Redefining Kashmir, Pakistan – and India
former Pakistani foreign secretary Najamuddin Shiekh … said that Kashmir problem should be discussed and the back channel negotiation is a best option for resolving the decades-old issue but at the moment no one can say that Pakistan and India could make any progress to chalk out a plan for resolving the Kashmir issue.
Media reports suggested that the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP, India’s main opposition party, on Wednesday blamed the Indian government of setting up a “clandestine Kashmir agreement” with Pakistan.
During Indian Parliament Lok Sabha proceedings, BJP leader LK Advani blamed Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of organizing for a “clandestine” deal with Pakistan for secession of Indian- controlled Kashmir in the name of granting it autonomy. (via Talks between Pakistan and India face hurdles).
For many decades now, it has been article of faith with India to deny negotiations with Pakistan on Kashmir. India repeatedly asserts that Indo-Pak talks must be de-linked from Kashmir. A report in Times of India says.
“We cannot de-link regional peace from peace in Kashmir. we have highlighted this thinking in the world and will keep projecting it,” he said. Describing Kashmir as the “jugular vein” of Pakistan, the president said: “soon the time will come when the world will take important decisions regarding Kashmir”.
In yet another interview with an Indian TV channel, it was Pervez Musharraf, who was tom-tomming Kashmir. He said “I would like to put forward my hope, my hope being we reach peace, we reach an accord on Kashmir, that is my hope.” Similarly, it is the Pakistan’s Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said “New Delhi should engage itself in talks to resolve the Kashmir issue.”
Time magazine reports,
The buzz in New Delhi foreign policy circles is that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wants peace with Pakistan to be the crowning achievement of his second term in office — just as the U.S.-India civilian nuclear deal was in the first. Pakistan, meanwhile, is looking for a settlement of its long fight with India over Kashmir, something that the U.S. believes is a key to long-term stability in the region, especially Afghanistan. (via India-Pakistan Talks: New Diplomacy on Kashmir, Terror? – TIME).
Setting the record straight
I wonder why India is always on the defensive when it comes to Kashmir. Indian diplomacy behaves as a thief who is caught in the act. A few base assumptions are in order: –
- It was India that was partitioned – and Pakistan is an of-shoot of India. This partition was based on a tall claim made by some Muslim leaders that Muslims would be better taken care of by a separate Muslim State, ruled by Muslims.
- India, reluctantly, agreed to this false claim and logic. Pakistan better deliver on that – sooner rather than later. Indian Muslims in Pakistan, and the ‘muhajirs’ who emigrated, had little choice, and have suffered – immensely. Pakistani leadership is responsible for the same. Otherwise, Pakistan’s has no reason to exist.
- It is India which is responsible for de-colonization – and Pakistan did not even exist. It was Jinnah who said that he, his secretary and a type writer got Pakistan from India. Let us take Jinnah’s statement at its face value. Good for you. Now deliver.
- For more than 5000 years, it is India which has taken care of people living in the modern definition of South Asia. India has agreed to include Kashmir in the Indian Union – and a few thousand ‘jihadis’ can change that.
- If Pakistan has some part of Kashmir, it is fully accountable – to India, the people of India. Every Kashmiri life is a responsibility of the Indian Government – whether it is governed by Pakistan or India.
- It is time that Pakistan is called to account – for every Kashmiri who is uncared for, has been left behind. It is time that India sets deadlines for Kashmir – and Pakistan must accept and meet those deadlines.
Kashmiris are Indians. No discussions, questions or arguments there.
An enigma, inside a puzzle wrapped in a mystery …
Kashmir remains an interesting complication – from a historical perspective. It was Muslim majority – so Pakistan could take a technical refuge under the Indian actions in Junagadh and Hyderabad. Since, it had a Muslim majority, Pakistan could lay claim to it.
In Kashmir, the Hindu king wanted to remain independent – and then changed his mind – and decided to join India. Popular leaders of Kashmir, like Sheikh Abdullah, also wanted Kashmir to be a part of India. Since, it had a Muslim majority, Pakistan wanted Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan. There was only one glitch.
The popular leader of Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah refused to even meet up with Pakistani leaders. He wished for an autonomous Kashmir as a part of India. Pakistan, of course, disputes, if the Sheikh Abdullah represented the popular leadership of Kashmir. So, while all these discussions were going on, the Pakistani Government and Army, which still had a significant British component, decided to invade Kashmir. Thus, Kashmir was an issue that was created by British commanders of Indian and Pakistani armies – in 1948. Mountbatten was the Governor General of India at that time.
The Indian Government and Army, headed by Earl Mountbatten, at the invitation of Nehru, messed up this situation.British generals, Roy Bucher (India) and Douglas Gracey (Pakistan) were the commanders-in-chief, succeeding generals Rob Lockhart and Frank Messervy, respectively. Pakistan occupied half of Kashmir. India rushed to the UN – a mistake. UN asked both armies to freeze – which they did. And there they remain – frozen from 1948. All in all, the Kashmir issue is colonial detritus – which both India and Pakistan have not been able to jettison.
History told, let us get on with what needs to be done.
Good cop … bad cop routine – a two-step tango
A patronizing Milliband visited India and his remarks which must have gladdened many a jihadi hearts. A few days after 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, Condoleeza Rice came calling. Her remarks must have made a few jihadi hearts go black with rage.
Lets us not fall for this dumb games …
This is a good ‘ole’ good-cop-bad-cop routine. India and Pakistan would be dumb to fall for this. We should stop wasting time in engaging with these terminally declining societies. We must get up and get going.
Little choice there.
It costs Arundhati Roy nothing, sitting comfortably on her half-a-million royalty, with her fangs deep into Indian media, to suggest that India consign another 2 crore (twenty million) Kashmiris into the Pakistani hell. Based on terrorist activities of some 2000 jihadis.
If a client state of the US is fomenting terrorism, by using about 4000-5000 people does not mean that the Indian State will shove nearly 25 million Kashmiris into Pakistani maw.
Kashmiris first paid a price for Britain’s imperial designs. Now, this time, Kashmiri-Indians are paying a price, all over again, for US policy failures?
The US misadventure into Afghanistan follows the earlier US decision to convert Peshawar into an arms bazaar. The entire Afghan-Pakistani tribal area has become a battle ground for a civil war. If the US is serious about Pakistan and Afghanistan, let them just leave the sub-continent. Stop playing off one against the other. Pakistan too, needs to grow up. They need to get out of the US orbit.
We can and will solve our problems.
Let’s do the numbers
Indian police has a superb network of ‘humint.’ But, they need more than that – for neutralizing terror.
There are finally less than 1000 SIMI + HuJI activists who could be future terrorists. There are a similar 1000 Kashmiri terrorists. What India needs to do, is to set up a national database on these 1000 suspects – allot (say) teams of 5 policemen each to these 1000 suspects.
Monitoring the activities of the 1000 suspects cannot be a national pastime. With neural networks and similar ‘intelligent’ systems, India police should be able to improve their ‘intelligence.’
Worse than Kumbhakaran …
It is said in the Ramayana that Kumbhakaran woke up twice a year to eat and drink. And went back to sleep promptly after his eating and drinking.
The Abdullah clan is not worried about Kashmiris in POK. The Muftis could not care less. The Indian Government, all our political parties (in alphabetical order – BJP, Communists, Congress, Kashmiri political outfits) seem to doing one better. In the last 25 years, I have never heard a squeak from anyone about the state of Indians under the Pakistani heel.
Or is it Pakistani hell.