Syed Nazir Gilani is Secretary General of the Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR), an NGO with a special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. He has been representing the World Society of Victimology and the JKCHR at the UN in Geneva since 1988. Under his leadership the JKCHR has written 42 reports on Kashmir andsponsored various international delegations to see the refugees in Pak- occupied Kashmir. He has also raised the question of the displacement of Kashmiri Pandits (minority). He spoke on various issues concerning the contemporary Jammu and Kashmir situation.
Q: Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah has described Afzal Guru's execution as “selective.” He has predicted that it would alienate Kashmiris and leave a negative imprint on a new generation. His father Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister and patron of the National Conference, has said law has taken its course. How do you see these divergent statements?
A: Afzal Guru had been on a death row for a considerable period. He seems to have been picked up from the queue. The manner in which he has been executed is very unfortunate. You are right the father and the son have taken different positions. In politics each one is entitled to his opinion. However, in this tangle taking two positions has its own difficulties. Both are from the same party.
Q: How do you look at the statement of senior National Conference leader Sheikh Nazir and party’s additional general secretary Sheikh Mustafa Kamal (younger brother of Farooq Abdullah) that plebiscite is the best option to settle the Kashmir issue.
A: The Government of India and the Kashmiri leadership have committed themselves to a plebiscite at the UN. The Indian Government is responsible in regard to all territories as defined in the J & K Constitution . It has to protect ‘life’, ‘property’ and ‘honour’ of all its people. This responsibility extends to AJK and Gilgit and Baltistan as well. There are 2.5 million Kashmiri refugees living in AJK and Pakistan. Kashmiri Pandits have been displaced from their homes. Plebiscite is the best option. It does not necessarily mean secession.
Q: Mustafa Kamal has recently said that the Intelligence Bureau and the Indian Army are trying to secede PoK on the Bangladesh pattern.
A: AJK (PoK) has no accession or arrangement with Pakistan. Pakistan is here under assumed responsibilities set out in UNCIP Resolutions. If Pakistan violates the jurisprudence of UNCIP Resolutions, it becomes an occupier in these areas. In law the Government of India has a responsibility towards these areas.
Q: How do you see the visit of the APHC (moderate) team headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to Pakistan recently and his meeting with the political leadership there? And lately, JKLF Chief Yaseen Malik's meeting with Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafeez Sayeed ?
A: APHC members have a right to travel. But after taking over as sales persons of General Musharraf ’s 4 point agenda in 2006, they have lost their moorings as an amalgam with a Kashmiri narrative. As for Yasin Malik’s meeting with Hafeez Sayeed, it has been blown out of proportions . Anyone could visit Malik during his protest and he could not stop a Pakistani national or anyone else from showing up.
Q: What role did APHC (moderate) want to play by visiting Pakistan frequently? Are they real representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir?
A: They do not represent all people. In particular they do not have a Kashmiri Pandit, a Sikh, a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist and other faiths in their camp. Kashmir is a commercial enterprise for the establishment in Pakistan. For the last 19 years 57 Islamic countries, Islamic institutions and philanthropists have been contributing to the humanitarian assistance of the people of Kashmir. The Hurriyat leadership should be well aware of the level of funds received so far and the manner in which these funds have been handled by the Government of Pakistan and their cronies in Kashmir and other parts of the world.
Q: Do you apprehend that militancy will raise its ugly head again in Kashmir after the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan and the Taliban will turn towards the Indian border ?
A: I have always supported the UN mechanism on Kashmir and opposed militancy. Kashmiris know those who authored militancy for them have, in fact, precipitated the death of a generation and the death of selfdetermination. They know that the Kashmiri youth were used as a proxy. Kashmiris would not allow any fresh incursion. Taliban have turned into an Albatross curse for Pakistan and every Kashmiri knows it.
Q: Don’t you think the Kashmir issue is a salable commodity in Pakistan ? The Pakistan establishment as well as its political parties will keep the pot boiling till elections are over for electoral gains.
A: Kashmir is a commercial enterprise for the establishment in Pakistan. For the last 19 years 57 Islamic countries, OIC, Islamic institutions and philanthropists have been contributing to the humanitarian assistance of the people of Kashmir. The Hurriyat leadership has been attending all OIC meets since December 1994. It should be well aware of the level of funds received so far and the manner in which these funds have been handled by the Government of Pakistan and their cronies in Kashmir and other parts of the world.