Published On: Sun, Jun 12th, 2016

Merits of Kashmir bashing by Pakistani writers?

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by Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani: Prima facie it has to be accepted  that the stand taken by the civilian government of Pakistan on Kashmir at the 69th and 70th sessions of UN General Assembly and stand taken by military leadership on Kashmir at youme-shohda in April 2014 and at RUSI London in October 2015, is an answer to Vajpayee’s taunt that Pakistan is a U-turn State. However, unless we act accordingly, these statements do not have the wheels to take us any further. This narrative has to become a regular feature of our policies at home and abroad. Indians have cleverly and successfully used the instrument of dialogue to its advantage.  It does not harm their interest and an unending dialogue helps India to keep the status quo.

nazir-gilaniArticle 5 prescribes loyalty to State and obedience to Constitution and law as the basic duty of a citizen and of every other person for the time being resident within Pakistan. The State listens to its people, all variables in the society, in particular the writers and analysts are the main source that contribute to the building of opinion on issues, that the State associates itself with and has a programme to seek a resolution. Over some period Indians seem to have overwhelmed the writers and media people in Pakistan. She has succeeded to use the important Pakistani resource to trivialise and demonise the Kashmir case.

Writers and analysts associated with different media groups in Pakistan have surged into an importance, which is beyond belief. It has reshaped their sense of duty and has changed their erstwhile modest living as a basis of an enduring commitment to common interest. State hand to deck its interest may also have remained involved in this metamorphosis.

One does not need Diogenes of Sinope and his lamp to find an honest answer in regard to the failed duties of the Pakistani writers, journalists, analysts and media houses towards the people of Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir). Kashmiris have been described by non-Kashmiris and non-Pakistanis as a people ‘of legend, with a song and a story’. Very little has been written by Pakistani writers about these valiant people and about their valour, which has littered the streets of Kashmir since March 1846. Pakistani writers have failed to examine the case history of Kashmir as Palestinian writers and poets have done for Palestine.

Unfortunately over a period of time one can see that Kashmir bashing has started in a section of Pakistani press. One need not blame the media in Pakistan, because it stands out to prove that the people of Kashmir, the people of Pakistan, leaders of Kashmir and the leaders of Pakistan have failed to convince their own constituency and kin at home. If this is how Kashmir is rated at home one cannot but be disappointed to notice that the international constituency is slightly better than home turf but not as solid as one would hope.

Without prejudice to his overall merits as President SAFMA and country’s leading journalist Imtiaz Alam stands out one amongst those who may have all nobleness in their subscription on Pakistan’s policy on Kashmir, yet he errs in his writings, if there is a visible streak of Kashmir bashing. In his recent column published in The News on 10 June 2016 entitled, “Countering PM Modi’s strategy to isolate Pakistan” he writes “Nothing is more important than the security of our country. The core issue must be our own security not any other issue. Let us keep our support to Kashmiris confined to political and principled grounds and not let it become a source of our destabilization. Above all, we must learn to live within our means and do not stretch beyond our reach.”

The overall impact of the article is a rejection of any active support to Kashmiris right to undo Indian occupation (using all means permissible) and a vehement suggestion that ‘support to Kashmiris confined to political and principled grounds and not let it become a source of our destabilization.’ There is merit in this point of view except that he is wrong in aggregate because  when consent of the people is the basis of any governance ‘security’ does not remain an issue. Majority of the countries around the globe have successfully moved beyond the question of ‘security’. Nuclear ability of Pakistan has sealed the question of security in its favour.

A number of Pakistani writers are beguiled by an overwhelming influence of men and women of Indian origin swarming around them in India or at other moots outside India. They volunteer to appear as ‘liberals’ at the cost of all that is intrinsically fundamental to Pakistan and inalienably important to the people of Kashmir, who do not wish to live an unwilling and unhappy life under Indian rule. Security is intrinsic and inalienable issue of all countries including Pakistan. Security is not the core issue. Kashmir is a core issue.

Pakistani writers need to examine the case history of Kashmir as a core issue for Pakistan. Government of Pakistan has entered into a Stand Still Agreement with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir (undivided) in August 1947. Pakistan remains the first sovereign country to have entered into a bilateral agreement with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and took over the control of running of post and telegraph and two other departments.It was three months after that the Indian army landed in Kashmir in October 1947. Indian army was given provisional admission to perform four duties for a specific period. These forces were further put under three restraints on their number, behaviour and location in UN Security Council Resolution of 21 April 1948.

Indian army has flouted all the seven restraints placed on its presence in the Indian held Kashmir. It has used AFSPA and TADA for the past 26 years to subjugate a people currently a subject at the UN in reference to the exercise of their free vote in a referendum supervised by the UN. Government of Pakistan is a party to this outsourcing and has a moral and Constitutional duty to discharge, in the protection of the people and in the arrangement of a referendum. Pakistan has accepted duties under UNCIP resolution at the UN and at the local level in Azad Kashmir has entered into a Constitutional arrangement with the Government of Azad Kashmir, to provide for a better Government and administration until such time that the Kashmir case is resolved through a UN supervised referendum.

Indian army has killed a generation of Kashmiri Muslim youth and has dishonoured men and women never seen in the history of Kashmir since 1846. Maharaja of Kashmir could not continue his first martial law imposed in Kashmir on 24 September 1931 beyond 05 October 1931. He had to withdraw it on the 11th day on 5 October 1931.Indian AFSPA and TADA do not seem to have any expiry date in the Valley.

Pakistani writers are influenced by the fact that IHK might be an integral part of India. Their answer lies in the fact that until 31 March 1959 an Indian citizen needed an entry permit to enter into the State. It was set aside by the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir with effect from 1 April 1959, using the cover of the visit of UN Secretary General to Srinagar on 20 March 1959.

Section 18 of the Indian Penal Code defines that “India” means the territory of India excluding the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Any impression that Kashmir is integral part of India or that IHK Government could violate UN mechanism on Kashmir, is further sealed by the UN Security Council Resolution of 30 March 1951 and Jammu and Kashmir Government Autonomy Committee Report of 2000.

Article 257 of the Constitution of Pakistan envisages Pakistan’s role in the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir. On 07 January 2016 Government of Pakistan has written a letter to the President of the UN Security Council and has requested that it wishes Kashmir to be placed on the UN Security Council agenda as required under the reminder provision agreed in 1996.

Imtiaz Alam further writes, “Our problems are brewing up because of our double-dealing and we would be losing the support of the US-led Nato allies, besides earning the hostility of the Afghan government that seems to be allowing Indians to buy cheap Jihadi proxies to pay back us in the same coin that we used across the LoC. To our disadvantage, after winning over the Saudis, Modi has also succeeded in aligning with both Iranians and Afghans because we helped him by annoying both Tehran and Kabul.”

He seems to accept Indian version about LoC. It would have helped him and helped the people of Kashmir and the government of Pakistan, if he had reconciled his view with the jurisprudence of the continued presence of UNMOGIP since January 1949 on both sides of cease fire line in Kashmir. Pakistani writers at a time when RSS is busy driving its agenda in India, should not overlook Ram Madhav’s interview to Al Jazeera that “The RSS still believes that one day these parts, which have for historical reasons separated only 60 years ago, will again, through popular goodwill, come together and Akhand Bharat will be created.” This statement opens up a new conflict with Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistani writers have a duty to fairness. It would be helpful if they avoid to misuse Kashmir to increment their liberal credentials. Kashmiris have an inalienable right to self-determination. They are engaged against the colonial oppression and imposed rule of democratic India. Member nations of the UN have a duty to support the people of Kashmir in their struggle to undo the Indian occupation. Pakistan has a higher burden of responsibility, as a member nation of the UN and as  a party to the Kashmir dispute. Security is an intrinsic part of Pakistan as a sovereign State and Kashmir is a core issue. Kashmir bashing has no merit.

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