Omar Farooq, who is also known as Mirwaiz, is in Pakistan to talk about his latest epiphany. People think that he is the chief priest of Kashmir. That is not true. I am surprised that people call him the chief priest of Kashmir, for there does not exist such a title in Kashmir. Omar Farooq is a priest or a mullah in Srinagar and again, not the Grand Mullah of Kashmir. I am going to call him Mirwaiz in this post. I don’t believe that this title of Mirwaiz amounts to anything substantive, but since he markets himself as Mirwaiz I am compelled to call him that. Mirwaiz has now realised that Kashmir (I am referring to the Indian Kashmir as Kashmir throughout this post) should stay under the sovereignty of India and that the armed struggle in Kashmir, which he supported for sixteen long years, is not going to achieve anything for him. Musharraf, on the other hand, has buried the argument which suggests that Pakistan has a historical claim over Kashmir and hence is willing to concede on the vexed question of Kashmir. Indians like this solution because they are on the winning side and have to make no concessions. Mirwaiz is doing this for his own benefit and so is Musharraf. But what about the Kashmiri people then?
Now: why is Pakistan washing its hands off Kashmir? Pakistan wants to distance itself from the armed struggle in Indian Kashmir, for many outfits running the militancy in Kashmir are viewed as terrorists in many a G-8 capitals and Pakistan, as Musharraf has repeatedly assured the entire world, does not support terrorism in any part of Kashmir. As a Kashmiri from the Indian side I don’t personally believe in militancy and have always felt that the problem of Kashmir is solvable because it is possible to devise a peace treaty which will find agreement in India, Pakistan and Kashmir. But that will require political will in India and Pakistan. Both countries have to allow the people of Kashmir to decide what they want and not allow minnows and corruptible figures such as Mirwaiz to decide on behalf of the entire populace of Kashmir.
This recent peace treaty can work but for that the people of Kashmir have to know what this treaty means and then give their mandate for this treaty. Mirwaiz does not believe that the people of Kashmir are important and hence their view does not matter for him, otherwise he and his cabal would have devised a method to know their opinion. For a long time Mr. Mirwaiz supported militancy in Kashmir and cried incessantly about the human rights abuses in Kashmir and condemned the: cruel, torturous and colonial minded Indians. But now he thinks that Kashmir cannot become part of Pakistan and hence to cut his losses he wants to accept a solution that will bring him to power within the Indian constitutional setup. This solution is quite simple. Pakistan accepts that it has no right over the territory of Kashmir; and that India can enjoy complete sovereignty over it; and that the Line of Control will become the permanent border between the two countries. Mirwaiz will, as a result, transform himself from the militancy-supporting-mullah to a mullah who sounds and acts like Dalai Lama. If this peace is imposed on people, Mirwaiz will travel the world singing praises of Indian and Pakistani leadership and probably receive a Nobel Prize for engineering peace in Kashmir. Probably Indian and Pakistani leadership might even share that peace prize bounty with Mirwaiz.
Why does Mirwaiz think this solution is the best solution? Mirwaiz wants to taste power in any shape or form. Hence he is ready to accept any offer of peace. That is, Mirwaiz thinks he is fit and knowledgeable enough to make a decision on behalf of the entire population of Kashmir. Mirwaiz is simply a con artist or a political operative of the worst kind. His family’s main political agenda in Kashmir was to merge Kashmir with Pakistan. I don’t believe that dynasties should rule any part of the world. He calls himself Mirwaiz but what does that mean? What is the title of Mirwaiz indicative of? His constituency is limited to few neighbourhoods in old Srinagar city. Hence it is absurd to call him the leader of Kashmiri people.
He is in Pakistan because Pakistan’s General and President Pervez Musharraf wants to create history by ending the problem of Kashmir. His counterparts in India love this deal because that means they don’t have to sacrifice anything. And Mirwaiz makes a good bedfellow because he will get to rule with the pretext that there is no other solution to this wretched historical problem of Kashmir. However, these following questions are more relevant now than at any other time: who has entrusted Mirwaiz to go and speak for all Kashmiris? Does Mirwaiz have the mandate of the Kashmiri people to go around the world and impose this so-called peace on Kashmiri masses? Why doesn’t he clearly tell Kashmiri people what this treaty will entail? Mirwaiz now says that history does not matter. What does that mean? I guess since he thinks he will benefit from forgetting history hence it is apt for all of us, who are from the Indian controlled Kashmir, to forget history as well.
I think people of Kashmir should be given a chance to give their opinion on this critical issue and then only should the drums roll in the Indian and Pakistani capitals. The people of Kashmir are not happy with Mr. Mirwaiz’s stance. His visit to Pakistan and support for this latest peace offer from the Pakistani President has not found acceptance in the Indian side of Kashmir. In opposition to him and his stance the entire Kashmir protested by staying shut and it is clear what that means.
Pakistani leadership has always used Kashmir as a political stunt. Kashmir has never been important for Pakistan but is used as a political tool to gain votes during elections. Unfortunately: Kashmiri people in the Indian side have been used by the Pakistani leadership and on the contrary, Indians have humiliated, tortured and subjugated Kashmiris in Kashmir and in the rest of India.
Again, the problem of Kashmir is not an easy dispute. However, the leadership of Kashmir that is being propagated by the Government of India and Pakistan has no mandate from the people and hence their decision to agree with the latest peace proposal from Pakistan does not amount to anything. They are a bunch of power hungry politicians and opportunists who can go to any length to gain power. Mirwaiz is nobody to speak for the entire population of Indian Kashmir. It is a disgrace that Kashmiri people are being silenced; and their omission from any peace treaty involving them is not going to end the problem of Kashmir.