Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Kashmir Conflict

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It is said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will eventually start to believe it. This is certainly the case in regards to Pakistan and its obsession with Kashmir. As a regular reader of Paki newspapers, im always surprised by the amount of lies and conspiracy theories that go unchallenged and are basically accepted as the gospel there.

I cant go into all of them otherwise this column will go on forever, but things like the so called "forgery" of the document of accession signed by the Maharaja unifying Jammu & Kashmir with India and ratified in the Kashmiri parliament by "Sher-e-Kashmir" Sheikh Abdullah, the popularly elected leader of Kashmir.

Other claims like that India invaded Kashmir when the fact is that it was the Pakistani army who first sent the so called "tribal lashkar" backed by Pakistani army commandos) into Kashmir to create an artificial uprising and pressure the Maharaja to hand over Kashmir to Pakistan. Jawaharlal Nehru and Lord Mountbatten only gave the order to airlift Indian troops and force back the invaders when they had nearly reached the outskirts of Srinager.

Then there's the UN resolutions that they claim India has refused to implement. First of all it was India that took the issue to the UN and its complaint against the Pakistani invasion was filed under chapter 6 of the UN charter which are only recommendations and non-binding. The resolution calls for the complete withdrawn of Pakistan troops (something they've never done) and a limited Indian presence should any plebiscite to be held. Another condition was that people's not residing in Kashmir prior to 1947 should leave immediately. Here once again Pakistan has attempted to change the demographics in its favour in any future referendum by encouraging Punjabi and tribal Pashtun immigrants to reside in these areas.

Then there the charges of human rights abuses by the Indian army. While it is true that many violations unfortunately did take place especially in the early days and sometimes still do considering there's still an insurgency going on, nonetheless much of it is baseless Pakistani propaganda and rhetoric. They never mention the fanatical jihadi's sent from the seminaries of Pakistan who are responsible for the most barbarous crimes, like throwing acid on the legs and faces of women who dont dress the way they want, or like chopping off the nose, ears, and lips of anyone who dares oppose them, especially if they happen to be suspected informers, surrendered local militants, elected officials or members of village defence committees. Whenever such crimes are reported if they are reported at all in the Paki media, it always says they were by "unindentified persons" rather than "mujahideen", which they always use when there is an attack on the Indian Army.

But the biggest and most pathetic lie by far is that the almost 400,000 Hindu Pandits (the original inhabitants of the Kashmir valley) who were slaughtered and then completely ethnically cleansed by the Pakistani backed Islamic militants in the early 90's and are now mostly residing in refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi, were in fact intentionally ordered to leave their homes by the Indian government in a conspiracy to defame the jihad. This is the most shameless of all their lies! When the jihad was launched in the early 90's for their "Nizam-e-Mustafa", and when the targeted killing of the Pandits started, there were notices plastered everywhere with slogans such as "be one with us, run or die" or "Asi gachchi Pakistan Batao roas te batanev san" (We want Pakistan, along with Hindu women, but without their men).

The Pakistani's have built up all these lies over time to disguise the fact that they have absolutely no leg to stand on in Kashmir. The military dictators who rule Pakistan have the gall to call for the freedom of Kashmir when they themselves are in power undemocratically. They call the elections in Indian Kashmir a sham and its democratically elected leaders Indian puppets, when in fact it is Pakistan occupied Kashmir where there isnt even a hint of democracy, instead being governed directly from Islamabad, when it is in this so called "Azad Kashmir" where there is little political dissent allowed and where all leaders holding office must swear allegience to the Pakistani state.

If the Kashmiris were allowed to choose their future, Hindu majority Jammu and Buddhist majority Ladakh would choose India in a heartbeat. The so called "Azad Kashmir" (which is mostly neither really part of Kashmir nor azad) would go to Pakistan as would the Northern Areas barring possibly Baltistan(?).

The Kashmir valley (which is what the conflict is really about and what Pakistan really wants) would choose independence if it were on the table (something neither country would ever seriously contemplate).

If India and Pakistan are the only choices its difficult to say who they'de choose if any. At the moment Pakistan (despite recent interesting survey's to the contrary) would still most probably enjoy greater support than India, because of the Kashmir valley's resentment towards the heavy Indian troop deployment there, but this doesnt by any stretch of the imagination mean they would want to join Pakistan. The Kashmiris know of the territory that Pakistan has unilaterally ceded forever to China without their permission, they know of the pathetically dysfunctional internal state of Pakistan and POK, thus as time passes by unless Pakistan can continue to flame the fires of jihad, they will eventually lose their influence with Kashmiri's, who will surely realise the numerous benefits of remaining within a secular, stable and increasingly prosperous India. The tide has already began to turn once again, this time against Pakistan and they know it, India just has to be patient and wait.

Another important thing in India's favour and something Pakistan has tried its level best to destroy is the concept of "Kashmiriyat". While Kashmiriyat has been torn to pieces and hanging by a thread today, the Kashmiri Hindus are still considered by the kashmiri muslims as an essential element of the valley's collective identity and till they fully return to their homes they feel they will not be complete. But few Hindu's are willing to risk their lives in returning, so long as the murderous jihadi's are still active. When they hopefully do one day return, they would never accept the valley becoming part of Pakistan, because they know what the position of the few Hindu's still left remaining in that so called "land of the pure". Should any attempt be made ever in this regard, the Hindu's of the valley would certainly demand for their "Punan Kashmir" homeland to be carved out the valley and given the status of a union territory of India.
Thus Pakistan would be the death of Kashmiriyat!


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