Should India engage with Pakistan on Kashmir?
JAMMU: A day after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief said, “We are waiting for the day Kashmir becomes Pakistan”, National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be bold enough and engage Pakistan in talks over Kashmir. There could not be any worse example of political adventurism than this coming at time when the State is grappling to restore peace by quelling Islamabad sponsored ‘stone-terror’ in the Valley. Omar Abdullah has been a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and India’s Minister of State for External Affairs. So expecting him, at least, to be responsible will not be too much. He, and all those vouching for dialogue with rogue terror state must surely not be expecting India to discuss with Pakistan Prime Minister working out modalities to give Kashmir on a platter so that his wish is fulfilled.
Talking to Pakistan has become fashion with Indian liberals, pseudo secularists, self-styled activists and most importantly, Kashmiri mainstreamists. They keep setting this agenda for the nation without spelling out whom to talk and what to talk. They must come clear as to what they want to discuss with Islamabad. They, including Omar Abdullah, must also tell to the nation whether Kashmir is negotiable. It is time for them to clarify whether they consider Kashmir as an integral part of India and, if yes, what should the agenda be for talks with Pakistan.
Unlike any other state, the votaries of Indo-Pak talks are overzealous and more active in Kashmir.
The so-called mainstream leadership wants talks to continue, not exactly knowing what these are going to achieve. While pleading for dialogue, they must understand that this is a central subject. Even the votaries like mainstream leaders also admit ‘External Affairs’ as one of the four subjects to be dealt with by the Centre. Therefore, they better remain in their defined precincts.
There has not been a single instance when any leader from the bordering states of Punjab, Rajasthan or Gujarat must have talked on Indo-Pak relations. The Kashmiri leadership has not only been meddling in murky waters but also putting India and Pakistan on the same pedestal. Their common refrain has been urging the leaders of the two countries to exercise restraint; maintain peace and get involved into engagements. They have never blamed Pakistan for indulging in anti-India activities, more particularly the current spell of violence that has taken the Valley by storm.
While espousing the cause of Pakistan, the so-called Kashmiri leadership has never ever questioned the hostile neighbour for pushing in terrorists, who indulge in killing, immoral acts, indoctrinating young minds besides making vulnerable segment of society as drug addicts. Almost same has been the attitude of the mainstream leaders. At least they ought to have indicted Pakistan for fomenting trouble in the peaceful Valley after declaring terrorist Burhan as a Kashmiri leader. Can’t they see mischief in the declaration?
Home Minister Rajnath Singh is on record having blamed Pakistan for the ongoing unrest and prolonged crisis in Kashmir. Despite that memoranda were presented to him during his Srinagar visit for holding dialogue with Islamabad rather than seeking the inputs about involvement of the neighbouring country into the turmoil that has already taken a toll of nearly 50 lives during two weeks.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon New Delhi to make it known to all concerned that India cannot be forced to sit on a negotiation table to discuss peace with Pakistan. The Kashmir leadership is also required to be told in unequivocal terms not to expect miracles on talks with Pakistan, as these are not going to make any difference with regard to the status of Kashmir in Indian domain.
Also, the Kashmir centric leadership, which has taken upon itself to speak for the entire Jammu and Kashmir, must ascertain what the people of Jammu and Ladakh want. The divergence in perception about K-issue in the Valley and the two other regions has been a major irritant that manifests differently from time to time. This is also a contributory factor to the trust deficit between the people of three regions. Therefore, the mainstream camp must stop speking for Jammu and Ladakh, which consider Pakistan as number-one enemy of the Indian nation that cannot be involved in any engagement till she stops meddling in India’s internal affairs.