Are we back to square one?
Recently, in reply to one of the question to GK correspondent, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone gave an interesting answer with far reaching political implications. He said “I would tell youngsters, with great honesty, we have tried the gun and we have tried the stones. The reply so far has been dead bodies and wailing families. Let us try to fight with ideas and let us use forums which are legitimate to voice our general aspirations, grievances. It is not fair to go against the law”. At the same time, stories are making rounds about Syed Ali Shah Geelani softening his much harder stand. Sajjad Gani Lone’s trimmed stand regarding vexed Kashmir issue is very well-known after he consciously decided to get on election bandwagon in 2009. But Geelani’s intention of softening or not softening his stand is yet behind the thick smoke screen, where Geelani has preferred to remain silent on this issue. Other faction of Hurriyat and few smaller separatist groups are already on the path of softening with somewhat palatable logic that international political scenario has changed drastically; particularly the geopolitical equation in the subcontinent is on the path of rapid metamorphosis. Whenever Mirwaiz Farroq’s faction made any reconciliatory move, they had to face many questions both from Geelani faction and many other Kashmir watchers sitting safely on the fence. Recent developments attributed to Geelani and earlier individual stands of Mirwaiz and Sajjad are certainly manifestation of political development in the region, particularly in light of perceptible shift in Pakistan’s Kashmir policy. Sajjad Lone’s statement carries a huge message of paradigm shift from extreme violence to lawful activity of contesting elections for massive change—change for betterment on every front.
Excepting Geelani the symbol of Kashmir struggle has now transferred into the hands of next generation leaders and in several cases within the family or the clan. For the last six decades people of Kashmir were fed with empowerment theories and led to dreams of emancipation; particularly for last more than two decades Kashmiri passion for liberation was whipped beyond comprehension. Whole Kashmir landscape got drenched with blood and almost every surviving Kashmiri is battered with collateral damage in every aspect of his life. With bruised honour, packed graveyards and thousands of orphans’ people of Kashmir are now being pushed on the tracks of reconciliation, acclimatized to veiled diplomacy and administered with lessons of law trough prospective elections. Changing strategies, that too in emerging political scenario is not a sin; but changing after all of energy and every drop of blood drains out of psyche and body is not leadership but tantamount to perfidy.
Pakistan’s changing political situation is quite fluid, particularly after cession of autocratic military rule under the leadership of Parvez Musharaf. Instead of strengthening the democracy and democratic institutions Pakistan politics is stuck in a triangular web with disarrayed political structure, over-enthusiastic judiciary and commanding army. The Afghan war and involvement of America has also influenced the geopolitical situation in the region, with lot of political, military and diplomatic bargaining on all sides. For centuries Afghan politics had played a vital role in this region. But after Russian invasion and subsequent developments this region has become more vulnerable to interventions and intrusions. Presence of America and its failure to impose its own agenda has given way to different geopolitical equations and Kashmir issue is victim of this imbalance. However, people of Kashmir should not largely attribute their failures to these changing situations in the region, but as well should curse their leaders and reconcile to their fate. Cruelty and exploitation spread over several thousand years of recorded history and a deceptive leadership since 1931 is what lies in our destiny. May be some contemporaries pass it on as pessimism but facts are facts and present emerging political trends both within Kashmir and ‘Aar paar’ are not encouraging. We are sandwiched between two big brothers and ill-lead by a pack of narcissistic leaders. So, after decades of striving we are back to square one!