August 2004 News

Indian Intentions Over Kashmir

13 August 2004
The News International
Masud Akhtar Shaikh

Islamabad: The fact that the Kashmir dispute has remained unresolved for more than half a century shows the extent to which the Indian strategy of keeping the illegally occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir under its heels by hook or by crook has met with success. It is the misfortune of the Pakistani nation that our leaders, both political and military, have all along been living in a fools' paradise, preferring not to discard the blinkers of self-deception that have been preventing them from seeing through the Indian game. The cornerstone of the Indian policy on Kashmir has always been to gain time on one pretext or another. By adhering to its dilatory tactics from the very start, India has been hoping to attain the following aims: To consolidate its hold on the state by improving the access routes that were almost non-existent at the time it landed its troops at Srinagar by air. India achieved this aim long ago. With developed communications, it improved its ability to reinforce its troops in the state to any extent at any time so as to face a military threat from Pakistan. The build-up of the Indian troops in the state to a staggering figure of 700,000 men over the last few years proves that this objective has also been achieved by India. Change the demographic composition of the state within a few years so that Muslims are no longer in an absolute majority, at least in some important parts of the state. This objective also seems to have been achieved as far as Jammu is concerned. The process of manipulated demographic change is still continuing. Going by the pace at which the genocide of the Muslim population of the Kashmir valley is being carried out by the Indian occupation forces, a few more years would be needed by India to reverse the demographic position of Kashmir as per its plans. Through ever-increasing budgetary allocations for defense, turning the Indian armed forces into such a formidable force that the Pakistanis are convinced about the futility of employing military means to solve the Kashmir issue. Today, even the military leadership in Pakistan has come to the conclusion that a military solution of Kashmir is not possible. Accordingly, Pakistan has decided not to follow India in its armed race, while India is still continuing with its plans to further strengthen its armed forces. Waiting patiently for the time when, with the arrival of every new generation of Pakistanis on the scene, the bitterness of the past would melt away. India is hopeful that a day will soon come when Pakistani Muslims who had all their lives been the victims of social, political, and economic exploitation and injustice at the hands of the Hindus, would be there no more. Then there would be nobody to warn Pakistan's younger generations about the Indian reservations regarding the birth of Pakistan, or about the various intrigues the Indian leaders had in mind to undo the Partition of the sub-continent, or the irresistible desire of every Hindu to see Akhand Bharat on the world map. It will thus be seen that the decades-long dilatory tactics of India have been bearing fruit, much to the detriment of Pakistan as well as the cause of the Kashmiri people. We have been unwittingly playing in the hands of India by spending many decades merely to convince the world about Kashmir being disputed territory. We have been trying in vain for years to arrange bilateral meetings and talks with the Indians at various levels to arrive at a just and fair solution of the Kashmir problem. All these meetings proved abortive because of the Indian refusal to talk about Kashmir that they claimed was an integral part of India. For over twelve years, we have been trying to convince the world that the revolt in Kashmir was an indigenous phenomenon in which Pakistan had absolutely no hand. More recently, we have spent three years begging India to agree to a dialogue with Pakistan in order to solve the Kashmir issue that the whole world now recognises as a flashpoint. And ultimately, when India did agree to have talks with Pakistan, it insisted on making it a composite dialogue in which Kashmir was to be treated as a last item. Priority was given to a host of other issues like trade relations, confidence building measures, cultural exchanges, liberalization of travel facilities between the two countries, etc. etc. Pakistan had to agree to place the Kashmir issue on the back burner. Today, we are passing through the last phase of the long-term Indian plan that visualises the ultimate undoing of Pakistan and blatantly deprives the people of Kashmir of their inherent right of self-determination guaranteed to them by the United Nations Security Council and promised by the Indian leaders themselves. Over the past few months, we have been witnessing the inane Pakistani masses, the youth in particular, being captivated by small gestures of friendship displayed by members of the well-briefed visiting delegations from across the border. India's cultural onslaught to win over the new generation of Pakistanis has been started in full swing. A number of mutually agreed meetings on various petty matters of dispute between the two countries have been held without producing any tangible results except for both sides agreeing on the obvious need of solving the mutual differences in a satisfactory manner. Despite their failure to make any progress on the resolution of mutual differences at these dialogues, none of the sides have moved away its artificial optimism for fear of causing despondency among the public in their respective countries. The mock optimism of the two sides notwithstanding, the failure of these talks provides a sufficiently strong clue to the likely outcome of the forthcoming dialogue on the vital Kashmir issue. As a matter of fact, by refusing even to talk about the preparation of a mutually agreed timeframe for the solution of the Kashmir problem as suggested by General Musharraf, India has already given an unmistakable hint about the likely outcome of the talks on Kashmir. And whether they gracefully accept this fact or not, those at the helm of affairs in this country must be convinced in the heart of their hearts that India is not going to yield even an inch of ground on this issue in the foreseeable future. If anybody does agree to yield ground, it would most probably be the Pakistani side that has been constantly harping on the need of both parties to the dispute showing flexibility in their customary stand on the issue. As far as India is concerned, it cannot be expected to show any flexibility in its traditional stand as it speaks to Pakistan from a position of strength because: It is already in possession of the bulk of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and, therefore, it loses nothing if the talks fail and a status quo has to be maintained there. It enjoys superiority of strength over Pakistan as far as military power is concerned. It is in a position to resist any international pressure for the early solution of the Kashmir problem. The failure of talks on Kashmir would be quite in line with the dilatory policy of India as it would give it still more time to employ various ruses to convince the inane Pakistani people that India and Pakistan are one nation sharing the same culture, language, and traditions, and that the Partition of the subcontinent was a great mistake that should be undone in due course of time. They would also continue emphasising the fact that Kashmir has been a major burden on the frail economy of Pakistan and hence the people of Pakistan should forget about it for all times to come. Let us hope our leaders as well as the Pakistani people wake up to the realities of the situation and see through the Indian game before entering into an unnatural wedlock with India as a result of the latter's intensive luring campaign.


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