“Separatists in Kashmir are divided on everything, But united in destroying Jammu and Kashmir”
In an exclusive interview with K N Pandita Daily Excelsior Special Correspondent Hashim Qureshi, the Chairman of Jammu & Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party reflected on various aspects of Kashmir politics, past and present. He has been in close touch with Kashmir politics since his return from Holland in 2000, and since a long time has been writing forcefully on Kashmir situation. Following is the summarised interview he gave to our correspondent at his residence in Nishat in Srinagar.
Q: You are the founder of Kashmir Liberation Front whose mission is liberation of entire Jammu and Kashmir from three neighbouring countries. You have been a strong advocate of non-violence as is reflected from your sustained writings. But JKLF started its mission in Kashmir in late 1989 by brandishing the gun. Is it not contradiction in the word and deed of JKLF?
A: I founded JKLF when I was in ”Azad Kashmir. After Maqbul Bhat’s martyrdom we considered only civil disobedience not gun as the instrument for freedom. Pakistani intelligence authorities contacted me in Rawalpindi in 1985. They proposed luring Kashmiri youth to Pakistani training camps set up in “AJK”. Its detail will appear in my biography now under compilation. After a week’s training, they would be sent back to Kashmir to indulge in subversion. I rejected ISI’s proposal saying that I stood for independence of not only Indian but also Pakistani controlled part of our State. Moreover, I said, I would not be a party to any proposal that entails killing and destruction of Kashmiri youth. When elections to State Assembly in 1986-87 were rigged and MUF candidates beaten and abused, NC provided grist to militant machinery. ISI, having hooked Amanullah Khan in the meanwhile, succeeded in pushing its subversive mission in Kashmir through the Amanullah Khan faction of JKLF. Motivation for Kashmiri youth to cross the border and join the training camps was a mixture of resentment against monopolization of power by the NC-Congress regime, patronage by ISI and whipping up of religious sentiments by Jamaat-i-Islami propaganda machine. Large scale proliferation of Kalashnikov in Kashmir was the new and ominous scenario. Soon ISI betrayed JKLF and launched fundamentalist groups to give the struggle religious colour.
Q: You usually caution separatists and pro-Pak groups against disunity. However, when militants conduct an attack on police post or communication towers or on civilians, the separatists and pro-Pak groups remain tight lipped. But in a chance killing of a civilian by the security forces, all these separatists combine to protest and demand inquiry. How can one say they are not united?
A: Separatists in Kashmir are divided on everything but united in destroying the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. If they were united, they would reject the gun, call for strikes, calls for election boycott etc. meaning everything that destroys the economy of Kashmir. Those who receive hefty cash doles from foreign benefactors have to keep the pot boiling. They must do something to disrupt normal life here. These groups are completely united in filling their begging bowls with charity doles and then undertake adventures in which they kill each other or destroy Kashmir. Hence they adopt varying methods to tell their benefactors that they commit no fault in carrying out their agenda like raising meaningless slogans, throwing stones, damaging public property and calling for strikes. One who tells the truth is labelled as Indian agent. This is the stick with which they are quick to punish their opponents. What is their plan for “azaadi” or “accession to Pakistan”? Will such activates as they are indulging in going to get them anything? The entire Kashmiran society is a captive of fear and suspicion.
Q: How do you see the current situation in J&K?
A: This government has no regular policy so to say. It runs on just day to day business. Resources are used in wrong way and peoples’ problems are left unresolved. What policy can a party hammer out when it enters into deals with separatist in elections? Who does not know that Mufti and his party were overtly supported by the Jamaati-i-Islami and Hizbul Mujahideen? Why does not Mehbooba Mufti join the condolence parties of killed activists and shed tears at the funeral of militants now? Did not the National Conference seek the support of separatists? All this is known to the government agencies and New Delhi. These people get importance and publicity by indulging in stone throwing and waving Pakistani flags. And sadly India succumbs to those who perpetrate violence. Who are these people who are waving the flags of murderers and cannibals calling themselves Islamists of the Caliphate? Mr. Cameroon, Prime Minister of United Kingdom is right in saying that these groups should not be called Islamic. Wherefrom has this so-called Islamic State come? The holy prophet forgave the killers of his uncle Hamza. Dash cuts throats of innocent people. Entire world especially the Islamic world is against them; Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE and many other Islamic countries are against them and waging war against them. UN has also condemned it. And lo and behold, here some people working on the behest of their handlers are waving the flag of Dash. What message are they giving to the world about the freedom movement of Kashmiris? Pro-Pakistan activists are now seen waving the flag of Dash alongside the Pakistani flag in parts of Kashmir. What impression will the world get about Pakistani society when Dash flag is waved along with Pakistani flag? I can say that doing such things is in fact a conspiracy against Pakistan itself.
Q: It is also believed that separatists do not want an actual stabilisation of Kashmir because it serves their private financial purpose and also the conflict has given them an identity which they might not have in the absence of it. How do you see that?
A: Separatists are active on the behest of an entity that has occupied part of Kashmir territory. The two occupying countries are engaged in a proxy war in Kashmir. Both have hired agents in Kashmir. Obviously the hired agents have no qualms of conscience and that is the reason why they are the most corrupt politicians one can imagine. They have no cause and no commitment. It is true that through their clandestine role, they have found their identity. Otherwise they are nondescript persons. Pakistan TV linked to vast network profiles them in larger than life size. How many of them are on the payroll of ISI is anybody’s guess? Therefore why should not Pakistan media give them wide publicity? What is the vision for Jammu region as a part of independent Kashmir? We nationalists in both parts of the State believe that Maharaja Gulab Singh is the father of the State extending from Lakhanpur to Damchok in Ladakh. We are for empowering the regions and sub-regions in a manner that they are themselves handling income and expenditure and planning and investment. We even want that power should descend down on local bodies. This is our interpretation of devolution of power in J&K State. I may tell you that in European countries even as important a document as passport is issued by the local body in the area where application is made. This is evidently the basis of secular democracy. In that sense Jammu region and its sub regions will enjoy full measure of autonomy. No region or sub-region will have any complaint of discrimination because the very cause of discrimination will be eliminated. Development of all the regions will be ensured on the basis of secular democracy. This is the conviction of JK Democratic Liberation Party that I am heading.
Q How do you see the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits and do you believe they have a say in the preservation of Kashmiriyat in the Valley as well?
A: Without Kashmiri Pandits, we the Kashmiri’s are incomplete. They have made glorious contribution in bringing education to the masses of people in Kashmir. My teachers were Kashmiri Pandits. In 1994, I published an article titled ‘The Tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits’. That was the peak of militancy. I rejected the assertion that Kashmiri Pandits left their homes on the behest of the then Governor Mr. Jag Mohan. Two years ago, I published another article in Greater Kashmir (12 March 2012) under the title ‘Towards Communal Harmony. Both are on my blog (www.hashimqureshijkdlp.blogsport.in). It gives a formula for their return and rehabilitation on just, viable and humanitarian basis keeping communal harmony in the front. However, let me say that Pandits, when back in the valley, cannot be comfortable in isolated townships. There will be many problems like security, socialization, inter-community interaction, and above all restoration of mutual confidence. Separate townships will be a temptation for the militants. Life lived under fear psychosis is no life. Separate township means keeping them in prisons. That is foolishness. Brisk interaction is needed to remove clouds of hatred.
Q What do you think is a permanent solution to resolving Kashmir?
A: There would not be Kashmir question if India or Pakistan had captured entire territory of original J&K State in 1947. Responsibility lies with India, Pakistan and the world leadership. This is no uni-polar world today. One cannot close eyes to Pakistan playing a role in Kashmir. India will not give and Pakistan cannot take. Thus Kashmir remains a flashpoint in the sub-continent. Let all stakeholders sit round a table and focus on making Kashmir a neutral zone like Switzerland. India, Pakistan and China, the three claimants to the territory must under the aegis of the UN guarantee neutrality of Jammu and Kashmir. This conflict has taken the entire region a hostage to many negative developments including wars, conspiracies and economic disabilities. Any time India, Pakistan can go to war, because of Mumbai, Gurdaspur like attacks and in the war no country is win the war. People of both countries can meet with distraction and we could go back in 10th Century.