Defining Extremism and Terrorism

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Lt Gen Shafaat Ullah Shah (R)

There is an ongoing debate in Jordan amongst scholars on the clear definition of extremism prominently iterated in a news item published in the February 28th issue of Jordan Times, stating that, "there is still no clear definition of ‘extremism’ in Jordan, experts warn". I am certain the same confusion is prevalent in many other countries which may also include Pakistan. Drawing on my military training which enables discerning black and white from shades of gray, I thought it imperative to contribute my views in endeavouring at a definition that could serve as the foundation for evolving a strategy to fight radicalism by all the elements of national power of any nation. It could also help launch a debate to arrive at a broadly acceptable definition of extremism, which is a prerequisite for devising a counter strategy.


The dictionary definition of extremism states that ‘it is the quality or state of being extreme or advocacy of extreme measures or view’. Nowadays, the term is mostly used in a political or religious sense, for an ideology that is considered to be far outside the acceptable mainstream attitudes of a society. The term “extremism” is usually meant to be pejorative and expresses (strong) disapproval. However, it may also be meant in a more academic, purely descriptive, non-condemnatory sense. Extremists are usually contrasted with centrists. Political agendas perceived as extremist often include those from the far-left politics or far-right politics, as well as radicalism, fundamentalism, reactionism and fanaticism.


defanextremter.jpgThere have been many different definitions of “extremism”. Peter T. Coleman and Andrea Bartoli have provided more elaborate definitions. Extremism is a complex phenomenon, although its complexity is often hard to see. Most simply, it comprises activities (beliefs, attitudes, feelings, actions, strategies) of a character far removed from the ordinary. In conflict settings, it manifests itself as a severe form of conflict engagement. However, the labelling of activities, people, and groups as “extremist”, and the defining of what is “ordinary” in any setting is always a subjective and political matter. Thus, any discussion of extremism should be mindful of the following: the same extremist act will be viewed by some as just and moral (such as pro-social “freedom fighting”), and by others as unjust and immoral (anti-social “terrorism”) which depends on the observer’s values, politics, moral scope, and the nature of relationship with the actor. In addition, one’s sense of the moral or immoral nature of a given act of extremism (such as Nelson Mandela’s use of guerilla war tactics against the South African government) may change as conditions (leadership, world opinion, crises and historical accounts) change. Thus, the current and historical context of extremist acts shapes our views.

The terms ‘extremism’ or ‘extremist’ are almost always exonymic i.e., applied to a group by others rather than by a group labelling itself as extremists, as in the case of political radicals. There is no political party that calls itself “right-wing extremist” or “left-wing extremist”, and there is no sect of any religion that calls itself “extremist” or which calls its doctrine “extremism”. The term extremist is often used with reference to those who use or advocate violence against the will of society at large, but it is also used by some to describe those who advocate or use violence to enforce the will of the social body, such as a government or a majority constituency.

In the light of the foregoing, a rational definition of extremism could be, “An individual or a group which has extreme views, in conflict with the rest of the society, considers right only his version of views and imposes his views on others, if needed, by force”.

This definition has four distinct facets. It encompasses individuals, groups and organizations. Extreme views which may be in the realm of religion, politics, economics and social behaviour and are at variant or a contrast to popular beliefs of the rest of the society, considers that only his views or beliefs are righteous and others are on the wrong path and uses all means, pre-dominantly force, to instill these views into others. In the light of this definition, if we analyze the existing extremist organizations like Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Taliban etc. they embody these provisions. Their defining principle is ‘the imposition of the organization’s views on other segments of the society by the use of force and violent methods’.

In view of the ambiguous definitions provided by the Western societies regarding extremism and radical Islam, which could be subject to exploitation, it is the prime responsibility of Muslim scholars and states to define these terms in a rational perspective acceptable to Muslims all over the world. Extremism is outside the ambit of religious beliefs and dogmas. Narrowing its scope to Islam alone is a prejudiced approach. History is replete with examples of extremism manifested in other religions and societies.

While terrorism is an old phenomenon that has existed since antiquity, today we face a novel and a far more complex variant. It has changed its character and meaning over time. What was true for one terrorist group in a certain place, at a certain time, does not necessarily apply to another in a different country, at another time, reflecting different politics and traditions. As a result, consensus has become elusive over a universally accepted definition of terrorism. Conceptual problems positioned over the years can be reflected in the popular statement: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”.
The absence of a universally agreed definition, however, does not mean lack of definition, or criminalization of terrorist acts within national jurisdiction. The diversity of contexts in which this kind of violence appeared over history and the many and often contending political causes, whose advocates use the definition for their own purposes makes it a difficult proposition. 9/11 created a new international dynamic that sought to de-legitimize any political violence aimed at civilians, irrespective of context and unwilling to distinguish this from resistance to state terrorism or foreign occupation.

The Resolution 1373 adopted by the United Nations Security Council on September 28, 2001 imposed wide ranging obligations on member states to combat terrorism in the absence of a definition of terrorism. Such ambiguity has served to emphasize the role of domestic legislation to criminalize terrorist offences. International counter-terrorism measures could not be implemented effectively due to the lack of a proper definition for terrorism. The United Nations has already adopted major international conventions or protocols (between 2001 and 2017), in addition to regional legal instruments, to provide the legal framework to prohibit various forms of terrorist behaviour.

The concept of “state terrorism” has been rejected by many Western countries on the grounds that the actions of states are already governed by rules of international law relating to state responsibility. This view has been endorsed by the UN Secretary General as well as the Report of his High Level Panel. But for many the question of states contravening international law remains an important and real one.

An agreed definition of terrorism enunciates, “Any action which is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants, when the purpose of such an act by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization, to do or to abstain from any act”. Any definition that is not backed by consensus can have a divisive effect and hinder international counter-terrorism efforts.

These stipulated definitions of the most serious threat facing mankind today could provide a common ground for identification and initiation of a punitive response or at a minimum basis to initiate a debate to coin all encompassing definitions. To define these phenomena in clear terms is also essential for an internationally accepted interpretation to devolve an efficacious response and develop a counter-narrative.


The writer is presently serving as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He has also been Commander Lahore Corps and remained Military Secretary to the President. He is author of 'Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan' (published 1983).

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China and Russia: Forces for Peace in Afghanistan?

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Didier Chaudet

When one talks about Afghanistan’s regional environment, one thinks first of Iran, Pakistan, and Central Asian countries: they have been the ones suffering the most of the Afghan wars and foreign interventions. But it would be a mistake to forget two other neighbours, less connected to Afghanistan by history, human links or cultural ties, but with greater means at their disposal to influence the fate of this country: China and Russia. Indeed, the Chinese-Afghan border is only 92.45 kilometres long, according to the website of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And as for Russia, it is not one of Kabul’s neighbours in the geographical sense of the world. It can be considered so only if one takes into account the symbiotic relationship between the Russian Federation and its “Near Abroad” in terms of security. But those two Great Powers have shown a greater interest in Afghanistan recently, and they seem to share a political will to invest in resolving the never-ending civil war.


chniaanrusia.jpg‘Security’ seems the key word to understand the Afghan foreign policy of those two regional Great Powers. And their recent diplomatic choices could have a positive impact on Pakistani national interests.


Russia: A Diplomatic Evolution of Afghanistan and Pakistan
The Russian evolution on the Afghan issue is particularly striking, from a rejection to accept any talks with the Taliban to a support for an inter-Afghan reconciliation. On December 27, 2016, Russia, with China and Pakistan, called for “integrating the armed opposition into peaceful life” and said it will support the idea to get Afghan Taliban leaders delisted from UN sanctions’ list. It is oversimplification to believe, like some American sources seem to do, that there is an “alliance” between the Kremlin and the Taliban. The reality is much more pragmatic: the Russians have accepted that the Taliban were not merely terrorists, but rather rebels representing a political force in Afghanistan, a force strong enough to make a pure military solution for the Afghan conflict strictly impossible.

The best way to understand the Russian evolution is the Chinese influence on this subject: clearly the Kremlin has been influenced by Beijing’s initiative towards Afghanistan. Broadly speaking, this evolution can be seen as Russia adapting to a geopolitical situation that has evolved over the last few years. Most importantly, there is a specific jihadist risk for Central Asia and Russia in Afghanistan now: Daesh. This is very clear from the discovery of a Russia-Taliban dialogue in December 2015, and the press release following the meeting in December 2016 reminded above: the Russians see the Taliban as the best option to fight ISIS in Afghanistan, as the Afghan legal government seems unable or unwilling to make it a priority. For Zamir Kabulov, the head of the Asia and Middle East department of the Russian foreign ministry and special envoy of the Russian president to Afghanistan, there are now 10,000 IS fighters in Afghanistan, and as he said to Russia Today in April 2016,“They are being trained against Central Asia and Russia”.

Even if the Russian numbers about IS in Afghanistan seem overblown, the Kremlin is right to worry about Daesh. After Arabic, Russian is the most important language in the so-called ‘Caliphate’. Militants from the Northern Caucasus became well-known fighters fighting for this terrorist organization or for Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria. If one focuses on Central Asian fighters alone, numbers can still be a source of concern for the post-soviet countries: between 3000 and 5000 so called jihadists have travelled to fight for Al-Baghdadi in Iraq and Syria since 2013. And many of them were recruited in Russia itself, while they were working there, which means that ISIS has been able to build some sort of network, at least for recruiting, in the country. The fear that those terrorists could come to Afghanistan in order to strike later, Russian and Central Asian interests, is not a fantasy: from December 2016 to February 2017, Iranian authorities arrested individuals passing through their country to go to Afghanistan to fight in the name of the Islamic State of Khurasan Province (ISKP), following Daesh’s orders. A view is that ‘ISKP’ in Afghanistan is partly made up of anti-Pakistan Taliban formerly from the TTP and Central Asian jihadists from the ‘Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’, it is clear that Daesh will seize any opportunity to strike Russia’s post-Soviet southern neighbours. In Afghanistan itself, it represents at least 7000 to 8500 militants (fighters and the ones supporting them) according to the Royal United Service Institute (RUSI). And despite some important victories won against the ISKP by the Taliban, it seems to be able to resist any action to eliminate it from the Afghan battlefield. Actually, the terrorist attack against a military hospital in Kabul, on March 8, 2017, that caused the death of nearly 50 people, is proof that Daesh is resourceful and could be a source of worries for Afghanistan and its regional environment.

Besides, Russia had to adapt to real geopolitical evolutions on the ground. To stick to a policy close to the one from India – opposing any talk with the Taliban – would not change the military situation on the ground, and the fears related to security in Central Asia. If the Russian “big brother” is unable to deliver concrete actions that could help protect its Near Abroad, the Central Asian leaders would have to look elsewhere for protection. Therefore, the Russian fear to lose its influence on them should not be underestimated. It was very clear when Moscow seemed to panic over the proposal of a military bloc between China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, made by General Fang Fenghui, the Chief of General Staff of the Chinese Army, in March 2016. The notion of this becoming a “Central Asian NATO” spread in the Russian media, with some Russian analysts seeing the Chinese proposal as a way to put Central Asia under its influence. The Chinese were able to calm such wild theories, but such a reaction proved that Russia is uneasy with China's rise. The fears caused in Central Asia because of the Afghan issue, and the fact that China is getting involved there, made it difficult for Russia to not do the same. Their previous approach did not help to make them more influent, and going against the Chinese involvement would make no sense, as China stays an important global ally to Moscow. Hence the only choice the Kremlin had was to strengthen its influence, reassure the Central Asians, and stay relevant on the Afghan issue. An evolution that looks a lot like the Chinese policy towards Afghanistan, as we will see in the second part of this analysis.


China: Looking for Peace in the Name of the “Big Picture”
China does not have a policy to mingle in another state’s internal affairs. It follows such a non-ideological vision of international relations much more strictly than Russia nowadays. Still, China showed concern and desire to influence positively the Afghan issue before the Russians themselves.

It is linked to concerns related to internal stability and security, most particularly in Xinjiang. It was clearly said by the Chinese Foreign Minister himself, Wang Yi, during a visit to Afghanistan in February 2014. The visit was as significant as its previous visit had been in 2002, when he was, then, the Vice Foreign Minister. It was the symbol of a rising concern to see Uyghur jihadists using Afghanistan to strike on Chinese soil. The local tensions in Xinjiang are manageable, and could be taken care of through police work against separatists and through the economic choices China has made to develop the region. Indeed, even if there is a fear of separatist/terrorist anti-China activities in Xinjiang, this territory is much more stabilized than North Caucasus in Russia. But the situation might become more volatile if “professional” jihadists/terrorists come from overseas. And they very much could. Li Wei, head of the counterterrorism research at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) said during an interview in April 2016 that 300 Uyghur jihadists were affiliated with ISIS. Uyghur jihadists have associated themselves with Uzbek radicals from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), who have been very active in Afghanistan, especially in the north. Al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s leader, and al-Baghdadi, so-called “Caliph” for ISIS, have both recently declared that China was one of their enemies. It has been confirmed by propaganda videos made by Daesh and Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, respectively on February 25 and 27, 2017. Hence, the terrorist threat targeting China specifically has become more serious over the last few years; and China can only share Russia’s fears exposed above. Besides, during the same few years, Xinjiang has become even more important with the Silk Road Economic Belt project. This importance has been clearly proved this year, as the region’s authorities will inject no less than USD 24.8 billion in local infrastructure, mostly roads. It is more than the total funding for such infrastructure between 2011 and 2015. Clearly, Beijing is serious about making Xinjiang an important part of the One Belt, One Road Project. Hence, to counter any risk for its stability is of paramount importance.

In order to protect its own interests, China decided to push for peace in Afghanistan, still the best way to avoid the latter’s instability to be a weapon in Uyghur separatists and in Daesh’s hands. It seems Beijing carries the understanding that the Afghan Taliban are a part of the Afghan political spectrum, even after the fall of the “Afghan Emirate” (according to American sources like Foreign Policy). Since 2012 the exchanges between Chinese emissaries and the Taliban seem to have been more regular. At first to protect Chinese interests; then, from 2014, Chinese diplomacy has been an active force supporting a peace process between the Kabul government and the Taliban. The USA had failed to make its ideas of peace-talks a reality after Hamid Karzai, the then-president of Afghanistan, derailed American-led project in June 2013. Beijing clearly became part of such effort by being one of the states associated to the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, with Afghanistan, Pakistan and the USA. It met officially the first time in January 2016, but seemed to have been clearly limited by different views on what the peace process should be, the Americans and part of the Afghan government having difficulties to accept a true negotiation with what it implies, i.e., finding a compromise. The fact that the Americans killed the then-leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mansour, in May 2016, a few days after the last meeting of the QCG, is proof enough of a difference of perception of how peace should be achieved. Nowadays it seems that China is the main power truly active to achieve peace in order to solve the Afghan issue. It continues to talk to the Taliban: a delegation led by the Taliban Qatar office chief Sher Abbas Stanikazai visited China in February 2017, to discuss with Beijing the possibility to revive the peace process.


A Positive Evolution for Pakistan
Of course, Beijing’s policy is clearly in tune with Pakistan’s national interests. China, contrary to the USA or India, does not put blame of Afghan problems on Islamabad. On the contrary, it works with Pakistan on its Afghan policy. From the Fifth Heart of Asia Conference in 2015, it became clear that Chinese officially considered Pakistani involvement in the peace process as necessary for such process to have a chance to work. It appears clearly that, contrary to part of the Afghan elites in Kabul and to the American leadership, Beijing has understood that Pakistan had knowledge and some influence over part of the Afghan Taliban at least, but no full control over them. This more subtle, less simplistic approach from the Chinese made them understand that the Pakistani idea opposing a fragmentation of the Afghan Taliban was the right approach, as Taliban with a weak leadership would be unable to impose peace on their rank and file. Broadly speaking, Chinese diplomatic victory in Afghanistan would also be a victory for Pakistan.

Actually, Afghanistan gives another opportunity for Beijing to work together, with their diplomacies strongly aligned. The military cooperation between the two countries is already strong, and seems to have been further strengthened by the Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa’s three-day recent trip to China. And, of course, there is the CPEC: the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor at the core of the “One Belt,One Road Project" is itself at the heart of President Xi’s diplomacy. On this project, the shared Chinese-Pakistani initiative for Afghan peace is particularly important: a stable Afghanistan would be helpful to make the CPEC a success, and also to diminish the possibilities for Baloch separatists to find external support.

This changing evolution in Russia’s policy revolving Afghanistan problem has also been a good news for Pakistan. It should be remembered that the erstwhile USSR had been an antagonist for Pakistan. In 1971, the Kremlin gave weapons and helped organize training camps for guerilla forces against the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan, soon to become Bangladesh, in 1971. And after the Cold War, the Russians continued to have an unbalanced foreign policy towards South Asia. Russian's recent evolution in foreign affairs does not mean that Pakistan and Russia would become “allies” in no time: this simplistic approach would not take into account the fact that pro-India forces in Moscow are still strong and active. But such evolution means that they should arrive to a point where India-Russia links do not pose hurdles anymore to a good Russia-Pakistan bilateral relationship. Since 2007, when the then Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov paid a three-day visit to Pakistan, there is a slow but constant positive evolution in the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Working on the Afghan issue together will strengthen this trend in the long term.

The regional environment nowadays makes it clear that the countries in Afghan neighbourhood are in agreement that there is a need of an Afghan peace process, as military force alone cannot change the situation. The only ones that seem to oppose such an approach, shared by Russia, China, Pakistan, as well as Iran, are ‘disconnected’ from Afghan reality. They see this country only through the lens of their opposition to other nations: India first, but also the USA. The former is on a quest to be the only great power in its regional environment. And to be more than an economic power, it needs to break the opposition of the other regional power in its neighbourhood, i.e., Pakistan. It sees China’s desire to gain back its role as a natural Asian Great Power as a threat to its own ambitions. As for the Americans, even if they gave their blessing to the idea of an Afghan peace process since the beginning of this decade, they seem unwilling to accept that other great powers could be capable of being “honest brokers” the USA was unable to be itself. Some, in Washington D.C. also have a problem with the Afghan policy designed in Beijing and in Moscow, as it includes Iran and Pakistan as part of the solution, not of the problem. Those two countries have often been used as scapegoats by Americans and some of their Afghan colleagues as an easy explanation for their common inability to win against the Taliban.

Hopefully, such division will soon disappear: with the danger that is Daesh, and the other hotspots in the world, to find a common ground for peace and stability in this region. The Americans, in particular, have lost 2300 soldiers so far in a war that has been costing the astronomical sum of 1.5 trillion dollars. Despite the temptation to oppose Russia and China, it should be easy for cooler heads to prevail. It would be good news for the Afghan regional environment as a whole, but also for the Afghan people itself.


The writer is the Editing Director of CAPE (Center for the Analysis of Foreign Policy). He is also a non-resident Scholar for IPRI (Islamabad Policy Research Institute). He is a specialist of geopolitical/security-related issues in Central Asia and South-West Asia (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan).

Kashmiris and Their Right to Self-Determination

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Tooba Khurshid

Kashmir dispute is a major source of tension between India and Pakistan since 1947. The issue is also one of the oldest items on the agenda of the United Nations (UN). Despite numerous significant resolutions and debates on Kashmir, the issue still stands unresolved. Many people believe that it is a territorial dispute, however, owing to its human dimension, the issue has become a humanitarian crisis which warrants early resolution and demands right of the people to self-determination. 


kasmirantheirr.jpgIn Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) defenceless Kashmiris are subjected to massacres, encounters, detention, arrests and tortures. Whenever Kashmiris demanded their rights, they have been subjected to massive abuses. Gross human rights violations perpetrated by Indian Occupational Forces since July 8, 2016 had resulted in deaths of 177 civilians. More than 19310 people have been injured in human rights abuses. Indiscriminate use of force and pellets against unarmed civilians has become a state policy of India. An estimated 7398 people have been hit by pellet guns so far, at least 1180 are partially blinded, 309 are on verge of becoming blind and 42 have lost eyesight completely. Unprecedented massacre of Kashmiris by Indian Occupational Forces have made the region a very dangerous place. Indian endeavours to kill the courage and strength of people of IOK are well documented by Indian as well as international human rights organizations. Amnesty International in its 2016 and 2017 human rights report criticized India for excessive and arbitrary use of force against unarmed civilians and called it 'inherently inaccurate and indiscriminate.' Despite, the brutalizing of innocent Kashmiris by Indian atrocities continues with impunity.

The right of self-determination, that people of IOK are demanding, is enshrined in numerous UN resolutions passed over Kashmir which upholds their right to determine their future freely.

UN Resolutions Passed over IOK

UNSCR 47, April 21, 1948

"Noting with satisfaction that both India and Pakistan desire that the question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India and Pakistan should be decided through democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite"



UNCIP resolution August 13, 1948

Part III: “Pakistan and India reaffirm that future status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with will of the people and to that end, upon acceptance of the Truce Agreement both Governments agree to enter into consultations with the Commission to determine fair and equitable conditions" whereby such free expression will be assured.”



UNCIP resolution January 5, 1949

"Question of accession of Jammu and Kashmir should be decided through the democratic methods of free and impartial plebiscite"



UNSCR 80, March 14, 1950

"To exercise all of the powers and responsibilities devolving upon UNCIP by reason of existing resolutions of the Security Council and by reason of agreements of parties embodied in UNCIP resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5 1949"



UNSCR 91, March 30, 1951

"Reminding the governments and authorities concerned of the principle embodied in its resolutions 47 (1948) of 21 April 1948... and UNCIP resolutions of 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949 that the final disposition of the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebecsite…"



UNSCR 98, December 23, 1952

"Recalling the provisions of UNCIP resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949 which were accepted by the Governments of India and Pakistan and which provided that the question of the accession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir would be decided through democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of UN"



UNSCR 122, January 24, 1957

"Reminding the Governments and authorities concerned of the principle embodies in its resolutions 47 (1948) of 21 April 1948... 80 (1950) of 14 March 1950...91 (1951)...UNCIP resolutions of 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949 that the final disposition of the state will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic methods of a free and impartial plebiscite...Reaffirm the affirmation in its resolutions of 47, 1948, 1949, 91 and 98"


Source: http://www.un.org/en/sc/documents/resolutions/


However, India is crushing this fundamental right of Kashmiris through excessive use of force and whatever is happening in IOK is the worst form of subjugation of humanity.

Moreover this right is also inherently available to the people of IOK under other international declarations. United Nations Charter Article (1) acknowledged the development of friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples as one of the Organization’s objectives. This principle is also referred to in Article (55) of UN Charter, Article (15) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples Adopted by General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), Article (1) of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and Article (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In these Declarations human rights are deemed universal rights shared by the whole of mankind.

Furthermore, by virtue of right of self-determination to indigenous people and against any colonial subjugation Kashmiris have the right to determine their future. Article (3) of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”. Also Article (2) of Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples which declares that "All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development".

India, through various commitments, had also agreed to hold a plebiscite in IOK.

Indian Commitment to Hold Plebiscite in IOK

October 27, 1947

“In regard to accession also, it has been made clear that this is subject to reference to people of State and their decision.” (Telegram No. 402-Primin-2227 by Jawaharlal Nehru dated 27 October 1947 to Prime Minister of Pakistan repeating telegram addressed to Prime Minister of United Kingdom)



October 28, 1947

“…….the people of Kashmir would decide the question of accession. It is open to them to accede to either Dominion then.” (Telegram No.413 dated 28 October 1947 by Jawaharlal Nehru addressed to Prime Minister of Pakistan)



November 21, 1947

“We are anxious not to finalize anything in a moment of crisis and without the fullest opportunity to be given to the people of Kashmir to have their say. It is for them ultimately to decide. And let me make it clear that it has been our policy all along that where there is a dispute about the accession of a state to either Dominion, the accession must be made by the people of that state.”

(Letter No. 368-Primin dated 21 November 1947 to Prime Minister of Pakistan by Jawaharlal Nehru), J. C. Aggarwal, S. P. Agrawal, Modern History of Jammu and Kashmir: Ancient times to Shimla Agreement (Concept Publishing Company, 1995), p. 469


August 16, 1950

“The most feasible method of ascertaining the wishes of the people was by fair and impartial plebiscite.” (in telegram dated 16 August 1950 Jawaharlal Nehru addressed to the U.N. Representative for India and Pakistan: S/1791 : Anne 1(B))



February 12, 1951

“We have taken the issue to the United Nations and given our word of honour for a peaceful solution. As a great nation, we cannot go back on it. We have left the question for final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision.” (Statement by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Indian Parliament, 12 February 1951)



June 26, 1952

"I want to stress that it is only the people of Kashmir who can decide the future of Kashmir. It is not that we have merely said that to the United Nations and to the people of Kashmir; it is our conviction and one that is borne out by the policy that we have pursued, not only in Kashmir but everywhere. " (Statement by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Indian Parliament, June 26, 1952),



August 20, 1953

“People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodity for sale or to be bartered. It has an individual existence and its people must be the final arbiters of their future.”

(Joint press communiqué of the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan issued in Delhi after their meeting on 20 August 1953), http://www.na.gov.pk/en/content.php?id=85J. C. Agarwal, S. P. Agrawal, Modern History of Jammu and Kashmir: Ancient times to Shimla Agreement (Concept Publishing Company, 1995), p. 469


May 18, 1954

“But so far as the Government of India is concerned, every assurance and international commitment in regard to Kashmir stands.” (Statement by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Indian Council of States; 18 May 1954),



March 31, 1955

“We had given our pledge to the people of Kashmir, and subsequently to the United Nations; we stood by it and we stand by it today. Let the people of Kashmir decide.” (Statement by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Indian Parliament, 31 March 1955),



Despite, India over the years backed away from its commitment to hold a plebiscite. All the above legal justification establishes the fact that denial by India of the inalienable rights of self-determination cannot be permitted. No one country can decide the future of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Indian claims over IOK are illegitimate, repressive and unproven. Indian non-implementation of UN resolutions cannot negate the fact that final disposition of the IOK will be made in accordance to the people's aspirations expressed through democratic methods of an impartial plebiscite.

The right to self-determination for the people of IOK is imperative but is not different than anywhere else. What makes the issue different than other parts of the world is the Indian inflexible attitude and reluctance to agree on any viable course to hold a plebiscite. Such resistance to self-determination, as shown by India, results from the fact that a considerable number of currently existing states still exercise authoritarian power, and hardly respect the aspirations or expectations of people. Indian barbarism in IOK has exposed the Indian democracy as "fake" because democracies never allow or facilitate violence. Despite Indian brutalities events of past years have made it very clear that people of IOK stood firm for their right to self-determination and against Indian tyranny. However, given the level of atrocities perpetrated by India, it is for all civilized and responsible states of international community to ask India to stop the bloodshed and send a clear message of the necessity of upholding the sanctity of UN resolutions. To ensure peace and stability in the region it is pertinent to stand by the Kashmiris in their just cause.


The writer is a Research Fellow at Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI).

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ہارٹ آف ایشیا کانفرنس میں بھارت کا منفی رویہ

تحریر: محمد اکرم ذکی

سابق سیکرٹری جنرل و وزیر مملکت وزارت خارجہ۔پاکستان

آف ایشیا کانفرنس میں پاکستان کے مشیر خارجہ کوہوٹل سے باہر نہ آنے دینا سفارتی آداب کی خلاف ورزی سے کہیں بڑھ کر حبس بے جا میں رکھنے کا مجرمانہ فعل ہے۔ اس فعل سے بھارت نے واضح طور پر اپنے اسی جارحانہ پیغام کو ایک مرتبہ پھر دہرایا ہے۔ دشمنی پر مبنی جو پیغام وہ تسلسل کے ساتھ پاکستان کو دے رہا ہے اور پاکستان خطے کے وسیع تر مفاد میں امن اور دوستی کی خواہشات کو مقدم رکھے ہوئے ہے۔ بھارت کے ساتھ خوشگوار تعلقات کا خواب دیکھنے والے مقتدر حلقے کی آنکھیں اب کھل جانی چاہئے اور انہیں اس تلخ حقیقت کا ادراک کرلینا چاہئے کہ پاکستان کی ترقی، استحکام،امن اور سب سے بڑھ کرپاکستان کے وجود کو بھارت کی جانب سے حقیقی و سنگین خطرات درپیش ہیں اور بھارت پاکستان کے خلاف اپنے مذموم عزائم کی تکمیل کی خاطر کسی بھی حد تک جاسکتا ہے۔ پاکستان کے خلاف جارحانہ و دشمنانہ کردار کی ایک بڑی وجہ یہ بھی ہے کہ بھارت اب علاقائی بالادستی کے خواب سے آگے بڑھ کر دنیا کی بڑی طاقتوں میں شمولیت کے پروگرام پر عمل پیرا ہے۔ اس مقصد کے حصول کے لئے وہ نہ صرف اپنی جنگی اور ایٹمی صلاحیت کو مسلسل بڑھا رہا ہے بلکہ خطے کے تمام ممالک کو اپنی تابعداری میں لینے کی کوشش بھی کررہا ہے۔بڑی جنگی طاقتوں میں اپنا شمار کرانے کے لئے بھارت نے جوہری پروگرام کو وسیع کرکے امریکہ ، جاپان اور آسٹریلیا سے جوہری معاہدے کئے ہیں۔نئے نیوکلیئر ڈاکٹر ائن کے تحت اپنی تینوں افواج کو ایٹمی صلاحیت سے لیس کیا ہے ۔ کسی بھی بحری فوج کے پاس ایٹمی قوت کی موجودگی اس حوالے سے زیادہ خطرناک سمجھی جاتی ہے ،کیونکہ اسے مارک کرکے نشانہ بنانا مشکل ہوتا ہے۔ سلامتی کونسل میں مستقل نشست،خطے پہ بالادستی و اجارہ داری اوربڑی طاقتوں میں شماربھارت کی ایسی خواہشات ہیں کہ جن کی تکمیل کی راہ میں وہ پاکستان کو رکاوٹ سمجھتا ہے۔ اس رکاوٹ کو ہٹانے یا ختم کرنے کے لئے بھارت پاکستان کے خلاف ایک باقاعدہ پروگرام پہ کاربند ہے۔


hartofasia.jpgاس پروگرام میں پاکستان کو داخلی و خارجی سطح پر عدم استحکام کا شکار کرنا، پاکستان کو تنہا کرنا، تعمیر و ترقی کے دروازے بند کرنا، خطے کے ممالک کے ساتھ تعلقات میں بگاڑ اور بالخصوص دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں پاکستان کی قربانیوں کو نظرانداز کرانے کے لئے الزامات کا لامتناہی سلسلہ جاری رکھنا شامل ہے۔ پاکستان کے خلاف اس بھارتی پروگرام کو اگر امریکی حمایت حاصل ہے تو یہ کوئی اچنبھے کی بات نہیں۔ سوویت یونین کے ٹوٹنے کے بعد امریکہ نے اپنا مرکزی حریف چین کو قرار دیا اور اپنی پالیسی ترتیب دی جس میں بھارت کو چین کے مدمقابل لانا شامل تھا۔ اس پالیسی کے تحت امریکہ نے بھارت کے ساتھ بڑے دفاعی و جوہری معاہدے کئے ۔ 2001ء میں صدر بش نے بھارت کے ساتھ میزائل ڈیفنس سسٹم معاہدہ کیا۔ 2005میں نیوکلیئر ڈیل اور اس کے علاوہ بے تحاشہ اسلحہ دینے کے معاہدے کئے۔ اب امریکہ اور بھارت نے ایک دوسرے کے بیسز استعمال کرنے اور لاجسٹک امداد کے معاہدے کئے ہیں۔ بھارت چین کے خلاف امریکہ سے تعاون پر مبنی پالیسی کی قیمت پاکستان مخالف پالیسی میں امریکی حمایت و مدد کی صورت میں مانگتا ہے۔ چنانچہ پاکستان کے خلاف بھارتی جارحانہ و دشمنانہ رویے پہ عالمی خاموشی باعث حیرت نہیں ہونی چاہئے۔

پاکستان کے خلاف بھارت کے عزائم حالیہ دور حکومت یا موجودہ عشرے میں جارحانہ نہیں ہوئے بلکہ قیام پاکستان کے بعد سے ہی بھارت پاکستان کی سلامتی کے خلاف سرگرم تھا۔ پاکستان پر جنگیں مسلط کیں۔ پہلے کشمیر پہ قبضہ کیا، پھر مشرقی پاکستان کو الگ کرنے میں اپنا گھناؤنا کردار ادا کیا ۔ پاکستان کے پانیوں پر قبضے کی پالیسی اختیار کی۔ کشمیر میں ظلم و ستم کے پہاڑ ڈھائے۔ آزادئ کشمیر کے لئے جو تحریک اٹھی تو اسے دہشت گرد قرار دیا۔ نریندر مودی حکومت کے آنے کے بعد بھارتی کردار جارحانہ نہیں بلکہ بے نقاب ہوا۔ نریندر مودی نے بھارتی پالیسی کو واضح اور عیاں کیا۔ یہاں تک کہ پاکستان کو دولخت کرنے کا اقبال جرم بھی سینہ تان کر سابق مشرقی پاکستان میں کیا۔ پاکستان کو تقسیم در تقسیم کرنے کی دیرینہ بھارتی خواہش کو عملی جامہ پہناتے ہوئے مودی نے بلوچستان اور گلگت بلتستان کی آزادی کی بھی باتیں شروع کردیں۔ دہشت گردی کے نام سے پاکستان کے خلاف واویلا کرکے پہلے دباؤمیں رکھنے کی کوشش کی۔ جب پاک افواج نے دہشت گردوں کے خلاف فیصلہ کن آپریشن ضرب عضب شروع کیا تو بھارت نے ایک جانب مشرقی سرحد پر بلااشتعال فائرنگ اور شیلنگ کا سلسلہ وقفے وقفے سے شروع کردیا تو دوسری جانب لائن آف کنٹرول پر بھی جارحیت شروع کردی۔ اسی پر ہی اکتفا نہیں کیا بلکہ افغانستان کے ذریعے مغربی سرحد پر بھی پاک فوج کو مصروف کرنے کی کوشش کی۔ یہ پاک فوج کی پیشہ ورانہ مہارت اور اعلیٰ صلاحیتوں کا ہی مظہر ہے کہ بھارت کی جانب سے بیک وقت کھولے گئے کئی محاذوں پر افواج پاکستان نے دشمن کو دندان شکن جواب دیا۔ اجیت دوول ڈاکٹرائن کہ ’’پاکستان میں گھس کر اسے تباہ کرو‘‘ کو عملی طور پر پاک فوج نے اپنی مؤثر حکمتِ عملی سے توڑا ہے۔

مودی حکومت نے پاکستان کے خلاف دوسرا بڑا محاذ سفارتی سطح پر کھولا ، جس کا مقصد عالمی برادری میں پاکستان کو تنہا کرنا ہے۔ اس مقصد کے حصول کے لئے پاکستان کے تمام دوست جن میں چین، سعودی عرب، ایران، عرب امارات، افغانستان، وسطی ایشیائی ریاستیں وغیرہ شامل ہیں، ان تمام ممالک سے بھارت نے نہ صرف تجارت اور تعلقات کو فروغ دیا ہے بلکہ پاک چین اقتصادی راہداری منصوبے کے خلاف چین میں جاکرا حتجاج کیا ہے۔ اسی طرح پاکستان کو توانائی کے بحران میں مبتلا رکھنے کے لئے پہلے پاک ایران گیس پائپ لائن منصوبے میں سے نکل کراسے ناکام بنانے کی کوشش کی اور پھر ترکمانستان، افغانستان، پاکستان، انڈیاگیس منصوبے میں شامل ہوکر افغانستان سے پاکستان کے اندر دراندازی میں اضافہ کردیا۔ پاک افغان کشیدگی بڑھانے کے جہاں دیگر مقاصد ہیں وہاں ایک بڑا بھارتی مقصد یہ بھی ہے کہ ترکمانستان، افغانستان، پاکستان، انڈیا منصوبہ بھی کھٹائی میں پڑے۔ اگر کامیاب بھی ہو تو بھی پاکستان کی توانائی سپلائی لائن افغانستان میں بھارتی پیر کے نیچے رہے۔ اسی طرح بھارت نے سعودی عرب اور عرب امارات کے ساتھ کئی معاہدے کئے۔ بھارت نے بہار میں سرمایہ کاری اور ایران، افغانستان، بھارت کوریڈور بناکر وسطی ایشیائی ریاستوں تک رسائی کا وہ منصوبہ شروع کیا،جس میں پاکستان شامل نہیں ، حالانکہ وسطی ایشیائی ریاستوں کا سہل اور محفوظ راستہ پاکستان افغانستان سے گزرتا ہے۔ جس طرح پاک افغان تعلقات میں خرابی کے لئے بھارت افغانستان میں سرگرم ہے، اسی طرح پاک ایران تعلقات میں خرابی پیدا کرنے کا بھی کوئی موقع ہاتھ سے نہیں جانے دیتا ۔ اسلامی جمہوریہ ایران کے صدر حسن روحانی پاکستان کے دورے پر پاک چین اقتصادی کوریڈور میں شامل ہونے کی خواہش لے کر آئے تھے۔ عین اسی وقت کلبھوشن کا معاملہ سامنے آیا اور ایسا پہلی مرتبہ ہوا کہ بھارت نے نہ صرف کلبھوشن کو اپنا جاسوس تسلیم کیا بلکہ فوری طور پر اس کی فیملی کے افراد بھی میڈیا پر لے آیا۔میڈیا کے ذریعے تاثر یہ دینا مقصود تھا کہ پاک چین اقتصادی راہداری کے خلاف ایران اور بھارت ایک ہیں، حالانکہ بلوچستان کے معاملے پر پاکستان اور ایران ایک جبکہ بھارت اور اسرائیل مخالف صفحہ پر موجود ہیں، جبکہ گوادر اورسی پیک کا بنیادی تعلق بلوچستان سے ہے۔ جس طرح پاکستانی بلوچستان میں بھارت مداخلت کررہا ہے اور یہاں بغاوت کا بیج بونے کی کوششوں میں مصروف عمل ہے ، اسی طرح ایرانی بلوچستان کے خلاف اسرائیل سرگرم ہے اور اس مقصد کے لئے بھارتی زمین استعمال کررہا ہے۔حال ہی میں اسرائیلی صدر نے بھارت کا طویل ترین دورہ بھی کیا ہے۔چنانچہ سی پیک میں شامل ہونے کی ایرانی خواہش کا نہ صرف چین نے خیر مقدم کیا بلکہ پاکستان نے بھی اسے خوش آئند قرار دیا۔ یہی وجہ ہے کہ چند روز قبل سی پیک کی آفیشل ویب سائٹ کی افتتاحی تقریب میں چین اور ایران کے سفیروں نے خصوصی شرکت کی۔

سی پیک کو ناکام بنانے اور اس کی سکیورٹی مشکوک کرنے کے لئے دہشت گردانہ حملے جاری ہیں۔ چین سے گوادر کے لئے پہلے برآمد ی قافلے کی روانگی سے چار روز قبل پولیس ٹریننگ سکول کوئٹہ میں دہشت گردی کا اندوہناک سانحہ پیش آیا۔ برآمدی قافلے کے گوادر پہنچ جانے کے اگلے روز اور گوادر کی افتتاحی تقریب سے محض ایک روز قبل دربار شاہ نورانی میں خودکش حملہ ہوا۔ دہشت گردی کے دونوں واقعات میں بھارتی عنصر براہ راست ملوث پایا گیا ہے۔ اسی طرح پشاور، فاٹا، کراچی و ملک کے دیگر شہروں میں پیش آنے والے سانحات کا سرا افغانستان میں موجود کالعدم تنظیموں سے جاملتا ہے ۔ جو بھارتی چھتر چھایا میں پاکستان کے خلاف دہشت گردی کا بازار گرم کئے ہوئے ہیں۔ علاوہ ازیں پاک فوج کے جوانوں نے اسی عرصے میں آبی حدود کی خلاف ورزی کرنے والی سب میرین کا راستہ روکا اور پاک فضائی حدود کی خلاف ورزی کرنے والے ایک بھارتی ڈرون کو بھی مار گرایا۔

تیسرا قبیح عمل مقبوضہ وادی میں ریاستی طاقت کے حیوانی استعمال کی صورت میں بھارت سرانجام دے رہا ہے۔ مقبوضہ وادی میں برہان وانی کی المناک شہادت کے بعد کشمیری نوجوانوں کی جو تحریک آزادی کے نعرے کے ساتھ اٹھی اس کو کچلنے کے لئے بھارت ظلم و جبر کی تمام حدیں پار کرچکا ہے۔ وانی کی شہادت کے بعد بیسیوں نوجوان شہید، سینکڑوں نوجوان، بچے، خواتین پیلٹ گن کا نشانہ بن کر اپنی بینائی کھوچکے ہیں۔ نوجوان بچیاں، مستورات لاپتا ہیں۔ سینکڑوں نوجوان، طالب علم زیر حراست ہیں۔ بجائے اس ظلم پر شرمندگی محسوس کرنے کے بھارت مقبوضہ وادی میں آزادی کی اس تحریک کو بھی پاک بھارت مسئلہ بنا کر پیش کرنے میں مصروف عمل ہے۔

پیش کردہ حالات و واقعات اتنے پرانے نہیں ہیں کہ جو اس سے قبل کسی عالمی یا علاقائی فورم پر پاکستان کی جانب سے پیش نہ کئے گئے ہوں۔ ہارٹ آف ایشیا کانفرنس میں بھارت کی جانب سے سفارتی آداب کی خلاف ورزی سے بڑھ کر مجرمانہ رویہ اپنانے کی وجہ یوں بھی سمجھ میں آتی ہے کہ بھارت’’الٹا چور کوتوال کو ڈانٹے ‘‘ کے مصداق اپنے جرائم پر پردہ ڈال کے پاکستان کو ’’مجرم‘‘ثابت کرنے پر کمربستہ ہے۔ شائد یہی وجہ ہے کہ پاکستانی مشیر خارجہ کو حبس بے جا میں رکھا نہ تو انہیں ترجمان سے ملنے دیا گیا اور نہ ہی گنے چنے موجود پاکستانی صحافیوں سے۔ حالانکہ ابھی نریندر مودی کو پاکستانی حکمرانوں کی میزبانی سے لطف اندوز ہوئے پورا ایک سال بھی مکمل نہیں ہواتھا۔

ضرورت اس امر کی ہے کہ سب سے پہلے ہم خود یہ باور کریں کہ بھارت کی پاکستان دشمنی ایک حقیقت ہے۔ پاکستان کو بھارت کی جانب سے مستقل، طویل المدت اور سنجیدہ خطرے کا سامنا ہے ۔ جس سے نمٹنے کے لئے عسکری ، سیاسی قوتوں کے ساتھ ساتھ سول سوسائٹی ، میڈیا کو بھی اپنا مستقل اور ذمہ دارانہ کردار ادا کرنا ہوگا۔ پاکستان کو مربوط، جامع ،مستقل اور طویل المدت پالیسی اپنا نی ہوگی۔ سول ملٹری قیادت کو مشترکہ حکمت عملی اپنانی ہوگی۔ دشمن کا مقابلہ کرنے کے لئے عسکری قوت کو مضبوط سے مضبوط تر کرنا ہوگا۔ سول انتظامیہ و پولیس کے ذریعے اندرونی انتشاریوں سے سخت رویہ اپنا نا ہوگا۔ بھارتی میڈیا ایک بمبئی سانحہ کو لے کر دنیا میں پاکستان دشمنی کا ڈھول پیٹ رہا ہے جبکہ ہمارا آزاد میڈیا سمجھوتہ ایکسپریس، مالگاؤں کویاد کرنا تو درکنار اے پی ایس، سانحہ چارسدہ یونیورسٹی، کوئٹہ کچہری حملہ، پولیس لائن حملے ودیگر بیسیوں ایسے سانحات کو فراموش کرچکا ہے جن میں بھارت براہِ راست ملوث تھا۔ ہمارے میڈیا کو بھی سلامتی کے امور میں قدم بہ قدم ملک و قوم کی ترجمانی کرنی ہوگی۔ بیرونی ممالک میں موجود ہمارے سفارتخانوں کو بھی موثرانداز میں اپنا نقطہ نظر دنیا پر واضح کرنا ہوگا، اور دنیاکو یہ باور کرانا ہوگا کہ پاکستان میں جاری دہشت گردی کی سرپرستی بھارت کررہا ہے اور پاکستان دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں بیش بہا قربانی دے رہا ہے۔ عمومی طور پر بھارت کے حوالے سے ہماری پالیسی ردعمل یاسستی کا شکار رہتی ہے مگر اب اس بات کی شدید ضرورت ہے کہ ردعمل سے نکل کر سفارتی و سیاسی محاذپر پیش قدمی کریں۔ بھارتی رعونت اور جارحیت کے خلاف ایک جامع، مربوط اور طویل المدت پالیسی ترتیب دیں جس پر صبر و تحمل سے عمل پیرا ہوکر بھارتی عزائم کو ناکام بنایا جائے۔

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ضرورت اس امر کی ہے کہ سب سے پہلے ہم خود یہ باور کریں کہ بھارت کی پاکستان دشمنی ایک حقیقت ہے۔ پاکستان کو بھارت کی جانب سے مستقل، طویل المدت اور سنجیدہ خطرے کا سامنا ہے ۔ جس سے نمٹنے کے لئے عسکری ، سیاسی قوتوں کے ساتھ ساتھ سول سوسائٹی ، میڈیا کو بھی اپنا مستقل اور ذمہ دارانہ کردار ادا کرنا ہوگا۔



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