If Kashmiris have an enemy, it is Pakistan. The fragile state is using the Kashmir tag to divert people’s attention to key issues. It is a ruse to camouflage its colossal failure as a state and countless broken promises made to its people. Whenever, the state, both the military and civilian leadership, find itself at the edge of a precipice, be it economy, or politics, or terrorism or international stature, it turns to Kashmir to fool its people ….writes Syed Shihabudin
Pakistani state has been misleading the Kashmiris, and the world, by claiming affinity and empathy to the Kashmiris while planning and executing various acts of violence on the hapless people of Kashmir over the years. It is no longer a secret that Pakistan has been supporting and protecting a select group of terrorist groups with the sole aim of inflicting death and destruction in the beautiful valleys of Kashmir.
The fact is Pakistan has been using Kashmir as a ruse to camouflage its colossal failure as a state and countless broken promises made to its people. Whenever, the state, both the military and civilian leadership, find itself at the edge of a precipice, be it economy, or politics, or terrorism or international stature, it turns to Kashmir to fool its people. It is one of the biggest hoaxes the Pakistani state has been playing, to its people and to the world, since 1947. This must now be exposed.
If one were to try and examine the real motive behind Pakistan’s depredations in Kashmir, it is convenient to begin with Pakistan itself. Pakistan began its malicious acts a few after gaining independence and tried to wrest Kashmir from India. In the process, Pakistan Army unleashed a wave of violence in Kashmir, killing, plundering and raping the innocent people of Kashmir till the brave Indian soldiers stepped in and stopped the tribal militias let loose by Pakistan. This little fact needs emphasis time and again especially in the current vitiated atmosphere where the protector is being painted as a villain and the real villain, read Pakistan, is being touted as a saviour.
Though Pakistan failed to get hold of Kashmir, it illegally held on to a large part of Kashmir under the guise of an UN-brokered ceasefire. This forcible occupation of Kashmir is still to be corrected. The UN should have long back restored that part of Kashmir to India. If it had done, there would have been no violent flare-ups in the Indian side of Kashmir. India is bearing the brunt of the failure of the international community to get Pakistan to abide by international norms of diplomacy. This failure on the part of the world has continued all these years turning Pakistan into a rogue state. Even today, major countries like the US are not willing to sanction Pakistan as a terrorist state, encouraging it to spread the fire of violence and terrorism across not only subcontinent but the world itself. The news of a Pakistani involvement in this year’s Paris attack is not a surprise.
Pakistan launched at least three open wars against India to find a toehold in Kashmir but was pushed back. After having failed there, it began a proxy war against India in Kashmir, killing in the process hundreds and thousands of Kashmiris and other Indians and destroying the livelihood of ordinary Kashmiris for decades. Generations of Kashmiri youth have fallen victim to Pakistani machinations.
What has been the result of all these subterfuges and deceit? Pakistan occupied Kashmir is one of the most impoverished regions in the sub-continent; its people live a life of subjugation and poverty. They live in constant fear of the army and the terrorists who have taken vast tracts of their forests, farms and orchards to set up “factories of violence“. The true picture of Kashmir is that of an enslaved colony.
A few years ago, the international human rights organisation, Human Rights Watch, reported the pathetic conditions inside the occupied territory and stated that “Pakistani authorities govern Azad Kashmir with strict controls on basic freedoms.”
In a media report, a Kashmiri activist had quoted a leader of Pak occupied Kashmir, Syed Razahk: “Pakistan has converted the region into a militia base for militants like Taliban Afghanistan. I pity the people now who were completely brainwashed to think a nation as their enemy. Whose activities are closely monitored, suppressed individual opinion, I don’t know which idiot called it Azad Kashmir, its POK. If it’s Azad Kashmir then why should everyone read the declaration of accession to Pakistan?”
It is not that people living outside the occupied territory are in any better shape. In Balochistan, innocent men and women, and children, have been living under a despotic regime for decades now. The Baloch people continue to pay a heavy price in terms of life and liberty for seeking a fair and just governance. In the tribal areas, ordinary Pashtun communities have been forced to flee their homes, killed, their houses demolished by Pakistan Army, all in the name of controlling terrorism while terrorists lived a protected life under the patronage of the same army. In Sindh, any one who dares to speak for their language or culture disappear without a trace or are forced to keep quiet. Brave journalists and writers, and artists, have place anywhere in Pakistan where anonymous killers kill them with impunity if they dared to step out of line.
So which freedom is Pakistan speaking about?
This is not the only blowback people of Pakistan have borne from the illegitimate acts of their leaders, especially those in the army. Large majority of the people live on the margins of existence with the military usurping and squandering large chunks of precious national resources to fatten itself, enrich its Generals (almost all the chiefs have been found to stash away millions in bullion and foreign currency in far-way banks) and fund its terrorist franchises. There is hardly any investment in public infrastructure, or creating jobs or improving agriculture and those who depend on it. There is massive power outages throughout the country; women and children are trapped in archaic and barbaric traditions; minorities live like slaves and liberal thinking people either get shot or are driven out of the country.
And whenever people begin to realise that they have been fooled once more, the civilians and military leaders, otherwise at loggerheads, join hands to beat the drum about Kashmir, raise anti-India rhetoric to hoodwink their people. Naïve Kashmiris who raise Pakistani flags would do well to look across the border to those who live in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and other provinces. Reality of Pakistan is far devastating than a stone.