Dr Muhammad Khan
Once National Conference lawmaker, Mohammad Akbar Lone, raised pro-Pakistan slogan in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) Legislative Assembly on February 10, 2018, he had a justification for that. After raising the slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ Mr Lone said, “Many things that hurt my religious sentiments. “Mein Kashmiri hoon, Hindustani hoon ya Pakistani… jo bhi hoon, mein pehley to Musalmaan hoon (Whether I am Kashmiri, Indian or Pakistani, I am first a Muslim). My sentiments got hurt and I said Pakistan Zindabad,” This clearly speaks that, Kashmiri love Pakistan like their religion (Islam). In fact, Pakistan is part of Kashmiri’s ideology. Despite being a very senior member of the National Conference, a political party generally considered as Pro-India, Mr Lone felt that, the BJP lawmakers and even Speaker of IoK Legislative Assembly Mr Kavinder Gupta were hurting his sentiments, once they rose anti Pakistan slogans.
Pakistan Zindabad has been a slogan of every Kashmiri, ever since Pakistan came into being in 1947. It is said that love for Pakistan is indeed entrenched into the heart and mind of every Kashmiri, irrespective whether he or she is from Indian occupied Kashmir or Azad Jammu and Kashmir. In 1947, the Kashmiri freedom fighters revolted against Dogra rule to become part of Pakistan and freed a portion, known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir with the hope that remaining portion of the state would be freed to join Pakistan. However, that did not happen, owing to rigid Indian attitude and unfavourable regional and international security situation. But, that does not mean that, there has been any decline in the Kashmiri’s love for Pakistan.
An explicit act of pro Pakistan sentiment, ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ by a law maker at IOK Legislative Assembly has indeed directly challenged the Indian occupation of Kashmir. The BJP lawmakers later said that, act of Mr Lone is indicative of the fact that, Kashmiris including pro-India National Conference has a love for Pakistan. The event of February 10, 2018, has now assumed the status of a new beginning. The hate and fight against Indian occupation, demonstrated by successive Kashmiri generations has now reached to the lawmakers of IOK, who have been hiding their real sentiments till now. Earlier, Karan Singh, son of Maharaja Harisingh (ruler of Princely state of Kashmir) had very clearly told Indian Government at Lok Saba that, Kashmir is not part of India and it must adopt a different approach while dealing with Kashmiri nationals, who are being ruled through Article 370 of Indian Constitution.
A year after his infamous strategy of killing Kashmiris, India Army Chief, General Bipon Rawat also changed his mind and on January 14, 2018 that, “The political initiative and all the other initiatives must go simultaneously hand-in-hand and only if all of us function in synergy, we can bring lasting peace in Kashmir. It has to be a politico-military approach that we have to adopt.” It is worth mentioning that, Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat announced in mid-February, 2017 at Corps Headquarters in IOK, that those who obstruct our operations through pelting stones will be considered as Jihadis and will be dealt with severely. Besides, he also issued very strong warning for those hoisting Pakistani flags and demonstrate any pro-Pakistan sentiments. He ordered the people of IOK to, “stop hoisting national flag of Pakistan at their homes and declared those hoist Pakistan flag as traitors. Indian forces will not excuse those who hoist Pakistan flag.”
Today, after a year of the brutal strategy of Bipon Rawat, New Delhi, Indian GHQ and the world are witnessing that even the Kashmir lawmakers in the IoK have joined hands with those fighting against the Indian occupation and raising pro-Pakistan slogans to whom India will stop now. A prominent Indian analyst, Mr. Raj Parwani once said about Indian brutal strategy that, “Countries and communities unite by care and compassion not by senseless so-called “patriotism”, acts like this along with Hindutva fever will not just alienate Kashmiris but also alienate Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. Modi with his choice of Army Chief and Yogi in UP will leave India completely fragmented.”
Yashwant Sinha, a veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader has visited IoK thrice from 2016 to 2017 and met all segments of people. Sinha and his four-member team also reached over to the conclusion that Kashmir is getting out of Indian hands, since no Kashmiri is ready to stay under Indian occupation anymore. He also advised his own BJP Government to seriously negotiate the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan, since after 70 years, there are higher pro-Pakistan sentiments among the Kashmiri youth. Kashmiri youth are not ready to surrender, despite use of pellet guns, unparalleled brutalities and worst human rights violations.
Kashmiris of IOK are not ready to accept the Politico-Military solution, as suggested by General Bipin Rawat. This indeed is a major retreat from his earlier strategy; he gave in mid February 2017. Rawat’s strategy of genocide of Kashmiris has forced people like Akbar Lone to say Pakistan Zindabad in IOK Legislative Assembly. Already there are voices in Indian universities and even in Indian Parliament that, India must decide Kashmir dispute as per the wishes of Kashmiri people and Kashmir want to be part of Pakistan. Indeed, Pakistan Zindabad and love with Pakistan is a Voice of Kashmiri Conscious and part of their belief (Iman), how can India suppress that?
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.