Saturday, 31 August 2013

Good nationalists and bad nationalists, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Good nationalists and bad nationalists
Dr Shabir Choudhry      31 August 2013

Just like America has defined Taliban as ‘Good Taliban’ and ‘Bad Taliban’; secret agencies of Pakistan have also defined Kashmiri nationalists as ‘good nationalists’ and ‘bad nationalists’.

In eyes of the Pakistani establishment ‘good nationalists are those who talk about independence of Jammu and Kashmir, but all their efforts are designed to liberate the areas of Jammu and Kashmir under India. They justify taking help (arms, training, money, logistic support, guidance etc.) from Pakistan (also an occupier of Kashmiri territory) to be used against the other occupier – India.

‘Bad nationalists’, in view of the Pakistani establishment are those who have over the years understood their game plan; and want to treat Pakistan as an occupier as well. In view of the ‘bad nationalists’ the Kashmir policy of Pakistan is also imperialist in nature; but they have camouflaged it in name of religion and brotherhood, hence this hypocrisy must be exposed.

Furthermore, these ‘bad nationalists’ say Pakistani establishment has very shrewdly manipulated the situation and transformed Kashmiri rights movement in to a religious dispute, hence growth of the jihadi culture. These ‘bad nationalists’ believe that Pakistani establishment under cover of religion formulated such policies that distorted the real Kashmiri struggle and converted it to a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan; whereas the struggle was for independence of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Also ‘bad nationalists’ believe the wrong and imperialist policies of the Pakistani establishment resulted in the forced division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, hence our continued suffering and miseries. They think the Pakistani establishment has done more political damage to the Kashmir cause than what India has caused; however, India has committed more human rights abuses because of the Pakistani sponsored militancy and jihad since 1989.

The Pakistani establishment on the other hand thinks because the ‘bad nationalists’ do not accept their dictation or do not take the bait, so they must be projected as enemies of Pakistan and friends of India. In other words, their view is a Kashmiri could only be a pro Pakistan or pro India. In their view, those who are truly not pro Pakistan, meaning they do not take overt or covert instructions and support from Pakistan, must be pro India because they believe in democracy, secular society and human rights for all citizens of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Over the years, ‘Bad nationalists’ have become wiser, more pragmatic and realist. They say whereas the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied and struggle must be for unification and independence of the State, but it was wrong policy to send people from Azad Kashmir to ‘liberate’ Kashmir under India. People under the Indian occupation must struggle there, and people under the Pakistani occupation must struggle against the Pakistani occupation. In other words people of Gilgit Baltistan must organise their own struggle, and people of Azad Kashmir must organise their own struggle against those who occupy them. How can we help people of Gilgit Baltistan or people on the Indian side when we are occupied and oppressed ourselves?

These ‘bad nationalists’ believe it was a considered policy of the GHQ of Pakistan to send people from this side of Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian side for the following reasons:
1.      Hot headed Kashmiris from this side could become targets of the Indian bullets;
2.      It will ensure that they pay no attention to their own miseries and miseries of people of Gilgit Baltistan;
3.      It will fuel more anti - India feelings;
4.      It will give this impression that the Kashmiris under Pakistan were happy, and that was why they were going across the LOC to ‘liberate’ their brothers;
5.      And with massive propaganda, it will help to make India defensive on the Kashmir dispute.

‘Good nationalists’ regard Pakistan as a friendly country and take pride in having some association with their secret agencies and political elite. They believe Kashmiris should focus on the ‘liberation of the Indian occupied Kashmir’; while paying some lip service to the situation on the Pakistani side of Kashmir. They justify taking funds, arms, training, logistic support and guidance from the Pakistani secret agencies and use that to ‘liberate’ Kashmir from India, even though the world community regard that as a ‘proxy war’ which was designed to keep India engaged in Kashmir.

Also ‘good nationalists’ happily provide raw materials of human beings to be used in the battlefield against India; and systematically propagate against Indian position in Jammu and Kashmir; while practically hoodwinking what government of Pakistan do to people of Jammu and Kashmir and the Kashmir dispute itself. In many ways the ‘good nationalists’ have practically become a ‘B team’ of the Pakistani establishment; and as a reward they get certain privileges and monetary gains. They are also promoted and acknowledged at the national level; and at times, called to official briefings/consultations, either in Islamabad or in their diplomatic Mission in New Delhi and in other important cities of the world.

India also seems to be comfortable with ‘good nationalists’. Despite serious cases like murder of the army personnel, ‘good nationalists’ are treated like Mughal royalty. They are provided protocol, security and are allowed to travel to New Delhi, visit the Pakistani High Commission and there eat chicken tikkas, shish kebabs, biryani etc and come out with new instructions and, at times, money. They are also allowed to travel to other Embassies, meet diplomats, and address various conferences and seminars held in various parts of India.

As some ‘good nationalists’ are better than others and deserve more attention and privileges, they, despite very serious charges of killings and kidnappings are awarded with an Indian passport ‘despite the provisions of the Passport Act of 1967 prohibiting it’. A Delhi based senior security official, Tulsi once said. “Politics requires that these cases must linger. But that is hardly a long term strategy.”

This situation could be better understood with this real life example. Abbas Butt and I wanted to urgently consult one senior JKLF leader in Srinagar. We phoned his home and we were told by his colleague that there was a demonstration against India this morning and he was arrested. When we told him that we wanted some advice from him on very important issue, his colleague said: phone back at night he will be at home.
Abbas Butt and I were stunned to hear this. What kind of ‘arrest’ was this? The man was arrested in presence of so many people and media for doing something wrong, but his colleague knew his leader would be at home at night. We asked each other, what was going on there. After a bit of discussion we decided to phone another ‘nationalist’ leader in Srinagar and discussed this matter with him.

He laughed and said, ‘Choudhry Sahib you don’t know the ground reality here’. This phrase or sentence, ‘you don’t know the ground reality’ is very often spoken by the Valley based Kashmiris, and I have heard it hundreds of times; and honestly speaking I was sick and tired of this. However, on this occasion without expressing any resentment I asked him, ‘What do you mean by this’?

Summary of his short speech was: When a profile of a leader gets low or when his followers or people in general become little suspicious of his activities, this drama of ‘arrest’ is arranged. He said why is it that some leaders have been ‘attacked’ so many times but they are never injured. This kind of ‘arrest’ and ‘attack’ gives them a new lease of life.

‘This makes a lot of sense’, my colleague Abbas Butt said to me after we disconnected the phone call. He said, ‘this conversation has given us a completely new perspective on the Kashmiri struggle’.

We all know that ‘pro accession’ lobby whether they are on the Indian side of the divide or on the Pakistani side, they benefit from the ‘Kashmiri struggle’ in many shapes and forms; however we learnt that ‘good nationalists’ were also benefiting from the ‘Kashmiri struggle’ and from the miseries of the ordinary citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. May Allah SWT help us and grant us peace, happiness and independence?

Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir 

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