Hurriyat leadership has no business to visit Pakistan
by Jaibans Singh on 15 Nov 2012 10 Comments
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Huriyat Kashmir

There is a lot of excitement in the Hurriyat camp these days; its leaders are getting ready for their periodic sojourn to Pakistan which, after due deliberation with the Pakistani diplomatic set up in India, has been slated for December 15 onwards. The agenda would include a visit to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) to confer with the political leadership there. The delegation will also meet POK businessmen (if any) and the civil society (for whatever it is worth). Only after completing these meetings would the delegation engage with leadership in Islamabad.

It is well known that Pakistan’s Inter Services intelligence (ISI) views such events as an international media opportunity to get its word across. It will naturally leave no stone unturned to present a rosy picture of Pakistan and Occupied Kashmir to the visiting delegation. It will probably be in vain to hope that the delegation will see through the hype and attempt to gain genuine insight into the exploitation that their brethren across the line of control are subject to. Time will tell if they have the will to put conscience over politics. The chances, of course, are that the delegation will mutely listen to the lies that the ISI would have undoubtedly laid out for them and come back with a few extra kilos around their midriffs as a result of partaking the sumptuous banquets that would be laid out for them.

Not all leaders of the amalgam are in favour of the trip. Some like Shabir Shah have seen through the political manoeuvres of the Pakistan People’s Party that wishes to use the visit as a ploy to boost its chances in the forthcoming general elections in that country. After all, what better emotive subject to highlight at this critical juncture than the party’s supposedly undeterred support to the cause of Kashmir?  “Pakistan is preparing for elections, what are we going to do there in such a situation? So I have conveyed to the Hurriyat Conference that this is not the proper time to visit Islamabad,” Shah has been quoted as saying by local newspapers.

Despite these internal reservations, the Hurriyat started doing the ground work to produce the results desired by the ISI. In an effort to broad base their game plan, the amalgam has held meetings in Kashmir with all such Indian rights activists who harbour a misconceived and motivated anti-Indian and pro-Hurriyat sentiment. This has elicited a sharp response from the nationalist forces in the State of Jammu and Kashmir who have for long termed this hobnobbing as a dangerous trend which is fanning secessionist tendencies.

Even as this drama is being played out in Kashmir and will be further played out in Pakistan, India is getting ready to host Pakistan interior minister Abdur Rehman Malik during his proposed pilgrimage to Ajmer Sharief in January next year. One gets a nagging impression that the religious diplomacy being played out by Pakistan is directed towards the higher agenda of getting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit the country.

Under the circumstances, the question arises – where exactly are we going so far as relations with Pakistan are concerned? Pakistan openly interferes in India’s internal affairs, hobnobs with secessionist elements, provides to them diplomatic and economic support, and continues with its efforts to fan insurgency and terrorism in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. While there has been no visible Pakistan sponsored terrorist activity in the country after the 26/11 attack at Mumbai in 2008, this has more to do with India’s enhanced internal security umbrella and international pressure on Pakistan to relent from its nefarious activities, rather than any internal change in Pakistan. Thus, the possibility of future terrorist attacks cannot be ruled out as the perpetrators of terror in Pakistan are still at large and will definitely confer with the visiting Hurriyat delegation overtly or covertly or both. After all, Pakistan has the gumption to seek a visit by the Indian Prime Minister to give an impression that relations are on the mend. India, it seems, has no clear cut response to these shenanigans except to let things flow and maintain a stony silence. 

The government of India should adopt a clear cut policy of not tolerating secessionist activities under the garb of democracy. In application of this policy, it should stop the Hurriyat leaders from meeting Pakistan government personages visiting India, regardless of the supposed denting of the democratic credentials that a move of this nature may entail. 

Nor should the Hurriyat representatives be allowed to visit Pakistan when the purpose of the visit is only to raise anti-India sentiment in the region. There is also a need to end the religious diplomacy initiative launched by Pakistan and rest all doubts about the visit of the Prime Minister to Pakistan. The visit is not opportune, so why leave the whole thing hanging in the air.

So far as the Hurriyat is concerned, it should listen to sage voices in its midst which have laid out Pakistan’s objectives in this political initiative in the most lucid and truthful terms. The amalgam will achieve nothing by going, but would in the process dent its already fractured credibility in the eyes of the Kashmiri people. Hurriyat leaders who are rooting for “putting the house in order before moving out” are very correct in their approach. 

Hurriyat leaders have no business to visit Pakistan. Likewise, Pakistani leaders have enough Sufi shrines in their own country which they should visit, rather than running to Ajmer Sharif to further their political agendas. The sooner India takes a stand of this nature, the better.

The author is editor,

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