Former IAS officer Shah Faesal launched his party during a public function in Srinagar today. He named his party as Jammu and Kashmir Peoples’ Movement.
An impressive gathering of people, more particularly youth, driven from various areas of the valley attended the party launch. Ab Hawa Badle Gi, Aaya Aaya Sher Aaya, were dominant slogans.
Former JNU vice President and scholar Shehla Rashid was another prominent face in the crowd.
Addressing the gathering, Shah Faesal said that his party was mainstream, a euphemism pro India parties usually use to describe their genesis, and would only work facilitate a peaceful solution of Kashmir issue.
He said his party was neither region specific nor a religious one. “It belongs to Muslims the same way it belongs to Dogras and Buddhists”, he said.
Shah Faesal resigned from the prestigious civil service in January, this year. He took a moral position (unabated killings) to resign from the service and said he could not see his people dying so savagely. “I have decided to resign from IAS. Kashmiri lives matter,” Faesal wrote on his face book and twitter account..
Initially it sounded the “voice of conscience”.
But as it became known that he is pursuing a political career, questions were raised. Joining the same brand of politics and the same brigade of politicians held responsible for the “unabated killings” Shah Faesal reasoned of made his intentions suspect. “Voice of conscience” was deemed as the “voice of self-projection ”.
Former chief minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah was first to react to Shah’s resignation. The way Omar Abdullah commented on Shah’s decisions, it looked that he was already privy to it and also knew about Shah’s future plans.
Omar Abdullah tweeted “bureaucracy’s loss is gain of politics” and welcomed the Shah to the ‘fold’.
This lifted the lid on the real motivation behind Shah’s resignation.
Politics is not a forbidden domain. Anybody is free to go in for the career of his or her choice.
Using peoples’ sufferings as a flight to get on to the top of the political horizon is a permanent template in Kashmir politics. People try it with extra degree of brazenness.
Reports of Shah joining politics had been there for several months before his resignation. Social media, mainly, was thick with rumours or reports of Shah Faesal joining National Conference to be party’s parliamentary candidate for north Kashmir seat in the upcoming LS elections.
He complicated things for himself by connecting morality to his change of profession.
Shah Faesal was projected as icon of Kashmiri youth when he topped the IAS in 2010. Many young minds were inspired by him and in the process got to the prestigious All India Civil Services. In 2016 when Kashmiri youth overwhelmingly hit streets in protest against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, many media outlet in India tried to project Shah as the real icon of Kashmiri youth.
Many observers understand that Shah Faesal’s political launch is part of the strategy of prompting and promoting new icons in politics for Kashmiri youth.
Earlier the same script was tried with Omar Abdullah and Mahbooba Mufti. When Omar Abdullah was appointed as chief minister of the state in 2009, some news channels addressed him as Barak Obama of Kashmir.
The “iconic” image of both Omar and Mahbooba was blown into heaps by the wind in 2010 and 2016.
Kashmir, however, is graveyard of all reputations.