Late but welcome realization

05 Aug, 2014    ·   4614

Shujaat Bukhari writes about how Kashmiri separatists have given up hope on their “representative” bodies such as Organisation of Islamic Countries and Arab League

Shujaat Bukhari
Shujaat Bukhari
Editor in Chief, Rising Kashmir
What Israel has been doing in Gaza for past about a month has put humanity to shame. It has also exposed the double standards of world powers and brought to the fore the fact how insensitive and incapacitated the Muslim nations are. Whatever the fate of hapless Palestinians, the situation has, however, thrown up more lessons for Muslims world over. The offensive may have a dangerous consequence of pushing more Muslims towards radicalism thus opening new doors of destruction. During the past one month the disturbing situation in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Africa has raised more questions about why trouble is taking place in Muslim countries only. More than 6000 people were killed by the ISIS led by the self-styled “Caliph” Al Baghdadi, thereby putting the words “human rights violations” to shame. Muslims killing Muslims is the biggest challenge, which Islam, second largest and the fastest growing religion in world is facing now.

Out of many leafs of those lessons, the one which is relevant to Kashmir is that the separatists have given up their hope on the Muslim world through their “representative” bodies such as Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and Arab League. Time and again the OIC has been passing resolutions and sending out invitations to the separatist leaders who proudly publish them in the local media to impress the people with their “popularity” at the world level. Kashmiri leaders, with the blessings of Pakistan, had been given the Observer status in OIC and many of them have attended the conferences and enjoyed their hospitality. The outcome has been one odd resolution condemning the human rights violations by India and a line to urge them to resolve the Kashmir issue.

With unending bloodshed shaking the conscience of every conscientious citizen, except those who believe in not annoying the Americans and their cohorts, the separatists in Kashmir also started realizing that it was useless to pin hopes on OIC or Arab League. For the first time, in many years, the separatists of various factions and colours have spoken in one voice. From Syed Ali Shah Geelani to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabir Shah and Yasin Malik, they have criticized the OIC and the Arab world for maintaining a criminal silence over genocide in Gaza. They have also asserted that to rely on them for intervention in resolution of Kashmir issue was not pragmatic.

In the past the noise by OIC or Arab League has been purely an exercise orchestrated by Pakistan to make India restless. That is why the separatists had fallen in this trap of a “false hope”. Moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was seen as the last one to rely on them and given them (OIC) legitimacy in the overall process of resolution of Kashmir. But the fact remains that the resolutions passed by OIC had no impact on India like many other reports. The Arabs countries traditionally have had good relations with India. Once the OIC would pass the resolutions, the Arab leaders would convey (in private) to the Indian governments that they actually did not know what the resolution was and they were not party to it. It may sound funny but the argument, according to insiders in External Affairs Ministry, they would make was that only Pakistan and Turkish Foreign Ministers would know English and whatever resolutions they draft they get passed through a consensus. But in practice also the Arab countries would not do anything to side with Kashmir and support the political cause. For few years, Kashmir would be part of special dua (prayers) on Friday in Makkah and Madinah but that also has disappeared now.

Iran was considered to be vocal among Muslim nations to talk about political rights subjugated by various countries. In case of Palestine the voice was louder and continues to be so. But on Kashmir, it too could not afford to annoy India and helped it out in the worst crisis. When situation in Kashmir in early 90s was a flash point in world, India was on back foot and it had become difficult for New Delhi to seek defense at the International level. Though focus shifted to Gulf War in 1991, it continued to invite attention at the world forums. In 1994, sanctions were almost imposed against India when a resolution in the United Nations was withdrawn at the last moment by then Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhuttoo after Iran’s intervention. The resolution, if passed, would have put India in dock. But the efforts by Iran prevailed upon Bhuttoo, coupled with the work done by a highly erudite Indian delegation led by former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee with Farooq Abdullah as its deputy leader and then Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid as the member, thus saving New Delhi from the biggest ever diplomatic crisis.

Otherwise also the interest of world powers in seeing Kashmir as the flashpoint has decreased to a great level and that also is reflected in how New Delhi sees the situation. Not acknowledging the transition from violence to nonviolence as a space to resolve the issue also has a lot to do with this changing global discourse. Many experts believe that non-resolution of Kashmir issue would continue to threaten the peace in the region.

In the given circumstances a third party intervention of Kashmir seems impossible. Pakistan becoming internally weak and losing ground at the diplomatic level after the 9/11 has caused more harm to Kashmir, as it has been linked to “International terror network” and “Global Jehad”. It is only the people of Kashmir who have to find ways and means to find a solution and of course the onus lies on India and Pakistan to facilitate that course.  Whether the powers could play any role or not, veteran CIA official Bruce Reidel in his latest book “Avoiding Armageddon: America, India and Pakistan to the Brink and Back”, argues that resolving Kashmir is not only important for preventing a nuclear conflict between two countries but also for prosperity of both India and Pakistan. Even as he believes that “history has shown that American actions can make a bad situation worse, and it has shown only limited evidence that they can make things fundamentally better”, but at the same time makes a case for non-formal initiative to make the two countries amenable to a resolution.

In this backdrop, the statements by separatist leaders vis-a-vis the OIC and Arab League or largely about the Arab world are significant and have thrown up an opportunity to think out of box to deal with the stand off on its own. The realization has come late but nevertheless welcome.

By arrangement with Rising Kashmir