Month: December 2013
By Asif Haroon Raja
It is frustrating to see our gullible leaders going an extra mile to please India, even when it insults them and Pakistan by leveling all sorts of unfounded allegations. Pakistan has been constantly ceding ground by agreeing to various formulas put forward by UN representatives and also granting concessions. India on the other hand has remained inflexible and refused to reciprocate even in a small way. Having run out of excuses, India now sticks to the farce of terrorism, which acts as a shield to cover its crimes in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and to keep Pakistan on the defensive. It has linked terrorism with resumption of talks and keeps referring to Mumbai attacks even though the Indian officials including Indian Home Minister Sushal Schinde and Satish Varma have exposed India’s falsehood. They revealed that the event was stage-managed by the incumbent government to pressurize Pakistan and to defame Kashmir freedom movement. Earlier on, IK Shukla, Hemant Karkare, Swami Aseemanand and others had made startling disclosures that all acts of terror in India between 2001 and 2008 including attack on Indian Parliament and Samjhota Express blasts pinned on Pakistan were in-house affairs committed by Hindu terrorist groups with the connivance of incumbent government and Indian military.
While India unashamedly blames Pakistan for the crimes it commits and continues to spin stories and devise false flag operations to mortify Pakistan, it brazenly wants Pakistan to grant it MFN status and land access to Afghanistan through Wagah without giving equivalent or near-equivalent benefits in reciprocity or addressing the trade imbalance. The US, EU, World Bank and IMF are exerting pressure on Pakistan to expedite extending MFN status to India. No country picks up courage to ask India to stop human rights violations in IOK and to settle the long standing dispute which lies at the heart of Indo-Pakistan antagonism.
India made consistent efforts since 1990 to project freedom movement in Kashmir as terrorism. Laws on terrorism enacted by USA in the aftermath of 9/11 enabled Indian military to make use of its draconian laws in occupied Kashmir freely and to further intensify its vile propaganda for the accomplishment of its goal. Hindu terrorists have infiltrated in most Muslim Kashmiri freedom fighters groups in IOK to breakup freedom movement. These include Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen. They have adopted Muslim names and pretend to be Mujahideen and anti-India but are busy assassinating freedom fighters, Kashmiri notables, innocent Kashmiri Muslims and raping their women.
Regrettably, no government in Pakistan from 1988 onwards made any effort to shed away the misperception about Kashmiri freedom movement or to highlight India’s atrocities and unholy designs against Kashmiris. The reason is that successive governments including Gen Musharraf’s regime placed Kashmir issue in low priority and dealt with it as an ordinary bilateral issue rather than a core issue. Musharraf helped India in taking the steam out of Kashmiri resistance movement, while Zardari described Kashmiri freedom fighters as terrorists. Only the religious groups in Pakistan and Islamists have kept the issue alive and condemned illegal occupation of Kashmir by Indian occupying forces.
India has been consistently violating international law and UNSC resolutions to which it is signatory and committed to hold plebiscite under UN supervision. The international community and the UN are equally guilty of turning a blind eye to India’s defiance. No concern has been expressed from any quarter over ruthless killings of over 100,000 Kashmiris by Indian forces and unearthing of so many mass graves in IOK. Countless numbers are languishing in secret dens. Rapes, fake encounters, night raids, house searches and abductions are order of the day.
After pinning hopes on Musharraf, India is now expectantly looking towards Nawaz Sharif whom it considers simpleton and easy to deceive. It sees Pak Army and ISI as the only two obstructions in its way to get Kashmir dispute settled on its terms. Indian and American leaders had advised former government to rein in ISI and are now reminding Nawaz that military establishment is not under his control which doesn’t bode well for democracy. No one reminds India that Indian military is the chief impediment in the way of resolution of disputes and it over rules any move made by political government to settle even less contentious disputes like Siachin.
It is now an established fact that Indian military and Indian military intelligence have got aligned with BJP which is the mother hen of RSS, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and VHP. Their common goal is to establish Hindutva in Bharatmata. BJP’s nominee Narindra Modi for the seat of prime minister in next elections indicates the resurgence of Hindu extremism and rising popularity of BJP in India. Interestingly, large numbers of retired generals, air marshals and admirals in India are getting enrolled in BJP. None have joined Congress. This trend was on full display in recent rally organized by Modi in which notorious Gen VK Singh and others were present. Main plank of BJP’s electioneering campaign rests on Pakistan bashing.
If Nawaz thinks that appeasement will help in winning over India and in settling disputes, he is living in fool’s paradise. The US and India are strategic partners and are on one page. This reality has again been proven after the two countries agreed to prevent financing to LeT and affiliated Jamaat-ud Dawa allegedly involved in Mumbai attacks in 2008. The former is IOK focused and the latter is purely a charity outfit engaged in education and welfare projects and its leader Hafiz Seed given a clean chit by Pakistani courts. LeT has never struck US-western target or any target in India, and yet the US on the advice of India brands it as a terrorist and most dangerous outfit. As regards Kashmir, the US will not act as an honest mediator to resolve the issue. Rather than pressing India it would continue to push Pakistan to settle the dispute on Indian terms. Its stance will always be pro-India and anti-Pakistan on any issue where interests of the two neighbors collide.
Undoubtedly Pakistan is the biggest victim of terrorism and RAW’s involvement in FATA, Balochistan and Karachi is without an iota of doubt. India has twice been furnished heaps of proofs of RAW’s involvement in Balochistan. Relief work in earthquake affected Awaran District is being hampered by BLF at the behest of RAW. Maulana Fazlullah’s led militant group based in Kunar and Nuristan involved in cross border terrorism against Pakistan is aided by RAW. Several terrorist groups in North Waziristan are on the payroll of RAW. Indian origin weapons were recently found in MQM’s unit office in Karachi. Indian weaponry in huge quantity was located during Swat and South Waziristan operations in 2009.
No country involved in counter-terrorism has suffered as much as Pakistan. ISAF’s casualties in Afghanistan are little over 3000, while India which cries the most, its fatalities are in few hundreds. Indian casualties are the result of home-grown Hindu terrorists. Pakistan has lost well over 40,000 since 2002. CIA, RAAM, MI-6 and Mosad intelligence agencies have been consistently aiding RAW for the attainment of their common objectives of destabilizing, de-Islamizing, denuclearizing and further truncating Pakistan. Afghan Territory is being extensively used for the covert war.
ISI has concrete proofs of involvement of foreign agencies in all our troubled regions. The US and India on the other hand have no proofs of Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism in Kashmir, Afghanistan and India. Allegations leveled are on mere assumptions and suspicions. And yet Pakistan is blamed and India not even questioned because the Indo-US joint agenda is Pakistan focused. Pakistan has no place in the US carved New World Order, but our tunnel-vision leaders keep day-dreaming that their self-defeating policy of appeasement would impress Washington and might agree to give a small berth to Pakistan in its security paradigm.
The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst. firstname.lastname@example.org
The virtual evaporation of the dividends of an intricately built peace process in Kashmir with a small yet emotionally-laden skirmish on the Line of Control (LoC), following a well kept nine-year long ceasefire, has prominently endorsed the commanding importance of Kashmir as the issue that needs to be resolved if India and Pakistan have to move forward in forging a mutually beneficial future. The border clash amply exhibited how a carefully crafted Indo-Pak détente can give way to extreme acrimony and sabre-rattling coming with the suddenness of a bolt out of the blue.
The shots in anger across the LoC were fired after a lapse of over nine years of ceasefire. It was in November 2003 that the guns fell silent in Kashmir as India and Pakistan started looking for a way forward from the political and military impasse that had descended on the region, following the rollback of Operation Parakram in October 2002. The Indians had initiated the largest ever mobilisation of forces onto Pakistan’s border in the wake of the attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001.
During heightened tensions, the hawkish elements made it obvious that India wanted to exercise its hypotheses of limited aggression in Pakistan, including Kashmir, by launching treatises of hot pursuit. The Indian aggression was only deterred when Pakistan made it obvious that any bid for adventure would bring into consideration the nuclear dimension as a last resort for protecting its national integrity. The dangerous standoff aptly underscored the importance of the resolution of Kashmir issue, if South Asia was to know lasting peace.
The stalemate ushered in endeavours for normalisation, which culminated into the Indo-Pak Summit in Islamabad in January 2004. It saw launching of the composite dialogue process; manifestly built around the core issue of Kashmir. The underlying idea was that Kashmir being such an emotive issue, it was in the fitness of things to prepare ground for ultimate cutting the Gordian Knot.
The emphasis was to be laid on initiating Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) by resolving less contentious issues first to build up momentum and prepare political environments for reaching a realistic and enduring solution of Kashmir. The track record of this process has amply demonstrated that despite best and determined efforts of Pakistani interlocutors, we are no closer to even discussing the peripheral questions towards resolving the Kashmir issue.
The much trumpeted pursuit of CBMs has yielded little, if nothing, and the few crossing points on the LoC, which keep opening and closing with many hiccups, have hardly borne any fruits in harmonising people-to-people contact in Kashmir. The whole exercise has only manifested India’s reluctance to discuss the Kashmir issue with Pakistan. Indeed, the border incident has shown that Kashmir still maintains the dominating position in deciding the fate of Indo-Pak relations.
The Indians may think that stonewalling on Kashmir is only cementing their hold on the wailing vale, but, in effect, strong undercurrents are generating new trends and ripples that are hard to ignore. The all-pervasive Indian tyranny in Kashmir has unleashed the collective resistance of the people, who have begun to understand the power and potential of non-violent struggle, and undertaking efforts for exposing the Indian brutality to the outside world.
During 2008, a benchmark was reached when the efforts of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), through its own investigations resulted into the discovery of 1,000 graves that are believed to contain bodies of the victims of fake encounters, enforced disappearances, torture and other abuses whom the Indian security forces had killed and then dumped.
The findings have been compiled by APDP in a report, “Facts Under Ground”, which lists the grave sites of at least 940 people discovered in 18 villages of Uri District. The Indian army claimed that those buried were “foreign militants” killed during military encounters. But the report presents testimonies of locals, asserting that the buried men were residents belonging to the India Held Kashmir (IHK). The demonstrations launched by APDP attracted global attention to Indian atrocities in Kashmir. In July 2008, the European Parliament during its plenary session in Strasbourg, France, adopted a protest resolution concerning the existence of mass graves in Kashmir and called upon the Indian government to “urgently ensure independent and impartial investigations into all sites of mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir; and as immediate first step to secure the grave sites in order to preserve the evidence.”
The September Eleven incident has erased the line separating the freedom fighter from a terrorist and this has provided India with a handle to portray alienation of Kashmiris with Indian occupation as a foreign sponsored movement employing terror tactics. This has also enabled India to get away with the grave human rights violations it is perpetrating in the disputed valley.
In addition, one has to take into account that in the course of armed resistance spread over two decades, the Kashmir landscape has been thoroughly bruised and traumatised. The evolving non-violent mass resistance movement in Kashmir is in step with the global dynamics and reflects their impact in shaping local ground realities.
The developments in Kashmir augurs well, but still Kashmiris need our earnest support in highlighting India’s atrocities that are the bitter staple of life under its occupation. The Kashmiri armed resistance was being waged by around 1,500 freedom fighters, operating in IHK at the peak of insurgency. But to neutralise this modest number of freedom fighters, the Indians have physically deployed 700,000 troops, who occupy every nook and corner of cities and hamlets and crisscross the forests turning the landscape into a virtual jail. Around 100,000 Kashmiris have lost their lives during the 20 years of conflict and 8,000-10,000 people have simply vanished after arrest by the security forces.
The Indian armed forces employ infamous Special Operations Group, an officially patronised band of local collaborators, to perform the dirty job of extrajudicial executions. The culture of fake encounters thrives whereby innocent locals are killed and dumped in nameless graves as Pakistani militants and cross-border terrorists to enable their killers to claim gallantry awards and promotions.
The Kashmiri armed struggle by a small number of freedom fighters has played a major role in keeping alive the hopes of throwing away the Indian yoke for over two decades. Their struggle has been rewarded in a way that while they were few in number in challenging the might of the Indian state now the entire Kashmir stands awakened.
The Kashmiris are losing the fear of Indian bayonet and embracing the power of mass non-violent resistance to assert their will. They have also managed to keep alight the flame of armed resistance in face of tremendous odds. On the ‘Solidarity Day’ this year, we eloquently endorse these endeavours and recommit ourselves to supporting the valiant struggle with a renewed vigour and with all means at our command.
The writer is a freelance columnist
In occupied Kashmir, the Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Muhammad Yasin Malik, has called upon Pakistan and India to address the Kashmir dispute on priority basis.
According to media sources, Muhammad Yasin Malik addressing a seminar in Srinagar said that the unresolved Kashmir dispute was taking a heavy toll on the people of Kashmir. “Due to the conflict, 95% people in Kashmir are suffering from depression. The lingering dispute has been transferred to our fourth generation, and if left unresolved it will also affect our future generations,” he said.
The JKLF Chairman maintained that he was not against the dialogue process aimed at resolution of the Kashmir dispute. “No individual or nation is against dialogue as all issues in the world have been ultimately resolved through talks. Ironically, since 1947 nothing concrete has come out of the dialogue process on Kashmir issue,” he stated.
Muhammad Yasin Malik said that India and Pakistan were legally and morally bound to accept the Kashmiris as primary party to the dispute. He said that the two countries could not neglect Kashmir or Kashmiris in the dialogue and the Kashmiris wanted to be part of resolution process.
Senior Advocate, Zafar Ahmad Shah, who presided over the seminar, underscored the need for formulation a strategy to make Kashmir core issue between Pakistan and India and seek Kashmiris’ inclusion as prime party.
President of High Court Bar Association, Mian Abdul Qayoom, said that Kashmir dispute must be resolved according to the UN resolutions. The HCBA General Secretary, advocate Muhammad Ashraf Butt, castigated the pro-India parties for hindering the resolution of Kashmir according to aspirations of Kashmiris.
The speakers underscored the need for forging greater unity in the ranks of pro-freedom camp for taking the ongoing movement to its logical conclusion more effectively. They also eulogize the services of Dr Abdul Ahad Wani for the Kashmir cause. Among other who addressed the seminar included Dr Javid Iqbal, Zahir-ud-Din, Abdul Majid Zargar, Aijaz-ul-Haque, Riyaz Masroor, Nazir Ahmad Ronga, Bashir Ahmad Butt, Zahid Ali, Professor Rehman Rahi, Ghulam Rasool Hami, Ghulam Ali Gulzar and Noordin Pandit.
The seminar was participated by people from different walks of life including religious scholars, lawyers, civil society members and traders. On the occasion, four resolutions were passed that sought involvement of the Kashmiri pro-freedom leadership in the dialogue process between Pakistan and India for settling the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations and the universal principle of self-determination.
The Executive Director of Kashmiri American Council (KAC), Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, has called for inclusion of the genuine Kashmiri leadership in the dialogue process between Pakistan and India for resolving the Kashmir dispute.
According to media sources, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai was addressing a reception organized in his honor by Sardar Sawar Khan, former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir, at a hotel in Brooklyn, New York. The reception was jointly sponsored by Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference, Pakistan Peoples Party Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Jamaat-e-Islami Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation League and Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Fai said, although there are three parties concerned with the Kashmir dispute – India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir- but the principal party is the people of Kashmir, because it is ultimately their future that is at stake. He appreciated the talks between the Pakistan Prime Minister, Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, that took place in September in New York, this year. He, however, reminded the audience that the history of past sixty-six years testifies to the fact that the bilateral talks between the two countries had been always fruitless. In fact any attempt to strike a deal between any two parties without the association of the third party, will fail to yield a credible settlement, he added.
Dr Fai said that the period of incarceration provided him an opportunity for introspection. “It was also an opportunity to reflect and to learn from the past and re-focus on the future. This process of self-examination undoubtedly strengthened my inner self and beliefs. It also opened the doors of understanding and growth,” he said.
Others who spoke on the occasion included Sardar Sawar Khan, Sardar Haleem Khan, Sardar Sarwar Choudhary, Khalid Awan and Sardar Mohammad Taj.
In occupied Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement, a constituent of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference, has demanded a probe by an international agency into the unnamed mass graves discovered in the Jammu region.
According to media sources, the JKPM held a discussion on “Disappeared persons, unmarked graves – who is responsible” in Jammu. Addressing on the occasion, senior Vice Chairman of the party, Mir Shahid Saleem, said that thousands of graves had been discovered in the Jammu region and the Human Rights Commission of the territory had acknowledged the presence of these graves. He castigated the statement of the Director General of Police, Ashok Prasad, in which he had stated that there was not unnamed mass grave in occupied Kashmir.
Mir Shahid Saleem said that the Human Rights Commission had accepted that there were more than 2,700 unnamed graves in South Kashmir only and the police department of the territory in its report had vindicated the same. He also said that in 2012 a team from Argentine had conducted a secret probe into unmarked graves in the territory. He deplored that India was not paying heed to the demands of world human rights organizations to carry out investigations into these graves.
The JKPM leader said that the identity of the people buries in these cavities would remain a mystery until an impartial probe was conducted into the matter by some international agency.
Noted jurist, Syed Jameel Ahmed Kazmi, in his address said that numerous incidents of human rights violations by Indian troops had occurred in the Jammu region during the last twenty-four years. He said that India would never succeed to suppress the Kashmiris’ liberation struggle and it would have to accept Jammu and Kashmir as a dispute sooner or later.
Others who spoke on the occasion included Muhammad Sharif Khanday, Muhammad Shafi Rafiqui, advocate Shakoor Ahmed Malik, Muhammad Shafi Thokar and Muhammad Sharif Sheikh.
The Indian government has cleared the procurement of around 15 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel at a cost of around Rs 1,200 crore to boost its surveillance capabilities of the army along the borders with Pakistan and China.
According to media sources, Indian media reported that a proposal to procure these Heron UAVs was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, at its recent meeting. The proposal for procuring the UAVs will bolster the Israeli-origin Heron and Searcher fleet of the Indian army which deploys them on both the eastern and western sectors. The army has a fleet of more than 40 such vehicles, which are expected to undergo upgrades in the near future.
The Indian Air Force flies the Israeli-made Searcher II and Heron UAVs for surveillance purposes and about 100 Searchers are in operation on Indian borders in western, northern and eastern regions. After the upgrades, the air force would be capable of operating these aircraft from far-off distances and control them through satellite communication system.
The army was the first to induct UAVs in the 90s starting with Searcher Mark I and Searcher Mark II which could operate at an altitude of 15,000 feet and finally the Heron, which can operate at 30,000 feet. Indian Navy has also three operational squadrons of the Israeli UAVs deployed along both the eastern and the western sea boards.
Meanwhile, India has started equipping the newly raised specialised mountain strike corps aimed at countering China. A set of six specialised aircraft aiding operations in mountains have been ordered from the US while the case of acquiring specialized attack helicopters and heavy lift copters have moved ahead in the Ministry of Defence.
Orders have also been issued to draw troops from existing units to raise the corps and replenish the original regiments with new recruits over the next few years. The 17 Strike Corps will be based at Panagarh in West Bengal. It will have two divisions, one located near Panagarh in West Bengal and the other in the foothills of Himlayas at Pathankot in Punjab.
As a first step, New Delhi has ordered six more C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft from the US under a $1.1 billion (around Rs 6,000 crore) deal.
These will be delivered within three years and will be based at Panagarh.
A condolence meeting was held at the office of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference Azad Jammu and Kashmir (APHC-AJK) chapter in Islamabad, today, to condole the death of Ghulam Rasool Mir, the uncle of APHC leader, Javed Ahmed Mir. Ghulam Rasool Mir had passed away in Srinagar recently.
According to media sources, the meeting chaired by the APHC-AJK Convener, Syed Yousuf Naseem, prayed Allah Almighty to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and give courage to the bereaved family to bear this loss with patience.
Participants of the meeting also offered fateha for the AJK Minister, Sardar Akhtar Hussain Rabbani, who passed away in Rawalpindi on December 25.
The meeting was attended by Mehmood Ahmed Saghar, Muhammad Farooq Rehmani, Syed Faiz Naqashbandi, Shiekh Muhammad Yaqoob, Nisar Mirza, Hassan Al-Bana, Abdul Majeed Malik, Altaf Hussain Wani, Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Khadim Hussain, Tufail Altaf Butt, Daood Khan Yousufzai, Abdul Hameed Lone, Abdullah Gilani, Sheikh Abdul Mateen, Nazir Ahmed Karnai, Ishtiyaq Hameed, Abdul Majeed Mir and Muhammad Shafi Dar.
At the end of the meeting, glowing tributes were paid to the Kashmiri martyrs and special prayers were offered for them.