By Ashq Hussain
India accuses Pakistan of being a sponsor of international terrorism. Pakistan rejects the accusation on the ground that Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism; that its forces are engaged in a war against terror; and that they have successfully eliminated most of the terrorists and their bases. India dismisses Pakistan’s assertions as hypocritical. It blames Pakistan of pursuing a dual policy on the question of terror: While as it fights terrorists hostile to Pakistan, it allows others to operate from its soil. India further says that Pakistan treats non-state actors as strategic assets to be used against India.
It is no secret that jehadist organization, Lashkare-Toiba, and indigenous Kashmiri militant group, Hizbul Mujahideen, operate from Pakistan administered Kashmir. Their leaders, Syed Salauddin and Hafiz Saeed, have headquarters there. Their cadres engage in operations against Indian Army in Kashmir.
New Delhi also blames that the “separatists” of Kashmir maintain links with Islamabad through these militants groups; and that they take dictation from across the Line of Control. Hence the unrest in Kashmir too is clubbed with this theory. However, in the same breath, New Delhi states that they deploy 900 police personnel on the security of “separatists” and also foot their bills when they travel outside Kashmir, stay in Hotels, and receive medical treatment.
If it is true that New Delhi spends 100 crore rupees a year on the well-being of those elements who, according to New Delhi, have links with Pakistan and militants, then the reason must be that New Delhi intends to co-opt and use them in future as strategic assets. For example, New Delhi may smash Kashmiris’ plebiscite demand by getting someone in the “separatist” camp to declare in the near future that Musharaf Formula is still relevant. Should that happen, Kashmir would be back to square one.
In addition to spending billions on the welfare of “separatists”, New Delhi nurtures the “mainstream” politicians in Kashmir. The “mainstream” politicians swear loyalty to India. They participate in elections against one another. New Delhi sells their competitive politics to the world as a sign of normalcy and shows that everything is fine in Kashmir and that, by participating in the election process, Kashmiris express their endorsement of India.
Since India entered Kashmir in 1947, it had gotten involved into an endless wrangling with Pakistan on the question of the final disposition of the State. While Pakistan had a better claim on this Muslim majority State, India wanted to swallow it with the help of the “mainstream”. The “mainstream” on their part found the political uncertainty of Kashmir to their benefit because it left no alternative with New Delhi but to put them in power in Kashmir. Therefore they insisted on preservation and strengthening of Article 370, a symbol of uncertainty. Resolution of Kashmir Dispute, on the other hand, was sure to bring the end of the “mainstream”.
When out of power the “mainstream” fanned anti-India sentiment and instigated Kashmiris on to the path of confrontation against New Delhi. In power they suppressed voices of dissent using draconian laws such as Defence of India Rules, Enemy Agents’ Ordinance, Public Safety Act, Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act, Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Prevention of Terrorism Act, and thereby further alienated Kashmiris from India. Together with Indian armed forces, they killed Kashmiris.
While as India calls Pakistan’s using non-state actors in Kashmir as sponsoring of terrorism and maintaining of strategic assets, it calls its own using the “mainstream” and its armed forces against Kashmiris as state action while as the truth is that India has also been maintaining strategic assets in Kashmir in the shape of “mainstream”, and those elements in the “separatist” camp on whom New Delhi spends crores.