Pak pro-active policy ominous for J&K
8 December 2002
The Daily Excelsior
B L Kak
Jammu: Trigger-happy ruler of Pakistan, Gen. Parvez Musharraf, has, if recent events were any guide, taken due note of the policy and perception of India’s ‘second Iron Man’, Mr LK Advani, in relation to Kashmir. By the time Eid-ul-Fitr prayers in Islamabad on Friday were over, Gen. Musharraf had upheld the saying ‘what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’. His announcement that Islamabad would continue with its ‘pro-active’ Kashmir policy, was obviously meant to tell New Delhi, particularly Mr Advani, that what one person is allowed to do, another persons must be allowed to do in similar circumstances. In other words, if the Delhi-based ‘second Iron Man’ of India had full freedom to pursue his Government’s ‘pro-active’ policy against the militants and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, Gen. Parvez Musharraf, too, can continue with his Government’s ‘’pro- active’ policy on Kashmir. The patent difference between the two, however, is: The Government of India treats the ongoing unrest in Kashmir as Pakistan-sponsored insurgency, militancy and terrorism, while the Pakistan Government insists that it is ''Kashmiri freedom movement''. No wonder, then, that Gen. Musharraf, in his message on Eid-ul-Fitr, said—yes, much against the expectations and wishes of Indian authorities— that he prayed for the success of the ''Kashmiri freedom movement''. Nor was it all. Again, as part of his anti-Delhi tactics and pro-Pak elements in Kashmir, Gen. Musharraf chose to re- affirm Islamabad’s resolve to continue providing ''all possible political, moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris''. Significantly, all this on the day when his Prime Minister, Mir Zaffarullah Khan Jamali, and leaders of Pakistan-based militant groups vowed to continue with their ''help-Kashmiri-freedom-fighters’ policy. Equally significant was Gen. Musharraf’s new expression in relation to Kashmir. He described the current unrest in the Valley as the ''epic struggle''. This description or definition, coupled with Islamabad’s assurance of the continued ''political, moral and diplomatic'' support to protestors in Kashmir should be taken as a clear indication of impending trouble—more acts of violence, including terrorist strikes on Indian security forces and installations—in the coming days and weeks. Undoubtedly, there was also awarning inherent in the Friday utterances of Gen. Musharraf—warning that his country will continue its ‘pro-active’ policy until a fair settlement of the Kashmir issue was reached in accordance with the wishes of the people of J&K. Islamabad’s emphasis on the relevance and utility of its ‘pro-active’ Kashmir policy requires to be studied in the context of Gen Musharraf’s seemingly indifferent attitude towards the two important developments,one being the product of Russian President’s visit to Delhi and another springing from the visit to J&K by the US Ambassador to India, Mr Robert Blackwill. One had expected some kind of go-slow tactics by the trigger-happy President of Pakistan, after Russian President, Mr Vladimir Putin, stressed the importance of Islamabad implementing in full its obligations and promises to prevent the infiltration of terrorists across the Line of Control (LoC) into Jammu and Kashmir and at other points across the border. And during his visit to the State, Mr Robert Blackwill avoided giving a clean chit to Pakistan, when he made a pointed reference to the challenge the Indian security forces faced along the LoC in view of the cross-border terrorism and infiltration. Instead, Gen. Musharraf’s attempt seemed to incite and instigate insurgents and militants on this side of the LoC. In fact, his warning can’t be ignored or under-estimated, in view of the latest statement, inside the Raghunath Mandir premises, by the Union Minister of State for Home, Mr ID Swami, that about 3,000 militants, including a number of foreign ultras, ''are, at present, operating'' in J&K. Obviously, Mr Vladimir Putin was speaking the language of Indian intelligence community that the infiltration along the LoC was on. And if the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. S Padmanabhan, subsequently sought to highlight the reduction in the infiltration (43 to 44 per cent) from the Pakistani side of LoC compared to the corresponding period last year, his intention was not to portray a rosy picture. The Army, he pointed out, was redoubling its efforts to curb the influx of terrorists. There are many in J&K who share Gen. Padmanabhan’s reported view that it is not quite easy to prevent infiltration completely. Gen. Musharraf may continue to sell to the international community, paarticularly the United States, his ‘good old product’— that is,Islamabad has taken, and is taking, active steps against various militant outfits across Pakistan. But he will, in the altering or altered scenario, find it difficult to take the international community for a ride. Noises against Gen. Musharraf in Pakistan occupied Kashmir(PoK) have, of late, become a bit louder. The existence of an elected Government in the PoK notwithstanding, several leaders in the occupied territory want the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to use influence for active steps for restoration of what has been termed as ''participatory democracy in areas of Kashmir forcibly occupied by Pakistan''.