January 2006 News

Suicidal March To United States Of Kashmir

2 January 2006
The Nation
Brig (Retd) Shafi Khan

Lahore: In 1997 'Kashmir Study Group' a team of American scholars sponsored by Farooq Kathwari, a Kashmiri businessman settled in USA was inducted into the situation. It carried out extensive research to produce a scheme (The Way Ahead-1997) for the settlement of the dispute through partition on the basis of the possession: the 'Seven Regions Theory' was followed by a revised (2005) concept of 'Five Entities': AK and Northern Areas (with Pakistan), Ladakh, Kashmir valley and Jammu now under Indian control. All of them are proposed to be merged into the 'United States of Kashmir'. 'Every Entity' is supposed to have its own legislature, flag and police etc., and a Kashmir Authority to regulate movement and trade etc. The 'Five Entities' forming 'United States of Kashmir' are supposed to function under the joint control of India and Pakistan. General Pervez Musharraf had earlier on introduced the concept of 'Seven Regions' followed by 'Five Entities' as only a thought-provoking exercise. Mirwaiz Omar Farooq quoted the General as totally in favour of 'United States of Kashmir' after his interview with the General during OIC meeting at Mecca on 11-12 December (Press). The foreign office (press 26 Dec. 2005) accepted that the General had proposed the concept of 'United States of Kashmir', 'details are not to be given out'. The masterminds of concept of 'United States of Kashmir' have raised Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, a junior Kashmiri leader, to the centrestage to sell the idea and publicise various steps to pave the way for 'United States of Kashmir'. His vital proposals are: Kashmir should be demilitarised - both India and Pakistan should vacate Kashmir, Kashmir should be given 'Self rule' for a trial period of ten years - the final settlement can be worked out later. LoC should not be treated as a boundary. India view is that LoC is the boundary which cannot be revised. Kashmir under a federal system should be placed under joint control of India and Pakistan. In his latest fling Mirwaiz has demanded the induction of NATO Forces now on earthquake mercy mission to implement the concept of 'United States of Kashmir'. Who could have prompted him to get the best out of the hell created by the earthquake, worst ever in the history? The tragedy is multiplied when Sardar Qayoom Khan who was known as the leading light of Kashmir cause issued contradictory statements to suit his whims directed towards personal image-building. During his visit to India (October 2005) he was quoted to have said that 'the militancy in Kashmir was not a 'Jehad', it was only a mischief to tease the innocent families and people of Kashmir. On questioning in Pakistan and in Azad Kashmir, he disowned having made such statements in India though he stated that he intentionally did not meet Manmohan Singh, because he did not want to create difficulties for him. That speaks a lot about the airs he has about himself. He has openly declared his approval of self-rule demilitarisation of whole of Kashmir and merger of Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas into 'United States of Kashmir' under India assisted by Pakistan: only a wonky fellow could perform in such a manner. In the aftermath of the earthquake, American and NATO forces came without request on a mercy mission. Questions were raised in the National Assembly regarding the methodology of their sudden and uninvited appearance. There was no explanation offered by the Government of Pakistan. In the wake of controversy a highly rated delegation of American Senators and Congressmen led by Mr Don Burton arrived for an on-spot study of the situation. They visited India and Pakistan (1-6 December 2005) to find the Way ahead; the original title of the study carried out by 'Kashmir Study Group' in 1997. A Press report (1 December 2005) carried a very vital policy statement that 'US may play a visible role in Kashmir'. It was followed by a press report, 'America Sanctify the 'United States of Kashmir'. During the visit to India Mr Don Burton quite strangely recalled an almost a dead issue that India also had to attend to Khalistan problem; a bombshell for India. There is a strange coincidence of a mighty earthquake, the political adventure being whipped up by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq followed by visit of US Senators and Congressmen. The latest addition to the coincidences is the appointment of former President Bush as UN Chief of Earthquake relief work in Pakistan. American top ranking personalities: Mr Dick Cheney the Vice-President of America was followed by Mr Rumsfeld (21-23 December). Both of them said emphatically that the relations with Pakistan were going to be of long lasting nature. They also dwelt on Osama bin Laden, hiding somewhere in the area between Pakistan and Afghanistan and to 'get him' was of primary importance. Incidentally, the senior Bush had clamped (1989) specific sanctions on Pakistan after Pakistan's very valuable performance in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union - Pakistan was required to rollback the nuclear programme whereas India had the US support and blessings, for its programme besides modernisation and massive build up of Indian armed forces. We have no right to shift or drift away from the fundamental position that 'the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people' (Nehru). The UN Resolutions are still valid and inviolable regarding the right of self-determination of people of Kashmir. The fraud of the accession of Kashmir with India rejected by UN cannot be legitimised at any stage by any party. The kite flying regarding 'United States of Kashmir' is self defeating and immoral. We did nothing to prevent the genocide of Kashmiris in their homeland. We accepted their being branded as 'terrorist' and naked state-terrorism not challenged forcefully at the international for at the viciously arranged 'United States of Kashmir' will disturb whole of South Asia rather than solve its problems or even to dream of bringing peace to this region. The main aim of US is to see Kashmir fall into the Indian lap, so as to place India in command of South Asia, so that it could play its role of the 'world power' assigned to it by US. The US seems to have evolved a concept of re-naming the pre-partition state of Kashmir into 'United States of Kashmir' - jointly controlled by India and Pakistan. It boils down to the fact that Indian fraudulent claim on whole of Kashmir is being validated and Pakistan guided to join the 'sort of confederation' by carrying with it the gift of territories of Azad Kashmir and Northern area - allowing junior position in a drama which has no status, acceptable to the world. Accepting the trap laid out by 'United States of Kashmir' will put Pakistan (a state claiming to have an ideological base) on an accelerated rate of erosion of prestige, integrity, sovereignty and personality. Kashmir may be promised an autonomous status once again only to be disappointed as the repeal of special status under section 370 of Indian Constitution. In any case Kashmir will be treated as the integral part of India and Kashmiris denied their fight of self- determination. It is a treacherous game. The people of AK and Northern Areas are proud Pakistanis: can they be offered to India, shackled and tongue-tied? Pakistan as a state will be reduced in importance and position in the world. It will be called upon to do without its 'Minimum Deterrence' to reduce its army and divorce the 'Islamc ideology'. Kashmiris who are not Indian, who do not want to be Indian are going to be forced to give up their right to choose their fate despite the UN Charter and concept of democratic world born out of American century. Following America, Pakistan also declared departure from UN Resolutions - accepting that Kashmir was not a disputed territory. Now, merging AK and Northern areas means turning Pakistani people of AK and Northern Areas into Indians. What a march on a slippery road to liquidation. Our resistance to Indian domination has been eroded by treating a disoriented line of action against the enemy. All this is being done to keep China on the other side of Himalaya and away from Persian-Gulf and Gawader. Pakistan accepting Indian rights and hegemony on whole of Kashmir will lose rights and control, over the waters of the Western rivers - it will allowed to its land only if India apportions water to irrigate its pastures, totally forgetting about prosperity blessed by an agricultural country: living as a nation on its own. The whole picture is gruesome. Despite UN and American awareness of the situation. Kashmiris are being killed by dozens everyday. Sinning against humanity must invite wrath of heavens: Kashmiris as victims have not hurt any party. We should have read the situation building up for the future when America had renounced the validity of the UN Resolutions. America had openly declared its support to India to be able to employ her for the 'Great Game'. We must realise that America always employed Pakistan as a bait to get India into her orbit. The picture being prepared for the future is ominous and also a good warning. This 'fixing' is taking place despite Pakistan performing for America in its misadventure in Afghanistan. When the American 'hawks' declared (Rumsfeld) that US will get OBL, hiding somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghan borders, we will have to face once again a direct question. 'Are you with us or against us?' America could not operate in Afghanistan at a heavy price to be paid in the future only for fear of fancied fears? Once the smokescreen is lifted, realities will reveal themselves, Arrogance of power has a limit. Can we bury the memories of the past which forced us to seek a separate homeland; after living with Hindus for over thousand years? At the time of the partition, Hindu leaders had challenged that the 'converts had no right to be a nation' (Gandhi), 'Pakistan was a tent which had to be demolished within months', 'two nation theory was a fraud (MQM Chief Altaf Hussain also said this in Delhi) and the 'ideology of Pakistan was to be buried forever'. To bring Pakistan to a state of total helplessness, India had arranged through IWT the taking away of waters of the Eastern Rivers in 1960 and by occupying Kashmir, it had already built dams and power-houses to control the waters from Kashmir, the life-line for survival of Pakistan. The World Bank having performed its role, is no longer a guarantor of IWT. Unfortunately Pakistan has been objecting to the construction of dams in Kashmir in a very passive way, whereas India always continued working on new projects, having already completed the projects objected to by Pakistan. Can we ignore the warning declared by Mr Chakravarty, Indian Minister of Water and Power at IWT Commission meeting at Delhi on 14 June 2002: 'If we scrap IWT, Pakistan will be in a state of draught and Pakistanis will cry for drops of water'. IWT has been virtually scrapped by India with the connivance of the powers. India took 57 years to achieve the ultimate aim to gain control on all the rivers flowing into Pakistan: we must know and realise the consequences of the wilful denial of waters to Pakistan. Neither the past nor the future can be ignored. The following paragraph is an optional reading for pragmatists, liberals, secular and worldly-wise intellectuals. I have a vivid memory of early days of Pakistan when we had platoons facing Indian battalions; snider rifles with no oil to lubricate - ragtag people holding on against enemy brigades; one-third or even one-fourth ill-armed men blunted the enemy attacks. The capture of 7229 in Neelum Valley and Pandu in Jhelum Valley are the classics to remember. How many people know that Colonel (later General) Abar Khan, God bless him, with his twelve comrades was the only fighting force on ground between Indian Army at Baramula and Muzaffarabad 70 miles away. Think of Siachen where our troop without snowline clothing and equipment, dashed to halt India's stealthy intrusion (April 1984), Indians had violated the Simla Accord (1972). No other army in the world has known what the rare- quality men did to capture height. 22000 feet carried by helicopter on a sling through chilly winds and blizzards - only to defeat the enemy in race to the top. The hand would not drop from saluting them. Nine Indian divisions in East Pakistan could not capture even a single company position - the Battle of Hilli in East Pakistan among many others will always stand out in the history: the army fought very bravely against combined forces of evil. Generally the enlightened modernists or secularists do not believe in the invisible help from Allah aiding the Muslims. One such even occurred on 13-14 December 1971 in hot spring in Kotli sector (AK). The Indian attack by one brigade, besides two companies of SSG for special task to destroy guns, 110 guns with ammunition dumped since August 1971, IAF in support, continued its attacks for 18 hours. Towards the end Indians left 170 PWs in our hands and hundreds of dead bodies abandoned in the field. This battle was fought only by 29 men and officers supported by only 4 short-range guns. With no manpower to spare, it became impossible to round up to cut-off Indian troops, so the civilians from Kotli town commanded by SDM and the SP arrived in civilian trucks at the battlefield, flushed the Indians out of jungle, tied them with ropes and brought them to the camp it was a spectacle of the nation at war. Indians were highly impressed by this operation: they wanted to study the operation on site. Even the fiasco called Kargil had put whole of India in trauma for two and half months. Their commands and all branches of intelligence were put at naught. They ran out of fuel to torch their dad. Siachen had only one weeks fuel left for warming and cooking. This battle would have been one of the decisive battles of the world only if we did not too many enemies and some weaknesses of our own. At the time of the partition we did not have even the paper pins, no offices, millions of refugees all over the land, no money to run the state and world of problems. Seeing the enemy resources, there was not a hope to survive as a nation, we survived and prospered and now being a strong nation, we need have no fears. India with 700,000 strong army deployed in Kashmir could not crush or suppress few hundred ill-supported freedom fighters with no support and no feed-line. This is the lesson and also the whole truth. Honourable survival of Pakistan and Kashmir is our cause… we must know where to go for results. Recalling the feeble stage of our life in the wake of the partition. We enjoyed respect in the eyes of the enemy. I wish that we protect our prestige, interests and ensure that we are treated by our friends and foes with respect and that we do not hurt our foundations and principles.


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