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Why Pakistan is also opposed to an independent Kashmir?

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Against the general impression gained by the world that Pakistan has been fighting for the cause of Kashmiris, the fact remains Pakistanis are fighting not for Kashmiris but for itself as it wants to annex the parts of Kashmir now under Indian occupation and have been the target of military attacks, fake encounters and genocide spree.

Beyond its open rhetoric India has always maintained that the parts of Jammu Kashmir it annexed soon after its own independence from Great Britain in 1947 as the first ever external operation as a free nation, belong to India and Jammu Kashmir is now an integral part of India. Cutting across their Hindutva intent, both Congress and BJP maintain this “integral” status.

Pakistan also, on its part, annexed a small part of Kashmir and “integrated” into its official territory and after a war with India it got some more parts of Kashmir that it named as Azad Kashmir which is now an integral part of Pakistan.

While India has put a full stop to ay soverign Kashmir, Pakistan also does not think in terms of an independent Kashmir for Kashmiris and it is eager only get Sri Nagar into Pakistani territory for which it is using pro-Pakistani Kashmiris to fight against Indian occupation. And India mercilessly kills Kashmiris for supporting Pakistan and seeking to make Kashmir apart of a destabilized and weak Pakistan.

However, there are Kashmiris both in Azad Kashmir and Jammu Kashmir who seek a soverign Kashmir to live in peace and prosperity, though voices are not allowed to be heard by both India and Pakistan. There so weak that they cannot do anything to achieve their noble cause of establishing a soverign Kashmir.

Had Islamabad worked for an independent Kashmir, most probably Kashmiris would have legally obtained their independent Kashmir by now.

Today, both India and Pakistan are also allies of expansionist fanatic Israel, another colonizer who keeps killing Palestine Muslims, drinking their blood profusely. As a “friend” of Zionist criminal regime, Pakistan cannot be expected to value the worth of freedom and sovereignty and human dignity. Nor can it respect the life of Kashmiri Muslims. Like India, Pakistan and Israel want the enamoring lands and have least concern for freedom and dignity of Kashmiris- the target of Indian colonialist attacks.

Indian Jammu Kashmir and Pakistani Azad Kashmir

At the time of the Partition of India in 1947, the British abandoned their suzerainty over the princely states, which were left with the options of joining India or Pakistan or remaining independent. Hari Singh, the maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, wanted his state to remain independent. In spring 1947, an uprising against the Maharaja broke out in Poonch, an area bordering the Rawalpindi division of West Punjab. Maharaja’s administration is said to have started levying punitive taxes on the peasantry which provoked a local revolt and the administration resorted to brutal suppression. The area’s population rebelled against the Maharaja’s forces and gained control of almost the entire district. The pro-Pakistan chieftains of the western Jammu districts of Muzaffarabad, Poonch and Mirpur proclaimed a provisional Azad Jammu and Kashmir government in Rawalpindi on 3 October 1947.

On 21 October, several thousand Pashtun tribesmen from North-West Frontier Province poured into Jammu and Kashmir to liberate it from the Maharaja’s rule. They were led by experienced military leaders and were equipped with modern arms. The Maharaja’s crumbling forces were unable to withstand the onslaught. The raiders captured the towns of Muzaffarabad and Baramulla, the latter 20 miles (32 km) northwest of the state capital Srinagar. On 24 October, the Maharaja requested military assistance from India, which responded negatively and coerced the king to make JK acceded to India. Accordingly, on 26 October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh signed an Instrument of Accession, handing over control of defence, external affairs and communications to the Government of India in return for military aid. Indian troops, kept ready, were immediately airlifted into Srinagar. Pakistan intervened subsequently. Fighting ensued between the Indian and Pakistani armies, with the two areas of control more or less stabilized around what is now known as the “Line of Control”.

India occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population, consists of three regions: Jammu, the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital, and Jammu is the winter capital. The Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, and Jammu’s numerous shrines attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year. Ladakh, also known as “Little Tibet”, is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture.

Jammu and Kashmir has an international border with China in the north and east, and the Line of Control separates it from the Pakistani territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the west and northwest respectively. The state has special autonomy under Article 370 of the Constitution of India. The Hindutva parties led by BJP question the article and while in opposition they wanted it to be removed. But as the ruling party of India BJP allies understand the need to retina the class and article intact. In fact, article ha so special life for the Kashmiris who get killed by the occupation forces from New Delhi.

Maharaja Hari Singh became the ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1925, and he was the reigning monarch at the conclusion of the British rule in the subcontinent in 1947. With the impending independence of India, the British announced that the British Paramountcy over the princely states would end, and the states were free to choose between the new Dominions of India and Pakistan or to remain independent. It was emphasized that independence was only a `theoretical possibility’ because, during the long rule of the British in India, the states had come to depend on British Indian government for a variety of their needs including their internal and external security.

Jammu and Kashmir had a Muslim majority (77% Muslim by the 1941 census). Following the logic of Partition, it was expected that Kashmir would join Pakistan. However, the predominant political movement (Maharaja Rule) in the Valley of Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir National Conference) was secular, and was allied with the Indian National Congress since the 1930s. So many in India too had wanted Kashmir should join India. The Maharaja was faced with indecision. While the Government of India accepted the accession, it added the proviso that it would be submitted to a “reference to the people” after the state is cleared of the invaders, since “only the people, not the Maharaja, could decide where Kashmiris wanted to live.” It was a provisional accession

Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 lasted till the end of 1948. A ceasefire was agreed on 1 January 1949, supervised by UN observers. At the beginning of 1948, India took the matter to the United Nations Security Council. The Security Council passed a resolution asking Pakistan to withdraw its forces as well as the Pakistani nationals from the territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and India to withdraw the majority of its forces leaving only a sufficient number to maintain law and order, following which a Plebiscite would be held. A ceasefire was agreed on 1 Jan 1949, supervised by UN observers. A special United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) was set up to negotiate the withdrawal arrangements as per the Security Council resolution.

In the end, no withdrawal was ever carried out, India insisting that Pakistan had to withdraw first, and Pakistan contending that there was no guarantee that India would withdraw afterwards. No agreement could be reached between the two countries on the process of demilitarization.

India militarized Kashmir with regular additions of troops and terror goods and local Muslims are under their threats as they have lost sovereignty plus freedom and the right to live in their nation. . India and Pakistan fought two further wars in 1965 and 1971. Following the latter war, the countries reached the Simla Agreement, agreeing on a Line of Control between their respective regions and committing to a peaceful resolution of the dispute through bilateral negotiations.

India well as Pakistan has no plans of withdrawing from Kashmir and in order to maintain their terror hold over Kashmir, they have equipped their respective military capability with deadly nukes obtained without the approval of IAEA and without signing the NPT.USA allows both to enjoy their nuke arsenals. They continue to blame one another, and terrorize the Kashmiris besieged and sandwiched between them.

When it could not “flush out” Pakistani forces from Kashmir, India approached the United Nations, asking it to resolve the dispute, and resolutions were passed in favour of the holding of a plebiscite with regard to Kashmir’s future. However, no such plebiscite has ever been held on either side as both are not sure of support of Kashmiris for their colonization project. Also, there was a precondition which required the withdrawal of the Pakistani Army along with the non-state elements and the subsequent partial withdrawal of the Indian Army from the parts of Kashmir under their respective control – a withdrawal that never took place. In 1949, a formal cease-fire line separating the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir came into effect.

Following the 1949 cease-fire agreement with India, the government of Pakistan divided the northern and western parts of Kashmir that it occupied at the time of cease-fire into the following two separately-controlled political entities: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) – the narrow, southern part, 250 miles (400 km) long, with a width varying from 10 to 40 miles (16 to 64 km).; Gilgit–Baltistan formerly called the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) – the much larger political entity to the north of AJK with an area of 72,496 square kilometres (27,991 sq mi).

At one time under Pakistani control, Kashmir’s Shaksgam tract, a small region along the northeastern border of Gilgit–Baltistan, was provisionally ceded by Pakistan to the People’s Republic of China in 1963 and now forms part of China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Status of Azad Kashmir

India quickly made Jammu Kashmir as a part of its territory. There is a confusion as to why Pakistan ah snot yet annexed the Azad Kashmir and added to its territory. Azad Kashmir is accorded a special status with a president and Prime minister ruling it as a country but with guidance from Islamabad. Like in Jammu Kashmir where India parties like Congress and BJP play important roles in the state, in Azad Kashmir Pakistani political parties play important roles. PDP and Muslim league are the dominant parties and now ML is AK’s ruling party.

Raja Farooq Haider Khan of Pakistan Muslim League-N has been elected as new Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Voting for election of new Leader of the House was held in Muzaffarabad. Raja Farooq Haider Khan secured 38 votes while a joint candidate of Muslim Conference and PTI Ghulam Mohi ud din Dewan and Chaudhry Muhammad Yaseen of Pakistan Peoples’ Party bagged five votes each.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has also felicitated Raja Farooq Haider on being elected as the new Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. In his message, he hoped that the newly elected Prime Minister of AJK will fulfill the expectations of his people.

The territory has a parliamentary form of government with its capital located at Muzaffarabad. The President of Azad Kashmir is the constitutional head of the state, while the prime minister, supported by a Council of Ministers, is the chief executive. The unicameral Azad Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly elects both the prime minister and president. The state has its own Supreme Court and a High Court, while the Government of Pakistan’s Ministry of Kashmir Affairs serves as a link between it and Azad Kashmir’s government. Neither Azad Kashmir nor Gilgit-Baltistan elects members to Pakistan’s National Assembly.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir commonly known as Azad Kashmir, is a self-governing] administrative division of Pakistan. The territory lies west of the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, and was previously part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which ceased to exist as a result of the first Kashmir war fought between India and Pakistan in 1947 upon their own freedoms from UK..

Azad Kashmir is part of the greater Kashmir region, which is the subject of a long-running conflict between India and Pakistan. The territory shares a border with Gilgit–Baltistan, together with which it is referred to by the United Nations and other international organisations as “Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The territory also borders Pakistan’s Punjab province to the south and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to the west. To the east, Azad Kashmir is separated from the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir by the Line of Control, the de facto border between India and Pakistan. Azad Kashmir has a total area of 13,297 square kilometres (5,134 sq mi), with an estimated population of around 4.6 million people.

The 2005 earthquake killed 100,000 people and left another three million people displaced, with widespread devastation. Since then, with help from the Government of Pakistan and foreign donors, reconstruction of infrastructure is underway. Azad Kashmir’s economy largely depends on agriculture, services, tourism, and remittances sent by Pakistanis living abroad. Nearly, 87% of the households own farms in Azad Kashmir, while the region has a literacy rate of approximately 72% and has the highest school enrollment in Pakistan.

Azad Kashmir expresses solidarity with people of Jammu Kashmir

Today, Kashmiris in India occupied Jammu Kashmir are protesting Indian occupational techniques against the Kashmiri Muslims. Indian forces target them and many Kashmiri Muslims have fallen victim to Indian terror tacks.

People of Azad Kashmir now are protesting against Indian brutality in Kashmir valley and ill-treatment of Kashmiri Muslims by occupation forces. .

A large number of people including refugees from Indian-held Kashmir came out on the streets in Muzaffarabad, capital of Azad Kashmir, to stage a rally against Indian violence on people across the Line of Control (LoC), just weeks after the extra-judicial killing of Burhan Wani, a pro-freedom insurgent leader in the occupied zone.

Earlier, when Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) was smack in the middle of general elections, the leaders of most religious and political parties had marched in front of United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to protest the ongoing wave of state-ordered violence in the occupied zone.

All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) AJK chapter leaders and workers have been urging members of civil society and refugees settled in AJK to continue staging street protests.

Pakistani concern over unrest in Kashmir

Kashmir valley has become restless for quite some time now. People of Kashmir are facing serious problem of witnessing Indian force crimes in their neighborhoods. Kashmiris look a upon their freedom fighting leaders but India, in order to continue to kill them, calls them terrorists.

Now Kashmiris are increasingly willing to call themselves the “terrorists” as their husbands, children and other relatives are getting into India military traps and get killed or just disappear without clues.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently expressed concern over the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir during a high-level meeting here called to discuss regional security. In the meeting, Sharif and Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif, were briefed on the situation in Kashmir and Afghanistan. PM Sharif said the “brutal use of force is a blatant Indian violation of fundamental rights of the Kashmiri people which no civilized society permits”. Sharif maintained that the Indian attempts to claim the situation in Kashmir an internal matter were “factually incorrect, legally untenable and a violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions”.

The meeting resolved to approach the UN Human Rights Council to send a fact-finding mission to Kashmir to “investigate the slaughter of innocent civilians and impose a ban on the use of pellet guns for dispersing people”. It called upon the international community to condemn human rights violations by Indian security forces.The meeting condemned “the oppression of the Indian security forces over innocent Kashmiris” protesting against the violence in the region, a Prime Minister’s House statement said.

The only solution to the Kashmir issue was “early implementation of UNSC resolutions — a fair and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices”, Sharif said. The statement said Pakistan “will continue to provide diplomatic, political and moral support” to the people of Kashmir for the realization of their fundamental right to self-determination. The meeting comes a day after India slammed Pakistan over its “deplorable meddling” in the internal affairs of the country and asked it to “vacate its illegal occupation of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir”. Pakistan observed “Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan Day” on July 19, followed by “Black Day” on July 20 over the killing of Hizbul Mujaheedin commander Burhan Wani.

India in a statement strongly condemned the “encouragement and support” which “terrorists and their activities receive from Pakistan’s state”.

At least 50 people have been killed and hundreds injured in Jammu and Kashmir following the July 8 killing of Wani in a gunfight with the security forces.

Indian terror techniques

Fake encounters to target Kashmiri youth, repeated curfews to silence the Kashmiris and to cripple Kashmir economy so that the JK government would run to New Delhi for financial assistance on Indian terms to arrest as many Kashmiri Muslims as it can to somehow reduce the Kashmiri anger, have not eventually worked in India’s favor as Kashmiris continue to fight for sovereignty.

Come what may, India, now supported by USA, does not want to surrender sovereignty back to Kashmiris and in order to silence them in their struggle for sovereignty, India keeps killing them through enacted fake encounters. For India, Kashmiris are terrorists just like Palestinians are terrorists for Israel, while entire Muslim community is a terrorist gang for US led NATO rogue states, terrorizing energy rich Arab nations.

It appears, like India, Pakistan also enjoys its double-speak, mixing half truth with full lie regarding the status of Kashmir now and in future. While Pakistan is an ally of US led NATO terror gang, now controlling Islamabad, India has been trying its best to make an unwilling USA its strategic partner. Now both these nuclear powers causing perpetual tension in South Asia are being remote controlled by Washington.

New Delhi is too happy that USA has moved away from Islamabad and is not working for Indian causes everywhere, as it thus has been promoting the anti-Islamic Zionist criminal regime. On the contrary, Pakistan is worried that it is fast losing service charges from USA and EU.

However, despite their differences and regular military cross firings, meant essentially to terrorize Kashmiris, India and Pakistan have a common agenda – to retain the nuke arms in their respective possessions at any cost. This now explains why they don’t want to resolve the Kashmir issue and grant sovereignty to Kashmiris.

Pakistani PM Sharif said he is dreaming to Kashmir inside Pakistan but he fails to recognize the Pakistanis destabilized and not stable at all and it might even disintegrate as per the CIA plan. India has warned Islamabad to stop day dreaming about Kashmir joining Pakistan now or any time in future. Kashmiris cannot decide to commit a mass suicide by joining a corrupt and weak Pakistan which would not hesitate to sell them to China or America for favors, including financial and military help. Pakistan ahs “gifted” a part of occupied Azad Kashmir to China for economic and military help.

Pakistani mischief on soverign Kashmir?

The general impression gained by the public that Pakistan is fighting for the cause of Kashmiris for a soverign Kashmir apparently looks false. Pakistan has been fighting for Kashmir and not for Kashmiris as it is eager to incorporate into Pakistan both Azad Kashmir which’s under Pakistani control and Jammu Kashmir which is under Indian occupation. But Kashmir I sunder Indian occupation and it refuses to surrender Kashmiris its sovereignty ostensibly to deny India to quickly occupy it and add to its own territory.

Pakistan already has a part of Kashmir in its territory and also administers Azad Kashmir, annexed from Kashmir in a war with India. Pakistan is fighting now for India controlled Kashmir to be eventually made a part of Pakistan and for this purposes, India claims, Pakistan has been misusing Kashmiri Muslims.

It appears, Pakistan has not yet incorporated Azad Kashmir into itself because it wanted to let India think that Pakistan is sincere about a soverign Kashmir and it would add Jammu Kashmir once India releases Kashmir.

Pakistani leaders until recently never openly said it wants to make Kashmir a part of Pakistani territory once India leaves it, but it always, tactfully, maintained that the India should “solve” it without specifying what it meant by ‘solution”. .

Pakistan is trying to make the Kashmir issue more complicated with new ideas. For the first time in recent times, Pakistan has openly reiterated its resolve to annex Kashmir into Pakistani territory. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he would like to see Kashmir a part of Pakistan. “We are waiting for the day when Kashmir becomes a part of Pakistan,” PM Sharif said. Sharif was addressing a public gathering on the occasion of his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s win in the “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” assembly election last week.

In his first public address following an open heart surgery earlier this year, Sharif urged Kashmiris “not to forget those in India held Kashmir who are sacrificing their lives for freedom”. The PML-N is set to form the next government in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, whose official name is “Azad Jammu and Kashmir”.

New Delhi was quick to respond to Pakistan’s statement. India always maintains its stand that Kashmir is an “integral” part of Kashmir. New Delhi had accused Islamabad of arming and training militants fighting to secede Jammu and Kashmir from India. Pakistan said it only provides moral and diplomatic backing to the separatist campaign. In a strong attack on Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his statements on Kashmir, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told him that his dream of the state becoming a part of his country “will not be realized even at the end of eternity”. Taking umbrage at Sharif’s statement that “Kashmir will one day become Pakistan”, she said in a statement that this “delusional though dangerous dream” was the reason for Pakistan’s “unabashed embrace and encouragement to terrorism”. “The whole of Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India. You will never be able to make this heaven on earth a terror hell,” she said. India’s reaction came amidst provocative statements issued on near-daily basis by Pakistan government and Sharif.

Noting that in the last few days, leadership of Pakistan, including its Prime Minister has praised Burhan Wani, a popular but wanted by India terrorist Commander of the banned terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen, as “martyr”, Swaraj wondered did he not know that he was carrying an award of Rs 10 Lakh on his head because he had perpetrated heinous crimes including murder of elected representatives of local bodies and security personnel. “Even more condemnable than these deplorable attempts from across the border to incite violence and glorify terrorists is the fact that these attempts have been undertaken by Pakistan’s state machinery.

Now India does not need terror evidence

India, like USA, always sought “evidence” from Pakistan. Asserting that there is no need for evidence of Pakistan’s complicity in the Kashmir issue as Nawaz Sharif is openly saying they will get Kashmir back. India says Pakistan is directly or indirectly claiming credit for aiding and abetting the ongoing insurgency and unrest. So, there is no need for any evidence now.

Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Singh was reacting to Sharif’s remark that the day was not far when the struggle of the Kashmiris will meet with success and Jammu and Kashmir will be part of Pakistan. Singh said, “The United Nations too has said that it Kashmir is India’s internal matter. Now, the world has come to acknowledge India’s point of view on Kashmir and it is time for us to be united in the fight against Pakistan.” He asserted that Pakistan’s involvement in promoting terrorism in India has been evident on more than one occasion. The Union minister urged all the political parties to unite in the fight against Pak-sponsored terrorism.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Omar said today’s unrest cannot be compared with 2008 or 2010 agitations. “In 2008, we had a land row and in 2010, the outbreak was because of a fake encounter done by army. But in 2016 there is no such demand. It is just plain anger. “Even the young boys of the age of 8-10 years have no fear and that is worst,” he said.

The Modi government is not serious about genocides and political (freedom) crisis in Kashmir. Will a grand initiative by the Prime Minister normalize the situation in the Valley? Omar Abdullah said any initiative that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may take to resolve the current crisis in the Valley could calm tempers but if it is not followed up then it becomes difficult to sort out. He agreed with former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s views that the Centre had broken promises on issues that formed the state’s accession to India, saying they have been “dishonest with the people of Jammu and Kashmir”. “It will help. It will definitely calm tempers but there will be far more suspicion today than a few years ago. Because if it is not followed through, every time a problem like this arises, then it becomes more difficult to bring an end to it,” he told on a TV channel interview on Saturday.

For want of better set of words, India has actually been dishonest with the people of Jammu and Kashmir because you struck a deal. Former Finance Minister Chidambaram said that New Delhi had ignored the grand bargain under which Kashmir acceded to India. Omar endorsed his statement. You struck a bargain. Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India on the basis of certain conditions which is that the Union of India will be responsible for currency, communication, defence and foreign affairs everything else will be the domain of the state. On the basis of those conditions Jammu Kashmir would remain a part of India.

But Jammu and Kashmir to this date remains a part of India, how much of those conditions have Indian rulers actually fulfilled? You have gradually whittled that away to the point that autonomy is a a fig leaf to what it was in 1947. So he is not wrong,” Omar said. However, he regretted that immediately after Chidambaram remarks, Congress came out with a statement that it were the personal views of former Finance/Home Minister. “Here is a person who is talking out of box and is ready to take the first knock and we pull him down,” he said.

Omar said Pakistan has always been fishing in troubled waters. “It is nothing new. If you are saying Pakistan is responsible, then I am am sorry. We are doing the same mistake.” He said people are are ready to set aside old memories provided “we are ready to sit and solve the problem”.

On controversial AFSPA in Kashmir, Omar said, “I don’t know how the army has become a villain. Army has always maintained that they don’t want to stay permanently and want to go back to barracks. But they don’t decide the such matters. They deadly oppose withdrawal of Draconian law and also any reduction. So this is a contradictory stand.” He said more than a political will, it takes courage to take bold steps which was lacking in the previous UPA government. “May be UPA at that time was facing several problems. May be they did not want to open another front,” he said. Congress has been insensitive to the popular demands in Kashmir.

About the statement made by Chidambaram that the Union Cabinet was divided on withdrawal of AFSPA, he said, “I know that the then Defence Minister (Pranab Mukherjee and A K Antony) were opposed to it and the then Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) had not firmed up his mind.

There was strong opposition from the army but political courage could have overtaken that opposition,” he said and added that between him and Chidambaram, they were successful in removing 35 to 40 bunkers from the city. “I am not saying that army’s concerns should not be addressed but at the same time elected representatives in a democracy must have courage to carry forward its decisions with conviction,” he said. He expressed apprehensions that the way the Centre has been dealing with the situation in past had lived its life. “The Centre swings into action only when there is a fire in Kashmir. At that point they promise everything but when the situation is normal, they forget everything.” “By announcing a package of Rs 80,000 crore, centre should not think that it can buy out anti-India sentiments. PM Modi while addressing a rally said he knew everything about Kashmir problem. If you know everything then everything is over. Nothing to be discussed and the problem should be at his door rather than anyone else’s,” the former Chief Minister said.

Newly Independent India claimed it somehow managed an Act of Accession with the rulers of Jammu Kashmir. On 26 October, 1947, VP Menon, who had just returned from Srinagar, poured out a stiff drink, smiled and exulted: “We have Kashmir. And now that we have got it, we will never let it go.” This incident should be enough to remind Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the futility of his dream of seeing Kashmir become part of Pakistan some day.

Menon, who helped Sardar Patel put hundreds of princely states in India’s basket, had prophesied on that fateful October day that India will never let Kashmir go. Six decades of futile Pakistani efforts, including three wars, suggest Sharif’s dream is not genuine.

Sharif has a long list of people to blame for his unrequited love for the Vale. He can, for instance, blame Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who decided to send tribals from the frontiers to invade Kashmir after the Maharaja supposedly denied his request for a vacation in the Valley.

Did India betray Pakistan on Kashmir?

The stance Patel had reportedly taken on the disputes that rose from the decision of Kashmir, Junagarh and Hyderabad to not accede to either of the two countries even after 15 August. Several scholars have suggested that Patel was willing to consider Pakistan’s claim if it gave up Junagarh and Hyderabad.

Our reply was that we would agree to Kashmir if they agreed to Hyderabad.” But, the moment Jinnah decided to send tribals under the leadership of Major Khurshid Anwar to invade Kashmir, and then dispatched his soldiers guised as Pathans to fight the Indian army, Pakistan lost the argument and the Valley. As Patel used to say, possession is 90 per cent of the law.

Pakistan failed to get anything out of the 1965 war it fought with India. In 1972, it signed the Simla accord and agreed to a status-quo and bilateral resolution of the dispute. Since then, nothing has changed that entitles Sharif to a walk through Srinagar’s Nishat Bagh or drink from the founts of Chashm-e-Shahi.

While India can further destabilize and divide Pakistan with US help, Pakistan doesn’t have the military might to split India. Its proxy war lacks the firepower to melt India’s resolve. And there is no way India will surrender its rights over Kashmir, especially in a global scenario dominated by huge security concerns, anti-imperialist Islamic terror and China’s rising ambitions of China in the region.

India does not want a third Muslim country Kashmir in the region. New Delhi says allowing a Muslim-majority territory on the northern border to become a hotbed of Chinese, Pakistani, Afghan and Islamic State interference would be a political disaster. India cites the fate of Bangladesh and Pakistan, both it treats as “home to terror”, has forever ruled out the possibility of another Islamic country in the region.

Though pro-Pakistan sloganeering and flag-waving is common in Kashmir as a useful tactics to express I their anger over Indian occupational crimes, it is doubtful if Kashmiris actually want to become part of Pakistan, especially in its current avatar. In 2014, not even 50% of Kashmiris in the Kashmir Valley wanted to join Pakistan or support the idea of union with Pakistan: off the record 25% .

However, those Kashmiris expressing desire to be a part of India is much below that of those who support Pakistan- less than 10%. .

Though armchair hardliners in India never seek peace with Pakistan and Kashmir, and jihadis, they forget that for several years after Independence, while Kashmir remained calm and quiet’, the desire for azaadi (freedom) simmered below the surface. Even the first decade of this millennium was comparatively quiet and calm, suggesting a return to normalcy. But Kashmiris oppose subjugation and brutality by Indian forces.

In 1947, when Jinnah dispatched his tribals to Srinagar, he assumed their presence would trigger a revolt within Kashmir. Muslims of the Valley, he erroneously believed, would support the Pakistani invasion and drive out the Indian army.

India’s challenge now is to ensure that its own follies in Kashmir do not alienate Kashmiris enough to inspire someone in Pakistan to embark on another misadventure. Only rank stupidity, rigidity, continued oppression, suppression of rights and over-reliance on guns by the Indian state has the potential to fulfill Sharif’s dream.

Observation

True, USA has not openly declared its opposition to Kashmir issue or support for genocides in Kashmir, though it does not support Kashmir either.

Russia today is less enthusiastic about Indian occupation of Kashmir but USA is trying to shield Indian military crèmes inside Kashmir.

India would not find it profitable and correct to let the Kashmiri territory to obtain sovereignty as Pakistan would any time soon annex it under some garb and make it an integral part of Pakistan. US/Pakistani military can just finish them off.

New Delhi has realized by keeping puppet government in Sri Nagar/Jammu, it cannot stop freedom struggle of Kashmiris.

In fact, many Indians also now believe that Indian government has almost lost Kashmir but now it has to ensure that it does not go to Pakistan and makes its own home as a soverign Kashmir.

It is true Kashmiris dream of azaadi, a future that was promised to them by Dogra ruler Hari Singh before Jinnah forced his hand. But their loyalty towards Pakistan is grossly exaggerated, more propaganda than reality.

For all practical purposes, a workable solution to the Kashmir problem will have to be worked out first between the people of Kashmir, including the freedom groups, and the Indian government. Than India and Pakistan, along with Azad Kashmir leaders should agree for a unified Kashmir to emerge as a soverign nation. . Pakistan would, of course, never agree to anything that shatters its dream of possessing Kashmir, and that would ensure longevity of the dispute. PM Sharif has a right ot dream abut he should be realistic and understand the sufferings of Kashmiris.

Obviously, as India’s arrogant posture is unhealthy and irresponsible, Pakistan’s unrealistic dream is destined to remain unfulfilled, and thus remain a source of trouble. India can never win over Kashmiris through brutality, genocides, or through dialogue and peace-money initiatives.

Both India and Pakistan stop boss over Kashmir.

One can understand Pakistani dream if it has been truly Islamic (It attacked Lal Mosque in Islamabad, killing Imams there in a cold blooded manner) or a strong Muslims nations- but s destabilized puppet nation serving the cause of anti-Islamic nations like USA, UK, Israel etc.

Pakistan would not hesitate to sell Kashmiris to any nation to be anti-Islamic agents. And there would be none in the world to save the Kashmiris. .Already Pakistan seems to have “sold” a part of Azad Kashmir to China for r economic and military favors.

Independence of Kashmir is the only reliable and credible solution.

When United Nations too says that Indian brutality in Kashmir is India’s internal matter, the big powers have no interest in resolving the Kashmir flashpoint.

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South Asia

What, in fact, is India’s stand on Kashmir?

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Women walking past Indian security forces in Srinagar, summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Nimisha Jaiswal/IRIN

At the UNGA, India’s first secretary Sneha Dubey said the entire Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh “were, are and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. She added, “Pakistan’s attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue have gained no traction from the international community and the Member States, who maintain that Kashmir is a bilateral matter between the two countries (Pakistan is ‘arsonist’ disguising itself as ‘fire-fighter’: India at UNGA, the Hindu September 25, 2021).

It is difficult to make head or tail of India’s stand on Kashmir. India considers the whole of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir as its integral part. Yet, at the same time, admits it to be a bilateral matter still to be resolved between India and Pakistan.

What bars Pakistan from agitating the Kashmir dispute at international forums?

India presumes that the Simla accord debars Pakistan from “internationalizing” the Kashmir dispute. That’s not so. Avtar Singh Bhasin (India and Pakistan: Neighbours at Odd) is of the view that though Pakistan lost the war in East Pakistan, it won at Simla.

Bhasin says, `At the end, Bhutto the “dramatist” carried the day at Simla. The Agreement signed in Simla did no more than call for `respecting the Line of Control emerging from the ceasefire of 17 December 1971. As the Foreign Secretary TN Kaul [of India] said at briefing of the heads of foreign mission in New Delhi on 4 July 1972, the recognition of the new ceasefire line ended the United Nations’ Military Observers’ Group on India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) role in Kashmir, created specifically  for the supervision of the UN sponsored ceasefire line of 1949, since that line existed no more. Having said that India once again faltered for not asking the UN to withdraw its team from Kashmir, or withdrawing its own recognition to it and its privileges (Document No. 0712 in Bhasin’s India-Pakistan Relations 1947-207).

Following Simla Accord (1972), India, in frustration, stopped reporting ceasefire skirmishes to the UN. But, Pakistan has been consistently reporting all such violations to the UN. India feigns it does not recognise the UNMOGIP. But, then it provides logistic support to the UMOGIP on its side of the LOC.

India keeps harassing the UNMOGIP vehicles occasionally. Not long ago, three members of the UNMOGIP had a close call along the LoC in Azad Jammu and Kashmir after Indian troops shot at and injured two locals who were briefing them on the situation after ceasefire violations.

India even asked UNMOGIP to vacate 1/AB, Purina Lila Road, Connaught Place, from where it has been functioning since 1949.

Bhasin says (p.257-259), `The Pakistan Radio broadcasts and…commentators took special pains to highlight …the fact: (i) That India have accepted Kashmir to be a disputed territory and Pakistan a party to the dispute. (ii) That the UNSC resolutions had not been nullified and contrarily (iii) Kashmir remained the core issue between the two countries and that there could not be permanent peace without a just solution based on the principle of self-determination for the people of Kashmir. And Pakistan was right in its assessment. It lost the war won the peace. At the end India was left askance at its own wisdom’.

Obviously, if the UNSC resolutions are intact, then Pakistan has the right to raise the Kashmir dispute at international forums.

India’s shifting stands on Kashmir

At heart, the wily Jawaharlal Lal Nehru never cared a fig for the disputed state’s constituent assembly, Indian parliament or the UN. This truth is interspersed in Avtar Singh Basin’s 10-volume documentary study (2012) of India-Pakistan Relations 1947-2007.  It contains 3649 official documents, accessed from archives of India’s external-affairs ministry.  These papers gave new perspectives on Nehru’s vacillating state of perfidious mind concerning the Kashmir dispute. In his 2018 book (published after six years of his earlier work), India, Pakistan: Neighbours at Odds (Bloomsbury India, New Delhi, 2018), Bhasin discusses Nehru’s perfidy on Kashmir in Chapter 5 titled Kashmir, India’s Constitution and Nehru’s Vacillation (pages 51-64). The book is based on Selected Works of Jawaharlal (SWJ) Nehru and author’s own compendium of documents on India-Pak relations. Let us lay bare a few of Nehru’s somersaults

Nehru disowns Kashmir assembly’s “accession”, owns Security Council resolutions

Initially, Nehru banked on so-called Instrument of Accession and its authentication by `Constituent Assembly. Yet, in a volte-face he reiterated in New Delhi on November3, 1951 that `we have made it perfectly clear before the Security Council that the Kashmir Constituent Assembly does not [insofar] as we are concerned come in the way of a decision by the Security Council, or the United Nations’(SWJ: Volume 4: page 292, Bhasin p.228). Again, at a press conference on June 11, 1951, he was asked `if the proposed constituent assembly of Kashmir “decides in favour of acceding to Pakistan, what will be the position?”’ he reiterated,  `We have made it perfectly clear that the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir was not meant to decide finally any such question , and it is not in the way of any decision which may ultimate flow from the Security Council proceedings’ (SWJ: Volume 15:, Part II, page 394. Bhasin page 56). He re-emphasised his view once again at a press conference in New Delhi On November 3, 1951.

Nehru does not label Pakistan an aggressor at the UN

And then labels it so in Parliament

He never labeled Pakistan an aggressor at the UN. Yet, he told parliament on March 1, 1954 `that “aggression” took place in Kashmir six and a half years ago with dire consequences. Nevertheless the United States have thus far not condemned it and we are asked not to press this point in the interest of peace (Bhasin pp. 55-56).

Nehru disowns the Security Council as just a non-binding mediator

On July 24 1952, Nehru said, `Unless the Security Council functioned under some other Sections of the Charter, it cannot take a decision which is binding upon us unless we agree to it. They are functioning as mediators and a mediator means getting people to agree (SWJ, Volume 19, page 241. Bhasin page 56).

Security Council re-owned

Bhasin points out (page 57 op. cit.) `At the same press conference on 24 July, 1952 when asked what the necessity of plebiscite was now that he had got the Constituent Assembly [approval], he replied “Maybe theoretically you may be right. But we have given them [UN] an assurance and we stand by it (SWJ: Volume 19, pp. 240-241. Bhasin, p. 57, Bhasin pages 256-257).

Concluding remarks

Pakistan’s recourse to the UN is India’s Achilles Heel. So it is as India’s stand on disputed Kashmir is a rigmarole of inconsistent myths.

To avoid internationalization of the Kashmir issue, India’s own former foreign secretary Jagat Singh Mehta offered proposals (rebranded by Pervez Musharraf’s) to soften the LOC in exchange for non-internationalisation of the Kashmir dispute for 10 years. Mehta presented his ideas in an article, ‘Resolving Kashmir in the International Context of the 1990s’.

India had no consistent stand on Kashmir. There was a time when Sardar Patel presented Kashmir to Pakistan in exchange for Hyderabad and Junagadh. Reportedly, the offer was declined as Pakistan’s prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan thought it could retain not only Kashmir but also Junagadh and Hyderabad. Jawaharlal Nehru approached the United Nations’ for mediation. He kept harping his commitment to the plebiscite.

It is eerie that the whole architecture of India’s stand on Kashmir is erected on the mythical `instrument of accession’ and its endorsement by the disputed state’s assembly, Accession documents are un-registered with the UN. The Simla Accord text makes crystal clear reference to the UN charter.

Let India know that a state that flouts international treaties is a rogue state: pacta sunt servanda, treaties are to be observed and are binding on parties. Self-determination is not only a political but also a legal right in disputed lands. Sans talks with Pakistan, and UN or third-party mediation, what else is India’s recipe for imprisoned Kashmiris? A nuclear Armageddon or divine intervention?

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South Asia

Afghanistan may face famine because of anti-Taliban sanctions

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Food and blankets are handed out to people in need in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, by © WFP/Arete

Afghanistan may face a food crisis under the Taliban (outlawed in Russia) rule because this movement is under sanctions of both individual states and the United Nations, Andrei Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, told TASS on Monday.

“A food crisis and famine in Afghanistan are not ruled out. Indeed, Afghanistan is now on life support, with assistance mostly coming from international development institutes, as well as from the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States, i.e. from Western sources and institutes close to the West,” he said. “The Taliban is under international sanctions, not only unilateral US and EU sanctions, but also under UN sanctions. That is why, in formal terms, the Taliban coming to power may mean that these sanctions could be expanded to the entire country, and it will entail serious food problems. Food deliveries from the World Food Program and other international organizations may be at risk.”

According to the expert, statistics from recent years show that annual assistance to Afghanistan amounts to about five billion US dollars, but this sum is not enough to satisfy the needs of the country’s population. “It is believed that a minimal sum needed by Afghanistan to maintain basic social institutions to avoid hunger in certain regions stands at one billion US dollars a month, i.e. 12 billion a year,” Kortunov noted. “Some say that twice as much is needed, taking into account that population growth in Afghanistan is among the world’s highest and life expectancy is among the lowest. And around half of Afghan children under five are undernourished.”

He noted that despite the fact that the issue of further food supplies to Afghanistan is not settled, some countries, for instance, China, continue to help Afghanistan but a consolidated position of the international community is needed to prevent a food and humanitarian crisis. “A common position of the international community is needed and it should be committed to paper in corresponding resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, which should provide for reservations concerning food assistance in any case,” he added.

However, in his words, the key question is who will control the distribution of humanitarian and food assistance inside the country. “There were such precedents when countries and regimes under sanctions were granted reservations and received food assistance. But a logical question arises about who will control the distribution of this assistance. This has always been a stumbling block for programs of assistance to Syria, as the West claimed that if everything is left to Damascus’ discretion, assistance will be distributed in the interests of [President Bashar] Assad and his inner circle rather than in the interests of the Syrian people. It is not ruled out that the same position will be taken in respect of the Taliban,” Kortunov went on to say. “It means that the international community will be ready to provide food assistance but on condition that unimpeded access will be granted to the areas in need and everything will not be handed over to the Taliban who will decide about whom to help.”

After the US announced the end of its operation in Afghanistan and the beginning of its troop withdrawal, the Taliban launched an offensive against Afghan government forces. On August 15, Taliban militants swept into Kabul without encountering any resistance, establishing full control over the country’s capital within a few hours. Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said he had stepped down to prevent any bloodshed and subsequently fled the country. US troops left Afghanistan on August 31.

From our partner RIAC

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South Asia

The failure of the great games in Afghanistan from the 19th century to the present day

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Whenever great powers have tried to make Afghanistan a colony, they have always been defeated. British imperialism and its “civilising mission” towards backward (and therefore terrorist) populations – a mission equal to that of the time when Great Britain established itself as the first drug pusher to the Chinese Empire with the two opium wars of 1839-1842; 1856-1860: an action that was terrorist at the best.

The Russian Empire and its exporting the orthodox faith and the values of the Tsar towards the barbaric (and therefore terrorist) Afghans. The Soviet Union and its attempt to impose secularisation on Muslim (and therefore terrorist) Afghans in the period 1979-1991. The United States of America that thought it could create parties, democracy, Coke, miniskirts, as well as gambling and pleasure houses by bombing the Afghan terrorists tout-court.

In this article I will try to explain why Afghanistan won 4-0, and in 1919 – thanks to its rulers’ wise skills – was one of the only six actual independent Asian States (Japan, Nepal, Thailand and Yemen), so that at least the barroom experts – who, by their nature, believe that History is just a fairy tale like that of Cinderella and stepmother with evil sisters – reflect on the nonsense we read and hear every day in the press and in the media.

In his book I luoghi della Storia (Rizzoli, Milan 2000), former Ambassador Sergio Romano wrote on page 196: “The Afghans spent a good part of the nineteenth century playing a diplomatic and military game with the great powers – the so-called “Great Game” – the main rule of which was to use the Russians against the Brits and the Brits against the Russians”.

In the days when geopolitics was a forbidden subject and the word was forbidden, in the history textbooks of secondary schools it seemed that the United States of America and the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had fallen from the sky as large as they were on the atlases. I still remember that in the dialogues between professors and high school students, it was stated that the two powers could not be called colonial, since they had something messianic and redeeming in themselves (therefore anti-terrorist).

It was only thanks to western movies that the young people of the time understood how the thirteen Lutheran colonies had extended westwards into lands that we were led to believe had been inhabited by savage villains to be exterminated (hence terrorists) and by uncivilised Spaniards, as Catholics, to be defeated. Moreover, we did not dare to study Russia’s expansion eastwards and southwards, at the risk that the high school students – unprepared, pure and enthusiastic – would understand that the homeland of socialism had no different assumptions from all other imperialisms.

Sometimes the students heard about the great game or, in Russian, the tournament of shadows (turniry teney). What was the great game? Today it is mostly remembered as the epic of freedom of the unconquered Afghans, but in reality its solution meant the alliance between Russia and Great Britain, which lasted at least until the eve of the Cold War. A key position that is sometimes too overlooked, and not only in scientific and classical textbooks, but also in many essays by self-proclaimed experts.

British aversion to the Russian Empire – apart from the “necessary” anti-Napoleonic alliances in the Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Coalitions – dated back to the 17th century and worsened considerably in the 19th century. Although Russian exports of grain, natural fibres and other agricultural crops were made to Great Britain – because the Russian landowners were well disposed to good relations with the Brits in order to better market those products abroad – there were no political improvements. The opposition came more from Great Britain than from Russia.

Tsar Nicholas I (1796-1825-55) – in the late 1830s, during his trip to Great Britain in 1842, and later in 1850-52, i.e. just before the Crimean War (1853-56) – often tried to bring about normalisation, but due to British suspicions and doubts (the Russians were considered to be terrorists) this did not occur.

What worried the Foreign Office – created in March 1782 – was Russia’s fast march eastwards, southwards and south-westwards. Great Britain could feel Russian breath on it from the three sides of India. The Russian goals with regard to Turkey, the successes in Trancaucasia and the Persian goals, not to mention the colonisation of Central Asia, initiated by the aforementioned Tsar Nicholas I, and conducted vigorously by his successor Alexander II (1818-1855-81), were – for Her Britannic Majesty’s diplomats and generals – a blatant and threatening intimidation of India’s “pearl”.

In the north-west of the Indian subcontinent the British possessions bordered on the Thar desert and on Sindh (the Indus River delta) which constituted a Muslim State under leaders residing at Haidarābād, conquered by the Brits in 1843. To the north-east of Sindh, the Punjab region had been amalgamated into a strong State by Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji (1780-1801-39) who, as a simple Governor of Lahore (Lâhau) on behalf of the Afghan Emir, Zaman Shah Durrani (1770-93-1800-†44), had succeeded not only in becoming independent, but also in extending his power over Kashmir and Pīshāwar, creating the Sikh Empire in 1801, which was overthrown by Great Britain during the I (1845-46) and II (1848-49) Anglo-Sikh wars; the region became what is known as the Pakistani Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (the North-West Frontier Province).

Given the British expansion into the neighbouring States of Afghanistan and Persia, Russia’s influence was trying to creep in; hence the Brits were paying close attention to what was happening on the border of the great Northern “neighbour”.

Russia had long been aiming to make its way to India through Western Turkestan, but that steppe region was inhabited by the Kyrgyz in the north-east and the Turks (Turkmen) in the south-west.

After unsuccessful attempts at peaceful penetration, the Russian Governor of Orenburg, Gen. Vasilij Alekseevič Perovskij (1794-1857), prepared an expedition against Chiva: it involved crossing about a thousand kilometres of desert and was thought to be easier to make during the winter. The expedition left from Orenburg in November 1839, but the cold killed so many men and camels that the Commander had to give up the venture and turn back (spring 1840). For a long time, the Russians did not attempt any more military infiltrations there.

In Persia, instead, Russian influence was strongly felt: Tsar Alexander II pushed the Shah, Naser al-Din Qajar (1831-48-96), to undertake an enterprise against the city of Herāt (which dominated the passage from Persia and Western Turkestan into India): it had detached itself from Afghanistan and had been a separate State since 1824. The Persian expedition began in the autumn of 1837: Herāt resisted strenuously, so much so that in the summer of 1838 the Shah had to renounce the siege and accept Britain’s mediation for peace with the sovereign of that city. That diplomatic move was therefore also detrimental to the influence of St. Petersburg. Even the first relations established by Russia with the Emir of Afghanistan did not lead to any result.

In those years, Russia was busy quelling the insurrections of the mountain populations in the Caucasus, where the exploits of the alleged Italian sheikh, Mansur Ushurma (Giambattista Boetti, 1743-98), in the service of the Chechen cause, still echoed.

Through two treaties concluded with Persia (1828) and Turkey (1829), Russia had become the master of the region; however, it found an obstinate resistance from the local populations that still persists today.

The First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42) was one of the most important military conflicts of the great game and one of the worst British defeats in the region. The Brits had started an expedition to Afghanistan to overthrow Emir Dost Mohammad (1793-1826-39, 42-63), the first of the Barakzai dynasty, and replace him with the last of the Durrani dynasty, Ayub Shah (17??-1819-23, †37), who had been dethroned in 1823, but he renounced. Not wanting to cross the Sikh country in order not to arouse mistrust among the Sikhs, the British entered Baluchistan, occupied the capital (Qalat), then penetrated into Afghanistan and advanced without encountering serious resistance as far as Kabul, where on August 7, 1839 they installed their own puppet, Shuja Shah (1785-1842), formerly Emir from 1803 to 1809.

Dost Mohammad was caught and sent to Calcutta. A the beginning of 1841, however, one of his sons – Sher Ali – aroused the Afghans’ rebellion. The military commander, Gen. William George Keith Elphinstone (b. 1782), got permission to leave with 4,500 soldiers and 12,000 non-combatants to return to India. In the mountain passes near Kabul, however, the expedition was taken by surprise and annihilated (January 1842). The commander died as prisoner of the Afghans (on April 23).

The Brits obviously wanted revenge: they sent other troops that, in September of the same year, reconquered Kabul: this time the Brits – intimidated – did not deem it advisable to remain there. Convinced they had reaffirmed a certain prestige, they withdrew and, since the Emir they protected had died on April 5, 1842, they agreed – helplessly – to Dost Mohammad’s return to the throne. He conquered Herāt forever for Afghanistan.

Russia did not just stand by and watch and asserted its power in the Far East. In the years 1854-58 – despite its engagement in the Crimean war: the first real act of the great game, as Britain had to defend the Ottoman Empire from Sarmatian aspirations of conquest – it had established, with a series of expeditions, its jurisdiction over the province of Amur, through the Treaty of Aigun – labelled as the unequal treaty as it was imposed on China – on May 28, 1858. Shortly afterwards the fleet arrived at Tien-Tsin (Tianjin), forced China into another treaty on June 26-27, thus obtaining the opening of ports for trade, and the permanence of a Russian embassy in Peking. Moreover, in Central Asia, Russia renewed its attempts to advance against the khanates of Buchara and Kokand (Qo’qon), and had once again led the Shah of Persia, Mozaffar ad-Din Qajar (1853-96-1907), to try again the enterprise of Herāt (1856), which had caused again the British intervention (Anglo-Persian War, 1856-57) that ended with Persia’s recognition of the independence of the aforementioned city. The Anglo-Russian rivalry thus continued to be one of the essential problems of Central Asia, for the additional reason that Russia gradually expanded into West Turkestan, Buchara and Chiva between 1867 and 1873.

After the Russian conquests in West Turkestan, Dost Mohammad’ son and successor, Sher Ali (1825-63-66, 68-79), came under the influence of the neighbouring power, which was trying to penetrate the area to the detriment of Britain. On July 22, 1878 St Petersburg sent a mission. The Emir repelled a similar British mission at the Khyber Pass in September 1878, thus triggering the start of the war. The Brits soon opened hostilities, invading the country with 40,000 soldiers

 from three different points.

The Emir went into exile in Mazār-i-Sharīf, leaving his son Mohammad Yaqub (1849-79-80, †1914) as heir. He signed the Treaty of Gandamak on May 26, 1879 to prevent a British invasion of the rest of the country.

Once the British First Resident, the Italian Pierre Louis Napoleon Cavagnari (b. 1841) went to Kabul, he was assassinated there on September 3, 1879. British troops organised a second expedition and occupied the capital. They did not trust the Emir and raised a nephew of Dost Mohammed, Abdur Rahman (1840/44-80-1901), to power on May 31, 1880. He pledged to have no political relations except with Britain.

The former Emir, Mohammad Yaqub, took up arms and severely defeated the Brits at Maiwand on July 27, 1880, with the help of the Afghan heroine Malalai Anaa (1861-80), who rallied the Pashtun troops against the attackers. On September 1 of the same year Mohammad Yaqub was defeated and put to flight by Gen. Frederick Roberts (1832-1914) in the Battle of Kandahâr, which ended the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

This brought Afghanistan permanently under British influence, which was secured by the construction of a railway from the Indus River to the Afghan city of Kandahâr. Since the railway passed through Beluchistan, it was definitively annexed to British India. In 1880, Russia began the construction of the Transcaspian Railway, which alarmed the Brits who extended the section of their “railroad” to Herāt.

It was only with the accession to the throne of Imānullāh (1892-1919-29, †60), on February 28, 1919 (Shah from 1926), that Afghanistan took its foreign policy away from Great Britain through the Third Anglo-Afghan War (6 May-8 August 1919), by which the Afghans finally threw the Brits out of the picture (Treaty of Râwalpindî of August 8, 1919, amended on November 22, 1921).

As early as 1907, the Russian government had declared it considered Afghanistan to be outside its sphere of influence, and pledged not to send any agents there, as well as to consult the British government about its relations with that country.

Indeed, Britain soon gave up direct control of the country, given the fierce fighting spirit of its people, who had humiliated it many times, and contented itself with guarding and keeping the north-west Indian border under control.

In reality, the great game has never ended. As Spartacus Alfredo Puttini stated (La Russia di Putin sulla scacchiera, in “Eurasia”, A. IX, No. 1, January-March 2012, pp. 129-147), upon his coming to power Vladimir Putin found himself grappling with a difficult legacy. Gorbachev’s policy of katastroika had dealt a lethal blow to the Soviet and later Russian colossus.

Within a few years, Russia had embarked on a unilateral disarmament that led, at first, to its withdrawal from Afghanistan and then from Central and Eastern Europe. While the State was heading for collapse and the economy was being disrupted, it was the very periphery of the Soviet Union that was catching fire due to separatist movements promptly subsidised by those who – in the great game – replaced the Brits. Massive US aid to the heroic anti-Soviet patriots, who were later branded as terrorists.

In a short time the real collapse occurred and the ‘new’ Russia found itself geopolitically shrunken and morally and materially prostrated by the great looting made by the pro-Western oligarchs in the shadow of the Yeltsin Presidency.

To the west, the country had returned to the borders of the 17th century; to the south, it had lost Southern Caucasus and valuable Central Asia, where the new great game was soon to begin. In other words, the process of disruption would not stop, and would infect the Russian Federation itself: Chechnya had engaged in a furious war of secession that threatened to spread like wildfire to the whole of Northern Caucasus and, in the long run, called into question the very survival of the Russian State divided into autonomous entities.

This was followed by the phenomenon of “orangism” in 2003-2005 (Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan): the various caricatures of oxymoronic “liberal” revolutions aimed at moving certain governments away from Russia’s influence.

Ultimately, the central power had been undermined on all sides by the policy of Yeltsin and his clan, aimed at granting extensive autonomy to the regions of the Federation. Public property, the glue of State authority and the instrument of its concrete activity to guide and orient the nation, had been sold off. Over time, Putin put things right, and the rest is condensed into the restoration choices of the plebiscitary vote in his favour.

In the end Afghanistan also saw the US failure, which I have examined in previous articles.

The Asian sense of freedom is summed up in the expulsion of foreign aggressors from their own homelands and territories. Someone should start to understand this.

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