In a way, Dr Farooq Abdullah of Kas-hmir’s National Conf-erence is right in claiming that Pak occupied Kashmir belongs to Pakistan but he did not say why this part of Kashmir could not integrate with India.
Naïve he may be politically but Farooq Abdullah is not expected to be so ignorant, not to know that Jammu and Kashmir in its totality had acceded to India in 1947. The Instrument of Accession, signed by Maharaja Hari Singh and endorsed by his father, Sheikh Abdullah, did not mention Jammu and Kashmir in present format or Pakistan occupied Kashmir but it referred to the State as a whole that included Haunza, Gilgit and other parts that have been gifted by ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ to communist China.
Farooq Abdullah’s Kashmir centric National Conference has ruled the subjugated Jammu and Ladakh regions besides pampered Kashmir for better part of the period after 1975 when Sheikh Abdullah stepped down from the 1952 position of Prime Minister to Chief Minister. During this period, why didn’t National Conference seek abolishment of seats reserved in Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly for the representatives of Pakistan occupied Kashmir. He never raised this question. He never protested against the unanimous resolution of Parliament adopted in 1994 declaring Pakistan occupied Kashmir as legal part of India.
Farooq Abdullah also needs to explain why the Valley is wavering even after 70 years of its accession. He may shy away from answers but the fact remains that his party has never reconciled to be part of India. It may be enjoying the loaves of power, like other so-called outfits of the Valley, but essentially there is little difference between Syed Ali Shah Geelani type separatists and soft-separatists in the mainstream. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioned the relation of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country from day one of assuming the constitutional responsibility in the State when he laboured hard in explaining merger and accession in Legislative Assembly. As latest as on October 30, 2017, he told the party’s delegate session in Srinagar that “J&K had acceded to India and not merged with it, and it is wrong to compare it with any other Indian state”.
Today, Farooq Abdullah is saying, “You do not remember the instrument of accession and claim the other side of Kashmir ‘administered’ by Pakistan. If that side is ours, then you should talk about the accession as well. Why do you forget the conditions on which we have acceded?” Will somebody explain to him that this huge question was not raised by Sheikh Abdullah while accepting to be the Chief Minister? Sheikh had not even talked about autonomy or restoration of pre-1953 position. Now that the National Conference is talking about autonomy, it is questioning the political sagacity of its founder Sheikh Abdullah. He could have bargained autonomy during the negotiations before penning Indira-Sheikh Accord in 1975 but he sensed and appreciated Indian sensitivities. He understood that the clock could not be reversed.
This being the backdrop, how can Farooq accuse New Delhi of betraying Kashmiris? The exploited people of the Valley understand who has betrayed whom.
In his entire discourse, Farooq Abdullah is only talking about Kashmir but when it comes to talking over the issue, Jammu and Ladakh regions automatically get tagged to the Valley. But who cares for the people of Jammu? Has Farooq Abdullah ever asked his commanders in Jammu and Ladakh about their stand on the so-called issue, least to speak of the people of these two regions? He doesn’t need to ask because it is a tradition with Jammu based second fiddled leaders of Kashmir centric regional parties and the Congress also to sing the tunes of their masters. They have never mustered guts to say that Jammu and Kashmir is integral to Indian nationhood.
Farooq Abdullah is also questioning India’s capability to get back Pakistan occupied Kashmir but he conveniently forgets 1971 when Pakistan itself was decimated and its 93,000 soldiers made to kneel down with weapons in Dhaka.
Having said that, Farooq Abdullah is right in daring India, which has failed to retain this part of Kashmir like any other state of the country. If the nation could not retain this part, how can it manage PoK? To this extent, senior Abdullah is right. Successive governments in New Delhi have failed in achieving this objective, as they always indulged in placating the Kashmiri leadership-from Sheikh Abdullah by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Mehbooba Mufti by Narendra Modi. Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, Ghulam Nabi Azad and others come in between. Despite pro-active posturing, the BJP compromised with its core agenda for few loaves of power in Kashmir. This U-turn has encouraged the people like Farooq Abdullah to question the future of Jammu and Kashmir and dare India’s capacity and capability. Farooq Abdullah’s statement is a slap on the faces of rulers in Delhi whose appeasement policy is slipping like a mound of sand in the Valley. The pampered leaders will never allow the Valley to remain ‘peaceful’ part of India because that shall mean end of their opportunistic politics.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper