Thursday, Jan 20, 2022
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Kashmir

The Quiet Of Unease

Amid cautious moves and manifold misgivings, will the gap between a ceasefire and serious talks narrow?

The Quiet Of Unease
The Quiet Of Unease
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Government sources say the Hurriyat has been responding positively to contacts established with them and that there's some convergence over the biggest stumbling block to further initiatives: the militancy. Sources also say that the Hurriyat agrees that the militancy must cease for there to be any meaningful political process and leaders privately admit the responsibility for reducing militancy lies on Pakistan. For Islamabad, however, there's a catch-22 situation lurking here. As Prof Amitabh Mattoo of Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University puts it: "Pakistan is entering the point of diminishing returns. Given the extent of intensity of sentiment against violence in Kashmir, anyone seen as perpetrating violence will quickly alienate themselves from public opinion in Kashmir. If Pakistan were to continue the violence, then Kashmiri and international opinion will be tremendously hostile towards Islamabad. But if it stops the violence then Pakistan will lose the most important lever—its capacity to destabilise Kashmir."

That's precisely why Yasin Malik wants the Hurriyat to be allowed to go to Pakistan and talk to militants there. Malik feels the unilateral ceasefire should be extended even if the militants defy it. Says Malik, "600 jklf men were killed after I declared a unilateral ceasefire in 1995, but I never retreated from my position. In the same way, India should exhibit restraint even if militants strike and the ceasefire should be extended beyond the month of Ramzan." The Hurryiat leader most unhappy over the Ramzan ceasefire is the former chairman of the aphc, Syed Ali Shah Geelani. He describes the ceasefire as a conspiracy against the Kashmiri's "freedom struggle" and thinks there'll be "no outcome". Says Geelani, "It's not going to work as there have been ceasefires in 1949, 1966 and 1971. This ceasefire will meet the same fate."

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