Published On: Mon, May 5th, 2014

Jugular vein of Pakistan

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

The character of political and military leadership in Pakistan sets trends in the manner of interest of the Islamic Republic and common man and woman in the resolution of Kashmir dispute. The army and Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, first as a disciplined institution and the second as a political party are known to set trends of hope and otherwise in the regional politics. In recent years the role of army has attracted a robust attention and has remained a subject of discussion in regard to its role. The trial of President Musharraf has been looked at from a point of view that all are equal in the eyes of law and at the same time with an embedded (though not valid) institutional concern that a former army chief should not be tried in the civil courts like any other citizen.

The new army chief General Raheel Sharif is the first army chief in the history of Pakistan who assumed office under most difficult situation in the country, in particular the Musharraf trial, terrorism in the country and good relations with India without causing any prejudice to the cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir has made the role of army chief exceptionally important.

On Wednesday 30 April, 2014 Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif put to rest a general anxiety felt in the country on civil-military relationship and laid bare the military vision on Kashmir. Addressing a function in connection with fifth Youm-i-Shohada to pay homage to the martyrs in Rawalpindi he said that the country is passing through a critical phase wherein all the state institutions are required to work in full harmony with all strength. It was his first public speech since he became the army chief in November last year.  He said, “Pakistan Army supports to eliminate terrorism and restore peace in the country and it is our earnest desire that all elements fighting against the state should unconditionally submit to the country’s constitution and law and come back to the national mainstream”. He warned them that otherwise the military, “with the support of people will take them to task”.

Army chief put the flux of popular anxiety to rest by unfolding his vision and commitment to democracy. He said that “democracy is the only way forward to join developed nations of the world”. It was for the first time that the leader of Pakistan armed forces announced the component of military position on Kashmir. He termed Kashmir a ‘jugular vein’ of Pakistan and called for a resolution of the issue as per the UN resolutions and in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. He made it clear that without resolving the core-issue between the two neighbours, permanent peace in the region could not be achieved. “Sacrifices of Kashmiris will not go in vain. Pakistan Army is in favour of peace but is always ready to respond to any aggression in befitting manner”.

In the past military leadership has been making statements on Kashmir, more so, to justify the removal of civilian governments and their continuation at the helm of affairs. This time it is not so. It is a statement in supplement of military support to democracy and constitution. An exceptionally new and reliable trend in civil and military relations in the country. No matter how hard the times turn for military in Pakistan at the end of the day it remains the last institution of trust and hope. Democracy and rule of law are the ultimate goals in ensuring the faith and trust of the people. Be it so, army continues to remain an insurance in the eyes of public estimation here.

Army chief’s statement on Kashmir has been widely acclaimed in public circles in PaK and in Pakistan. The statement that Kashmir is the ‘jugular vein’ of Pakistan is regarded as more than ordinary expression. Due regard for the sacrifices of the people of Kashmir, their aspirations and resolution according to the UN Resolutions spell out the Pakistan agenda on Kashmir. General Raheel Sharif has no doubt endeared himself to countless people in Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Diaspora and at the international level who subscribe to the jurisprudence of UN mechanism (UN Resolutions) on Kashmir. Army chief’s statement settles the dust in regard to future approach on Kashmir. The civilian government has heard it loud and clear. The future Indian Government too has heard it in advance. It would help the people of Kashmir to construct their own narrative in accordance with the UN jurisprudence on Kashmir and add to the dignity of their argument.

Another significant development in regard to the cause of the people of Kashmir is the election of new Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. Its party discipline and constituency is regarded as an enduring factor in Kashmir politics. The new Ameer Sirajul Haq gave up his berth as a senior minister in KPK cabinet. On 30 April, 2014 Abdul Rashid Turabi Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami PaK hosted a reception in honour of newly elected Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Sirajul Haq at Hotel Islamabad-Pakistan. The reception was attended by senior ranks of JI PaK and Pakistan and notably by senior leadership from Kashmir, namely two Hurriyat Convenors, Syed Yusuf Nasim (Hurriyat M), Ghulam Mohammad Safi(Hurriyat G), Ghulam Nabi Nowsheri, Farooq Dar (JKLF) Towqeer Gilani (JKLF) others and the author (Syed Nazir Gilani).
The PaK contingent at the reception comprised of the President of PaK, chief of Muslim Conference Sardar Attique Khan, Shah Ghulam Qadir of ML (N), Sardar Khalid Ibrahim chief PPP AJK and others. Syed Yusuf Nasim, G M Safi and Farooq Dar represented the merit and dignity of Kashmiri concerns and set the agenda for debate in their brief statements on the occasion. Although it was an occasion to felicitate Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Sirajul Haq, yet the two Hurriyat Convenors and Farooq Dar made an impressive and able contribution on behalf of the resistance movement in Kashmir.

Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan made a strong and a reassuring statement on the occasion. It added to his credence when he highlighted the direct interest of the new Ameer in Kashmir.  He informed the gathering that many people from his village and his elders (grandfather) had taken part in the liberation of Kashmir in 1947. He assured the gathering that JI Pakistan would not slacken or hesitate in its commitment to the just cause of the people of Kashmir. In particular that JI was fully mindful of the enormous sacrifices given by the people of Kashmir and about the difficult times faced by them.
Abdul Rashid Turabi Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami PaK used his strengths as a lawyer, member of PaK assembly, as an able ambassador of Kashmir cause at the UN Human Rights Commission (now HR Council) in Geneva and at other forums in making the reception result oriented and Kashmir specific. He is known for his unflinching commitment to the Kashmir cause and remains a distinguished son of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Jamaat-e-Islami PaK remains a crucial factor in energising Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.

A combine of the statements made by army chief General Raheel Sharif and Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan on Kashmir add a new dimension to the urgency to respect the aspiration of the people of Kashmir and to resolve the issue in accordance with the UN mechanism on Kashmir. It sets out a direction for the civilian government in Islamabad and sends a timely piece of firm advice for the parties involved in Kashmir, in all the three administrations, Diaspora and to others that  time and tide would not brittle the jurisprudence of Kashmir case.

It would be unfair not to recognise the lead contribution made by Abdul Rashid Turabi Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami PaK in hosting the reception and converting it into a Kashmir specific occasion.  It was even more heartening to see Syed Yusuf Nasim, Ghulam Mohammad Safi, Ghulam Nabi Nowsheri and Farooq Dar as a unit on the occasion. More so the presence and statement of Mohammad Ghalib a well-known figure from Diaspora in Birmingham who has devoted himself to support the Kashmir cause remains a notable plus.

I shared the dinner table with Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami PaK, G M Safi, Shah Qadir and others but the parting hug of Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan remains a treat of my visit so far.  Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Sirajul Haq is a warm personality and the fact that he gave up his senior cabinet position in KPK government speaks volumes in regard to JI’s character of politics and dedication. Liaqat Baloch Secretary General JI was also present on the occasion and the two seniors of JI Pakistan have a lot to contribute to the cause of Kashmir.


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