Downside Of Our Kashmir War
5 August 2005
The Daily Times
Khaled Ahmed`s Review of the Urdu press
Islamabad: The freedom struggle in Held Kashmir was begun by the JKLF. Islamabad first lent a hand then succumbed to a religious bias. Kashmiri leaders were killed in the process. Only time will tell who killed them We have always blamed India for keeping the freedom- supporting organisations of Held Kashmir away from us. Calls have always been made to allow the Kashmiris of both sides to get together. When they finally made it to Azad Kashmir in May this year, the visit did not redound to the advantage of Pakistan's old policy on Kashmir. In fact it became one reason why the change on Kashmir is irreversible. Columnist Hamid Mir wrote in Jang (June 6, 2005) that All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leaders had come to Azad Kashmir and without losing any time had bared their differences in public. Prof Abdul Ghani Bhatt gave the opinion that a three-party dialogue on Kashmir was unrealistic, to which Yaseen Malik had to express an opposite opinion. Shabbir Shah had not come because his insistence on the forms that he was not Indian kept him out of the group, but another member of his outfit did concede that he was Indian like other members and was able to come. Once APHC was led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Ali Geelani and ran as a united outfit, but after Prof Bhatt became its leader it got divided. Ali Geelani was still friendly to Umar Farooq but could not get along with Prof Bhatt and Maulvi Abbas Ansari. Umar Farooq kept quiet but his father was once the important pro-Pakistan leader. Umar Farooq was 20 when he founded the APHC in 1993. But in the past six years he was unhappy about the fact that Pakistani agencies gave more importance to Ali Geelani. Now Geelani was unhappy that Islamabad was ignoring him. Islamabad had used the Kashmiri outfits like it had used the Afghan outfits. It once favoured Hekmatyar, now persona non grata. In 1998 as interior minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had banned the book by KJLF leader Maqbool Butt, now he had gone to Azad Kashmir to greet Yaseen Malik of the JKLF. The low-intensity war in Kashmir starting 1989 overturned many historical developments of before 1947. The military officers who directed the war from Islamabad applied the same yardstick they were applying to Afghan jihad. The freedom struggle in Held Kashmir was begun by the JKLF. Islamabad first lent a hand, then succumbed to a religious bias. Kashmiri leaders were killed in the process. Only time will tell who killed them. APHC reflects two kinds of fear, but fear of India is gradually giving way to fear of Pakistan. Those who were abandoned by Pakistan in the past are resentful; those who have been abandoned now are also resentful. This is what happened in Afghanistan too. Talking to Nawa-e-Waqt (June 6, 2005) PMLN leader Javed Hashmi said from jail that after the 2005-06 budget Musharraf would get rid of prime minister Shaukat Aziz, after which the National Assembly would be dissolved and Musharraf would rule for one year as a dictator on permission of the Supreme Court. Musharraf will head a national government, he said. Mr Hashmi has been proven wrong on Shaukat Aziz. As a politician he should have abstained from making predictions like an astrologer. It goes to show that the sensational political ploys of his student days are still with him. According to Nawa-e-Waqt (June 6, 2005) Pakistanis in Dubai asked religious affairs minister Ijazul Haq to ban cultural troupes going to the Gulf area. The federal minister was inaugurating a mosque there. The expatriates said the cultural delegations were 'spreading anti-moral activities' in the Gulf. The minister promised that there would be no such cultural troupes in the future. He praised the Pakistanis for building such a grand mosque with their hard earned money. Some university should undertake a sociological study of our expatriate workers in the UAE. The government should encourage this academic profiling. They are developing differently from the UK Pakistanis. UAE is a cultural hub for the Indians who provide entertainment to both Indians and Pakistanis. Why do the Pakistanis there want to help India monopolise culture? This could make a good subject for a study. Writing in Jang (July 8, 2005) Irshad Haqqani stated that when he was in State Department in Washington in 2002 he asked deputy secretary Armitage about how long the Pak-US third honeymoon would last. Armitage replied that only time would tell. Haqqani was of the view that America's defence agreement with India took Pakistan into consideration but only to the extent that Pakistan was important for the US. All states pursue their self-interest in foreign policy. Those who succeed in not isolating themselves, enjoy more leeway. States with inflexible ideological or nationalist 'tenets' have less space in which to pursue self-interest. Pakistan is a smaller market compared to India. It is less internally secure than India. It has isolated itself in the world in two wars, Kashmir and Afghanistan. Its leverage is just terrorism. If Pakistan opts for 'national honour' it will come to harm because it has no alternative to America. But the terrorism leverage is immediate and effective. Nothing is permanent in foreign policy. China thought it was our permanent friend till it discovered that we were sheltering its terrorists too. In fact China is the perfect foreign policy model if we examine its regional approach with Russia and India, and its global approach with the US. A honeymoon is more satisfying than a dull marriage, especially if the honeymoon happens again and again for fifty years. Columnist Abdul Qadir Hassan wrote in Jang (July 8, 2005) that he had gone to his village and wrote a column about it. Ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif wrote him from Saudi Arabia saying what a wonderful column it was and how wonderful his prose was, making the reader feel as if he was travelling with the columnist. Newspapers should agree to a code of ethics banning columnists from praising themselves in their columns. Urdu columnists are censored only when they dare to introduce new ideas. Their columns should also be scanned for such sneaky efforts at self-praise. The irony is that some columnists who are treated regularly as VIPs by the governments also succumb to this disease.