Hurriyat (M) member Abdul Ghani Bhat tells Baba Umar that Kashmiris should take the initiative for restarting peace parleys
Why do you think that trifurcation is the natural solution?
We have been seeking settlement in the larger interests of the subcontinent. India and Pakistan have gone nuclear and Kashmir can constitute a flashpoint. I know it’s also an RSS plan, but as a settlement, trifurcation can be an alternative along with the UN mediator Sir Owen Dixon’s plan or General Pervez Musharraf’s four-point formula.
Isn’t it against the Hurriyat (Mirwaiz) stand?
I don’t want to get into the business of for and against. I belong to Hurriyat (M) and I know what it stands for. Even the Hurriyat talks about a negotiated settlement that involves not only dialogue but seeking alternatives too. There is no harm in talking about trifurcation as an alternative.
What about the UN resolutions that Syed Ali Shah Geelani believes are the only solution?
The UN resolutions offer a legal basis to the Kashmir dispute. I’m not interested in the legality of those resolutions as much as I’m in their implementation. Sixty-three years have gone by but not a single resolution was implemented because they need the approval of both India and Pakistan, which isn’t likely in the current circumstances. I don’t have any problem if the UN implements its resolutions but the issue is what next if the resolutions aren’t implemented.
New Delhi has been saying that borders won’t be redrawn.
Even as an alternative solution, Musharraf’s four-point formula too speaks about making borders irrelevant. We belong to a global village now. We are one. We can move together and that needs to be promoted. The concept of open market economy has introduced an element of interdependence into our collective economic lives. We need to address this issue in the larger interest of our togetherness.
Hurriyat member Moulana Abbas Ansari says this alternative is ‘unconstitutional’ and you must be reprimanded by Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq the way Ansari was punished for meeting the Centre’s interlocutors separately?
(Laughs) No comments.
You have suggested that Mirwaiz Umar should offer talks to India instead of India inviting Kashmiri leadership for talks.
We are the principal party to the dispute, that’s why we need to offer the olive branch and invite both countries for talks. They may accept or reject it.
Hurriyat (M) wants India to meet four conditions before the talks take place. Do you want to do away with them?
He hasn’t said anything about conditions. These are actually CBMs. As far as I’m concerned, talks shouldn’t go with conditions. Dialogue always takes place without conditions.
India and Pakistan couldn’t reach a settlement even on the Siachen dispute. Are you still optimistic?
Miracles won’t happen in a day. Both countries need to engage each other in talks. If they fail, they need to restart and talk again.
At one point, you had supported Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan? Why trifurcation now. Has your stance shifted?
This was the position the Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference had taken during the 1990s. What needs to be understood is we need to take stock of ground realities. Otherwise, we would be in trouble. If I’m given the choices of India and Pakistan, I will choose Pakistan. But it all depends on whether a plebiscite takes place. If not, then we will have to seize the day to secure a bright future. We can’t be bogged down by the past.
Baba Umar is a Correspondent with Tehelka.