needs a national consensus and not only a regional centre-state consensus. Pakistan will also have a big role to play, if there needs to be an inclusive dialogue, because taking self-imposed decisions will go against the sentiments for Kashmiris. It seems clear that a common Kashmiri seems unshaken, annoyed and unhappy about PM’s economic packages and his plans to strengthen elections for local councils.
An inclusive negotiation needs to balance the persuasions, because common Kashmiri cannot be held hostage to ideological divergences. There should be a reference point, and that should address the grievances and aspirations of the Kashmris. That would be only possible, if leaders show a will to resolve, show recognition to our disputed history, and unconditional commitment by excluding their personal interests and resentment for each other.
Conflicts are meant to be resolved.
(Naveed Qazi is a Kashmiri blogger and Head of intellectual activism group, Insights: Kashmir)