Commenting on Centre’s offer for conducting negotiations without pre-conditions has been taken with skepticism by the people in view of their past experiences regarding such initiatives, writes Urdu daily Chattan editorially.

The Trust Deficit:

“The Centre’s appointing an interlocutor for conducting negotiations has caused a stir in political circles. The Home Minister has said that there is no pressure on interlocutor and he will himself decide whom to include in negotiations. A process of negotiations without any pre-conditions has come for the first time. Prior to this, there were negotiations many time, but every time it was done within a set structure. As such these were not successful and parties separated very soon. As such, many people do not have many expectations from the negotiations. It is also a fact that for resolving such a complicated problem, negotiations can’t bear fruit within days. But these can help in making atmosphere conducive. The worry is that parties are not prepared to trust each other. There is so much disappointment that there does not seem to be any hope of succeeding without intervention by a third or fourth party. Some people say that negotiations have been initiated not because of the desires of concerned parties, but due to external pressure. This was said in the past also, whether right or wrong – can’t say – But the truth is that once again Delhi has initiated negotiations. The present government had been sticking to the stand that there would not be any negotiations. It did not seem possible to be prepared for negotiations during the days of turmoil. Nevertheless, giving up obstinacy, an offer of negotiations has been made, and the ball is in the opponent’s court. They have to decide whether to proceed with negotiations or to stop it. So far separatist leadership has shown no interest in participating”.

Hurriyat in a dilemma

“It is not an easy task to participate in negotiations. Previously, one faction of Hurriyat had taken a risk by going to Delhi to participate in negotiations. Later, it proved to be their mistake. Some pretext was made to make negotiations a failure. Some people behind the screen also played a role. But it can’t be ignored that Delhi has shown a narrow–mindedness. Consequently sagacious politician Abdul Gani lost his life. Lone Sahib was aware that the path he had adopted was very difficult. But he had hoped that having taken such a risk, Centre would not let him down. But that was not true. After that nobody was convinced of trusting Delhi and going for some agreements. Not only did separatists return empty – handed, but Delhi also did not gain anything. The Hurriyat got divided. The moderate Hurriyat remained separate for some time, but they were compelled to join the hard liners. There was no alterative. Today, the situation is critical. The people, disappointed by leaders, seem to be with separatists, especially militants. The people were disappointed by leaders like Narasimha Rao, A B Vajpayee, Gujaral, who came in their turns to shake hands with people. But later everything proved to be a mirage. BJP and PDP have come together and people thought they would get everything. Again, here has been disappointment. It is the most difficult time for Hurriyat, and they have to decide how to face the situation”.

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