Mohammad Sohail Ahmed
CHAUDHRY Muhammad Ali, one of the founding fathers of Pakistan, in his book “The Emergence of Pakistan” states, ‘Hindu and Muslim cultures have mixed but never fused, they have coexisted but have never become one, Hindu and Muslim families that have lived in the same neighbourhood for generations can be distinguished at a glance from one another. The clothes, the food, the household utensils, the layout of homes, the manner of speech, the words of salutation, the postures, the gestures, everything about them will be different and will immediately point to their origin. These outer divergences are only the reflection of an inner divergence. For among the varied social groups of mankind it is difficult to imagine a more striking contrast than that between Hindu and Muslim social organisation and welt Anschauung’.With above difference making a clear case of Kashmir to become part of Pakistan was illegally and treacherously annexed to India. In this process the natural lines of communication to Kashmir led from West Pakistan, where there was no link with India were ignored. Lord Bird-wood, an officer of Indian Army with great experience pointed out that Muslim majority tehsils of Gurdaspur and Batala were awarded by Radcliff to India. This enabled India to base its army at Jammu through railhead at Pathankot. The artificial attachment of Kashmir with India not only deprived the Kashmiri Muslims from the right of self-determination but also caused bloodshed of Muslim population of Gurdaspur during the process of migration. Unfortunately, no one approached international court of justice to fix responsibility for this genocide.
The saga of putting two wrongs to make one right did not stop here, it started to bleed the Indian government, military, economy, all other government resources in a perpetual tussle between the states (of Pakistan and India) with the local population of India-occupied Kashmir that is being subjugated to adopt Indian culture to which they neither belong nor accept. Syed Ali Gilani, the Hurriyat leader after spending 70 years in Indian politics has again endorsed the inability of Kashmiri Muslims to live in this culture which is being pushed with more vigour after the revocation of Article 370 and 35-A. The Indian leadership in its arrogance failed to learn the lesson of a thousand years of living with Muslim culture as alluded to in the book by Chaudhry Muhammad Ali.
To make the situation worse, Indian railways spent billions of rupees to improve the railway links with India-occupied Kashmir which does not have natural lines of communication with India. The maintenance of these tracks will cause an additional burden on the Indian economy. It is necessary to mention that the requirement to upgrade the Indian mainland railway infrastructure had to be met through World Bank loans. Instead of spending its money on its people the government is wasting money and end up taking loans from the World Bank. The existing burden on India is more than 500 bn dollars. Diverting the natural flow of rivers is another financial burden that draws its roots to loan from the World Bank. Besides depriving Pakistan of its waters, the projects are causing damage to the environment destabilising biodiversity and nature. The environmentalists all over the world and particularly in Pakistan must take note and highlight the issue at all forums.
To implement its agenda the Government of India has recently amended the residency clause. Land revenue act, land laws such as land grants act 1960, agrarian reforms 1976 are being amended. As per previous law agriculture land was sellable to residents of the Jammu and Kashmir. Now the government has authorised District Collector to change the status of agriculture land to non-agricultural land. The official can sell, gift, exchange, mortgage the agriculture land. Change of status will enable outsiders to buy the converted ‘non-agriculture land’ for private or public use. The present implementation of curfew, lockdown and destruction of orchards belonging to Kashmiris is aimed at crippling them economically thereafter forcing them to sell their ancestral land.
In order to give free hand to the outsider industrialists, the government has offered them a free hand and full immunity so that no one can challenge it or approach the court of law. The Corps Commander of the Indian Army has been authorised to declare any area of his choice as strategic asset and control building operations in the region. Besides causing environmental degradation in tourist spots such as Gulmerg, Pahalang and Sonany resorts, the locals are further getting alienated. Local politicians are even raising hue and cry but to no avail. How can Indian Government continue to oppress the Muslims of Kashmir through economic strangulation, political alienation, illegal occupation, environmental degradation, illegal authorisations to its officials and army, closing doors of justice and attempting demographic changes through the use of money and force?
Besides denying freedom to Kashmiris, it is diverting international attention through the export of terrorism to Pakistan on the lines of 1971 East Pakistan as alluded to by the Indian spy master commander Kul Bhushan Yadav. Establishment of 14 Indian Consulates at Pak-Afghan border are financing terror attacks. The recent attacks in Karachi and Bajaur are the manifestation of this design. This has been recently highlighted by Pakistani officials in its dossiers presented to the UN. India is trying to hoodwink the world community through FATF proceeds while it continues to finance terrorism in Pakistan with impunity. According to Indian naval chief Admiral Karambir Singh, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will economically strangulate Indian economy. What he needs to reflect is about how Indian Navy should not have promoted naval diplomacy through sending serving spy commander from the Indian Navy and how tyranny of leadership of his country is wasting financial resources aimlessly in diverting rivers, constructing far off railway tracks that too through loans from international financial institutions with interest. Hoodwinking own people, as well as the international community, leads nations to shallow water.
—The writer is a retired Commodore of Pakistan Navy and frequently contributes to the national Press.