[Reader-list] Pakistan reverting to old Kashmir policy

S. Jabbar sonia.jabbar at gmail.com
Thu Mar 4 11:11:43 IST 2010

Pak¹s changing K-tune puts Hurriyat in a fix


Indian Express Posted online: Thursday , March 04, 2010 at 2358 hours IST

Pakistan may have reverted to its traditional posturing on Kashmir, making a
renewed pitch for the right to self-determination for Kashmiris, but this
abrupt change in its stand has run into opposition from none other than the
separatists in the Valley, who continue to see Pervez Musharraf¹s four-point
proposal as the ³most pragmatic solution to the Kashmir dispute².

Upset over this ³unilateral turnaround² by Pakistan, two Hurriyat executive
members, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat and Bilal Gani Lone, have opted out of the
upcoming visit of separatists to Islamabad. There is also internal pressure
on chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq against making the trip.

Hurriyat reasoning is simple. ³We have been working for the past four years
to rally people in Kashmir around the four-point proposal for a settlement.
Now, how will we go back to the same people and tell them we are back to the
old position on Kashmir,² said a senior leader on condition of anonymity.
³Policies on Kashmir can¹t be changed on a whim. It is difficult for us to
reconcile with these periodic swings in Islamabad.²

Hurriyat in the past launched several mass mobilisation drives across the
Valley to create awareness about Musharraf¹s proposal in 2006, which
included demilitarisation, self-governance and a joint supervision

What has miffed Hurriyat most is that Islamabad changed its stand without
consulting them and now expected them to change their tune. According to
sources, in their meeting with Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir,
they complained that while Pakistan on its part made several policy shifts
on Kashmir over the years without any regard for Kashmiri opinion, Kashmiri
separatists were not being trusted to deal with the situation directly. The
recent case in point being Islamabad¹s disapproval of the ³quiet engagement²
between moderates and the Centre.

Hurriyat leaders, sources said, told Bashir that when it suited Islamabad,
the country went for Tashkent accord, Shimla agreement, Lahore Declaration
followed by Musharraf¹s willingness to settle for self-governance for
Kashmir. And now, they complained, when it again suits the country, Pakistan
has reverted to its old position on the state.

³Let us make it clear that we are not for a solution to Kashmir that
excludes Pakistan. But we want recognition and a say in the entire process
of dialogue and resolution,² a leader said. Adding further to the moderates¹
sense of hurt is Pakistan¹s wider outreach to the hardline separatist
elements in the state led by Syed Ali Geelani. Islamabad has not only
invited Geelani but also his ideological allies, Kashmir HC Bar Association
president Mian Abdul Qayoom and Asiya Andrabi, the leader of a
fundamentalist women separatist outfit.

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