Musharraf’s formula

Jan 22nd, 2013 | Category: Articles

9841721.cmsDr. Syed Nazir Gilani

In an exclusive interview with Dr. Shujaat Bukhari Editor In Chief of Rising Kashmir, Mir Waiz Dr. Umar Farooq has said that “options other than United Nations resolutions can be explored to resolve the vexed Kashmir issue.” Hurriyat chairman has said that “his conglomerate strongly supported the four-point formula given by former Pakistan President, Parvez Musharraf as a “strong starting point” to find an amicable solution.”

Before one sets out to examine the substantive merits of any option, in particular merits of Musharraf formula, one has to settle the representative character of such wisdom. On 31 July 1993 there was one united Hurriyat and it had subscribed itself to a political programme adopted in its Constitution. Hurriyat fractured into two major factions and today we have an undeclared emergence of a third faction led by Shabir Ahmad Shah. Yasin Malik stands for an independent Kashmir and this view is accommodated in Chapter II article 2 (i) of the Constitution. There are other groups which are active but not represented in the Hurriyat.

Musharraf started with an ‘outside the box’ concept and came out with a 4 point formula in 2006. The first and the foremost concern for a common Kashmiri would be the explanation for the missing gap between 1990-2006. What has happened to Hurriyat’s political agenda of these 16 years during which people of Kashmir lost a generation and suffered unprecedented injury to their ‘life’, ‘honour’ and ‘property’? What were the circumstances that all of a sudden in 2006 the collective wisdom of Kashmiri politics was rubbished and replaced by Musharraf formula? Hurriyat owes an explanation for its decision to distance away from a 16 year programme.

The other important question unless answered satisfactorily makes Hurriyat (M) love for this formula less credible. At page 303 in his book Musharraf writes, “The idea is purely personal and would need refinement. It would also need to be sold to the public by all involved parties for acceptance”. It is admitted that Musharraf had not sought any input from any quarter on the subject and it is even more disturbing to note that Musharraf needed people to ‘sell the idea to the public’. It does not reflect well of Hurriyat if it has offered itself as an ever ready sales person to sell a non-Kashmiri formula.

Item 2 of the formula provides for ‘demilitarization’ and to ‘curb all militant aspects of the freedom struggle’. It is likely to provoke the families on either side of LOC whose youth were sucked into a militant resistance and have lost them. Hurriyat shall have to answer for its decision to induct the militant component in the struggle. This provision in Musharraf’s formula does not have any merit either. If Hurriyat had any understanding of the Kashmir case it would have achieved ‘demilitarization’ by forcing the Government of Kashmir and the Government of India to honour the terms of the provisional instrument of accession. ‘Demilitarization’ was equally available under UN Resolutions and India has agreed to a 75% reduction of its army as at the time of a cease fire.

Owen Bennett Jones BBC correspondent in Pakistan from 1998-2001 in his book “Pakistan – Eye of the Storm” has raised a serious question on Kashmiri resistance movement. He writes “If the Kashmiris had been conducting a straightforward fight for independence in the same way as the Chechens or East Timorese, they would have had a greater chance of success. The tragedy of Kashmir is that the voices of its own people have been drowned out by the Islamists, nationalists and ideologues in both Islamabad and Delhi.” It is an independent and a non-Kashmiri observation. It makes it clear that the outside world could not be convinced of our political and militant narrative. They have serious doubts about these two components of our struggle (if there was one).

The other non-Kashmiri observation in regard to the character and manner of our politics and militancy from 1990-2006 comes from Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Lark. In their book titled “The Meadow – Kashmir 1995-Where The Terrorism Began” they write, “India and Pakistan fought each other in the Valley by manipulating the lives of others. Everything that happened here involved acts of ventriloquism, with traitors, proxies and informers deployed by both sides, and civilians becoming the casualties”. It is a serious charge sheet against our leadership and points to the fact that it may have erred unintentionally or consciously against its own people and cause. Failure of the political and militant leadership in any manner carries a serious criminal and civil liability. It would be a crime against its own people.

Item 3 of the Musharraf formula embeds a danger of a return to serious political and militant in fights in Kashmir. It makes the people of Kashmir ‘less equal’ and takes away from them their right to self-determination as ‘equal people’. It provides that, “Let the Kashmiris have the satisfaction of running their own affairs without having an international character and remaining short of independence”. As a consequence the negation of a right to independence would bring JKLF and other such groups that advocate the case of an independent Kashmir into a clash of all manner (physical and verbal) with Hurriyat (M) and groups who have set out to sell the Musharraf formula.

Item 4 in the formula provides for a “joint management mechanism with a membership consisting of Pakistanis, Indians and Kashmiris overseeing self-governance..” This provision confirms that President Musharraf has failed to complete the circle of wisdom. In fact he lets the cat out of the bag when he writes “I have myself spent hours on many a day pondering a possible outside the box solution’. A military mind and that too of the kind of Musharraf could not be trusted to come up with a perfect and workable wisdom in dispensing the Rights Movement of all the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Musharraf is an unpopular name in civil society, judiciary and in the political discipline of Pakistan. His utter disregard for oath as a military man, violation of Constitution, disregard for Rule of Law and misadventure in Kargil have exposed him to the interests of law in Pakistan. A reference to Musharraf’s formula by Kashmiri leadership does not hold any merit and it makes them to remain on the wrong side of the people of Pakistan. It is a give-away clue to convince the common Indian, common Pakistani and the international community that our leaders have been acting as a ‘proxy’ for Pakistan in Kashmir.

Any political opinion on Kashmir has to address the all-inclusive question of representation first. There are 3 Hurriyats, JKLF, non Hurriyat groups and the main stream political parties. It has to address the question of the distribution of Kashmiri people living under three Kashmiri governments, Kashmiri refugees both Pandits and Muslims living outside the boundaries of the State and the Diaspora. Kashmiri Pandits have suffered an exodus in 1990 and there are 2.5 million Kashmiri Muslims living as refugees in AJK and Pakistan. Prima facie it seems that Hurriyat (M) has failed to do any home work from 1990-2006 and wants to take refuge in an easy indulgence in a non-Kashmiri formula. It is obvious that it has not examined the Musharraf formula before or after taking on the duty to sell it.

Musharraf formula is another version of the proposal made by the Government of Pakistan in item 1 of its telegram dated 4 November 1947 sent to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in which Pakistan had proposed to the Government of India that if the “forces of the Provisional Government of Kashmir or tribesmen engaged in fighting…do not obey order to cease fire immediately the forces of both Dominions will make war on them”. The joint control of Kashmir exists even today. All that is missing, is a further additional mechanism to use ‘joint force’ against the people of Kashmir as and when required.

The merits of people’s power in India which has the ability to bring a change have started travelling into Pakistan. People have started asserting that government keeps its legitimacy on behalf of its people. This awakening would hit the streets of Kashmir and every shade of political representation here would be faced with a rigorous regime of public scrutiny. The period between 1990-2006 in particular would be debated in courts in Kashmir, India, Pakistan and at the international forums. It would not be an indulgence with no holds barred any more. Hurriyat (M) needs to discuss its political narrative with the civil society and seek an independent input.

Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He could be reached on email dr-nazirgilani@jkchr.com

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