Spies and bribes

Print edition : November 29, 2013

Sheikh Abdullah coming out of the Jammu Jail in April 1964. He had been interned in this jail for eight years. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The open session of the National Conference in Srinagar on September 24, 1949. Jawaharlal Nehru, Sheikh Abdullah, Sardar Baldev Singh, N.V. Gadgil and other participants are seated on the dais. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

G.M. Sadiq, who was Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir through most of the 1960s. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of the hard-line faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, addressing a public meeting at Sopore near Srinagar on November 1. This was the first public rally he was allowed to hold in the valley in one year. Photo: NISSAR AHMAD

It requires an honest intellectual effort to grasp three stern realities. India will never agree to plebiscite or secession. Pakistan will never accept the LoC as an international border. Kashmiris will never acquiesce in the partition of the State or denial of azadi, democracy and human rights.

GOVERNMENTS are run by a wide array of functionaries, each with a clear remit—Ministers, civil servants, diplomats, members of the armed forces, and spies. The problem arises when the head of one branch encroaches on another’s territory and begins to run the show with a personal agenda of his own. Policy must be made by the political leadership on the basis of inputs from relevant specialists. But the latter cannot be allowed to make policy. In 1987, the Army chief brought India to the brink of war with Pakistan. Fortunately, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi put his foot down in time. A spy chief acts more insidiously. He has dossiers on the political opponents of the Prime Minister, within and outside the government. He acts in secret. His usurpation of policymaking is not so apparent, but it is no less dangerous for that.

In Kashmir, the chief of the Centre’s spies was allowed to roam freely from the very outset in 1947. He began to doctor information with a view to shaping the government’s policy. Before long, he was joined in the game of dirty tricks by senior members of the armed forces. The capers which Gen. (Retd) V.K. Singh cut have been documented on the basis of reportage by correspondents of repute in responsible journals. His predecessors’ equally despicable role is laid bare in documents of unimpeachable authority.

The first in the sport was a policeman, B.N. Mullik, who joined the Intelligence Bureau (I.B.) as Deputy Director in charge of Internal Affairs, which included Kashmir. He became its Director in July 1950, when “the Prime Minister instructed me to pay personal attention to Kashmir” ( My Years with Nehru, Kashmir, page18). Military Intelligence properly kept a watch on Pakistan. The I.B. spied on Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, the Prime Minister of Kashmir. Nehru had three other informants—Karan Singh, D.P. Dhar and the Sheikh’s Deputy, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad. Mullik soon developed a personal agenda to “ruin” the Sheikh.

Y.D. Gundevia, former Foreigh Secretary, wrote of Mullik in withering terms: “But what was the Intelligence Chief’s objective? Mullik freely admits that after the Sheikh’s arrest the aim was to see him and his associates ‘ruined forever’.… The game began, it would seem, with an unobtrusive junior intelligence officer being posted in Kashmir, nominally to watch out for Pakistan’s activities in the State but actually to spy on Sheikh Abdullah” (“A Monograph on Sheikh Adbullah” by Y.D. Gundevia, Testament of Sheikh Abdullah; pages 109 and 111).

Prem Nah Bazaz, a former colleague of Abdullah’s who became his critic, levelled the same charge. “Mullik set his subordinates to watch and report on the activities of Sheikh Abdullah as if he was a shady character and enemy of the Indian nation. Coming to know of it, Sheikh Adbullah characteristically flared up and demanded the withdrawal of the I.B. officer stationed in Srinagar. Despite Mullik’s protests Nehru, in no mood to offend Sheikh at that time, promptly ordered the officer’s removal.

“Though crestfallen, Mullik was not the man to relent or own defeat. Doggedly, he pursued the course he had chalked [out] for himself and the I.B., with the result that a similar situation arose in October 1952 when the Kashmir Constituent Assembly was engaged in producing a Constitution and the Delhi Agreement was on the anvil. Reports about developments in Kashmir politics, unfavourable to the Sheikh, were sent to the Union Government. This time the Sheikh’s demand to remove two subordinate officers of the I.B. was turned down and he had to eat the humble pie” (“New Light on Kashmir”, Indian Express, October 28, 1971). A full English translation of Sheikh Abdullah’s autobiography was published for the first time in September ( The Blazing Chinar, Gulshan Books, Srinagar).

He writes: “A top official of the Central Intelligence Bureau, Hasan Waliya, sent successively reports against me and my administration. We ordered him out of the State. He was given twenty-four hours to comply. The Sardar was Minister for Home Affairs and the Intelligence Bureau fell within his purview. He did not like our action. There was a great stir in the corridors of power in Delhi. To sort out the matter, Jawaharlal called me to Delhi. I went accompanied by Bakshi and Beg. The meeting was held in Patel’s house, which was attended by Jawaharlal, Azad and N. Gopalaswami Iyengar. I explained the reason for my action. Thereupon, the Sardar said, ‘I have often told Jawaharlal that the gamble we played in regard to Kashmir has been lost by us. We should quit it’.…

“I said, ‘We have no wish to snap our ties. However, if the Sardar does not like the relationship, what can we do? According to the Instrument of accession, the Centre cannot set up intelligence bureaus in Kashmir, we allowed them to function there by way of courtesy. But we would not like the department to become a stumbling block between the State and the Central government. So, if you want to let Hasan Waliya resume his work, we will have no objection. But he should be asked not to repeat the mistake of misrepresenting us to the Centre.’ One can have a sense of Sardar Patel’s animus against me by the book titled my Years with Nehru by B.N. Mullik, who eventually became Director of the Central Intelligence Bureau. The Sardar had poisoned his ears against me. So he started dispatching to the Centre concocted stories me, which filled Jawaharlal’s heart with prejudice against me” (pages 247-8).

Mullik’s book fully supports this: “Sheikh Abdullah, of course, suspected that all these reports were going to the Prime Minister from the I.B., and this time, instead of asking for the withdrawal of the Assistant Director, which demand, he rightly apprehended, might be resisted, he asked for the transfer of two of his immediate subordinates, hoping that thereby he would be able to restrain their boss sufficiently…. I had a long discussion with the Prime Minister about this and he agreed that our officers were not at fault and that the Sheikh was behaving in an unreasonable way. But his point was that we were in Kashmir because of the Sheikh and if the latter resiled, India’s position would be difficult. The situation being so delicate, it might be necessary to yield on small matters so as not to affect the bigger issues. So he advised me to go to Srinagar, talk to the Kashmiri leaders and settle the issue across the table.… I also stressed that the Government of India had once withdrawn an officer on demand by Sheikh Abdullah, but this process could not be repeated every time a demand was made” (pages 26-7). (Emphasis added, throughout.)

Earlier, in 1949, Abdullah’s published interviews to two foreign correspondents had Mullik asking for his blood. I.B. officials in Srinagar were asked to report. “The Sheikh had come to know about our report. He promptly demanded the withdrawal of our officer from Kashmir and threatened that, if this was not done, he would be put under detention. When we were asked to withdraw this officer, we protested and I met Gopalaswami Iyengar in that connection…. Gopalaswami Iyengar agreed in principle with my arguments, but said that Kashmir was a delicate case and we should realise that without Sheikh Abdullah’s support it would be difficult for us to stay and work in Kashmir. So, the Government of India, he felt, had to give in on small matters so long as the Sheikh stood by accession to India. He suggested that this particular officer, to whom the Sheikh had apparently taken a dislike, should be withdrawn and we should send in his place a more senior officer who would be able not only to meet the Sheikh and other Kashmiri leaders officially but also socially. We should also take this opportunity to strengthen our organisation in Kashmir. It was unlikely that the Sheikh, having once gained his point by getting a Central officer withdrawn, would raise such a demand again, and it was also likely that the new officer, instead of being handicapped in his work by the Sheikh’s hostility, might find himself in a much stronger position” (pages 9-10).

Mullik was no professional but a pliable politician. He was close to Nehru, who ran Kashmir’s policy. But the I.B. fell under the Home Ministry headed by Vallabhbhai Patel. Mullik deftly switched sides. He had submitted a detailed report favourable to Sheikh Abdullah on his return from a tour of Kashmir. “The Prime Minister had considered the report to be an impartial assessment of the situation in Kashmir, and had forwarded copies thereof to all the Indian embassies abroad and also the Indian Representative at the U.N. to give them a proper perspective about Kashmir.

“Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was unhappy. This report of mine apparently went against the views which he had held about Kashmir in general and Sheikh Abdullah in particular. He suspected that the Sheikh was not genuine and was misleading Pandit Nehru and was not happy that the report should have been given such wide circulation. A few days after I had sent the report, the Home Secretary informed me that the Sardar did not agree with my assessment and had taken exception to the fact that I had submitted this report without first consulting him.…

“I got a summons to see the Sardar the next day. He was not well and was seated on his bed. He looked at me quietly for some time. Then he asked me whether I had written the report, a copy of which was in his hands. I replied in the affirmative. He asked me why I had sent a copy of this to Jawaharlal without consulting him.… The Sardar then said that he did not agree with my assessment of the situation in Kashmir in general and of Sheikh Abdullah in particular. … The Sardar then gave me his own views about Sheikh Abdullah. He apprehended that Sheikh Abdullah would ultimately let down India…”.

Mullik was “soon afterwards promoted as the Director by the Sardar over the heads of nearly thirty of [his] seniors in the cadre”. Mullik writes: “That day I came back to my office wondering whether I had really made a mistake in my assessment of Kashmir and whether what the Sardar had said was not right after all” (pages 14-16).

No professional would have felt thus. Mullik’s report contained the facts he had gathered from a long tour. Patel’s assessments were opinions based on a hunch and his prejudices, of which Mullik could not have been unaware. He got the coveted promotion. Later, he found that Nehru was very willing to hear stories against the Sheikh. Mullik had arrived. He acquired a high position in the darbar and went on to wreak havoc on India’s policy towards China at a very delicate and formative stage.

No foreign correspondent based in New Delhi enjoyed better access to sources, wrote more felicitously, or worked harder than Neville Maxwell. Gross excesses in his book India’s China War should not blind a serious student to some fine insights and close analyses, based, of course, on his perusal of the Henderson Brooks Report (1963), which is denied to the public even now, 50 years later.

Mullik’s role

Maxwell’s comments on the I.B. and Mullik bear quotation in extenso: “The decline of military intelligence (M.I.) in India could be traced back to the last days of the British. There had been no Indians in M.I., so after 1947 all its personnel were new to the work. Furthermore, its role was diminished in favour of the civilian Intelligence Bureau (I.B.), staffed by police officers. This I.B. grew in influence and importance, while M.I. languished, its senior staff posts tending to become sinecures or stepping stones. Under its director at this time, B.N. Mullik, the Intelligence Bureau had, as has been seen, become an important voice in the innermost counsels of the government; at bottom this influence derived from Mullik’s standing with Nehru. Access to and the confidence of the Prime Minister were the prerequisite of influence in the government in those days, and Mullik enjoyed them to the full. A former police officer, Mullik was articulate and astute; his stewardship of dossiers on many of Nehru’s colleagues and opponents and the importance of intelligence in domestic Indian politics would also have brought him close to the Prime Minister.

“Reliance upon Mullik’s advice in some areas of domestic politics had grown by the 1960s into a willingness to accept almost as fact his predictions about Chinese behaviour.… Mullik plainly relied on extrasensory perceptions rather than on the regular disciplines of intelligence collection and assessment, and no doubt part of the explanation for the inordinate and indeed irrational trust placed in his predictions is that he was telling Nehru and his colleagues exactly what they wanted to hear” (pages 335-6).

Maxwell adds: “The natural habit of intelligence operatives is behind the arras, and their accounts of their government’s policies and actions, while usually laudatory, often also show their principals in a seamy light. Mullik’s long account of his ‘years with Nehru’ certainly falls within this pattern, and the Nehru who emerges, although—and because—so venerated by Mullik, is further shrunken. Mullik is bent on depicting a Nehru who, far from being of sanguine and idealistic disposition in his thinking about foreign policy, was in fact a very Bismarck of realpolitik. But of course what one man praises as the tactics of realpolitik another may see as mere deviousness, or even hypocrisy, and it is not easy for the outsider to find anything admirable in the sustained contradiction between what Nehru so prolixly used to say and what, in Mullik’s account, he actually thought and did.…

“But, even allowing for the distortions of focus inherent in autobiography, it seems that if anything Mullik’s role in the formulation and implementation of his government’s policy towards China was more substantial than has appeared to this point. Again, the image of the court is inescapable in a reading of Mullik, and it appears that the monarch’s failing was that he all too often made those whose real capacities fitted them for the cap and bells into his dukes and captains” (pages 496-7).

Nothing aroused Indian emotions more than the Kongka Pass incident on October 21, 1959. Maxwell proves that it was staged by Mullik “with the approval of the Prime Minister” of Kashmir, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad.

Toppling governments

There is irrefutable evidence of the abuse of the armed forces and the intelligence agencies to topple two State governments in Kashmir, in 1953 and 1984. As early as on July 10, 1953, Nehru sought the services of Major General Hiralal Atal, who revealed the details of the operation in his memoirs, Nehru’s Emissary to Kashmir (1972). He was Director of Personnel Services in October 1947, when Nehru personally selected him for an assignment in Kashmir. About the middle of July 1953, he was summoned by Nehru. He was then commander of 21 Communication zone, now known as XV Corps. He was asked “to be of all assistance that you can to the Government of the State”. He could not have meant the Abdullah government.

Atal organised a “tactical exercise” for the troops of all arms to be brought to Srinagar. Sheikh Abdullah was of course under close surveillance. A staff officer of the Adjutant General’s Branch came to see Atal and met Karan Singh, the head of state, often in mufti: “I was most curious to know how he, as Director of Organisation, could have been selected by Army Headquarters for an assignment which militarily was not within his sphere. My suspicions about the motive of his visit to Srinagar were aroused on two counts. First, he mentioned that he was carrying with him a largish sum of money, and secondly his surprisingly secretive behaviour particularly when he normally confided in me to a great extent. I was left with the impression that he had been sent by a responsible political personage and that his mission was political and not military” (ibid., page 164).

Personnel of the armed forces should not be used for such shady jobs. The political personage could only have been someone who could give such orders—Prime Minister Nehru. It was a feudal political culture. Atal had been visiting Bakshi (ibid., page 165), apparently without Abdullah’s knowledge and “discussed the political situation” with him and others.

Nehru also availed himself of the services of another favourite in the Army, B.M. Kaul, who was officiating as Adjutant General. In late July 1953, he said that Nehru “called me in my private capacity” (Kaul, The Untold Story, 1967, page 140). Kaul took 10 days’ leave from the Army chief and went to Srinagar “without an official status” and stayed with Atal. The Sheikh was sacked from office as Premier on August 9, 1953, and jailed for 11 years.

“With the Sheikh out of the way, it became easier for the Central Intelligence to work with Bakshi Ghulam Mohd as the Prime Minister and D.P. Dhar as the Home Minister. The old suspicions had disappeared,” Mullik wrote.

‘Bullets’ for defection

B.K. Nehru, the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, had a poor opinion of Farooq Abdullah, both as a man and as Chief Minister. But he opposed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s decision to sack him in 1984 by arranging defections in the time-tested manner. His account verges on the hilarious. “The inducements for defecting had then to be substantial. The standard rate was two lakh rupees in cash and a ministership; this latter would, of course, provide the defector with substantially larger cash return even though his career in office might be short. The funds were provided by my friend Tirath Ram Amla, a staunch and tried Congress worker, and were supplied to him in cash from Congress Party money in Delhi, transported in the mail pouches of the Intelligence Bureau. The use of official machinery for party purposes had by then become so commonplace that it did not call for any eyebrows to be even slightly raised. The channel for transferring the funds from Paymaster General Tirath Ram to the recipients was uniquely Gul Shah. Tirath Ram used to complain of Gul Shah’s perpetual demand for more ‘bullets’; he always needed more than had been given. When the term bullet was used for the first time I did not understand.…

“When I say that the amount of money used was substantial, I use the adjective in relation to the relatively modest demands of the politicians of the State and to the rates for the purchase of votes then prevalent in India. As is well known, in the years since the events related in my story this rate has far outstripped the rate of inflation.

“Whenever I came to Delhi, I called on the President [Zail Singh] also and gave him my reading of the situation in Kashmir. This he used to appreciate greatly because, as he said himself, it balanced the view on Kashmir with that given to him by continuous delegations from the Congress party trying to convince him to dismiss the State government because of the iniquities of Farooq. When I mentioned the purchase and sale operation going on, he said, ‘ To kee gal hoi, lukh lukh rupaiya de do, kaam ban gaya’ (So what? Give them a lakh of rupees each and the work is done). I said a lakh of rupees was no longer enough; he said rather disgustedly, ‘ Aaho, e Bhajan Lal ne rate kharab kar dittae’ (Yes, that Bhajan Lal has spoilt the rate)” ( Nice Guys Finish Second, pages 627-8). In this case the Army was spared. The I.B. helped. It had helped also when Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad moved a motion of no-confidence against Chief Minister G.M. Sadiq, a Central appointee, in September 1964. It was certain to succeed, given the Bakshi’s resources and his hold on the MLAs. He was put in prison on the eve of the vote.

The Meadow by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark lays bare the doings of the I.B. and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Kashmir (Penguin, 2012, Rs.499).

Elections have to be rigged and leaders with mass support have to be imprisoned lest the Assembly boldly proclaim Kashmir’s voice for all the world to hear. What if the Assembly passes a resolution for Kashmir’s independence? Precisely this fear prompted Indira Gandhi to intern Sheikh Abdullah in Delhi in January 1971 and prevent his men from contesting the Lok Sabha elections that year and the Assembly elections in 1972.

Now, the play of the Centre’s money-laden spies and the separatists’ boycott of the elections have resulted in a deep disconnect between the people and the governments, Central and State. The people resent the installation of unrepresentative State governments with Central help. As Churchill said in the House of Commons on June 2, 1931, “No government which is in a large minority in the country, even though it possesses a working majority in the House of Commons, can have the necessary power to cope with real problems.”

On July 10, 2010, Omar admitted, “The troubles erupted in areas where we got very low polling percentage in elections, where voting was less than 20 per cent even in the 2008 elections that was considered a major success.” This is a reference to the eight constituencies in Srinagar district, all won by his National Conference by “external” aid. On the strength of these eight, he formed a coalition with the Congress. In a House of 85 seats, the N.C. won 28, Mehbooba Mufti’s J&K People’s Democratic Party (PDP) 21 and the Congress 16. In the valley itself, if the eight are excluded, the N.C. won 12 and the PDP 19. Omar was nominated by the Centre.

Both Nehru and Indira Gandhi had a poor opinion of Kashmiris. She wrote to Nehru from Srinagar on May 14, 1948, that “only Sheikh Saheb is confident of winning the polls. But, they could be won over and all this political talk will count for nothing… after all the people are concerned with only [one] thing—they want to sell their goods and to have food and salt.” The people had no mind and no soul. Nehru repeated this view to Sheikh Abdullah on August 25, 1952: The common people are primarily interested in a few things, “an honest administration and cheap and adequate food”. No Kashmiri would say that of his people. It was not love for the people but for the land that inspired his policy. British Collectors in the districts held similar views during the Raj. Television panelists and anchors and newspaper columnists express similar views today.

But unlike Nagas, Kashmiris lack the clout. They can be taken for granted. M.S. Prabhakara spoke the unpleasant truth. “The impression is inescapable that more than any objective assessment of the genuineness of grievance, it is the strength and weaknesses of a rebel outfit that influences the government’s response to its offers of talks.”

The guns of 1990 could be met, but the massive spontaneous street protests of 2010 were hard to combat—except by killings or bribery. Even the State police protested at the Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) shootings. The people are not “alienated”, that implies a prior love. They were and are still opposed to Kashmir’s accession to India in 1947. That is the grim reality of the uniqueness of Kashmir. The bunkers and armed presence are offensive, but they are not the cause of the unrest. It is rejection of the Union itself. That is why Kashmiris explode every now and then.

There is another truth, however. History did not stop in 1947. Pakistan’s aggression in 1965 ended whatever prospect there was of a plebiscite. Pakistan’s covert military operation in Kashmir was conceived and planned by Zia-ul-Haq as far back as 1986-87. Such ventures must have a realistic political objective. In 1994, Benazir Bhutto asked for a plebiscite. The operation dwindled down. Militancy has declined steeply. But popular rejection of the Centre remains as intense as ever.

Leaders without vision

Kashmiri’s leaders offer no solution. The Unionists, the N.C. and the PDP, cannot agree even on a new draft Article 370 to replace the moth-eaten one of today. Both are dependent on the Centre’s support and submit to coalitions with the Congress. They have to suffer the likes of Ghulam Hasan Mir, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Taj Mohiuddin and the like. Even in cases where there is credible evidence or even proof of corruption, Omar Abdullah dare not sack a Congress Minister, and the Congress leaders in New Delhi will not sack him either.

In sheer anguish an independent MLA, Engineer Rashid, pleaded in the Assembly for N.C.-PDP unity: “Unfortunately, N.C. and PDP only look at forming a government with Congress, both the parties neglect the fact that they can serve better if they think together about Kashmir and Kashmiris.” On the first day of the recent Assembly session, he alleged that “members are stooges of Indian Army” after V.K. Singh’s issues rocked the House ( Kashmir Life, October 12, 2013). It would be like the Grand Coalition of the two major parties in Germany. But neither party in Kashmir wants to alienate the Centre.

The state of the separatists is as pathetic. They do not take up issues concerning the people’s daily lives at all. Syed Ali Shah Geelani rightly objected to Bilal Lone’s breach of discipline by standing for the elections. But that was no ground for splitting the Hurriyat. He remains the most popular leader only because his negative stance appeals to them in their parlous plight. But his world view and Islamist politics are little accepted in Pakistan or by large numbers in the valley and by none in Jammu and Ladakh and also not by the Kashmiri Pandits. His is an “all or nothing” stand. Geelani wants the State to accede to Pakistan and Pakistan to become an Islamic state. The Mir Waiz, Maulvi Umar Farooq, and he are locked in a contest for leadership and in demagogy.

On May 17, 2013, the Mir Waiz said that Kashmir was a natural part of Pakistan. On September 1, 2013, Geelani declared that Kashmir was a “natural part of Pakistan”. Both swear by “the U.N. resolutions”. In 2013, not one of the Five Permanent Members of the U.N. Security Council endorses any of the plebiscite resolutions of the U.N. Commission for India and Pakistan (1948-49) or any pleas in the same vein by the Council itself. The leaders will not unite even on a limited programme for restoration of civil liberties. Omar Abdullah kept Geelani under house arrest for nearly eight months. His popular appeal frightens Omar. Geelani was released on October 29.

The separatists have no control over the militants and offer no proposals which New Delhi can accept. In 2013, how on earth can anyone in his senses imagine that India will pack up and quit Kashmir? The politics of “All or Nothing” obsesses also some in the universities and in the press. It requires moral courage and an honest intellectual effort in India, Pakistan and Kashmir to grasp three stern realities: India will never agree to plebiscite or secession. Pakistan will never accept the Line of Control (LoC) as an international border. Why would it accept under a settlement what it already has? Kashmiris will never acquiesce in the partition of the State or denial of azadi, democracy and human rights.

These realities can be reconciled but only in an imperfect solution in which all gain some and all lose some. This is what the Manmohan Singh-Musharraf four-point formula accomplished. Manmohan Singh would have passed into history had he pushed it. He decided otherwise. In Kashmir demagogy prevents acceptance of the realities. It is comforting to cling to stereotypes—and more rewarding too.

Things are no better south of the Pir Panjal Range. Almost the entire Indian establishment—most in the media and academia—have been complicit in repression. A senior Indian official reminded this writer that there are other restive people in the world also, the Kurds, as he mentioned. Ergo, Indians can live with the militancy in Kashmir. We are strong. We can bribe. Our spies are efficient. And some Kashmiris there will always be—as they have always been—who will sell their souls for the crumbs that are offered by India and Pakistan.

In truth, the “All or Nothing” attitude is shared by both New Delhi and Srinagar. It will fail but not before the violation of human rights have deepened the alienation even further.

Dare we hope that all the three parties, India, Pakistan and Kashmir, will heed Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s advice in the Ranade Lectures on January 18, 1943. He said, “We must not set up as our ideal something which is purely imaginary. An ideal must be such that it must carry the assurance that it is a practicable one.… In political negotiations the rule must be what is possible. That does not mean that we should be content with what is offered. No. it means that you must not refuse what is offered when you know that your sanctions are inadequate to compel your opponent to concede more.”

Kashmiris will never be able to force India to quit. And India will never be able to crush the revolt of the Kashmiris. The four-point formula, itself an ad hoc arrangement for, say, 10 years, offers a way out and relief to the people. There is no secession and no drawing of an international border. There is maximum self-rule for East and West Kashmir and de facto the State of Jammu and Kashmir is reunited, the people crossing the LoC freely. The troops withdraw once peace settles in. It does not aim to settle the dispute; only to alleviate a hopeless situation and thus pave the way for a final settlement in the future in better conditions.

Blind opposition to it, fashionable in some quarters, does not help the people but only those who prosper by the status quo and feast on the miseries it inflicts on the hapless people. As the Quran says, “Verily never will Allah change the condition of people until they change it themselves” (13:11).

This is the second part of a two-part article.

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