OPINION: Kashmiris Moment of Truth
‘It was only recently that the whole of the Kashmiri people declared they want to join Pakistan.’
NAJAM UL HASNAIN: Some educated and knowledgeable people have compared the Afghan Taliban’s Struggle with the Kashmiri Freedom Struggle, and they imply that Kashmiris should start an armed struggle.
They have a point, but the problem is that there is no parallel at all, and Kashmiris may not be able to convert their struggle into an armed one.
1. Every Afghan household has a fighter. It’s in their blood to fight for their honor, family, tribe, etc. Kashmiris, on the other hand are not fighters.
2. There were “set ups” which were willing to supply/sell arms and weapons to Afghans in general and to the Taliban in particular– and sped up in the late 70s. Kashmiris do not have any such organizations to support them though.
3. These “set ups” trained Afghans on various types of arms and weapons use. That was majorly amiss in Kashmir in an organized manner over the same period– even earlier.
5. The Afghans (particularly Taliban) have a “source of income”, which they use to buy arms and weapons, while Kashmiris do not have that kind of “source of income”.
6. From day one, Afghans knew what they wanted. Kashmiris on the other hand, could not develop a consensus as to what they wanted. There are more than 20 political parties in IOK, and they all have their own agenda. Some want to join India (biggest of all was Sheikh Abdullah, whose family has now openly regretted having opted for India); there are some who see Kashmir as an independent entity; and there are some who want to join Pakistan. There are more variants to these options though. It was only recently that the whole of the Kashmiri people declared they want to join Pakistan. And interestingly, this is also the first time that Pakistanis have started using the slogan “Kashmir Banay Ga Pakistan”.
Earlier, we used to talk about right of self determination for the Kashmiri people, but not any more. Modi should get the credit for these two significant developments.
In all fairness, Kashmiris are to blame themselves for their misery, persecution and oppression. Given their culture, social structure and traditions, they need help to get them out of this quagmire. Pakistan is trying its level best to get the international community to pressurize India to give Kashmiris their constitutional rights. But given Modi’s plan for the future of Kashmir, India is not likely to give any heed to any of these pressures. Modi government seems to have the full support of some international countries, and they may not stop at anything.
What are the options for Kashmiris?
They should unite and raise the level of their struggle ‘from pelting stones’.
If Kashmiris cannot do so, then they should prepare themselves for either migrating, or else they may be exterminated.
The writer is a Pakistani professional based in Karachi.