Intro: Separatists and Kashmiri media, which protested and debated on issues like Gaza and AFSPA for weeks, did not bother to state a word of caution against imposing order of Pakistan for Military Court in Gilgit-Baltistan of PoJK.
The world was jolted in the morning of December 16 of the year just passed, when Tehrik-i-Taliban attacked an Army Public School in Peshawar city of Pakistan. Pakistan was reaping on that it had sowed for years. Coming days have seen lifting of moratorium on executions of terrorists, hanging of many terrorists and targeted killing of Tehrik-i-Taliban terrorists. 21st constitutional amendment as well as amendment in the Army Act was passed, haphazardly, just to facilitate setting up Military courts and their speedy trials across Pakistan. Whether all this amending exercise has ended up strengthening grip of Army over already fading democracy of Pakistan can be analysed separately, but the announcement of setting up these Military courts in Pakistan occupied Jammu-Kashmir (PoJK) which includes the parts of Ghulam Kashmir and regions of Gilgit-Baltistan is something which concerns India directly.
Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of Jammu and Kashmir which had acceded to India in 1947 through the same set of laws which carved Pakistan out of Bharat. Pakistani Army and tribal raider seized it illegally in 1947 and till today, after clear cut directive from United Nations to withdraw its Army unconditionally; Pakistan is maintaining Army garrisons in the Indian region of Gilgit-Baltistan. Different terrorist groups set up their camps in the region according to Pakistan Army’s hazardous plans at different times.
Legally Gilgit-Baltistan is an integral Part of India (PoJK is only dispute left between India and Pakistan) and even Supreme Court of Pakistan has refused to consider it as a Pakistani territory. With no constitutional framework in place judicial matters here are guided by political motives.
Like many other ill-intended laws, the Military courts in Gilgit-Baltistan have been established through an executive order. Setting up military court in the region, where Army is already arrant for its tyrannies over local people is considered dangerous. Locals know clearly that these courts in Gilgit-Baltistan are designated to suppress political expression and to target political workers and activists working for betterment of locals.
This episode of Military Court in PoJK has unmasked so called tenants of Kashmiriyat openly; the separatists, Kashmir centric political parties and Kashmiri media. Kashmiri media is different from mainstream media of Jammu and Kashmir. It can be spotted easily by its pro-Pakistani and pro-separatist views. What can be the reason behind the blackout of this news from people of Kashmir? Probably it did not find sophistry for this step of Pakistan or cannot voice against Pakistani Army!
At the same time when Pakistan was imposing order for Military Court in PoJK, the separatists of the Valley were fearlessly busy throwing stones and crude bombs at Indian security forces in Srinagar, making Charlie Hebdo incident as excuse this time. But none of the separatist leaders raised his voice against this step of Pakistan which is meant to suppress the voice of Kashmiris of other side, making it clear that the separatists are pawns of Pakistan who come into actions after getting signals from it. The silence of the separatists on this issue clearly exposed them to their core.
Surprisingly, mainstream Indian media, which debated on issues like Gaza and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) for weeks in lengthy columns, did not bother to state a word of caution against this step of Pakistan. Kashmir centric political parties, which misguide people of the Valley on AFSPA and issue advisories to Central Government on the relationship and talks with Pakistan, did not issue a warning to Pakistan over its misadventure of setting up military tribunals in PoJK. All double speaks are left exposed clearly and openly.
Arvind ( The writer is a researcher at J&K Study Centre, New Delhi)