The further adventures of the Moderate Mirwaiz in Pure Land
The Moderate Mirwaiz has been bursting with ideas. Among others he called for China to be a party to the Kashmir issue, both because it holds a large chunk of disputed territory and also because it is a big country. The Pakistanis, who ceded part of that ‘large chunk’, closed the door on this idea. Pakistan’s position was not without irony, for after years of attempting to ‘internationalise Kashmir issue’, it claimed that the according the UN resolutions the Kashmir is a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan (“Of course Kashmiris are also a party”).
Next, addressing a group in Lahore, he called for the need to give India a ‘face-saving’ and ‘honourable exit’ out of Kashmir. The state will be split into five regions ‘based on ethnic and geographic divisions’ that will have a joint parliament jointly under the control of India and Pakistan. This, he clarified, is not only different from Gen Musharraf’s plan to split the state into seven regions but also avoids splitting the state along ‘religious, linguistic or geographic basis’. In other words, his solution is to divide the state into five regions based on ethnic, religious/sectarian and geographic lines, in order not to divide it along ethnic, religious/sectarian and geographic lines. This eminently sensible way will save India’s ‘face’.
And after refusing to participate in a round-table conference organised by the Indian prime minister himself, the Mirwaiz has now announced his intention to direct his energies in organising — what else? — a round-table conference of the five regions of Jammu & Kashmir. For good measure, he’ll be inviting India and Pakistan to join in to form a broad consensus. In other words, he proposes a round-table discussion instead of a round-table discussion. He didn’t invite China though. Not after the Pakistan’s reaction.
If the Hurriyat was serious about working out solutions it needs to do only two things and worrying about saving India’s face is not one of them. First, it should repudiate terrorism as a means of political struggle. Second, it could either earn the right to speak for the Kashmiri people by contesting elections, or participate in the round-table discussions organised by the Indian prime minister. Until that time, the Hurriyat, the Moderate Mirwaiz and his numerous ideas just complicate the problem further.