Omar, Mirwaiz, Mehbooba ‘players for future’: Dulat

‘Sajad is a wild card and little unpredictable’
In the words of India’s former spymaster, Amarjit Singh Dulat, Jammu and Kashmir’s separatist-turned pro-India politician Sajad Lone is a “wild card” and also a “little unpredictable”.
Dulat in the last chapter ‘Mainstreaming the Future’ of his memoir ‘Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years’ pins hopes on Omar Abdullah, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mehbooba Mufti and Sajad Lone as the “four likely players” for the future of Kashmir.
Omar, Mirwaiz, Mehbooba ‘players for future’ - DulatThough, he adds a caveat: “With the exception of the former chief minister (Omar Abdullah), the rest (Mirwaiz Umar, Mehbooba Mufti and Sajad Lone) are untested.”
On Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Kashmir’s head priest and chairman of a faction of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), the retired spy chief, A S Dulat, has an interesting take.
“The Mirwaiz has to make up his mind whether he wants to be pope for life or whether he wants to be chief minister. I’ve told Pakistanis that they’re doing him a great disservice by holding him back, because as a politician he remains untested. As a human being he has all the qualities. But you have to be tested in the field; you have to be tested in power and you to be tested out of power.”
Dulat has doubts on Sajad’s ‘temperament’ and ‘political maturity’ and is of the view that former separatist-turned cabinet minister in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir has “looked for extraordinary favours from Delhi.”
“Sajad is a wild card. He has many qualities, but he’s a little unpredictable. As mentioned he had been offered a senior ministership by Mufti Sayeed in 2002, so he had by the 2014 assembly election wasted a dozen years, when he could have used the time to mature into a seasoned politician…,” he writes.
“Though Sajad was a borderline separatist — remember, he learned from his father that this separatism wasn’t going to last very long — he was Delhi’s favoured separatist. But he has looked for extraordinary favours from Delhi, and because of his temperament, Delhi has not been able to handle him properly…”
According to Dulat, former chief of Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Omar Abdullah is “honest” and “transparent” but he “needs to learn politics a little more.”
Dulat doesn’t adore Mehbooba as much as he admires Omar.
“Mehbooba is a bit quirky. But I have felt that a government with these, Omar, Umar and Sajad — and they could accommodate Mehbooba as well, why not— would be the best combination for Kashmir. It would take care of every shade of opinion: the pro-Pakistan, the pro-Indian, the pro-regional, etc,” Dulat writes.
Interestingly, former intelligence chief believes that Jammu and Kashmir is as normal as normal can be.
“The crisis of 1989-90 has long blown over. Separatism has receded, or as one of their own kin put it, their lottery is over,” he writes.
The author also thinks that radicalism remains a threat because the signals from the neighbourhood (Pakistan) were ominous.
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