The Pakistan founder Ali Mohammad Jinnah is in Kashmir!
Jinnah who created a vertical divide of the subcontinent dividing the British India into a Hindu dominated India and Muslim dominated Pakistan (East and West Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh) by demanding a separate state on the basis of religion can be found donning the posters everywhere on Srinagar streets particularly in the politically conscious downtown area of Srinagar city.
The green and brown coloured poster along with a photograph of the last years of Jinnah's life reads: 'Janoobi Asia mein Musalmanoon ki shirazbandi ke alambardaar, tehreek ka rukh mood kar do quami nazariya ke tehat, Mumlikat-e-Khudaad-e-Pakistan ke maimaar Qaid-e-Azam Ali Mohammad Jinnah. Un ke shaandaar kidmaat par gul haiye akeekat pesh karnai ke liya Muslim League ne December ko Mahe-e-Qaid mananai ka faisala kiya hai' (Having carved Pakistan from then two nation theory by unifying Muslims of South Asia, Qaid-e-Azam - the architect of Pakistan — is considered a stalwart leader. For his endeavour and to pay rich tributes for his services, Muslim League is celebrating December as the month of the stalwart leader).
Jinnah's posters were pasted ahead of a seminar organised by the Muslim League on the life and times of the Pakistan founder in December 2006 and the party president Masrat Alam had termed Jinnah a great visionary leader.
Decades after his death Jinnah had almost created a vertical divide among the Bharatiya Janta Panty, the main opposition party in India, when the then BJP president Lal Kishen Advani on his Pakistan visit had termed him as a secular leader.
Jinnah's posters in Kashmir also quote him having said Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. 'Qaid-e-Azam ne farmaya Kashmir Pakistan ke shah rag hai'.
The downtown in Srinagar, where most posters can be found even two months after the seminar was organised, has remained a separatist bastion. When insurgency broke out in Kashmir, people in the Srinagar uptown and most areas of Kashmir used to have pro-freedom sentiments while the ones in downtown had pro-Pakistan sentiments.
However, after the moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq's changed attitude in addressing the Kashmir issue, people in downtown, who have always remained loyal to the Mirwaiz family, have started to shed their pro-Pakistan outlook though they see Mirwaiz as the Jinnah of Kashmir hoping he could fetch a solution of the Kashmir imbroglio and end a spate of nearly two decades of violence in the state.
The elderly people in downtown till date remember the speech Jinnah delivered at the Muslim Park outside the historic Jamia Masjid. The Park today has become a fish market and is illegally occupied by the vendors.
Email Faisul Yaseen: faisulyaseen @gmail.com