Narrative on Kashmir must change

By K.N. Pandita

Pulwama suicide attack of Jaish terrorists could become a watershed in the Kashmir narrative. The Jaish claimed the attack and Pakistan Prime Minister wants India a convincing proof. If Jaish were not operating from Pakistani soil with a terrorist training camp hidden somewhere in the dense forests of Balakot, Pakistan’s stand would carry some sense.

From Imran Khan’s statement that India should produce proof of Pulwama attack, it can be inferred that the Jaish is carrying out attacks in Kashmir on its own without either the knowledge or consent of Pakistan and its army-ISI combine. Therefore, if Pakistan really wants peace to prevail in the region, its first task should be to destroy the terror establishment of Jaish and other terrorist groups like Lashkar etc. As such it should have welcome India’s initiative of striking at Balakot establishment because India has saved Pakistan the unavoidable military operation against Balakot just as it had to undertake Zarb-e-Azab which cost the lives of about 75,000 persons according to the estimates of Pakistan army.

The fallout of India’s air strike at Balakot has also secured Pakistan civilian government against threats posed by other militant organizations particularly leT. Thus we find a change in the narrative of Islamabad. If PM Imran Khan feels that he has demonstrated Pakistan’s goodwill gesture for bringing peace to the region by returning the captured Indian IAF pilot, it is all right. POWs have to be repatriated to their parent countries under the Geneva Convention be it one prisoner, prisoners or ninety – three thousand.

Pakistan had the compulsion of hiding the shooting down of its one F-16 fighter aircraft and on the other hand giving big hype to the incident of capturing our pilot and shooting down his Mig fighter. The people in Pakistan and Pok danced and made revelries. Pakistan television gave it widest possible coverage because it was eager to submerge the devastation it has suffered at Balakot under the revelry of shooting down our Mig.

How does this all impact the political scenario in Kashmir? Kashmiri separatists buoyed by the Pulwama massacre of CRP jawans were happy that the ISIS or the Taliban-type suicide bombing phase had for the first time practically become part of Kashmir insurgency. But it proved a mirage. Owing to some sporadic success which they had achieved in the escalating insurgency in the valley in recent months they were convinced that India was incapable of taking any precipitate action. Their surmise was belied and the Indian Air Force conducted an operation in Balakot which reminds one of the come American marine operations against Osama bin Laden or the Israeli operation at Entebbe airport. The message has gone to Kashmiri militants and separatists.

The message put bluntly for the is that Kashmir will remain an inseparable part of the Indian Union come what may and no amount of support from Pakistan moral or immoral will be strong enough to destabilize India in Kashmir. The strength of India in J&K lies in giving the state a secular democratic arrangement. Under misplaced calculation, Kashmiri political heavyweights trampled secular ideology under feet and subverted democracy while staying in power. Both these have now been exposed and obviously, New Delhi reacted as it should under the law of the land. Jamat-i-Islami stands banned because New Delhi has solid proof that it worked for sedition and had also planted are people in positions of power.

Knowing it full well, the Modi government still, demonstrating large heartedness and hoping that good sense would ultimately prevail among Kashmiri rulers, agreed to the forming of a coalition government. That proved a damp squib. The BJP point man in Kashmir went on speaking lie after lie for four long years thereby helping developmental works get stuck up. Jammu suffered much out of this naivety.

Pakistan has to change is narrative on the relationship with India and with its home-grown terrorist crop. Kashmiris have to change their narrative and stop thinking that they made sacrifices. They got themselves killed by their own machination. One thing is very certain. After the parliamentary as well as Assembly elections, the new government that will be formed in the State will have to change its stale and meaningless narrative and scramble for a new narrative. The new narrative is that of development, pragmatic approach to political problems and the imperative of composite living.

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