February 14, 2008

Why Kashmir has failed Pakistan

Thursday, 14 February , 2008, 02:00

Maloy Krishna Dhar started life off as a junior reporter for Amrita Bazaar Patrika in Calcutta and a part-time lecturer. He joined the Indian Police Service in 1964 and was permanently seconded to the Intelligence Bureau.

During his long stint in the Bureau, Dhar saw action in almost all Northeastern states, Sikkim, Punjab and Kashmir. He also handled delicate internal political and several counterintelligence assignments. After retiring in 1996 as joint director, he took to freelance journalism and writing books. Titles credited to him are Open Secrets-India's Intelligence Unveiled, Fulcrum of Evil — ISI, CIA, al-Qaeda Nexus, and Mission to Pakistan. Maloy is considered a top security analyst and a social scientist who tries to portray Indian society through his writings.

Pakistan shed more shady tears by observing Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5. A national holiday was declared by the government as a sop to the Kashmiri people.

The government and political leaders reassured the people of Kashmir of continued political, moral, and diplomatic support. Prime Minister Mohammed Soomro’s message was read out in the PoK assembly, which lamented presence of 70,000 Indian troops and atrocities on the Kashmiri people. A solitary dissenting Pakistan People’s Party voice in the Azad Jammu & Kashmir assembly asked the Speaker why Pakistan had failed to accord full democratic rights to the people of Azad Kashmir. He was obviously silenced.

In Pakistan, dissent is a crime. It is hoped that dissenting Indian Kashmiris have taken note of this Islamicised democratic practice in Pakistan. Obviously, some have and some have not. While the people in the Kashmir Valley ignored the day, Moulana Abbas Ansari of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (Mirwaiz) emphasised the importance of February 5 and thanked the Pakistan government for continuing support to the Kashmiris.

Pakistan’s linchpin Syed Ali Shah Gilani and the deceptively soft Shabir Shah addressed a teleconference organised by the Jammat-ud-Dawa, formerly Jammat Dawa-ul-Irshad, and the fountainhead of Lashkar-e-Toiba (1992) and revived Harkat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (1993). They pleaded for invigorating the Azad-Kashmir struggle.

The world capitals recognise Jamaat-ud Daawa as a breeding ground of jihadi groups. The government of India, as usual, feigned like three monkeys of Gandhi - not seeing and hearing any evil. A dumb government does not speak.

President Musharraf also lent his voice to the issue. “We remain engaged in a sincere, sustained, and purposeful dialogue with India on Kashmir. We believe that with sincerity, courage, and flexibility, we can achieve a solution to the long-standing Kashmir dispute.” Like most geopolitical occupiers, Musharraf did not require genuine emotion and conviction to reassure the people of Kashmir. The clich├ęs, occasional supply of resources, weapons, and jihadi fodders are good enough to tell the people of Kashmir that Pakistan would fight its holy war on the soil of Indian Kashmir and at the cost of their blood, home, and hearth.

Besides the official expression of solidarity by the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam), a pocket borough of Musharraf, Nazria Pakistan Foundation, Kashmir Action Committee, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Kashmir Centre, and the APHC (Pak) observed the day with public rallies, seminars, and minor demonstrations.

However, discordant voices were heard from Jamait-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed. He demanded resignation of Musharraf over ‘failed’ Kashmir policy. “Quran, ambition of martyrdom and jihad are our powers for success,” he declared.

Musharraf was also denounced by Ghulam Muhammad Safi, convenor, Tehreek-i-Hurriyat Kashmir, and former Law Minister Syed Iqbal Haider for failing to deliver Kashmir.

However, the most interesting development was the first ever demonstration before the Pakistan army’s general headquarters by retired generals including Mirza Aslam Beg, Assad Durrani, Faiz Ali Chisti, Ali Quli Khan, Jamshed Gulzar Kiyani, and Salim Haider and others.

Dubbing Musharraf as an unconstitutional head of state, they demanded snapping of ties with the West. President Musharraf, they alleged, had antagonised all the Islamic and jihadi groups ever ready to fight India. Once the pro-US policy is abandoned, the jihadi tanzeems would cease fighting the domestic government and focus on Indian held Kashmir.

The first-ever show should not be seen as a gimmick. The retired generals exert influence on serving officers and the ISI and are capable of turning popular view in favour of the jihadi tanzeems. Observers believe that Pakistan army and the ISI are not keen to fight Al Qaeda and Taliban. They want to harness these forces against Indian targets and expand sphere of influence in Afghanistan. Musharraf might have to bow down to these demands despite contrary US pressure. Else, he may have to go.

However, saner elements in Pakistan understand that neither Islam nor Kashmir is the ideological and spiritual glue that can save Pakistan, the humpty-dumpty of modern history, from the great fall. Not all the military and material help of the US and China can provide sustainability to the near-failed state.

Pakistan continues to tumble towards immediate danger of intensive internal crisis and disintegration. The Al Qaeda and Taliban operations inside major cities of Pakistan and many pockets in Federally Administered Tribal Areas, North West Frontier Province, Punjab, and Sindh are disintegrating the civil society. Fundamentalist incursions have started eroding faith of the people in the capability of the state to protect them.

Major jihadi tanzeems continue to rule over areas like Peshawar, Quetta, Darra Adam Khel, Charsadda, and other areas in Swat, Bajaur and tribal pockets in South and North Waziristan. These forces are consolidating operations in the hinterland areas. The Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan continues to fight the armed forces.

Darra town has been splashed with pamphlets warning government employees to quit their jobs. Taliban militants were observed in the Tora Cheena area, located on the Teerah side of Darra Adam Khel. These Taliban fighters belong to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and disillusioned jihadis from Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e- Mohammad.

The outlawed Jhangvi activists were suspected to be involved in the Lal Masjid and Lahore, Rawalpindi and Charsadda bomb blasts. Pakistan has admitted that Al Qaeda, Taliban and Jhangvi leadership had trained over 50 suicide bombers to attack military and civilian targets.

The Jundullah, created by the mastermind of 9/11 Muhammad Omar Sheikh, continue to carry out jihadi attacks against government targets in Sindh and Punjab. The outfit is now led by Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and Tahir Yuldashev, head of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

The jihadi mujahideen groups are now targeting bigger cities across the country. Outfits like the Al Badr, Lashkar-e-Toiba, and Jaish-e-Mohammad etc are also active in the NWFP, Waziristan and some of these elements are now reported to be on the payrolls of Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, the Taliban supremo. Balochistan is fighting its own war of independence. The northern areas (part of J&K) are seething with discontent and active resistance against ISI highhandedness.

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and subsequent uncertainty about restoration of democracy and stability genuinely worries saner elements in Pakistan. Surrounded by worsening internal turmoil and threat of disintegration, the Pakistani ruling elite can hardly dream about annexation of Indian Kashmir.

Najam Sethi, editor of The Daily Times has aptly commented, “The ‘cause’ of Kashmir has transformed the region in which India and Pakistan are located. Early lineaments of Pakistani nationalism were created by the ‘unfinished business’ of Kashmir, forcing it to become a revisionist state in the Cold War era, compelling it to fight four wars with India when it should have been consolidating its early success in economic development. Because of this burden of facing up to India, Pakistan became a national security state dominated by the army which overthrew elected governments, protesting breach of national security. Military rulers rode the crest of Pakistan’s textbook nationalism to arm-twist politicians and divide them against one another.” (Daily Times February 6, 2008. )

Pakistan has continued with its ‘deniable proxy-war’ in Kashmir and is trying to export jihadi attacks in the hinterland. Sabotage and subvert loyalties of the Indian Muslims by establishing jihadi tanzeem cells in vulnerable pockets is another objective of the ISI.

What right Pakistan does Pakistan have to incite the Muslims of India when it cannot take care of its own citizens? Does it want Indian Muslims to share the miseries of Pakistani Muslims? Indian Muslims are Indians first, and religious fanaticism alone cannot mislead them to the Pakistani trap of another ‘partition dream.’

Pakistan should strive to defend its present geopolitical boundary by stabilising its internal affairs. It should stop shedding shady tears for the Kashmiris and like of Gilani and Shabir should not commit the mistake of earning the distinction of another ‘muhajir’ group in Pakistan.

A Pakistan that cannot manage its affairs should cease dreaming that it is the custodian of Muslim interest in the subcontinent and that it is a part of the Middle East.

Pakistan is returning to the medieval ages using religion, jihad and open and secret wars for the survival of its armed forces, not survival of the people of Pakistan. Jihadi fervour is disintegrating Pakistan.

Every country has an army. In Pakistan, the army has a country. The inefficient army should give up the Cold War syndrome and wake up to the reality that Kashmir cannot be won by war.

Kashmir has got stuck in the oesophagus of Pakistan. When would Pakistan take out the stuck Kashmir herringbone and allow the country to reconstruct its national identity?

Since 1947, Pakistanis have had a State. They should now have a Nation. It’s high time they had one, at least by emulating Indian success.

The author can be reached at maloy_d@hotmail.com

The views expressed in the article are of the author’s and not of Sify.com.

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