send Sheikh to Pakistan to act as an interlocutor between the two countries. “Maybe in the process of forming new relations with Pakistan, India would have given some concessions to Kashmir,” said Taing.

In 1974, Dr Farooq Abdullah, the son of towering Sheikh Abdullah also visited Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir reportedly on the invitation of the JKLF leaders. During this visit, he had series of meetings with prominent leaders of the Liberation Front and had been influenced by Abdul Khaki Ansari, an influential leader. Dr Abdullah reportedly pledged his loyalty and friendship to Pakistan. His secret parleys with Pakistani leader, Sikender Hayat Khan, and Benazir Bhutto found prominent place in the newspapers.

But historian Taing is not willing to accept that Dr Abdullah was in Pakistan on the invitation of JKLF. “Farooq Sahab went to Pakistan but not on the invitation of JKLF. He met its leaders including Mohammad Maqbool Bhat. And yes, he was very much influenced by the JKLF leadership. As far I know and remember, Dr Abdullah also had developed some affinity of ideas with JKLF”.

Yasir Malik with his aides at a rally
Yasir Malik with his aides at a rally

Taing also refuses that Dr Abdullah signed any document of agreement with JKLF in Pakistan. “Where is that document? If anybody claims that Dr Abdullah signed anything with JKLF, he should make that public,” Taing claims.

In March 2006, much to the surprise of Kashmiri pro-freedom leadership, Dr Abdullah’s son, Omar Abdullah, had a one-on-one meeting with Pakistan’s then president, Pervez Musharaf, in Islamabad. This was the first meeting of its kind between a pro-India politician from Jammu & Kashmir and the Pakistani government after the armed resistance in Kashmir started in 1989.

On his return, Omar said that Musharraf’s proposal regarding a joint Indo-Pak management without changing the sovereignty on either side of the border as a solution to the Kashmir problem was based on logic. Omar was caught by surprise to see a warm reception organized by Muslim Conference in Pakistan, a party that was formed by the pro-Pakistan section of NC before partition when Omar’s grandfather, Sheikh Abdullah, led the National Conference.

In April 2008, PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti, also went to Pakistan for a week-long visit. After her return, she regretted that she couldn’t meet slain former Pakistan premier, Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated during a public meeting. But Mehbooba did not claim any talks with Pakistani leadership on Kashmir Issue.

Hurriyat (M) leaders went to Pakistan in 2005 through LoC crossing point, probably to legitimize a joint confidence building measure (CBM) of New Delhi and Islamabad. Later, they again visited Islamabad in 2007 apparently to support the four-point formula of Musharraf and to impress upon him to implement the formula. JKLF chairman, Mohammad Yasin Malik, was also a part of the delegation which visited Pakistan in 2005 from LoC crossing. Malik took himself the signatures of lakhs of people which JKLF had sought through a long campaign and which he claims is a referendum of the Kashmiri people in favor of independence. Malik exhibited the signatures in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

One thing is clear that from G M Sadiq and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah to Hurriyat (M), all the Kashmiri leaders who visited Pakistan surely enjoyed the clearance and understanding of New Delhi. A Kashmiri Human Rights activist and a commentator, Syed Nazir Gilani, writes about the latest Pakistan tour of Mirwaiz-led delegation.

“It is understandable that Hurriyat (M) would not have geared up in the present manner unless there is a shared clearance from Delhi and Islamabad. Even onions and potatoes are not loaded on Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bound trucks unless the concerned authorities working on the surface and other working as a subterranean force, ink their consent.”

A Kashmir University scholar, while casting serious doubts on the Hurriyat (M) leaders’ visit to Pakistan, said, “I have read and come to know that after the accession, if it was ever made – New Delhi tried and used Sheikh in normalizing the situation with Islamabad since over some years, Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat has warmed up to New Delhi and I apprehend that these Hurriyat leaders are also being used for the same task. The only difference would be that this time India wants to get rid of the Kashmir issue, once for all; and that too by the Kashmiris”.

But to the Professor Bhat, the visit of Hurriyat (M) to Pakistan has spread the message that Kashmiris are ready to talk and this is the only positive aspect of this visit. Shabnum Qayum feels that the sole aim of Hurriyat’s visit is to be a part of the dialogue process. “Hurriyat (M) leaders are hardly bothered about the agenda of the dialogue process. They only want to engage themselves and that is all”.

Srinagar-based journalist, Rashid Maqbool says Hurriyat (M) is not in a position to yield any results from its Pakistan visit because the amalgam is itself divided within about the visit. “A senior executive member said Hurriyat faction says that he was not consulted, rather not even informed properly, about the Pakistan visit which puts a serious question mark on the whole visit, not to mention Geelani who is a strong voice. The moderate camp is itself divided on the agenda and the significance of Pakistan to Kashmir issue. It seems highly unlikely that the visit could yield any results.”

Late Sheikh Abdul Aziz also had a chance to visit Islamabad in 2000 after he was released from a long imprisonment. A well known pro-Pakistan voice in Kashmir, Aziz was arrested in 1992. Though he had to attend a marriage ceremony of his relative in Pakistan but he met almost every Pakistani politician and discussed Kashmir. Sheikh Aziz kissed the soil of Pakistan after disembarking from the PIA flight, exhibiting his pro-Pakistan stand which annoyed India to an extent that on his return to Kashmir, he was again put behind the bars. Sheikh Aziz was killed in a firing incident at Chehell Uri in 2008, while leading ‘Muzaffarabad Challo’ march along with Shabir Shah of DFP and Pir Saifullah of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.


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