SHABNUM SHAH : A seven member delegation of All Parties Hurriyat Conference visited Pakistan for a week on 15 December 2012. The delegation consisted of its Chairman Mir Waiz Umer Farooq, Maulana Abbas Ansari of Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen, Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat of Muslim conference, Bilal Ghani Lone of J&K People conference, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza of J&K Peoples League, Agha Syed Hassan al-Moomi of J&K Aniyuma -e-Shari- Shian and Mussadiq Adil of J&K Peoples Political Front. During their stay in Pakistan, the leaders met the delegations of the Government of Pakistan and people belonging to different quarters for deliberations on the prevailing situation in Kashmir and so called efforts being made by the Hurriyat for the settlement of Kashmir issue.
Islamabad had extended this invitation for the tour about two and a half years ago but the APHC leadership could not avail it for one reason or the other. The delegation has asserted that dialogue was the only way out to resolve the lingering Kashmir issue and that Kashmiris wanted their inclusion in India-Pakistan talks. With a view to facilitate Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC, the APHC delegation proposed new suggestions to strengthen the trans LoC Confidence Building Measures and urged the Government of Pakistan to redouble its diplomatic efforts at International level.
Before analysing any further on any breakthrough expected from this delegation, it will be pertinent to ask two questions. The first and foremost would be ‘ Is Hurriyat really a product / representative of the Kashmiris aspirations or of their struggle at different stages for keeping their identity intact’? The second important question would be ‘Does APHC, which till date is without a constitution and has a whole host of leaders varying with hues and beliefs really have an amicable line to toe? Without getting into the realms of the past of these leaders with respect to their people oriented deeds or sacrifices made by them to claim the designation of peoples representatives let us objectively examine these issues.
Clearly the publicly stated objective of the amalgam of different outfits has eluded the reality. The latest statements given by Chairman Hurriyat conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani a day prior to the visit of APHC delegation on 14 Dec 2012 stands testimony to it. Syed Ali Shah Geelani firstly, not only declined to accompany the delegation but also went ahead to say that the present policy of the Government of Pakistan with regards to Kashmir does not confirm the aspirations and wishes of the people of Kashmir.
On one hand, the face of Hurriyat in Kashmir and Chairman of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani has categorically told the High Commissioner of Pakistan Mr Salman Bashir that in case thefreedom struggle does not yield required results, instead of surrender, we (may be read as Hurriyat) will prefer to hand over the movement to our next generation and on the other hand the Chairman of the APHC is talking about peaceful dialogue between the Kashmiris and the two nations. The statements issued within over a week are in varied contrast and clearly bringout the differences within the APHC and its leadership.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani has openly commented over the trade treaties and business at LoC and said that exchange and border trade cannot change the reality and added that it is a mockery. However the delegation of APHC has been talking about increased trans-LoC trade and CBMs. APHC Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Faroq had called on the leadership of India and Pakistan to fully open the LoC for travel and trade to give impetus to the peace process during an interaction with reporters at Muzaffarabad and he stated that “Limited movement of people and goods is not enough, it should be opened for Kashmiris so that they can move across freely to boost the peace process”.
In the backdrop of these contradictions, one can clearly trace the emerging or existing differences within the APHC and its dynamic leadership. The varying and furious statements and self proclamations do have an impact on the Kashmiris to think that “Does Hurriyat represent the true spirit or aspirations of a peace yearning Kashmiri” and if so then “Is the leadership really dedicated enough to find an early and amicable solution?”. It may not be possible for Hurriyat to answer these questions straight away, however in the light of the doubtful accomplishments of Hurriyat in the past, they definitely leave a food for thought for any Kashmiri, be it in India or in Pakistan.