This Blog provides an insight on the Kashmir-issue, India and Pakistan. The articles on this Blog can be best described as thought-provoking. The articles thrive to trigger debate about the miseries enslaved Kashmiris are facing and discuss also possible solutions to this long standing conflict. It also aims to convince readers why Independent Kashmir is the best solution for all parties involved.

jkdlp

jkdlp

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making Kashmir a theocracy

Kashmir dispute is sixty-four years old. Three wars, 1947, 1965 and Kargil have been fought. Simultaneously there surfaced armed insurgencies and political movements. This affair consumed two generations and next two also seem to be meeting the same fate. The question repeatedly asked is why despite such sacrifices neither the world opinion is supporting the demand of Kashmiris for self-determination nor is the question re-introduced in the UN with full force?

Curiously most of the members of the UN lent their full weight in favour of self-determination and freedom of many countries in the world like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, East Timor and some more in the African and Asian continents. Many countries established diplomatic and political relations with the nascent independent countries and in some cases the armed struggle of East Timor, Bosnia and now South Sudan are before us.

Despite sixty Muslim countries being the members of the UN, they have not been able to play any practical role to win self-determination for the people of Kashmir. At best some resolutions have been passed at OIC platform in which Pakistan with a few more member countries jointly asked for the resolution of Kashmir problem by the two countries.

The question is what are the reasons that Kashmir issue could not surface in any shape like the issue of self-determination other than a just bilateral issue? Let us study in depth the reasons for Kashmir movement not to have succeeded in garnering support from world body. Disinterested analysis will show that on ideological level the J&K movement remained divisive. There has been slogan mongering either for accession to Pakistan or for freedom for the sake of Islam. Even in both ideologies local organizations lacked sincerity. Protagonist groups and leaders of accession to Pakistan managed to extract huge monies from different governments in Pakistan. But notwithstanding that these henchmen or surrogate organizations or Pakistani managers or policy planning institutions were able to forge any policy regarding Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan with sincere intentions. Is accession to Pakistan possible in these circumstances? Of course slogan mongering and unleashing armed insurgency are there. Accession to Pakistan on theoretical basis and on international level that would keep the ground situation in sight has never been attempted. Such efforts lacked sincerity.

And there has been the policy of slogan raising; strange slogans like “Pakistan ka matlab kya/la ILA ha IL Allah” or “Pakistan se rishta kya/la ILA ha IL Allah.” Some times under the influence of uncontrolled passion slogans like “Kashmir the jugular vein of Pakistan” are raised only to whip up religious sentiments of Kashmiris. This is how the people are made hostage to religious sentiments. This kind of slogan mongering distances 30 to 35 per cent of such people of the State from the freedom struggle as are not Muslims. They have no attraction for the slogan of accession to Pakistan. Additionally the slogan made Indians allergic to the idea of our freedom. World community began to look at Kashmir dispute only from the prism of border dispute between two hostile countries. It did not concentrate on the right to self-determination of the people of the State.

Pakistan raised great hue and cry about the freedom of Kashmiris and their struggle for accession to Pakistan but in the matter of PoK and Gilgit and Baltistan she adopted the colonialist attitude. Out of total area of J&K State under the occupation of Pakistan, an area of 2900 square miles of Gilgit-Baltistan remained under the black laws like F.C.R for more than twenty-five years. Then other antics like so-called Council was floated which usurped the right of the people so much so that they were deprived of the right to make an appeal to the High Court or the Supreme Court if they needed to get their grievances redressed. Now a Provincial Assembly has been set up in Gilgit-Baltistan and a new administrative system has been implemented in the shape of instituting the Chief Minister.

In Azad Kashmir a namesake administration has been installed over an area of four thousand square miles. By establishing the impotent institutions of Prime Minister and President in Azad Kashmir the means of deceiving Kashmiri people have been devised. Actually this entire system is run by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs under an Act of 1974. With this Pakistani policy planners raised a hue and cry all over the world for their concern for the human rights, democracy and freedom of the people of “occupied Kashmir.” But the reality is that they deprived the entire region of the State under Pakistani control of freedom, democracy, human rights and right to governance. By dividing it into two parts, Pak rulers created confusion among the people and the   fraternity at large.

Another reason of failure in obtaining recognition for the freedom movement in Kashmir among world Muslim countries is that some elements among Kashmiris made freedom a hostage to the cause of Islam. They raised the slogan that since Muslims are in majority in Kashmir therefore only Islamic system has to be promulgated and that is the reason why freedom from India, a non-Muslim country is sought. The organizations which played up this card with vehemence are having close relations to Pakistani governments and religious extremist organizations within Pakistan besides some of these organizations looking up to the regime in Saudi Arabia.

People of J&K are living the life of slavery be it this or that side of the LoC. The people do not enjoy sovereignty and their state is divided into two parts. Hundreds of thousands of non-state soldiers stationed on either side of the cease fire line upset their lives. Rules and regulations for this state are framed in Delhi and Islamabad. Their economy, educational system and their honour on both sides is at the mercy of Islamabad and New Delhi. In this background, entangling the suppressed nation in slogans like Islamic system and freedom for Islam and Pan-Islamism with no semblance of unity at any stage or level is not going to win us an Islamic state.

Sayed Jamalu’d-Din Afghani and Sultan Hamid of Turkey had made efforts way back in 1914 for forging Islamic unity. And Sultan Hamid was profiled as Caliph at that time. But the Sheriff of Mecca revolted against this system on 5 June 1916 and declared himself the King of the Arabs. The Arabs sought support from France and Great Britain and a person known in history as Lawrence of Arabia, an intelligence officer, extend full support to the Arabs against Turkish domination. In this way the Islamic State was destroyed by the Muslims with their own hands. There were many nationalities that had failed to secure full rights under Ottoman dynastic rule. Earlier around 1821 nationalist movements had begun to surface in Ottoman Empire. Turkish regime had, during the World War I, aligned the movement with Germany and Italy. Later on she became an ally of Germany against France and Great Britain. The Arabs gave full support to these marginalized nationalities against the Caliph. Thus Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and many other Arab States, one by one, distanced from Turkey’s concept of Islamic state under the overarching concept of nationalism. Undoubtedly Turkey would have got fragmented if she had not under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk and his comrades re-united Turkey to secure her against France and Great Britain. Had not that happened Turkey would not have been in its present shape today.

The unjust war unleashed by the Arabs against the Turks forced Ataturk to go to the extreme fringes of nationalism so much so that even the Qur’an and the Islamic call for prayer (azaan) were translated into Turkish language and promulgated in the state. Thus each Muslim State today is locally identified by respective nationalism. Hence we have Egyptian nationalism, Lebanese nationalism, Iraqi nationalism, Jordanian nationalism etc. All Muslim countries are being represented in the UN in terms of their respective nationalism. However Saudi Arabia is called Islamic state but only to the confusion of ordinary people. It is a dynastic monarchy. Pakistani constitution gives her the name of Islamic Republic of Pakistan but is it an Islamic Republic in reality? Its constitution drawn first in 1956 and then in 1974 is base on the laws made by the British colonial power. Thus though in these 60 countries there are Muslims with sovereign power in their hands, yet these are not Islamic States.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been enslaved and made destitute to the extent that their entire struggle is now subservient to Islamic slogan mongering and making Kashmir an Islamic State. This distanced non-Muslims of the State from our national freedom struggle. Fearful for life, vexed by the idea of accession to Pakistan and conversion of Kashmir into an Islamic state brought them closer to India. The biggest damage which our movement suffered was it’s de-recognition on international level. Islamic countries maintained total silence about national freedom struggle of Kashmiris. Not only that, many among them openly supported India’s stand on Kashmir. It will be reminded that elements supporting accession to Pakistan on the basis of religion, an effort in which they received support from Pakistan, wanted division of the State on the basis of religion. But the entire world is now united in opposing this kind of thinking and ideology. International community is of firm belief that no state can be constituted on the basis of religious extremism. If Kashmir is to be divided on religious basis the entire sub-continent will go up in flames. Muslims in India will find themselves in a perilous situation. There could be bloodshed in different parts of the state as well owing to communal flare up. Another holocaust will appear with entrenched hatred after the partition of 1947.

We appeal to the people on both sides of the line to abandon religious slogans and slogans of accession; reunite the original State of 1947. Kashmir’s perpetuation depends only on national freedom. Policy planners in Pakistan, protagonists of accession to Pakistan and those favouring to create a theocratic state ought to think deeply if it is ever possible that Kashmir will accede to Pakistan or that Kashmir will become a theocratic state. People in India and its policy planning institutions should also think deeply whether the current situation of the State will be conducive to India’s peace and development.

Recently the news came that the two factions of Liberation Front had formed a committee to help forge unity between them. Many such efforts were made in the past to bring about unity among various groups and factions. It proved an exercise in futility. Since these groups claim to be the upholders of the cause of national freedom, therefore the serious option for them is to give up their ego and self interest and dedicate their lives to the national freedom cause. The past has to be kept in view and also the ground realities that prevail in Kashmir at the moment. International mood has also to be taken care of. The disastrous effects of the division of the state cannot be ignored. After thinking over these aspects in full depth the groups should form some united plan of action. If that does not happen, then the fate of national freedom organizations will be bleak and even in jeopardy. It is possible that religious extremist groups and also pro-Pakistan groups will not spare the organizations and individuals and leaders upholding their stand for the freedom of Kashmir. Pro-Pak and religious extremists may not be united in their day to day affairs but they get united when the target is of national freedom fighters, be they organizations or individuals. Unity is good but it has to be in the interests of the people and for helping national freedom reach its destination.

This article was published in Daily 'Greater Kashmir' on 6th September 2011.