At a time, when valley was facing cross border terrorism and the youth within the state were falling prey to the idea of picking guns, former IAS officer turned politician Shah Faesal has launched his new political party-Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM).
Daily Post spoke to Shah Faesal, who stepped into the political arena to protest against the ‘unabated killings in Kashmir’ and hoped that people of India would support his initiative to bring peace in Jammu and Kashmir-
What prompted you to launch JKPM, when National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and People’s Party already exist in Jammu and Kashmir?
Shah Faesal: These parties have collected a lot of baggage. Recently, we saw the rally of a political party in Srinagar, where participants were hiding their faces. People are literally ashamed of associating with these parties, who are blamed for corruption in public office, indulging in violation of human rights and promoting those violations and doing nothing when it coming to enforcement or protection of political right of people.
I think, we are going to learn from the mistakes of these political parties and would not do what has been done by them in Kashmir so far.
Under debate, do you justify article 370 and 35 A in Jammu and Kashmir?
Shah Faesal: I believe that Article 370 and 35 A, these are very important articles of the constitution. Nobody should tinker with these articles. These are constitutional arrangement between Union of India and the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a sacrosanct arrangement. It should not be disturbed at all.
Article 370 and 35 A is not just for the people of valley but people of Jammu and Kashmir state in which people of Jammu and Ladakh were also included. This is something which they were given by the history. It has a context to it. This is not something, which is given to them yesterday. It’s not a privilege but their political right.
Do you think that Kashmir is an integral part of India?
Shah Faesal: Why should there be questions about it? Firstly because, if you believe that it is, then it is. If you do not, if there are questions, then you are questioning the fundamental theory behind it. There may be people, who do not believe in this idea. It is important to listen to those people. We are not saying that our idea is right or wrong. I am asking that why there are questions arising on this.
It does not make any difference, if I or any other politician says something or against this statement. It is just a part of political rhetoric, nothing more than that. We have a constitutional arrangement between centre and state and there are clauses to support it. Let’s not ask people such questions which do not make any sense.
What is JKPM’s roadmap to solve Kashmir problem?
Shah Faesal: We believe in political process. Democratic process is important for resolving this issue. There has to be a dialogue between Delhi and Srinagar. Those political rights (given to people), which have been, more so the special clauses have been gradually eroded in the last years. That erosion needs to stop and our party is a solution to these problems.
Young Kashmiri boys were picking guns, turning stone pelters, supporting terrorism and the local community was found justifying their acts. How will you stop it?
Shah Faesal: For the last so many years’ military has been working overtime to finish militancy here but its not finishing. Had it been just a military thing, it would have been solved by now. The problem is that it is more of a ‘political issue’, and can only be solved ‘politically’ and through ‘dialogue only’.
Post Pulwama terror attack, Corps Commander of Srinagar based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen KS Dhillon made an appeal to the mothers to ask their sons to surrender, else they would be killed. What is your stand on it?
Shah Faesal: I mean, its not too surprising, from somebody who is a soldier. It is a soldier thing. But, then we need to understand that a soldier’s thinking cannot decide the policy. Soldiers have their own role, but in a democracy, it is finally the politically elected government, which needs to decide the policy.
Moreover, a soldier has every right to say things whatever way he wants, but then that’s not what will finally prevail in the democracy.
How will you bring back the displaced Kashmiri Pandits back to valley?
Shah Faesal: Exile and migration of Kashmiri pundits was one of the darkest chapters of our history. We need to bring them back to their homeland as soon as we can. We should do that on their terms and conditions. Kashmiri Pandits should decide how they want to return and no one else. On the housing scheme, I think, the will of Kashmiri Pandits should prevail and they should be asked how they want to live in Kashmir.
Do you support Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan? You demanded Nobel peace prize for him?
Shah Faesal: This was in the context of Wing Commander Abhinandan being released, after he was held up in Pakistan. IAF officer Abhinandan’s life was so precious to the country. The gesture of brotherhood, which came from across the border, it was because of him that the war got avoided.
Infact, not just one, but two Nobel peace prizes should have been given to Prime Minister Imran Khan for this gesture. Moreover, I believe in humanity and in the power of non-violence. That’s my politics.
Do you feel that Muslims were not safe under the current centre government?
Shah Faesal: There have been frequent attacks of violence against Muslims in India. The mob lynching cases have been going up, including the frequency of mob lynching. So I do agree that to an extent the government failed in reining in these organizations which promoted violence against the minorities.
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