ADDRESSING SECUIRTY CONCERNS IN JAMMU & KASHMIR

At a time when India was observing the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 Indo-Pak War waged by Pakistan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on his second high profile visit to the US, Pakistan went bonkers with its anti- India campaign shooting up ridiculous levels. This was repeated prior to the PM’s visit to Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) on 07 November, with Pakistan’s “Kashmiri cutlery items”- the separatists- planning disruptive activities in the Valley, are being rounded up yet again for temporary house arrest by the state government.

In 1965, Pakistan’s military leadership was suffering from delusions of “annexing Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)” and “reaching the gates of Delhi”. Pakistan suffered its latest delusion during PM Modi’s US visitthat India was preparing to build a “10- meter high wall, 135 feet wide and 197 km long”, along the international boundary (IB) between J&K and Pakistan, referred to by Pakistan as “working boundary”. Pakistan’s ambassador to United Nations (UN), Maleeha Lodhi, presented two letters, one after the other, to the UN Security Council president, Vitaly Churkin, accusing India of constructing this socalled wall. What is more ironic is that there is evidence to suggest that the second letter was written at the behest of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen boss, Syed Salahuddin, branded as global terrorist, which amounts to Lodhi/Pakistani government acting as his tool.

Referring to the simultaneous presence of both PMs Modi and Nawaz Sharif in the US, an editorial in Pakistan’s daily, The Nation, commented, “we have our backs to the wall (probably not intended as a pun by the newspaper, but a pun indeed)… while Modi is received like a star, is attending events and parties, PM Sharif only has the UN platform to make an impact. The odds are stacked against Pakistan.”

While Pakistan’s anti-India/ Kashmir ranting was in full swing in the US, visuals of Pak forces’ brutality on Kashmiris in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) reached Indian media, yet again exposing Pakistan’s duplicity. There have reportedly been massive protests against the Pakistan government in several areas of POK, including Gilgit, Kotli and Muzaffarabad by POK residents, enraged over the lack of development. The video shows youths shouting slogans seeking freedom from Pakistan, getting brutally beaten up by Pakistan’s security forces personnel. Youths from POK revealed that they are picked up by the ISI if they refused to join the anti-India ‘jihad’ funded and supported by it/ Pak military.

Next came Nawaz Sharif’s “4-point formula for peace”, to which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj responded: “We do not need four points, we need just one – give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk.” Addressing the UN General Assembly, she also raised the issue of 26/11 attacks masterminds roaming freely as also the “illegal occupation” of parts of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan. Asserting that “none of us can accept that terrorism is a legitimate instrument of state craft.” She also urged the world community to show zero tolerance towards it and ensure that countries which provide finances, safe havens and arms to terrorists “pay a heavy price” for it. “Talks and terror cannot go together… India remains open to dialogue but terrorism emanating from Pakistan is hampering normalisation of bilateral relations”.

The video exposing brutality of Pak forces against Kashmiris in POK is perhaps just a tip of the iceberg. The cold hard fact is that Pakistan, which keeps bleating about the “plight of Kashmiris in India”, has worked hard at making the lives of Kashmiris on both sides of the line of control miserable. In POK, it has altered the demography by settling large numbers of Pakistani Punjabis and army veterans, while suppressing Kashmiris and not developing the region. In J&K, Pak army/ISI makes good use of its lackeys, the separatists, who are paid large amounts of money to organise terror and disruptive activities. As such, separatists are nothing but full-fledged traitors, who have assiduously been working to degrade the life and livelihood of Kashmiri masses in the Valley. One of the worst outcomes of their efforts is education of youth, which has suffered tremendously in the past decades. They are antidevelopment, anti-welfare and thanks to weak political will from Srinagar and New Delhi for at least 68 years since 1947, they have been parasites who are ironically provided with five-star administrative back-up from taxpayers’ money.

Hashim Qureshi, Chairman of Jammu & Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party, who has been writing on the Kashmir situation, stated recently in an interview to the local media: “Separatists in Kashmir are divided on everything but united in destroying the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. If they were united, they would reject the gun and reject the call for strikes and election boycott,…which is destroying the economy of Kashmir. Those who receive hefty cash doles from foreign benefactors have to keep the pot boiling. They must do something to disrupt normal life here. These groups are completely united in filling their begging bowls with charity doles and then undertake adventures in which they kill each other or destroy Kashmir. Hence they adopt varying methods to tell their benefactors that they commit no fault in carrying out their agenda like raising meaningless slogans, throwing stones, damaging public property and calling for strikes. One who tells the truth is labeled as Indian agent. This is the stick with which they are quick to punish their opponents. What is their plan for ‘azadi’ or ‘accession to Pakistan’? Will such activities as they are indulging in going to get them anything? The entire Kashmir is a captive of fear and suspicion…Without Kashmiri Pandits, we the Kashmiri’s are incomplete. They have made glorious contribution in bringing education to the masses of people in Kashmir. My teachers were Kashmiri Pandits. In 1994, I published an article titled ‘The Tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits’. That was the peak of militancy. I rejected the assertion that Kashmiri Pandits left their homes on the behest of the then Governor Mr. Jagmohan”.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said Islamabad does not seem to have learnt any lesson and that India’s response has been “more than double the capacity”. “Pakistan does not like to stay quiet even on New Year’s day. They started cross-border firing at 12.30 in the night and don’t seem to learn any lesson… There are ceasefire violations… Whenever they want infiltration to be done, many times they do the firings at night… I don’t think that we have allowed that to happen… our response is more than double the capacity.” While what Mr. Parrikar has stated is true about India’s responses on the IB/LOC, and is one of the main reasons for Pakistan’s desperation, the time has come to formulate a clear and consistent policy to deal with Pakistan’s duplicity, lies and its army’s/ISI’s intentions/plans for the future. On the diplomatic front, there has been some assertiveness in the recent past. However, considering how well armed Pakistan has become in conventional and nuclear weapons, we need to look into expediting arms replacements/ acquisitions and achieving the capacity for covert strikes well into adversary territory. In Kashmir valley, it must be ensured that separatists/ traitors and their network are rendered ineffective. And not by house-arrests but by putting them in jails outside J&K

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