Intro: There is a need to look deeper into the Pakistani game plan of playing up the contentious Hurriyat card.
The High Commission of Pakistan in India has misused the occasion of Pakistan Day to further its divisive policy. The High Commissioner of Pakistan, Abdul Basit, held discussions with the so-called leaders of the various separatist Hurriyat factions and then invited them to the formal dinner to celebrate Pakistan Day on March 23, 2015.
The Indian electronic media played out its typical sensational role by highlighting the presence in the function of Union Minister of State for External Affairs General (retired) VK Singh. General Singh was attending the event in his official capacity as a matter of protocol.
By dwelling on the issue media lost out on a serious debate on the larger issue of the Pakistan High Commi-ssion, once again, taking a confrontationist stand with regard to the Kashmiri separatists knowing well that India resents such distasteful acts.
Abdul Basit went a step ahead to declare that the separatists can be important stakeholder for the proposed talks between the two countries. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the Hurriyat moderate faction picked up the thread from the statement and said, “Wonder why there is so much of resistance towards this dialogue involving Kashmir residents on both sides.”
Mirwaiz is wholly off the mark when it comes to understanding the realities of Jammu and Kashmir. First and foremost, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are always kept in the loop of the discussions held with Pakistan through their duly elected government and elected representatives of all parties in the state legislative assembly. The discussions and the outcomes are freely disseminated to the media. There are no hidden agendas whatsoever.
The so-called Hurriyat leaders are not kept in the formal loop because their organisation does not enjoy a representative status. In fact, it is a marginalised non-entity surviving due to the oxygen provided by functions like the one held in New Delhi on Pakistan Day. They come into the lime light for a short period and again fade away into oblivion.
Yet another point that needs to be clarified is that India is not in talks with Pakistan about the status of Jammu and Kashmir. There is no dispute about Jammu and Kashmir being an integral part of India. The point of contention is the return of such areas of Jammu and Kashmir like Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan that are under illegal occupation of Pakistan.
Possibly, there are certain forces in Pakistan powerful enough to dictate foreign policy in a manner that goes against the position taken by the government of the country. In other words what is happening is beyond the control of none other than the Prime Minister of Pakistan. And it is a very serious issue for Pakistan as well as the international community.
It is quite obvious that by boosting the Hurriyat Pakistan is getting its script wrong. When the country failed to in its evil designs even after fighting four wars and sending thousands of terrorists into India, what will a few marginalised so-called leaders like the Kashmiri separatists who are themselves fighting a losing battle for political survival fetch for them?
It is time, Pakistan forgets about the Hurriyat and the misconceived aspiration of wresting away Kashmir from India. The country should concentrate more on consolidating what it has rather than looking towards new territories. It should be working towards building trust with the people of Balochistan and other insurgency affected areas. By indulging in regressive acts like meeting the Kashmiri separatists the country is simply wasting time and energy and in the bargain losing much needed goodwill.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made special efforts to reach out to Pakistan on Pakistan Day. He not only greeted his counterpart Nawaz Sharif but also called for talks in an atmosphere free from terror and violence. India has shown this maturity despite grave provocation. For a violence free future, it would be hence good for Pakistan to go for a course correction and try the friendship route with India; for sure, it will be surprised by the positive dividends that such a move is bound to accrue.
Jaibans Singh (The writer is Editor of www.defenceinfo.com)