What do you think of another World War? Is it possible or the world has already begun it? Which country do you think is more likely to start a Third World War? Read my latest blog on SAMAA TV and let me know how do you see it? To read the blog, click at the picture below!
On Tuesday, terrorists killed at least 34 people in attacks on the Belgian capital of Brussels and responsibility was claimed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ISIL or ISIS once had 31,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria. From these, some 5,000 were believed to be young people of immigrant descent from European Union countries. Belgium, in its counterterrorism measures like other European Union countries, has also made it difficult for the terrorists to move in and outside the country easily. It seems, that young people of immigrant descent which were previously fleeing to Iraq and Syria to join ISIL, have now started targeting their countries of residence because of these strict measures. So in a way the strategy of not letting these immigrants join ISIL is counterproductive and a dilemma. Because, if they join ISIL in Iraq and Syria they will become more powerful to defeat there and if they couldn’t join, they’ll carry attacks like these. This carnage poses a serious question; that what led to these attacks?
On a philosophical level, there are two things which have made these attacks possible. One is Europe’s inability to integrate Muslim immigrants and other is ‘Globalized Islam’.
After World War II when there was a shortage of labor in the European market, Muslim countries provided manual labor to Europe through agreements which gave birth to the establishment of the Muslim communities in Europe. These immigrants neither abandoned their homelands nor integrated into European society completely. Ultimately these immigrants and their following generations faced social exclusion and hindrance in accessing better education and better employment opportunities.
There is a gap between the Muslim youth of immigrant descent and European society as well as between the Muslim community and their youth. These youth when faces problems in integration and understanding cultural and social differences need to talk to the representative of the Muslim communities that is their local Imam, but in many cases these Imams who are obtained from different Muslim countries, lack an understanding and interest in Western society and necessary knowledge of its history. When young Muslims consult them on everyday problems such participating in Jihad, drinking alcohol, partying, or having a girlfriend, they can’t guide them because of the language barrier and their own confusions.
Europe’s failure to integrate immigrants forces Muslim youth, which might have different skin color, Islamic names, and backgrounds, to grow up with a non-European and non-Western identity. In this state of identity crisis, translocality pushes them to adopt a transnational identity. And a proof to this is ISIL varied complexion. Studies have shown that ISIL fighters vary in terms of origin, class, culture and education.
Social exclusion segregates European Muslim youth of immigrant descent from European societies and globalized Islam, which has become deterritorialized and deculturalized, segregates them from Muslim societies of their ancestors. They face an identity crisis in European societies because of Europe’s inability to integrate them, and they face an identity crisis in their ancestors’ Muslim societies because of globalized Islam which distorts their familial, cultural and national identity. This leaves them in search for a new identity. Because dissociation from both emigrated and immigrated societies makes it hard for them to live in a state of permanent identity crisis.
The author is an independent researcher and political analyst. He has authored On Kashmir and Terrorism and can be reached at @imrankhushaal and firstname.lastname@example.org
After the 9/11, Pakistan became an American alley and started fighting, what then was called, a war against terror. In its initial years, Pak-Army conducted ‘operations’ almost with zero public support against extremism and fundamentalism. From the beginning of this mess to a significant way down, for years, no Pakistani media reported incidents of terror in the country and that’s why initial reports are only available with the international media even today when you Google it.
Over the years, the media started reporting and public seems to stand with law and enforcement agencies in order to eradicate terrorism, but this was not the case, and agitations on Mumtaz Qadri’s execution proved it. Pakistan has lost more than 70,000 its men, women and children along with billions of dollars of resources and had reached nowhere in its combat against terrorism. Three mega developments are important to note down while examining Pakistan’s journey to nowhere.
First; the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979, which changed the very fabric of Pakistani state and society. This provided an opportunity to gain short-term benefits, for example, teaming up with the Western Block against communism and averting the potential of any revolt within the country against capitalism. Also, gaining assistances/funds and avoiding international sanctions, because of being close to the United States of America. But this brought more harm than good. The state and society radicalized during these 10 years, from 1979 to 1989, and what came out was a decision of keeping the irregulars or non-state actors as force multipliers.
Second; meanwhile, Iran had an ‘Islamic Revolution’, which triumphed the Shia political Islam over the Sunni political Islam. This started a battle of proxies, just like the US and Soviet, but definitely on a regional scale. Saudi Arabia, being the traditional rival and nucleus of the Sunni political Islam, started promoting its version of Islam, across the Muslim world and so does in Pakistan. To avert an uprising in the Kingdom, it supported Jihad in Afghanistan, later in Palestine and Kashmir.
Third; these non-state actors played a significant role in the 1989 Kashmir insurgency. Apparently it was started by a Kashmiri nationalist group called Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, better known from its abbreviation, JKLF, but when Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM) took the control of the movement and started slaughtering JKLF, it showed a different picture. Pakistan opted the strategy of Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC) after 1971 when the East Pakistan was separated from the rest of the country and conventional means yielded nothing in Kashmir. It worked fine but not after the 9/11. When on the pressure of the U.S Pakistan enforced a ban on Jihadist organizations they started blowing back.
The way forwarded is clear but difficult. Pakistan needs to take a fresh start but this time with educating the masses and restricting the religion to everyone’s personal life. By not prioritizing the short-term benefits over the long term goals. By behaving like a civilized nation instead of a mob of 1.8 million people. As long as the state and society are not on the same page against extremism and terrorism, Pakistan’s success will remain limited.
The author is a researcher and blogger. He has authored On Kashmir and Terrorism and can be reached at @imrankhushaal and email@example.com
Different individuals, groups, and states have the different and often contradictory understanding and stance on the Kashmir dispute. No viable solution can be presented without defining one’s own understanding of the issue. If the Kashmir dispute is seen in its original form it is a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over the territory of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Now the question what comprised the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir can be answered from the Treaty of Amritsar. According to which it was comprised of present day AJK, Gilgit-Baltistan, Valley, Jammu, Ladakh, Aksai Chin and Trans Karakorum Tract. In other words, it was consist of former states of Burushal, Dardistan, Boloristan, Ladakh, Purig, Kishtwar, Duggart, Poonch and Kashmir, and it remained as it till 1947, the time of the partition of India. Now seeing Kashmir as a whole, demands considering its every part a disputed one including Gilgit-Baltistan; some advocate as Pakistani part and Ladakh; sometimes considered a part of India.
After defining Kashmir, one needs to know what the dispute is and what proposed solutions are already there. The Kashmir dispute emerged after the partition of the Indian subcontinent. Pakistan opted for a communal approach to the solution of the problem whereas India opted for a legal solution. Pakistan claimed that the Kashmir is a Muslim majority region so should be incorporated in Pakistan as per the division formula. But the division formula was exclusively for the regions directly colonized by the British so the Kashmir being a princely state enjoyed exceptional status. The Maharaja Hari Singh signed a standstill agreement, to remain independent and never joined India or Pakistan, until a tribal invasion on 22 October 1947 from Pakistan, which forced him to seek help from India.
Since the cease-fire went into action on January 1, 1949, one-third of Jammu & Kashmir falls under Pakistan’s control and the rest of Kashmir is being controlled by India. Both, India and Pakistan have made Kashmir an existential issue. India wants to keep it to justify its showcase secular democracy, and Pakistan wants to get it to prove its two-nation theory. But neither India nor Pakistan is prepared to give up its stance on Kashmir.
Pakistan’s official position on Kashmir states that Maharaja Hari Singh’s accession of Jammu and Kashmir was not supported by the people of Kashmir so it has no value whereas India’s official position on the Kashmir dispute states that Kashmir is an integral part of India and accession is final and legal. Pakistan maintains that Kashmir is unfinished agenda of the partition and the promised plebiscite was never held by India. India on the other hand, says elections are a substitute for the plebiscite. Pakistan claims that Kashmir is its jugular vein and it runs in its blood whereas India claims that Kashmir is its integral part. Pakistan maintains that the solution to the dispute requires a unitary plebiscite as per United Nations Resolutions for the whole of J&K under international auspices whereas India maintains that the will of the people does not need to be ascertained only through a plebiscite. Democratic elections are a recognized means of ascertaining the wishes of the people and the people of the State of J&K have repeatedly participated in such elections. According to Pakistan, the Mujahideen who fight for their suffering Muslim brethren in Kashmir may cross the LoC, and it cannot guarantee an end to all infiltration whereas according to India all would be well in Kashmir but for cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. According to Pakistan, India is involved in Human Rights Violations in Kashmir whereas according to India Human Right Violations by the State are negligible and sufficient judicial mechanisms are in place to investigate such allegations. Pakistan should relinquish control of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. It is not Azad Kashmir.
To end the First Kashmir War, the United Nations intervened and through its Security Council passed resolutions, and called for a cease-fire, followed by the withdrawal of security forces, and an a plebiscite for Kashmiris to decide whether they join India or Pakistan, which will be monitored by international supervisors. The cease-fire resolution was implemented, but neither India nor Pakistan withdraw its forces. So a plebiscite was never taken place.
Pakistan and India fought in 1947, 1965 and then in 1999 over Kashmir. Now both have nuclear capability and any intended or accidental incident can bring the whole south Asia under threat. The Kashmir dispute is now a nuclear flash-point and needs more attention than ever. But as from the hard positions of the two countries it is evident that neither India nor Pakistan would retreat from its historical positions, so what is needed is an innovative and creative solution to the Kashmir dispute. A solution which doesn’t make India or Pakistan felt compromised or defeated.
The dispute over Kashmir, if seen as a territorial or an ideological dispute would not be easy to solve because neither India nor Pakistan can divide Kashmir alone. So there’s a need to understand that the people of Kashmir are the central to any resolution of the conflict. As this dispute is more about their fundamental rights and future than about territory and Ideology for India and Pakistan.
As there is least possibility of immediate breakthroughs as well as of ultimate solutions (e.g. proposed by the United Nations), so India and Pakistan need to consider creative but viable smaller solutions which can (step by step) lead to the ultimate resolution.
We proposed that a third party is crucial in moving toward any viable solution for the dispute. This third party must be the people of Kashmir who would participate through their elected representatives.
Legislative assemblies in Pakistan-administer Kashmir (in AJK and G.B) and state assembly in Jammu and Kashmir don’t have a real mandate of the Kashmiri people. On Pakistani side no Member of a Legislative Assembly in AJK or G.B can qualify without demonstrating allegiance to Pakistan and on Indian side on one can qualify without demonstrating allegiance to the Indian Union. These legislative assemblies which are controlled from New Delhi and Islamabad need to replace by the “Representatives Assemblies”. Assemblies comprised of representatives of the people of Kashmir from all parts of the state. Elections for these representative assemblies must be free and open to the public and international organizations. No representative must be disqualified on not alleging to India or Pakistan.
These assemblies after their fair formation would combine and merge together to make a Greater Representative Assembly (GRA) for all the people of Kashmir, with the mandate to negotiate with India and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the line of control would make flexible and the people to people contact through social and economic activities, would enhance. On the social side, people must permit for family reunions and on the economic side, they must permit to start the business on either side of Kashmir. Subsequently, the region would demilitarize and militant organizations would cease to exist. Refugees from all parts of the world would allow returning to their homes and the international human rights commission would make responsible for monitoring Human Rights situation. International organization and companies would allow starting development projects. And political parties would allow opening their offices in all parts of Kashmir.
The writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad. He blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be reached on twitter at @imrankhushaal and on email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was the first Kashmiri nationalist party which started militant struggle against the Indian occupation of former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1989, an insurgency led by JKLF gripped Srinagar and soon there were blood and bullets everywhere. Kashmir has witnessed worse bloodshed of the century in the following years. Before the end of 20th century in less than ten years from 1989 to 1998, more than 70,000 Kashmiris were killed either by the militants or by the Indian forces. JKLF vanished from the scene as quickly as it appeared in 1989. Within two or three years its militants were killed in clashes with rival militant groups, notably Hizbul Mujahidin (HM) or captured/killed by the Indian forces. It lost weapons supply and legitimacy, as the movement it started for a sovereign (Khud-mukhtar) Kashmir later became “Holy Jihad” to win Kashmir for Pakistan.
Recent developments in Pakistan particularly initiation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has sparked a new wave of nationalism across the Jammu and Kashmir. China’s pressure on Pakistan to give Gilgit-Baltistan a legal status has opened a new debate in Pakistan, India and defiantly all parts of Kashmir. Kashmiri nationalist parties are busy in holding all parties conferences and organizing seminars throughout the world on the future status of Gilgit-Baltistan and its impact on Kashmir. JKLF is also doing the same and has also inaugurated its Gilgit-Baltistan office. So the question is; can JKLF rise again, and what it needs to do so?
Well, the short answer is; yes it can, and it needs what it lacked at the first place. And the long answer is; the JKLF can rise again and it needs a secular, non-militant, and indigenous movement against all kinds of occupation and all the occupiers, from all parts of Jammu and Kashmir, with a clear plan and future program, starting from the demilitarization and unification of Jammu and Kashmir. JKLF lacked a secular face in 1989, it was, to a great extent, religious and so soon replaced by other religious groups with a variant ideology. It was militant, and soon it ran out of weapons supply. It has indigenous support but not enough from the local people against the local occupier. It has only rebelled against the Indian occupation, whereas it wanted a free and sovereign Kashmir, free from all kinds of occupation. It has a concentrated insurgency only in one part of Kashmir and other were not mobilized. And finally, it lacked a political program. A program necessary for the demilitarization and the unification of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
JKLF or any nationalist party for that matter can only rise through a non-militant, secular, and indigenous support. Like every other nationalist party, JKLF lacks what is necessary to win Gilgit-Baltistan. It might have local supporters but not enough. And the biggest challenge is to win parties rallying for independent Gilgit-Baltistan. They are fed-up of Azad Kashmir and make no distinction between Azad Kashmir based nationalist or pro-Pakistan parties. For them, Azad Kashmir has ignored them and Pakistan has exploited them for seventy years and now they want independence from Pakistan and don’t want to link Gilgit-Baltistan with the Kashmir dispute.
Obviously, they have their opinion but it is history that has linked Gilgit-Baltistan with Kashmir. Azad Kashmir based nationalists have a different version of history and Gilgit-Baltistan based nationalists seem to have a different version. One possible way to win them over is; get them on board for the demilitarization and the unification of Jammu and Kashmir, to create United States of Kashmir, by uniting all the previous states of Kashmir, with a right to exist separately. And this is one of the ways, that JKLF or any other Kashmiri nationalist party can adopt to rise or rise again.
The writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad. He blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be reached on twitter at @imrankhushaal and on email at email@example.com
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The rhetoric of China-Pakistan friendship is endless but more in Pakistan. In 2013 90% Pakistani said China is our friend. So Pakistan is the world’s most pro-China country. It is almost a custom to paint newspapers with Chinese red and Pakistani green flags in a way that they show two hands are shaking and a friendship is occurring. The more TV plays, “Pak Cheen Dosti Zindabad”, (long live Pak-China friendship), the more Chines companies penetrate into Pakistan from Gwadar to Gilgit and from Karachi to Kashmir. But have we ever tried to dissect Pakistan-China friendship, I believe never because that has become a taboo. Let’s dissect Pak-China friendship.
Pakistan has faced so many challenges since it was created in 1947, and it is still a mess. These challenges can be categorize into three broad categories. Natural disasters, Wars/Conflicts, and Poverty/Crime.
- Natural disasters; Chines economy is one of the world’s largest economies. It was capable of providing maximum after every natural disaster but it has provided minimum or symbolic. In 2005’s devastating earthquake countries like Cuba and Vietnam came to rescue the victims and later offered medical scholarships to the people of effected areas. Where was Friendly China?
- Wars and Conflicts; 1948’s war led to 1965’s and 1965’s war led to 1971’s, when Pakistan lost East Pakistan. Where was friendly China? If Pak-China friendship was real and on ground, not only in Pakistani heads, India would have considered that, but she did not. And most importantly what are Chinese efforts to resolve the Kashmir dispute? Suggesting Pakistan to annex Gilgit-Baltistan for its investment or for selling guns and missiles?
- Poverty; How many chines NGOS are there working to end poverty and poverty related problems of Pakistan? Has china offered anything to Pakistan to combat terrorism other than arms and weapons? Perhaps china has nothing in this regard other than weapons but those who are offering free education and secularization of Pakistani society are not Chines.
Economic Expansion looks prime focus of China in 21st-century. It has expanded into as far as Africa and Latin America and as near as Pakistan, Iran and India. But the question is on what cost? Take Pakistani example and you’ll astonish that 21st century Chines Capitalism is more brutal than 17th-century Western Capitalism. Karl Marx called western capitalism, a “vampire-like” if he has seen China he would say worse than vampires because it has undermined people’s aspirations, history, culture, politics and everything one could believe in, just to sell its Barbies and second class smart phone batteries. It has mode Pakistan withdraw from its historical stance on Kashmir. China to invest 46 billion $, has pushed Pakistan really hard. Pakistan under Chines pressure has gone so far that it has tried to declare Gilgit-Baltistan its fifth province.
China has not only pressurize Pakistan to give a legal status to Gilgit-Baltistan but it has also sparked a new anti-Punjab fire in Khabir Pakhtoonkhuwa (KP). If Chinese investment can divide Kashmir or one part of Gilgit-Baltistan from its other parts it can also divide Pakistan. Sindh and Baluchistan already have separatists but KP will be a greater challenge for the federal government if China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), doesn’t satisfy its government and people.
Pak-China friendship has benefited Pakistan but it has more potential to harm than benefit. It has certainly benefitted China as she got Aksai China and Trans-Karakoram Tract and now going to have Gilgit-Baltistan. Pakistan needs to understand China’s 21st-century invasion through economics. If China doesn’t want or can’t help Pakistan to solve the Kashmir dispute, it is impotent in helping Pakistan to fight against natural disasters and terrorism, it can’t help in elevating people’s life in Pakistan and has only there to worsen Pakistan’s geopolitics and offer cyber-crime law, then China is not a friend to Pakistan but a foe.
The writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad. He blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be reached at @imrankhushaal or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Punjab was radicalized far before the creation of Pakistan. Muslims in this region (Pakistani Punjab) were radicalized and took part in protecting the Muslims in Kashmir from their Dogra ruler’s depredation in 1920’s. Majlis Arar Islam, a Jihadist organization was carved out from Indian National Congress in the following years which was led by Mazhar Ali Azhar of Sialkot. To fight against the Dogra police, many bands of Jihadis were sent into Kashmir and, later on Maharaja’s complaint were arrested; as many as 45,000 Ahrars in Punjab and some 5,000 in other parts of India.
After its creation, Pakistan lacked institutional structure and religious narrative empowered radical mindset which heated Indo-Pak rivalry. These radical mindsets engaged in periodic religious violence which was overlooked by the lax enforcement regimes. The Kashmir dispute deepened the roots of extremism in Pakistan and led to state patronage of militancy.
In 1948, the Kashmir dispute led to first war between India and Pakistan. Pakistan needed irregular troops and encouraged the tribesmen from FATA to obtain Jihadis from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Jamaat ul Ulami of Afghanistan declared a fatwa when India pressurized Afghan government, that the call for Jihad by Afghan tribes was illegal which was denounced by Hazrat Shor Bazar, an Afghan Islamic scholar, and ruled the Jihad in Kashmir as a valid Islamic duty of the Afghan tribes.
In 1965, it led to another war between India and Pakistan which grew resentment in East Pakistan against West Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir. As large sums of money were taken from there to finance the war for Kashmir. This reality later became more frustrating that Pakistan lost East Pakistan to win Kashmir in 1971 in its third war against India.
Then there comes a decade of relative silence over Kashmir as Pakistan got engaged in Afghanistan in the later half of 1970’s. And with Iranian revolution of 1979 an Islamic revolution was being anticipated by the radicals and extremists in Pakistan. In September 1985, twelve small outfits bearing the idea of Islamic revolution came together in Kashmir and they formed a front which was called the Muslim United Front (MUF) which soon claimed to provide an alternative to Farooq Abdullah and his National Conference, who according MUF “sold out” Kashmiris’ interests.
Exactly when Soviet was defeated in 1989 in Afghanistan, an insurgency broke out in Kashmir. Definitely, Kashmir had background and conditions which led to the insurgency in 1989 but the success of Mujahideen in Afghanistan played like a catalyst. In the mid 80’s when Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference allied to All Indian National Congress, radical groups and parties gained grounds and later momentum and soon an insurgency gripped Srinagar in 1989. Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a pro-independence Kashmiri militant organization was then replaced by a pro-Pakistan Islamist militant organization, Hizbul Mujahiden.
The insurgency in Kashmir affected militancy in Pakistan. In 1998, Akram Awan rallied for the imposition of Sharia in Pakistan. And in 1999, he formed Al-Akhwan Force to participate in Kashmir Jihad in collaboration with Lashkir-e-Taiba. But for him, Jihad in Pakistan became a higher priority than in Kashmir and he sat in a sit-in in Islamabad in December 2000, to force government over the imposition of Sharia. This precedent of exposing state writ was latter followed by Maulana Ghazi of the Red-Mosque in his stand-off with Gen Musharraf in 2007 and by Maulana Tahir-ul-Qadri in Islamabad in 2013-2014.
Islamization of Kashmir dispute not only radicalized Pakistani politics but it also affected state will/ability to enforce the law against radicals and extremist. And this was evidenced in another alike incident when Maulana Sufi Mohammadd was arrested and later released without sentencing, for leading a Lashkir from Pakistan to support the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad. He blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be reached at @imrankhushaal or email@example.com