Musharraf’s Kashmir card: If Pak drags Kashmir to the UN – India should happily accompany with Balochistan

Posted on August 13, 2008. Filed under: India, Kashmir, Muslims, Pakistan, Politics |

Kashmiri Muslims in the valley have defied curfew and come out on the streets in large numbers during the funeral processions to bury their dead. Business interests, building and infra-structure contractors panicking at the possibility of land-transfer to “outsiders” who may not award contracts to them, might have been behind the Kashmiri agitation to begin with. They might also have been behind the renewal of agitation in Kashmir to counter any effect the agitation in Jammu may have on the Indian government. That the business interests are hobnobbing with the Hurryat should come as no surprise and should be expected. Gujarati Hindu, Jaina traders and merchant-princes in the 13th century appear to have tolerated and actively collaborated in the spread of Islam possibly simply because of their greed in maintaining the trade across the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean then increasingly going under the control of the Islamic forces dominating the middle East. The traders and business interests of Kashmir now probably encouraging the Kashmiri “Islamic” agitation, are simply out to give the Indian government a message and quoting a price. Total control over parts of territories in India cannot be given up to any particular sub-population, so that they can use it to bargain indefinitely and without any limits. Separatist slogans raised by some in the crowds are from opportunistic isolated minor cells of pro-Pakistan political extremists. Notwithstanding this, sentiments can be used to make this a more general slogan – as “freedom” for Kashmir simply means incorporation of entire Kashmir into Pakistan, and incorporation of areas whose non-Muslims might be as against joining Pakistan as the Muslim leadership might be for joining a “dream” Islamic Ummah. The Indian government needs to talk with the business interests in Muslim Kashmir. Given the proper “price”, the main sustaining economic interest behind the slogan of separatism will sell itself, and only the ideologues will remain die-hard against Hindus and India. These are people who have to be tackled with an intensive public discourse on the past and real history of Islamic “outsiders” who came and “imposed” themselves on Kashmir.

Musharraf is playing his Kashmir card. He is posing as the unifier of Pakistan, and a single icon of focus for political stability. Musharraf in talking about Kashmir, is actually hinting at how much he and the whole Pakistani elite is involved in the agitations that plague Kashmir. The Islamic theologians and ideologues interest in the “spread” of Islam, Pakistan’s semi-feudal elite which produced all the bickering leaders – Musharraf, Zardari and Nawaz – eager to turn the attention of the deprived masses away from their consistent internal failures as well as hoping to get more land (the Kashmiris if ever in Pakistani hands will realize what “land grabbing” by “outsiders” really means – similarly Pakistanis will learn how such “land grabbing” can develop vehement Islam defying regionalisms as in Bangladesh), and the deliberately kept ignorant of all modern scientific rational thinking common Pakistani – for all of these three prime currents of Pakistani society – Kashmir is the sole national project and the sole reason for national existence. Kashmir is the ultimate Eldorado or Xanadu, the fabulously attractive prize in the hands of the foreign “devil” (the best devil that can be around, the Jews for Edwardian England or for many other medieval European Christians, the “black faced Hindoo” for the Islamic chroniclers justifying and gloating in their claims of slaughter, and enslavement campaigns initiated by their invading patrons – or friendly peaceful visitors on annual holiday in India with holiday security perhaps according to the Thaparite school of Indian history) which when really proved to be the figment of feverish and greedy imagination, will destroy Pakistan as a functioning nation.

Musharraf has a plan. He probably already has assurances from powerful sections of Pakistani society. I have a bad taste in my mouth about the future of Nawaz Sharif. He is the most emotional of the three and the heartthrob of Pakistans political middle class – neither of the feudal, nor of the “serfs”. His emotional attitude to politics and his lack of political shrewdness can make his future quite uncertain, and probably quite dangerous.

The Pakistan national assembly has passed a resolution condemning India over Kashmir. Pakistan has also expressed its ardent desire to take the issue of Kashmir to the UN – a very old strategy of Pakistan, probably stemming from secret Western promises to back Pakistan up in its demand for Kashmir. At that time, at the end of WWII, the West was getting ready for the Cold War with the USSR, and Islam was seen as a good immunization programme against the Communists. In the 50’s the anti-Communist League was formed with the Muslim “nations” of Asia, under the leadership of the West, chiefly by UK and the USA. There are indications that the ruling elite of UK at that period were quite sore over the loss of the “Jewel in the Crown” – India, and squarely blamed the “Hindu” Congress for this. Both factors could have led the British primarily to back up Pakistan and maybe even arrange for the UN resolution on Kashmir to pass quickly.

Pakistan in its naivete still believes those old equations to persist. Whatever be Pakistan’s belief, if it goes to the UN over Kashmir, India should happily accompany Pakistan to the UN with (1) a list of atrocities commited on Indian soil by Pakistan aided terrorists (2) India should also immediately declare support for the “liberation struggle” of the Balochs and promise to accompany the Pakistanis with the case of Baluchistan to the UN (3) and conclude a military and security cooperation treaty with Afghanistan with the declared intent of “hot pursuit” for militancy exported from across the border with Pakistan – this will “encircle” the current northern hotbed of Taleban, AlQaeda and ISI inspired terrorism based in the Punjab, POK and NWFP.

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