Wo Chahte Hain Jaage Na Koiiiii, Ye Raat Ye Andhakar Chale Har Koi Bhatakta Rahe Yunhi, Aur Desh Yunhi Lachar Chale
Thursday, 22 September 2016
A campaign of terror: The Pakistanis may never have Kashmir, but their violence has transformed it
C Christine Fair
Feigning outrage at the killing of Pakistan-backed Hizbul Mujahideen commanderBurhan Wani, Pakistan’s civilian-led government decried his killing by Indian security forces as “deplorable and condemnable”. This group is considered to be a terrorist organisation by the United States, the European Union, and India alike. This conniption once again exposed Pakistan’s unstinting support for the zoo of Islamist terrorists that it uses to achieve its foreign policy objectives in India, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The timing of this charade is not coincidental: it is contemporaneous with mounting criticisms over Pakistani human rights abuses in Balochistan as it tries to crush any and all opposition to the infamous “China Pakistan Economic Corridor”. Pakistan explicitly counters criticism over its activities in Balochistan with reference to Indian security force’s killings in Kashmir. This is yet another Pakistani false equivalence.
It must be said bluntly that in Kashmir, Pakistan has no legal equities. Neither theIndian Independence Act of 1947 nor the Radcliffe Boundary Commission accord Pakistan any right to Kashmir. As is well-known, the Maharaja of Kashmir Hari Singh only acceded to India after Pakistan dispatched irregular forces to seize the terrain by force.
As the work of Shuja Nawaz – the brother of a deceased army chief – makes clear, these were not non-state actors. In its effort to seize Kashmir through warfare in 1947-48, 1965 and 1999 and by supporting a menagerie of terrorists since 1947 and an intense proxy war since 1989, Pakistan has demonstrated that it actually has little regard for the Kashmiris themselves.
They also sustained a reign of terror against women who do not veil as they demand by throwing acid on their faces and other crimes. The consequences of this are visible to any long-time observer. When I first visited the Valley in 1991, I never saw a woman in a black burqa with niqab. Instead women wore a scarf tied behind their necks. Now the black burqa, niqab and even socks and gloves are ubiquitous even beyond the cities and towns. The Pakistanis may never have Kashmir, but their violence has transformed it.
Turning to the most recent events, it is well-known that the recent episode of stone pelting has Pakistani backing. The stone pelting has had the intended consequences of goading Kashmir’s poorly equipped and poorly trained police into killing civilians who are protesting. About 80 people have been killed in this recent campaign of Pakistan-sponsored uprising and state response.
To be clear, it is extremely unfortunate that these deaths have occurred. And indeed, the Indian government needs to find other ways of managing crowds than looking for the chimerical non-lethal weapons. If Kashmir’s police had proper riot gear and personal protective equipment, the urge to fire at stone pelters would likely diminish. This would benefit India as it would deprive Pakistan of the result it so craves. But this incident reveals more than anything that Pakistan is willing to orchestrate the deaths of Kashmiris for its own political aims.
The vacuity of the so-called concern about Kashmir is reinforced by the complete omission of any mention of the Kashmiri Pandits who were ethnically cleansed by Pakistan-backed terrorists in 1990. Why does the “Kashmir problem” only centre on Muslims in the Valley and not any of the other lawful residents of the state?
Finally, the Pakistani civilian and military leadership continue to renew their demands that all UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir be fulfilled. Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, continues to opine that “non-implementation of UN Security Council resolutions pertaining to the Kashmir issue is a travesty of law”. She, like other Pakistanis making these insensate claims, are banking on the fact that most people have never read the hallowed resolutions.
I have and the language is clear. Pakistan was to first withdraw all non-Kashmiri persons from the area, including regular and irregular security forces. Then and only then, India was to demilitarise as well. However, India was allowed to retain enough forces to protect against further Pakistani incursions. Once both of these sequential steps were taken to the satisfaction of a UN appointed body, then the arrangements for a plebiscite were to take place. Pakistanis yammering about the non-implementation of this accord have only themselves to blame.
Turning to the issue of Balochistan on the one hand and the recent events in Kashmir on the other: both campaigns of violence are manifestations of Pakistani policy. The Pakistan army, along with the Frontier Corps and its various intelligence agencies are waging an all-out war against the Baloch to clear the province for Chinese economic exploitation. There are no estimates of the casualties or of the persons who havedisappeared. There is no accounting for the whereabouts of these myriad disappeared persons.
By law, the US is required to impose Leahy Amendment sanctions on any military unit engaging in human rights violations. The Pakistan military is waging this war with the subsidy of the US, which so far has shown nothing but pusillanimity in contending with Pakistan even though Pakistan is the root cause of American failures in Afghanistan.