For the past few weeks, the international media has seen a number of so-called South Asia experts expound on the Kashmir issue. However, their lack of a full grasp on the history of Kashmir is particularly shocking, and leaves the audience without sufficient perspective on the most critical front of the international war against terror.
Let us try to make it simple and explain the issue for common people as well as these so-called South-Asia political experts.
1. In August 1947, before Indiaís partition by the British, Jammu & Kashmir was an independent state ruled by a King.
2. In October 1947, Pakistani guerilla forces (known as Kabalisí or Tribesmen) attacked Jammu and Kashmir state, with the intention of wresting Kashmir. They looted, killed and raped as they marched towards the stateís capital, Srinagar.
3. At that time, Jammu & Kashmirís king requested Indiaís military help to root out the Pakistani guerilla forces from Kashmir.
4. India responded and helped drive the Pakistanis back from portions of the state.
5. At the same time, Jammu & Kashmirís king acceded to India.
6. Since that day, Jammu & Kashmirís accession to India is complete and irreversible. Since that day Jammu & Kashmir is part and parcel of India.
7. During various wars since 1947, Pakistan has annexed parts of Jammu & Kashmir State, known today as Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) in India and Azad Kashmir (Free Kashmir) in Pakistan respectively.
8. The so-called Azad Kashmir has never had a democratically elected government.
9. Pakistan-occupied Kashmiri territory has been used as a base for Al Qaida-related terrorist groups that are under the supervision of Pakistanís military and intelligence wings.
10. These terrorist groups orchestrated the ethnic cleansing of about 350,000 Kashmiri Hindus in 1990 from Kashmir valley, and continue to target Hindu and Sikh minorities as part of a Pakistan-sponsored effort to complete the Islamization of the state.
People who quote United Nations resolutions on Kashmir need to read the United Nations resolution in totality [http://www.ikashmir.org/LegalDocs/UNresolutions.html]. The United Nations itself described Pakistan as an aggressor. The United Nations resolution in Part II (A) says the following:
1. As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.
2. The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavor to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting.
Only after Pakistan met these two conditions, all other clauses of this resolution would have come into effect. Now how difficult is that to understand? Why do these so-called South Asia experts miss these points? Are they ignorant of South Asian history? Or is it not convenient for them to speak the truth?
In United States and its alliesí current war against global terrorism, international policy makers need to dig deeper and go after the sources of these terrorist activities. The real threat is not from people like Osama bin Laden, who is more of a symbol. It is from the states that harbor and sponsor people like bin Laden and Al Qaida-related groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
It was Mullah Omar who gave bin Laden all the shelter and logistical support to launch his so-called jihad. Even if the United States get hold of bin Laden (dead or alive), as long as those States who thrive on sponsoring terrorism continue to exist, many more bin Ladens will emerge. The International Coalition against Global Terrorism (ICGT) needs to go after these rogue states. And the country that tops the list is Pakistan. It has been well established that Pakistan has used POK to foster terrorist groups that collaborated with the Taliban, Al Qaida, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Ansar, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Lashkar-e-Toiba. In last few weeks, countries within the International Coalition against Global Terrorism have seen credible evidence of Pakistani ISIís (Pakistanís CIA) involvement in recent terrorist attack on Indiaís Parliament.
The US State Department's counter-terrorism office, in its April 30th report, noted that "Pakistan's military government, headed by General Pervez Musharraf, continued previous Pakistani Government support of the Kashmiri insurgency, and Kashmiri militant groups continued to operate in Pakistan, raising funds and recruiting new cadre. Several of these groups were responsible for attacks against civilians in Indian-held Kashmir, and the largest of these groups, the [LeT], claimed responsibility for a suicide car-bomb attack against an Indian garrison in Srinagar." It also noted that the United States "remains concerned about reports of continued Pakistani support for the Taliban's military operations in Afghanistan. Credible reporting indicates that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with material, fuel, funding, technical assistance and military advisers. Pakistan has not prevented large numbers of Pakistani nationals from moving into Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban. Islamabad also failed to take effective steps to curb the activities of certain madrassas, or religious schools that serve as recruiting grounds for terrorism."
This is the right time for India to push its advantage and expose Pakistanís sponsorship of Global Islamic terrorism. India is taking all the right steps and it has to continue to build up the pressure. If it backs down now, it will lose all the momentum it gained from finally flexing its muscles, and then it should be ready for dealing with decades of insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and terrorist destruction of the nation.
After years and years of terrorist sponsorship, Pakistan has finally started to take baby steps at the point of the gun. It is not going to give up its malicious ways if it sees India weakening at this crucial juncture. Arresting Masood Azhar for 90 days or Hafiz Mohammad Saeed for a week are superficial actions. Both Lashkar and Jaish have cadres numbering in thousands and unless all of them are identified, imprisoned and extradited to India, there can be no 'peaceful resolution' of conflict in South Asia. India has demanded that Pakistan hand over 20 of the main terrorists. It should stick to that demand, as well as a complete, verifiable end to the training, incitement, logistics and material support for all terrorists in J&K and any others that target India. India's intense ! pressure in the form of the military buildup and threat of imminent attack can not end unless Pakistan has acceded to those demands to prove that it is serious about getting out of the terrorism business. Otherwise it will get duped by Pakistan yet again, and this golden opportunity to force a complete Pakistani break from terrorism will be lost, perpetuating the danger that India now faces.
Based on historical facts, the only pending issue from 1947 has been the regaining of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. In 1994, India passed a resolution in its parliament declaring the whole of Jammu & Kashmir as part and parcel of State of India. And this is the right time to fulfill that resolution. Pakistan has forfeited any remote claim to the state through its oppression of POK residents and its misuse of POK territory for terrorist operations. India is within its right to regain POK militarily at this point, and the international community should provide full backing for this course of action.
Published in KashmirHerald