Misleading the Kashmiri youth is Lucrative Business
By – Samuel Baid
Hats off to the Pakistani propaganda machinery which has convinced a section of Indians, including Kashmiris, that the Kashmir “problem” relates only to that part of the state which is with India and that the problem has persisted for the past 63 years because of India’s refusal to hold a plebiscite there – a historical fallacy.
But what is the actual problem in Kashmir? Last week, at the height of the agitation in Kashmir, leader of a faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told a private TV channel very emotionally that he didn’t want peace but “solution”. But solution of what? Leaders, who live by agitational politics, daily hartals and use of young people as fodder in Kashmir, fight shy of giving one definition of this “problem”. But they all want a “solution”. Syed Ali Shah Gilani, who has named his faction of the Hurriyat Conference as Tehrik-i-Hurriyat wants Kashmir to join Pakistan. He makes no bones about his allegiance to Pakistan. The Mirwaiz does not agree with that and would rather like to be called “a moderate”- a better bargaining strategy vis-a-vis New Delhi and Islamabad. Kashmiri leaders outside the Hurriyat too are diffident about one definition of the “problem”. In fact, no two Kashmiri leaders agree on one definition of the “problem”.
Pakistan’s changing stance on Kashmir also reflects diffidence about the identity of the problem. For example, before the creation of Pakistan, Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah encouraged Maharaja of Kashmir Hari Singh to declare independence. But once Pakistan was created he lost no time in allowing invasion and plunder of Kashmir by Pakistani Army backed Mehsud tribesmen. These tribesmen have now turned against Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah committed his blunder because he had not studied history although he was a good lawyer. That was the first change in the stance on Kashmir.
Then, followed many other changes. Along with India, Pakistan was a party to the Security Council’s resolution calling for a plebiscite in the entire state of Kashmir as it existed in August 1947. The very first step for holding this plebiscite was that Pakistan’s Army and its nationals must vacate the Kashmiri territory occupied by them through invasion to facilitate the plebiscite. Pakistan flouted this precondition by not pulling out its Army and the nationals from the invaded territory. It also gave away a large chunk of territory of occupied Kashmir in Hunza to China thereby trivializing the UN resolutions. These two actions of Pakistan were meant to thwart a plebiscite and the Kashmir’s right of self determination. But Pakistan very effectively propagated throughout the world that India was refusing to hold the plebiscite and that it said, was the problem in Kashmir. India, complacent with truth on its side, did little to effectively counter this propaganda.
Pakistan, because of the history of invasion and plunder of Kashmir in 1947 and also because of political instability and chaos, really did not want a plebiscite in Kashmir In the early 1990’s, it gave a new twist to the Security Council’s resolutions. It said the problem only concerned that part of Kashmir that was with India. It did not say what was the basis of the claim. Accordingly to it, the security council resolutions applied only to the Indian part of Kashmir and therefore, it is there the plebiscite should be held, not in Azad Kahsmir and Gilgit Baltistan where there are suppressed movements against the Pakistan’s occupation. In 1994, Pakistan changed its emphasis from plebiscite to human rights in Kashmir just when terrorists backed by it were massacring people in Kashmir.
Beginning from 1989 the Pro-Pakistan Islamic militants and terrorists were trying to Islamise Kashmir, among other things, by driving out non-Muslims from the valley and also by destroying shrines that Muslims and Hindus venerated for centuries. Thus, terrorists used Islam as an instrument of terror to make people shout anti-India slogans and Kahsmiri leaders made statements pleasing to separatists and terrorists. The Kashmir leaders, especially those belonging to the Hurriyat Conference, want young Kashmiri to get their inspiration from Pakistan, but they will never tell them about the plight of Kashmiris in the part of Kashmir which is under Pakistan’s occupation. The big question is : do the Kashmir leaders accept or reject the Pakistan’s claim that its occupation of a part of Kashmir has solved the Kashmir problem in respect of that area? If yes, they should be bold enough to tell the Kashmiri youth that that is the ideal solution of the Kashmir problem. But if they reject this claim of Pakistan, they should be bold enough to say so instead of misleading the Kashmiri young people and causing starvation to poor Kashmiris by daily hartals in the valley. The Hurriyat and the Kashmiri leaders can join together and put pressure on the central government to check human rights violations in the valley. But they will not do so because they know without human rights violations either by the state machinery or by terrorists they cannot run their lucrative business of leadership on Kashmir. They themselves are the biggest violators of human rights by giving daily hartal calls. Because of these hartals children of daily wage earners go to bed without food.
In an interview to a private TV channel recently, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the people in Delhi did not understand the ground reality in the valley. He is very much right. But throughout the world people are intelligent enough to put two and two together from a distance and their assessments are correct. Being in the Hurriyat Conference, the Mirwaiz is supposed to be Hurriyat pasand. But, when he goes to Islamabad and thence to Muzaffarabad in occupied Kashmir, does he ever bother to meet those persecuted Kashmiri leaders who have been fighting against the Pakistani occupation of Kashmir? No never he only meets the officials who are the Pakistani establishment’s agents to keep Kashmiris enslaved to Pakistan.
In Kashmir it is very easy to agitate, give calls for hartals and incite young boys to throw rocks because here is democracy. This cannot happen in occupied Kashmir. There is the Army all over and there is the presence of Lashkar-i-Tayyaba , Jaish-i-Mohammad and other terrorists groups. In their presence there is no freedom for Kashmiris to express their views which are not liked by the establishments in Islamabad.
For a state government, it has always been a difficult task to govern Kashmir because the people have democratic rights and freedom to agitate. This fact can be better appreciated if a comparison is made with the part of Kashmir which Pakistan occupied in 1947 and misnamed it “Azad” Kashmir. If we see the 63 years old history of this “Azad” Kashmir we will find that successive Pakistani governments ruled it as a colony with or without constitutions tailored by them for this occupied territory. The present 1974 constitution was designed by then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for occupied Kashmir but not by the representatives of the kashmiri people. Under the constitution, the elected members of the assembly cannot legislate without the approval of a council that is headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and filled with his cabinet colleagues. The constitution empowers the government of Pakistan to seek any elected government in Muzaffarabad at will if it does not like it. It provides that no person can be eligible to fight elections if he of she is not committed to the ideology of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. The 1949 Karachi Agreement provides that even newspapers cannot write against this ideology. In other words, the people of occupied Kashmir cannot utter a word that Pakistan does not like. If he dares that, he disappears. Those who do not swear by this ideology cannot get jobs or even get their children admitted into schools. Schools are not allowed to teach the history of Kashmir or talk of Kashmiri heroes. School children are taught that heroes that Pakistanis worship are their heroes.
Maharaja Hari Singh had promulgated state subjects rules so that non-Kashmiri outsiders did not settle down in Kashmir and grab its natural resources. While in India these rules are a part of its constitution, “Azad” Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan have been purposely flooded by Pakistanis from Punjab and Khebar-Pakhtunkhawa. Kashmiris in these two regions are becoming extinct. If at all there is a plebiscite in future in these areas, Pakistanis, not Kashmiri, will decide their fate. Is that the solution the separatists in Kashmir are looking for? Some Kashmiri leaders who do not subscribe to this solution are too timid to swim against the current of frenzy generated by terrorists and Pak agents in Kashmir. PDP leader Mahbooba Mufti is an example.