APHC gives three options for Kashmir solution
8 May 2000
Srinagar: The much talked about talks between All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and the fundamentalist Indian government led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were not to take place at all. It was only yet another political gimmick to impress upon the world particularly President Clinton of the United States that India was open to any peaceful dialogue with the APHC which has been advocating for the right of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir state. The offer for the talks was first made by the Indian Home Minister, L.K. Advani, who went to the extent of even armed militants to come to negotiation table in New Delhi. Advani has now chosen to do a calculated U-turn leaving everyone guessing but not misleading the Kashmir watchers who have no doubt about New Delhi''s policy regarding Kashmir which New Delhi has been trying to retain by hook or crook for the last 53 years despite the fact that people of Kashmir have never reconciled to their continued relationship with Indian Union. With Advani''s invitation for a dialogue with the APHC, some top leaders had warned some of the soft liner colleagues that the offer was only a political gimmick and that New Delhi was mainly aiming at a possible division among its rank and file. The APHC reached a near cracking when stories of their ''internal differences and confusion'' were set afloat in the Indian newspapers. Nobody listened to the APHC Chairman, Syed Ali Gilani that ''no formal invitation had ever come to him from New Delhi.'' At a point of time, it was also publicised that APHC was waiting for a go-ahead signal from Islamabad and that without the green signal, the APHC cannot dare meeting with the Indian government. Pakistan, on the contrary, fixed New Delhi in a corner when even General Pervez Musharraf categorically made it public that Pakistan would be having no objection to APHC talking to Indian rulers. ''After all, it is the people of Kashmir who have to decide about their political future,'' he said. Hectic activities by some Indian ministers including defence minister George Fernandes and even Democratic US Congressman Bonior also added element of suspense to the activities and a former Kashmir chief minister Syed Mir Qasim went on to assert that ''he was going to play a vital role in bringing the warring parties together and that Bill Clinton was going to accept his theory of solution of Kashmir problem.'' Indian Home Minister, Advani while finding himself in a tricky position suddenly made a reversal to the whole idea of dialogue Saturday when he said that ''New Delhi had no proposal to invite APHC leaders for talks at this juncture and would wait till they made up their mind.'' The sharp differences in the Indian Prime Minister''s office and Union Home Ministry surfaced clearly and the air of optimism generated over the last few days by the APHC leaders'' visit to New Delhi in scorching heat and with a positive response from Pakistan has almost disappeared. The suffering people of Kashmir, particularly the victimised Kashmiri Muslims, stand disappointed and dejected. The APHC chairman, Syed Ali Gilani smelling rat from New Delhi had repeatedly been asserting that APHC was not prepared to have talks with Delhi within the framework of the Indian Union. He has now asserted rather in clear terms probably coming out for the first time with alternative solutions to the dispute. ''Let there be a plebiscite or give the whole of Jammu and Kashmir an independent status or divide the State on religious grounds, revert to the UN resolutions, or to the pre-1947 situation, but by all means let it be based on facts, logic and rationale,'' he told Indian Express Sunday. Local observers here in the summer capital of the state, believe that the 53-year-old dispute may never be resolved while Islamabad and New Delhi take to their respective ''rigid'' stands with both of claiming the disputed State while ignoring the wishes of its people on both sides of the Line of Control. ''It would be better to leave at least Kashmir valley alone for a decade like an autonomous region before people finally are able to use their free will for a permanent option,'' said Prof Abdul Hameed in the Kashmir University. Khawaja Noor Ilahi of High Court Administration was of the opinion that the State be divided on religious lines with Kashmir Valley and its adjoining Muslim dominated areas along the right side of Chenab river going to Pakistan and Jammu and Ladakh to merge with India. Under the present circumstances, the most unfavourable, these probabilities also seem a far off dream which may not come true at least in near future. Meanwhile, the blood is shed in the streets of Kashmir every day with 267 people having been killed during the first four months of the current year.