Abdul Gani Lone: An Obituary
Ghulam Nabi Fai
A G Lone has been a commanding figure in Kashmiri politics for
decades. His consistent advocacy of Kashmiri freedom, and his
personal sacrifices, had earned him the respect of all factions of
the Kashmiri resistance movement. His sparkling career features
elected service in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly,
appointment to cabinet rank in the State Government, resignation to
protest manipulation of Kashmir's political affairs, and
imprisonment and torture for voicing his self-determination
convictions. Since his release in 1992, Mr. Lone had charted a
course of peace through negotiations between genuine Kashmiri
leaders, India, and Pakistan, mediated by a third party or a person
of high international stature.
cannot agree more with General Colin Powell, Secretary of State when
he said that “this [Mr. Lone’s assassination] is a direct attack
on hopes for a fair political process in Kashmir. His killers are
clearly among those who oppose a peaceful political resolution
the annals of Kashmir politics, Mr. Lone stands tall. He was
brilliant, articulate and courageous to a fault. He was an exciting
and gripping personality because of his deep involvement in the
Kashmiri freedom struggle. He was unswervingly devoted to a peaceful
settlement of the Kashmir dispute that has ensued when the problem
has been perceived as bilateral, to the exclusion of the 13 million
Kashmiri people whose sovereign destiny and fundamental human rights
are at stake.
Lone was a great personality blessed with great talents not only as
a politician and thinker but also as a deep caring person. We can
best honor his killing by continuing to carry the flag of Kashmir
cause without fear or fatigue. Some hope may be glimpsed on the
horizon. We urge the people of Kashmir to gain strength from this
tragedy. I am hopeful if we remain true to the lofty vision of Mr.
Lone, steadfast in the unity and leadership of the APHC, and
unstinting in personal sacrifice, then Kashmir cause may trump
occupation and subjugation in our lifetime.
assassins took refuge in guns and bullets because they could not
defeat his inexhaustible fortitude and unanswerable advocacy.
Lone was in Washington early this month to explore the support of
the United States to settle the long-standing issue that has
remained the underlying cause of all tensions between India and
Pakistan. I experienced the good fortune of lengthy meetings with
him during his last visit. We explored a variety of issues of mutual
concern and focused on avenues for a just and lasting peace in
Kashmir. He was sleepless and selfless in all his pursuits for the
people of Kashmir.
told me that given the chance, the Kashmiri people could be
instrumental in providing a “way out” of the cycle of violence
and brutal killings in that unfortunate land. We have, he said an
experience in democratic governance. We have a skilled workforce.
Kashmir itself is rich in natural resources including an abundance
of fertile land and vast waterways, which could produce enough
hydroelectric power to support not only Kashmir, but parts of India
as well. He said that Kashmiris are not the problem – they are the
solution. Will the Indian Government recognize this? Will they work
with APHC to find a peaceful way out? Or will they continue to
believe that they can terrorize the people of Kashmir into
submission? He believed that the United States holds unique powers
of moral suasion in facilitating enlightened solutions to acute
divisions, whether in East Timor, Middle East, Kosova, or Kashmir.
He wondered why such actions were forthcoming in the case of East
Timor and not Kashmir. Was the suffering of the Kashmiri people any
less than that of the East Timorese? He also rejected partition of
Kashmir as a solution comparing it to accepting a disease as the
remedy. Any such “solution” would be temporary and would be
rejected by the people, he warned.
Lone told me that he had always maintained that dialogue and
negotiations are the route to peace and stability in the region of
South Asia. The dialogue, he said, can be held at four different
levels: (a). between the leadership of all regions of Kashmir; (b).
between India and APHC; (c). between India and Pakistan, and (d).
finally between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership to settle
the dispute once for all.
killing of this brave and courageous leader must be investigated by
any neutral and impartial agency and the culprits must be brought to
author is the Executive Director of the Washington-based Kashmiri
American Council (KAC)
views and the opinions expressed should not be attributed to Kashmir
Bachao Andolan as an organisation unless expressly stated so.