HURRIYAT AND THE ART OF SELF DECEPTION
The controversy and fracas caused by Prof Abdul Gani Bhat’s recent statements that UN resolutions on Kashmir were “impracticable” and that separatists should “join hands with mainstream political parties on a common minimum political agenda” has once again exposed the three congenital ailments which afflict the Hurriyat amalgam. The first is the existence of deep ideological fissures within the conglomerate, the second, its blatant intolerance towards considering new alternatives and the third, its inexplicable refusal to accept ground realities.
No doubt that the UN resolutions on Kashmir provide a great source of legitimacy to the ongoing movement. However, there is no denying the fact that despite the same, not even made an iota of progress has been made on this issue even after more than six decades. Why does the Hurriyat which has a penchant for history not take notice of this? So, has the Hurriyat, by making the UN resolutions on Kashmir its foundation for seeking the ‘right to self determination’ placed all its eggs in one basket and that too the wrong one?
United Nation Security Council Resolution 47, calling for a plebiscite in J&K was passed by United Nations Security Council under chapter VI of UN charter, which unfortunately is ‘non binding’ and has ‘no mandatory enforceability’. So, armed with a resolution without any ‘teeth’, doesn’t the Hurriyat’s decision to repose consummate faith in the UN amount to nothing more than just ‘great expectations’? And in light of this, is the observation of Prof Abdul Gani Bhat that the UN resolutions are no more “relevant” as these have now become “impracticable” and “obsolete” really unfounded? The reader is the best judge to decide!
Why is Hurriyat so adamant in clinging on to UN resolutions which have failed to deliver even after more than six decades? Why does the Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani expect us to believe that the recent statement of the UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon asking New Delhi to resolve Kashmir problem is a ‘victory’ for the people of Kashmir and not just ‘lip service’ by the UN, which people have got sick of listening to right since 1948? Why is the Hurriyat conveniently brushing the ‘fine print’ of this resolution (which renders its implementation virtually impossible) under the carpet? And what is compelling the Hurriyat to indulge in self deception by castigating Bhat for stating the obvious?
The ‘impracticality’ of implementing the UN resolution is not limited merely to its inherent lack of ‘mandatory enforceability’. The Hurriyat has never cared to enlighten us on how does it believe that Pakistan will agree to fulfill the first UN stipulated pre- condition before plebiscite takes place- that of withdrawing its troops from those areas of J&K presently under its control and allowing India to send in its army there to “keep civil order”. Further, we have not been told of what will be the status of non- Kashmiris who have been allowed to settle in Pakistan administered Kashmir in terms of voting rights for the plebiscite and how will this complex issue be resolved?
Next we come to the suggestion put forward by Prof Abdul Gani Bhat that the Hurriyat “join hands with mainstream political parties on a common minimum political agenda.” The response of Democratic Freedom Party Chief Shabir Shah that Prof Abdul Gani Bhat observations, if not challenged, run the risk of diluting Hurriyat’s character as a political grouping is rather amusing. The Hurriyat may well be the ‘true representatives’ of the masses as it professes to be, but unfortunately it lacks legitimacy due to its insistence of not seeking the people’s mandate through the ballot. How does the Hurriyat expect the world to take notice of its fight for the democratic rights of its people, when it itself not only lacks democratic credentials but displays scant regards for this universally hallowed institution? By merely bestowing upon itself the title of the true representatives of the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, the Hurriyat may impress the gullible locals, but not the international community! So, doesn’t Prof Abdul Gani Bhat’s suggestion that the Hurriyat join the mainstream political parties make some sense?
Prof Abdul Gani Bhat is not new to controversy. It is he who by publically admitting that, “Lone sahib, Mirwaiz Farooq and Prof Wani were not killed by the army or the police. They were targeted by our own people," sent shock waves which caused immense embarrassment and discomfort to many. While he came under severe criticism from various quarters, he nevertheless has enhanced the credibility of the conglomerate by admitting what was till then, the separatist’s worst kept secret! Unfortunately, he has not been appreciated for his sterling role in exorcising the ‘assassination ghost’ which was haunting the Hurriyat. And so, rather than a ‘loose cannon’, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat is the dark horse which the Hurriyat has because he is one of the few who not only has the firm conviction to accept reality, but also the courage to speak out.
Prof Abdul Gani Bhat’s statements which created such uproar contained both suggestions (Impracticability of the UN resolutions and separatists joining the main stream political parties) and observations (Improbability of arriving at a perfect solution to the J&K problem). While the Hurriyat leaders have spontaneously castigated him for his suggestions, none has till now gathered the courage to comment on his observation that that Kashmir doesn’t constitute only the Muslim majority Valley. “There is Hindu majority Jammu and Ladakh is by and large equally split between Muslims and Buddhists. How can you have an absolute solution under the circumstances?” Selective criticism has always been the hall mark of the Hurriyat and condemning the extraneous while conveniently overlooking the pertinent is nothing more than yet another manifestation of self deception!
The Hurriyat must realize that the old days have gone by and the present generation being more discerning can no longer be swayed by emotions and sentiments alone. However, it appears that the Hurriyat is more concerned in defending its antiquated ideology which although having an incredible goal, is unfortunately devoid of any realistic road map for its attainment. And by out rightly dismissing any suggestions which challenge the Hurriyat’s medieval mind set, it continues to live in an illusionary world of ‘self deception. Therefore, it may do the Hurriyat some good to seriously review its restrictive ideology and non accommodative stance. Perhaps the following lines (commonly referred to as the ‘Serenity Prayer’) may help the Hurriyat to realize that if it is serious about ushering in lasting peace in Kashmir, then it needs to face reality and change its outlook:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference”.