SYED TASSADQUE HUSSAIN
Kashmir is drifting in turbulent cross-currents of the regional politics in South Asia, a highly dreary situation, unfolding itself in a fast paced mode, making it imperative for anyone who indulges in journalistic pursuits of sorts, to speak out his mind and stated stand point, not with a view to pontificate, but to inform public opinion in performance of one’s conscionable public duty.
I venture to break the eleven month hiatus of silence self imposed of course for various reasons, and, draw public attention to the crises looming large on the horizon. I have never viewed the Kashmir problem as an unfinished agenda of the great divide of Indian Sub-continent in 1947. In my book [ KASHMIR ENIGMA ENTANGLE STRANDS ] I painstakingly expatiated that the provenance of the Kashmir Enigma were laid down by the British strategists in 1707 and not 1947 as is the popular perception. After taking a second hard look at the situation, I still find my adherence to this stand point.
1707 A.D was the period of revival of high caste Hindu Nationalism and British, were invited by the propertied class of High Caste Hindus to subvert Mughal Rule in India. It was agreed that when British depart from the Indian Sub-continent, the mantle of power will be passed on to the propertied High Caste Hindus, who would resurrect the Unified India of Ram Rajya era. Elimination of Pakistan as a State is compatible with the ideals of Hindu Nationalism.
The interim resolution of this conflict of ideals is the ideation of a federal SAARC on economic basis, with common market, common currency, common defense and common forums on regional basis for the resolution of interse territorial disputes. Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh’s strategic asseveration that Indian markets shall be opened to SAARC countries, translated into explicable parlance means that domination of the economies of the SAARC countries, by the pre-dominant and ascendant Indian economy that would gradually lead to the exclusion of rival China from South Asia and will corrode the pretentious sovereignty of the SAARC countries.
The only stumbling block in the pathway is Pakistan, that for its own existential reasons, willy nilly, has how to align with China. I am of the firm view, that U.S and China, shared common perception to dust U.S.S.R from Afghanistan since 1978, and, the Jihad against U.S.S.R was funded in a vast measure by China, through the conduit of Pakistan Army.
The second limb of my thesis is grounded upon the speculation that the Pakistan Army was never totally dependant on U.S military assistance. Mr. A.Q. Khan the Pakistani nuclear scientist should be in a position to corroborate my speculation that actualization of Pakistani nuclear ambitions and surrealistic dreams had the tacit financial approval of China. My own financial difficulties prevented me from visiting China and Pakistan to verify the actual facts. I honest to goodness, wanted to meet Late Mr. Z.A. Bhutto, then facing a murder trial to obtain his version of the scenario. I applied to Amnesty International Indian Chapter for permission to observe Bhuttoe’s trial. The request was disregarded and I tendered my public resignation from Amnesty International Kashmir Chapter as founder member. This explains why I can only characterize my view point as a speculation.
However, this speculation, leads, to still another illation that since 1978 itself U.S.A and India reached a tacit understanding that the radicalization of Talibans for fighting Jihad against Russians would inevitably lead to clericalisation of the Pakistan polity. That would in turn lead to distrust of U.S and Indian policies towards Af-Pak region.
The Indians had a nostrum to this menacing scenario. Down right at the birth of Pakistan in 1947 itself the Indian National Congress adopted a policy of supporting Baluchi and Pushtoon Nationalism. Khan Abdul Gauffar Khan and Dr Khan Sahib at the public request of Sardar Patel then voicing the sentiments of Indian National Congress boycotted 14th August 1947 Celebrations. Gous Bux Bizenjo and other ultra nationalist Baluchis, who had a personal rapport with Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru, [Patron All State Peoples Conference] were totally averse to the idea of a theological State of Pakistan. The ambiguities of the Durand Live made it possible for successive Nationalist Governments in Afghanistan to support the idea of Pukhtoonistan. Russian financial support ably fuelled the fires of Afghan Nationalism. The scenario is vividly characterized by Anthony Arnold in his book Afghanistan, the Soviet Invasion in perspective in these words:-
“…..In the spring of 1955, Afghan mobs were permitted if not encouraged by the authorities to tear down the flag from Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, and from its consulates in Jalallabad and Kandhar and to loot these establishments. Pakistan promptly withdrew its ambassador, suspended Afghanistan’s transit privileges, and unleashed its own mob-violence against Afghan businesses and officials in Pakistan. The border remained closed for five months, until the United States finally prevailed on Pakistani’s to allow transit of US aid materials and equipment to Helmund Valley. The United States turned down as impracticable, however, an Afghan request to build over a thousand miles of highway through Iran to give Afghanistan an alternative route to the sea.” Unquote In my view now a reversal of situation has morphed. The killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabd did not elicit any reaction from President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia. The million dollar question is why? What about Viladmir Putin? His studied silence is eloquent. It was Bin Laden who organized Jihad against U.S.S.R in 1980. The reason is obvious. First and foremost, Russia now has been able to persuade the Islamists in Russia that they should delink themselves from Al-Qaeda. Russia in fact is turning a blind eye to the Russian Islamists getting financial support from other sources.
Now Moscow realizes that there is a present a nexus between India and U.S.A to fuel Pushtoon Nationalism, and, fund the Taliban to raise a direct insurgency in North West Frontier Province of Pakistan.
This is the only plausible explanation why USA has overtly by passed Pakistan and continued negotiations with Talibans. If Talibans delink themselves from Al-Qaeda and form a government in Afghanistan the USA will support the idea of Pushtoonistan.
In the aftermath of such a situation, the U.S will be able to withdraw from Afghanistan by the year 2014. The upshot of this discussion is that Pushtoon Nationalism is now getting direct succour from India and U.S.A. The situation is to force Pakistan to federate with India at least for defense and foreign policy matters, in the name of bringing stabilization in Afghanistan. In such a dire situation, Russian and the China now have a joint interest to collaborate with Pakistan. Sergi Rogov, the Director of Moscow based institute for [U.S and Canada studies] has cautioned that avoiding this strategy will jeopardize Russian interests in Central Asia. There is reason to believe that both Russia and China would like to delink Indian – U.S.A policies in South Asia. The best way to achieve this objective is to open an Islamic insurgency in Kashmir. This theory has to some extent the support of Russian think tank led by Ruslan Ghereyer of [North Caucasus Centre of Islamic Studies]. His comment on the killing of Osama Bin Ladin was succinct in say:-
“…..The liquidation of Bin Laden will have no impact on terrorism in the world and still less in North Caucasus: on the country, it will open a Pandora box of extremism.” He in a mood of sub-audition has in fact cautioned that the Pandora Box of extremism is to be opened in Kashmir Valley. Revival of militancy in Kashmir will be fully supported by Pakistan Army. The Russians will encourage the Chinese to take the burden of Kashmiri Islamic insurgency so that the attention of USA is diverted and it is prevented from devising further strategies in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Water scarcity in Pakistan will force army to forestall any federating strategy with India even on the economic front, not to speak of defense and Foreign affairs. However, granting MNF status to India is a smoke screen.
It is my perception that water scarcity in west Punjab and the changing Russian stance towards Afghanistan and Central Asia will open up the way for Pak-China defense pact coinciding with the rise and revival of Islamic insurgency in Kashmir. The prospects of Kashmir future are bleak and dreary indeed! The downing of a NATO Helicopter with thirty eight U.S special operation group by Taliban using Rocket fire shows direct involvement of both Russia and China in arming Talibans. In the back drop of this intense hugger-mugger, India fully well knowing, the internal situation in Pakistan, that shows, that at present Pakistan is severely caught in the coils of a ferocious turbulence, the genesis of which stems from the demands for re-organization of States in Pakistan on ethnic and linguistic considerations. India is also aware that the overwidening hiatus between Pushtoons and Mahajirs in Karachi, has become unbridgeable, as three hundred people were killed in this blighted city in the deadliest month of July 2011 still invited Hina Rabbani Khar the young Foreign Minister of Pakistan for intense parleys. Such a meeting was inevitably bound to prove a non-sequitur.
Full credit goes to Hina Rabbani Khar, the brilliant, dashing smart and stylish youngster from the jetset sybaritic family of Khars, who with a broad smile, completely flummoxed the ageing old Geezer Mr. S.M. Krishna. He in his nervousness could cobble up together some incoherent, pretentious, high flown, high sounding words, more suitable to a fawner, assuring the Foreign Minister of Pakistan about India’s sincerity towards “Pakistan Integrity.”
The parleys were full of platitudes, and a lot of words were scattered higgledy piggledy about the resolution of Kashmir dispute. The two high powered executives agreed to obvious procrastination.
Hina was able to achieve her target, as procrastination should now enable Pakistan and China to announce formally about a defense pact. They are not announcing it, as they expect Iran to join them soon within a year.
A new regional situation is emerging in South Asia. It is in the interest of Pakistan and China to push the Kashmir issue to the back burner to divert attention from the construction of a huge dam in Gilgit by the Chinese P.L.A.
Indians have no answer to these questions of new emerging regional formations in South Asia. They vainly hope Pakistan would implode, but China has already shored up Pakistan. Indo-Pak parleys have shown that true politics is after all the end game of crass crackpots. This is the lesson which history teaches us.