The Harvard return Shah Faesal has made quite an entry into politics. The theatrical resignation from the IAS and proclamation of joining a new political party took internet by storm. The dramatic entrance remained the theme of prime time, where discussion were held and expectations were established. It is clear what Faesal has been representing and hints on furthering. He is a man of administration and intends to change the system from within. Contrary to what he said to a Delhi based new channel, his reason of resigning from Administrative services was to protest the “unabated killings of Kashmiri’s”. However , he’s shifted his narrative to concentrate on another issue “Corruption” and uses it as his election tool.
It’s not hard to understand Faesal’s election campaign. With no one in the picture, Faesal a gathered quite a followership in disputed Kashmir, with people comparing him to “lion” in Kupwara and welcoming him with slogans, once raised to welcome controversial Sheikh Abdullah. During his days of service, he never shifted from his view on Kashmir, but recently his article , co-authored with Mehboob Makhdoomi in which Shah Faesal claimed that Harvard opened his eyes to a new perspective, people had hoped that things would change. The politics of Shah Faesal seems to concentrate on trivial matters of corruption which has started to become his election slogan. He talks about the resolution of the Kashmir issue and reach out to the alienated public. However, he forgets to explain what he means by that?
Often the mainland parties and establishment in Delhi have talked about resolving the k-conflict under the ambit of the constitution and Shah Faesal is no different. Since disputed Kashmir has two constitutions, the question remains to answer is : Under the ambit of which constitution? Will the Kashmiri’s and their leadership be included in that resolution? . For now this question remains unanswered or ignored.
Elections and promises of a better administration may take the attention of people from the real issue of the dispute for sometime, but in the long run this seems to be continuation of the status quo, which has no takers in the valley. Kashmir issue is not about employment and clean administration, it is about the final dispensation of the occupied territory to its residents.
Of late Kashmiri’s have developed a sense of mistrust with their leadership who have failed to formulate modern ways of resistance . Some of them see in Shah Faesal , a messiah who will deliver them to the promised land. Unfortunately, Faesal is neither intending to climb the mountain top nor wishes to see the promised land. The politics he represents is the continuation of status quo and age of glory of such party is not more than a decade.
Those who have attempted to put new wine in an old wineskin know clearly that the skin will not withstand it. The high participation in electoral politics and issue of clean administration or employment will not dilute the political position of Kashmiri’s according to the United Nations resolution 1957 . The sentiment Shah Faesal represents is not mainstream in Kashmir, it’s a condemned spirit, Self-determination is main stream, everything else is alien. The habitual denial of the core issue of Kashmir is the delusion in which confederates before Shah Faesal have lived and it has reaped nothing. Regrettably, scintillating Faesal has no lamp to offer.
As long as the core issue of the Kashmir dispute is not resolved according to the aspirations of Kashmiri’s, peace will not be achieved. It’s high time for the Indian and Pakistani state to invite Kashmiri leadership to the table and shun their dictatorial and authoritarian attitude towards Kashmir for as long as Kashmir is militarily occupied, peace in south-east Asia remains a distant dream. As for now, it remains to see as for how long this old wineskin remains intact before it bursts out .