Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Why Kashmir first? M ASHRAF

Why Kashmir first? M ASHRAF 
If Kashmir is to be redeemed and saved, then every Kashmiri must adopt the maxim, “Kashmir First” in every aspect of life
For every Kashmiri, the most important thing at the moment is the “Kashmir First”. It is Kashmir which gives him his identity. Here, one recalls a saying about a blade of grass growing on a piece of land. It has been said that every blade of grass in the world has a piece of land in which it has its roots. It is from this piece of land that the blade of grass draws its nourishment and has an identity.
Without that it becomes meaningless. Similarly, we too have our roots in the soil of Kashmir and draw our nourishment from it. Without Kashmir we will become just dried blades of grass tossed by winds from place to place!
At the present moment, the slogan “Kashmir First” has assumed tremendous importance in view of the onslaughts on Kashmir’s every aspect. For last 68 years Kashmir has faced onslaught culturally including slow and steady erosion of Kashmiri language. Kashmir’s environment has been vandalised under the garb of Tourism which is deliberately projected as the back bone of Kashmir’s economy even though it is not true. Traditionally and historically, Kashmir has an agriculture based economy.
The greatest resource of Kashmir, the free flowing water has been virtually stolen by the new “East India Company”! These waters have been virtually divided as spoils of war by our two neighbours. That too with international backing! 
All these years, money, material and blackmail have been used to subdue Kashmiris. Kashmir itself has been converted into a prison with almost one armed soldier looking after every five Kashmiris. Outwardly Kashmiris seem to have been subdued or appear helpless because of an army of collaborators from every section of the society.
However, internally people are extremely alienated. Especially the youth, the new generation brought up in the turmoil of nineties. They are totally uncompromising and Kashmir’s only hope. As regards the leaders, the so called mainstream ones have been materially and morally corrupted through and through. The so called “popular” ones seem to have been paralysed by an endless internal bickering. 
The Kashmiris have somehow managed to live on in spite of being made economically totally dependent on dole and subjected to repeated cultural and social assaults. However, now a physical assault is being unleashed to demographically displace them from the land where they been living from the earliest times. It started with the feelers for setting up of Panun Kashmir, a Kashmiri Pandit homeland in Pahalgam-Sonamarg area around the famous Amarnath pilgrimage. The first backlash was the Amarnath land transfer agitation of 2008 following which government had to hurriedly give up the idea. Next came the composite townships on the Israeli pattern. Again there was hue and cry which made the proposal go into limbo. Then suggestions were floated for settling ex-Army men in a Sainik Colony near Srinagar Airport. Now, the attack has been mounted on Article 35-A to somehow allow outsiders to own land and property in Kashmir. Article 370 has already been under bombardment since its very introduction in the Indian constitution to guard special status of Kashmir. It has been used in practice as a tunnel to push in every Indian law to take away Kashmir’s special status which it was supposed to guard. The latest in this regard is the Central Statistical Law to allow gathering of information about state subjects by the Central Government directly. Now, only a hollow shell of 370 remains. In spite of that it is a psychological assurance that Kashmir has not been fully merged into the Indian Union. 
Incidentally, the proposed talks between India and Pakistan have been cancelled on Kashmir itself. Pakistan has insisted on “Kashmir First”. India on the other hand is saying “Terrorism First” even though it is internationally accepted that the main cause of the conflict between these two neighbours giving rise to “Terrorism” is Kashmir. Incidentally, within the state, the Jammu is always for “Jammu First”! It has grown to be a metropolis. This is because of its politicians, because of its bureaucrats and because of its people. In contrast, Kashmir has virtually sunk in every respect to the lowest depths because of its politicians, because of its bureaucrats and because of its people! If Kashmir is to be redeemed and saved, then every Kashmiri must adopt the maxim, “Kashmir First” in every aspect of life. Otherwise Kashmiris as a nation are doomed to oblivion.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Meeting of National Security Advisors and Kashmir, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Meeting of National Security Advisors and Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry 21 August 2015

Once again top officials of India and Pakistan are to meet to discuss Kashmir dispute and other outstanding issues; and as always is the case the meeting has generated a lot of interest and controversy.

Some Pakistani TV anchors say Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor is no match to his counterpart Ajit Doval. To express such negative remarks about a Pakistani negotiator a few days before the talks could not be seen as patriotism or pro Pakistan gesture. If a Kashmiri analyst had expressed similar views he would have been branded as a ‘traitor’, ‘anti Pakistan’ and an ‘Indian agent’.

Other Pakistani analysts lament that it is waste of time because India is not sincere in any dialogue to resolve Kashmir dispute or any of the outstanding issues. Allegations and counter allegations and exchange of heavy gun fire across the Line of Control and on the working boundary further aggravate the tense situation.

Both sides accuse each other for starting the gun fire, but as far as we people of Jammu and Kashmir are concerned bombs of both India and Pakistan kill us, intimidate us and destroy our houses and crops. We request both countries to stop this unnecessary fighting over Kashmir; and let people of Jammu and Kashmir live normal life until they get their unfettered right of self determination.

The invitation of Pakistan to meet some Valley based Kashmiris in Delhi has also added to the problems and bitterness. India is not happy with this invitation and asked Pakistan that ‘it would not be appropriate for Mr. Sartaj Aziz to meet with Hurriyat representatives during his visit to India’.

Pakistani government has decided to brush aside the Indian view point; and has expressed their desire to meet Muslim leaders of Kashmir Valley. In their view Pakistani officials have always interacted with the Hurriyat leadership during their visits to India; and there was no logical reason to depart from that established practice.

These bilateral talks and invitation to some Muslim leaders of the Valley to meet Sartaj Aziz is also opposed by many political parties of Jammu and Kashmir. Thinking people of Jammu and Kashmir ask why is it that Pakistan is only interested in meeting Muslim leaders of the Kashmir Valley. If they were interested in Jammu and Kashmir and people of the former Princely State or peace and stability then they should have interacted with leaders from Ladakh and Jammu too.

The Kashmir dispute is fundamentally a political dispute, however, over the past decades Pakistani governments have worked hard to give it a religious flavour; and by meeting only Muslims of the Valley, Pakistan want to communalise the Kashmiri independence struggle and divide people of Jammu and Kashmir on religious lines.

This policy of the Pakistani establishment is essential to justify the Two Nations Theory; and promote religious intolerance, hatred and extremism, which in view of many is part of their foreign policy tool.

If Pakistani government was so sincere with people of Jammu and Kashmir; and seriously wanted to ascertain views of the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir then they should have also consulted political parties in Azad Kashmir and in Gilgit Baltistan, which are occupied by Pakistan. Pakistani policy is clear that they are only interested with the Muslim leaders of the Valley?
Agenda for talks

Both India and Pakistan have somewhat different emphasis and view on the agenda of talks. Indian officials claim that India Pakistan NSA level talks are being held to discuss terrorism and issues related to extremism and violence. The Pakistani officials on the other hand assert that there is a comprehensive agenda for the National Security Advisors meeting that includes all outstanding issues between the two countries, including Kashmir.

In response to that, spokesperson for Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup criticised Pakistan for trying to impose new conditions for the talks. He said, "The distortion of agreed agenda cannot be a basis for going forward, Pakistan cannot impose new conditions for talks". He further said ‘there were only two stakeholders in Kashmir, not three, effectively ruling out the participation of the Hurriyat leaders before any bilateral meeting’.

Because of the tension and different views on the agenda of talks, some people feared that the talks may be cancelled. I, however, believe the talks will take place as planned, but the Indian focus would be on terrorism and issues related to Dawood Ibrahim, India’s most wanted man; and matters related to 26/11, Hafiz Saeed and Commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Ajit Doval may present a dossier on Dawood Ibrahim and his likely location.

Ajit Doval, who accompanied Prime Minster Modi to UAE, made a considerable progress and obtained details of Dawood Ibrahim’s properties in UAE; and urged the authorities to seize these properties. India believes that Dawood is hiding in Pakistan, and that Pakistani officials know where he is. During the meeting Ajit Doval will urge Sartaj Aziz to show his sincerity by nailing him down.

People of Jammu and Kashmir express their resentment on these talks and urge that India and Pakistan cannot resolve the Kashmiri dispute bilaterally. Kashmir is not a territorial dispute, they assert, and demand that leaders who represent true aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir State must be made part of the dialogue process.

In principle this is the correct stand; but problem is who will represent people of Jammu and Kashmir on the negotiating table? I know many people won’t like it, but fact is people of Jammu and Kashmir are just as confused today as they were confused many years ago in 1947. Despite all the suffering and hardship, unfortunately they have not learnt any lessons.

Still people are not sure what they want. Do they want azadi – independence or ghulami - slavery of India or Pakistan? Do they want democratic and plural society in Jammu and Kashmir or a society based on religious beliefs? Still some of them are waving Pakistani flags and some are waving Indian flags; and some are burning Indian flags and some are burning Pakistani flags. Now a new flag is also being introduced in the troubled polity of Jammu and Kashmir – a flag of ISIS, savage and notorious gang of terrorists who kill and torture people in name of Islam.

Not only thinking and concerned people of Jammu and Kashmir are bewildered by this illogical and anti people, anti peace and anti Kashmir behaviour; but non Kashmiris are also perplexed and wonder after all what do people of Jammu and Kashmir want.

I want to conclude that with this confused strategy and misplaced loyalty people of Jammu and Kashmir will remain forcibly divided; and they will continue to suffer. It is also possible that India and Pakistan have another military confrontation which may draw in to conflict other stakeholders with disastrous consequences.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.

Friday, 21 August 2015

US Set to Suspend Military Aid to Pakistan, by Ankit Panda

US Set to Suspend Military Aid to Pakistan, bAnkit Panda
August 21, 2015

The U.S. government will withhold certification of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations against the Haqqani network.
The United States government will not certify Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations in North Waziristan over recent months as adequately damaging to the Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated terror group. The U.S. Department of Defense has reportedly notified the Pakistani embassy in Washington of the development, according to a report by Dawn. The non-certification of the Pakistani counter-terror campaign, known as Operation Zarb-e-Azb, will block the release of a new tranche of U.S. financial assistance for the Pakistani military from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). CSF support had been extended for a year with a specific stipulation that the U.S. Department of Defense would certify the effectiveness of Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan against the Haqqani network.
The development would drive a major wedge between the United States and Pakistan, two allies who have grown apart over their divergent interests and priorities in stabilizing the broader Afghan-Pakistan border. Beyond the financial implications of the blocked CSF tranche, the development will deal Islamabad a politically damaging blow. As the Dawn report notes, given the recent deterioration in ties with Kabul amid allegations from the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, that Pakistani has inadequately reigned in cross-border terrorists, including militants affiliated with the Haqqani network, the U.S. government’s decision to withhold certification vindicate Afghan perceptions.
The suspension of the next CSF tranche, once confirmed, will certainly sour U.S.-Pakistan ties, which haven’t been quite normal since 2011, when the United States’ most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, was killed by U.S. commandos in a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan. With Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s scheduled state visit planned for October, Washington will have some time to work out their differences. The extent to which the CSF tranche suspension will affect Pakistan’s defense spending is unclear—reports earlier this year suggested that Islamabad had counted “payment from the United States’ coalition support fund for coalition forces in Afghanistan who are using Pakistani territory for logistic support” as part of its overall budget. Pakistan received last month’s tranche of $337 million from the United States, though suspension now will mean Islamabad will fall short of receiving the expected $1.5 billion in CSF aid for the current fiscal year.
In a coincidence of timing, reports that the U.S. government would withhold certification of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations came as Pakistan and Russia concluded a major defense deal for the sale of four Mi-35 Hind attack helicopters. As I noted last year, Russia lifted its self-imposed arms embargo on weapons deliveries to Pakistan, taking advantage, in part, of Islamabad’s recognition of souring ties with the United States and Moscow’s own search for new defense customers. The Mi-35 deal could lead to a broader Pakistan-Russia defense relationship but there will be some constraints for the two sides as they seek to expand cooperation, particularly Russia’s significantly broader defense commercial relationship with India.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Modi steps into Pakistan UAE breach, JAWED NAQVI

NEW DELHI: Has Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped into the recent breach between Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates over Islamabad’s refusal to actively join the Yemen war against the Houthi fighters? 
Indian media was clear that Mr Modi, on the last day of a two-day visit to Abu Dhabi and Dubai on Monday, made veiled but unmistakable references to Pakistan, particularly in the context of terrorism, during a large public address to the Indian community.
“I am sure those that are being discussed here know it’s about them,” he said at the Dubai cricket stadium to loud applause. A joint statement between the two countries has a few pointers to the implicit Pakistan angle.
He mentioned every South Asian country, from Afghanistan to Bangladesh, as a partner in India’s progress, saying: “Those who do not wish to join us can choose their own destiny.”
The first prime ministerial visit from India “after 34 years marks the beginning of a new and comprehensive strategic partnership between India and UAE in a world of multiple transitions and changing opportunities and challenges,” the statement said.
The joint statement spoke of an extensive framework of agreements, including economic, defence, security, law enforcement, culture, consular and people-to-people contacts constitute solid bedrock for elevating bilateral cooperation across the full spectrum of our relationship.
“The two nations reject extremism and any link between religion and terrorism. They condemn efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries,” the statement said. “They also deplore efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and disputes, including in West and South Asia, and use terrorism to pursue their aims.” Only in April this year, as Pakistani lawmakers called for the government to remain neutral in the crisis in Yemen, they evoked a strong response from the United Arab Emirates.
“The vague and contradictory stands of Pakistan and Turkey are an absolute proof that Arab security — from Libya to Yemen — is the responsibility of none but Arab countries,” UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash said at the time. References that might have once applied to ties with Pakistan were replete with India in Monday’s statement. It said: “Proximity, history, cultural affinity, strong links between people, natural synergies, shared aspirations and common challenges create boundless potential for a natural strategic partnership between India and UAE.
“Yet, in the past, relations between the two governments have not kept pace with the exponential growth in relations between their people or the promise of this partnership. However, the need for a close strategic partnership between UAE and India has never been stronger or more urgent, and its prospects more rewarding, than in these uncertain times.”
Several references to terrorism and related issues that India usually applies to Pakistan featured in the joint statement.
The two would “coordinate efforts to counter radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred, perpetrating and justifying terrorism or pursuing political aims. The two sides will facilitate regular exchanges of religious scholars and intellectuals and organise conferences and seminars to promote the values of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and welfare that is inherent in all religions.”
Most significantly perhaps, they denounced and opposed “terrorism in all forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, calling on all states to reject and abandon the use of terrorism against other countries, dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they exist, and bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice.”
India and the UAE will enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity building. They plan to work together for the adoption of India’s proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations.
With implications for the underworld, they would come “together to control, regulate and share information on flow of funds that could have a bearing on radicalisation activities and cooperate in interdicting illegal flows and take action against concerned individuals and organisations.”
They plan to strengthen cooperation in “law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug trafficking, other trans-national crimes, extradition arrangements, as well as police training.”
Indian newspapers say they have not been able to find any other reason for Mr Modi’s sudden rush to the UAE.
Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2015

Monday, 17 August 2015

Operation Gibraltar, R S Gull

Operation Gibraltar, R S Gull
August 10th, 2015    Kashmir Life. net
Half a century eclipsed since Pakistani dictator Ayub Khan pushed regulars disguised as Mujahedeen behind enemy lines into Kashmir thinking it would fetch him the Vale and arrest his unpopularity. His coterie’s make-believe plan boomeranged, triggering a full blown war in September 1965 that threatened Lahore. R S Gull revisits the forgotten era that marked death of Kashmir’s student activism, introduced war-destruction, degraded the status of the dispute and changed Kashmir forever by romanticizing violence.
Pakistan’s military historians consumed last 50 years in understanding why Operation Gibraltar happened. Blame game is still on. Diversity of narratives, however, indicates “interesting times” in Delhi, Islamabad and Srinagar.
During October 1962 Sino-Indian war, US President John F Kennedy offered military assistance to Delhi and ensured Islamabad stayed away. Seemingly, US wanted using the conflict to bring reconciliation between the two neighbours. Between December 27, 1962 and May 16, 1963 there were six rounds between Foreign Ministers, Swaran Singh and Zulfikar Ali Bhutoo. Initiative proved stillborn.
Srinagar erupted over the mysterious disappearance of holy relic on December 26, 1963. Once it was rediscovered and restored, the agitation diverted to the demand for releasing Sheikh Abdullah. Pandit Nehru who understood the pulse, set Sheikh free and sent him to Islamabad on May 24, 1964 to become a bridge between the two countries. On the fourth day of his visit, Nehru died, forcing Sheikh’s returnhome.
With Lal Bahadur Shastri replacing Nehru, Sheikh was detained (May 1965) after his return from Haj pilgrimage via London and Algiers. Holy Relic agitation endedBakhshi Ghulam Mohammad’s totalitarian and corrupt regime and, for the first time, people were feeling they can breathe easily. Initially Shamsuddin Kath, his puppet replaced him and later Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq took over in 1965 till 1971. But Bakhshi had initiated certain long term measures well before.
On October 3, 1963, Bakshi announced J&K’s Sadar-i-Riyasat and Prime Minister would now be Governor and the Chief Minister. Six individuals representing J&K in Lok Sabha and nominated by the state legislature would now be directly elected.
Delhi extended Articles 356 and 357 (imposition of governor’s rule by the President and subsequent takeover of legislative authority by the parliament) of Indian Constitution to J&K on December 21, 1964. Soon after, ruling Congress in Delhi announced on January 9, 1965 that it would establish the party in J&K. Seeing deliberate and swift attempts at integrating J&K into India, at the cost of autonomythat was negotiated between 1947, at the time of accession, and 1952, Sheikh’s National Conference (operating under Plebiscite Front then) drummed up protests as Islamabad strongly reacted to the moves.
“Undoing of Bakhshi made Kashmir happy but the pent up anger started coming out,” a top student leader of that era who retired as a senior bureaucrat said on the condition of anonymity. “Chief Minister Sadiq told us he would not stop youth activism as long as it is non-violent, no stone pelting and it encouraged us to the extent that we had a one-mile long procession to UNMOGIP and the then Australian Chief Military Observer  General Robert H Nimmo came out and made a speech to us.”
Islamabad, for the first time, was economically better as its currency was valuing more against dollar than the Indian rupee. With US tanks and aircrafts, it was feeling superior to India, especially after being defeated by China. But there were apprehensions that Islamabad may lose its assumed superiority in a few years as Delhi was on a shopping spree.
Icing on the cake was growing unpopularity of Ayub Khan. The last push to his popularity was when his sons kidnapped the daughter of a police officer and he looked the other way. Nawab of Kalabagh resigned in protest. Soon after came his two sons opening fire in Karachi, killing 30 people and then rigging an election to retain power. “Perhaps he felt that by becoming the liberator of Kashmir he would redeem himself in the eyes of the people,” Brigadier Shaukat Qadir, a 1965 war veteran, wrote in his paper The 1965 War-A Comedy of Errors. “… such a venture he hoped to unite the people, for there is little doubt that there has never been greater unity in the country than in the period of the war and immediately after.” He flew to China on March 2, 1965 for three days.
Khan’s discovery Bhuttoo wanted his pie in the cake. Years later, Shabir Choudhary, the UK-based PaK academic-activist with clear anti-Islamabad bias, quoted intellectual Tariq Ali saying in US: “Until these generals are not defeated it is not possible to get in power in Pakistan.”
All this started showing. On April 9, 1965 the rival armies in the Rann of Kutch exchanged fire and it flared up. To reduce Islamabad’s advantage, India made deployments on Punjab border and captured three of Pakistani outposts – Point 13620, Saddle and Black Rocks, in Kargil. With third party mediation, the two sides signed ceasefire agreement on July 1, 1965.
By May, Op Gibraltar was in fast forward mode. The plan envisaged converting 5000 to 10000-strong Gibraltar Force into 10 groups with separate identities and infiltrating them into in ten different areas of J&K: Salahuddin for Srinagar,Ghaznavi (Rajauri), Tariq (Kargil), Babur (Nowshera-Sundarbani), Qasim(Bandipura), Khalid (Qazinag-Naugam), Nusrat (Karnah), Sikandar (Gurez), Khilji(Kel-Minimarg).
Every force controlled by a Major and commanded by Captain rank officer was a mix of Razakaars, “civilian workers” and soldiers from Azad Kashmir Regiment. Attired in green shalwar-kameez, they would carry a cash of Rs 10,000, a lot of ammunition and sneak in. Unlike soldiers, recoded evidence suggests Razakaarsjoined involuntarily and the process had started soon after the Sino-Indian war.
They have radio sets but, a general belief in Srinagar is, that they would get directions from the public broadcasts that a newly floated radio station Sada-ie-Kashmir would make.
Available military commentary suggests the objectives included provoking Kashmir to rebel, resorting to sabotage, destroying bridges, police stations, barracks and infrastructure thus exposing Delhi’s claim that Kashmir was its part or it was under her control and eventually forcing Delhi to come on negotiating table. These objectives were to be achieved assuming Kashmir will support infiltrators, and India  may retaliate in PaK but will never cross international border.
The brutally bold plan faced scathing criticism at home. Soon after being briefed by General Akhtar Hussain Malik, the Commander of Gibraltar Force at Muree, Colonel Syed Ghaffar Mehdi, who headed elite Special Services Group (SSG) termed it childish and bizarre. “…I then asked him, when he expected to launch theMujahedeen?”  Mehdi told in a long revealing interview to Sultan M Hali, a former PAF Group Captain, now a defence analyst. “When he said July, the same year, I nearly choked. I had initially assumed the plan to materialize in a year or two. I told him ‘you will never get away with it’.” Mehdi sent an adverse communication to higher ups against the idea and was eventually replaced by July 30!
“According to (retired) Brigadier Isahaq and Brigadier Salahuddin 98% of the mujahids were forcibly included in the force, and these were the people who had no means to pay bribe to the local police,” Shabir Choudhary, wrote. “Even people from my own village, including some of my relatives, were rounded up and taken to the training camps.”
Two top Kashmir leaders Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas and K H Khurshid had dissociated with the idea.
Operation was not a secret. Mohammad Din, a Gujjar boy from Darra Kassi near Gulmarg, was approached by a group on August 5, 1965 and the official history credits him for the exposure. A quick encounter led to seven killings of infiltrators. Almost same day, Wazir Mohammed of Galuthi (Mendhar) altered army. On August 8, two Captain’s Ghulam Hussain and Mohammed Sajjad were captured near Narian and they gave whatever they knew. Aakashwani broadcast their interviews the same day!
In their joint IDSA (Institute of Defence and Strategic Affairs) paper Operation Gibraltar: An Uprising that Never Was, former top soldiers P K Chakravorty and Gurmeet Kanwal said they were supposed to mingle with crowds celebrating the festival of Pir Dastagir Sahib on August 8, 1965 and joining a political demonstration a day later and taking over the Radio Kashmir, Airport and other vital installations. “Success in these operations would lead to a Revolutionary Council proclaiming itself as the lawful government, which would then broadcast an appeal for recognition and assistance from all countries, especially Pakistan,” the paper reads. “This was to be the signal for the Pakistani Army to move further and consolidate the process.”
Kashmir was not taken by surprise. “Far from rising up in arms, the local population denied any support and, in many instances handed over the infiltrators to Indian troops,” Shaukat Qadir wrote. But Colonel Mansha Khan told historian Justice Yousaf Saraf: “They (infiltrators) could not have come alive if the Valley people had not risked their lives and honour for the Mujahideen.”
A young lieutenant Lehrasab Khan who was part of the action and eventually became Lt Gen, experienced the crisis personally. “The civilian population was also non cooperative because of the fear of Indian retaliation,” Khan told Hali. “Even the logistic supplies reportedly dumped for use by the Gibraltar Force were not available to us. We saw signs where perhaps the dumping had been placed but was either pilfered or removed before we got there.”
“Poor Kashmiris were made the scapegoats. They were never consulted, not even informed that a war of liberation of Kashmir was being started,” Muzaffarabad journalist Mir Abdul Aziz (died February 2002) has told many researchers. He had written on the subject in newspapers too insisting the fighters infiltrated into Kashmir had linguistic barrier. “The whole affair was a wild goose chase.”
Mujahedeen went to shops and asked for dho seir ata meaning two kilo flour, but they asked in weights which were abolished a long time ago,” Mir observed. “Also the request for atta was enough to expose them that they were not Kashmiris.”
But how far is it correct that the Kashmir leadership of that time was kept ignorant of the happenings.
Khawaja Sanaullah Bhat, the editor of Aftaab was contemporary and a well connected editor. Personally informed by Chief Minister Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq about armed Pakistani intrusion on August 8 – the day Kashmir was on a strike, Bhat in his Kashmir: 1947 Say 1977 Tak has recorded the “mysterious” decision that “leaders of the Movement” took the same evening. Venue for the public meeting at Khanyar on August 9 was shifted to Mujahid Manzil where Moulana Mohammad Sayeed Masoodi advising people to maintain peace and law and order and avoid taking rumours seriously.
“Whatever is happening around you, watch it patiently,” Bhat quotes the political cleric saying. “These are critical times and any small mistake can land you in problems. We are peace loving people, and want to settle our issues peacefully and legally…”
Srinagar was disturbed, panicky and apprehensive. Clashes were taking place in city outskirts and these reached near Bemina. Bhat refers to the August 14, morning meeting between top Army commanders, Chief Minister and his aides, where it was decided that Batamaloo, Sadiq’s ancestral mohalla currently in control of intruders should be set afire, an operation accomplished same evening.
Biggest catch in Bhat’s book lies in his August 18, meeting with Munshi Isaq, two days after latter’s “dramatic” resignation as Plebiscite Front president.
“We have lost the best opportunity to get freedom,” Bhat quotes Munshi telling him ‘almost in confidence’. “Nobody listened to me as everybody in their bid to stay safe, destroyed the entire plan.”
“It had already been decided that we will not stay aloof at this juncture. We had already talked to Pakistan and I had supported their plan….But we (leaders) were frustrated, in a fix and cowards and avoided supporting (to create public opinion),” Munshi tells the journalist. “I saw tears in Munishi’s eyes and the room turned silent, I stayed a bit and then left.”
In his book Nida-ie-Haq, Munshi Ghulam Hassan, Isaq’s son offers a slightly detailed version. The news of the plan was shared by Plebiscite Front’s underground leader Ghulam Mohammad Bhaderwahi to Isaq and to Masoodi. “Sometime later, Rehmatullah, an informer from Pakistan High Commission in Delhi came and had separate meetings with Molvi Masoodi, Molvi Mohammad Farooq and Ghulam Mohuddin Qarra informing them they should arrange a public meeting on August 9 which Mujahedeen will join,” Munshi wrote in his diary, on basis of which his son compiled the book. “He had got some money too and later through his brother-in-law Abdul Jabbar he sent lot of money to Molvi Farooq, Ghulam Mohiuddin Qarra and Mubarak Shah Baramulla…I got to know all this on August 5, 1954.”
Isaq has recorded that a herdsman informed him about the intrusion of hundreds of Mujahedeen on August 5. “I took them to Masoodi and Qarra and they were not surprised,” Isaq wrote. Next day when a Front worker Ahmad Shah Bazaz of Khanqah got one of the intruders with him, Masoodi and Qarra informed him that the local government is aware of the intrusion and army is ready. “Go home or you will be killed,” they advised him. “…These two leaders had alerted the government …On August 9, 1965 Molvi Mohammad Farooq insisted the procession be taken out but the two leaders used their influence and cancelled the procession.” Isaq singled out that while Batamaloo was destroyed, Qarra’s property stayed untouched.
It lacks any reference to its sources but Shabnum Qayoom’s Kashmir Ka Siyasi Inquilab offers a literally damning version of things. Ayub Khan, the book says had sent two army officers Colonel Mushtaq Ahmad and Subaidar Major Sadiq Ali to Srinagar for a meeting with Isaq, Masoodi and Farooq on June 12. “They gave them four lakh rupees and left with a promise of two more,” Qayoom writes. By then intrusion had started and the basic idea was to implement the plan on July 13 itself when 150 armed men were there at the martyr’s graveyard. “At the last moment, Molvi Farooq decided against taking the procession to Amira Kadal.” The same evening there was a fight between the two army officers and the leaders at Mirwaiz Manzil and it was decided that the procession will take place on August 9. “Regardless of everything (allegations of treason), they unwittingly saved Srinagar from a major bloodshed,” Qayoom adds.
Qayoom, however, makes two more sensational disclosures. Firstly, the intruders met a herdsman in Gulmarg and paid him to get 100 Kashmiri caps from Srinagar and that led to the expose. Once it was exposed, the people who were already sheltering the intruders in their homes started throwing them out, some even handed them over to police for rewards.
Secondly, the then Chief Minister Sadiq was personally aware and taken into confidence by Pakistan! “In a private conversation he refused to be part of the plan but he could not deny the fact that two Pakistani army officers stayed at his residence and one of them actually took Professor Zainab of Women College along with him to Muzaffarabad,” writes Qayoom. He says Sadiq would have supported the intruders had they succeeded and even in their failure he helped them save lives and return home.
But alternative accounts exist. “It is incorrect that all the infiltrators were sold and handed over to the police,” Anwar Ashai, the only surviving son of legendary Ghulam Ahmad Ashai said. Then, a final-year engineering student and a top executive of Youth Students League, he was arrested along with scores of local youth. “Their campaign was highly successful in Budgam where they even affected change in the administration and they got massive support in Poonch too.” Ashai says most of the youth was supportive of them.
After engaging the security forces in a series of pitched battles, infiltrators installed a local Sattar Khanday as the Deputy Commission of Budgam with his brother-in-law Ramzan as his Deputy, Ashai said. “I saw one infiltrator in Red-16 and later two more in Central Jail including the one who escaped in a jail break and left with a school teacher whom he married later,” Ashai said. Though a few infiltrators captured were imprisoned in Central Jail, most of them, however, were driven to Jammu where a special lock up was set up in Wazir Villa not far away from Talab Tiloo.
The then Home Minister D P Dhar, Delhi’s most trusted man in Srinagar, was handling the situation.
Ashai said the infiltrators being professionals rarely fell into the trap because they moved in groups but there were instances in which some lost track and landed in police custody. Lot of public property and infrastructure was destroyed but not many figures are available.
Undoing started very soon. By the end of August, Indian army had managed occupying crucial Haji Pir Pass, a crucial bulge on the Gurez divide and key positions in Kargil. These were the main advantages for Pakistan to push in people and manage the control.
Wresting strategic 9000-Haji Pir on August 28, 1965, was a Himalayan success. India failed in its capture in First War on Kashmir. Immediately after its capture, Delhi ensured it is stabilized. The then Works Minister Ghulam Rasool Kar visited the populations in the belt and soon Mrs Indira Gandhi landed and visited the Pass. Traffic resumed on the 46-Kms highway connecting Poonch and Uri.
“I had just passed the matriculation and was appointed as a teacher and my first place of posting was Khawja Bandi (a village on the slopes of the pass) on September 8, 1965,” says Mohammad Hasan Din, an Uri resident who retired as a teacher in 2004. “We were three teachers posted to run the school. I remained there till February 1966 when Tashkent Agreement led to our return. The USSR-brokered agreement enforced status quo ante.
In response to these successes, Pakistan moved army into Jammu’s Chamb sector – the beginning of Operation Grand Slam, the Second War on Kashmir, on September 2, 1965, to capture key Akhnur town. The idea was to block supply lines to Pir Panchal belt and wrest Rajouri where the infiltrators had done phenomenally better than Kashmir. Pakistan delayed the operation by a day (originally planned for September 1) and later at the last moment replaced Major General Malik by Major General Yahya Khan as the commander.
After defending Akhnur, Delhi crossed the IB on September 6, and marched towards Lahore and Sialkote. Western diplomacy got involved massively, stopped ammunition supplies to both and the ceasefire on September 23, 1965 ended the 22 day war.  India’s entry into Pakistan marked begining of ex-filtration by Pak intruder for J&K.
It eventually led to eight-day Tashkent summit between Ayub Khan and Shastri on January 10, 1966. Under Chile Brigadier-General Tulio Marambio, UN set up UN India-Pakistan Observation Mission (UNIPOM) to mediate a ceasefire that ceased to exist on March 22, 1966 after status quo ante was restored.
Shastri died in Tashkent. Bhutoo resigned saying “whatever was earned in the battleground was lost on the talks table”.
Costs were enormous: India lost 3000 soldiers and Pakistan slightly more; PAF lost 20 and IAF 60 aircrafts; and the world’s biggest tank battle after World War-II led to Pakistan losing most of its American Paton tanks. In one Punjab village, there were so many tanks left that people called it Paton Nagar. India held three times more territory on the other side than Pakistan occupied on this side.
But legacy of the war still lives. Residents in Tai village, located on the Poonch River in PaK’s Kotli, not far away from the LoC had forgotten their seven soldiers, who went missing on September 6, 1965, and presumed them dead.
In 2006, Ayub Khokar, a JKLF militant from Sarhot village was set free from Jammu jail and repatriated. He went and met Mohammad Bashir, a resident who was barely three when his father Barkat Hussain disappeared. This reopened the wounds and the hunt for getting the detained reached Delhi. By 2011, the families of six Tai residents were fighting a legal battle in the Supreme Court for release of their aged parents who spent more than 46 years in jail!
Khokhar later told BBC he met Barkat and Sakhi Mohammad in Jammu jail in 1998 and they told about four others too. After the court issued a notice, J&K government confirmed their detention and added one more soldier Aziz. In 2012, Delhi informed the court directly that neither of these people were ever arrested in J&K. Nobody knows who was correct. On July 24, Defence Minister Manoj Prabakar informed the parliament that 54 soldiers from 1965 and 1971 wars are still detained in Pakistan!
While military histories suggest the war was no-win-no-defeat, long term consequences of the misadventure reshaped subcontinent. Coinciding with the fall of Dacca in 1971, the Ceasefire Line became Line of Control (LoC), UNMOGIP existed in disuse and Tashkent bilateralism helped Kashmir move out of Security Council, apparently forever.
Contemporaries remember Army scanning villages and collecting the ammunition that fleeing Pakistanis left and it was assumed that Srinagar could have been defended for six months. People supportive of infiltrators were punished. In Pir Panchal belt, where the infiltrators had got immense support owing to their ethnic homogeneity, Zafar Choudhary in his Kashmir Conflict and Muslims of Jammusays “no less than 2000 people were killed” till December 1, 1965 under Operation Clearance.
Operation Gibraltar infused the new romanticism in Kashmir. In UN Bhutoo threatened a “1000 year war on Kashmir”. Ashai remembers two young men from Chenab Valley crossing over and seeking details of some ammunition dumps left untouched. “They were given access to a dump buried near Malangam (Bandipore) far away from the Aka Baji shrine,” Ashai remembers. “And they could only get 12 grenades which various boys lobbed in the city, they all were arrested.” A year later on September 14, 1966 Maqbool Bhat’s group had the first encounter, changing Kashmir forever.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

A post Zia Pakistan? DR NIAZ MURTAZA

INFLUENTIAL leaders continue shaping national fate posthumously through concrete legacies. Viewed so, unfortunately Gen Ziaul Haq arguably emerges as Pakistan’s most influential leader ever, whose legacies still haunt Pakistan decades later.
Time and health did not allow Mohammad Ali Jinnah to bequeath a definitive legacy which could clarify his vision for Pakistan given his contrasting speeches about state and religion. Ayub Khan’s legacy of a centralised polity and lopsided elitist development was quickly dismantled by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s socialist democracy project. Bhutto himself partially demolished this legacy later during his rule, while Zia demolished it even further.
Although Ayub and Bhutto’s legacies were not completely demolished, it is Zia’s legacies, however, that loom large over Pakistan today. His vision included maintaining a feeble democracy under establishment control; using militants extensively to achieve foreign and domestic goals; promoting Salafist Islam to control society; and radicalising society through madressahs and mosques. Subsequent elected governments were too weak to seriously challenge these legacies. Even Pervez Musharraf only slightly reversed the promotion of Salafist Islam and in fact strengthened policies regarding a controlled democracy and the use of militants for achieving state goals. Thus, among Pakistan’s long-ruling powerful leaders, Musharraf is the only one unable to craft a unique national vision.
The state is not going far enough to dismantle Zia’s legacy.
Of late, Pakistan has taken bold steps which raise hopes about the emergence of a post-Zia Pakistan. However, it is important to carefully review the extent to which the current steps are actually dismantling Zia’s four critical legacies listed above. Firstly, the events over the last one year have actually cemented the establishment’s grip over the elected regime and the security policy, thus reinvigorating the vision of Zia and other dictators. Secondly, the most visible step has been the crackdown on a wide range of militant groups which had emerged under Zia and Musharraf, often with tacit state support. However, the concomitant strengthening of establishment control over security policy creates doubts whether such a crackdown really represents a complete break from the tactic of using militants as tools of state policies.
During Musharraf’s rule, Pakistan became infested with numerous militant groups, which coordinated logistically and financially, but pursued different goals. These included the West-focused Al Qaeda; the Afghanistan-focused Taliban; the India-focused Lashkar-e-Taiba; the sectarian Lashkar-i-Jhangvi; the Pakistan-focused TTP; and the Balochistan-focused insurgents. The current crackdown largely targets internally-focused sectarian, TTP, Karachi and Baloch groups but spares India- and Afghanistan-focused groups. Thus, the current operation is perhaps less about abandoning the use of militants completely, especially for foreign policy goals, and more about shielding Pakistan from the boomerang effects of using militants for this purpose.
True, Afghan-focused groups are being nudged towards peace talks while India-focused groups are probably being kept on a tight leash against undertaking major attacks. But this represents changing tactics rather than strategy. So long as the militant use policy is not completely abandoned, Pakistan will remain vulnerable to attacks by new splinter groups of externally-focused militant groups and covert retaliation by foreign countries. But abandoning externally-focused groups completely would go to the core of the Pakis­tani establishment’s world­­­­­view. As of today, there is no concrete evidence that it is willing to make such huge changes, for doing so would undermine its ability to dominate Pakistan.
Thirdly, the goal of imposing Salafist Islam on Pakistan has been abandoned completely by both the establishment and the PML-N. However, some madressahs and mosques continue to spew radical thought without meaningful check by the state, even if it is not supporting them aggressively now. Thus, it seems premature to celebrate a complete national break from Zia’s devastating legacies. A complete break is also hampered by the non-emergence of new groups with fresh ideas and the backing of large sections of society to implement them. Thus, Bhutto’s strong, though partially flawed, ideas quickly demolished Ayub’s legacy; Zia’s strong, and even more flawed, ideas further demolished Bhutto’s remaining legacies. Today, the Pakistani political landscape is bereft of such strong new visions.
The landscape is dominated by the PML-N, the true heir of both Ayub’s economic conservatism and Zia’s social conservatism legacies, from whom fresh, strong ideas are as likely to emerge as the sun is likely to emerge from the west tomorrow. The PTI’s vision of change is unclear and seemingly limited in scope. The PPP is in irreversible decline. Thus, until new, powerful ideas emerge from society, the establishment will likely continue to implement a scaled back version of Zia’s vision.
The writer is a political and development economist.
Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2015