By Farooq Wani
We grew up with the belief that the ‘K’ in Pakistan stands for Kashmir and Pakistan is a selfless provider of moral, material, political and psychological support to the Kashmir cause. After seven decades, the situation in Kashmir is much worse than where we started, with solution nowhere in sight. Should we review our options and carry out introspection for the future of our brethren, children and future generations or do nothing and waste their future in the cauldron of political power games, deceit and vested interests.
So many innocent lives have been lost in Kashmir in last 30 years and so many ‘youth futures’ continue to be led into nothingness. When the British left, they did not ponder so conclusively about the result of their action of dividing India on religion lines.
After 71 years, we are unlucky witnesses to what has been done to this beautiful land. India and Pakistan both have to share responsibility for present state of turmoil and confusion in Kashmir. Also, it is in neither country’s interest to let the violence continue.
Kashmir has been and will remain one of the most beautiful places in the world and its benefits can be cherished by the current generation only if politicians shed their selfish robes and concentrate more on the peace and development.
The country’s boundary doesn’t mean anything to their citizens. If Europeans can achieve unity with different languages and economic levels, so can this oldest civilization.
Pakistan, a failing state, is already struggling for survival. It is facing extremists that want to destabilize the State and are killing innocent people in Pakistan. If things continue like this, the day is not far when Pakistan will further disintegrate into two or more.
Pakistan is today surviving on grants and aids and has virtually lost control over major parts of its own country. Under such a situation, how can we Kashmiris feel assured about Pakistan being our messiah? If they are our saviours, why did they raid and burn our settlements in 1947?
In the name of religion some people in Pakistan have misguided the whole nation using Kashmir as their agenda. The agenda has now widened from misguiding Kashmiris to blackmailing USA in the name of Taliban and turmoil in Afghanistan from Kashmir to the US and the whole Muslim versus the west thing.
As a matter of fact, what we see today in Pakistan is not the reflection of Pakistani people. It is infact the reflection of fundamentalists pursuing their agenda and Pakistan Army trying to perpetuate their control over Pakistani polity, judiciary and the society and chart a road for further of Kashmiri, uninfluenced by Pakistan.
The Kashmir issue cannot be resolved in isolation. Though Pakistan claims it wants unification and independence of Kashmir, what has it done for PaK? While one half of the PaK is directly under the control of Pakistan Army in the name of security, the other half has been altered by settling people from Punjab and Sind as well as the retired Army personnel. Civil liberties are only for publicity and militant camps and militants dominate the area. Is that the environment we want for our children? What is the future of our children without peace, comfort, modern education, science and technology? Will they prosper or live a life much worse than what we have lived?
A serious introspection is required to be undertaken to work out the modalities for achieving what we can call ‘achievable nationhood’.
I think Pakistan has a lot of self inflicted internal issues to resolve than indulge in competing with India. In any case, it cannot ever wrest Kashmir from India. At best one can only aspire to see Kashmir valley as a free and independent nation, isn’t it?
Inshallah, if it becomes independent, then what? First of all Kashmir economy will be so weak that it cannot ever stand up on its feet. Who will ensure its sovereignty? How can it be geared up to protect her from India, China and also of course Pakistan?
The self proclaimed Soldiers of Islam, exported by Pakistan, are creating trouble in Kashmir and consequently making Kashmir the highest militarized area in the world. To combat this, India had to deploy security forces in large members, thereby imposing restrictions imposed on the lives of people due to presence of security forces.
Pakistan’s efforts in the past to project itself as the nation serving the interests of Muslims are a mere rhetoric because their own security forces and ISI backed militant organisations.
India on the other hand is a multi religious and multi cultural society with more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. Indian Muslims are free to pursue their faith irrespective of being Shias or Sunnis, without any threat or pressure. The Indian security forces even have common religious places and their personnel celebrate all religious festivals irrespective of religious following.
So why can’t we, Kashmiris, who have been moderates all through our history, follow our faith and enjoy our life of freedom without Bandhs and strikes, under constant fear of militant strikes.
As we see from the above, over last 70 years, Pakistan has not only polluted the psyche of its own people but also sown the seeds of confusions in our minds. It is neither interested, nor is it in a position to influence the future of Kashmir. It is we Kashmiri’s and separatist leaders who have kept us in a state of flux, showing unrealistic, unrealizable and unwanted dreams. Let us recognise the true face of Pakistan!