The rhetoric of bilateral dialogue

By K.N. Pandita

Valley leadership of all hues counsels New Delhi to hold bilateral dialogue with Pakistan to resolve disputes including Kashmir. Their advocacy is usually coated with the phraseology of victimhood like “we the poor Kashmiris get killed, we are faultless and we suffer, our economy is in shambles, a pall of uncertainty looms large over our destiny” etc.

However, they don’t make such a supplication to Pakistan. It means that according to them major fault lies with New Delhi. While Kashmir handlers of terrorists and traitors catch the first flight to New Delhi to talk to a visiting Pakistani VIP, they refused to meet and talk to Indian Parliamentarians who come almost begging at their doorsteps.  

We have marked that while urging New Delhi to initiate bilateral talks with Pakistan their counsel also carries veiled threat like Kashmir a nuclear flash point, Kashmir a powder keg, Kashmir a seething volcano etc. We have no difficulty in guessing the origin of this type of narrative.

The import of a plea like this is that Kashmiris are non-partisan innocents made victims of political strife between two neighbouring powers at loggerheads. By making appeal for peaceful dialogue they want the world community to legitimize their feigned innocence.

In reality, how much innocent is this leadership? This question has to be answered. Their innocence lies in pushing the valley to a 110-days long hypocritical siege during which everything is paralyzed through mosque sermons and everything is activated through hypocrisy and guile. In simpler words the people know the art of showing allegiance to the seditionist leadership by carrying out its call for strike and at the same time dumping it as well by circumventing the call without being detected. Very few people are adepts in the art of hypocrisy.

For the seditionists, frequent call for bilateral dialogue serves more than one purpose. It equates the two belligerent countries in staking claim to Kashmir; it dilutes Indian Parliament’s 1994 unanimous resolution of retaking the illegally occupied PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan in 1947; it is a subtle step towards breaking status quo on Kashmir; it creates space for foreign powers to stimulate the process of “give and take” which in simpler idiom means India making big concessions, and it stimulates Pakistan’s anti-democracy agenda in tandem with China.

If Kashmiri separatists are sincere in playing the card of affinity with Pakistan on religious, cultural, geographical and other counts, they would have by now taken the initiative of crossing LoC and engaging leadership in Muzaffarabad and Islamabad in fruitful talks instead of hoping to make India the cat’s paw. The taste of pudding is in eating.

Sheikh Abdullah tried it in 1964. His son and grandson, both vociferous about bilateral dialogue, should analyze the reasons why the Sheikh had failed in his mission. Any fair and dispassionate analysis of that failure will take them to the conclusion that President Ayub Khan of Pakistan had not recognized the Sheikh as the sole representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as Nehru did.

Therefore, if the Hurriyatis and secessionists – passionate about bilateral talks – are disposed to make their initiative a success, they will have to carry with them a full team representing not only the three regions and sub-regions of the State but also its ethnic and cultural groups including the communities and groups extirpated from their birth places for dialogue with their Pakistani benefactors.

But the seditionists will not do a thing like that. There is a reason. They are apprehensive that the counterpart to which they will speak in Muzaffarabad or Islamabad will repeat to them what Maulavi Yusuf Shah, the Mirwaiz of Kashmir, banished by Sheikh Abdullah to PoK in 1948, had told a team of Kashmiri Muslim seniors who visited him when he became President of “Azad Kashmir”. Their interlocutors will tell them (in private alone) to forget Pakistan and be happy with India.

How much innocent is the Kashmiri in this background and how much sincerity is there in the rhetoric of bilateral dialogue profusely advocated by the valley leadership?
If the intentions of Kashmir Valley leadership are fair in counseling India for bilateral talk, the simple and straight logic is that it should first and foremost persuade militants to bid farewell to arms, renounce violence, and sit round a table and initiate talks with Srinagar and New Delhi. Pontificating for bilateral dialogue without silencing guns in the hands of wanton killers and allowing atmosphere to remain vitiated makes no sense whatsoever. If it is not hypocritical in suggesting bilateral talks, the Valley leadership should put its finger on the real causes of unrest in Kashmir. The accusing needle will point towards them only.

The civil society team led by Yashwant Sinha has met with a large number of stakeholders to understand Kashmir crisis. Sinha has claimed that his team has come to Kashmir to share the pain of the people. One appreciates that humanism has to be the guiding force for governance. However, Sinha team is also expected to ask the Kashmir dissident leadership who is responsible for derailing peace and inflicting pain on the people?

The team should also share the pain of Kashmiri people other than those living in the valley. It should also meet with the families of the community whose wards numbering about 1400 had been given petty jobs under PM’s package and posted to far flung villages in Kashmir valley. During the unrest they were forced to leave the valley because of mobocracy and are now languishing in miserable condition in Jammu. It should also meet representatives of thousands of families of internally displaced minority community ethnically cleansed in Kashmir and now living in exile in Jammu and other parts of the country for last twenty-seven years. We will not ask the team to share their pain, as that would be asking for the moon, but we will expect it just to visit them and see what pain and agony they are going through. It should also meet with the people and leadership of Ladakh who feel they have been made hostages to the diktat of valley leadership and have unanimously demanded Union Territory status for Ladakh. The team should also meet with the representatives of lakhs of refugees of 1947 tribal attacks who have not been given citizenship even after 68 years of migration.

The delegation should meet with the families of thousands of security force and police personnel who have been wounded by violence let loose on the call of the leadership of seditionists and traitors.

We hope the team will not hesitate to interact with various sections of people in the State as it will help them realize how grave and phenomenal a situation has been created by militarization and radicalization in Kashmir. No patriotic person or leader will support the proposition of bilateral dialogue with Pakistan in the background of what has been stated above.

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