Pak’s Obsession With Kashmir
It has become customary with the apologists of Pakistan in India to mislead the nation by spreading falsehood and withholding the truth. They have been saying day-in and day-out that Kashmir didn’t figure at all during the 2013 elections to the Pakistan National Assembly (PNA), as political parties in the hostile country like Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) wanted to cultivate friendly relations with India. Only on October 11, 2014, the so-called strategic affairs expert former Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak sought to mislead the under-attack-Indian-nation by airing similar wrong views during a TV debate on the India-Pakistan-relations. He, inter-alia, said Kashmir didn’t figure in the last elections to the PNA. He and others of his ilk are absolutely wrong when they say that since Pakistan was committed to maintaining good relations with New Delhi, the political parties in Pakistan refrained from raking up the Kashmir issue during the election.
The truth is that political parties in Pakistan had turned so hostile towards India that they had included Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in their respective election manifestos very prominently. The elections were on May 11, 2013 and Mian Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister. One of their major election planks was the issue of J&K. In fact, these election manifestos had highlighted the Kashmir issue as one of the major components of their foreign policy. A common feature in these manifestos was that they had described the part of J&K as a “disputed” territory and the “right to self-determination” as the “inalienable right of Kashmiris” (read Kashmiris as Kashmiri-Sunnis, who do not constitute even 10 per cent of the population of the State of J&K, as it existed on August 15, 1947.)
The people of Pakistan-occupied-Jammu and Kashmir (POJK), including the Shiite Muslim-dominated Gilgit-Baltistan, which has become the hub of anti-India activities being indulged in by both Pakistan and China for decades now to weaken India’s position on the strategic northern frontiers, is a region of non-Kashmiri-speaking people. They are ethnically different from the people who inhabit the very small Kashmir Valley, the epicentre of anti-national activities willfully engineered by the vested interests in the political establishment and outside to promote Pakistan’s communal cause.
The 110-page election manifesto of the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) said: “Special efforts will be made to resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the provisions of the relevant UN resolutions (read August 13, 1948 resolution)… and in consonance with the aspirations of the people of the territory for their inherent right of self-determination”.
The manifesto of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said: “We will pursue the goal of stability and peace-building in the region as a specific policy priority without sacrificing our diplomatic and moral commitment to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir is a core issue for us”.
The election manifesto of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that it, “Identifies the resolution of Kashmir conflict as one of the core national interests” and that “progressive detente can help both the countries if centered on conflict resolution”.
The manifesto of former President General Pervez Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League Party (APMLP), which is insignificant in the political scene, said: “There would be no peace in the region without the resolution of outstanding issues with India, including disputes over Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek… No peace is possible unless the Kashmir dispute is resolved, along with the Siachen and Sir Creek issues”.
The approach of other religio-political formations in the fray, such as Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazal-ul-Rehman), Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and similar outfits towards J&K was no different. All these formations had held out a solemn commitment in their respective manifestos that they will work with single-minded devotion for the resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the “aspirations of Kashmiris”. The JI had gone to the extent of saying that it would not accept anything short of a “plebiscite” in this part of J&K. The most significant aspect of the whole political situation in Pakistan was what the PML-N had said: It had said: “All the political parties of Pakistan have a clear policy on the issue” (of Kashmir). In other words, they were one against India (just as all the Palestinians, without exception, are one against Israel.)
Thus, the political and religio-political parties of Pakistan had made the so-called Kashmir issue the cornerstone of their foreign policy vis-à-vis India. The PPP leader and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had also not lagged behind. Taking an anti-India plunge and openly interfering in our internal affairs, he had threatened on April 17, 2013 that, “Pakistan will continue to highlight the Kashmir ‘cause’ at international forums” and that “the hanging of Afzal Guru through the abuse of judicial process has further aggravated and angered the people of Kashmir.” Zardari, considered being the most corrupt politician in Pakistan, raked up the execution of Afzal Guru in his address to the joint session of the sham Islamabad-controlled POJK Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.
The Congress-dominated hotchpotch UPA Government, which was being adjudged by one and all as the most corrupt government India ever saw after Independence, knew all that was happening in Pakistan as far as J&K State was concerned. It knew that Pakistan and its political and religio-political parties had been openly and brazenly interfering in the internal affairs of India by raking up Kashmir in a big way, but it had not uttered a word against Islamabad. All this should call a bluff of the apologists of Pakistan and separatists and communalists in the Kashmir Valley.
It is a matter of grave concern that we have in our country conflict managers like Kapil Kak who suppress facts and mislead the nation for reasons best known to them. The silver-lining is that the Narendra Modi’s nationalist government is in place in Delhi and it is trying its level best to undo the past wrongs and is leading the nation in right direction.
– Hari Om (The writer is former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Jammu)