Geopolitics

August-05: Pakistan’s Bangladesh Moment
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 06 Dec , 2019

A former Pakistani diplomat, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, in his article ‘Whatever it takes’ in www.dawn.com on 02-December-2019, has poured his anguish, agony and anxiety about post-370 abrogation Pakistan, ironically, not India. Qazi’s article deserves serious analysis and consideration since he served as Ambassador in US, India and China, the three key determinants of destiny of Pakistan.

Qazi, oscillates between hope and despair. He pins his hope on jihadism in Kashmir – which he reckons – India will never be able to contain…

In the wake of abrogation of Article-370, and territorial reconfiguration of J&K, Qazi, in his capacity of Pakistan citizen – in a way interrogates himself and the people of Pakistan. He wonders, whether India has committed a strategic blunder in Kashmir? Then Qazi poses the question whether India’s decision with regard to Kashmir is fait accompli or still reversible? He also ponders whether Pakistan has finally lost the Kashmir cause internationally? How long jihadism will sustain in Kashmir? These are the ominous questions that are tearing the Pakistani society. Pakistanis are in shock. It can also be averred from the article that there is an agenda to create a strong lobby within India to contest abrogation of Article-370 and strive for its restoration at Pakistan’s bidding.

Meanwhile, a sustained and massive diplomatic offensive would be launched to wean the international community.

Qazi, oscillates between hope and despair. He pins his hope on jihadism in Kashmir – which he reckons – India will never be able to contain, but at the same time, he professes that the international community will side with India, because of the geopolitical situation, which favours India and will pay more dividends to the West. Under such circumstances, he subtly advocates that Pakistan should continue to keep the LoC hot and also compel India to commit ‘genocide’ and then wait for the international tide to turn in Pakistan’s favour.

For the moment the big challenge for Pakistan dispensation is to how to pacify the people, how to package their ‘constraints’ for consumption. Pakistani citizens cannot escape the feeling that if the Pakistani state could abandon the Kashmiri Muslims in India – then why not Balochis, Sindhis, and Pashtuns – also fellow Muslims – who together constitute Pakistan in the name of Islam? Why should they rely on the Pakistani state or the Pakistani military? How can the military then safeguard the Azad Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (PoK)?

Qazi laments that it is because of Jihad in Kashmir that Pakistan has remained a ‘security state’ at the cost of being a ‘development state’.

Qazi believes that India’s interference in PoK will now be intense and the West will be accomplice in that. How much can Pakistan after all rely on China, which just wishes China-Pakistan ‘territorial contiguity’ to strengthen and flourish in deference to CPEC. Qazi also believes that the present dispensation in India will change the very face of Kashmiri leadership and will liquidate the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC). Meanwhile, Qazi avers that the US and China will ensure that there is no Indo-Pakistan clash, especially nuclear clash between the two countries.

Qazi reiterates that Pakistan has steadfastly maintained that Kashmir is its ‘jugular vein’ and will defend it till its last breath, because Pakistan cannot live without Kashmir, just as Pakistan cannot survive without the waters that flow from India.

Significantly, Qazi then laments that it is because of Jihad in Kashmir that Pakistan has remained a ‘security state’ at the cost of being a ‘development state’.

Consequently, Pakistan was robbed of peace, development and democracy, and  statehood suffered in the process.

Qazi exhorts the Pakistani dispensation that if it cannot counter India’s constitutional moves in Kashmir, it must explicitly convey so to the people of Pakistan. It must admit that it does not have the means, military and economic to do so. It must admit then that like East Pakistan in 1971, Pakistan has also lost Kashmir. If these be the admissions, then Pakistan finally must accept that it is a ‘failed state’ without any moral foundations and without future.

Qazi further maintains that there are no risk free options in Kashmir. Qazi does not shy from the nuclear blackmail, he professes that if nuclear weapons are deterrence for conventional war then this deterrence must cover Kashmir as well.

Pakistan has lost the jihadi proxy war in Kashmir, however it will not accept defeat even if it means destruction. It will invent new ways like ‘samudri jihad’ on the lines of 26/11…

Finally Qazi concludes that Indian constitutional move in Kashmir does not merely pose military and diplomatic challenge to Pakistan, but strikes at the very existence of the country.

Pakistan, he declares is confronted with an ‘existential challenge’.

From the article certain deductions and prognosis is in order:-

•  Till now various Pakistani dispensations deluded themselves and were convinced that the ownership of Article-370 in the Indian Constitution and the J&K Constitution was with Pakistan. This ownership was extended to Pakistan by ‘less than nationalist’ dispensations in India and supported by a powerful pro-Pak constituency.

•  Pakistan has lost the jihadi proxy war in Kashmir, however it will not accept defeat even if it means destruction. It will invent new ways like ‘samudri jihad’ on the lines of 26/11. When Mr Siddhu was embracing Gen Bajwa for the Kartarpur Corridor outreach, both JeM and LeT were frantically training their cadres in samudri jihad. Some of these cadres as per media reports have already infiltrated through the Tamil Nadu coast.

•  Pakistan will create and activate all possible leverages against India. It will make unabashed truck with Maoists and other anti-India forces. Pakistan’s reach out with respect to Kartarpur Corridor may also be viewed as part of the same agenda.

•  The Pakistani Diaspora will be far more radical and violent in their perpetration of jihadi terror against India and Indians all over the West. These are the radical elements, who joined the ISIS. Usman Khan, who tried to terrorize the British by his attack at the London Bridge also had the Pakistani and PoK link. He was preparing to setup a Madrasa in PoK for jihad in Kashmir. He had plans to recruit British citizens for the purpose.

•  Article-370 served as a catalyst for Pakistan’s skewed nationhood. It feels that with the Indian constitutional moves in Kashmir, it has lost traction in the so-called Muslim World, i.e. Ummah.

Post abrogation of Article-370, the Pakistan military is becoming increasingly assailable within Pakistan.

•  There is a growing feeling in Pakistan that the military can no longer be relied as a panacea for Pakistan’s strategic imperatives and existential problems. Post abrogation of Article-370, the Pakistan military is becoming increasingly assailable within Pakistan.

•  Within Pakistan abrogation of Article-370 has cast a shadow on the institutional primacy of the Pak military. The controversy over the extension of Gen Bajwa has much to do with the perceived ‘Kashmir failure’.

•  If Gen Bajwa is looking assailable and weak within Pakistan, so is Imran, whose position is becoming untenable. Imran and Gen Bajwa, more appropriately Gen Bajwa and Imran, constitute the Pakistani dispensation under whose noses abrogation of Article-370 happened. It is being perceived as both a political failure and failure of the military-intelligence apparatus.

•  The judiciary in Pakistan also seems to be annoyed with the turn of events with respect to Kashmir. The Supreme Court of Pakistan did not buy the argument of ‘regional security environment’ for the extension of Gen Bajwa’s tenure as Army Chief.

•  Fates of Gen Bajwa and Imran are so intertwined that Farogh Naseem resigned from post of Law Minister to pursue Gen Bajwa’s case.

It was largely Kashmir that gave the military-intelligence complex of Pakistan the decisive role within and outside Pakistan. Abrogation of Article-370 has hit the very institutional balance in Pakistan.

05-August-2019 was Pakistan’s Bangladesh moment which occurred 25 years after independence. With East Pakistan being hived off as Bangladesh, Pakistan was physically one-sixth and demographically reduced  by more than half. The Punjabi  dominated military of Pakistan has  all along never been enamoured by muslim demography i.e. Bengali Muslims  or Sindhi Muslims or Baloch Muslims and least of all Kashmiri Muslims. It is their land and resources that seduces the military.

With the abrogation of Article-370, Pakistan has become a psychological rump. It was mainly the issue of J&K that gave Pakistan its supremacy within Pakistan. It was largely Kashmir that gave the military-intelligence complex of Pakistan the decisive role within and outside Pakistan. Abrogation of Article-370 has hit the very institutional balance in Pakistan. Either Pakistan rebalances or it perishes. Should it perish, the ripples will buffet or overwhelm India.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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