Pakistani Muslim elite and the Kashmir issue

Pakistani Muslim elite and the Kashmir issue

Gulmarg hotels fully booked as tourist tide returns to Kashmir

FAIYAZ AHMED FYZIE There are certain events which leave an indelible mark in history. October 22, 1947 is one such date which has left deep imprint on the history of the Indian sub-continent. On this day, Pakistan invaded the erstwhile Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir in the garb of tribal raid and subsequently was able to illegally occupy what is known as Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK). This invasion compelled dithering Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, to sign the instrument of accession with the Indian government, paving way for intervention of Indian Army, which successfully repelled the attack and saved Kashmir from the enemy. India cannot forget the immense contribution of late Maqbool Shervani and the local Pahadi population, who played an important role while supporting the Indian Army to thwart Pakistan's design to capture Kashmir. The conspiracy hatched by Pakistan was later exposed by her own Maj Gen (Retd) Akbar Khanin in his book 'Raiders in Kashmir'. Unfortunately, Pakistan continues to follow the same tenet of double speak to misguide the international community on Kashmir. During this aggression period, Abdul Qayum Ansari, a strong sepoy of the first Pasmanda Movement 'Jamiyatul Mominee' (Momin Conference) led by Asim Bihari, came forward as the first Muslim leader of India to condemn the same and strenuously worked to rouse the Muslim masses to counter such aggressions as true citizens of India. As an aftermath of this, he founded the 'Indian Muslim Youth Kashmir Front' in 1957 to "liberate" the so called Azad Kashmir. Later on, he exhorted the Indian Muslims to support the government of India in the anti-Indian uprising of the Razakars in Hyderabad during September 1948 too. Pakistan was a creation of Ashraafs (Muslim elite of Arab, Turk and Persian descent) who wished to create a separate state where their writ could run large as per their whims and fancies. Till date, the feudal structure of Pakistan remains intact, where Army with active connivance of handful elite families continue to run that country, leading to such an abyss where her future looks in jeopardy. The Ashraaf mindset of Pakistani establishment had initially alienated the Bangali community which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh and now discontent of religious, ethnic and economically marginalised sections of Pakistan is manifested in the struggle for the Baloch freedom movement, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), and the popular uprising in parts of Sindh and PoJK. With passage of time, the facade maintained by the Pakistani establishment is peeling off and even people of PoJK are increasingly demanding freedom from Pakistan. The favourable geo-strategic location and then prevailing Cold War rivalry between the US and USSR had been leveraged by Pakistan to the hilt while garnering support of the US and her Western allies to push its narrative against India on the issue of Kashmir. The West too was keen to placate Pakistan and kept on raising issues of human rights in Kashmir and harping the need for resolving the same under the UN Charter. The withdrawal of Soviet Union from Afghanistan in late '80s and the subsequent drying up of US aid led Pakistan to foment cross-border terrorism in Kashmir. In this experiment, Pakistan's Ashraaf establishment was able to constitute an ally in the form of Hurriyat Conference led by traditional Kashmiri Ashraaf leaders like Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq, S.A.S. Geelani, Abdul Gani Bhatt, Abdul Gani Lone etc., who hijacked the Kashmiri separatist movement keeping rest of world oblivious of the opinion of the substantial population of Pahadis, Gujjars and Bakarwals, who were vehemently opposing the separatist politics of Hurriyat and displayed unflinching loyalty towards India. It is a great gesture on the part of government of India and Home Minister Amit Shah, who has announced reservation for the Pahadi population of J&K during his rally in Baramulla. The Pahadi community has been a great support to the Indian Army in fighting Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism. This will not only motivate the loyal and patriotic backward Muslim marginalised section of Jammu and Kashmir, but also put traditional Ashraaf leaders in their place. Kashmir has come a long way since the dark days of the so called 'Tribal Invasion' and is marching forward towards the path of peace and development along with with rest of India. Abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A has rejuvenated the marginalised sections of J&K who are now making their voice heard and putting separatist elements to their place. Record footfall of tourists in J&K in 2022 is a testimony of success of the government of India's efforts to bring J&K into the mainstream and restoration of normalcy in the state. The forthcoming elections, which the Home Minister has assured will be held in 2023, will usher the state towards a brighter future. (Dr Faiyaz Ahmad Fyzie is an author, translator, media panellist, socio-Pasmanda activist and medical doctor by profession. The views expressed are personal)

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