Akeel Rashid

Preferring ‘art of negotiation’ over ‘art of rejection’

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At a time when the people of Kashmir (particularly youth) are ‘paying a huge price’ of Kashmir dispute —like never before — a senior hurriyat leader is indicating that India is yet to accept the disputed nature of Kashmir issue — which he terms a pre-condition for entering a dialogue with New Delhi. This under-mentioned excerpt from the statement issued by the chief spokesperson of Hurriyat (G), remains a moot point: “Geelani made it clear that Kashmir issue has turned into a flash point and unless India accepts its disputed nature, no progress is expected and horrors of war will haunt people living in sub-continent.”

Syed Ali Geelani in the statement asserted that Kashmir issue has turned into a flashpoint, which is an undeniable fact, but when he adds that ‘unless India accepts its disputed nature, no progress is expected and horrors of war will haunt people living in sub-continent,’ Geelani is placing only India in the uncomfortable and costly predicament – but what about the people of Kashmir who continue to be at the cutting edge of Kashmir issue. The people of Kashmir are undeniably caught in the predicament of Kashmir issue too and why Geelani has not felt this way, is because those advocating the Kashmir issue — including him — have always failed to make a correlation of their political decisions with the people of Kashmir. In order to find this strong correlation between political decision making and the people of Kashmir, the people ought to find their role in the Kashmir issue: Are they laying down their lives for (A) defeating India in Kashmir or (B) convincing India about the disputed nature of Kashmir issue? If the answer is A then Geelani has done right by rejecting the talk offer as there is no need for an outright dialogue or negotiation —when we have decided to fight it out — with India on Kashmir issue and if the answer is B then with reference to Geelani’s statement the decade-long sacrifices of Kashmiri people have yielded nothing so far because India, as per Geelani, is not convinced yet about the disputed nature of Kashmir. Geelani has also blamed New Delhi of adopting the time-buying tactic, and it might be also true. But, on the other hand, how can Geelani himself adopt a ‘time-delaying’ approach as to Kashmir issue against the backdrop of a youth apocalypse.

Geelani is susceptible to the art of rejection, not because he does not want to negotiate but because he considers the dialogue with India as an end and not the beginning. Geelani should give up taking the ‘ownership’ of Kashmir issue by just sticking to the ‘cyclic-arguments’ and should realize that: at what cost does he reject the talk offers with India. Geelani could use the dialogue with New Delhi as a lever to advance the further negotiations with the India. In fact this is the real purpose of every dialogue process. Even a yes to the dialogue would have been followed by the demand to stop the killings in Kashmir and also the demands which he has laid down in his statement.

If the proponents of Kashmir issue will prefer the art of negotiation over art of rejection, they will definitely understand  the fact that Kashmir issue has reached a ‘hurting stalemate’ for the both parties, India and the people of Kashmir, and this is the right time for the leaders in Kashmir and India to take advantage of the ‘ripeness of time’ — in Kashmir issue — for negotiation and conflict resolution. The ‘cycling statements’ pertaining to the Kashmir issue are serving no purpose, these statements help the ‘reluctant parties’ (spoilers) to maintain the status quo on Kashmir issue and also raise the stakes.

Note: The concept of ‘hurting stalemate’ explains that the key to successful conflict resolution lies in the timing of efforts for resolution. A mutually hurting position, where neither can defeat the other and both are experiencing unacceptable costs.

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