Why There Will Be No Proxy War in Kashmir

The situation, however, will only change if India initiates an armed attack across the international border.

NAJAM UL HASNAIN — There are many intellectuals, TV anchors, panelists and others who are clamoring that Pakistan should somehow initiate a ‘proxy war’ in IOK – and may be extend it to the Indian territory.

There is also an argument that ‘what more’ are we waiting for? Indian Government has detached Ladakh, annexed J&K, and we, here in Pakistan, are still saying that we will fight to the last body.

Proponents of these arguments are rightfully angered, but they forget that the action of Indian Government was not deliberated overnight. Our Kashmiri brothers, by not coming out in unity, like they have done now, gave the Indian Government ample opportunity to act belligerently and annex J&K. All these years, Kashmiris were themselves disunited, and rarely did they demonstrate a consensus on joining with Pakistan. To forget what Sheikh Abdullah did, would be a folly.

In my opinion, there will be no proxy war in IOK.

Simple reason: the reluctance and incapability of the Kashmiris in starting and or sustaining an armed effort.

Freedom Fighters have the unique characteristic that they are willing to enter into a hand-to-hand combat, they will take the risk of attacking an armed soldier of the enemy and some very courageous youngsters will even stand up in the face of an approaching tank.

There are many volunteers in such freedom fighting groups, who are willing to sacrifice their lives. Such daring freedom fighters are not deterred nor frightened by the weaponry of their adversary. They are willing to give up their lives for a larger gain.

Most of us don’t seem to understand, that none of these events are going to happen in IOK – at least not in the immediate future.

To date, we have not seen a single Indian soldier being attacked by the Kashmiris, there has not been one instance of a rifle being snatched away from a soldier, nor has there even been an attempt to attack any Indian Army installation and/or an ammunition depot.

The Kashmiri youth has taken one step forward from pelting stones: in that they have constructed some trenches and have started a guard system to monitor movements of the Indian soldiers. At this rate, they will be completely wiped out before they can even fire the first bullet.

Freedom Fighters are much more brutal, much more fierce and take actions much beyond pelting stones and staging processions.

Situation in IOK has gone past processions and protests though. These affect saner communities and sections of societies– which reportedly has in the India; they however will have no effect on the present Indian setup and groupthink led by Modi.

There are a few religious and neo-religious outfits, led by one religio-political party who want to send ‘volunteers’ across the LOC. An announcement from tribal areas has also been circulated. Recently, in an emotional address to the Pakistan Parliamentarians, the PM of AJK almost demanded that the Pakistan Armed Forces attack Srinagar. Unfortunately, he doesn’t fully comprehend the severe implications of such an outlandish act. We are in 2019, not in 1948, when most Armed Forces could walk into other territories and claim ownership.  The world has become a much more complex place to live.

Any movement of ‘volunteers’ across the LOC would be disastrous for Pakistan. People have forgotten that soon after Rahul Gandhi was refused entry in IOK, he gave a statement that terrorists from Azad Kashmir (he didn’t use the word Azad Kashmir) have crossed LOC and are being launched into IOK .

Such is the fear of Modi’s machinery that even Gandhi is singing to their tune.

Volunteers who may try to cross the LOC will be labeled ‘terrorists’; the international media will be activated and FATF (the Asia Pacific Group has three of its members from India) will come into action. IMF will not like to be left behind, and will also spring into action.

Those knowing the mechanics of international relations will fully understand what will it lead to.

The most distressing aspect of such an eventuality will be that these volunteers would not have accomplished any material gains at all, and they would have brought hell on Pakistan.

Respected PM of AJK and all those supporting armed support for the Kashmiris in IOK should first convince Kashmiris to fight for their own freedom. They should not rely on mercenaries/fighters from outside their land, lest they end up in a terrible situation like Iraq, Syria, etc. where Jehadis brought havoc on local population– Pakistan has always said it provides moral and political support to Kashmiris for their right to self-determination. That has been an accepted fact internationally.

Until and unless Kashmiri youth acquire skills and training in hand-to-hand combat, handling small arms and other similar trainings, they will not be able to raise the level of their struggle. Pakistan Armed Forces have no role in this aspect. And, non-state actors from Pakistan should also stay out of IOK.

The situation, however, will only change if India initiates an armed attack across the international border.

The writer is a professional based in Karachi.