Unconditional talks with the Hurriyat

Now call the bluff

India’s Home Minister Shivraj Patil has offered unconditional talks to the Hurriyat, and his deputy has challenged them rise above their internal politics and come forward to talk. Did the Manmohan Singh-Musharraf tete-a-tete have anything to do with this?

Perhaps. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the interim leader of the Geelani-less Hurriyat was in Saudi Arabia meeting an all star ISI team, lead by its chief, Lt Gen Ehsan ul Haque, and Sardar Abdul Qayyum, a former president of Pakistani Kashmir. The gentlemen from Pakistan are possibly trying to engineer a merger of the moderate faction led by the Mirwaiz, and the pro-Pakistani faction led by the angry old man, Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Something is cooking in Saudi Arabia.

The Hurriyat is quite likely to continue to keep reading from the Pakistani script as it has always been doing. Speaking to this clique may achieve nothing more than some improvement in the atmospherics – it is not within the power of the Hurriyat to put a stop to terrorism in Kashmir. They remain fearful of testing their claims to popular support. Now that it has offered unconditional talks, can the India government go ahead and call the Hurriyat’s bluff by asking to to stop the ‘armed struggle’ while they parley?

3 thoughts on “Unconditional talks with the Hurriyat”

  1. Nitin,

    The Times of India’s Josy Joseph writes that the ‘moderate’ Hurriyat faction will propose the ‘Andorra Plan’ to the GOI. It’s basically a variant of the Kathwari-KSG plan, minus the Muslim-majority districts bordering the Valley. However, this initiative will be contigent on the ‘good behavior’ of the GOI, according to the anonymous Hurriyat sources.

    Joseph writes that this plan was considered by the PMO during the BJP’s tenure, and that the Congress govt.’s latter-day unorthodoxy on J&K suggests that it will also be open to this ‘solution’.

    Needless to say, I am not in favor of this idea. I think Joseph doesn’t stress that the BJP govt. was the PMO + Home. In other words, I doubt Advani would have gone for that idea. In any case, an Andorra-type solution means a trifurcation of J&K, based on religion (even if it’s limited to Valley Muslims only). And I doubt that will be acceptable to the Congress party. If I’m not mistaken, Sonia Gandhi told Vajpayee the Congress was against any trifurcation of J&K, for just that reason.

    Moreover, if the Andorra plan is the (realistic) starting offer of the Hurriyat, they are unlikely to succeed. Negotiations will, after-all, involve a climbdown for them (as well as for India, but one hopes, much less of a climbdown!).


  2. Once again, this talks drama is farcicial. Any negotiation must involve an iota of common ground but our positions here are irrevocable and irreconciliable. I don’tgenuinely se what there is to talk to about regarding J&K.

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