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Why Normalcy In Kashmir Irks Some – OpEd

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Violence is universally abhorred since it spreads all around like a wildfire and spares no one. On the other hand, peace is everyone’s dream as it promotes well-being across the board and makes life worth living. Hence, to say that some individuals and groups are irked when normalcy returns to a violence hit region may sound absurd. However, though unfortunate, this is true, and Jammu and Kashmir [J&K] is one such place where this perverse tendency is palpable. 

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Ironically, those who are most upset by return of normalcy in J&K are the same ones who vociferously complain about the sorry state of affairs here and shed copious tears on what they contend is the pathetic plight of violence battered Kashmiris. The main entities who secretly wish and pray that normalcy doesn’t return to Kashmir are Pakistan, political parties of J&K and the terrorist-separatist combine.

Pakistan

Topping the list of those who are visibly upset with the return of normalcy in J&K is Pakistan, and its unnatural behaviour is understandable. Since the late eighties, Pakistan has been investing heavily in fomenting violence in J&K through cross border terrorism-a fact admitted by eminent Pakistanis who were once in high positions of power and authority within the country’s establishment. 

In 2009, the then Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari admitted that “Militants and extremists emerged on the national scene and challenged the state not because the civil bureaucracy was weakened and demoralised, but because they were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve short-term tactical objectives.”

Zardari’s revelation was further endorsed by another former Pakistani President [Ex-army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf] on several occasions. Some of his damning disclosures:

  • In an undated video shared by Pakistani politician Farhatullah Babar, Musharraf can be clearly heard admitting that “Kashmiris who came to Pakistan received hero reception here. We used to train them and support them. We considered them as mujahideen who will fight with the Indian Army, then various terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba rose in this period. They were our heroes.” [Emphasis added]
  • In a 2010 interview given to Der Spiegel, Musharraf revealed that underground armed groups to fight in Kashmir “were indeed formed” and went on to expose Pakistan government’s complicity by adding that “The government [of Pakistan] turned a blind eye because they wanted India to discuss Kashmir.”
  • During a 2017 interview given to Dunya News, Musharraf admitted that his government had “managed freedom fighters [terrorists]” in Kashmir.

In 2008, while addressing a security conference in New Delhi, former National Security Advisor [NSA] of Pakistan Maj Gen Mahmud Ali Durrani who was Pakistan’s National Security Advisor when the Mumbai attacks took place confessed that “I hate to admit that the 26/11 Mumbai attack carried out by a terror group based in Pakistan on November 26, 2008 is a classic trans-border terrorist event.” [Emphasis added]

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By revealing in 2020 that “when you talk about militant groups, we still have about 30,000-40,000-armed people who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghanistan or Kashmir,” [Emphasis added], former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan too has univocally confirmed that Pakistan continues to provide safe sanctuaries to terrorists.

Even leaders of internationally proscribed terrorist groups operating in Kashmir have themselves exposed the Islamabad- Rawalpindi- J&K terrorists’ nexus. Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin who is heading the United Jihad Council [an umbrella organisation created by Pakistan army’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] for coordinating activities of various terrorist groups fighting in J&K] has admitted that “We are fighting Pakistan’s [proxy] war in Kashmir.” [Emphasis added], LeT co-founder and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed confessed before the media that “we help Kashmiris with Pakistan government and Pakistan army and that we call it jihad…” [Emphasis added]

Lastly, by declaring that “Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end,” and that“We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations,” [Emphasis added], Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has made it abundantly clear that Pakistan army will continue supporting terrorism in Kashmir. So, it’s not at all surprising that normalcy in Kashmir is something that Pakistan can never accept.

J&K political parties

J&K was being run as a private fiefdom of the medieval era by the erstwhile state governments. In order to ensure their own relevance and indispensability, these political parties subtly promoted secessionist ideology under the garb of ‘greater autonomy’ and ‘self-rule’. Reacting to the abrogation of Article 370, a former Chief Minister [CM] warned that this decision would have “far-reaching and dangerous consequences.” Another erstwhile CM went a step further by saying that “The day they [people of Kashmir] run out of patience, you [center] will be ruined [so] don’t test our patience,” and went on to make an utterly ridiculous comparison by adding that “Look at what is happening in our neighbourhood [a reference to Afghanistan]-the Taliban forced the powerful US forces to leave the country.”

So, it’s but obvious that return of normalcy in Kashmir would not only embarrass at least two of the main political parties in J&K which have been painting a doomsday scenario, but also end the ‘running with hares and hunting with the hounds’ strategy that these political parties have been skilfully using to make themselves indispensable. Hence, since normalcy in Kashmir would sound the death knell of such opportunism. it is the last thing that some political parties would wish to see!

Separatist-terrorist combine

Seeing the extraordinary financial prosperity and power that’s inexplicably come the way of some senior members of the pro-Pakistan lobby’s ever since Pakistan sponsored terrorism raised its ugly head in J&K, it’s amply clear that unrest continuing in Kashmir serves the vested interests of many. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that terrorism has today become a thriving business in Kashmir, both for those sitting in Pakistan occupied Kashmir [PoK] and orchestrating terrorist activities in the garb of a so called “armed struggle” and the ones in Kashmir Valley fuelling civil unrest in the guise of an open-ended and ill-defined “self-determination” movement.

The exceptional munificence being extended by those across the Line of Control [LoC] who are controlling terrorist commanders and separatist leaders is totally contingent on the ability of the latter two in ensuring that Kashmir remains in a perpetual state of turmoil. As such, if normalcy returns, then it’s obvious that both these categories of people would lose out on the incentives which they are currently receiving, and so, it’s but natural that terrorist and separatist leaders would all they can to keep Kashmir on the boil. 

The irony

Fuelling unrest in Kashmir isn’t a big deal or risky task at all, because by working behind-the-scenes and distancing their own kith and kin from the ‘armed struggle’ and violent ‘self-determination’ agitations, both terrorist and separatist leaders have no fear of any physical harm to themselves or their family members. Similarly, since it’s quite easy to radicalise Kashmiri youth through religious indoctrination and lure them into picking up guns and pelting stones against the establishment, it’s a ‘win-win’ situation for those orchestrating unrest in Kashmir. So, at the end of the day, while gullible Kashmiris who have fallen into the ‘armed struggle’ and ‘self-determination’ trap end up getting killed or injured in encounters with security forces and during violent protests, it’s the terrorist commanders and separatist leaders who’re laughing all the way to the bank.

Nilesh Kunwar

Nilesh Kunwar is a retired Indian Army Officer who has served in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. He is a ‘Kashmir-Watcher,’ and now after retirement is pursuing his favorite hobby of writing for newspapers, journals and think tanks.

One thought on “Why Normalcy In Kashmir Irks Some – OpEd

  • May 17, 2022 at 7:54 am
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    Like some are not happy that the Ukraine war should end early similar is the case that some want violence to continue simmering in the valley to make money or remain in the limelight. Since Pakistan has been investing heavily in fomenting violence in J&K through cross border proxy a war of terrorism are naturally upset with the return of normalcy in J&K. Pakistan media is agog with fake stories.Wish the Indian Govt calls such journalists to J&K so that they see with their own eyes the ground reality and compare the freedom existing there and compare with their country.

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