From a long time, I have seen posts on social media and listened to the closed-room discussions from a particular bunch of Kashmiris (under Indian controlled) who draw a wierd analogy between Pakistan parts of Kashmir with the one under India occupation.
This repeated line of thought, packaged and repackaged, apparently does not hold any truth. But the very idea of promoting the constant propaganda seems to be distorting history and criminalize the Pakistan vis a vis Kashmir.
We can’t draw analogy between India and Pakistan on Kashmir. How can we equate the two Kashmirs? If you look at it this way, it means that Pakistan is committing gross violations of polity and human rights in Azaad Kashmir as what Indians are doing in their portion of Kashmir from past 70 years, specifically from last 30 years.
At the face of it, it seem this particular bunch of people are pushing the India-Pakistan analogy on Kashmir since it is politically neutral. It sounds good to Indian ears. They make the state instruments believe that if Kashmiris don’t like them, they don’t like the Pakistan either. This act of balance provides them an escape so that their vested interests remain intact. By treading this path, they make it sure that they would rub their shoulders with social, cultural and elite political circles of India.
The truth is that this bunch of people is only visible either behind key boards or in the coffee shops. For them talking about Kashmir is just a time pass, an issue which will bring attention and fetch them a good job anywhere in India.
Coming back to the point; the act of balancing by raking up pro-people politics keeps this bunch relevant in Kashmir. It keeps their interest with the state intact, simultaneously, it also helps them to remain in circulation by occasionally taking up Kashmir issue in coffee shops. By the way, Engineer Rashid, mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah also have raked up the dispute. Sheikh Abdullah also did it in the past to cull more favors from the New Delhi. You know, Kashmir issue is the easiest way to be in the limelight and a source to mint money from multiple agencies.
Being politically balanced in Kashmir means you side with the status quo. It means you toe the statist line. I think they are willingly doing it.
Having said that, it does not mean there are not genuine nationalists. The nationalist constituency in Kashmir is very big. I have always kept them in high regards for their belief, their steadfastness, their idea of political freedom as Kashmir being an independent nation and their relentless struggle for which they are suffering day in and out. Their immense contribution in the freedom struggle since 1960’s is open to all eyes.
Recently I found the genuine nationalists too were concerned about the coffee sipping bunch. They too seem to be puzzled and shocked when they told me as to why this particular bunch was criminalizing the Pakistan and put Azad Kashmir on the same pedestal as the Kashmir under Indian rule.
“How can they do it,” a Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader told me. “There is no comparison between the two Kashmir’s. Their idea seems to have the sole aim; to criminalize the Pakistan- which is the only supporter of Kashmir cause. This line suits the Indian state only. We reject this line. We see it as a grand game being planned behind the curtains”.
There is difference between criticizing Pakistan and running a constant malicious campaign to put India and Pakistan in the same bracket. Inherently, it is a false analogy and smacks of dubious politics. There is striking resemblance in the thinking of Qureshi’s, the Chodhwry’s and these handfuls of individuals. Who knows they are working for the same master?
Let us put the Kashmir partition into right perspective:
Pakistan had no army in 1947. The small army, headed by General Gracy, a British General, refused the orders of Mr Jinnah when the Indian army entered Kashmir. The General said he can’t go against the Indian army since it was headed by a British commander. He simply refused to comply with orders.
The people of Gilgit Baltistan, precisely Gilgit wazarat, along with the Gligit scouts, were led by the British army commander rose against the soldiers of Mahraja led by Gansara Singh. They defeated them. They waited for weeks for the Pakistan to come and take over the affairs. Later they themselves merged with Pakistan. Besides, the Ladakh and baltistan region were not part of Kashmir in the treaty of Amritsar, the official document by virture of which Kashmir was sold to the Dogras. The Mahraja coerced people there to join them, leading few military campaigns as well, after British left the GB region. As such, the people of GB, who were forcibly taken into the princely state headed by maharaja, had every right to decide to decide their political future in 1947.
The fight for Azad Kashmir was led by the people of Mirpur and Poonchis, who were ex-british soldiers. They rebelled against Mahraja before the Tribals from Pakistan’s Waziristan region entered into Kashmir. After they secured the region of Poonch and Rajouri, they called the Pakistani army. It took Pakistan eight months to deploy its meager troops in the region.
The Pakistan even later ceded large parts of Poonch and Rajouri regions, thinking the plebiscite would be conducted which never happened due to India’s refusal.
The Kashmir valley did not erupt in 1947 since it was politically divided. A large portion of people sided with National Conference led by Shekih Abdullah while the rest were with the Muslim conference. The Tribals entered after the Poonch rebellion started. The nascent Pakistani state had helped them, but it was purely done as a Muslim goodwill gesture. The tribals were told that Maharaja was treating the Muslim subjects badly, that they were suffering, which later became the cause of their arrival to Kashmir and free it from the rule of despot. The propaganda unleashed by the pro-Indian forces including NC was such that it changed the whole narrative, depicting them as barbarians. The truth was that only a handful of Tribals went back alive.
Apart from this, the Kashmir issue has been kept alive by the Pakistan even as the Indians wanted to settle the Kashmir question. The Indians repeatedly offered Pakistan to keep the portion of Kashmir which they had, and they will keep the one under their occupation.
The Pakistan has not deployed the seven lakh troops to repress the people, neither people in that part have risen against the state of Pakistan. The Pakistani state had always talked about the participation of Kashmiris in any talks aimed to solve the Kashmir dispute. India had always rejected it. They have termed Kashmiris as the one who will decide their destiny, as major stakeholders, which Indian state has refused to recognize. They have advocated the UN sponsored plebiscite, which Indians refuse.
How does then Pakistan can be equalized with the India on Kashmir? And how Pakistan shares equal burden with India which has led to suffering of Kashmiris? Or which option Pakistan has not utilized to push India for talks?
Abandoning the long held position on Kashmir, in 2005, former Pakistani president and military dictator General Parvez Mushrraf went to the extent of saying that Pakistan was ready to demilitarize the region provided India does the same. He said let Kashmir, specifically valley, self rules. India again refused.
The Pakistan as a state might have done lethal mistakes in dealing with Kashmir, but drawing a weird analogy completely smacks of dubiousness of those people who promote it.
The truth is that Sheikh Abdullah backed the accession with India, played instrumental role in bringing the Indian army. The Pakistan did not supplied guns to Kashmiris; yes Kashmir crossed the Line of Control asking for guns since they were stung hard by the Indian state. Why we lie? Kashmiris asked for guns. The Pakistan is the only country which advocates the cause of Kashmir. They are the one who raise the issue internationally. Now I will be told countries have interests when they do such things; yes they do have . But for them Kashmir is more of a baggage now due to which they had suffered as a country. They did not left us and put their own country at stake just for ideological reasons. They have survived without us for 70 years, they can do it for next 70. The Indus water treaty has survived all wars. If it would have been all about water resources generating from Kashmir for them, they could have entered a good deal with India on waters.
It does not mean they should not support the Kashmir cause. Being a party to the Kashmir dispute and well wisher of Kashmiris since it shares ideological, cultural historical and religious connections with Kashmir, the country has to aid Kashmiris who are fighting their war of survival. They have to highlight the cause and the brutal repression led by the Indian state inside Kashmir. We should understand that Kashmir issue is alive internationally because of Pakistan. Take out the Pakistan equation, it appears the Kashmir issue for which people have sacrificed lives and had given everything, is nothing other than a petty squabble between India and Kashmiris. It has no significance then.
As being oppressed, Kashmiris need to build alliances and differentiate between friends and foes. Like Indian freedom fighter Subash Chander Bose sided with the fascists during the Second World War. He did it despite knowing the politics of fascism. The Palestinians never speak against India despite it is a close ally of Israel. They do it since India supports a separate Palestinian state. Our acts politically and diplomatically should be mature. Imagine if our lone supporter stops supporting us then what will happen? The voice will not even reach New Delhi.
Those people who have left no stone unturned to criminalize Pakistan are straight forward lackeys of the state. Their very act of drawing analogy between India and Pakistan is giving legitimacy to the status quo
I am not against the people making political choices. It is ultimately the people of Kashmir who are struggling, and are dying and suffering to decide what they want. They have the right to decide whether they want to remain independent state, or with Pakistan or India, but spewing unreasonable venom against somebody is nothing, but a mere propagation of lies . Let the good sense prevail.
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