Elusive option called dialogue

By K.N. Pandita

Word dialogue is non-lethal; it is also dangerously disguising. One can be aggressive and belligerent behind the mask of “dialogue”. That is how the rhetoric of dialogue is exuded by the separatists and such groups as want to be profiled as nationalists.

The Hurriyatis are inclined to swear by “dialogue” between India and Pakistan; NC leadership headed by Omar makes dialogue the refrain of his public addresses. Now PDP chief has joined voice with them. Actually each one has his own interpretation of dialogue.  

Hurriyatis believes that chanting the mantra of dialogue will help establish its credibility of waging the so-called non-violent freedom struggle in Kashmir. Omar Abdullah wants eliciting ‘as is where is’ commitment from Islamabad through negotiated settlement with India. While PDP is desirous of catching its rival NC on the wrong foot, and while Islamabad wants to sell the option of dialogue to the world community to prove her innocence of interference in Kashmir, to New Delhi, dialogue is music to its ears.

Those garrulously labeling Kashmir as an issue are unable to define what the precise contours of the issue are. Who really want to get rid of Kashmir, and who want to get rid of Pakistan? Nobody is prepared to identify himself along clear-cut lines. All stakeholders are past masters in disguising their real intentions under cover of dialogue.

The harsh verdict on the clap-trap of dialogue is to let the pot simmer as long as it does. Put into crude and axiomatic phraseology, it means making hay while the sun shines. Those who fought elections in the past and grabbed power through that instrumentality or those who will grab it in future have no right to ask for dialogue with Pakistan. All that they have to demand is withdrawal of Pakistan from the part of the State illegally occupied by her since 1947. Demand is not dialogue; it is assertion and dialogue-niks should ask for assertion but they will not because they cannot wriggle out of the syndrome of double speak.

If they sincerely feel that without a dialogue and without taking Pakistan on board, Kashmir will always remain in a state of turmoil, then they are unfair to their conscience. One cannot do two things at one and the same time, rule and ask for legitimizing of the rule.

When a traditional or non-traditional political party of J&K puts matching stakes on the demand of bilateral dialogue, the simple logic is that they should evaluate whether they have been promoting conducive atmosphere in the State.

One of the two prospective dialoguing sides is supporting and promoting terror structure on its soil blatantly intended for exportation to the other side of the line to destabilize law and order there, the primary concern of the party on the receiving end is to put in full effort to meet the challenge and restore normalcy. Any dialogue under these conditions is self-delusion.

Therefore those who make noise for a dialogue are only putting the cart before the horse. What they need to do to douse the flames of antagonism is to persuade the externally sponsored or home-bred militants to surrender and declare openly their willingness to abjure violence and rejoin the mainstream.

Sympathizing with the militants by projecting their armed insurgency as the end result of their material or spiritual deprivation is like watering the branches and cutting the roots of a tree. The militants that first Pakistanis lured them into their terrorist training camps and now indigenous leadership is luring them a state of mental frustration.

J&K Government formally announced amnesty to the militants who decide to return home. Four entry points have been identified for return. Nearly 300 of them did return many along with their families but not a single one adopted one of the four recommended routes. Instead they came via Nepal. State Government approached UP Government to allow it to establish a police post on Indo-Nepal border for scrutiny and transit clearance of the returning militants. UP Government declined permission. Why did not J&K Government refuse permission to the returnees for the reason of adopting a route known to have been the choice route of Kashmir militant leadership?

By allowing amnesty to militants and providing for their rehabilitation and employment, it is clear that in the eyes of the State Government there is no issue by the name of Kashmir issue.
The bitter truth not spoken to the dialogue-niks is that they want to keep imaginary Kashmir question alive as a stick to beat both India and Pakistan with. Sensible and far-sighted leadership in both the countries is realizing more and more how Kashmir leadership is trying to make a fool of both of them, and in the pretending to be the oppressed and tyrannized people deserving compassion.

Mian Nawaz Sharif, the newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan has, from the beginning of his election campaign expressed goodwill towards India and is hopeful of opening a new era in bilateral relationship. In reality, his change of mind stands reinforced by the   story of his ouster by Pervez Musharraf in the coup of 1999. The events after the ouster of Mian Sahib, and more recently the havoc wrought by home-bred jihadis within Pakistan, have made him more responsive to the disastrous game of jihadism. His desire of opening a new chapter in Indo-Pakistan relationship is covert rejection of jihadism active in his country.
In this background, Indian side is moving with caution not because it has any apprehension of Mian Sahib relapsing into chronic anti-India obsession but because Indian policy planners are worried whether Mian Sahib will succeed in reining in the Generals.

Mian Nawaz Sharif is now engaged in a grim struggle in which he wants to stabilize the fragile democratic dispensation in his country on the one hand and on the other to contain the rogue Generals within the ambit of the Constitutional frame. India’s concern stems from that scenario. Kashmir leadership of all hues must understand that to both of the two countries, there is nothing by the name of Kashmir issue. The only issue that has gripped their attention is the survival of Pakistan as a viable democratic state.

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