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.
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.
Changing complexion of “militancy” in the occupied Kashmir
Two teachers, Supinder Kaur and Deepak Chand, were shot dead in Srinagar on October7, 2021.The Resistance front owned the killing. The name implies that this organisation like the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front does not have religious moorings. The front explained that “they were killed because they harassed and warned the parents with dire consequences if the students did not attend the school function on August 15 (India’s Independence Day).
In a tweet, the Inspector general of Kashmir police disclosed that 28 civilians had been killed din the valley during 2021”. Five persons belonged to local Hindu and Sikh communities. . Two persons were non-Hindu labourers (pic.twitter.com/j5R2MVWrT3).
Each killing follows massive crackdowns, cordons and searches, and rounding up of innocent people as suspects mostly members of Jammat-e-Islami now banned, and Hurriyat members.
Who the Resistance Front is?
Very little is known about the Front. The Resistance Front publicly emerged in the aftermath of August 5, 2019, when the Central government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of autonomy under Article 370 and split the state into two Union Territories. The Article 15-A also was abrogated. This article guaranteed special protections to Kashmiri people defined as “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Front came into limelight when it owned a grenade attack in October 2019. Eight civilians on Srinagar’s busy Hari Singh High Street were injured in the attack. The Front is shy of social posts. But, it did announce its debut on the chat platform, Telegram.
India attributes the April intense gunfight between with security forces in the Keran sector (Kupwara district) to this Front. It left five personnel of the army’s elite Special Forces dead.
Another encounter has continued for five days until October 19 in Mendhar sector. India admits having lost several soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer, in the fight The Indian forces dared not enter into the forest. They were content to use heavy guns from the outside. The Indian forces’ initial impression was that the front uses only pistols and improvised explosives. That has been proved wrong.
To disguise their ignorance about the Front, the forces say, ‘These acts are committed by newly recruited terrorists or those who are about to join terrorist ranks’.
IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar says, ‘A total of 28 civilians have been killed by terrorists in 2021. Out of 28, five persons belong to local Hindu and Sikh communities and two persons are non-local Hindu labourers.’
The non local Kashmiri migrants have no faith in police protection. They are returning to their home towns. The remaining persons are being shifted to army camps.
India’s home minister has planned a visit to Srinagar to familiarize himself with the situation. Indian prime minister Modi is being blamed at home and abroad for emergence of the Resistance Front. The critics point out that Kashmiriat had been the crucible of several civilizations. But India’s reign of terror compelled the native Kashmiri to become xenophobic.
Modi ventilated his ire at rights criticism in his speech before the National Human rights Commission.
He stressed that welfare measures like providing electric connection, alleviating poverty were more important than human rights.
The NHRC is a statutory body that was constituted on October 12, 1993, under the Protection of Human Rights Act. It takes cognisance of human rights violations, conducts enquiries and recommends compensation to victims from public authorities besides other remedial and legal measures against the erring public servants. However its present chairman is believed to be BJP stooge.
Kashmir, a Guantanamo Bay
Even Mehbooba Mufti, a former BJP ally, has been compelled to call Kashmir a Guantanamo Bay prison. She called for lifting ban on Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Jama’at-e-Islami, withdrawal of `sedition’ or `terrorism’ cases against Kashmiri leaders or ordinary folk. Her voice proved to be a voice in the wilderness. What else could Mehbooba call Kashmir _ `Kashmiris feel that they are literally imprisoned in a cage from which almost all exit routes are barred save one, to India, which is also not without peril. Kashmiris are distrusted and treated poorly in many parts of India, whether as students or as traders’ (A.G. Noorani, Kashmir, a prison, Dawn January 12, 2019). Trade across the Line of Control has been stopped and `terrorism’ charges slapped on some traders. Even the tyrannical Dogras and their British overlords facilitated Kashmir trade with Central Asian and other states. Kashmiri markets used to be flooded with foreign traders and their merchandise _books, shawls, gold tillas, Russian textiles, Kokandi silk, Bukharan rumals (handkerchiefs) and coral. Trade from British India would flow through Kulu via the Chang Chenmo route to Yarkand, bypassing the maharaja’s customs officials in Leh. In 1870, Maharaja Ranbir Singh signed a special treaty in Sialkot with Viceroy Lord Mayo to accept this route as a ‘free highway’, later known as Treaty Route. Central Asians intending to perform hajj used to travel through this route to Karachi or Bombay sea-ports to board ships. To facilitate pilgrims, highway provided rest houses, and supply depots jointly supervised by British and Kashmir officials. Now, even the Kashmir Highway stands closed to civilian traffic during military-convoy movement.. A minor, violating road closure, was brutally crushed by an Indian army vehicle.”
Mehbooba revealed her government was dismissed for expressing ennui at central-government atrocities, not returning dead bodies of `encounter’ victims and burning them, not allowing funeral prayers, demanding talks with Pakistan, registering an FIR against an army officer, resisting change in Kashmir’s special status, and so on (Indian Express dated April 18. 2019). A cursory look at Kashmir press is horrifying _ Sedition cases were slapped on three Aligarh- university Kashmiri students for trying to hold prayers for Hizb militant Wani, Kashmiri students and traders at Wagah border are forced to chant anti-Pakistan slogans and post them to face book. Kashmir students and traders were attacked or looted throughout India. About 700 students, including girls, fled to Valley. Even holders of PM Modi’s merit-based competitive scholarships had to rush back to Valley for safety. Kashmiri journalists in Indian states were roughed up, mercilessly beaten, and told to go back Meghalaya governor officially directed to boycott everything Kashmiri. Some Kashmiris petitioned Supreme Court to intervene. In its order, the Supreme Court directed 10 states and various institutions to take remedial steps, but in vain.
People have lost trust In India’s claims of success in “encounters”, mostly fake. In July last year, security forces in Kashmir claimed to have killed three “unidentified hardcore terrorists” in a gunfight in Amshipora village of Kashmir’s Shopian district. They had last made phone calls to their families on July 17, 2020, a day before the purported gunfight had taken place.
An army inquiry and a police probe into the encounter established that the three suspected militants killed in Amshipora were shot dead in a fake encounter.
Indian army stages such encounters to earn reward of Rs. 20 lac per encounter. A year has gone by but the captain accused of masterminding and executing the fake Amshipora encounter is still unpunished. He abducted three labourers from their homes and shot them dead as “terrorists”. Those killed in Shopian in July 2020 were Mohammed Ibrar of Tarkasi village, Imtiyaz Ahmad of Dharsakri village, and Ibrar Ahmad.
It is obvious that it is not all hunky dory in Kashmir as India claims. The changed dimension of “militancy” is an incurable headache for the Modi’s government.
A Peep into Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Tricky Relations with Afghan Taliban
To understand the interesting relationship between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as Pakistani Taliban, and the Afghan Taliban, one must look into the history to know how the linkages were developed between the two entities and why the Afghan Taliban are not responding in equal measures to take the decisive action against the TTP.
The TTP has waxed and waned over the years. Under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud (1972-2009), 13 militant outfits, some estimations guess 50, assembled in December 2007 to exact the revenge of the Lal Mosque operation. The Mehsud tribe of South Waziristan is the largest group in the TTP. There were many precursors group of the TTP, such as Sufi Muhammad (1933-2019) who established the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi and led thousands of militants against the occupational forces in Afghanistan. Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Mullah Nazir also joined the Baitullah-led TTP faction in 2008, both having links with Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan has launched several operations against them, namely Operation Rahe-e-Rast (2009), Rah-e-Najat (2009), Zarb-e-Azab (2014) and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad (2017). In the past, Pakistan claimed a complete victory against the TTP.
The TTP orchestrated a campaign of suicide bombings against Pakistan from 2006 to 2009. On 16 December 2014, TTP gunmen stormed the Army Public School in the northern city of Peshawar and killed more than 150 people, while 132 of them were children. After the capture of Kabul by the Afghan Taliban, the TTP is active again and claiming it carried out 32 attacks in August 2021 against Pakistan. Islamabad and Beijing held the TTP responsible for the July 14 suicide attack that killed nine Chinese engineers working on a hydroelectric project in Kohistan district. Pakistan accuses the Indian secret agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) of funding and supporting the TTP. Reports confirm that the TTP has sanctuaries in Kunar and Nanghar provinces of Afghanistan.
It is very difficult to measure the relationship between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban. Michael Kugelman, Asian deputy director at Washington Wilson Centre says, “The two groups have been separated from the same ideological cloth.” For the Afghan Taliban, the TTP has boosted their membership. For the TTP, the Afghan Taliban enhanced their resources and legitimacy. The factor of having links with the TTP reduces the Afghan Taliban’s chances to rely on Pakistan.
The TTP is eager to show its relations with the Afghan Taliban. TTP’s media showed the pictures of Hakim Mullah Mehsud and Maulvi Nazir with Mullah Sangeen Zardan, a key commander of the Haqqani network. Like the Afghan Taliban, the TTP has established its links with Al Qaeda; however, its main branch still adheres to the Afghan Taliban.
The TTP members were trained and educated at the same religious seminaries that produced the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan’s long ties with the Taliban might have generated hopes that the Islamist group would help rein in the TTP’s cross-border violent activities from their Afghan hideouts. But they say those expectations could be shattered, citing the ideological affinity between the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban.
The Afghan Taliban also released 800 TTP militants, including its deputy chief Maulvi Faqir Muhammad. According to a recent report prepared for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan Taliban have carried on “relations mainly as before”. The TTP supported the Afghan Taliban militarily against the Afghan government forces in the recent takeover. TTP’s new rhetoric is consistent with the Afghan Taliban’s position of not recognizing the Durand Line as a legal border and opposing its fencing by Pakistan because it has divided the Pashtun tribes.
Amir Rana, Director at Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), says, “The Afghan Taliban triumph has emboldened Islamic militants, including those in the TTP and boosted their morale. The wooing back of the disgruntled group and release of prisoners have increased TTP’s capability and military strength, hindering Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate terrorism within its borders.”
Zabihullah Mujahid, Spokesperson for the Afghan Taliban, said in an interview, “The relationship between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban will continue to be dictated by religious-ideological convergence, ethnic-fraternal linkages and close camaraderie.” But he denied there was any collaboration between them. The Afghan Taliban and the TTP known to share the ideal of governing by ‘sharia’ or Islamic law. However, the Afghan Taliban have not spoken openly against the TTP.
Michael Kugelman commented, “For Pakistan, getting the Taliban to curb the TTP amounts to a daunting task. The TTP has long been allied with the Afghan Taliban, and it has partnered operationally with them. The Taliban are not known for denying space to its militant allies, and I do not see the TTP being an exception to the rule.”
The TTP has rejected Islamabad’s amnesty overtures. In an exclusive interview with Japan’s oldest newspaper Mainchi Shimbun, TTP leader Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud welcomed the Taliban return to power in Afghanistan after 20 years of absence. “We are hopeful for a strong relationship between two of us. The TTP views the Doha Accord 2020 as a major win for all the Jihadists and their ideology.”
The TTP also differs from the Afghan Taliban in its goals and attitude toward the Pakistan government. In 2009, the Afghan Taliban denied having ties with the TTP attack on civilians. Some Afghan Taliban have sympathies with the TTP. But it is clear that the Afghan Taliban do not want to develop their official ties with the TTP, and nor do they want to be involved in the tussle between the TTP and Pakistan government. Its permissive treatment of the TTP could be a matter of internal politics. Cracking down on foreign fighters might create rifts in the rank and file of the Afghan Taliban who view these fighters as brothers in arms.
Columnist Kamran Yousuf writes in Express Tribune, “Pakistan has handed over to the Taliban ‘a list of most wanted’ terrorists affiliated with the banned TTP. Islamabad seeks a decisive action against them. Hibatullah Akhundzada, supreme commander of the Afghan Taliban, has established a three-member commission to investigate the Pakistan claims. Afghan Taliban leaders Mullah Umar and Sirajuddin Haqqani had repeatedly attempted to convince the TTP to focus on the Afghan Jihad. But these efforts had always been fruitless because waging of the Jihad against Pakistan forms the basis for TTP’s separate identity.
Noor Wali Mehsud said, “We will free our land region from the occupation of Pakistan forces and will never surrender to their atrocious rule. We want to live on our land according to the Islamic law and tribal traditions. We are the Muslims and the Pashtuns. The independence of Pakhtunkhwa and Pashtun tribal areas is national and religious duty of all Pashtuns.” (DAWN, 23 March)
Another possible and perhaps more likely outcome is that the Afghan Taliban avoid interference in the TTP-Pakistan conflict, preferring to stay neutral and maintain their historical ties with the TTP as well as Pakistan.
Zabihullah Mujahid noted, “The issue of the TTP is one that Pakistan will have to deal with, not Afghanistan. It is up to Pakistan, and Pakistani ulema and religious figures, not the Taliban, to decide on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of their war and to formulate a strategy in response.” (Geo TV, Aug 28)
Noor Wali Mehsud said, in a recent interview with CNN, that his group will continue its war against Pakistan security forces and its goal is to take control and free the border region. Mehsud also admitted that his group has a good relation with the Afghan Taliban, hoping to benefit from their victories across the border.
Despite an ideological convergence, there appears many differences between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban. The Afghan Taliban condemned the killing of children in APS Peshawar. Condemning the attack, Zabihullah Mujahid said, “The killing of innocent people, children and women are against the basic teachings of Islam and this criterion should be considered by every Islamic party and government.”
The Afghan Taliban emerged in 1990, while the TTP in 2007. The TTP has a separate chain of command. Although the two groups’ aims overlap, they do not match. The TTP, unlike the Afghan Taliban, has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US. The two has different sponsors. The TTP is closer to the global jihadist agenda of targeting the far enemy. The Time Square bombing in 2010 and killing of Chinese nationals are the examples in this regard.
Both work with Al Qaeda. In the case of the TTP, this relation is stronger. Al Qaeda has played an instrumental role in the foundation, rise and expansion of the TTP. Although both are the Pashtuns, but the Taliban belong to Afghan tribes and the TTP is from the Mehsud tribe. The Afghan Taliban are more unified than the TTP.
Asfandyar Mir, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University for International Security and Cooperation, said, “Both Jalal and Siraj Haqqani mediated ‘jirgas’ to resolve the organizational issues and factionalism in the TTP.”
The TTP has also tried to diversify its recruitment and banned groups like the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) as well as Balochistan insurgency. The TTP makes it clear that ‘it does not entirely agree with the ideology of those movements but has sympathies with those being targeted by Pakistan establishment’. (Faran Jeffery)
The Diplomat reported that the Haqqani-sponsored talks between Pakistan and TTP had failed in 2020. The Taliban have generally been hesitant to push the TTP too hard. Rahimullah Yousufzai, a security analyst, said, “The Afghan Taliban, or for that matter, the Haqqani’s, could have done more to restraint the TTP from attacking Pakistan but that has not happened.” Asfandyar Mir said, “The Afghan Taliban have never meaningfully condemned or restrained the TTP from carrying out violence in Pakistan.” (TRT)
After the withdrawal of US-led coalition forces from Afghanistan, the evolving security situation of the region requires that Pakistan should play a more proactive role in manipulating this delicate balance between TTP and the Afghan Taliban. Otherwise, the chances of peace for the region are not sure.
The Taliban-Afghanistan Dilemmas
The Blitzkrieg winning back of Afghanistan by the Taliban with the concomitant US pullout established Taliban 2.0 in Kabul. But this has created a number of dilemmas for the stakeholding states. The latter include Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours, viz. Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, China in the northeast and Pakistan to the east. Russia is also affected since it considers former Central Asian Soviet republics like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as its backyard and since Moscow has its own share of extremist-secessionist problems in Chechnya. It is also worried about Islamic fundamentalism spreading to its Muslim population concentrated around its major cities and the Caucasus.
The dilemmas are as follows:
I. If the US-led withholding of economic aid and international recognition continues in essence, then conditions– as it is they are bad enough in Afghanistan—will further deteriorate. This will lead to greater hunger, unemployment and all-round economic deprivation of the masses. Such dystopia will generate more refugees in droves as well as terrorists who will spill out to seek greener pastures beyond the country’s borders.
Such condition will in turn mean a life-threatening headache for not only Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours like Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China and Pakistan but also for more distant lands. The liberal democracies of Europe. Germany, France, Italy, the UK and others have already had their share of refugees—and terrorists—when waves from an unsettled Syria hit them way back in 2015. Chancellor Angela Merkel even decided to act magnanimously and opened Germany’s doors to a million fleeing the civil war in Syria. Such acceptance of refugees from Asia and Africa in Europe, however, boosted right-wing parties like the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and other movements throughout that continent. As a result the easy cross-border movements within the European Union came to be partly restricted in order to keep unwanted refugees out. Calls went out for hardening the external borders of the EU against more refugee invasion. The EU also made arrangements with Turkey to absorb and manage the refugee onrush in exchange for fat amounts of the Euro.
The prospects of a second such wave of refugees desperate not only to escape the clutches of the medieval Taliban but to find a promising future and remarkably better living conditions in the advanced lands of Europe are giving nightmares to the governments of the latter countries.
There seems to be a growing consensus among many in the international community that not only purely humanitarian but also larger economic aid to the Taliban-run Afghanistan should be extended—and without delay, if only to keep a lid on refugees—and terrorists—spilling across the borders. Islamabad apparently scored a remarkable ‘victory’ over New Delhi when its protégé Taliban replaced the pro-Indian Ghani government. Nevertheless, it is worried about the spillover into its territory across the Durand Line to its west. Pakistan, hence, leads this school of thought most vociferously[i]. It fenced its border with Afghanistan to a significant extent in anticipation of more refugees pouring in. It has been joined in the chorus by Russia, the EU, China, and others. China, for instance, has emphasized the need for releasing funds to Afghanistan at its talks with the G-20 on 23 September.[ii] However, no such stipulation is seen in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) declaration released at the Tajik capital Dushanbe on 17 September, though the document mentions explicitly the need for an “inclusive” government that includes the left-out minorities. India’s presence at the meet may have prevented the inclusion of a funds-release clause.
II. But even if the US unfreezes the $9.25 billion Afghan assets under its control, and allows the IMF and the World Bank to make available other funds and assets to the funds-starved Taliban’s Kabul, a major problem will still linger. This is the question of ‘inclusive’ government, which the Taliban had promised among other things in its February 2020 agreement with the USA at Doha. The composition of the current Taliban government shows the mighty influence of the hardliners within the Taliban, elements like the Haqqani network and the secretive hardcore Kandahar Shura—as opposed to the seemingly more moderate Pakistan-based Quetta Shura. The Prime Minister of Taliban 2.0, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, is on a UN-designated blacklist; its Interior Minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is on the top of the FBI’s most-wanted list with a multi-million dollars reward hanging over his head.
Although the Taliban did not officially take a formal position, a member of the new government in Kabul has also defied calls from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and from other quarters for forming a more ‘inclusive’ government. That would mean more Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras and women holding important positions in the government, a phenomenon markedly absent in the current governmental setup dominated by male Pashtuns. The Taliban member shot back that the current government was as much ‘inclusive’ as it was possible to make and that the Taliban did not care for others to dictate to it what kind of government would suit Afghanistan.
If Taliban 2.0 remains essentially as it is today, with the minorities ignored, this would still create unrest and insurgency in the country. A civil war in the not too distant a future cannot be ruled out. This is the reason that even Pakistan, which certainly would not like to see its protégé Taliban’s power diluted, keeps harping on the ‘inclusive’ clause along with Russia and others.
A civil war will not be confined within the boundaries of Afghanistan but will attract intervention by neighbouring states and other more distant stakeholders like the USA. Tajikistan will continue to back the Tajiks living astride its southern border with Afghanistan. Uzbekistan will do the same with the Afghan Uzbeks. Shia Iran will stand up for the Shia Hazaras while the Western world will, in general, wish to see ‘human rights’ and especially ‘women’s rights’ given full leeway. The Chinese seemed to have cut a deal. They would extend economic aid to Kabul in exchange for assurances that no terrorism or separatism would go out of Afghan territory.
But Taliban 2.0, despite its smooth assurances at Doha and elsewhere, shows no signs of stretching significantly from its understanding of the Sharia law, which it said it wished to uphold as a framework within which all these rights would be respected. There are reports that the US is in talks with Russia seeking a base on Russian territory or again in Tajikistan for its future ‘over-the-horizon’ operations in Afghanistan, starting with monitoring purposes.
In sum, while option I, outlined above, promises an immediate disaster for South Asia and even beyond, option II holds out only marginally better prospects. It still has the Damocles’ sword of the probability of a civil war hanging over the head. The ideal solution would be to widen the Taliban 2.0 government to include the deprived minorities with an eye on keeping an effective lid on social instability. But the prospects for such a solution seem far-fetched, given the apparent domination of the hardliners in Taliban 2.0 and the long-standing animosity between the northern non-Pashtun Afghans and the Pashtun Taliban.. Also, the attacks by other extremist groups like the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), al Qaeda, and the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and so on will unlikely cease, even if option II is fully implemented. These extra-Taliban extremist groups will only encourage the radical elements within the Taliban to opt for more aggressive actions, both within and outside Afghanistan’s borders.
The future in and around Afghanistan looks grim indeed.
[i] Incidentally, the Pashtuns living on both sides of the British-drawn Durand Line of 1893 do not recognise it, and that includes the Taliban)
[ii] Reid Standish report, gandhara.org of rfe/rl.org, 27 September 2021, accessed 14 October 2021, 09.07 Indian Standard Time (IST)… All times henceforth are in IST.
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