On Having and Eating Cakes !

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In February, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of Pakistan’s National Assembly parliamentary panel came out with a policy paper recommending that Islamabad “should not encourage calls for active support to armed, banned, militant groups in Kashmir.” Rejecting this recommendation for being “unfair and unjustified,”  Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani declared that “freedom struggle in Kashmir has nothing to do with terrorism.” However, the latest spate of attacks on JK policemen by Hizb militants has put the Hurriyat (G) chairman’s claim on very shaky ground.  

Unwarranted bloodshed takes the sheen out of even the noblest movement and the Hurriyat (G) chairman knows this very well. That is why in his autobiography,  Geelani sahib has regretted the 1990 killings of Kashmir University Vice Chancellor Professor Mushir-ul- Haq and Hindustan Machine Tools General Manager HL Khera. Questioning as to “what sins had they committed and why they were killed and whether these incidents were helpful to our cause,” he has clarified that “our struggle is against Indian army and paramilitary forces.” Though nothing can justify use of violence, yet had the Hizbul Mujahideen dutifully ensured that no ‘non-combatants’ were targeted by its cadres, its actions still could have been termed as something that technically fell short of terrorism. 

However, this was not the case. The two cops shot dead by motorcycle borne Hizb militants at Mill Stop in Zadibal area of Srinagar on Monday were on traffic regulation duty and were carrying only lathis (sticks) and not any weapons. The third police man shot dead by Hizb militants, though armed was again on duty as the personal security officer (PSO) of a politician and in no way involved in anti militancy operations. Thus these killings are nothing but sheer cold bloodied murder by all standards and therefore it would be foolish to try and expect that the world would accept these killings to be legitimate and unavoidable actions related to the freedom struggle in Kashmir.  

On Wednesday Hizb militants struck once again killing an unarmed and off-duty police man who was attending a marriage in Munghama village of Pulwama district in South Kashmir and injuring the PSO of a politician. Here again the deceased was not involved in any anti militancy operations and as such, just like the previous three killings of Monday, there can be no justification for this murder too! Could this be the reason why HM operational spokesperson, Burhan-ud-din while speaking to CNS tried to incorrectly portray the deceased police men as being members of the Special Operation Group (SOG) of JK police which carries out anti militant operations? 

It appears that just like the Hurriyat armed groups too doesn’t seem to be having any definite and comprehensive plan of action. Hizb chief Syed Salahuddin may wax eloquent on how the ‘armed struggle’ is the only way in which the ‘right to self determination’ can be achieved. However, can he deny the fact that even after more than a quarter century and a million deaths, militancy has achieved nothing at all and ‘azadi’ still remains a distant dream? 

He should realise that while the people may reluctantly overlook isolated cases of delinquent behavior of his cadres, attempts to twist the facts will never be condoned. There is just no justification of targeting fellow Kashmiris just because they are police men since these people have taken up this job to support their families. The Hurriyat (G) chairman may believe that “recruitments in police and army are aimed at strengthening the occupation of Kashmir.” However, he should also realise that not everyone is lucky in getting good jobs outside J&K and thus have to take up whatever job comes their way.

During its advisory council meet held in February, the Hurriyat (G) reiterated its support to the “armed struggle” in Kashmir and issued a statement declaring that “we are bound not to indulge in any such activity which can harm the martyrs’ mission for which thousands of people have sacrificed their lives so far.” Aren’t attacks on unarmed Kashmiri policemen who were not involved in or associated with anti militant operations something that will undoubtedly give the Kashmir struggle a bad name? It should never be forgotten that ever since militancy raised its head in J&K, the international community has assigned the issue of implementing UN resolutions on Kashmir to the backburner. 

 First it was Washington which declared that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan which required no third party intervention. Then London dropped a ‘diplomatic bomb’ when British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond announced that Kashmir should not be a precondition for Indo-Pak dialogue! Even Head of UN Peace Building Commission Macharia Kamau, instead of talking about resolution of the ‘K’ issue as per UN resolutions, has said that the same will be “resolved in the context of the local domestic political environment between India and Pakistan.” Though all these developments have hurt the Hurriyat (G) chairman, all he has been able to do is to object to the same. 

Geelani sahib has correctly remarked that Kamau’s statement reflects the “double standards of the United Nations and it also negates the basic purpose and responsibilities of this world institution.” However, the venerable octogenarian should also realise that the charge of “double standards” applies to the Hurriyat and its allies  as well.  This is because while the two are demanding settlement of the Kashmir issue in accordance with UN resolutions, simultaneously militants are waging an “armed struggle” to achieve the ‘right to self determination’ while the Hurriyat is unconditionally supporting it! Our leaders need to be more realistic and understand that even though one may wish it to be so, but in reality it is just not possible to have the cake and eat it too!

 

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