Abdul Ghani Bhat, a Persian professor who was dismissed from his job after his anti India activities took prominence in mid eighties. He along with Abdul Qadir Wani, spearheaded the Muslim United Front.
He was one of the founding members of the Hurriyat Conference and was the last chairman of the undivided Hurriyat. He currently heads the Muslim Conference and is part of Hurriyat Conference led by the Mirwaiz.
His way with words is well known, here are a few gems.
“When the prime minister of India announced the unilateral cease-fire, even then I said a unilateral cease-fire is no cease-fire. That can happen only when you win a war. If you don’t win a war and you call a cease-fire it cannot hold” when Indian government announced unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir, 2000.
“Russia broke in a day’s time. It didn’t take years” on how can Kashmiris expect a solution to the dispute overnight.
“You have the Agnis, you have the Trishuls, they have the Hataps, Shaheens and whatnots. So this maddening arms race in India and Pakistan has to be viewed with realism. If you do not, you will not be able to banish the ghosts of the atomic war in the region. We know you cannot afford a war. India cannot now ask Pakistanis to keep off. Because Pakistan is as powerful as India. You cannot afford to fight a war. But, remember, the hatred between the two countries is so deep-rooted that you cannot rule out a war either” on the arms race between India and Pakistan in the name of Kashmir.
“Well, I am not a pessimist. I can see a ray of hope around. In the people’s words, in the people’s thoughts, and even, to an extent, in the people’s deeds. I see a ray of light across the tunnel too. A ray which we shall have to make grow, a ray which we shall have to preserve, a ray which I know will light up. It will brighten our future” on being hopeful of a resolution of Kashmir dispute.
“You are committed to a plebiscite here. Why don’t you do it? Why don’t you punish the people who backed out? You made pledges on the soil of Kashmir, you made pledges on the floor of the Indian Parliament, you made pledges to international forums like the United Nations. You said the people of Jammu and Kashmir are the masters of their fate. That they can express themselves through an impartial plebiscite to be organised by the United Nations. Why don’t you do it?” on Indian betraying its pledges and promises on Kashmir.
“Look, my friend, you are building your case in a vacuum. Unless the UN takes over control of Jammu and Kashmir, neither India nor Pakistan can withdraw. Can they? You tell Pakistan to withdraw! But first things first: The plebiscite administrator was to take over, which he never did. And you still say Pakistanis should withdraw? Why?
If the plebiscite administrator takes over tomorrow and asks Pakistan to withdraw and they don’t, yes, of course, Pakistan is to blame. But you are putting the cart before the horse. This is not acceptable” on Pakistan had to vacate its troops first from Pakistan held Kashmir before plebiscite could’ve taken place.
“If the impression is that there is only one holy cow, Geelani, let the holy cow only move to Pakistan and get things done. Finished!” on Hurriyat being ineffective without Syed Ali Shah Geelani on their proposed visit to Pakistan in 2002.
“I hope and trust that we, the members of the executive, realises the responsibility he is to shoulder, understands the duty he is to discharge, the duty which he owes to his conscience and the people. Therefore, emotionalism, sentimentalism… are probably things we should avoid” on a possibility of a split in Hurriyat Conference
“We will be able to go along with each other. We have to. Because both of us, he who lays his life down and we who fight with arguments, serve the same cause” on meeting with the armed fighters in Azad Kashmir.
“The travel we are undertaking is hazardous. We are not on a pilgrimage, we are not on a visit to see historical places, we are not on a visit to see friends, no” on the visit to Pakistan
“Well, I don’t want to draw lines between what you call hardliners and softliners and extremists and moderates and hawks and doves. Because I have seen with my own eyes doves turning into hawks and hawks becoming doves. In politics, rats marry snakes and bulls chase lizards. Anything can happen in politics. But, remember, the urge for peace is universally accepted as a force of history. You cannot go against it. Nobody can go against it” on the hardliners in the Hurriyat Conference
““APHC is not a grouping of angels on earth. We are human beings, we can go wrong, I may go wrong, but what needs to be understood is that all of us support dialogue under the APHC constitution” on his move to meet India’s Dineshwar Sharma in late 2017.
““So what if there are fissures. The entire world wants peace, and when you seek peace, you seek settlement of the disputes that threaten peace. This is so straight, mathematically correct,” on if there are fissures in the newly formed Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL)
“We wish well for both India and Pakistan. But we in Kashmir want to establish our identity. I want to be called either a Pakistani or an Indian, I don’t want to be called as a man representing the dispute on Kashmir. I am the dispute talking to you — I don’t want that. And for that, I want a dialogue to happen between India and Pakistan to happen as quick as possible,” one of his many gems that are beyond common man’s comprehension.
“It is the memory of collective discontent, it is alienation…The collective soul of Kashmir was wounded right in the beginning in 1947. The wound is bleeding. It cannot be addressed with food, or clothing or carpets or buildings. It has to be addressed” on why it is important to talk even if it’s futile.
“We are what we are: we are a people full of confusion and contradiction. And this should speak volumes about our weakness. But never dismiss me (Kashmiris) as the arbiter. The arbiter may be as weak as a bird, but his songs have to be heard and appreciated. I trust the international community will hear our songs and appreciate it.”
“Past, present and future is grammar. Politics is coming to grips with the situation that may be taking shape under your nose and you have no idea about it. My future is my past and present. I don’t want to be scattered into separate blocks of present and future.”