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Kashmir problem - Nice article from Jang

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    Kashmir problem - Nice article from Jang

    Kashmir is neither a piece of cake nor a pack of cards!
    Muhammad Ahsan Yatu

    There are no parallels between the 1971 war and Kargil adventure, yet to many
    Pakistanis the intensity of shock from the resulting failure is same. In a highly charged
    and equally polarized society, the government may escape public wrath but people in
    general are nervous and have lost all the reasons while comprehending the event.
    Universal recognition of 'sanctity' of LoC in Kashmir have opened flood gates of new
    thoughts for reconsideration of the Kashmir problem. Articles are appearing in magazines
    in support of independent Kashmir. Authors are blaming both India Pakistan equally for
    the miseries of Kashmiris.

    Many of us are witness to the similar type of emotional outbursts from Biharis when after
    the debacle of East Pakistan, they wished to go back to India while cursing the very
    existence of Pakistan. Validity of emotional logic is, however, always short lived, hence
    people will very soon come out of this undue shock. What is worrisome is promotion and
    presentation of idea of independent Kashmir at intellectual level. This may be for the
    purpose of diverting the attention of masses from Kargil debacle but the idea in itself
    carried all the requisites for further escalation of prevailing tension in the subcontinent.

    The advocacy of such ideas is not going to help even Kashmiris because they will
    become source of suspicion for India and Pakistan. Post Kargil scenario requires an
    impartial, logical and balanced analysis of the Kashmir problem. Solutions on the basis of
    UN Resolution, plebiscite, independent Kashmir etc. are history now. Ground realities are
    complex and intricate to the extent that even the recent Lahore declaration which was
    re-incarnation of the Simla agreement failed to survive, on the contrary coupled with
    Kargil adventure it has created an environment of distrust which may continue for
    decades to come.

    Factually the issue of Kashmir is more of Kashmir as piece of land and less of Kashmiris
    as its inhabitants. Neither India nor Pakistan is interested in Kashmiris, may they be
    Hindus or Muslims. There is no romance involved. This is reflected in the methods chosen
    to govern the Kashmiris in Azad Kashmir and Indian Held Kashmir. Even Kashmiris
    themselves are involved in a direction-less struggle which unreasonablydepends upon
    targeted killing of fellow Kashmiris on religious basis.

    This has yielded negative results and received condemnation from all over the world.
    Almost entire population of Kashmiri Pandits (originis of Kashmir) have been forced to
    migrate to safer hide outs.

    A look at the map will reveal to any person having basic knowledge of world affairs that
    Kashmir is victim because of its significant geopolitical placing, neighbored by four
    nuclear powers (most poor and most populated as well), Kashmir holds a very important
    strategic position in the world. Add to it the magic of mother nature, lush green valleys,
    roaring rivers, majestic mountains, thousand of sweet water lakes and guess who
    wouldn't like to conquer and possess it. Indians and Pakistanis have already done it.
    They occupied parts of Kashmir by twisting reason, exploiting religious and ethnic
    attachments, and through the might of their armed forces

    Before the Washington declaration both countries had claim over entire Kashmir. Since
    Pakistan agreed to respect the sanctity of LoC and Indians were jubilant over it, the
    existing border have attained "finality". Here we are back at square one because the
    inherent weakness of the LoC will remain alive unless the real party, the people of
    Kashmir recognise and endorse it. Indians are so far bearing a much heavier cost for
    preserving the stability of LoC but in years to come, Pakistan too may face the same
    odds, because of its stagnant economy the internal unrest is likely to spread to Pak-held

    The situation for Pakistan will become uncontrollable due to deficiency of funds. Kashmir
    will then bleed again on this side of LoC. India and Pakistan will keep on facing crisis of
    legitimacy of their claims on respective parts of Kashmir under their control. The
    suffering and miseries of Kashmiris will continue to aggravate. The environment of
    uncertainty, suspicion and distrust will prevail unless people of Kashmir are involved,
    accommodated and made part of arrangements which may be temporary for the time
    being such as sanctity of LoC. Inclusion and participation of Kashmiris will help in
    accelerating the pace of process of reaching at a mutually agreed solution.

    The leadership of the subcontinent should sit, act and apply wisdom in understanding
    the difficulties and constraints of each other. Why can't they perform like their
    counterparts in the west? Why wisdom should prevail in the west and fail to rise in the
    east? The present political leadership, fortunately, is clear on the issue, only a bold step
    forward can transform intellectual clarity into physical reality.

    The dialogue should start soon and on a positive note i.e. all the three parties have
    legitimate claims over parts of Kashmir. While Kashmiris have a bona fide claim on their
    country, the Indians and Pakistanis have attained it through historical process and by
    enjoying the support of those sections of Kashmiri people who are culturally closer to
    them and who have stood with them through all wars and during peace.

    To ascertain the validity of these claims and looking into probability of various solution
    and impossibility of entire Kashmir joining India or Pakistan or becoming independent it
    will be worthwhile to travel back through the corridors of history.

    The state of Jammu & Kashmir including northern areas covers almost 85000 sq. miles of
    wonder and waste land. Most of it being mountainous, ºrugged and impossible for
    inhabitance. The economy is basically agrarian but the agricultural land available is
    insufficient even to carry half of the population load. During pre-partition era droughts
    were common so were migrations into other Indian states. Due to scarcity of natural
    resources and uncertain conditions the working behaviour of Kashmiris has not changed
    on either side of the LoC. Both parts are terribly dependent upon help from Islamabad
    and Delhi.

    At the time of partition of India the four million odd inhabitants of Kashmir belonged to
    various ethnic groups, distinctively different from each other and living in their own well
    defined areas. Ethnic divide included Kashmiris, Punjabis, Baltis, Gilgitis and Ladakhis. The
    religious pattern of population distribution, however, was mixed but this too could be
    marked though with some difficulty into Muslim majority and Hindu majority areas. The
    absence of ethnic and religious homogeneity had its effect on psyche of major
    population groups of Kashmiri speaking origin. Apparently the only binding force between
    the various communities was the autocratic rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. The
    contradictions between the Kashmiri speaking population and other ethnic groups were
    so sharp that it turned a whole lot of Muslim Kashmiri politicians into hard core
    nationalists so as to resist any future attempt of dividing Kashmir on ethnic or communal

    The failure of the Cabinet Mission plan due to its rejection by the Congress sealed the
    fate of a united India and paved the way for partition on communal basis. While the
    boundary demarcation plan for British India was evolved through a well thought out
    strategy acceptable to all, the fate of princely states was given in the hands of their
    rulers. This notorious instrument of accession was designed by the Congress and the
    Muslim League with dubious intentions of controlling more states in total disregard of the
    wishes of the people of these states. The Congress had done a lot of paper work before
    agreeing to partition. The Muslim League depended more upon imagination and good luck.
    The Congress had an eye on the Muslim majority state of Kashmir.

    The Muslim League on the other hand thought of many Hindu and Sikh majority states
    joining Pakistan because of some kind of understanding given by the rulers of those
    states. Nothing materialized in favour of the Muslim League. It had to happen that way
    because there was no rationale, neither logic nor military might, behind the imaginative
    course taken by the Muslim League.

    The partition of India awakened the deadly communal virus and the Hindu, Muslim
    identity fever spread in most of the areas of Kashmir. The people of the Muslim
    dominated areas of Poonch, Neelam valley, Mirpur, Gilgit and Baltistan started
    preparation to join Pakistan. The people in Hindu majority belt extending from part
    Poonch-Jammu-Ladakh became ready to migrate to India in case state joined Pakistan.
    The valley, however, was an exception. Although majority of people living in the valley
    were in favour of Pakistan, the leadership of major political parties, having a soft corner
    for independent Kashmir, were reluctant to take sides.

    Meanwhile, a rising democratic force, Kisan Mazdoor Conference, more popular among
    peasants, under the pressing influence of its Hindu members, openly supported Pakistan
    and adopted a resolution in favour of accession of state with Pakistan. The Muslim
    Conference, reluctantly followed suit. (This may be shocking for many Pakistanis and
    Muslim militants that pro-Pakistan movement in Kashmir remained in the hands of Hindu
    politicians namely Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz, Jia Lal Kallam, Keship Bandhu and Jagan Nath
    Sathu for at least two decades due to migration of leadership of the Muslim Conference
    and forced exile of Muslim politicians of Kisan Mazdoor Conference into Pakistan).

    The National Conference went India's way so did the Maharaja. Prime Minister of the
    State, Ram Chandra Kak, was sacked because he too was opposed to accession of state
    with India. Under cover of instrument of accession, India thus attained legitimacy which
    may be technically correct but is still under question due to lack of moral support.

    Pakistan was first to initiate and exploit the instrument of accessionwhen acceptance
    was granted to the request of Nawab of Junagarh foraccession of his state with Pakistan
    on 5th September 1947. It was ablunder because Junagarh was a Hindu majority state.
    This unwanted action of Pakistan virtually gave a moral way out to Maharaja who felt
    relieved and comfortably invited India to take control of the state.India through police
    action captured Junagarh and Pakistan with the support of Kashmiri fighters annexed a
    substantial part of Kashmir.

    The Kashmiris of Neelam Valley, Poonch, Gilgit, Baltistan and Mirpur fully supported the
    Pakistan Army in taking control of their areas. The Pakistani occupation thus gained
    legitimacy through public support and possession.

    The core of Kashmir problem, the valley of Kashmir remained restless from the day first
    since the Indian occupation. India allocated and spent crores of rupees on development,
    introduced basic reforms in all spheres of life and under article 370 of Indian Constitution
    granted special political status to Kashmir to win the support of Kashmiris but failed
    miserably. Kashmir was the first state where land reforms were introduced. I, as a
    consciously aware child, witnessed the first land distribution ceremony held in village
    Akingam. Everyone who mattered in the government was present including Sheikh
    Abdullah along with his cabinet members.

    The land of my maternal grandfather was to be distributed whose son-in-law was in jail
    serving twelve years rigorous imprisonment for his pro-Pakistan activities. There was no
    jubilation among the peasants who became owners of the land on that particular day.
    Later on I learnt it was same everywhere in the valley. Although the reaction of
    peasants was "we don't care" the land reforms were genuine and it helped lacs of people
    in becoming master of the land they tilled through many decades.

    Despite all out positive efforts, Indians never had smooth sailing in the valley of Kashmir.
    Sheikh Abdulla rebelled on the behest of the Americans who were secretly working for
    independent Kashmir in those misty days. The people of valley never accepted the
    Indian imposed rule. Indians may be justified in claiming legitimacy of their rule over
    Poonch, Jammu and Ladakh belt where people are supporting them but they have morally
    as well as technically no legitimacy to keep control over valley.

    Through the briefs from history we can easily conclude that under no circumstances,
    whole of the Kashmir can become part of India or Pakistan or remain independent. The
    Hindu majority areas will prefer to live with India and will never ever accept the rule of
    Pakistan. The Kashmiris of Pakistani controlled Kashmir have felt comfortable with
    Pakistanis and are fully behind them. Pakistan will not and should not support the idea of
    independent Kashmir because after parting with Kashmir under its control, Pakistan will
    become geo-politically and geo-physically another Afghanistan which even Afghanis
    living in Pakistan will resent.

    The core of problem, the restless valley, the politically alive volcano remains unsolved.
    The people out there don't like Indians. Majority does have strong reservations even for
    Pakistanis. Their ancestors have suffered at the hands of tyrant Mughal, Afghan and
    Pathan rulers. All of them were Muslims. They not only plundered the wealth of Kashmiris
    but also tried to destroy the grace and honour in them. They have undergone the worst
    kind of humiliation under foreign Muslim rule. They are well conversant with what has
    happened in Pakistan. They very well know the logic behind the East Pakistan becoming
    Bangladesh. The present conditions are not hidden from them. Hence Pakistan's claim
    over valley will be of no substance.

    Wisdom of leadership of the subcontinent has a test case in solving the problem of
    valley. It will be difficult rather impossible for Indians to part with the valley at this
    stage. India has a Muslim minority population which is larger than the population of
    Pakistan. Indian Muslims have come a long way since partition in establishing credibility
    as patriots within a very large Hindu majority. The situation may again turn against
    them. Pakistanis and Kashmiris being Muslims, should not ignore this human aspect of the
    problem. Even otherwise one billion Indian population poor in wealth and rich in emotions
    will not digest sudden parting of the valley.

    The only possibility remains a time related, perhaps a delayed solution. The Indians
    should reduce their army in Kashmir and declare it a semi autonomous state by amending
    the article 370 and widening its scope to self government. Subsequently, the valley
    should get full autonomy within an agreed time frame.

    I am sure the way Indians are developing economically, they will soon achieve a
    prosperity level, which will enable them to rise above sentiments, and then they
    themselves will facilitate the way for autonomy of valley.

    The insurgency in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir can be explained by political mobilization and institutional decay. In an attempt to woo the Kashmiri Muslims, the Indian government dramatically expanded literacy, mass media, and higher education. Meanwhile, fearing potential secessionist proclivities, it stifled the development of political institutions. Unable to express dissent in an institutional context, the Kashmiris resorted to violence with the help of free weapons and mujahideens from neighboring Pakistan.