By K.N. Pandita
Reports are that last week’s firing and shelling across the LoC and IB was far more intense than at any other time in recent past. Rangers chose firing across IB because that is not fenced and provides comparatively easier clandestine infiltration.
Pakistan is using Kashmir as a safety valve to steer away from deteriorating domestic situation. In a television interview with an Indian channel, former army chief and president, Pervez Musharraf has frankly confessed that Pakistan has been sending jihadis in Kashmir to help Kashmiris fight Indian presence. He was candid in saying that Pakistan could incite Kashmiris and millions of Pakistanis would march on to Kashmir. He added that other means could be explored if Kashmir was not wrested through armed insurgency.
This is a policy statement which normally only the elected government may issue. No such statement has come from Islamabad. Pakistan army has used its former chief as proxy to speak for the nation. Don’t forget that a charge of murder is pending against Musharraf in a court of law in Pakistan.
His Kashmir rhetoric is politically motivated. It is a message to the elected government that the army has no intention of allowing Kashmir issue to be handled by the civilian government. Secondly, it is a booster to the morale of the army that has recently received some drubbing in Sialkot sector at the hands of retaliating f Indian forces.
Pakistani defence and foreign affairs circles believe New Delhi is ruled by aggressive right wing party. They ascribe heightened tension on the border to new incumbency in New Delhi. This is erroneous approach. Firing small or big has been a recurring feature on our border with Pakistan. The reason lies in the historicity of the conflict.
Pakistan was created on the premise that Muslims are a separate nation with separate agenda and separate mission ordained by Allah. They firmly believe that Muslims are not like any other community on the globe. Hindu or kafir is his enemy. Pakistan’s post- partition generations and all future generations will grow under the aura of this obsession. This impression is further and expressly reinforced by sectarian teaching imparted to young Pakistani students in thousands of seminaries across the country. Notwithstanding Islam, hate-India is the true religion of a Pakistani.
With domestic situation and law and order deteriorating with each passing day, and economy not stabilizing owing to terrorist culture becoming widespread, Pakistani army feels that the country is on the brink of disintegration. Now the only option of rescuing the failing state is to intensify hate-India hysteria. For that purpose Kashmir is the functional valve.
Army scripted the text of the speech which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was asked to deliver before the General Assembly in United Nations. Finding no response from the world body, Pakistan sent a letter to Secretary General Ban ki Moon bringing in a litany of complaints against India. The Secretary General dismissed the letter saying Kashmir was a bilateral issue.
Obviously, Shimla Agreement has sidelined the UN Security Council in the case of Kashmir and no Secretary General can over-ride procedures and practices,
Finding that India could retaliate to border firing with strength; that international community was not interested in raking up Kashmir issue, and that the morale of Kashmir separatists was sagging after India called off scheduled foreign secretary level meeting, hawks in Pakistan feel that all options of wresting Kashmir from the hands of India are closed except that of full-fledged war with India. Will Pakistan win it, is Pakistan’s biggest embarrassment. They are pinning hopes in jihadi terrorist organizations on her soil.
But Pakistani leaders whether in the civilian sector or in army know what a nuclear war means. They cannot take the initiative. Therefore, the option with them is the lakhs of Pakistanis which Musharraf said would march into Kashmir. He means the Al Qaeda, TTP, LeT, JM and scores of others. Recent unfurling of ISSI flag in downtown Srinagar is not an isolated happening as Omar would love to cal it.
If territories can be wrested from an adversary by marching in lakhs of people across the border, then India shall have the advantage of marching in not lakhs but crores of people across the IB into Baluchistan province to liberate the oppressed Baluchs who are our traditional friends.
We can also march in lakhs of people into Afghanistan and contribute to the economic development of that friendly country. Who can stop us?
The fact is that Pakistan Army had got used to pusillanimous reaction by the UPA government whenever it resorted to firing or beheading Indian soldiers on the border and had got emboldened by her sabotaging activities on and across the border. Strong reaction by Modi government has shaken the entire GHQ.
Why has retired and indicted General Pervez Musharraf become the spokesman of Pakistan army on Kashmir and Indo-Pak relations? How come the Pakistani foreign ministry has left the task of clarifying Pakistan’s position to him? What locus standi has he in the context of current contours of Indo-Pak relations?
This is an interesting question. Finding that the protest rallies and sit down strikes by the army sponsored movements of Imran and Qadri had ended up in smoke, ISI was forced to make a shift of priorities and now pulled out Kashmir from the Pandora’s Box. Even as that option is fading away fast, Pakistan personalities are talking about the dirty bomb they have in the basement. What did Musharraf mean by saying “other methods” would be used? What does he mean by inciting Kashmiris?
How unfortunate that Pakistani army and its advisers are dragging their country to utter devastation and destruction? Why can’t Pakistani rulers listen to the voice of sanity that does appear now and then through the media of that country? A weak and fragmented Pakistan is not at all in the interests of India. Contrarily, a strong, vibrant, economically solid Pakistan will be a source of stability in the sub-continent and a support to democracy world over. Strong and viable democracy is the only instrument that can keep the state safe against fragmentation.
Pakistan has to learn and get reconciled to the fact that there can be no redrawing of lines in Kashmir. By promising to render all kinds of support to the cause of Kashmiri militants or those who are involved with militancy in Kashmir, Pakistan is signing the death warrant of unknown numbers of Kashmiri youth who will get sacrificed at the altar of religion but for exclusive interests of Punjabi ethnic group in Pakistan. When according to General Musharraf lakhs of Pakistanis will march into Kashmir, what will happen to the struggle for aazadi, a struggle in which thousands of Kashmiris have perished so far?