Written By: Farooq-uz-Zaman
One would wonder why the great visionary of the 20th Century South Asia, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had called Kashmir the jugular vein of Pakistan. The now jugular route of CPEC proves it as true. Why the will of Kashmiris can’t be ignored with a wink of an eye, is because the Valley is naturally designed like a pumping heart with its blood-supplying arteries to and from Pakistan.
Kashmir’s geographical location is such that it was, in words of Farooq Abdullah, “bounded on all sides by Pakistan. Its only access to the outside world by road laid through the Jhelum Valley road which ran through Pakistan, via Rawalpindi. The only rail line connecting Kashmir with the outside world laid through Sialkot. Its postal and telegraphic services operated through areas belonging to Pakistan. Kashmir was dependent for all its imported supplies like salt, sugar, petrol and other necessities of life on their safe and continued transit through areas that formed part of Pakistan. The tourist transit traffic which was a major source of income and revenue could only come via Rawalpindi. The only route available for the export of its valuable fruit was the Jhelum Valley route. Its timber could mainly be drifted down only in the Jhelum river which ran into Pakistan.”
Now the CPEC route further proves Kashmir’s significance. India has, suddenly, realized this fact and is poised to deter Pakistan and China from building this regional game-changer. India is calling an intervention by the international community by raising questions against CPEC route and its passage through the disputed territory.
Kashmir is not just a political issue between Pakistan and India; it is obviously an unfinished agenda of the partition. The Kashmir case is also the world’s biggest and longest standing issue of human rights to which the UN Resolutions contain commitment to the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination.
The start of freedom movement in Kashmir was the consequence of (a) India not heeding to the right of plebiscite as guaranteed by the UN Resolutions, (b) the inability of the UN to implement its Security Council’s many Resolutions, and (c) the world community failing to stop the genocide of Kashmiris.
According to data available from various sources over 100,000 Kashmiris have been martyred by the brutal Indian force, out of which 72,074 were purportedly fake encounters. At least 143,585 innocent Kashmiris have so far been arrested by Indian army for no reason. Indian military men have raped thousands of women. Hundreds of unnamed mass graves loudly speak of India’s policy of barbaric state-terrorism. Statistics show that there are 22,864 widows in the valley, whereas 107,686 children have been orphaned between January 1989 to January 2018.
On July 8, 2016 Burhan Wani’s martyrdom at the hands of Indian army triggered, yet again, a powerful uprising in Kashmir; Indian forces killed scores of innocent Kashmiris in order to quell the uprising, using modern weapons, including the pellet guns which blinded and injured countless Kashmiris–mostly the youth, according to international human rights organization’s data. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and individual human rights activists raised the voice at international forums and urged the world to intervene and stop India from committing heinous acts of human rights violations in Kashmir. Even activists like Asma Jahangir, who personally visited the affected areas in the occupied Valley, pointed to Indian atrocities. India’s own journalists as well as intellectuals such as Arundhati Roy and Mani Shankar Aiyar came out with scathing criticism and called for justice for Kashmiris.
This resulted in resorting to the old tactic of New Delhi–unprovoked firing by the Indians on Pakistani troops and civilians across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. At the same time the Indian propagandists sitting in Delhi started hurling accusations in order to shift the blame on Pakistan for the worsening LOC situation.
India uses such tactics as a routine. Despite the fact that India had entered into a ceasefire agreement with Pakistan in 2003, its forces, especially under the Modi regime have committed hundreds of violations on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary.
There has been continual violation of the ceasefire agreement by the Indian troops. In 2014 the total number of CFVs was 315, 248 in 2015, and 382 in 2016, the CFVs in 2017 were 1881, and in 2018, as of yet, are over 300, however, there appears to be an upward trend.
First two months of 2018 witnessed continuous violations by the Indian Army and BSF. Heavy weapons were used, which killed dozens and injured hundreds, along with massive damage to property in villages across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary.
This pattern of firing and hostilities indicates “hegemonic conduct of India” towards the region and particularly towards Pakistan. Most recently, in response to nonstop Indian atrocities against the innocent Kashmiris, the freedom fighters attacked an Indian military camp in IOK, which claimed lives of seven Indian personnel. Without wasting any time New Delhi alleged Pakistan for colluding the attack and none other but the Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, threatened Pakistan of dire consequences, saying, “Pakistan will pay the price for this misadventure.” In the same vein the Indian Army Chief threatened to avenge the military camp attack “very soon.”
From Sialkot Working Boundary to the Line of Control, there have been ceasefire violations through use of aggressive heavy weapons on unarmed and innocent civil population, violating the UN Resolutions, Ceasefire Agreement of 2003 and, above all, the international norms of not targeting the civil population.
The Pakistan Foreign Office and the military spokesman have vehemently rejected the Indian claims. Failing to produce even a shred of evidence against Pakistan, India stepped up ceasefire violations during the month of February which have so far resulted in the martyrdom of 14 innocent civilians and injured 65 others. On February 15 Indian troops fired at a school van, killing the van driver and terrifying innocent school children. On February 19, an 8-year old innocent was targeted and killed by Indian troops from across the LOC.
Pakistan has always exercised restraint. It has strived to abide by the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement reached between the two countries after marathon deliberations and DGMOs’ intervention. Yet, Pakistan is very much cognizant of exercising its right to defend and respond.
The question is why India is hell bent upon resorting to making the situation volatile while India knows that such an aggressive posture can spill over to dangerous proportions? This the world needs to understand clearly.
India’s unleashing of terror in the Valley of Kashmir is not just to quell the freedom movement of Kashmiris. But it is also aimed at killing two, or many, birds with one stone.
Kashmiris’ movement this time is different from that of the 1980s freedom struggle. That time it could be called Kashmir uprising out of frustration as India was not heeding to the UN Resolutions. This time, under a well thought out plan, India itself managed to bring Kashmiris to the brink. The world knows that India’s unleashing of terror by using modern techniques and sophisticated weapons has nothing to do with Pakistan. At that time the LOC was not fenced. Now India has heavily fenced the 900km-long Line of Control–built in two layers and within the wide stretch of 3 kilometers–making it impossible to cross over or reaching any alleged help from Pakistani side.
The question is what would India gain from starting the trouble itself? Simple answer is CPEC, and to get Pakistan declared as a terror sponsoring nation. According to an Indian sponsored video that went viral on social media, Indian government has allocated billions of rupees to hinder China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. To achieve this objective, India has launched a three-pronged war with Pakistan. One is to foment insurgencies within parts of Pakistan, including Balochistan. Second is to use the proxies such as TTP and Daesh for launching attacks from Afghanistan: Mullah Fazlullah and hundreds of his accomplices are being funded, armed and trained by India for terrorism in Pakistan. Third is to engage Pakistan directly through a limited war on LOC, Working Boundary and International Border.
In General Aslam Beg’s words, “India’s display of military power is a diplomatic ploy. It is aimed at forcing Pakistan to turn its guns on the Islamists and Jihadis, as it happened in Algeria, where the confrontation with the armed forces, over the decade has taken a heavy toll of life. The conspiracy against Pakistan is no different to create a wedge between the people and the armed forces, and to keep Pakistan so engaged in its internal affairs that Kashmir struggle recedes in the background, enabling India to suppress it.”
This would ultimately result in, according to devised strategy, the stoppage of CPEC and resultantly faltering of economy leading to Pakistan being declared as defaulting country. The recent attempt to put Pakistan on FATF’s watchlist is part of the plan to pressurize Pakistan.
Will Pakistan yield to the global pressure and distance itself from the Kashmir cause? asks General Beg, adding, “My answer is no. Whatever Pakistan was made to do in Afghanistan, cannot be repeated in the context of Kashmir, because the decision is not with the Government of Pakistan, as it squarely lies with the people–the Global Resistance force–woven together in an unequivocal commitment to bring Kashmir uprising to a fruitful end. One may call them by any name–terrorists or otherwise, it will make no difference. What is of consequence, is their determination to achieve their cherished goal and pay the price for it. Death for them has a different connotation altogether. The very fact that India is brought to a point of desperation to seek USA’s support, testifies how difficult it is for her to quell the Kashmir uprising.”
At the outset Kashmir was recognized as an international issue, which India ‘made’ bilateral under the pretext of Simla Agreement. Now, all of a sudden, India is poised to call for the intervention of superpower America and its allies–because of the CPEC–up from China down to Gwadar, which has sent shock tremors in Delhi and elsewhere.
Defence observers call it ‘God’s will’ or ‘divine scheming’. According to Major General (retd) Askari Raza Malik, “The hue and cry about terrorists’ crossing over from Pakistan has also proved to be a complete hoax.” Elias Davidsson’s latest book, “Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence”, proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Mumbai terrorist attack of September 26, 2008 was planned and executed by none other than the Indian intelligence itself. All the venomous allegations directed at Pakistan at the time were readily believed by a gullible world. Davidsson seems to believe that it was the Indian intelligence acting on its own that had brought discredit to the Indian government. But the same drama enacted again and again proves that the Indian government is deliberately involved in sinning against its own people for insignificant political gains.
The Indian mania reached its pinnacle when the Bollywood style “Surgical Strike into Pakistan” fantasy was released out of nowhere. One wonders how a highly professional soldier like the Indian Army Director General Military Operations could be a party to this ridiculous claim of carrying out a surgical strike into Pakistan with nothing to show on ground. “It is a sad commentary on the professional ethics of a high-ranking military officer”, concludes General Askari.
That India plans to engage Pakistan in a limited war is a far cry. As per Brian Cloughley, “Man-for-man it (Pakistan Army) will hammer any opponent, no matter if the skies are filled with (enemy) bombers.” According to a New York Times editorial assessment, “Despite India being a bigger country, it stands to lose much more in any future war with Pakistan. It is not to brag about Pakistani military’s superiority. It is just to warn India not to be carried away by superficial content and take a plunge into some expansive misadventure endangering the peace of the entire region. Nothing is worth taking that risk.”
It is thus advisable for India to eschew the path of putting at risk the populations of South Asian continent, since both Pakistan and India are declared nuclear states. Sanity must prevail, as many saner elements within India advise Modi and his cohorts “to catch the strings from where Prime Minister Vajpayee had left” and come to the terms of resolving the Kashmir dispute as early as possible as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, as guaranteed under the UN Resolutions.
Wisdom lies in going back and starting afresh where we left, to ignoring the background history of the ceasefire line after Indian invasion of Kashmir on Octocber 27, 1947. Here a war broke out and India itself approached the UN on January 1, 1948 to stop the war. Consequently, exactly a year later, a UN directive came for a ceasefire on January 1, 1949. Later, through ‘Karachi Agreement-1949’ both the countries agreed to establish a ceasefire, which was signed in Karachi on July 27, 1949.
The UNSC Resolution 47, passed on April 21, 1948 had established UNCIP to resolve the Kashmir conflict through mediation, initially ensuring cessation of fighting and later arranging a plebiscite. This resolution was an upgradation of UNSC’s earlier Resolution 39 adopted on January 20, 1948 which offered to assist in the peaceful resolution of Kashmir Conflict by setting up a commission of three members. In Resolution 47 the number of members was enhanced to five (with representatives of Argentina, Belgium, Columbia, Czechoslovakia and the United States). The Commission was directed to visit India and Pakistan for the restoration of peace and order and preparation for the plebiscite in Kashmir.
The UNCIP role continued till March 1951 when the UNSC through its Resolution 91 (1951) formed the UNMOGIP to supervise the ceasefire line. Since the 1972-Simla Accord, India has stopped the UNMOGIP from visiting the ceasefire line (now renamed as the Line of Control) to monitor. So far India has been misinterpreting the Simla Accord through misleading proclamations, and by confusing the world community that Kashmir has become a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, thus, its future resolution will be determined through bilateralism.
Wisdom must prevail as Kashmiris have always conveyed their rejection of Indian occupation by refusing to be assimilated in Indian union. India itself incorporated special provision in its constitution to address the issue of Kashmir: Article 370 gives special status to Kashmir and makes it a distinct territory from the rest of India. Kashmiris demand more than what Article 370 promises. Their desire has all along been the right to self-determination.
When Article 370, dealing with Kashmir's relationship with the Union of India, came up for enactment in the Indian Constitution, it was again made clear in the Indian Constituent Assembly by Sir Gopalaswami Ayyangar that: “The Government of India have committed themselves to the people of Kashmir in certain respects. They have committed themselves to the position that an opportunity would be given to the people of the State to decide for themselves whether they will remain with the Republic or wish to go out of it. We are also committed to ascertaining the will of the people by means of a plebiscite provided that peaceful and normal conditions are restored and the impartiality of the plebiscite could be guaranteed.”
It is important to recall here as to what Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru stated as far back as June 26, 1952 with regard to such constitutional expedients: “We have not got a clean slate to write upon; we are limited, inhibited by our commitments to the UN, by this, by that. But, nevertheless, the basic fact remains that we have declared—and even if we had not declared the fact would remain—that it is the people of Kashmir who must decide. And I say with all respect to our Constitution that it just does not matter what your Constitution says, if the people of Kashmir do not want it, it will not go there.... Let us suppose there was a proper plebiscite there—and the people of Kashmir said, "We do not want to be with India." Well, we are committed to it, we would accept it. It might pain us but we would not send an army against them; we might accept it, however much hurt we might feel about it, and we should change our Constitution about it.”
Addressing a meeting at Allahabad in February 1957, Mr. Nehru denied that India had attempted to back out of any commitments. He said: “Kashmir is not ours but it is of the Kashmiris. We cannot stay in Kashmir for a moment without the consent of the Kashmiris. It is not our property.”
In another speech in the same vein on August 7, 1952, Nehru said: “It is an international problem. It would be an international problem… We do not want to win people against their will and with the help of armed force, and if the people of Jammu and Kashmir State so wish it, to part company from us, they can go their way and we shall go our way. We want no forced marriages, no forced unions like this....But whether it is a pain and a torment, if the people of Kashmir want to go out, let them go because we will not keep them against their will however painful it may be to us.… Because the strongest bonds that bind will not be the bonds of your armies or even of your Constitution to which so much reference has been made, but bonds which are stronger than the Constitution and laws and armies—bonds that bind through love and affection and understanding of various people....”
That is the writing on the wall. Will India care to read it? Kashmir is not wink of the eye. It is beat of the heart. Listen to it.