The respect we expect in and out of Prison was missing: Shah Faisal

“I did not want to wait for a lifetime to build trust that we are well-wishers of this place”

Srinagar, Aug 13 (KNS):Shah Faisal- Bureacrate turned Politician and President of J&K People’s Movement who quit politics in an interview with KNS said that Kashmir faced a new political reality, and he did not want to show “unrealistic dreams” to people when he had no power to change it.

Excerpts from the Interview

KNS: Your decision to quit the IAS and form a political party was seen as a bold move at the time which attracted many people particularly youngsters towards your party for your clean image. Even you promised to provide an electoral alternative to people. So why have you quit politics?

SF: For politics, you need to place a vision before the people. But August 5 was such a watershed moment in our history that everything changed forever. What we had envisaged that time is no longer relevant and there is a new political reality at hand.
As you said there were a lot of expectations and I have realized that I can't fulfil those expectations. I am too small a person to alter the course of history and I don’t want to give false hope to people.

KNS: After the formation of JKPM, you promised change, possibly the kind which the established parties and the civil service you were part of were not capable of providing? Did you fail to bring the change?

SF: Times changed. And the change was so humongous that it went beyond us. I realized I short accept my limitations and not take people down the garden path.
People should appreciate my honesty and humility and allow me to move on.

KNS: Will you return to civil service?

SF: As of now I have left politics. But I have no idea where will I go from here. I am ready to embrace life as it comes.

KNS: Do you want to rewind the clock and choose your decisions wisely?

SF: Yes, to be honest, we evolve with time and some choices that we made could always have been made differently. We make mistakes and we learn. Such is life.

KNS: You had announced the decision to resign from the IAS in a Facebook post in January 2019 to protest against “unabated killings” in Kashmir and the “marginalisation of Indian Muslims”. Has Government corrected acts which became your reason for resignation?

SF: I realized that my resignation has done more harm than good. Many students who wanted to appear in civil services felt discouraged. My colleagues felt let down. Across India, a wrong message went that I am an anti-national. I had never imagined it that way.

KNS: Did anything change in you in Jail as a person? Did you make up your mind to quit politics in jail or during house arrest at home?

SF: Yes I made up my mind there. I took time and looked back at my life and at the new domestic and geopolitical realities. I realized that I had not made the correct choice. I was doing something very meaningful as part of the system. Now I was neither doing any good nor did I have any idea where was I going to lead people in the midst of the new political change.

KNS: There are rumours on social media about your appointment as Advisor to LG. if it is offered to you, will you join?

SF: I have absolutely no idea about this.

KNS: “I realised that at the end of the day you are all alone. It’s your family that suffers the most while ironically those for whom you seem to be standing up are drawing a sadistic pleasure out of your misery. Detention gave me the clarity of mind that I belong somewhere else. That I can’t destroy my life for those who won’t even cry for me (Sic)” Do you stand by the quote reported by Indian Express? Has Syed Ali Geelani, a separatist leader who has been in house arrest from more than a decade right to say the same? What is your take on this as common Kashmiri?

SF: I can't compare myself to other leaders. I did get a lot of love from people. And I never expected anyone will cry or protest for us. But while in and out of prison we did expect some respect, yes. The acknowledgement that we are well-wishers of this place. That respect I found missing and I didn’t want to wait for a lifetime to build that trust. Because we know in a conflict zone even a lifetime is not enough for building trust.(KNS)  

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