The unrepresentative Hurriyat

Negotiating with unrepresentative representatives breeds further alienation

Asma Khan Lone suggests that India risks creating more rebels by negotiating with the Hurriyat. Some of the Hurriyat leaders may be well-respected by the community, but the organisation as a whole is an ISI construct; it is about as representative of Kashmiris as the Pakistan Muslim League is of Pakistanis. The Indian government would be falling for the bluff should it take the Hurriyat as a suitable partner for negotiations. Shorn of Pakistani support, the Hurriyat could very well collapse under the weight of its own contradictions. The trick, therefore, would be to continue to be seen engaging the Hurriyat without giving it any more political oxygen.

What seemed a more plausible and long-term proposition was the engagement of representatives of a wide section of society, which in turn would be able to mobilise an entire public opinion. However, the Indian government chose to talk to a select few, with ironically nominal collective public support. This not only drew a large question mark over the entire process, limiting its appeal to a few individuals, but also alienated other more potent forces. The inability on the part of the Kashmiri leaders to chalk out a substantive and forceful agenda for the talks further undermined the process. However the singularly most overwhelming implication of the whole exercise was the breeding of a Generation Next of rebellious youth. [Indian Express]

Update:The Hurriyat’s bluff has been called. It chickened out of talks with the Indian government. That their executive council meeting was interrupted by a call from the Pakistani High Commissioner clearly indicates where it is taking its cues from. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq should just wind up the outfit instead of attempting to re-unite it, again like the Pakistan Muslim League.