Tag Archives: kashmir

Why Kashmir cannot be an integral part of India?

Kashmirca, Imran Khushal's Blog
Kashmirca, Imran Khushal’s Blog

India claims; Kashmir is its integral part, here’s why Kashmir cannot be an integral part of India? I maintained that: It is for Kashmiris to decide whether Kashmir will become someone’s integral part or otherwise and if they have eyes and ears they can see and hear what Indian minorities are going through under a so-called secular and socialist India run by Hindu extremists and followers of Hindutva. They can see the atrocities of the Indian forces in Nagaland, Assam, Punjab and more vividly in Jammu and Kashmir.

So Kashmiris will not buy a minority status with blood and blood of their ancestors in a country which does not guarantee any fundamental rights for its minorities yet claims to be the world’s largest democracy. Kashmir cannot be an integral part of India for the sake of Kashmiris and let’s say if it becomes an integral part of India it would be anything but not Kashmir. It would not be Kashmir in its historical, cultural, and traditional sense. Click here to read my latest blog post on SAMAA TV

Pakistan’s Journey to Nowhere

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.

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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 imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com

Will JKLF rise again?

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.

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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 imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com

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China: Pakistan’s friend or foe

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.

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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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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 imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com

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Islamization of the Kashmir dispute; a brief history

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.

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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 imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com

Modi’s impromptu visit to Pakistan

On 25-th December when many were busy in Christmas and others were observing Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Birthday here in Pakistan “a few” were celebrating Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s birthday on his granddaughter Mehrun Nisa’s wedding. On the same day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Lal Modi paid a surprise visit to his Pakistani counterpart. He flew from Kabul and landed at Lahore with his 120 personals team, stayed for a while and flew away. Modi’s visit brought a smile on many faces, but it also disturbed a number of people and parties. Jammat-i-Islami and Hizbul Mujahideen staged protests wherever they managed on short notice and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf tweeted, I mean they tweeted a lot on #Modi.

1290Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (right) talks to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during his visit to Lahore.

Right after his departure, strong jolts of the earthquake were felt throughout the region from Afghanistan to Dehli, and many has related them with Modi’s “evil” nature. Notably, Dr. Moed Pirzada a Pakistani anchor at Dunya TV who tweeted “Narendra Modi let whole of Pakistan dance into a ‘Simple Harmonic Motion’ leading to worst Earthquake; God, this was literally hell!” upon which he was called a moron and an idiot, by some two hundred people out of 445 retweets. Anyways that was not something I wanted to talk about.

I want to talk about, why Modi has visited Pakistan “after threating Pakistan to holding hands with Nawaz” as Dawn calls it. A lot of people are talking about the reasons which compelled Indian Prime Minister Narendra Lal Modi to visit Pakistan and many believe he has visited Pakistan because of his deteriorating reputation in India and to give a message to multinational corporations; interested in investing in India or already have invested, that he is not a failure on diplomatic front and India is as safe for investment as any other developed democratic country in the world.

I agree to this, but this is not the only thing for which he has visited Pakistan after threating Pakistan in 2011, and taking a real hard line against it. He has visited because of some more serious issues, which involve the US, China, Russia, Pakistan, India and Syria in a way. Before reaching Kabul, on Thursday, he was in Russia as Indian Express has reported that, “As Prime Minister Narendra Modi commences a two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday for the annual summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, New Delhi is expected to focus on nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, defence and trade.” Terrorism, defence and trade are points of agreement between India and Russia and fields where they are cooperating and will enhance their cooperation in the future. On the other hand cooperation and expected cooperation between Russia and China in combating terrorism in Syria and Trade, has also seen. China has also invested in India and going to invest more. And same is the case with Pakistan. So the trade is common between Russia, China, India and Pakistan.

China is going to invest more than $46 billion In Pakistan according to different media reports. This mega venture involves Kashmir in the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and China’s worry isn’t something easily fixable. Pakistan and India has a dispute over Kashmir and Kashmir includes Gilgit-Baltistan, the region which connects Pakistan with China. Despite the demand of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan could not incorporate it as a province and has granted a semi-provincial level, which is ‘okay’ for administrative purpose but didn’t fix China’s reservations. China’s worry is real and genuine and contestation on Kashmir could cause her serious damages in the future. So to be on the safe side, China wants Pakistan to declare Gilgit Baltistan’s status which is not possible until Pakistan and India reach some consensus.

Here comes the assumption part as we don’t know what is really happening behind the scene. So it is possible that China could have talk to Russia to talk to India or it could have directly talked to India to reach an understanding with Pakistan, as it (China) has talked to Pakistan. Pakistan’s green signal can be seen from two statements of past couple of days, first, “Pakistan Joins Russia, Condemns Any Attempts to Topple Assad in Syria, Pakistan opposes any efforts to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Pakistan’s foreign secretary said on Wednesday.” Second, “Issues are resolved with talks, not war: Pervaiz Rashid, He told China had suggested the same solution for Kashmir dispute which it used for Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.”

So Indian Prime Minister Narendra Lal Modi’s Pakistan visit was not just to eat Pakistani Prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s birthday cake or to greet Mehrun Nisa or even rebuild his damaged reputation in his country but it was “supposedly’ also about a step towards some game-changing phenomena. It could also be towards solving or further complicating Kashmir Issue. What it was really about, let’s wait and see.

The writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be followed @imrankhushaal

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Is terrorism transforming Kashmir?

By: Imran Khushal

Before going to analyze, is terrorism transforming Kashmir, or otherwise, let us see what was the latest ‘’untransformed status of Kashmir’’. All most everyone knows that it is divided and disputed between two nuclear states, India, and Pakistan, but not many people are aware of China’s occupation, which is another nuclear state. So it is a part of the land, (for the contesters), surrounded by three nuclear states and, being contested, mainly between India and Pakistan. India wants to annexed the remaining part of it, namely, Azad Kashmir, or as they call it, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, or PoK, whereas Pakistan wants to liberate the rest of Kashmir, namely Jammu and Kashmir, as they call it, Indian Occupied Kashmir, or IoK, not to leave it independent but to annexed the whole sum. And this is perhaps the dumbest strategy for expansion of any of nuclear states so far. It’s not that nuclear states are always the wiser states, but they have capabilities to foresee future and plan in advance. Many of these plans fail when implemented, but still they plan. In Kashmir’s case, we see no planning on either end to cope with the upcoming or already came, challenges. They wanted and fought on the piece of land and ignored everything else, and they are again ignoring everything else. The only thing for these two states is “territorial Expansion”. And no matter what they pay for it, they want it.

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Terrorism for individuals is terrorism, but for states, it is a mean of fighting the war to weak and deteriorate other states, and to gain relative power on them, for example, the United States’ war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, was clearly terrorism, but it gave them what they wanted. Terrorists for individuals are evil and immoral but for states they are strategic assets and force multiplier, for example, Osama bin Laden was a terrorist, but he enjoyed protection as an asset and force multiplier.

This tool and the mean of fighting the war and destabilizing the enemy were never abandoned in Kashmir neither by India nor Pakistan. These strategic assets and force multiplier are still there and could be activated on one single command, if not already had been activated. This reality coupled with a new reality that many Kashmiri students from south Kashmir has joined Hizbul Mujahideen, a militant organization which altered the theme of Kashmir insurgency of 1989 from “Sovereign Kashmir” to “Pakistani Kashmir” and replaced Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) as the top most guerilla organization of Kashmir, opens a new window to foresee Kashmir’s future from a global perspective.

Globalization has made migration an organic aspect of today’s world and there are tens of thousands of Kashmiri migrants in Europe as well as in the Middle East. Global Terrorism offers the solution to all evil including Kashmir and Palestine issue, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Qaeda challenge Gulf Regimes’ which are clearly exploiting these migrant workers. Frustration at work and turmoil at home can lead many of them to join these terrorist organizations and maybe many has already joined them. As they have fled from Europe to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria they could join it in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Kashmir.

As in August 2014, Kashmiri Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told Media that “a Kashmir youth has reportedly joined powerful Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Australia”. And as it was reported in the Nation Pakistan, that “The revelation by Chief Minister came after Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) flags became the common sight during anti-Israel and anti-India demonstrations and clashes in Old City and Civil Lines of Srinagar since July 11, this year”. Also, in July 2015 as First Post India, reported that according to an Indian defense analyst, Alok Bansal, “No doubt, it (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a major concern in terms of the country’s internal security. The IS jihadists have already announced a war in future from the soil of Khorasan that includes India. For the IS, their ultimate battle for global jihad will be on this land of Khorasan. They have also talked about Kashmir. The unfurling of IS flags will give a boost to the radicalization in Kashmir valley, as more number of educated youth are joining militancy.”

So, as it is clear from these developments that Kashmir, which already had seen militancy and is fueling militancy at the moment could also see flocks of Kashmiri migrants coming home and joining militant organizations. Which will clearly transform its realities and most probably convert it into next battleground. As Pakistan and India are nuclear states and will avoid head to head collision, Kashmir would serve as proxy war ground.

This upcoming disaster is posing a threat to the political stakeholders in the region and abroad. To the socio-political and economic institutions of the region and development on democratic front no matter how tiny that is. This threat requires clear actions from all the stakeholders. Muzaffarabad and Srinagar should come up with more jobs and employment opportunities, (even if they can’t). Social and political activists should play their role in youth counseling and democratizing their thoughts. Political parties should participate in the electoral process and bring democratic reforms within themselves to accommodate youth and give them a sense of belonging and positivity. Writers should write about harms of militancy and terrorism and try to convey their message to the masses that why terrorism doesn’t work.

Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be followed @imrankhushaal

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