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Pakistan’s flawed understanding of Kashmir

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By: Muhammad Mazhar

Following abrogation of Article 370, that granted a special status to then state of Jammu and Kashmir within Indian Union, Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, on September 27, 2019, roared in United Nations General Assembly, saying “when curfew is lifted in Kashmir, there will be a bloodbath.”

Khan alleged that Prime Minister Modi was furthering the agenda of RSS in Kashmir and termed the organisation “a group inspired by Nazi.”

“It is an organisation inspired by Hitler and Mussolini. They believe in racial purity and superiority. They believe they are an Aryan race,” Khan said.

On Article 370, Khan said that “India violated the resolutions of the UN Security Council, the Simla Agreement and went against its own constitution”.

Khan said that Kashmiris will not accept the abrogation of Article 370 and “they will react”.

“When the curfew is lifted, people of Kashmir will come out. And when they come out, the soldiers there will fire at them and it will be a bloodbath,” Khan warned.

Nearly one year down the line, there is no curfew, no restrictions (except those regarding Covid-19), most of the political leaders have been released but there is no “blood bath.”

Being a Kashmiri myself, I can’t have breakfast before scanning through the web editions of all newspapers being published from Jammu and Kashmir, particularly Srinagar, which I dream to visit one day.

Unlike 2008, 2010 and 2016 there have been no protests and no killings in Kashmir post August 05, 2019. That doesn’t mean that Kashmiris endorsed what BJP-led Government of India did on August 05, but it definitely indicates one thing that Kashmiris, fortunately, have finally decided not to die on instigations of Pakistan or its Prime Minister.

At the same time, Prime Minister Khan’s statement exposes his government’s flawed understanding of Kashmir situation. Wherefrom Imran Khan got the idea of “blood bath” in Kashmir? It surely would have been fed to him by all those stooges who operate in Kashmir on the behest of our country’s spy agencies. These agencies have, all along, been of the opinion that they can make Kashmiris to dance to their tunes to settle their score with Indian state.

Now, some people will argue that there were strict curbs imposed post August 05 and that is why Kashmiris didn’t come out. While it could be argued that deployment of unprecedented security forces was a deterrent to the imagined protests (by PM Khan), those who have been watching Kashmir post 1990 know well that Kashmiris have never given a fig to such deployments when they decide to come to the streets.

Some drawing-room experts in Pakistan started suggesting that India’s unilateral decision will give flip to militancy and more and more Kashmiri youth would opt for violence but that theory too got punctured. There has been more than 40% dip in local recruitment in militant ranks and a dip of 55% in militancy related incidents in Kashmir post-August 05, 2019. In fact, the Indian armed forces have neutralized much more militants during past almost one year.

The reports pouring in from Indian side of Kashmir indicate that Pakistan government is pumping in drugs into Kashmir to sustain its proxy war. It is shameful. I am a Kashmiri, I would love to see Jammu and Kashmir as an independent identity on globe but that never means that me, and thousands and thousands people like me would remain silent when Pakistan establishment is hell bent on dismantling the basic concept of Kashmiriyat.

How flawed Pakistan’s Kashmir understanding had been could be gauged by a very simple fact about SAS Geelani’s quitting Hurriyat Conference. Pakistan establishment invested a lot in Geelani because he was an unapologetic proponent of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Pakistan used its proxies to eliminate leaders like Molvi Muhammad Farooq (father of Mirwaiz Umar), Qazi Nissar, Abdul Gani Lone and others to ensure a free run to Geelani.

Geelani too obliged the Pakistan establishment by calling strike calls, protests etc to keep the pot boiling. However, post August 05, he too went into oblivion. His supporters may argue that because he was under house arrest, he couldn’t mobilize public. But there is a question – wasn’t he under house arrest when he mobilized 2010 and 2016 protests? So what changed post August 05, 2019?

It is for the first time that calls for “Black Day” and protests are coming from Muzaffarabad. Does it indicate that Pakistan has virtually lost its so called “constituency” in Indian part of Kashmir?

Our brethren in Indian side of Kashmir have sacrificed a lot. They did so to protect their unique identity and culture. And what did Pakistan do? It targeted the basics of their culture – the culture of Sufi-ism. It introduced guns and drugs and used its proxies to justify these evils in the name of Islam. Pity!

I wish my countrymen in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and in Jammu and Kashmir understand the nefarious designs of Pakistan establishment. Pakistan is licking the wounds of Bangladesh defeat and is using Kashmiris as cannon fodder to score its points with India. How long would Kashmiris continue to suffer?

  • The author hails from Muzaffarabad and is presently based in Karachi.

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