With a crisis-ridden Hurriyat (M) slated to visit Pakistan on Dec 17, Syed Ali Geelani tells Tasavur Mushtaq that his Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party won’t accept any solution which is antagonistic to the issue of right to self determination.
KL: Separatist leaders have been invited by Pakistan to meet their leadership. Hurriyat (M) is all set to visit Pakistan again. You are indifferent to visit. Are you aware of the agenda?
SAG: My dear, let me correct you first. We are not separatists. We are against the occupation. We are freedom fighters. We want freedom from India’s occupation. J&K is not a genuine part of India; it is the part which has been occupied by aggression on the basis of their might. UN doesn’t accept the claim that J&K is part of India. There are unfulfilled commitments made by India. In 2010, Mr Chidambaram said Kashmir problem was a tale of ‘broken promises’, suggesting that all the promises made were not fulfilled. India must fulfil those commitments made to us at national and international levels. The people who seek freedom or ask for right to self determination can’t be termed as separatists but as freedom fighters. We are fighting a war for freedom.
KL: So what do you expect from Hurriyat’s visit to Pakistan?
SAG: Pakistan has always been kind to us. They have fought three wars over Kashmir issue. The youth of Pakistan and soldiers of Pakistan always stood for us. Pakistan helps us at moral, political and at diplomatic front. Kashmir issue can never be solved by ignoring Pakistan as a party to the issue. To get invitation from Pakistan is no surprise.
However, Pakistan has not snatched our freedom. They support our struggle to seek freedom. They support our right to self determination. Our freedom is snatched by India on the basis of its might. We have to take support from Pakistan which they do publicly. It is fine to visit Pakistan for fun and entertainment. Who would not like to meet people there and enjoy? But it is to be seen that the leadership involved in freedom struggle should understand what to get out of the visit. First we have to see this.
At this stage, when there are elections in 2013 in Pakistan, and the PPP government has its last days in power, what would happen after elections, no one knows. To us, what is right is that after 2013 elections, if the government in power invites us, then we could think about visiting the country. To me, the visit is of no significance as far as Kashmir cause is concerned.
KL: Is it not possible that Hurriyat (M) has arrived at some consensus with the leadership of Pakistan to reach at some conclusion as a way forward? What is the harm in visiting Pakistan?
SAG: There is no problem in visiting Pakistan ever. It is enough for us that if Pakistan supports us at moral, intellectual and diplomatic fronts and they raise Kashmir issue and highlight the occupation of India in Kashmir in various forums. We have to see the situation on ground. We are barred to meet people. We are unable to spread our message. Jammu has been made alien to us. We are not allowed to go there. Their plan is to slice Jammu from the state. There are elements in military, police and administration exerting so much pressure on Muslims in Jammu that they are not able to open their mouth. To talk about Azaadi and Islam is not possible for them. There are so many forces in place which we cannot even imagine. Muslim population is being taken away from Islam and they are being Indianised. Educational institutions are being used to Indianised. Alcohol and drugs are made available easily. Immorality is being promoted. We should connect with people to struggle both mentally and physically for what is our destination and aim. As far as I am concerned, I even got a call from Babar Amin Sahib yesterday, but I told him that I don’t have passport. People who have wings can fly. I don’t have. How I can?
KL: A perception is that Islamabad and New Delhi have reached to some “conclusion” vis-?-vis Kashmir. If not a “conclusion”, they want a step forward and for that Pakistan wants to take separatists in confidence. Have you got any such information?
SAG: No, I don’t have any such information about which we can talk as a matter of fact. But to tell you, we have explained our policy. We were invited on phone. We could not talk in detail and know their agenda. It is possible that in Delhi they come to meet and we can talk about the agenda.
What you are saying is only an imagination. There is no certainty. It could be there or it can’t be. But our policy is clear; we won’t accept any solution which is antagonistic to the basic issue of right to self determination. Whether it is status quo, four point formula, internal autonomy, soft borders, whatever it is, we won’t accept anything unless it is acceptable to the people, Insha Allah.