Struggle for Freedom

Since 1990 the popular struggle of the Kashmiris for the right of self determination has been witnessing many vicissitudes and suffering shocks of deceit and treachery followed by upheavals and great human sacrifices. Although the days of the movement’s spring were every time very short; its supporters and leaders could not avail of some God-sent opportunities during the last 62 years of trial and turmoil. Still the people withstood horrors of the Indian regime and came out of the environment of disillusion and depression with pride of endurance. Today the importance of resolving the dispute by peaceful negotiations has no doubt increased, but the regional conditions, such as the war in Afghanistan, struggle between different powers in that poor country, nefarious activities of India along the Durand line in Afghanistan, foreign spying activities in Pakistan, besides sponsored India-Afghan terrorism has made the process of Kashmir resolution very thorny and vague. Kashmiris ask this question, if under the given conditions Pakistan can see the resolution of Kashmir from the angle of the Kashmiris, who since 1990 have lost more than one hundred thousand people in their quest for freedom. Therefore, they don’t trust the secret diplomacy. They are hanging between the devil and the deep blue sky, not knowing how to avoid the consequences of the current “war on terror” on Jammu and Kashmir.

Till recently Kashmir was a forgotten issue in the spectrum of big-power interests. Although it is still in that position, but it has shaken the Indian occupation regime and certainly it is a burning topic in India itself. Yet there are vested interests which interpret the situation of Kashmir in a very prejudiced manner. They make every attempt to belittle the importance of the uprising and try to throw the present fascinating and astonishing struggle into doldrums. Kashmiris have become very sensitive about the role and reactions of the people around them. They keep vigil on the events that can make or mar their destiny. They feel that still the world is not so much serious about their plight under the Indian subjugation. They are not highlighted or recognized at par with some other oppressed nations of the world.

No one cares about the Kashmiris who are being killed like dares in jungles, dishonored like beggars and prosecuted like habitual criminals when they demand their inalienable right–”the right of self determination and raise their voice against the illegal occupation of Kashmir by India. A simple statement; fulfill your promise’ also irks India. India has robbed Kashmir of its cultural and historical heritage, and forest wealth and economy. The innocent inhabitants continue to give their blood and honor for a cause that is so dear to every nation on earth–”Azadi. The regime has a narrow base among the people, so it is ruthless to shoot them at will and drag to prisons and torture centers irrespective of their age or gender. During the last several decades India forced the Kashmiris to live as refugees in Pakistan. The tragic saga looks unending, as the lands, orchards and houses of Kashmiris who were forced to flee from their homes to Azad Kashmir in 1990, give a desolate look. Many can’t risk their lives to go back to their ancestral homes. The Countryside is heavily occupied and patrolled by army and paramilitary forces, and beasts alike. Both are after humanity in the picturesque land of Kashmir. Therefore, the land and orchard owners rarely dare to protect their crops and orchard fields. My own apple garden and agricultural land is in an upper area of Bandipora. Because of these fears cultivators and gardeners cannot go there to look after the land, as a result a female bear has come for the first from her remote forest den and has given birth to cubs in the orchard garden–”sending shock and horror around the area. In the near past village women used to go to forests along with their males to collect dry wood for their domestic use. But, now owing to the patrolling of army and police task-force in villages and forests they can’t risk their honor or threaten their lives by wandering in jungles for wood and timber. Army encroachments have also robbed Kashmir of its green gold, clean streams and springs and the beautiful singing birds. Army and police are after both–”youth and birds. Thundering of guns in these beautiful forests and meadows has forced some of the best species of birds to flee somewhere else in search of safer nests.

Today the Kashmiri youth believe that it is all rhetoric that the Kashmiris are free under the Indian flag and constitution. In reality India treats Kashmir like a colony and imposes its own will on the brave and sensitive inhabitants of the land. India has been misleading the world since 1947. It has silenced and sidelined the World Body on Kashmir. Therefore the people are neither heard nor permitted to break their shackles of political subjugation. We are asked to keep quiet, shut our eyes and look through the eyes of others, as India is a big country and American and European interests converge here.

It is the most painful observation that still after having suffered so long and sacrificed so many people the world is mum on Kashmir. They simply look at it from the India-Pakistan angle or their own regional interests–”thus narrowing the scope of solution to mere status quo or cross-LOC trade, travel and cultural ties. Why the world is so cool and cynical towards giving due space to the Kashmiri standpoint on a just and durable solution of the Kashmir dispute. Is it because Kashmir is a small state and it has apparently no oil and gas resources or it is not an island in the Indian Ocean? In fact Kashmir is more resourceful and historically, culturally, economically, and intellectually more compatible than many modern tiny nation-states. In the past, it provided leadership to the Indian sub continent. It has the potential to make its contribution in almost every field of life to South Asia. The history can’t ignore those great Kashmiris who have left their imprints as pioneer characters of different branches of knowledge in South Asia.

How long the Kashmiris would listen to the hollow sermons of world leaders and regional politicians with regard to a just and peaceful solution of the Kashmir issue. Their patience has exhausted. Today Kashmiris are facing bloodbath and humiliation of their near and dear ones in their own homes. How can they sit idle? Kashmiris have no time to sleep. They believe not only in the continuity of their political struggle, but also keep vigil on the role of the leadership.

The people of Kashmir are facing a cunning regime .India’s way of tackling the Kashmir question is based on duplicity. It knows how to buy time to bury the issue. Indian strategists live on wishful thinking, they think that the present generation will become sick, senile and come of age. Although the people are disillusioned with the politicians, they have political awareness and faith in their historical goal and identity which has grown stronger after many shocks and regional developments. Moreover, they have vowed to fight back India’s repressive and deceitful policies to the end. The more India sharpens its claws of savagery; the rapid is the answer by the Kashmiris against Delhi and its Kashmiri henchmen.

During the last 60 years India played foul politics, promulgated deceitful Presidential ordinances, adopted draconian laws and armored it’s military in Jammu and Kashmir. It sponsored terrorism, leaving no room for rapprochement, and resolution of the issue by fair means. India trampled Kashmir’s economy, rules of fair play in elections and installed most corrupt regimes on Kashmir. It also promoted and recruited in police service many dreaded agents to perpetuate terror in the civil society. Today the regime may be heaving a sigh of relief that the Kashmir Armed Police under the rule of Omar Abdullah is doing an excellent job by rippling bullets through the heads and breasts of teenagers to kill as many as possible within seconds. The promotions, increments and awards of police and intelligence men and officers depend on their score in the killing fields of Jammu and Kashmir. The present regime officer may look young and hope that his ruthless pro-army policy will ensure him long life on the heads of Kashmiris. But he does not know the nature’s law that sometimes "man proposes God disposes". No mortal however powerful he may be can give life guarantee to a mortal in this world.

India and its viceroys in Kashmir have achieved nothing except hate and revenge hundreds times more by their bloody war against the people of Kashmir. They have brought havoc upon Kashmir; its economy, social order and politics where everything is in disarray. Nature’s beautiful face is sad, as every house-hold has a sad story to tell, mourn and cry. India’s terror policy is unprecedented. Therefore, the rage of the people is also matchless and unforgettable. India can’t be absolved of her criminal record by giving a front line role to the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police Force to humiliate, and brutalize people.

Indian army, paratroopers and Police and intelligence use unbridled powers under the draconian laws of the State. Still they are not satisfied and use the law ferociously against the innocent people. They arrest ordinary people to obtain forcibly money from them for their release. This evil-practice is at its peak in Kashmir’s police system. There is no end to the current cycle of killings by troops in every city and town. It takes them no time to shoot at any youth whether he is alone or in any funeral procession. This is how the present chain of protests triggered on 11 June, 2010 and swept every nook and corner of Kashmir.

This situation has surprised many pundits of war and diplomacy across India and Pakistan. Because when armed struggle of the Kashmiri youth was at the receiving end during Gen (R) Musharraf’s reign, track –”II diplomacy was made very powerful to find out a solution which could legalize status quo in Jammu and Kashmir. Musharraf had a lot of support on the international front to achieve this end. Leadership was in this entire gamble a very important factor and thus his job was to look for a smart leader in Kashmir. Many people in India, Pakistan and Kashmir knew as to what was hatching behind the scene. The tools were at their full swing. Kashmiris understood it but they were helpless. However, there was an overwhelming majority of freedom fighters with a massive support inside the Indian occupied region to thwart the unholy alliance between the anti-freedom elements. Once A.G. Noorani and Azeez A.Naik told me in Islamabad that about 70% work on Kashmir had been accomplished and the remaining would be finalized within a couple of months. But, Khursheed Kasuri the then Foreign Minister of the Musharraf regime would always give ambiguous and confusing replies during his meetings with the Kashmiri leaders in the Foreign office. Still in a recent T.V interview he forgot his diplomatic lies and claims that they were about to reach an agreement on Kashmir, but for the lawyers movement it all flopped. The events in Pakistan came as a blessing in disguise–”bolt from the blue; otherwise in his words “nuts and bolts were being fastened” to prevent any untoward happening in this direction.

The developments of the last two years have testified that no effort can be fruitful and no solution practicable without honoring the urges and aspirations of the people. And it is not necessary that any secret parleys could be in the interest of a subjugated nation. Secret groups represent secret interests of powerful partners and lobbies of a state or states. The uprising in Kashmir has proved it beyond any shadow of doubt, and it has rejected once for all such interlocutors and politicians who have been working for long in India, Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir, and Azad Kashmir to hatch out an unholy solution of Kashmir with the blessings of foreign powers. Some interested elements wanted to thrust a Hobson’s choice on the Kashmiris to grind their axe and follow what had been dictated to them.

The current political upheaval in the valley has made all those characters irrelevant, whose shuttle diplomacy between important world cities, including Delhi, Islamabad, Muzaffarabad and Mirpur terribly damaged the cause of Kashmiris by misinterpreting their political struggle. It only benefited India that gained ample time to organize its diplomatic campaign against the freedom movement. During all the hectic years of Musharraf’s regime the sole aim of the diplomats and politicians and bureaucrats was to emphasize upon trade, travel and cultural activities under the garb of resolving the Kashmir dispute–”making LOC irrelevant and ultimately burying the slogan of the right to self determination for Kashmir. Under this cunning love for the Kashmiris, shrewd diplomacy and camouflage, Kashmiris were offered trade under barter system like a snake in the grass. Many became victims to the lures and snares of the new cross-LOC activity. India was snickering at these developments behind the back.

In spite of all this India has failed to contain the Kashmir uprising or win over hearts of the people. Today even pro-Indian politicians hesitate to side with Delhi or its favorite regime in Srinagar. Nevertheless India is grateful to the crabby Kabul regime for weaving a cobweb of spies to harm Pakistan from its western borders. This is the only card India may be contemplating to play for diverting his (Pakistan’s) attention from Kashmir. Kashmir is a powder- keg in which India will lose its international prestige, while at the same time Kashmir’s resistance against occupation will grow stronger day after day. Because the present day Kashmir has learnt many lessons and arduously built its nerve strength. The back channel diplomacy is once again testing its fortune on Kashmir. But it should not forget that invisible approaches in political dispensation–”old wine in new bottles will prove again dangerous and is not digestible to the Kashmiris. Kashmiris are made of a different mettle. It is strange to note that the track-II dialogue held in Bangkok on Aug 28-30 has ignored the current mass uprising and police brutalities in Kashmir. It has asked India and Pakistan to consider activating the back-channel on Jammu and Kashmir. The Bangkok dialogue laid more stress upon people-to-people contacts and the series of existing CBMs with particular emphasis on easing travel and trade between the two sides of the so called Line of Control. As usual it has neither given importance to the urges and aspirations of the Kashmiris as reflected through the present popular agitation nor called upon India to repeal its draconian laws of detention and prosecution. It indicates that newly organized Jinnah Institute and the Indian Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies have not learnt any lessons from the Musharaf formulas and the simmering developments of Kashmir. They have no access to Kashmir situation. On the contrary it looks that some Indian, American and European political thinkers are trying to acquire a wider understanding of the ongoing events in Kashmir. But some experts in our regions still prefer to hatch eggs in that fragile nest. Larry P. Goodson the author of “Afghanistan’s Endless War” can be wise to say, “The Kashmir dispute that is at the root of the historical animosity with India must be resolved–”the US must provide leadership to bring about that resolution, despite Indian desires to have Washington sit on the sidelines. This step will be very difficult, as India has already rebuffed efforts by the Obama administration to do exactly that. Both steps must occur in tandem.”