Dr Shah Faisal and the Political space in JK

Shah Faesal

Co-Written by Masood Ali Mir & Zahoor Ahmad Mir

Dr Shah Faisal has resigned, he has resigned from the top most post and a dream job of millions of Indians. From Home Ministry to Governor to common masses every one is in a kind of shock over his decision of resignation. Dr Faisal has now joined politics, although he has not joined any political party yet but he has showed his willingness to be the part of mainstream politics of Jammu and Kashmir. He is of the firm opinion that Jammu and Kashmir needs honest politics and politicians in order to heal it’s wounds.

With the arrival of Shah Faesal into the realms of mainstream politics, many rumours, speculations, apprehensions and confusions are floating in the air. Dr Shah Faesal the 2009 Indian Administrative Services’ topper resigned from his service in protest against the unabated killings of Kashmiris and the lack of any sincere reach-out from the Union Government. Since his resignation from the service he is being constantly debated and discussed on news channels, newspapers, in schools, colleges, universities, clubs etc. almost everywhere.

Mainly there are four arguments with the people that why he resigned :-

a) Dr Shah Faisal is a genius mind and a genius needs little to respond. Dr Faisal has been projected as a villain and a hero by many as per their interests. It is this projection which has forced him for the next move.

b) Indian right wing media has equated the decision of Shah Faisal with the radicalization and blamed Pakistan for this radicalization . It is of the opinion that Faisal was radicalized there during his tenure in Harvard University by the agencies.

c) Pakistan and a section of Kashmiri society has blamed Indian agencies for the decsion of resignation of the top beauracrat with the purpose to engage the young Kashmirs with the electoral politics. The Post-Burhan politics (2016) of Kashmir is sensitive and the youth are totally dejected with the Indian policies and politics with regard to the jammu and Kashmir conflict. Dr Fasails decision for most of the Kashmirs is just a new card from the Indian agencies to promote a goodwill among the people so that to be part of the coming electoral politics.

d) There is a section of people who are taking the decision of Dr Faisal in a positive way and are of the view that the society needs a leader like him. He has been honest and straight forward in his active service and will remain in the politics too. They are Optimistic that the way Kajrival and Imran Khan has added a new nationalistic colour to the Indian and Pakistani politics, Dr Faisal too will add the same to kashmir politics.

The experts and the news channels discussed about the future plans and intentions and he has been very firm about his sincerity that he wants to serve his nation and in that process he may contest elections also. Dr Faisal’s interview with Sanam Aijaz in which he was talking about the same issues and Sanam posed number of questions and one of the questions was, “we have trusted many in the past and they betrayed us but for how long are we going to trust”. He replied that either the political space should be shunned down completely or the sincere and honest ones should be given chance to deliver. But it is interesting to discuss this political space that he talked about. Do we have this space in Kashmir?

Let us start from the pioneers of this problem the National Conference leader and head Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah who facilitated the Kashmir’s accession with India. After coming to power he resisted a bit in 1953 against India’s will and he was shown the door of prison and he was allowed to enter the domain after he surrendered his demands which was accepted by none other than the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, who said, “nobody had denied Sheikh Abdullah’s previous role which he played for the unity of the country. Later on he changed his mind and there was disagreement and estrangement between centre and state. Now that he is again expressing his willingness to work for unity and secularism, we welcome him”.

One more example is of Plebiscite Front which was formed with the basic objective of pressing for the demand of holding a plebiscite under the auspices of United Nations to decide about the future of the state, however it also was disbanded in 1975 after Indira-Abdullah Accord. Similarly, the fate of Muslim United Front which was formally launched in Srinagar on the first day of Muharram in September 1986, avowedly for protecting the political and religious rights of the Muslim community in the state, it promised employment for educated youth and an end to government corruption, the latter being an especially sensitive issue with Kashmiris, met the same kind of destiny and which ultimately culminated into the beginning of the militancy. One more occasion came when J&K Legislative Assembly passed the autonomy resolution in 2000 which recommended sweeping changes in Centre-State relations. Blaming the Centre for its follies in the State, Dr. Farooq Abdullah the then Chief Minister of JK said it was Jawaharlal Nehru who had taken the case to the United Nations, “the final authority on the accession will be the people of the State”, though the late Sheikh Abdullah authorised him (Nehru) to take a final decision. The Centre Government responded, “the Cabinet finds the resolution passed by the State Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir endorsing the report of the State Autonomy Committee unacceptable. The Cabinet feels that the acceptance of this resolution would set the clock back and reverse the natural process of harmonising the aspiration of the people of Jammu and Kashmir with the integrity of the nation”.

Then emerged the Peoples Democratic Party with its self-rule agenda and what it became is open to all. Engineer Rasheed started political career in the year 2008 after resigning from his job as a construction Engineer after founding his Awami Ittihad Party. After a 17-day campaign he won the constituency seat of Langate in Handwara town in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. After starting his political career, he has been jailed many a times, was attacked number of times both in the Assembly as well as outside. The question is where is that political space? Does Dr Faisal think that he will be able to deliver and will India allow him to deliver? that is amillion dollar question.

So far as political career of Dr Faisal is concerned he is going to represent the real aspirations of the People as he wrote in one of his pieces, “A Paradox In Valley” In which he said, “In Kashmir, those who represent people’s sentiment do not participate in electoral process.” If so then history bears witness to the fact what happened to those who represented the real aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir, or if he intends to join the mainstream who according to him do not represent the aspirations of the people then how come he represent aspirations of the people. In contrast his entry in politics will hamper the growth of the ideology which was on top from couple of years( A civil movement – against the mighty colonial power) .

It is Dr Shah Faisal who will himself clear all the doubts once he will be in politics. It will be his policies and decisions which will tells us the real reason behind his resignation. But the course of action which he has choosen is full of hurdles and he has a long way to cross before finding a space for himself and his followers.

Wish you good luck for the future Dr Faisal.

Masood Ali Mir & Zahoor Ahmad Mir are Freelancers.


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