leaders with PM Singh, Below troops search Srinagar after a shootout
Isolates Kashmiri Hardliners But is That a Lasting Solution
DELHI, September 10: The New Delhi Government has finally succeeded
in isolating the hardliner Kashmiri leadership by talking to the
moderate faction of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) which
agreed to cessation of all violence in the disputed territory.
the talks attracted media and international attention, it has
raised the question on the relevance of the APHC. Already there
are many signs that the APHC leaders were receiving a cold shoulder
from the common Kashmiris.
sources told this correspondent that surprisingly no one went
to the Srinagar Airport to see off the APHC leaders to Delhi,
though in contrast, when these leaders were allowed to visit Pakistan,
people were so excited they drove with them to the Pakistan border.
But this time nobody turned up. It means that Kashmiris do not
give much importance to the talks with New Delhi as much as they
liked talking to Islamabad.
this is the first time that the APHC leaders did not speak to
anybody before going for talks with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan
Singh. They did not even visit the Pakistan High Commission before
the commencement of talks, a must checkpoint in the past. They
had visited the Pak High Commission when they last came to Delhi
to officially hold talks with the then Deputy Prime Minister Lal
this time they locked themselves in a house situated in the NRI
Colony at Mandakini under tight security and enhanced vigilance
of the agencies. Nobody was allowed to meet them or talk to them
even on telephone before meeting the Prime Minister.
the Government of India has been trying hard to bring these separatist
leaders to the negotiations table with the help of its interlocutors
NN Vohra, Congress Party leader from Kashmir Saifuddin Soz, Kashmiri
bureaucrat Wajahat Hibibullah and former RAW Chief Amarjeet Singh
involvement of the Indian intelligence agency RAW cannot be ruled
out in persuading the APHC leaders to come to the negotiations
table as Amarjeet Singh Daulat was appointed as Officer on Special
Duty (OSD) for Kashmir Affairs in the Prime Minister Office by
the Vajpayee Government.
Daulat left the office after the defeat of the NDA Government,
the new Government continued to utilize his services. The new
Government later decided to appoint Saifuddin Soz as the OSD for
Kashmir Affairs at the PMO, but Soz is more interested in the
backdoor rather than official politics.
the APHC leaders met with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh the
two sides agreed to carry forward the dialogue process so that
“all regions and shades of political opinion in Jammu ad
Kashmir are involved.”
Singh hinted at a reduction of the armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir
if violence ceased and infiltration ended. A brief statement,
read out by the Prime Ministers’s Media Advisor Sanjay Baru,
after nearly three hours of the first round of talks with the
five member Hurriyat delegation, said several issues concerning
the rights of the people were raised.
the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister, the Hurriyat delegation
said the dialogue process should lead to the resolution of all
outstanding issues. The delegation also stressed that an honorable
and durable solution should be found through dialogue. It was
agreed that the only way forward was to ensure that all forms
of violence at all levels came to an end.
The Government of India has always been trying to isolate Geelani,
and now this time the APHC (Mirwaiz Faction) has also joined hands.
Secondly, Government of India also wants to send a message to
the international community that it is serious about the resolution
of Kashmir dispute, and Pakistan should move further. Thirdly,
Dr. Singh wants to take something with him to the UN when on the
sidelines he would meet President Bush and General Musharraf.
Kashmir watchers pose a question whether it would be cogent to
isolate the faction that is headed by Sayyad Ahmed Shah Geelani?
It is a well-known fact that other than Mirwaiz, his contingent
comprised lightweights who neither have any base nor they have
any political agenda as compared to Geelani. It is to be noted
when the Pakistani government invited these leaders, they immediately
cashed in the opportunity “expose Geelani’s position”.
Government controlled Pakistan Television also did the same and
changed its priorities. This change of priority by Pakistan Television
was seen as the Pakistani Establishment approving the political
stand taken by Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq led by APHC and rejecting
the stance taken by Geelani. It has been ironic that both the
groups pledge to finding a peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem.
say that the question as to where the two groups differ is still
unanswered? Geelani who is known as a hardliner believes in adhering
to the demand of right to self-determination as guaranteed by
the United Nation Resolutions of 1948 and 1949.
Geelani draws strength from the long history of this problem.
In support of adhering to his stand of right to self-determination
Geelani invariably quotes from a letter written by Jawaharlal
Nehru to his counterpart Liaquat Ali Khan, which read as follows:
"Our assurances that we shall withdraw our troops from Kashmir
as soon as peace and order are restored and leave the decision
regarding the future of this State to the people of the State
is not merely a pledge to your government but also to the people
of Kashmir and to the world."
at present enjoys a pat from Pakistani General Pervez Musharraf
and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. But where this would lead
to? One should not forget that Geelani is growing older. He may
not live long, but his ideas are still relevant. There is a large
section that follows him, and would continue to follow him even
in his absence.
needs to be understood that Ali Shah Geelani is not an individual
but represents the silent majority. Ignoring
this majority may be easier but may not lead to a lasting and