After months of behind the scene action and the Track II diplomacy to make grounds for possible forays into resolving the Kashmir problem, the Government of India appointed Mr K C Pant, Chairman of the Planning Commission and the former Defence Minister to conduct a dialogue with the people to restore peace and resolve the issue once and for all in the troubled State. Mr K C Pant invited all concerned parties for an unconditional dialogue to break the ice on the issue.
The invitation led to frenzied activity in Srinagar, where the main secessionist party, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), held an Executive Council meeting in which the self acclaimed seven members attended; then a Working Committee meeting in which three members of the main seven constituent parties attended; this was followed by the General Council meeting ( it was last held two years ago) in which 21 members of the 23 constituent parties attended; lastly there was again an Executive Council meeting which took the final decision on the invitation of talks. All this activity in a matter of a week.In between, Mr Geelani, the pro Pakistan spokesman, met and paid obeisance at the Pakistan High Commissioner's house at New Delhi. He returned in time for the last meeting and delivered the message from Pakistan to the APHC leaders ordering the type of response (or else they will stop receiving their monthly remuneration, rumoured to be running in millions for each rung of the leadership) to be given to the invitation of talks offered by the Government of India.As was evident, APHC did not outrightly reject the offer of Talks but laid down conditions as guided by Pakistan. The conditions laid down were as follows:-
Kashmir should be considered a disputed territory, a requirement being articulated by Pakistan through the terrorists groups.The reason being that if it is a disputed territory then the accession of J&K to India is questioned. If this be so, then the entire Treaty of Accession for the erstwhile 563 princely States of India and Pakistan would be questioned leading to chaos in the sub-continent which Pakistan is hell bent on creating for its ultimate aim of Balkanisation and dismemberment of India.
Pakistan to be involved and tripartite talks involving India ,Pakistan and APHC should be held to resolve the Kashmir issue.General Musharraf claims to have displayed flexibility by offering talks to the Indian side anywhere and anytime. Essentially General Musharraf having failed internationally to exploit the Kashmir issue in the recent past has been harping on tripartite talks in the hope that the new US administration under Mr Bush would support them. Everyone in the sub-continent also knows that talks with India guarantee an unwritten legitimacy and recognition to General Musharraf 's government as considered necessary in Pakistan politics. In addition, Pakistan wants APHC to be recognised as the sole representative of J&K thereby giving Pakistan two votes compared to India's one. There are secessionists groups in POK and Northern Areas who have serious grievances against Pakistan's arbitrary occupation of Northern Areas and denial of political, economic, social and human rights to them. The Pakistan government is neither prepared to give these groups any recognition nor is allowing their leaders to be heard in the Media about their being a party to the Kashmir issue and settlement.
Hurriyat leaders should be allowed to go to Pakistan and meet Pakistani and terrorist leaders to work out a strategy for peace. It is a face saving political requirement to act as a catalyst for increasing its popularity.Firstly everyone knows APHC is the political wing of the terrorist organisations and if desired they can easily stop violence and bloodshed in the Valley sitting in their cushy homes. It is also common knowledge that APHC leaders meet and get instructions from the Pakistan Government through its Embassy at New Delhi. But what APHC is trying is to give Pakistan a backdoor entry as a third party to the dispute as it is aware that India will never agree to talks with Pakistan till it stops abetting and aiding Cross Border Terrorism in India. It also wants to graduate from a so called oppressed and wronged group to that of a mediator.
Lastly, APHC should be recognised as the sole representative of the people of J&K. These Pakistani pawns have never won an election and are in the headlines being the political mouthpiece of the terrorist groups and not because they are leaders of any worthwhile status. These pawns have their areas of influence in small pockets of the Valley which covers just 2,500 square kilometres area out of the total J&K territory of 1,02,000 square kilometres (POK and China occupied Kashmir not included).Do any of these people represent Kashmiri Pandits (the actual inhabitants of the Valley), Sikhs, Gujjars, Bakarwals, Shenas , Afghans and Pahari people of the Valley itself leave aside the people of Jammu and Ladakh Regions; then how can these pawns consider themselves as the sole representatives of J&K. It's a ploy being manipulated by Pakistan through its pawns and terrorist guns.
After the expected announcement of APHC citing the conditions for talks the terrorists went overboard. To celebrate, they went on a rampage killing 17 civilians and injuring 70 others in a week with six killed and 52 injured in a day. The local populace who are fed up with this violence and want an end to it have again been betrayed by the forces of destabilisation represented by the APHC.
It will not be wrong to say that the APHC has committed a sin against the people of Kashmir by slighting the offer of talks. Is it skeptical about its self claimed credibility with the masses of Kashmir Valley? Or is it because the world will know the truth that it is a pawn of Pakistan and a mouthpiece of the terrorists, a stance articulated by the Indian Government.
As the endless mayhem perpetrated by the terrorists and their mentors is taking the Valley closer to being dubbed another Afghanistan, the common Kashmiri will have to break the shackles and realise that for Pakistan and these Pakistan paid leaders " a Dead Kashmiri is a Good Kashmiri".
Published in ArmyinKashmir.org