The Bold Voice of J&K

Beg’s begging to hawkish Geelani undermines Mehbooba’s bravado

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Dost Khan

JAMMU: For the first time post independence seven decades ago, if anyone has called spade a spade in Kashmir, it is none other than the first women Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Unmindful of her political standing in the sensitive Valley and without mincing words, she has called the bluff of hawkish Syed Ali Shah Geelani and his herd of pampered Pakistan stooges, who have thrived and flourished at the blood and miseries of their unfortunate brethren. By taking on clergy before assassination of dreaded terrorist Burhan Wani and the secessionists thereafter, Mehbooba Mufti has become a soft target for all inclusive– separatists, mainstreamists and even elites and intellectuals. Single-handedly she is taking on all. Unnerved as they are, the separatists with tacit support of some concessionists in the media and pampered elements in the bureaucracy are gunning for the brave lady, who has dared them in their own backyard.
Who has guts in the radicalised Valley to challenge separatists by blaming them for making children of poor Kashmiris fodder of their cannons while their own kin were either pursuing academics outside the state or visiting continents in pursuit of greener pastures? Mehbooba has touched the weak vein of double agents, who are benefitting from boiling Kashmir. Can Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Saif-ud-Din Soz, Ghulam Hassan Mir, Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, Hakim Mohammed Yasin and company muster courage to speak out the truth? They won’t; not because of their political expediencies but due to their inherent weaknesses. Knowing well who the enemies of people were in the Valley, these so-called mainstream actors will prefer to be seen on both sides of the fence.
Mehbooba Mufti’s hard talk on Hurriyat may enrage them more but the assertion that “those who are instigating the people for carrying out attacks on camps and police stations are not interested in talks” speaks about prevailing truth in Kashmir. How can separatists come forward for talks to end the cycle of violence, death and destruction, as that would mean end to their empire established at the behest of Pakistan.
The Chief Minister has not spared Islamabad either. She has advised the rogue neighbouring country to stop supporting people who are instigating the youth in the Valley to carry out attacks on police stations or army camps. In a veiled reference she has exposed Hurriyat for pushing the Valley into dark alleys of uncertainty. Obviously, such a scenario is uncomfortable for traditional politicians like her party’s spokesperson Mehboob Beg, a turncoat, who has changed loyalties by trying his luck in National Conference, Congress and now the PDP.
At the crucial hour of Mehbooba Mufti reigning high at the strength of her boldness, Mehboob Beg has turned out to be a real villain. He has sought to belittle his own leader by begging the hawkish Geelani to give her a chance to address the grievances of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Reaching out to the peace-breaker, the PDP spokesperson has said that Geelani “must think of Mehbooba as his daughter, who also happens to be the first Kashmiri Muslim woman to lead our state”. He goes on saying that Mehbooba Mufti is not a conventional politician that “we deal with most of the times. In case, she does not bring about a change, she will be the first to own up and make way”. Of course, Mehboob Beg is right in describing Mehbooba as a non-traditional leader, as she has refused to toe the line, Kashmir leaders from Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah to Mufti Mohammed Sayeed were prone to. Don’t the people of Kashmir and rest of the country know how successive Chief Ministers of the State have been speaking something in Srinagar, something different in Jammu and altogether a new philosophy in New Delhi, as per their political requirements? Mehbooba Mufti has overtaken them by saying the truth which may appear harsh to the people of Kashmir as of now but time is not far when she will be vindicated.
Mehbooba Mufti is fighting on several fronts. She is pitched against paid stone pelters, pampered separatists and motivated mainstreamists. She is grappling with the situation by being amid people like Mehboob Beg, who remain to be foe in the guise of a friend. She must watch out.
The boldness with which Mehbooba Mufti is traversing the most difficult phase of Jammu and Kashmir history has endeared her across the nation. The people beyond Banihal are tempted to stand by her at this crucial hour of Kashmir’s destiny. She may be a villain for many in the Valley but history will prove her political sagacity and far-sight as her each step is aimed at steering out the suffering Kashmiris from morass. She is playing a huge bet, which may either see her vanish in political oblivion or make her adversaries in the separatist and mainstream camps irrelevant in renewed Kashmir.

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