Too many pieces of furniture

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.

3 thoughts on “Too many pieces of furniture”

  1. Well said Nitin,

    Indian government should stop molly coddling Hurriyat. That they are overrated would be an understatement.


    PS. The title is splendid.

  2. Nitin:

    It’s not that the Moderate Mirwaiz complicates J&K; it’s simply that such proposals are not likely to find any takers in the GOI. Partitioning J&K is simply not on; even if (hypothetically) the religious right wing in Indian national politics were in favor, the certain opposition of the secular forces (left and right) makes such a move a non-starter. Certainly, the current GOI is against internal partition.

    Moreover, no one outside of the secessionist sectors in J&K will welcome any sort of confederation with PoK. Indeed, that’s why the Moderate Mirwaiz has presented his plan as a two-step process: partition-first in the hopes of enticing Jammuites and Ladakhis, and then confederation at a later date.

    The Moderate Mirwaiz is hardly blind to this reality. His proposal, I suspect, is an attempt to sever the Valley and unite it alone with PoK: The rejection of confederation in minority communities, if his desired partition were to be realized, is something the Moderate Mirwaiz is counting on. When others object to confederation, the Moderate Mirwaiz may then push for the Valley alone to join a confederation across the LoC.

    Btw, it will be interesting to see the GOI’s reaction to his (and Pakistan’s?) proposal for the roundtable conference. One way to measure its reaction, of course, is whether it gives visas to people who want to attend this conference.


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