Politics of opportunism in Kashmir must stop

Updated: September 19, 2021 8:37 PM

PDP founder Late Mufti Mohmmad Syed was an influential Congress stalwart, and so, any changes in constitutional provisions that took effect during the regime of then Prime Minister cum Chief Minister G M Sadiq happened under Syed’s very nose.

Politics of opportunism in Kashmir must stopMehbooba too has been lauding the Taliban’s bloody takeover of Afghanistan and has even gone to the extent of threatening the center by supplanting the Afghanistan model on J&K by saying that if the people of J&K “lose patience, you will not remain — you will (also) disappear”.  (File image)

By Farooq Wani

In J&K, rather than focusing on the well-being of the people, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC), politics of these two major political parties revolved around Article 370 of Indian constitution that accorded ‘special status’ to J&K.  Therefore, once this Article was abrogated and the erstwhile state of J&K bifurcated into union territories of J&K and Ladakh, these political parties lost much of their relevance as well as public support as the people realised that they were being emotionally exploited. Both parties blamed the center for diluting Article 370, but the fact is that they were themselves party to any amendments and modifications to the same

PDP founder Late Mufti Mohmmad Syed was an influential Congress stalwart, and so, any changes in constitutional provisions that took effect during the regime of then Prime Minister cum Chief Minister G M Sadiq happened under Syed’s very nose. Thus, if PDP feels that the status of J&K has been tinkered with over the years, then the PDP founder, can’t absolve himself of not having objected. Infact, by allowing the same to happen, he became a party to what it later complained were gross wrongdoings.

Similarly, the NC too is famous for its changing stance. While its founder Sheikh Mohmmad Abdullah staunchly upheld “Illhaq” (accession with Union of India) initially, he changed track in 1953 by giving the slogan of “plebiscite,” which proved hollow. In 1975 he signed an accord with Indira Gandhi just to facilitate his re-entry into politics. Once he even said that Article 370 is not a “Divine Book” that cannot be amended!

While the NC and PDP old guard are no longer there, the politics of opportunism that both championed endures and their offspring continue to make irresponsible statements on a near daily basis to remain relevant in J&K politics and to build up mass support. Such is their level of desperation that they have even come out in support of the forcible takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban. While former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said he believed that Taliban would “deliver good governance” in accordance with “Islamic principles”, ex J&K Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti has gone step ahead by saying that Taliban should govern Afghanistan in accordance with ‘real Sharia’ law!

For the center to comment on Afghanistan makes sense, but for Abdullah or Mehbooba to do so when they are ‘nobodies’ in J&K polity today is laughable. So is Farooq Abdullah’s advice to Taliban that “they should try to develop friendly relations with every country,” and that “they should ensure to protect the human rights of their citizens. However, his son Omar Abdullah, who himself has been Chief Minister of J&K, takes the cake by asking the Centre to clarify its stand on Taliban, and whether New Delhi considers it a terror organisation or not. Could there be a more brazen example of hypocrisy?

Mehbooba too has been lauding the Taliban’s bloody takeover of Afghanistan and has even gone to the extent of threatening the center by supplanting the Afghanistan model on J&K by saying that if the people of J&K “lose patience, you will not remain — you will (also) disappear”.  Coming from someone who has held the extremely responsible position of Chief Minister of J&K, this pathetic statement is condemnable. Since Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has no relevance to J&K and its people, why Mehbooba made such a juvenile comparison and shot off her mouth is intriguing.

If the PDP and NC are genuinely concerned about what’s happening in Afghanistan and worried about ill treatment of its citizens, especially the womenfolk, by Taliban’s convoluted interpretation of ‘sharia’ law, then why aren’t the Abdullah’s and Mehbooba saying a word against the highhandedness of the Taliban regime against women. Haven’t they seen peaceful Afghan women protesters being roughed up and even fired at by Taliban henchmen?

Surprisingly, while PDP and NC have jumped into the Afghanistan morass without giving it a second thought, a section of Hurriyat has taken a more mature view. Hurriyat leader Dr G M Hubbi told the author that a ‘wait and watch’ policy is ideal as it allows one to observe how things develop in Afghanistan. According to him, if the hardcore and radical factions within Taliban come to power, or have a say in governance, then in addition to the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan too would have to face the wrath of Taliban.

Hubbi also feels that the issue of Taliban entering Kashmir is being unnecessarily hyped and needs to be curbed as it is generating a sense of insecurity amongst the people. The senior Hurriyat leader maintains that the world will have to accept the reality of Taliban governing Afghanistan and as such India should have no hesitation in talking to Kabul, adding that “I believe that opening channels for dialogue with the Taliban is absolutely essential at the present moment because only an Afghan-led negotiated political settlement can ensure regional peace”.

It’s time that the PDP and NC stop playing petty politics and misleading the people of J&K by issuing confusing statements. The Abdullahs need to understand that while securing national interests, the government may be required to deal with the devil himself, and that it should confine itself to its own sphere of influence. Similarly, Mehbooba needs to realise that since Kashmir has been the epitome of pluralism and religious tolerance and as such has no place for ‘sharia’.

All fundamentalist groups, be it Taliban, Al Qaida or ISIL, have their own interpretation of ‘sharia’ and so Mehbooba’s hope that Taliban will practice “real sharia” makes no sense at all. Lastly, she should realise if Taliban’s version of ‘sharia’ ever comes to Kashmir, then she’ll be the one to be confined to home and debarred from politics!

(The author is Editor Brighter Kashmir, TV Commentator, Political Analyst and Columnist. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. )

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