Compounding the situation in Valley
If one says that the situation in Kashmir Valley is incredibly complex, it would be written off as a truism that is far too obvious. But if one says that the Wahhabi influence in Kashmir has made way into the psyche of the youth - so much that they cannot countenance a woman as a Chief Minister, it is not entirely a misconception. The fact remains that the two-month long unrest was precipitated due to the People Democratic Party’s (PDP) own contradictions about Mehbooba Mufti being made the Chief Minister.
But today the stone-throwing crowds are no longer in control of the substantial Jamaat elements within the PDP. Nor are they willing to listen to the two Hurriyat factions, including that of Syed Ali Shah Geelani. They are being fuelled by the over-ground characters of those groups that are directly handled by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from across the Line of Control.
This is a change in tactic as a counterpoint to terrorist violence that has now begun according diminishing returns for the strategists of Pakistan. They have realised that terrorism has actually become counterproductive with the world recognising that the people of Kashmir are not really involved in it. On the other hand, the intifada like movement of 2010 had brought some sections of the last group of people onto the streets. But it petered out because the Hurriyat that had control over the movement then eventually went to the negotiating table.
So this time, Islamabad and Rawalpindi have changed their modus operandi. They now control the youth on the streets, and these stone-pelting boys are much different from the kinds seen in 2010. These boys have lesser degree of dissatisfaction with the state government but have a higher degree of demand for cash that comes from across the LoC.
One may ask from a geopolitical perspective why Mian Nawaz Sharif, who had been talking peace even late last year, suddenly changed tracks after his heart surgery in the USA and left it to the Pindi-based brothers-in-arms, now looking at Beijing as their current benefactors?
The reason possibly lies in the Panama Paper leaks that have listed the Sharif families long saga of loot of the Pakistan exchequer. If General Raheel Sharif is allowed by his Corps Commanders to give a parting gift to the army (he would lead only for a few more months now) by throwing the other Sharif out, it could happen without any public opprobrium.
Even Sitaram Yechury understands the situation now that talks cannot be held in the current prevailing situation in Kashmir unless the whole of the Indian political class decides to offer what can be a solid step. The answer could lie in a really bold initiative which looks at Kashmir as a problem that can only be solved by serious sharing of power - not with the Hurriyats or naturally, the militant groups - but with the people who voted in the last election so effusively for the PDP. Let us not forget what the PDP actually is: it is the soft separatist line of Kashmir politics that is amenable to reason, and without any great enthusiasm to team up with the wilting POK, that has already ceded territory to the Chinese.
The answer lies in the pre-1953 “Constitutional” position that had as a provision, roughly put, meaning no change in the territory of Kashmir is possible (post-1948) without the Kashmir legislature's sanction. There were of course the other issues of a separate state flag (that can’t challenge the hackles of the Hindutvawallahs who must know each of the 50 states of the USA have one and also an anthem), the Sadr-E-Riyasat etc. All of that is eminently negotiable if we understand that politics is an art and science of immense possibilities. All one needs is a round table.
Of course, about that proviso of “unchangeable” nature of territoriality being catered to, is based on a premise that Parliament in New Delhi would unilaterally annul the Narasimha Rao government resolution of procuring POK along with the Northern Territories that are now called by their individual names Gilgit and Baltistan, for a reattachment with this side.
This little kink, though a favourite of the Rao-loving RSS, needs to be smoothened unilaterally not only to placate the great democratiser and human rights upholder Ban Ki Moon but of course, China, which has trodden into an area that angels like the “international community” (read West) feared.
(The views expressed are strictly personal.)