Sleeping With the Enemy

Arshid Malik

I am not a political analyst, but I have my view about politics and when it comes to Kashmir I figure I have the right to voice my opinions no matter how inane and improper they may sound. Also while being a Kashmiri – at least that is what I personally believe – I have the right to expression since we are under the rule of a democratic government howsoever much we may argue against it. Further If I do not say what I believe even though I may be eventuated upon as being contemporarily contained, I believe I am not alive.

Anyways, my point of interest here is what I believe to be the greatest political flick in the recent history of Jammu and Kashmir. What happened is that I started shooting blanks while invoking some thought into the matter concerning the alliance of the local People’s Democratic Party and the Bhartiya Janata Party, the latter counting among one of the most hated political parties by Muslim dominated Kashmir, till I reached a point of consonance where the derivate empathized with the current conditions in Jammu and Kashmir, which – my take is – have gone from bad to worse in the past decade or so. It was a strange alliance and there was a lot of uproar among the local people pertaining to this alliance. For some time it appeared that if the PDP enters into alliance with the BJP which is the ruling party in India – even though it lost “miserably” in the national capital of India, Delhi, things would “so very wrong” while others were ready to resist the settling down of the alliance once made. The previous ruling political parties like the National Conference and Congress spit fire against the PDP for joining hands with what it called a “fascist force” to the extent that the previous Chief Minister whose party lost the elections last year with some 15 seats, wrote to the Governor that his party was willing to “unconditionally support” the PDP, its arch rival, and form the government in Jammu and Kashmir which never actually percolated to the depths of actuality for the chief patron of the PDP, Mufti Mohammad Syeed, was out there thinking ahead of the “game”.

PDP eventually “slept” with the so-called “enemy”, the BJP and the stalemate in Jammu and Kashmir ended while ending the stint of Governor’s rule in the state, which by all means signifies significant instability. Now did the PDP really enter into alliance with the “perceived enemy” for its personal gains for that is what the picture was being painted like immediately after the alliance? Had Mufti Mohammad Syeed struck some “self-indulgent power deal” with the BJP while ignoring the “general sentiment of reluctance” of the Kashmiri people and had this wise politician really score it this time?

When I apply my thoughts to what has been happening in Kashmir and what is happening right now, I come to believe that Mufti Mohammad Syed, the chief patron of the PDP took the right decision at the right time. He let issues boil on the burner for a “contemptible” period of time perhaps in order to agitate the BJP leadership into some sort of compromise over Kashmir. When I speak of compromise I am not talking about the Common Minimum Program of the PDP-BJP alliance government but something that is going to have very widespread effects on the future of Jammu and Kashmir. After all Mufti Mohammad Syed entered into alliance with a political party which is the ruling elite of India at present and for a handful of years to come and a handful of years is enough time to recreate chapters in history or write new chapters into the future of a state torn by strife, political uncertainty and unrest. In the least what happened first was that the Governor’s rule ended in Jammu and Kashmir which meant stability and then the government led by Mufti Mohammad Syed set in place. Howsoever we might hate this alliance but I figure it is a very stable alliance and that is something of which Kashmir and its people have not had the taste of for a few decades now. Even if the stability is ethereal – of which I am sure it is not – but it is satisfying.

By entering into alliance with the ruling political party of India Mufti Mohammad Syed made sure that he had the ball in BJP’s court without even playing it. By supporting BJP and aiding it into entering into Kashmir PDP patrons knew what they were playing for. Ever since the government has settled down it has been raising issues which the previous regime would rarely think of taking up with the Center and then staying put on it. That is what the Mufti led local political party from Kashmir has been doing. It has been demanding all along, be its transfer of power projects or immediate relief and rescue steps for the imploding water levels in Kashmir. The Center has not been able to say to Mufti till date even though they may categorically say “no” to something, what counts is that the local part of the ruling coalition is not shelving its demands. For starters, Mufti started talking “Hurriyat” – a point which I have deliberated upon elsewhere – which effectively went against the very constituent fabric of India’s political obstinacies towards Kashmir.

The present Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the chief patron of the PDP (who has served as the Union Home Minister in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee) made some aggressive demands while out rightly implementing certain agendas – which if reports are to be believed were not taken after consulting the alliance partners in this case, which set the BJP leadership’s fuse on fire but they somehow brushed the issues under the carpet under this or that pretext. This, for a lay man like me who does not make much of politics, indicates that the PDP had some cake and ate it too.

Mufti Mohammad Syed has made the most politically mature move in the recent political history of Jammu and Kashmir by alliancing with the BJP and times itself shall speak up for his astute and farsighted political wisdom.

I believe a better Kashmir is not far away.

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The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Kashmir Life’s editorial policy.

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