At Thimphu, India and Pakistan once again decided to return to the table like responsible states should. The scheduled resumption of ‘substantial dialogue’ at ministerial level in Islamabad in the month of July has injected a fresh lease of hope in South-Asian polity.
Speaking at the inaugural session of Indo-Pak Business Meet under the aegis of ‘Aman Ki Asha’, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherji, the most influential official voice, emphasized that peace and harmony between the two nations is “not a distant dream”, that it is time for the two neighbours “to step out of the old into new”. (ToI, May 20)
Many influential voices from India and Pakistan have strongly advocated a sustained bilateral engagement with each other, citing various reasons.
Chinmaya R Gharekhan, who is a former diplomat, last month, commented in The Hindu: We ought not to be concerned if the conversation, at times, gets frosty or even contentious. Only such a dialogue would serve to create a better understanding between the two peoples. (April 14)
Sherry Rehman, member of the National Security Committee in Pakistan’s parliament, wrote in leading English daily ToI: The region is hot with international game-players looking for strategic gains. If we don’t walk the talk soon, we may have more camels in the tent than we bargained for. (May 17)
Recent media outpourings in both the countries suggest that India’s clamoring on ‘terror’ and Pakistan’s raised pitch on ‘water’ has pushed Kashmir, a bit, further down the real bilateral charter.
But as both the issues owe their political origins to Kashmir dispute, so Kashmir must be the ground zero for any credible movement, rather than motions, on any of the two major issues.
One cannot say for sure about the contents of upcoming July-dialogue but atmospherics are certainly being worked on diligently.
Amid all this diplomatic warm-up between India and Pakistan, Hurriyat faction led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq has been ‘loudly’ allowed to hold a rally in Eidgah Srinagar. So, he must remain hyper-vigilant of the subtle divisive moves of the state to make his credibility ‘vulnerable’ among his own people.
He is being projected as “emerging as the Kashmiri face at global stage”. (HT, May 20)
On the other hand, Syed Ali Geelani is in no mood to dismount from his rhetorical swells, relevant to Wilsonian times though, aimed at ‘moral conscience’ of the world. His skepticism of New Delhi’s moves is grounded well in history but his opposition to any “imposed solution from both India and Pakistan” is indicative of his steady movement towards independent political stance.
Arun Joshi quoted Mirwaiz in HT saying, “…Now I can read people and understand things better”.
But times are more demanding. He must articulate and argue the people’s case better than what he has been doing in the past. He can even capitalize on Geelani’s defiance to seek a better settlement that befits the existential stakes of majority population of J&K from both the states.
Moving wisely, Mirwaiz must anchor the autonomy of his argument in the institutions of accountability towards his own people for a confident if not smooth political sail ahead.
Otherwise, Aman Ki Asha can conveniently drown the genuine and just Asha of J&K people.