Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pakistan has to change its mindset on Kashmir

London, June 18 (ANI):  When we in the Kashmir National Party said in 1990s that Pakistani policies were damaging the Kashmir dispute; we were called ''anti Pakistan'', ''anti Kashmiri movement'' and supporting India on Kashmir.

But when Nawaz Sharif, two times Prime Minister of Pakistan and currently tallest and most sincere leader of Pakistan in a seminar organized to mourn the death of Syed Saleem Shahzad on June 10 said the same thing, that Pakistani institutions have caused more damage to the Kashmir dispute than anyone else; he is considered as a statesman with a great vision.

 Nawaz Sharif further said, "There is no sacred cow in the country and none should try to become a sacred cow as (we) won''t allow such an   attempt".

 When he said that, no one accused him of being anti Pakistan or supporting India on Kashmir. While we were discussing on the topic of   Nawaz Sharif''s statement and his criticism of army and the ISI, one friend said:   He is a son of Punjab, how could anyone call him a ''traitor''? Only people of Sind, Balochistan, Frontier, Bengal and Kashmir could be honoured with the  ''title'' of being a ''Traitor''.

When we said militancy was started and managed by Pakistan (although it was people of Jammu and Kashmir who suffered on both sides of the   divide with varying degrees), some Pakistanis and their Kashmiri agents yelled   that it was ''indigenous movement''. They used extremely vulgar words against us and accused us for being anti movement and pro India.

Over the years many top Pakistani officials and famous journalists have acknowledged that the militancy was initiated and managed by   Pakistani secret agencies. Most recent in this series of admissions was made by a retired Pakistani General and a former Home Minister during Benazir   Bhutto government Mohindin Haider.

 In a live ARY TV show ''Do Tok'' on June 12, 2011, General Moindin Haider acknowledged that it was a policy of Pakistan to send in militants in Kashmir to bring India to the negotiation table.

He said just like they created Mukti Bahini in East Pakistan, we started militancy   in Kashmir as it was cheap way to engage 700,000 army of India instead of having an open war.

No one will call him a ''traitor'' or criticise him because he is a Pakistani and a former General - a class of people above the law in Pakistan. All the foot soldiers of the Pakistani establishment are also tight lipped on this; and some shamelessly still claim that the Kashmiri struggle is indigenous. I have said this before and I will say it again:

 The people who suffer are indigenous, the property that is destroyed is indigenous, people who are uprooted are indigenous, business that is   lost is indigenous, hatred and extremism that has been promoted affects indigenous people; but training to kill and destroy is Pakistani, bombs   are Pakistani, guns are Pakistani and money spent for this mission to engage   the Indian army is also Pakistani.

We said to members of the Pakistani establishment that, for God''s sake, don''t bring jihadi warriors from other countries as that will   change fundamental character of the Kashmiri struggle. We further said these   jihadi warriors are alien to our struggle and our culture, and are creating problems for us and tomorrow they will create problems for Pakistan as well. We were called anti Islam, anti jihad, anti movement and pro India.

 Now nearly all sensible people, commentators, writers and scholars in Pakistan are demanding that these jihadi warriors created by Pakistani agencies to advance their strategic interests must be crushed, as they have become a serious threat to Pakistani interests and state of  Pakistan.

Pakistani establishment have made big blunders and have seriously damaged the Kashmir cause, and anyone who criticise them is accused of   being anti Pakistan; even a leader like Benazir Bhutto was considered as a  ''security risk''.

 All military preparations, all weapons purchased and bulk of the budget is spent on defence, which we cannot afford. For defence we deprived our children of food, medicine and good education; but what is the outcome? Failure in 1965 war, which we started to liberate Kashmir. Instead of invasion of Kashmir we had to struggle to save cities like Lahore and Sialkot.''

In 1965 war Pakistani advance was so rapid that they crossed River Tavi and could have captured a large area of Jammu and Kashmir before India could have managed a counter attack. But all of sudden   General Akhtar Hussain Malik, who was in charge of this attack, was replaced with General Yayah Khan; and with that Pakistani advance also stopped.

The Indian counter offensive came five days after this. To date no one knows why
 This change was made. One view is that thinkers in the army establishment might have said - ''Fools if we take over Kashmir then what will you do'' - Meaning if the Kashmir dispute is resolved then there will be no justification   For  the large army and a big budget, and all other benefits attached with all  this.

Pakistani establishment must acknowledge that Kashmir does not belong to India or Pakistan. It is not a religious issue. It is not a territorial dispute. Kashmir dispute concerns people of Jammu and Kashmir''s unconditional right of self-determination. Pakistan must not promote the Kashmir dispute as a Muslim issue or a religious dispute, as it will give
 rise to extremism and divide people of Jammu and Kashmir on religious  lines.

  Pakistan is in deep crises and situation is getting worse with time.  Pakistan cannot get out of these crises by diverting attention to other issues. They have to look at the root cause of their problems and try to address those problems by rooting out corruption, nepotism, regionalism, extremism and by exterminating ''jihadi forces'' who have given bad name to our religion and have also landed Pakistan in this quandary.

As for Kashmir, it is best you leave us alone, at least, until you have resolved issues, which have endangered stability and future of Pakistan. We Kashmiris do not want to be part of India or Pakistan; and attempts to capture Kashmir must be stopped as it will endanger peace and stability of the entire region (ANI)

Writer is Head Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets.