Concession to Kashmir’s Gupkaris will be a concession to Pakistan

Pakistan & Gupkaris singing the same song or spoke almost the same language must remain a matter of grave concern

Pakistan & Gupkaris singing the same song or spoke almost the same language must remain a matter of grave concern
Pakistan & Gupkaris singing the same song or spoke almost the same language must remain a matter of grave concern

Are Pakistan and Gupkaris working in tandem? The answer appears to be in the affirmative. It is difficult to avoid such a conclusion. There are potent reasons for this.

Take, for example, what Islamabad said on June 8. That day, it asked New Delhi to “halt and reverse” its “unlawful and destabilizing actions” in J&K as the large scale movement of soldiers in the UT of J&K triggered speculation about another “big” move by PM Narendra Modi.

“We have noted with serious concern reports indicating that India might be plotting further division, bifurcation and demographic changes in Indian Illegally Occupied J&K to perpetuate its illegal occupation. No new instrument of occupation shall have any legal effect,” said Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Pakistan Government. Pakistan also asked India to refrain from any “further steps that could imperil regional peace and security”[1].

It was hoped that the Jammu-based supporters of the Gupkaris, including those belonging to the NC, will take on their leaders and denounce what they said in Srinagar but it didn’t happen.

Earlier on June 4, Pakistan PM Imran Khan said that Pakistan was ready to restart talks with India if Delhi provided a roadmap towards restoring the previous status of what he called “occupied Kashmir”. He made this statement in Islamabad while talking to an international news agency Reuters[2].

It needs to be noted that stories doing the rounds in social media have given the people to understand that the Modi Government might give “Kashmiri Hindus a separate homeland or split J&K again, giving statehood to Jammu and a new Union Territory tag to Kashmir”. These stories, which have neither been confirmed nor rejected by the concerned authorities in New Delhi and J&K, “sent the Imran Khan Government in Islamabad jitters” to the extent that it said that “India’s unilateral and illegal actions are violative of international law and United Nations Security Council Resolutions”. Besides, it reiterated that “J&K was under illegal occupation of India” and it was “an internationally recognized disputed territory”.

If Islamabad said what it said on June 8, the Farooq Abdullah-led People’s Alliance of Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) declared on June 9 at the Gupkar (official) residence of Mehbooba Mufti that “the resolution which the various parties (seven, including Congress,) had passed on August 4, 2019, stands and that “we are determined on it and there is no change and we stand by it”[3]. In other words, the PAGD urged the Modi Government to restore Article 35A and Article 370, reunite Ladakh with J&K and grant pre-August 2019 status to the state as it existed on August 5, 2019.

The statement was made by Farooq Abdullah after the meeting held after more than six months. The meeting was presided over by Farooq Abdullah and attended by PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti (vice-chairperson of PAGD) and PDP leader Mehboob Beg, People’s Movement chief Javid Mustafa Mir, Muzaffar Ahmad Shah of the Awami National Conference, NC MP Hasnain Masoodi and CPIM leader M Y Tarigami – all votaries of greater autonomy, bordering on sovereignty, and all protagonists of talks between India and Pakistan. Significantly, the Gupkari leadership again took for a ride their Jammu-based supporters as they had done on August 4, 2019.

Farooq Abdullah spoke not only for Kashmir (where PAGD had suffered a massive and humiliating defeat in the first-ever District Development Boards’ elections) but also for the people of Jammu and Ladakh. He also expressed himself in support of a meeting between the Gupkaris and the Union Government, stating that “the PAGD has not closed any of its doors”, that “if they (Government of India) invite(s) us, we will see to this thing”, that “the PAGD won’t leave any space and will continue for the rights of people in every forum”, and that “we have to fight even by remaining in fire”.

It was hoped that the Jammu-based supporters of the Gupkaris, including those belonging to the NC, will take on their leaders and denounce what they said in Srinagar but it didn’t happen. No wonder then that they once again disappointed the people of Jammu province. Not good politics. They must think about it and appreciate the sentiments of the people of Jammu province failing which they could become pariahs.

That Pakistan on June 8 and the Gupkaris on June 9 sung the same song or spoke almost the same language must remain a matter of grave concern. Indeed, the Gupkaris again vindicated those in the country who opine day and night that the Gupkaris are not the mouthpieces of India and that they are working for a regime that will be outside the political and constitutional organization of India. However, this is one aspect of the story.

The other aspect of the story is far more significant. Significant because both Pakistan and PAGD opposed in one voice the creation of a separate Jammu state. That they opposed the idea of separate Jammu state should be taken to mean that they see in the separation of the colonized Jammu province from jihad-gripped Kashmir their own destruction. And this should be used by the Modi Government as a God-sent opportunity and do exactly the opposite of what Pakistan and the Gupkaris said. Indeed, the politically correct answer of the Modi Government to the senseless opposition of Pakistan and the Gupkaris to the idea of a separate Jammu state would be the creation of a separate Jammu state.

Will the Modi Government repeat August 5, 2019, in 2021 by further dividing the UT of J&K to empower Jammu province and break the backbone of anti-India and pro-Pakistan elements in Kashmir? Let’s wait and see what it finally does. Always remember, PM Modi is known for springing pleasant and novel surprises.

Note:
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

References:

[1] India’s troop mobilization in J&K triggers rumour, send jitters to PakistanJun 08, 2021, Deccan Herald

[2] Pakistan ready for talks with India if it gives roadmap to restore Kashmir’s status: PM ImranJun 04, 2021, Dawn

[3] Our doors open for dialogue, stand on Art 370 unchanged: FarooqJun 10, 2021, Daily Excelsior

Hari Om is former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Jammu.
Hari Om

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