Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trouble in the Ranks

Wasim believes a divided party is no party at all

(Mr. Wasim Hussain, 29, was born in Srinagar. He attended Government High School and the Gandhi Memorial College, both in Srinagar. He has completed graduation and is pursuing his Master's degree in political science through Distance Mode of Learning. He took an English speaking course through the Islamia College of Science and Commerce and an advanced diploma in Information Technology. He has completed diplomas in web design and software design. Wasim has worked at the University of Kashmir since 2000, and is presently in the Directorate of Internal Quality Assurance (DIQA) as a senior computer assistant. He has received awards both as a student and as an employee for his performance. He enjoys writing and reading books. Wasim writes under the pen name of Wasim Ali.)

Hurriyat - a confused house

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram announced that New Delhi will adopt "quiet diplomacy" to find a solution to the problem of Kashmir issue. According to him India is "not afraid of dialogue" and is "willing to talk to all shades of opinion in the state for a solution." Home Minister stressed upon the “quiet diplomacy” formula to find out any political solution. His announcement was appreciated by various political quarters even Hurriyat itself were agreed to share the table with the centre to find out any solution. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) welcomed the statement and agreed to join the talks. In the meanwhile he framed a two member committee to create any consensus among all the amalgams of Hurriyat (M), Hurriyat (G) and other senior leaders.

But as the time passes, there were so many statements which created a lot of confusion among the masses even Hurriyat itself is confused as to whether they are joining talks or not. If they are joining the dialogue what would be the agenda for the discussions. Mirwaiz in his first statement welcomed the Centers offer then he gave several statements which are quite confusing.

Facing certain allegations of holding secret parleys with New Delhi and teaming up with mainstream political parties, the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday 14th of November decided to reject Home Minister P Chidambaram’s 'quiet diplomacy plan', the statement was contradictory with earlier statements he made in this regard.

The senior Hurriyat Leader Shabir Ahmad Shah also made it clear that “Hurriyat rejects any quiet diplomacy on Kashmir. We are bound by the constitution of the Hurriyat Conference that stands for right to self determination. We are not going to have any sell-out on Kashmir. Any solution within Indian constitution is unacceptable to the Hurriyat Conference,” while speaking at a conference on ‘Global discourse on resolution of Kashmir dispute’ organized by the High Court Bar Association in Srinagar he said that India does not want to talk with the Hurriyat leaders they just want to talk with the mainstream parties.

There are so many leaders within the Huriayt who gave their different opinion on the dialogue with New Delhi, but there is no clear picture whether Hurriyat is being participating in the dialogue process or not.

Many other Hurriyat leaders are accusing Hurriyat (M) for entering into a dialogue with New Delhi for a sell out on Kashmir and cozying up to the mainstream People’s Democratic Party and National Conference.

“We know who is meeting whom in New Delhi. But let me assure you that no compromise will be allowed on Kashmir. Nobody will be allowed to sell the sacrifices of people of Kashmir,” said Asiya Andrabi.

Reacting to unification of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said: “Any unification has to be on principles. You can judge yourself who is moving away from principles.” According to Syed Ali Shah Geeelani Hurriyat Conference (G) will not be part of any “futile dialogue exercise”. The dialogue with India is only possible when “India accepts Kashmir a dispute, repeal black laws, release prisoners and withdraw Disturbed Area Act. Then hold an unconditional tripartite dialogue to hold plebiscite in Kashmir.”

The opinions about dialogue have no end every leader gives its opinion and speaks out. There is a clear confusion among the masses about the dialogue process; people are yet to be aware what actually is going on where our leaders are leading us. Is there any chance to get rid of this confusion or still we have to wait?

I think our leaders have forgotten the past. Due to this confusion the Kashmir issue remains always unresolved, our leaders remain busy to make their contradictory statements and the issue remains pending since so many decades. This is what actually the Govt. of India wants to get from the pro-freedom leadership. Indian policy is now clear that they want to make it open to the world that we are ready for talks but the pro-freedom leaders are yet to be prepared and are engaged with their differences.

There is a dire need to frame a coordination committee on the same lines as it was constituted during the Amarnath Land Row, the coordination committee may create consensus among all the amalgams of Hurriyat (M) and Hurriyat (G). The main objective of the coordination committee should be to avoid any confusion created due to the different statement given by different Pro-freedom leaders regarding the “quiet diplomacy” formula of New Delhi. There must be one spokesperson who will face the media and all other leaders should be restricted to make any comment.

They will have to be united in their stand, if they want to take us out of the trouble we are in. But the way things are shaping up, we see discord around.

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