Dialogue of peace alone won’t do !


In a recent media interaction former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah  considers the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)  “a part of Pakistan”.   He drags former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s name to argue his case better. He says (http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pok-part-of-pakistan-farooq/article7924979.ece):  “The PoK is in Pakistan and will remain so. Jammu and Kashmir is in India and will remain so…. Even [the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari] Vajpayee wanted to have a dialogue with Pakistan and give that part to it.. ” 

Abdullah says (http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pok-will-remain-with-pakistan-jk-will-remain-with-india-farooq-abdullah/) that Prime Minister  Vajpayee, during his Lahore visit, had offered the division of Kashmir. He  quotes Vajpayee as saying him , “I had told them to keep that part of Kashmir and we will keep this part for resolution of the matter. We will correct the line (LoC) and this will ease travel and trade between people on both sides.”

I wonder what makes Abdullah propose accepting PoK as part of Pakistan .  His father Sheikh Abdullah had played a great role in the accession of the former British Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir to India in 1947. Like his father , he has always stood by India. He has been known for his  love for the age-old  syncretistic tradition of Kashmir. He has always defended it. 

It may be recalled that at the launch of a famous book on the Valley  in January 2011  then Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy  Abdullah said the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley was the darkest chapter in the history of Jammu & Kashmir.  He said: “An entire generation of Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits have grown up without knowing each other. There are youngsters who do not know what Kashmiri Pandits are like, what their habits are; they have seen empty temples, they don't know what was recited in the temples. For them the Pandits are aliens.”

Abdullah said : “Pandits and Muslims have always shared cordial relations and the recent acrimony is unfortunate. During the riots in 1947, Pandits and Muslims stood together against the invaders, challenging them with spades and wooden weapons. They protected each other. What happened in the years between 1947 and 1990? Why did the Muslims not stand up and say that we will protect you to the Pandits? We need to study that…. The wave that came from the neighbour gradually grew into hatred.”  

In his new proposal there is little consideration for the composite tradition of the Kashmiris living in the PoK. The whole world knows the  inhabitant of the PoK have long remained deprived of freedoms under Pakistan  . 

Also, it is hard to believe Prime Minister Vajpayee could ever have thought of surrendering the PoK to Pakistan   . None in the country is above India’s Constitution .  The Constitution applies to  every part of India, including what (PoK) Pakistan has wrested from India .  In the light of this our Parliament has long passed a resolution calling for the retrieval of the PoK to India. This resolution has to be honoured .

Abdullah says (http://www.livemint.com/Politics/Fn0oxPvJkDBSRkSv2xwzXO/Dialogue-only-route-to-resolution-of-Kashmir-problem-Farooq.html) :  "The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution (to the Kashmir issue)…Ever since I came into politics, I have always said that this state (PoK and J-K) can never become one. Neither do we have the power to take back their part (PoK) nor have they (Pakistan) the power to take our part; we are a nuclear power and they, too, are….. How much can the army defend us; even if the entire army of India came to our rescue, they cannot defend us against terrorists or militants. . … They say there is a resolution in Parliament; but tell me what the Parliament has done so far to reclaim that part. You passed the resolution, tell me how many resolutions are there in United Nations regarding Kashmir; have any of those been implemented ?"

Does Abdullah think it would be all peace after India recognized Pakistan’s sovereignty over the PoK ? He says (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/all-of-indias-forces-cant-defend-against-terrorists-farooq-abdullah/articleshow/49961173.cms) :“ The day problems between India and Pakistan are resolved, Pakistan army will lose its significance….When I tried to do it  ( rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits), the very same day two massacres took place in Ganderbal and Budgam in which innocent and unarmed Kashmiri Pandits were killed.  "


I am afraid the pattern of  behavior across the Pakistani political spectrum does not seem to back Abdullah’s optimistic anticipation. In Pakistan politicians of all hues have had a fanatical agenda against India in their struggle for power . New Delhi’s  traditional path of  dialogue of peace alone with Islamabad  has had little meaning in this environment  . A de facto control  that Islamabad has come to exercise over the PoK has emboldened them ( Pakistani politicians ) to indulge in the game of hatred and terrorism  against other parts of India.  If New Delhi gave Islamabad de jure legitimacy as well over the PoK, It would not but fuel their designs further.