‘De-Legitimising Hurriyat, The Right Policy
Who was responsible for the meeting between the NSAs of India and Pakistan not taking place? But first what would have been achieved, anything beyond the optimistic reassurances of ‘vision documents’ and ‘joint statements’, and multiple photo-ops of two NSAs holding hands? What have talks with Pakistan ever achieved?
‘Historic’ agreements have either come after India has defeated Pakistan in military engagements or are immediately followed by conflict, ceasefire violations, even terror. The status quo has remained the same, as Kashmir continues to be the priority of Pakistani Generals. This is the root of why there has been no major headway in economic and cultural ties, even as it is evident how both sides can significantly benefit from them.
The experts who blame India for the cancellation of talks between NSAs argue that the practice of Pakistan representatives meeting Hurriyat leaders is quite old and there was no harm if the leaders met Sartaz Aziz, Pak NSA. These liberal seculars would have been happy if Ajit Doval had gone to the airport with Band, Baaza and Baraat. Would Pakistan allow Doval meet leaders of Pak Talibans? And whom do Hurriyat leaders represent? Elections after elections have shown that they hardly represent any substantial number of Kashmiris. Only Pakistan likes to be in bed with the Hurriyat because its leaders say that J&K is a disputed territory. The world and even the UN believe that plebiscite is now an ancient subject.
It is no surprise that National Security Advisor level talks were cancelled with Pakistan blinked first saying it wanted to discuss Kashmir, even though the Ufa agreement had placed terror on the agenda. Pakistan even protested against India’s objection to engage separatist leaders as stakeholders in the bilateral dialogue. India stuck to its guns, upholding the precedent set in 2014 when the foreign secretary level talks were cancelled after the Pakistan High Commissioner met separatist leaders in Delhi.
This favoured and strengthened India’s position. As compared to previous administrations, the Centre is actively trying to counter Pakistan’s attempts to legitimise Hurriyat as stakeholders in the bilateral dialogue–forcing Pakistan to accept that Kashmir can only be discussed by the elected governments of both sides.
But Pakistan’s engagement with the Hurriyat is a prestige issue by which they attempt to keep the Kashmir case alive. But with India maintaining democracy in Kashmir, the west is not impressed. It has realised that majority of Kashmiris are now in national political mainstream.
“Pakistan is hanging on with the Hurriyat for it is Pakistan’s last bastion of an already dwindling support base in the valley, which sustains itself on the ‘oxygen’ of publicity,” said a commentator.
The Modi government is determined to de-legitimise Hurriyat’s position in the valley both politically and diplomatically. “After sidelining separatists in the election arena, the Modi government is now actively establishing that diplomatic engagement between Pakistan and the Hurriyat, is a challenge to India’s sovereignty, which can derail any serious bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan.
“On the Kashmir issue, Pakistan is isolated in the international arena and cannot develop pressure on India through diplomatic levers. With terror strikes and ceasefire violations continuing despite the ‘peaceful intentions’ of Pakistan, the Modi government needs to maintain a tough stance, distance itself from the last 10 years of ‘candy floss diplomacy’ to reset the rules of engagement on India’s terms, quips the commentator.
The Hurriyat leaders are what in Hindi is said to be namak haram. Experts know very well that these Hurriyat leaders enjoy a luxurious life along with nationally provided security and yet they believe in cutting off relations with their homeland and spreading that cult with persistent mischief and misdemeanour, stone-throwing and physical violence included.
The Hurriyat ideology is, Misguide the youth in rebelling against their own country, be friends of ISI, stage fake freedom struggles, refuse to contest elections themselves as, probably, a disdain for India.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani desperately needs an Indian passport though he concedes that he’s an Indian citizen only under duress and only in secret. He’s the one who heads the volatile Tehreek-e-Hurriyat faction. And ‘experts’ believe in letting these people becoming important! It is good that Modi is bent upon making them pariahs!