Top ten Sri Lankan cricketers have refused to play T20 series in Pakistan owing to security reasons, yet Pakistan was unabashed in going to the UNHRC complaining about India’s human rights violations in the ‘Indian State’ of Jammu and Kashmir. It may be underscored that the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi emphasized on ‘Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir’ during his interaction with the media at Geneva.
Mr Qureshi may well be reminded that 48 years ago in 1971, India provided succour to 10 million refugees, victims of atrocities in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) by the Punjabi dominated Pak military.
10 years ago, in March 2009, the Sri Lankan cricket team came under attack by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorists while they were on the way to Gaddafi stadium in Lahore. Six players were wounded. Between 2009 and 2019, the terror narrative in Pakistan has only worsened.
Even as the Pakistan foreign minister was in Geneva an article ‘Revisiting our Gilgit-Baltistan policy’ appeared in the Pakistani daily ‘Dawn’, authored by one Afzal Ali Shigri, a citizen of Gilgit-Baltistan. Mr Shigri is a former Inspector General of Police of the Sind province of Pakistan. The tenor of the article is cautionary as well as a piece of remonstration and castigation of Pakistani authorities. He warns that following the abrogation of Article 370, India would make strategic moves to acquire POK. It is another matter that Pakistan doesn’t consider Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) as part of so-called Azad Kashmir. It may be underscored that Gilgit-Baltistan is six times the size of Azad Kashmir.
Mr Shigri warns that if GB is lost, the glaciers feeding into the Indus River would also become Indian possessions, thus depriving Pakistan of valuable water resource. Consequently the gateway to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will also become untenable. Gilgit-Baltistan is blessed with three of the world’s longest glaciers outside the polar region. Nature has also bestowed the region with five peaks, which are more than 8000 meters high, and more than 50 peaks that are above 7000 meters.
Subsequently Mr Shigri hits out at Pakistan for lack of political accommodation of GB in the mainstream.
Mr Shigri laments that for six decades GB was directly administered by Pakistan government. Finally in 2009, half-hearted reach out was made by way of ‘GB Empowerment and Self-Governing Order’. It was a sham because the legislature that came into being following the order had very little rather advisory role. Then the Local Council Assembly demanded Provincial Status. What GB got in return was ‘GB Order 2018’, which further eroded the autonomy by vesting powers in the PM to legislate 68 subjects. The 2018 Order was challenged and the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared it ‘null and void’. Further the SC ordered in January this year that the 2018 Order be replaced by a ‘Proposed Order 2019’ of the Imran Khan government. The same has not been implemented and the timeline has expired.
Significantly, Mr Shigri says that ‘GB continues to be governed by invalid legal instrument’. He has urged the Pakistan government to immediately remove the opaque governance of GB and substitute with a transparent one, failing which there will be consequences on national security and foreign relations.
Mr Qureshi also urged the UNHRC to prevail upon India to stop the use of pellet guns. He failed to mention the use of fighter aircraft, tanks and artillery guns in Balochistan and FATA…
The foreign minister of Pakistan Mr Qureshi appealed at Geneva that he was knocking the doors of the forum against India because it was the repository of world conscience. Mr Qureshi may well be reminded that 48 years ago in 1971, India provided succour to 10 million refugees, victims of atrocities in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) by the Punjabi dominated Pak military. India was then just a 24 year old republic and its GDP at that time was just $120 billion (approximately) at current rates. Today, India has a GDP of $2,972 billion (approximately). Another one million refugees crossed into Myanmar, giving rise to several problems unresolved till today. Two countries thus suffered or continue to suffer because of Pakistani atrocities. Pakistan never bother about world conscience with regard to Balochistan, during Zarb-e-Azb in FATA and in NWFP, now Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa (KP). No sooner Pakistan was created, Balochistan was invaded by the Pakistan military in 1948 and in the same year more 600 unarmed Pashtun were massacred in KP by the Pakistani security forces. The mass shooting known as Babrra massacre was ordered by the then Chief Minister Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri. These events reveal the artificiality of the Pakistani nation, predicated on hatred and violence.
Mr Qureshi at the UNHRC also said that countries should not be guided by political, economic and parochial considerations in judging India. In the calculations of Pakistan, the economic considerations outweighed all political and diplomatic arguments when it embarked on construction of Mirpur Dam in POK, the seventh largest dam in the world, in 1961. About 300 villages were submerged and an estimated 1.5 lakh people were displaced. Many of them were given work permits by Britain. Today there are nearly one million Mirpuris in UK, masquerading as Kashmiris. They are an important vote-bank in British politics. Much of the British affection for Pakistan on Kashmir issue can be attributed to this vote-bank. It was the parochial considerations of Pakistan that it changed the identity of GB to Northern Areas in 1970, restored in 2009.
Mr Qureshi also urged the UNHRC to prevail upon India to stop the use of pellet guns. He failed to mention the use of fighter aircraft, tanks and artillery guns in Balochistan and FATA during Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which means the ‘Sword of Mohammad’’. Also he alluded to the Kashmir Valley as the largest prison in the world. He again failed to mention that the largest prison of Shias, Ahamedis, Mohajirs, Balochis, Sindhis and Pashtuns is in the Pakistani State.
Ummah is a concept of brotherhood of all Muslims in the world. In brotherhood, a brother donates blood to his brother but in reality for last 1400 years of Islamic history, brothers have been spilling blood of brothers. Kashmir Valley is no exception.
General Bajwa on the eve of Defence and Martyrs Day of Pakistan said that Kashmir issue is an unfinished agenda of partition. He further said that the heart of Pakistanis and Kashmiris beat in unison, and Pakistan will not leave the Kashmiris to suffer. If Kashmir is the ‘unfinished’ agenda, was East Pakistan a ‘burdensome’ agenda of partition? Was East Pakistan an illegitimate part of Pakistan? Half the population of Pakistan forced a divorce from its Western Part and yet Gen Bajwa talks about affinity with Kashmiri population.
Pakistan has unsuccessfully tried to conflate Article-370 with Ummah and OIC. PPP senator Raza Rabbani said that the Ummah bubble has burst and Pakistan must leave OIC. This is the most sensible statement made by any Pakistani politician after abrogation of Article-370. The fact of the matter is that Ummah is a concept of brotherhood of all Muslims in the world. In brotherhood, a brother donates blood to his brother but in reality for last 1400 years of Islamic history, brothers have been spilling blood of brothers. Kashmir Valley is no exception.
Considering that the Islamic history is full of internecine bloodshed, what is the relevance of Ummah or Caliphate? Why so much emphasis on unreal ancient construct? When Islam was confined to Arab, its motivation and relevance can be understood because they had a common language, tradition and culture. A single caliph was acceptable. But, as Islam spread, Muslims evolved in different ways. Their culture, language and history evolved in a way, which had no resemblance to the Arabs. This is the basic conflict in the Islamic World, wherein religion spitted against culture or pre-Islamic past.
The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) met the US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pak Affairs, Ervin Massinga, and conveyed their concern on India’s ‘annexation of Kashmir’. Unfortunately, some Indian Muslim organizations also came out in support of Article-370. Some of these organizations are Jamait-e-Ulema Hind, Jamait-e-Islami, Markaz-i-Jamaat, and Ahle Hadith Hind. Muslims of Rajasthani culture, Gujrati culture, Bengali culture etc. have every right to speak about Muslims of their respective cultures, but have no locus standi to speak on Muslims of Kashmiri culture. On the other hand, Kashmiri Hindus have every right to be concerned about Kashmiri Muslims. It may be underscored that Kashmiriyat is more than 1400 years old.
The unfortunate part is that Kashmiri leaders have made abrogation of Article-370 a Muslim issue, Muslim organizations in India have made it a Muslim issue, and Pakistan has made it is Muslim issue.
The unfortunate part is that Kashmiri leaders have made abrogation of Article-370 a Muslim issue, Muslim organizations in India have made it a Muslim issue, and Pakistan has made it is Muslim issue. Is this clamour a subterfuge to demand the birth right of Kashmiri Muslims to rule over Jammu and Ladakh or their right to turn the state into a caliphate? Is it a Muslim issue or about conflict between wahabaisation and Indianization? Is it an issue about Indian Muslims or about Pakistanization of Jammu and Kashmir?
The city of Lahore is suffused with references and imagery of Alama Iqbal, but in Takshila, there is no official memory of Chanakya. The remnants of the great university of Takshila are still there in KP. One such structure is there in the village called Mohra Muradu. This village of 200 inhabitants still retains the quest of knowledge even after 2500 years. The village boasts of several academicians. The Takshila university offered 63 courses, which included Vedas, Astronomy, philosophy, surgery, politics, warfare, commerce and performing arts. The legacy of this university and Chanakya has been killed by Pakistan only because it belongs to the pre-Islamic history and because Chanakya was a ‘Hindu’.
Aitzaz Ahsan in his book ‘Indus Saga and the making of Pakistan’ writes: “A nation in denial of its national identity is unfortunate, but when it chooses to adopt an extra-territorial identity, it becomes a prisoner or propaganda and myths. If Pakistan is come out of its tortuous identity, it needs to non-Muslim history as its own”.
The challenge before the Indian State is to purge the dirty influence of Pakistani brand of Islam from Kashmir, and reclaim Kashmiriyat.
Somewhere in 2nd century BC, there was one king Sudarshan, who ruled Kashmir. He had three sons, who were dimwitted. They were obdurate to any direct methods to teaching. It is then that the king approached Pandit Vishnu Sharma to devise some method my which they could be taught statecraft, diplomacy, governance, administration etc. This was the impetus for the book ‘Panchtantra’. The stories are based on animal characters, who communicate in human language. The stories have a powerful underline lessons and messages. Panchtantra travelled all over the world. When you abandon history and your ancestors, what you get in return is jihad and stone-pelters.
The challenge before the Indian State is to purge the dirty influence of Pakistani brand of Islam from Kashmir, and reclaim Kashmiriyat. To insulate the Valley from Pakistan, certain inconvenient measures and initiatives are necessary. These initiatives will have to be therefore unprecedented, imaginary, multi-faceted and without any stipulations of time.