May 2000 News

Pak analyst says Kashmiris may opt for economically-sound India

22 May 2000
News International
Amir Mateen

Washington DC: The Kashmiris appear on the verge of opting for peace with the Hindu masters who offer economic revitalisation and peaceful coexistence rather than pressing on with Muslim Pakistan, which offers little more than religious zealotry and violent accession, says a reports in The Los Angeles Times. Ironically, the article is written by a Pakistani-American Mansoor Ijaz. He is a mercurial personality whose interests in the sub-continent remain mysterious. Mansoor is seen rubbing shoulders with the Israelis, the Indians and the Pakistanis alike. He is an American national who was close to successive governments in Pakistan, won an award for his services for Israel, is allowed to visit the valley by Indians despite his Pakistani origins and picks up themes which are music to the American ears. He was also instrumental in coordinating between the Sudani extremists and the US establishment. He is a businessman who likes to flaunt his riches and yet spends a surprising amount of time to get his write-up published in leading American papers. He tries to establish his independent credentials by applying cosmetic criticism on Indian strategy in Kashmir before launching a full-fledged attack on Pakistan. He writes: ''What I found (in held Kashmir) was disturbing, not only because the documented human rights violations are real, but also because of the overwhelming evidence of lies by both Pakistani and Indian authorities.'' New Delhi, he writes, would have the world believe that only a few thousand troops are defending against foreign aggression on their soil. ''Yet Indian security forces could be seen everywhere. The look and feel of a police state was unambiguous. One Kashmiri official finally admitted that the real figure for troops in the valley alone approached 150,000. And the valley represents only a fraction of the total area in dispute in Kashmir. Interestingly, local police and security forces commanders admitted that their soldiers had been overzealous in expelling militants from local homes, violating civil liberties in the process - contrition that may be part of an organised campaign by New Delhi to lift the appearance of an oppressive environment of rights abuses.'' Then he moves on to his critique of Pakistan: ''One look at the homes in which Kashmiri separatist leaders and others in the valley live, and the big business of war becomes humorously obvious. Separatists get funding for insurgency operations from Pakistan''s military intelligence apparatus. Then India matches the grants to bring them back to the Indian camp. It''s the politics of war finance at its worst.'' He writes that Pakistan''s deceit was equally clear. ''Islamabad would have the world believe that it does not provide official military support for militant groups waging Jihad, or holy war, and that the militants are indigenous Kashmiris battling for their own freedom. Both claims strain credulity. I saw several thousand weapons seized from insurgents in gun battles around the valley and along the Line of Control - the unofficial border between Pakistan-controlled and India-controlled Kashmir - everything from the latest AK-47 rifles to sophisticated hand-grenades to rocket-launchers bearing the embossed logos of Pakistan''s official munitions factories. The fingerprints of Pakistani Army and intelligence support were unmistakable.'' His contention is that the Kashmiris are stuck in the middle of these two egocentric forces. He goes on to write that without an end to the violence that dominates the character of today''s freedom fighters, Pakistan is in danger of losing whatever moral authority it once may have enjoyed in trying to liberate Kashmir. ''But India should be clear that Pakistan will never go quietly. New Delhi can do a big-bucks deal with native Kashmiris who are sick of war, but militants financed by deep-pocketed zealots in far-off lands may escalate the stakes to an unacceptable price for paradise on Earth,'' he concludes.


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