Kashmir: Consequences of changed scenario

By Farooq Khan
14 August 1999

The events of the last few months in Kashmir has made it imperative that we reevaluate all the aspects of the situation with a cool head, draft a correct and principled policy and pursue it with a single mind.

We here to consider four aspects of the situation in Kashmir. First, our responsibilities from religious point of view, and then the implications of the present situation on Pakistan, the Indian Muslims and the Kashmiri Muslims.

To date, we have tried both political and armed struggle, with varying strategies, to solve this quagmire. Sometimes, it was on the UN agendas for several straight years while in less fortunate times, it eluded the attention of the world body for years. Sometimes, we would report all the violations of the LoC to UN and conversely, we failed to report the Indian occupation of Siachen. The war of 1965 was the result of our incursions into the occupied Kashmir in the guise of freedom fighters. It is manifest that Kashmir was the chief determinant, directly or indirectly, in our economy. Defense, Foreign and Home policies and even our internal politics.

The basic principle in this problem is that every people have the right to live according to its free will. This unshakable and inalienable right is a living reality in human conscience. The Kashmiris have the right to freely decide their future as a part of India or Pakistan or an independent people. India cannot deny them this right on the pretext of an alleged piece of paper, written by a despotic dictator. Nor can Pakistan deny it to them under any circumstances.

Beside this aspect then, there is the religious question. Can or should an armed struggle or Jihad be launched against India? According to the Islamic injunctions, Jihad is conditional to the call by the state, that Jihad can only be proclaimed by a state which physically exists and which has all the state's rights over its citizens, that is tax, them penalise the criminals and keep law and order. Neither any individual nor a political party has the right to proclaim Jihad by itself. It is also important that Jihad bewaged under one commander, one strategy and one organisation. The second Islamic principle is that Jihad is only enjoined on a state if its power is at least half that of the enemy, and is self sufficient in other war needs.

,p>Both these injunctions entail very important implications. The first is that Jihad is not enjoined upon the state of Pakistan for the cause of Kashmir because India is five times stronger. The second implication is that the organisations waging armed struggle inside Kashmir do not meet the definition of Jihad because they neither represent any state nor are they under a single organisation and commander. It is not to belittle the sincerity, passion, courage and hard work of these armed organisations. This is in the brotherly spirit of best wishes so that the principle aspects of the problem are kept in sight.

The standard definition of Jihad can only be met if the state of Azad Kashmir declares Jihad, controls all the mujahideen and maintains a discipline of a regular army. This condition is imperative for good results, both here and in the hereafter. This condition was fully met with in Chechneya, Bosnia and Kosovo and in all cases, success was achieved. The violation of this condition in Afghanistan has resulted in a fiasco. Another aspect of the armed organisations in Kashmir is also very important. The most powerful of these are based on sectarian principle. It is unthinkable to conceive an Islamic Jihad which will divide the Ummah into sects and "Maslaks". There is no need to list the objectives of Jihad but a sincere Muslim can understand that a person ready to lay down his life should be able to lay down his vanity. A single purpose should result in a single organisation, instead we see over more mushrooming of organisations with organisations.

Now we have to evaluate the implications of the present Kashmir strategy on Pakistan. Our defense expenses have become half of budget, and due to the same reason our debt burden is now beyond our endurance. We often debate our failure to emulate the success of Japan, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. The reason is their defense expenditure, which is nor more than fifteen to twenty per cent of their budget. The same strategy resulted in our blunders of 1965. it had deep implications on the internal politics of Pakistan and has it's due share in furthering the emotional and senseless politics.

Our Kashmir strategy has profound implications for the Indian Muslims as well. There are about 150 million Muslims in India. A developed Pakistan, a hub of Islam, would have boosted their morale, but the tension generated by this problem has turned them into an easy target for the Hindu hatred and in worse conditions than the "Untouchables". Their new generation has got the message that it they have to live in India, they will have to be in the forefront in criticising Pakistan and this is exactly what is happening. The situation inside Kashmir is no less disturbing. A devastating economy, around forty organisations waging armed struggle (sometimes among themselves) and the absence of a dictating power on their back will naturally give rise to misunderstanding, disappointment and a pessimism about the future. So that a wrong Kashmir strategy has landed the Pakistani, Indian and Kashmiri Muslims in a crisis.

It is now quite clear that India will only grant the Kashmiris their right of self-determination when she is engulfed by some unsolvable crisis. Such crisis can not be dictated from the outside but rise from within. War is not the solution to this problem because we cannot sustain war for more than three of four weeks, be it nuclear or conventional. We cannot bear the expenses of a longer war. Every such war will only result in our occupation of a few hundred square kilometers of India and India doing the same, the UN will intervene and both parties will go back to their earlier position. So I think that the Kashmir problem can only be solved through peaceful political struggle. We should not only realise this truth, but should also base all our strategy on this foundation. Once accepted with a cool head, we will have to proceed on the lines that such a political solution demands.

The most important precondition of a political solution is the unification of Kashmiri Muslims under one and only one political organisation and one leader. A loose alliance will never suffice. Such an alliance ends neither the internal quarrels for leadership nor the mutual prejudices. A freedom struggle can only succeed under a single organisation and one leader. Nelson Mandela, Khomeni, Quaid-e-azam, Gandhi, Suekamo and Bin Bela are only few of the numerous examples. All the other steps will be in vain if the Muslims and politicians of the occupied Kashmir can't fulfill this precondition. The best thing to do would be for the politicians to merge their a respective parties in a single one and agree upon a single leader. If that is not possible then they should at least gather under one flag as the Muslims of India did before partition.

Next comes political struggle. Participation in the election under protest, is an option that is used by the political parties all over the world. The representative party of the occupied Kashmir can thus not only reconvert their land into a paradise but also portray themselves to the rest of the world as an oppressed and wronged people. During all this, Pakistan will lend all possible political and diplomatic support and raise this problem on every forum. However every effort should be made to keep the relations with India normal, so as to make Pakistan economically strong.

The closure of all the training camps under the armed organisations is also a must. If we have reached the conclusion that our religion does not bid us to any holy war in this case, and that war will not solve this problem then we will have to abandon our half hearted approach, Embrace a clear and principled point of view and take steps accordingly Pakistan should avoid any such action that will leave it in an isolated and ill-portrayed position on the world stage.

Having all said and done however, this problem will not be solved by all the steps narrated above. It will only be solved when a deep political crisis takes place inside India, when will that happen? The heavens will announce the verdict till then we have to wait.

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