KASHMIR SITUATION THE CLIMAX, November 1991
COMBAT FORCES IN KASHMIR
- Northern Command — Commanded by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief.
- Two Army Corps — Commanded by Maj. Generals.
—Army element—Approximately 500,000 personnel
—Para Military Forces Appromixately 70,000 personnel
- Indian Air Force and Army Aviation Including Gunships on Call.
- Forces Equipped with most Modern Weapons system, Guns, Missiles and Uniform for High Attitudes.
MUJAHIDEEN (Governor Saxena’s Version)
- Pro Islam—Pro Pakistan 45 Groups 5000 – 7000
- Secular Group—For Independent Kashmir 1500 – 2000
- Under Training in Azad Kashmir 3000
- No Super Power in Support. Pakistan is providing only Moral and Political support.
- Kashmirs have fought unaided against 100 times more than their numbers. They have no guns, no missiles and no supply line.
- They have the spirit, cause and faith in Allah which inspires them to fight against a highly rated Army. They dominate the valley and also the mind of the enemy.
- If the result of battles were dependent on catalogue of military resources, Jehad would have become meaningless.
SITUATION IN KASHMIR
“Occupation of Kashmir was for defeating the Two Nations Theory. If Kashmir is lost to Pakistan this will be failure of Pakistan Ideology. Thus Pakistan cannot survive as an Independent State”. (Indian Author).
Faced with Constant Threat from India, Pakistan arranged Defence Alliance with USA. Nehru declaring it as “Qualitative Change in the Situation” resiled from commitment to plebiscite hence denial of right of self determination to Kashmir. Kashmiris to lose their rights because Pakistan took measures to ensure her security. ‘A Twisted Logic’.
- “Situation is Grim” – Governor Saxena.
- “The Law and Order situation had deteriorated Alarmingly”. (Indian Press).
“IF there was a substantial percentage of the Kashmiri population who felt their future were intertwined with India, The Armed Forces have made certain that there are none left today”. (Sunday Magazine, India—26 October, 1991).
To all men of vision, the consequences of adverse outcome of Freedom Movement waged by sons and daughters of Kashmir should be clear. The CLIMAX of 44 years old story full pangs of suspense is nearing the decisive stage. The Kashmiris have established their right to Freedom from India at a great cost in lives, tribulations, torture, gang rapes even underage girls and old women were subjected to bestial attacks by Indian forces. For the last two years the Indian forces remained free to kill Kashmiris enmasse. The world is not interfering and Pakistan could not act appropriately to save Kashmiris who stand for Pakistan, from being butchered. What a situation! Illustration on Page-2.
The Freedom Movement is the result of 44 years of most degrading treatment of Kashmiris by Indian authorities. The antipathy born out of most horrible experiences have left no room for change of hearts now. The daily clashes all over the valley are a proof of popular will behind the Freedom Movement. The people, even children are dying willingly for their Freedom. Such a widespread and deeply embedded spirit could not be curbed by severest measures adopted by Indian Security Forces. The Kashmiris have chosen rendezvous with destiny. The struggle will be long and hard but no withdrawal from this position whatever the price.
INDIA DETERMINED TO WIPE OUT KASHMIRIS – TO KEEP KASHMIR
India expelled the journalists from Kashmir on 26 January, 1990, isolated the valley and proceeded to annihilate mercilessly the youth who almost barehanded rose against India the Fourth ranking Military power in the world. Long spells of curfew lasting over months paralysed the life and sources of livelihood of the Muslims in Kashmir – Hindus having been vacated to Jammu for ease of flushing the segregated Muslims in the valley. The butchery, genocide, barbarity, nerve-breaking crack-down and search and kill operations went on unceasingly: Sword of democles hanging always on Kashmiris – enough to break the nerves of even stoutest warriors. Kashmiris-men and no less women have fought back and endured the hell very bravely all by themselves. The indomitable spirit and will of the victimized people has surprised the observers the world over. Will these sacrifices achieve the aim – the well wishers can only pray.
Kashmiris have been able to keep Indians off balance. Pro-India leadership gap in Kashmir could not be filled. All efforts to negotiate with Kashmiri leaders in jails and torture cells did not produce the desired response. India having been neutralized has been busy looking for a clue but Pakistan could not help India find a face saving solution.
The situation prevailing in Indian occupied Kashmir as seen by Indian and the world is reflected as under:
- “Kashmiris have changed beyond recognition. They have lost fear. Kashmir is lost to us”. (Rajiv – 10 April, 1990)
- “Situation in Kashmir is Grim”. (Governor Saxena – August, 1991).
- “Kashmiri Pundits raised anti India and Pro Pakistan Slogans during S.B. Chavans visit to Kashmir”. (Sep. 1991)
- “Situation is fluid and very difficult to handle” (Sunday Magazine India 17.8.1991)
- “The Law and Order situation had deteriorated alarmingly” (Sunday Magazine India 17.8.1991)
- “India must quit Kashmir and let it be taken by Kashmiris” (Col. Dutt)
- “They found the Indian Army and para Military forces guilty of shooting scores of unarmed demonstrators, summary executions of detenues, mass rape, arson, torture and innumerable assaults on civilians” (Lord Averbury Report Reproduced by THE NEWS – 22.8.1991).
- When the Governor Saxena says, “The Government can sustain this level of casualties for decades”, Edward Desmond of TIME Says, “It is no wonder that the common request at the BSF’s Rainawari dispensary is for tranquilizers”. (Time – November 4, 1991).
There is too much about Kashmir and all heart rending. India despite her massive power is in an uneasy position. The people using their power of REJECTION have made India helpless: we have not done all what was possible to influence the situation to ensure our own security and survival.
INDIAN OPERATIONAL CONCEPT – WINTER 1991
India is hell bent on crushing the Freedom Movement during the coming winter (1991-92). Hoping that snow will bar the movement hence opportunities to eliminate the youths which is the real power behind the Movement. She is adopting ‘New Policy’ and taking revised and urgent measures in political and operational fields. The expected change of policy and possible replacement of Governor Saxena and replacement of Advisors by Muslim personalities (25 October, 1991) are aimed at solving the problem by mixture of assurances, liberal relief, political advantages side by side with intensive punitive actions through “OPERATION FLASH” and “OPERATION VIKRAM”. The intensive and extensive deployment of troops in populated areas in designed to ensure vigilance, surveillance and menacing threat to life and movement throughout the valley. Such operations can have telling effects when the people do not find respite and replenishments.
Besides Freedom to kill Kashmiris Indian forces are free to handle the situation undisturbed. For how long can Kashmiris and their movement be sustained unaided is a big question? There is winter ahead, lacs of people have been made shelter less and millions denied subsistence according to a plan to starve the people to submission or death or forced to leave the State. With no umbilical cord, they can perish in the open or in their own homes. All steps towards implementation of ‘New Policy’ supported by power packed punitive operations have been intensified to crush the Freedom Movement…a strategy of indirect approach aimed at the ultimate destruction of Pakistan. The wave of Hindu – fundamentalism displayed by BJP and VHP gives two choices to the Indian Muslims: ‘Pakistan’ or ‘Qabristan’. It is a clear and fair warning, well in time for us to prepare ourselves suitably.
NEGOTIATIONS ON WULLAR BARRAGE
The Wullar Barrage is the nastiest tip of the iceberg on which India have based a comprehensive plan to establish herself permanently in Kashmir. She has planned to raise four hydal projects upwards of URI to redress public grievances regarding power shortage: load shedding in the valley lasts eight to ten hours a day. Impounding of water (3 lac Acres feet – PP days figures) will facilitate linking of many small lakes spread over a vast area in the valley – the net work will make the system a paradise for the tourists besides providing irrigation water to new areas. The work on these projects is in progress. India is not investing many billion Dollars on these permanent projects which she may have to abandon or would benefit Kashmiris or Pakistan in the future.
We may have assurances of topping up Mangla Lake on request but the fact remains that India will have complete control on the choke: she can dry up Mangla Dam which provides water for irrigation and power to Pakistan or flood the area to create havoc whenever she chooses to do so. These inevitable risks were taken very seriously by the erstwhile Punjab Government: the leakage of ‘Secret’ by Agriculture Minister of Punjab at that time had upset the PP Government. One wonders about the reorientation of IJI Government which seems to have seen ‘no problem’ in accepting construction of the barrage even when the geography of Kashmir is being changed. Who is putting camouflage on the Indian Big Gun which is being primed to destroy Pakistan?
The negotiations with India on this issue mean:
- We have not realized the seriousness of Indian conspiracy since the partition. Following the vicious and sneaky violation: the construction of Salal Dam and Rs. 20 billions Chenab Valley Authority Project and ever operative nasty designs of India, we are now prepared to bite another killer hook. Our team prior to recent talks (end September, 1991) had declared that:
- “Pakistan will not compromise on Indus Basin Treaty”
- “By building the barrage they will not just control the water but also store it and the Indus Basin Treaty also disallows water storage”. (one member of the team).
- “If honestly controlled the Wullar Barrage system can also help Pakistan. Now we have water only in summer, but with the barrage, we will also have water in winter and can generate power at Mangla throughout the year. This will help us control power shortage and subsequent problem of load shedding in the winter” (The News 13.10.1991 – Page 22).
The miserable slip in logic is showing: confused, confusing, irresponsible and blatantly contradictory. Why our representatives are willing to pass our survival and security to the care of India? If we allow India to measure and test noose round our neck, we are willingly placing ourselves at the mercy of India whose animosity needs no discussion.
- The construction of the barrage will be a violation of the Indus Basin treaty. A bilateral agreement (accepted unilaterally by Pakistan) amending the International Treaty will make Indus Basin Treaty redundant – another unfortunate fix like that of Simla Accord which replaced the ceasefire line be Line of Control: enabling India to byepass UN and parleys or even mediation. Having given up the merit (Pakistan having exclusive rights on the western Rivers), we will be left in the wilderness and once again having no case to refer to the provisions of the International Treaty.
- In a disputed area, India will be helped by us to construct project of permanent nature. This connivance will confirm the Indian claim on Kashmir as her integral part. It is already causing serious demoralization to Freedom Fighters.
- By willingly placing India in control of waters of Rivers Chenab and Jhelum whose water must be available beyond Punjab to make River Indus worthwhile, India will be able to turn whole of Pakistan into a desert. Are we not seeing the requirements of our security and survival?
- In this mischief, quite obviously our team (Not without mandate) will be firming up India’s position, hold and authority on Kashmir – negating UN Resolutions and the cry for plebiscite: the question of right of self determination of Kashmiris will become meaningless.
Indians know what is good for them and worst for Pakistan we seem to be playing in the enemy’s hands. The Government of Pakistan must not follow the course recommended by those who seem to be inclined to present fancy fears to guide the acceptance of damaging solutions.
ROLE OF AZAD KASHMIR
Azad Kashmir generally called the Base Camp for the liberation of Kashmir proved more as a waste camp. Within 14 months Azad Kashmir (1990-91) had two general elections costing over Rs. 40 crores besides creating unhealthy atmosphere and disunity precisely during the period when Indians were headlong busy in killing the Muslims in the valley. Looking over the hills, Indians saw Azad Kashmir involved in struggle for power and money game. The AK Government and because of them the people of Azad Kashmir stayed inactive despite their serious concern.
After taking over the position of the Prime Minister Sardar Qayoom seems to have stepped up the activities, in a way. We must accept that the enemy is well informed about our resources and capabilities. When PM of Azad Kashmir says that ‘India will have to face a force of 25 lac people’ and that ‘AK will become graveyard of Indian forces it is a transparent bluff as opposed to calculated hard boiled disinformation used as a stratagem. I had personally made him conscious, during Zia era that the security and defensive measures in AK were in thin air hence scary. Despite realization there was no positive work done on ground. The intention regarding ‘concentrated efforts in the future to ensure success of Freedom Movement’ and ‘meeting of Liberation Alliance in the future to discuss the situation in detail’ prove inaction in the years gone by. Why was the past wasted? On 24 October, 1991 – The Foundation day, a flood of advertisements in all the newspapers carrying photos of the AK President and PM sponsored even by Government Departments made it too obvious that the orientation and priorities were not Mission oriented. Utilitisation of funds in this manner attracted very adverse comments from various sectors. A chain of J&K Liberation Cells at a baffling price is going to be set up in important centres here and abroad. All such activities are being planned when the enemy has got the people of the valley on tenterhooks: a sort of net practice by twelfth or thirteenth man when the match has already reached the last round. Merely talking about ‘Karbla’ does not make anyone holier or nobler. The trend of future events cannot be guided without positive plans undertaken years in advance. The Base Camp has neither been active nor effective – there is no proof against this fact. Can AK authorities break cover and come face to face with the Indian Security Forces? I think, any such initiative will create most serious problems for Pakistan. Would AK be prompted to threaten India in Kashmir? The consequences even for creating irritation will have to be faced by Pakistan. If AK leaders are allowed to use forceful language without participation in the negotiations then obviously they are serving as beaters and any failure will be easily planted on them. Are they being groomed as scapegoats because they are supposed to represent the cause and the people but do not have resources to deal with the enemy? The question has to be answered by Pakistani leaders if they knew what they have to do. The AK leaders also must know their role which they have to play and answer to the above question before they wish to make any claims on furthering the cause of Freedom and right of self-determination of people of Kashmir. The journey in twilight zone must come to an end.
TREATMENT OF THE SITUATION
The Freedom Movement in Kashmir has reached a very critical stage. Though the issue has been somewhat internationalized – credit to Kashmir American Council (Dr. Fai) and World Kashmir Freedom Movement (Dr. Ayub Thakhur) who rendered great services in moving the US and UK men who matter in higher echelons. Salute to Indian Human rights activists and the ‘News Track’ and Barbra Crossette of NY Times for their ‘eye witness’ accounts of atrocities in Kashmir. These great men and women of courage are a pride of the humanity at large. I wish Indian power Hungery hawks could see the difference between right and wrong for their own good. The IJI Government showed courage and initiative in raising the issue in the International For yet the thrust is feeble. It has not shaken the enemy. Raising of the issue at NAM and OIC was encouraging but during speech of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in the UN General Assembly most of the seats were vacant. There was no resolution or any discussion to expose India’s misconduct and treachery. During Harare commonwealth conference the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs openly invited mediation but Indian PM rejected the idea. He also divulged (Pak Press 28 October, 91) that Kashmir was not even mentioned by Pakistan in Harare meeting. What a fling to degrade our leaders in the eyes of our people? India knows what to do: to gain time to crush the movement so that there is nothing left to discuss. India had already launched an intensive ‘search and kill operation’ in Kashmir when she was busy showing to the world her effort to solve problems peacefully. On one side there is the expression of will (India) and on the other clutching of the straws (Pakistan). Why are we bending backwards so much when India is on a weak wicket and surely ineffective in controlling the situation in Kashmir. Mr. Saxena the crafty Governor of Kashmir said to a foreign correspondent that it is good that Mujahideen are not disturbing Indian line of communication…strange, why the Mujahideen are not doing what could hurt the enemy: at low cost of life and resources.
Lately we have become too keen to go more than half way to improve relations with India: linked with Confidence Building measures. Submissive approach will make Hindus more demanding and menacing. India never thought of helping us during bad times. Earthquake in Kohistan etc. but we have rushed aircraft to help earthquake victims in UP. This noble gesture has been blacked out in India. Even clearance to ‘mercy flights’ became a problem. India does not tolerate being obliged by Pakistan. Good gesture from position of strength is honoured but a gift from assumed/adopted weak position attracts scorn and degrading treatment. Would our leaders turn pages of history?
An unofficial delegation of highly placed and regarded personalities of Pakistan (Mr. Agha Shahi, Gen. K.M. Arif, Niaz A. Naik, Khurshid Qasuri, Ajmal Khattak and others) met Mr. Narsima Rao on 5 November, 1991 (ITV) – a big surprise to people in Pakistan – See Annexure at Page 27. This visit had followed soon after the secretaries level negotiations held at Islamabad. The India Foreign Secretary made it clear to the press and Pakistan to understand that ‘Indian dialogue was based on the principle that Kashmir is her integral part and the settlement has to be within provision of the Indian Constitution, Mr. Solanki the Indian Foreign Minister stated emphatically that negotiations on Kashmir, the integral part of India, is out of question. The only question to be settled is to vacation of Pakistani illegally occupied territory of Kashmir”. (ITV – PTST 2120 hrs. – 7 November, 1991). He made an appeal that terrorist activities by Pakistan be condemned.
We should not be in doubt that our uninvited goodwill gestures will bring penalties to Pakistan. Why are we giving up merit of the case? If we leave the base of the merit, then we will be in wilderness and our getting back to old argument will look irrelevant and unfortunate. India is in a difficult position in Kashmir (as is clear from the account discussed in the paper) but we seem to be falling for any settlement only to be rid of the tangle. This wrong will be our own doing – possibly our own undoing. This game in Kashmir is going to be finally final. Beware, the leaders and the people of Pakistan.
FEAR OF WAR – THINGS TO DO AT MAXIMUM SPEED
Indians have been claiming to have the proof of Pakistani supported, inspired and directed terrorist operations in East Punjab and Kashmir. They named handlers and also the camps in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. Some of their hawks had recommended Hot Pursuit Operations and teaching of befitting lessons to Pakistan yet the threats were not translated into action. Why? If India can secure Kashmir (Pakistan’s jugular vein) due to our failure she does not have to attack Pakistan. For achieving her aim, India will employ threat in varying intensity but the war will be the worst thing for India to choose. To improve the prospects of settlement, Pakistan and Human Rights Commission of various countries to put Indian brutalities in lime light to prevent the genocide in Kashmir. Kashmiris must receive immediate relief through International agencies. They must be supported properly in their struggle which is indigenous by all counts. Pakistan has nothing to fear if we are on our toes, ready to deploy from one end to the other. India has no record of penetrating our defences – East Pakistan was quite a different situation as all prudent men will understand.
EXTRANEOUS INFLUENCES – PRESSURES
Mr. Robert Gates has taken over the CIA. He had visited the subcontinent in May, 1991 as Special Emissary of Mr. Bush to defuse tension. He visited Pakistan first and India later. In Delhi on 12-13 May, 1991 he made a very significant statement:
- There were no training camps in Pakistan.
- He was not allowed to visit Indian Occupied Kashmir.
- He advised Pakistan not to support Secessionists (Not Freedom Fighters) as if Kashmir was an Indian territory.
- He recommended that India should provide relief and also allow more political rights to Kashmiris.
The US Policy has been dubious in many ways but indicative of recognition of dispute yet the prospects of plebiscite are viewed as not practicable. Measuring all the factors, US seems to be inclined to arrange/guide settlement along the Line of Control with some adjustments. The latest concept of New World Order has brought to fore the Indo-US strategic Alliance or mutual cooperation. The Senior US General with a large group visited IHK on or about 25 October, 1991 – maybe not so much to see the violation of Human Rights by India but to pronounce the proof of Pakistan’s involvement in Kashmir – hence grading it as a terrorist country deserving Special Treatment. It may come to that! Subsequently US Under Secretary Mr. Bortholmew while at Delhi blamed Pakistan for supporting terrorists (Press 25.11.1991).
During recently organized international conferences in US and England it crystalised that a good number of senators and British MPs were convinced of violation of Human Rights by Indian Forces in Kashmir hence some moral pressure on India. They however speak more about the right of Independence to be given to Kashmiris. The concept of mediation has been introduced by them and now being advocated to ignore the right of self determination of people of Kashmir who do not figure any where to count. A vicious intrigue.
During the last two months Mr. Sexena, the Governor of Kashmir has been advocating the role of Pakistan in the negotiations. On one occasion he said that Pakistan has a vital and decisive role…Wonderful. But what are we going to say? Have we been at crystal ball? Have we been meditating? The men at the helm of affairs must know that leaving Rivers Chenab and Jhelum in control of India will mean certain death of Pakistan. The final say, of course, must rest with the Mujahideen who demand their right of self-determination: they have not wavered despite the hell let loose on them.
MUJAHIDEEN – A POWER TO RECKON
A Crucial point must be understood: that Mujahideen cannot be ignored either by India or by Pakistan. The authorities in Pakistan must put the correct tag of weightage on them. It is our failure in presentation of correct perspective to the world that Kashmiris are losing sympathy of the west because of Indian version of fundamentalism planted on them. We had/have to prove that it is the case of political and human Rights of people. Mujahideen by their own efforts have put India on stakes and any lackadaisical approach by Pakistan can be fatal both for Pakistan and Kashmiris. As the kite flying goes on, what if India offers total autonomy or near semi-Independence to Kashmiris? Left in lurch, helpless Kashmiris can turn their back on Pakistan. Then, it will be no use to compile the list of guilty men.
SOLUTION OF KASHMIR DISPUTE?
India remaining free to continue with implementation of her plans to keep Kashmir, some quarters have resorted to kite flying. Ideals like: Independent Kashmir, Regional plebiscites, valley treated in the manner of “Trieste’ and remaining areas going to the parties having de-facto control, Hindu districts of Jammu and Leh going to India and Switzerland or a UN mandate territory for some years prior to free expression of verdict etc. etc. A wiseman and a research scholar suggests solution on Russian lines (breakaway republics becoming independent countries) as if Kashmir was part of India. He also recommended a dialogue. These are the stray thoughts of men without commitment and faith in our destiny. Some want to favour India others want to see Pakistan in difficulties. The fact is that 90% Freedom Fighters authenticated even by western journalists stand committed to Pakistan and Islam, - celebration of 14 August (Pakistan day) and other national days, even victory in cricket matches between arch enemies and raising of Pakistani flag everywhere in face of the enemy and burning of Indian flag on 15 August every year, adoption of Pakistan Standard Time, Friday observed as holiday in the valley and dead bodies buried wrapped in Pakistan flag prove the real spirit, orientation and the power which calls shots in Kashmir. On 4 May, 1991 a secular group (JKLF which breathes here, prospers here and the ‘hope of India’ – (N.V. Subramanium Sunday Magazine 11-17.8.1991) staged a small size demonstration in Srinagar-the demonstrators were treated by Indian Security Forces with cold drinks and tea plus, at the end of performance. This group burnt Pakistan flag and shouted slogan against Pakistan and for India. Following this event lacs of Mujahideen came out in streets for days. They demonstrated their love for Pakistan and Islam besides hanging the man who had burnt Pakistan’s flag. Kashmiris (the popular will) are determined to see Kashmir as part of Pakistan.
The bilateral settlement between Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other disputes (as being reported in the press) will identify:
- The settlement in Kashmir without participation/consultation of the people of Kashmir will prove that the issue was actually a territorial dispute between two warring states and not the question of political rights of 12 Million people, who have demonstrated through Freedom Movement their right to freedom, their orientation and choice.
- The case of right of self determination of people of Kashmir to be settled through plebiscite under UN Resolutions of 13 August, 1948 and 5 January, 1949 will look relegated as a side show: the will of the people as being presented to the world as not the real determinant. Let us not run from pillar to post – we may not reach the base at all. One gets baffled by such spurts / advances.
- The construction of Wullar Barrage by India has been discussed at page 6. If Pakistan concedes concessions to India then there will be no room left to claim protection of rights on western Rivers, in accordance with Indus Basin Treaty. The people of Kupwara had destroyed the ground work of this project on 7/8 April, 1990 – they had done it for Pakistan. Pakistan trusting India with “some other arrangements to provide regular supply of water even in winters” is a promise which India is known not to have kept since centuries: recent ones being Indus Basin Treaty and UN Resolutions. Can any body pass out interests and security to the care of Hindus? Our teams have no business to negotiate on terms which are suicidal for Pakistan. The Indians know/knew what is good for their country. Why the negotiating teams cannot see the requirements of our security and survival…a deliberate failure?
- Kashmiris by waging their Freedom Movement, unaided, have established their personality. It will be impossible and also a betrayal to seek/arrange settlement without their taking part in decision regarding their future. India claiming Kashmir as her integral part can take any decision but Pakistan supporting the cause of right of self determination cannot use discretion as if the territory belonged to her. Can we expect that wisdom will prevail in dealing with these issues?
HIGHEST STAKES AND GREAT OPPORTUNITIES
Knowing that India dismembered Pakistan out of spite for two nations’ theory and that Pakistan is the only obstacle in her way of imposing hegemony in the region, we have to be doubly smart and skilled. Now that Russia is not a challenger, China is likely to be the next target to be demolished. In the US Planning there may be no chapter on Pakistan. Pakistan will be expected to live under the Indian umbrella as enunciated in 1961. Now the threat to Islamic countries is real as well as open. For purpose of our security requirement we must immediately cultivate closest relations with China, Iran and Turkey if possible. We have to take immediate steps to guard against the storm which is building now. The scope of this paper does not permit wider coverage but anticipating the possible arrangements in the future, we must seriously concentrate on defeating the enemy designs. The situation which looks awesome offers excellent opportunities also. We could emulate dare-devil and highly inspired actions of Israel (no apologies for learning from an open book) which fought against all odds to ultimately secure the focal and pivotal position in the Middle East. The requirements being an inspiring Leadership, bold and calculated arrangements. We have an excellent situation at hand to benefit from. India the Mini-Super Power has clay feet and many Achilles heels. There are some maladies which will continue to pester India. Some of them are:
- India has many problem areas within her territory. Some are disturbed areas, some troubled spots, some incipient movements and others hot plates. India finds itself disturbed and uneasy.
- Annoyed/disturbed and suspecting neighbours.
- 330 Million hungry people – living below poverty line – an internationally recognized fact. A bomb which cannot be defused even by aids provided by friendly countries. The population of the poorest is spreading like jungle fire – 33 crores is a population more than of US and Russia of olden days. India if allowed peace has all the prospects of crumbling its own weight.
- Assams’ search for identity.
- Naga Land, Gurkha Land and Tamil Land, etc. are in search of identity and possible freedom.
- South versus North active feelings can bloom given a correct atmosphere.
- Think of Naxalites, Terrorism even in UP and communal disharmony in many states.
- Teasing domination of caste Hindus over other groups.
- Punjab – demanding Independent ‘Khalistan’.
- Kashmir – where Indian might has been put out of gear – India not having friends in Kashmir not even the stooges to stand for the Indian secularism. India is in doldrums looking for some rescue operation.
- Babri Masjid issue – desecration of 500 years old mosque – unprecedented Hindu Fundamentalism is now revealing itself to the world. Even Sikhs have decided to stand with Muslims – recalling desecration of Golden Temple in 1984. India is good in creating unbridgeable gulfs between its own people. Indian troops in Kashmir asked commanders “if these are our people, then why are we killing them”?
- Poorest economy in decades – Kashmir and Siachen (latter alone costing Rs. 500 crores per annum) have badly sapped India’s energy.
What the Israelis would have done to their enemy caught in such a favourable situation is the question in my mind.
An Indian analyst who saw the brutal treatment of unprotected Kashmiris by Indian Security Forces in occupied Kashmir said that “Pakistan is going to fight India to the last Kashmiri”. (Hindustan Time – 5.9.1991). It is a very cruel joke in style and intent. It will be a monumental tragedy if it comes true. For Pakistan it is the question of do or die – to live with honour or to die with honour.
Finally, the wily Indians laboured hard with men and resources for 44 years to bring docile Kashmiris to an unchallengeable rage. Indians have resources to fight for decades (Saxena) but Indian troops request at dispensary is for tranquilizers – the crutches American troops needed before their rescue from South Vietnam. Who would lose such an opportunity? For India it is a question of prestige but for us the question of survival.
Indo-Pak talks on Wullar may end without result Agreement possible during next round
Islamabad: The Seventh round of Indo-Pak talks on Wullar barrage may end without a decision but with a hope that the two countries may resolve the issue in their next meeting. The meeting began here Saturday and continues on Sunday.
The talks began at 10:00 am and the two teams raised for the day at 1:00 pm. S.R. Ponegar, federal secretary for water and power, led the Pakistani delegation while MA Chitale, the Indian secretary for water resources, led his country’s team. Both the groups had five members each but later legal adviser to the Pakistan Foreign Office and a senior member of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad also joined the talks.
The Indian said they wanted to begin the negotiations from where it ended on March 28, 1989, when the sixth round of talks on Wullar barrage was held in New Delhi. They also presented a draft based on the proceedings of the previous meeting to the Pakistan team.
Pakistan submitted its comments on the draft, spelling out the points on which Islamabad differed with New Delhi as well as those that it accepted.
The Indians said that they will give their remarks on Pakistan’s position by Sunday.
The Pakistani delegation informed them that even if the Indians completed reviewing their documents by Sunday, Islamabad may not be able to make a decision so quickly. The Indian replay, they said, will have to be presented before the federal cabinet for its approval.
So it suggested that an agreement on the Wullar barrage issue can only be taken in the next meeting for which dates may be finalized on Sunday.
The Indians repeated their stance on the issue. They said India wanted to stop the flow of the water into Jhelum after the lake is full. The water that fills Wullar, near Sopore, flows down to the Jhelum river after filling the lake. The river flows into Pakistan.
They said they wanted to control the water to have a draft of about four feet so that they could use the lake for navigation.
The Indians used the lake for navigation throughout the year until recently. Now they only use it for six months in summer as there is not enough water in the lake in winter.
The Pakistani side informed the Indians that the Indus basin treaty, signed by President Ayub and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962, forbids any construction on three western rivers that flow into Punjab. The treaty gave the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab rivers to Pakistan while India was given controlling rights over the Bias, Ravi and Chenab.
The Pakistani team also told the Indians that by building the barrage they will not just control the water but also store it and the Indus basin treaty also disallows water storage.
The real objection, according to a member of the negotiating team, is not on the construction of barrage itself. It concerns the interpretations of the Indus water treaty and India’s intentions. Once it has the power to regulate the flow of the Jhelum river, it can also use it for creating problems for Pakistan.
Otherwise, a member of the Pakistani team said, if honestly trusting India – if honestly controlled? All fears and no experience of Indian Honouring her commitments to control the Wullar barrage system can also help Pakistan. “Now we have water only in summer but with the barrage, we will also have water in winter and can generate power at Mangla throughout the year. This will help us control power shortage and the consequent problem of load-shedding in the winter.”
Pakistan, the delegate said, sought a negotiated settlement “which reaffirms and strengthens the Indus treaty.”
WHAT NEXT IN J&K?
Tribune India 26-9-1991
Although the entire country is the Home Minister’s turf, the current visit to Jammu and Kashmir by Mr. S.B. Chavan is bound to raise more than routine interest. His statement that the government is willing to hold talks with militants if they come without preconditions too could have been dismissed as ritualistic had it come from a lesser politician, but since he is not prone to shooting from the lip, it is but unavoidable to attach some significance to it. The reticent Mr. Chavan would not have made this offer unless he was sure of some kind of a positive response. Reading between the sentences of his Srinagar press briefing, it seems that a major initiative is indeed in the offing after the conclusion of the visit. The timing of the release of policemen held hostage by militants also needs to be seen in that light. Some groundwork for talks has already been done by Communication Minister Rajesh Pilot who is accompanying Mr. Chavan. Far less known is the visit of Mr. Avtar Singh Bhadana, the MP from Faridabad, who has used his influence to establish contacts with Gujar-Bakarwals and other tribals living near the border – which comprise one-third of the state’s population – and even some militants. The signals seen in totality raise hopes about an attempt being made to revive political activity in the comatose state. This in the past has meant an understanding between the Congress and the National Conference, the two parties which are virtually headless in Jammu and Kashmir and have worked hard to break their rudders. The eating of the mudpie several times seems to have made the Congress (I) wiser. This time, it may agree to join hands with leaders who have their mass base intact. The release of some of them, now in jail for various real or imaginary offences, is not a distinct impossibility.
That, of course, is the best case scenario, which presupposes an encouraging response from militants, not all of whom are too eager to mend ways. If at all that happens, expecting that in the near future will be rather foolhardy. All that can be hoped for, for the time being, is more “humanization” of the Girish Chandra Saxena administration. The induction of local advisers may be one such step. The denial of any package deal too points to the unlikelihood of any hasty step in any direction. Mr. Chavan has done well to say that a national policy to deal with kidnapping incidents is being framed because, considering that his visit has come soon after the abduction of some relatives of Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, many people have come to believe that the government is being selective in these matters and swings into action only when a VIP is involved. The hostage swap has gone to ridiculous lengths, not only in Kashmir but in several other states like Assam. What is required for ending that is an iron hand with a velvet touch. Unfortunately, the reverse has been on display recently.
DEFEAT AND DEFEATISM
Some Home Truths about Kashmir
By: Swapan Dasgupta
Times of India 30-9-1991
In any other country, the publication of a book along the lines of Mr. Jagmohan’s recent offering would have triggered off a fierce controversy and political furore. But so marked is the national despair and helplessness over the unending insurgency in the Kashmir that any assessment which goes against the gain of conventional wisdom is likely to be hastily brushed under the carpet. Faced with the near-certain collapse of a brave experiment in national integration, the supine Indian intelligentsia and political classes – with some exceptions – appear determined to bury awkward dissent in a conspiracy of embarrassed silence. Unable and unwilling to accept reality, the Indian political establishment has been paralysed into dejection and defeatism. The late general Zia-ul-Haq’s promise of an offensive “which will destroy the will of the enemy, damage his political capacity and expose him to the world as an oppressor” appears to be translating into reality.
Consider the stark and uncomfortable facts. A high official of the Indian Oil Corporation, Mr. K. Doraiswamy, is a abducted by terrorists in Srinagar. In an unavoidable gesture, the government agrees to release five detained terrorists in exchange for the kidnapped official. But the state administration and the Central government are unable to coordinate their response. The subversives capitalize on the confusion and secure the release of nine terrorists, including, it is said, the killers of Vice-Chancellor Mushir-ul Haq and HMT general manager H.L. Khera, in exchange for Mr. Doraiswamy. A released terrorist, Javed Ahmed Shalla, jubilantly tells his supporters: “We are fighting an enemy which gives more than what we demand”. A senior minister, Mr. Rajesh Pilot, smilingly poses for photographs after formalizing the instrument of surrender. A national humiliation becomes the occasion for celebration.
The dismal record does not end here. Some 137 top-ranking government officers petition the United Nations against alleged state repression in Kashmir. No action is taken against them. The state government dismisses five officials guilty of misusing their positions for anti-national activities. The militants retaliate by organizing a government employees strike. After 72 days, the state administration capitulates and the five are reinstated.
That is not all. In an apparently magnanimous gesture, the Narasimha Rao government is persuaded by its discredited political allies in Jammu and Kashmir to fill some 12,000 vacancies in the local bureaucracy. Predictably, the secessionist organizations hijack the recruitments and succeed in filling up the posts with their nominees. The government apparatus becomes an agency of subversion and the taxpayers of India end up subsidizing a movement for another partition of the country.
Such bizarre examples from the troubled valley can easily be multiplied. But even those cited are sufficient to drive home the validity of Mr. Jagmohan’s central thesis: that Kashmir is being lost by default and that successive governments have squandered away the political resolve to protect the unity and integrity of the country. Entrapped in national degeneration, India, it would seem, has become its own worst enemy.
That Mr. Jagmohan has pointed an accusing finger at the ineptitude of the counter-insurgency strategies in Kashmir is not in doubt. Nor would too many people fault him for such an assertion considering the massive headway the secessionists have made in the valley. However, the former governor does not stop at detailing the mistakes of the state and Central governments. He has offered a radical critique of the central assumptions governing India’s Kashmir policy since 1947.
To begin with, Mr. Jagmohan has questioned the deep-rooted belief among policy-makers and liberals that greater autonomy is the key to an enduring solution in Kashmir. Viewing the political history of the state since 1947 as evidence of the perpetuation of a “soft state” which, in turn, contributed to bad governance, Mr. Jagmohan is of the view that autonomy, coupled with Article 370 of the Constitution, has proved to be a “feeding ground for the parasites”. Detailing the colossal mismanagement and corruption under both Sheikh Abdullah and Dr. Farooq Abdullah, he has concluded that autonomy severely distorted the political process. Without the remotest hint of accountability, autonomy became an instrument of expediency at the hands of unscrupulous politicians to promote coterie rule so much that some 80 per cent of the total assets in the state are controlled by a tiny group comprising 15 to 20 per cent of the population. The cumulative effect of this distortion was widespread popular alienation – rigging merely aggravated the phenomenon – of the people with the power Structure. Under the circumstances, it was only natural that popular discontent assured strong anti-India overtones, more so since the ruling party was identified as extensions of Indian dominance.
The presence of Article 370 compounded the problem. Besides adding to the arbitrariness of a corrupt political clique, it created a formidable emotional barrier against the integration of Kashmir into the Indian Union. So utterly perverse was this so-called symbol of secularism and article of faith that a lady doctor lost her status as a “permanent resident/citizen” of the state merely on the ground that she had married an Indian citizen from outside the state. Article 370 provided the convenient fig-leaf whereby the votaries of Kashmiriyat could flaunt their Islamic and separatist credentials while, at the same time, thriving on Central subsidies. What was perceived by the founding fathers as “temporary provisions” to facilitate the integration of Jammu and Kashmir became, in practice, an instrument for the undermining of Indian sovereignty and the abdication of responsibilities.
Finally, Mr. Jagmohan has demolished the dangerous delusion, fostered by well-meaning liberals, human rights activists and discredited Kashmiri politicians, that the present troubles in the valley are primarily a consequence of the uncaring attitude of the government and a reaction to “state repression”. Besides locating the insurgency in the context of the Pakistani offensive. Mr. Jagmohan has done well to stress its ideological dimensions. What is particularly revealing is his blunt assertion that indigenous Kashmiri Islam with its roots in the Sufi tradition has been systematically supplanted by a rigid and doctrinaire faith whose political goal is an Islamic state. It is this ideological regime that has provided the inspiration for the organized expulsion of the Hindu minority from the valley and the ruthless persecution of those Kashmiri Muslims who are perceived as being secular or pro-India. As things stand today, there is no common ground or points of common ground or points of convergence between the commitment to a pluralistic, liberal state – whether organized along federal or nonfederal lines – and the growing support for a Islamic republic built along the ideological premises of the Jamat-i-Islami. A mere relaxation of security arrangements and greater doses of autonomy are unlikely to arrest this rapid integration of Kashmiri Islam with the international Islamic resurgence.
In short, the implications of Mr. Jagmohan’s account of the troubles in Kashmir are very disturbing. While the government can definitely tone up its anti-insurgency operations by streamlining coordination between various agencies of the state, showing greater resolve the checkmating the designs of Pakistan, it will not be in a position to come to grips with the root of the problem without a radical programme.
Key to Solution
A long-term solution requires a fundamental reorientation of approach and recognition of three essential realities. First, that over doses of autonomy and the perpetuation of Article 370 argue against the full integration of Jammu and Kashmir into India. Secondly, that a “soft state” compromises security and encourages subversion. Finally, that the transformation of Kashmiri Islam……….the possibility f permanent Muslim rapprochement with the Indian Republic. To offset the damage, some go so far as to suggest that a programme for the demographic Indianisation of the state is inescapable.
These are critical choices before, the nation today. But if a second partition is to be avoided there is an urgent need to overcome intellectual squeamishness and lace up to reality. The indomitable Sardar Patel expressed it bluntly in the context of Kashmir. “The future would depend upon the strength and guts of the Indian government, and if we cannot have confidence in our own strength, we do not deserve to exist as a nation.”
Pak armymen n multi operating in Kashmir
Week (Magazine) India 6-10-1991
President Zia-ul-Haq is long dead but he continues to be the guiding spirit of the secessionists of Kashmir valley. Like a ghost, he is omnipresent and omnipotent. The photograph of the late soldier and crescent crusader, in full military regalia, may not exactly be adorning every household. But the ones that do not have them are the exception.
And every time the security forces mop up subversive literature and Pakistani flags that too have sprouted all over the place, the Zia photographs seem to be multiplying. Interestingly, he is being deified not merely by the militants: Zia has admirers among VIPs too. A former chief minister has prominently displayed Zia’s photograph in his house in Srinagar. So too at least from IAS and IPS officers. All of them have refused to remove the pictures and the government can do little about it because it is no crime to project the picture of a former president of a neighbouring country.
This fits precisely into the way by deception being waged by the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan in the valley. The ISI’s well laid out plan to “annex Kashmir” under Zia’s ‘Operation Topac” had been stalled by the heavy hundred response of the Indian Security forces. But now there are ominous signals that the all powerful and ubiquitous ISI is playing a more direct role in the coordinating and even controlling militant activities in Kashmir.
The Indian intelligence agencies, which insist that “Operation Topac” has reached its third and most crucial stage of full scale instruction, also role that serving and retired Pakistani army personnel are more and more involved in the valley. None other than Defence Minister Sharad Pawar has said that “some” Pakistani” soldiers had been apprehended on this side of the border … document in the custody of the Union home ministry is anything to go by Pakistani officers, Major-General Fazal Hussain. Brigadier Gulzar and Brigadier Barkat are involved in training the Kashmir militants.
This is a sign of both desperation and renowed aggression: the Indian army has scaled the Uri, Gulmang, Tithwal, Keran and Kupwara sectors which used to be the infiltration points for the militants trained across the border. Of the nearly 6,000 subversives massed across the line of control, the Pakistanis have moved 3,000 into the plains near Gilgit, Pushitam Gurez and the inaccessible Tilel valley through the Kamri and Buzil passes. Significantly, the security forces contented two groups of 50 militants reach near Bandipur in north Kashmir and killed or captured most of them. They also seized huge arsenal, militants ambushed two army convoys on the Srinagar . Tammarg and Sringar – Uri highways. The well-planned attack, which lasted for more than three hours each, fuelled speculation that Afghan Mujahideens of the Hizb-e-Islami led by Gulbudin Hekmatyar or even Pakistan army personnel in multi may have been involved.
The professional pattern of recent ambushes forced the Indian army and paramilitary forces to launch a sustained combing operation to clear all villages in the border belt of militant hide-outs. Inevitably, there have been allegations of excesses, particularly in Bandipur itself (see box). Simultaneously, they also launched a drive to unearth militants’ arms dumps in Srinagar and Rainawari, the latter so militant infested that it has earned the sobriquet ‘northeast frontier province”.
For all the concerted efforts of the army and the paramilitary forces, few expected them to subdue the militants. For one, they do not get any cooperation from the state police. The militants have also infiltrated the administration. These moles, including a deputy commissioner, tip off the militants about the moves of the security forces, endangering the lives of personnel.
Governor Saxena and the security forces are doing an unenviable job. They are trying to restore respect for law and affection in a land which has little trace of either Srinagar, the summer capital, has the look and feel of a city under occupation. Most of it is wrapped in iron-clad curfew. It is a vicious cycle. The security forces have to do the dirty of enforcing curfew. That provokes unconcealed hatred among the locals which in turn sparks anger and resentment among the security forces.
The tense stand-off is punctuated with the screams of the dying and the militants’ shrill city for the withdrawal of the security forces. Amid this are the appropriate noises of politicians and votaries of civil rights. One section of the Union cabinet, Sharad Pawar. S.B. Chavan and Rajesh Pilot, favours a revival of the political process. Chavan, who touched the valley in the third week of September, ruled out army deployment in the entire valley. Ironically, whether Chavan acknowledges it or not, but for the army Zia’s dream of ‘liberating’ Kashmir could well have been a reality.
DANGER IN KASHMIR
By Josef Korbel
Yet, certain factors stand out in the seventeen-year history of the conflict as immutable guidelines for any new effort.
- The people of Kashmir have made it unmistakably known that they insist on being heard. Whatever may be their wishes about their future, they must be ascertained directly or through their legitimate, popular representatives. The does not necessarily mean the government of the State, for the current government has now been compromised by its identification with the government of India and the rising opposition of the Kashmiris. The National Conference, ever since Sheikh Abdullah’s imprisonment in 1953, has steadily lost the support and the confidence of the Kashmir people. Whatever process is used, however, the will of the people of Kashmir cannot be ignored, just as the wishes of scores of African nations – some of which are smaller and even les developed – could not be bypassed in the decades when nationalism and self-determination were sweeping across continents.
- The accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India cannot be considered as valid by canons of international law.
- The issue itself cannot be sidetracked. The history of the case has made it clear that time has only aggravated, not healed, the conflict: that neither the Pakistanis nor the Kashmiris will accept the status quo as a solution. A prolonged neglect on the part of the participants would most certainly turn against their own fundamental interests, their national security, indeed perhaps their national existence.
- No high hope should be entertained that bilateral negotiations will lead to a settlement. They took place on several occasions during the past years and produced no results. With the cruel experience of bloodletting last September, the resumption of bilateral efforts is beyond useful consideration. The Soviet intervention at the Tashkent meeting lends further strength to this observation. Even if Pakistan and India agreed in due course to meet, all the evidence of the accumulated past points to the conclusion that such negotiations would only prolong the agony.
- The United Nations has a principal responsibility to seek a resolution not only as the chief international agency for maintenance and enforcement of peace but also as an organ which was asked by India and Pakistan to intervene in the conflict and which has committed its prestige and authority to its solution through numerous resolutions. In terms its future, it cannot tolerate a prolonged flaunting of its decisions without dissipating completely its influence. In this light, a possible fresh start should take into careful consideration at least the spirit of the original resolutions of the Security Council and the UNCIP, which were and still are the only legal foundations for a settlement of the conflict.
If these other factors are kept in mind, an equitable and honourable solution of the Kashmir conflict may yet be found. The procedures and processes would matter little, whether by mediation, arbitration on individual non-political aspects of the dispute or through the engagement of the International Court of Justice.
DRIFTS TO DISASTER (INDIAN VIEW)
Source: (India Today, August 31, 1991)
(This is an abridged version of the debate on the Kashmir situation participated by what India Today calls “key players and observers of Kashmiri politics”. The debate, unwittingly, serves as a valuational framework to the deteriorating human rights situation in Kashmir. The participants included George Fernandes, former Minister Kashmir Affairs; Balaraj Puri, director Jammu-based institute J & K Affairs; P.K. Dave, former Chief Secretary J & K Government; M.J. Akbar, former Congress (I) MP; P.A. Rosha, director National Police Academy; B.G. Verghese, former Editor The Hindustan Times and Indian Express; Murli Manohar Joshi, President Bharatiya Janata Party; Riaz Punjabi, Professor Kashmir University, activist civil liberties; Mathew Thomas, Lt. General (Retd), current Editor Indian Defence Review; Saifuddin Chaudhry, CPI (M) MP, member Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir. ed.).
“Puri: By now the degree of annihilation of Kashmir is almost total. And the gulf between India and Pakistan is much wider. There is no longing in the POK and our part of Kashmir for any unity. The two are linguistically, culturally and ethically so distinct. But the way we are dealing with the crisis, no non-terrorist channel of anger and dis-content remains. Do anti-India slogans deserve punishment like shooting to death? I remember I was in Anantnag when a Barrat was attacked by some army men, some people were killed and the bride was gang-raped.
Verghese: Not the army.
Punjabi: Army, army, army! I challenge you to prove what you say. The incident was completely blanked out by the national press. But I happened to be in London, and the papers there were full of details of the incident.”
A Dialogue with Pakistanis
Between the Lines, Kuldip Nayar
The Nation, November 19, 1991
Around the table we sat for three days. The discussions, candid but surprisingly devoid of heat, showed that over the years the irritants between the two sides had lost some rough edges and a sense of mellowness had developed
An India-Pakistan dialogue always evokes nostalgia for some of us who have come from across the border. But every meeting also underlines the fact how different are our perceptions. We continue to be conscious of history but not geography—we share a border of thousands of kilometers.
Around the table we sat for three days last week in New Delhi. There were some eminent men from Pakistan: Agha Shahi, former Foreign Minister, Lt. Gen. K.M. Arif, retired Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, Ajmal Kattak, once in the forefront of our national movement. A. Wardhak, Vice-President of the ruling Muslim League, Khurshid Kasuri, Secretary-General of the Peoples Democratic Alliance in the Opposition, Niaz Naik, former Foreign Secretary and Editor Frontier Post Khalid Ahmad.
The Indian side was represented, among others, by Inder Gujral, former Foreign Minister, Vasant Sathe, former Union Minister, Justice Rajinder Sachar, A.M. Khusro, Mrinal Pande and Grilal Jain, journalists, the two Lieutenant Generals Vohra and Chibber, two former Foreign Secretaries, C.S. Jha and S.K. Singh, K.R. Malkani, Vice-President of the Bharatiya Janata Party and O.P. Shah, who sponsored the dialogue.
The discussions, candid but surprisingly devoid of the heat, showed that over the years the irritants between the two sides had lost some rough edges and a sense of mellowness had developed. Kashmir figured in one way or the other all through. Nearly all the Pakistani participants did not budge from the stand that Kashmir should be solved before taking up trade, culture and visa.
But what struck me was that the Pakistanis’ tacit acceptance of independence status for Kashmir, amalgamating the Indian and Pakistan sides of Kashmir. Significantly, Pakistanis and Indians tended to restrict the dispute to the Valley as if both were already prepared for separation of Jammu and Ladakh from the present J and K State. Agha Shahi even proposed that the United Nations should administer the Valley and the adjoining Muslim areas till the two sides found a way-out. .
Almost all Indians were on the defensive. There was hardly any serious voice to point out that Kashmir was an integral part of India. The main argument against the secession of Kashmir by Indians was that it would tell upon secularism; some even talked about the dangers of opening “a Pandora’s box”. But there was none to deny the existence of the dispute and none to advocate that Pakistan had no focus standi.
On secularism, I felt let down by some of my countrymen. At the inaugural function. I could tell the Pakistanis that we followed two different systems: one secular and the other religious. But on the second day, when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal hoisted flags on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi structure, despite the High Court order to the UP Government to maintain the status quo, I could not look the Pakistanis in their eyes.
None mentioned the incident at the dialogue. But they made a telling point when they said that fundamentalists did not win even half a dozen seats in the Pakistan National Assembly, while they had captured 117 seats in the Lok Sabha in India. In fact, the Pakistanis resented our general assessment that fundamentalists were on top in Pakistan.
Their argument was that anyone who bandied about religion did not carry any conviction in their country. One Indian participant had a point when he said that the “type of Islam” Pakistan had been following was taking shape of some kind of secularism and India, which had been advocating “a particular way” of secularism, was developing a fundamentalistic atmosphere in its midst.
I referred to the textbooks taught in Pakistan, depicting Hindus in an unfavourable light. Kasuri corrected me saying that the books in private schools had been changed. This still did not give me answer to my query that Urdu history books prescribed in schools were far from accurate. The school history books I have read in Lahore played up the wars between Hindus and Muslims, with the latter always emerging victorious. Mohammad Bin Qasim and Muhammad Ghaznavi, the first two Muslim invaders of India, are glorified for destroying kafirs (infidels).
Although both sides had different viewpoints on security, all participants felt that the two countries were spending on defence far more money, which could be utilized for the betterment of the people. One Indian said that his country should unilaterally freeze the defence expenditure so as to allay the Pakistani fears. Another proposed a proportionate cut in armed forces on both sides. This found favour with the Pakistanis. One Pakistani predicted that America, “on which both countries were dependent.” Was going to force a cut in their defence expenditure; they might as well begin it on their own instead of being told to do so.
Our perceptions on nuclear weapons were different; they wanted an agreement between India and Pakistan and we were keen on involving China in any accord that we reached. One thing common was that both sides expressed anxiety to have some arrangement to avoid the nuclear holocaust which, many feared, if there was a war. Most Pakistanis did not deny the possession of the bomb.
Significantly, there was no denial by the Pakistanis on the training and arming of the militants in Kashmir and Punjab. Some made the point that they were doing what India had done in Bangladesh. One Pakistani was articulate enough to say that unless Kashmir was settled, the interference in Punjab would continue. I argued that if they were to accommodate us in Punjab, we would be able to accommodate them on Kashmir. Some Pakistanis welcomed this.
This dialogue revealed that India had gone back on the settlement it had accepted on the Siachen Glacier. If this is so, it does not speak well of us.
From all accounts, the Siachen Glacier is of little military significance; the force on both sides can be redeployed, as was decided between the defence secretaries of the two countries. This itself will generate goodwill. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be off the hook because he needs some evidence to convince his people that although Kashmir cannot be solved straightway, there are other problems which are being got out of the way.
Some people may run down unofficial dialogues. But they do have their impact. When governments have failed, others may initiate a process of conciliation. However, I was surprised to find the government-controlled Doordarshan run a series of discussions during the three days of the dialogue on Indo-Pakistan relations to prove that nothing was possible and that the relationship between the two countries was intractable. If this is the accepted stand of New Delhi, it is unfortunate to say the least.
All of us the dialogue foresaw the subcontinent as a common economic unit on the line of European Economic community. I do not think that even fundamentalists in your country believe in geographical unity. Therefore, the Pakistanis’ fear that India has not accepted partition is not justified. However, many of us believe that one day the high walls that fear and distrust have raised on the borders will crumble and the people of the subcontinent, without giving up their separate identities, will work together for the common good.
This would usher in an era fruitful beyond their dreams. The present trade amounting to Rs. 80 crore will expand to thousands of crores, benefiting both sides. The economic prosperity can make the people forget their religious differences and set them to the task of improving their standard of living.
The subcontinent can find its own destiny according to its own genius if left alone and if the peoples are allowed to look within, not without. With time, they may forget their quarrels. As Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, had once said: “Some nations have killed millions of each other’s and yet an enemy of today is a friend of tomorrow, that is history.”
INDIA: Gaining Ground
But in spite of the government’s effective new “cordon-and-search” tactics,
peace in Kashmir is a more distant prospect than ever
By: Edward W. Desmond, Srinagar
TIME November 4 1991
The narrow alleys and weathered houses in the old neighboured of Rainwari used to be considered off limits for members of the Indian security forces. There, Kashmiri guerillas moved openly with their weapons, setting up offices in the houses of Kashmiri Hindus who had fled the uncertainty and turmoil of the city. It was an ideal haven: on one side was a canal crossed only by two footbridges; on the other, a maze of creeks and small, forested islands.
In late August, the Indian army stormed over the bridges of Rainwari in a quick operation that met little resistance. Local inhabitants had asked the guerrillas not to fight and risk heavy civilian causalities, so they escaped into the waterways. Such “cordon-and-search” operations, as the army calls them, are not uncommon in Srinagar. However, the moment the army pulls out, the rebels invariably return, unhindered by the passive local police force. But this time in Ramazan, the Indian government put measures in place to ensure that after the army left, the rebels would not return.
A battalion of the Border Security Force, a paramilitary outfit, took over the same houses where the rebels had been holed up, then built sandbag bunkers at major crossing points. The BSF troopers stand guard over all but the smallest alleyways, stopping any unrecognized passerby and searching all bundles that look suspicious. Says the BSF commander in Rainwari, Colonel Shivajee Singh: “The time we have not only cleared an area, we are denying them re-entry”. So far, the government troops have kept the Kashmiri militants at bay, and they have even tried winning hearts and minds by opening a medical clinic in the neighbourhood. Colonel Singh maintains that the people of Rainwari are happy with the strict discipline of the new regime. And indeed many are somewhat relieved to have some peace. But a visitor walking through the streets constantly hears subversive whispers. “See how they oppress us; at every turn we must explain our business, “says an oldman quietly. “We are all militants here,” adds another.
The Kashmiris are far from subdued, but Rainwari nonetheless a small victory for the government. When the Kashmiri rebellion exploded in early 1990, the security forces were disorganized and lacked intelligence on the guerilla groups that sprang up, many of them with covert military assistance from Pakistan. Now the army, along with the B.S.F. and Central Reserve police Force, has established a balance of terror with the rebels. Government intelligence has improved dramatically aided by tactics ranging from paying informers to the widespread use of torture in interrogations. As a result, many key rebel leaders have been captured or killed, and large arms caches have been uncovered.
At the same time, intensive army patrolling on the border with Pakistan, where the rebels train and organize, has made infiltration a high-risk venture for the rebels. According to the government, 227 militants have been killed and an additional 300 captured on the border this year, Says Girish Saxena, the governor of Jammu and Kashmir state: “The situation is still serious, but we are finally denying them the freedom of movement that they have had in the past.”
The rebels, however, did not stand still while the government mustered its forces. Amateurs who two years ago rarely did more than snipe at police and run away, the guerrillas now stand and fight in engagements that last for hours.” Though the government has bagged many Kashmiris on the border, hundreds of others have made the trip, bringing with them more weapons, better training and some deadly allies, namely a small number of Afghan nationals who have fought with the mujahedin during the civil war in their own country. The guerrillas are also adjusting to the government’s improved intelligence by tightening their own security. Dozens of suspected informers have been murdered and weapons caches are smaller and more dispersed than in the past. Says Brigadier Nasib Katoch, who commanded an army search in the Ali Kadal section of Srinagar this month: “We only find a couple of weapons at a time now. If we break a man in interrogation, he usually only knows about one small cache.”
Constant cordon-and-search-operations in Srinagar have driven some of the groups, into the countryside, where they face less pressure. And the biggest groups, notably Hizb-ul-Mujahedin, have set up training camps in the remote areas of the valley. The most striking change, however, is that the rebels’ expectation—especially among the pro-Pakistan Islamic groups—no longer huge on the unrealistic hope that international pressure will force the Indian government to give up Kashmir. Says Sajjad Ahmed, a military chief of Harakat-ul-Mujahedin and Kashmiri who fought for four years with the Afghan mujahedin: “This is Jihad. Sometimes they will have the upper hand, and sometimes we will. But a true Muslim must join Jihad, even if he will suffer.”
Though the rebels’ principal tactic is…to ambush security forces, several groups in recent months have also restored to kidnappings in efforts to free hundreds of captured militants. In the past, the Indian government has capitulated in at least victims were politically important. In August it released nine rebels in exchange for K. Doriaswamy, executive director of the Indian Oil Corp., who was taken hostage by Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen. That victory encouraged other underground groups. Last week the army succeeded in rescuing two of the hostages. Omkar Nath and Khemlata Wakhloo, a prominent Hindu couple from Srinagar, who had been held for 44 days. Others remain in captivity. Currently, there are seven known hostages who are being held by four rebel groups.
Some hostages have also been killed. Three weeks ago, Hizb-ul-Mujahedin announced that it had hanged three captured Indian soldiers and one BSF trooper. Though some insurgent groups disapprove of the kidnappings on the grounds that they are not Islamic, Hizb-ul-Mujahedin military leader Ahsun Dar is unapologetic. Says he: “We are justified. We gave them a list of 10 men we wanted released, and they refused. So we hanged the hostages.”
As the government and the rebels clash in more prolonged encounters around the valley, Kashmiri bystanders pay a steadily rising price. Day life is bursting with tension in all the major towns, where gun battles break out regularly, and civilians are the most common victims. At major road crossings, police stop buses and force passengers to walk past police jeeps containing masked informers—“cats,” as the police call them, who pick out alleged militants from among them. Innocents get snatched on occasion, especially by the Central Reserve police, who use their nearly limitless powers simply to detain young men and ransom them back to their parents or friends—typically for about $800. Even known militants can sometimes buy their way out of custody. The Muslim Janbaz Force paid $5,600 to a Central Reserve police officer late last year for the release of one of their commanders code name Muzamil Khan.
Without warning, the soldiers will suddenly appear in a neighbourhood seal off the streets with sandbagged machine gun nests, call people out of their houses and force them to sit for hours in open areas while their homes are searched for weapons. During one four-day operation in Ali Kadal, Brigaidier Katoch tried to put a humane cast on the mass detention, taking the trouble to bring in an army medical team to address health problems among area residents. But such gestures seldom have meaning for those caught in the web of suspicion.
A few kilometers away from Ali Kadal, while the search was going on, Mirza Muzzafar Ahmad Shah, a young school teacher, lay in a hospital bed, writhing in agony. Picked up in another army cordon-and-search operation, he had just had surgery to stanch internal bleeding caused by a stick army interrogators that rammed up his rectum. Almost daily, Srinagar’s hospitals receive torture victims whose typical injuries include severe bruises, broken bones and burns from electric shocks or irons. An unknown number have died in custody; the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, a local Kashmiri lawyers group, claims to have document admits that “eight or nine cases are under investigation.”
Though the Kashmiris remain as defiant as ever, some ambivalence is creeping into their attitude toward the resistance. Extortion by rebels has become widespread, and Kashmiris are increasingly bitter about the demands for food and money from young gunmen claiming to fight for one of the more than 100 groups operating in the valley.
In the towns, especially among the middle class, many are also disillusioned by the decline of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, a secular, pro-independence group, and by the rise of Pakistani-backed Islamic outfits favouring union with Pakistan. Says a Kashmiri government official close to the Front: “The J.K.I.F. started this movement, and now the Pakistanis have hijacked it to settle scores with India.” Yet despite the rumored promises of Islamabad’s agents, Pakistan is unlikely to intervene directly. Nor is New Delhi showing signs of weakness. Still, few Kashmiris think there is any turning back, and most seem to be coming to the unsettling realization that the war will not end anytime soon. The government says Governor Saxena, “can sustain this level of casualties for decades.” It is no wonder that the common request at the BSF’s Raainwari dispensary is for tranquilizers.
Reference / Source:
THE CLIMAX, November 1991
By: Brig. (Retd.) M. Shafi Khan
Publisher: Kashmir Studies Centre, Lahore