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For Hurriyat, Pakistan is the be-all and end-all

For Hurriyat, Pakistan is the be-all and end-all

Author: J. N. Raina
Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: August 30, 2002

Many headed General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan pretends to be natty; mocking at his own fanciful ideas with a squint eye on restoration of democracy at home.

In as period of sulking, he awkwardly moves to and fro like the bob of a pendulum, putting on the mantle of a demigod to kill at will his known detractors; teaching India lessons on holding clean elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Having played fraud on his people by proclaiming himself as President and Chief of the Army Staff for the next five years, Gen. Musharraf has the gumption to describe the forthcoming elections in Jammu and Kashmir as farcical, invariably rigged and boycotted by the Kashmiris.

He hardly seems to realise that he has fallen from the grace of many a well meaning world leaders of the consequence and Islamic nations, on whose help Pakistan has been banking upon critically.

Following the footsteps of Pakistan's last dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq (who had orchestrated Operation TOPAC, to destabilise India by engineering proxy war), Musharraf has intriguingly vested in himself all powers to dismiss the National Assembly and appoint the three Service Chiefs. What else is there to dream of? This has been done just ahead of the October general elections to Pakistan's national and provincial assemblies. He has completely reshaped his country's constitution on Zia model to suit his mission - bleed India - and made series of constitution amendments.

But all this bungling by the US's close ally does not bother the Bush Administration. On the contrary, praises have been showered on the stalwart ally, presuming : He is still right with us on the war against terror.

Instead of waging war on Islamic terror, with its epicentre in Pakistan, the US is obviously playing its own game plan. Whether it is democracy or autocracy in Pakistan, it hardly concerns them. Perhaps the Americans are interested in perpetuating trouble in South Asia? This trend has been more discernible after the September 11 violent attack on the World Trade Centre, grievously hurting US pride. May be, the US feels that destabilised Pakistan, headed by a mendicant, will serve their purpose better and allow them to interfere with cogently to drive away 70,000 Al Quaida operatives in Pakistan, who were given a free passage from war-torn Afghanistan while hunting down Osama bin Laden, because o,f Pakistan's manipulation. Many hundred thousand AQ activists are trenched in PoK and Jammu and Kashmir on their universal Jehad campaign, Jihad against infidels. The US is of the opinion that it is easy to handle a rogue client that influence civilian Government which will think twice before leasing on a platter military bases to the US.

Ipso facto, jehadis have now recoiled on Gen. Musharraf, who has been imprisoned in his own re-fortified security. Three major attempts have been made on his life for siding with the US.

For the first time since Pakistan's independence, the leader of Pakistan did not hoist the national flag on August 14, Pakistan's independence day, according to papers and web newspapers in Pakistan. Believably, Musharraf has sought assistance from ISI to help negotiate a deal with Jehadi elements for a ceasefire.

Maintaining that infiltration was still on in Jammu and Kashmir (there might be some rogue elements and renegades he would say), as opposed to his earlier stand that there was no activity on the LoC, Musharraf continued to hold his invidious position: Pakistan will not accept responsibility for developments inside Kashmir.

The rogue elements have been pushed into Jammu and Kashmir to disturb elections, considered by many as a turning poijnt in shaping the destiny of the troubled state and rectifying past mistakes as told by the Prime Minister. The jehadi groups have paralyzed moderate separatist leaders who had some better sense and wanted to jump into electioneering fray. The Hurriyat Conference is terrified following the diktat from the militants, who have been mercilessly killing people to disarray them from participating in the elections. Strangely enough, the mendicant, who is on the stretcher, has guts to tell India that Pakistan would not accept responsibility for developments inside Jammu and Kashmir. Nor should India shift onus of the failure of elections to Pakistan. He has even warned India that no one could dare think of adventurism across our borders.

Dismissing the forthcoming elections as unrepresentative, he has equally warned : His country is prepared not only to defend itself, but to carry on the fight across the borders. In the same breath, he continues to harp on the right of self-determination for Kashmiris, praising Islamic militants in Kashmir for waging a principled struggle.

Enough of coaxing has been done by Ram Jethmalani's Kashmir Committee, to persuade the Hurriyat leaders to take part in the elections. So far, the Hurriyat, terrorised by the Pakistan-based extremists has been dodging on one pretext or the other. For the Hurriyat, hen has only one leg (murgi ki ek tang) and continued to toe the Musharraf line. The separatists have taken the usual stand as dittoed by Pakistan that wishes of the people should be ascertained through a mechanism, to be agreed upon by India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. They are repeating the same old tale, as told by an idiot.

Although the Kashmir Committee has maintained that these elections were historical and crucial to identify the real representatives, and that these representatives would be the interlocutors in talks leading to a permanent solution of the problem, the separatists, being remote controlled by ISI, continue to dupe Jethmalani. Initially he believed those who fail to participate in the poll process will be sending wrong signals to the people that they were dancing to Pakistan's tune and did not enjoy popular support. Astoundingly he has now asked the Centre if it did not postpone elections to give more time to the separatists to decide, he would tell the world that elections were rigged, thus exploding his own bombshell.

After all, why should the Hurriyat should be interested in creating a new future in Kashmir's relationship with India? They are not unemployed like several lakh educated Kashmiri youth. They are on Pakistan's pay roll and know it well that they lack mass support. The Prime Minister has asserted that it is secularism which holds India together. Rightly so, but one would like to prick his conscience and ask what measures are being taken to restore secular character of the Kashmir valley, which has been made bereft of the Hindu minority community. The Election Commissioner, James Michael Lyngdoh has stalled election in Gujarat on the plea that one lakh people (Muslim minority community) were displaced by communal riots. He has however allowed elections in Jammu and Kashmir, from where nearly five lakh Hindus have been hounded out, over 2.5 lakh of whom are huddled in refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi.

What kind of secularism do we adopt? Is it different for different ethnic groups? Are thousands of houses of Kashmiri Pandits, burnt by the separatista, been constructed again in the valley? Can the Hindu Pandit community get back their paddy lands and apple orchards, grabbed by the separatists? Has not the community been disfranchised? These are some the basic questions the Election Commission needs to answer. What is the difference between Ahmedabad's Shah-e-Alam camp and Jammu's Pukhroo camp?

In fact, the reality bites. In a special report titled "A tale of two elections', published in a leading national daily, there is hardly any mention about the [plight of Kashmiri Pandits, who were the first victims of militancy. Has any one been punished for committing atrocities on the Hindu Pandit community? If the Muslims in Gujarat are today victims of communalism, the Hindus have been made victims of communalism and terrorism and need added attention from the international Human Rights activists.

India should repeatedly ask Pakistan to vacate occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir it has grabbed illegally. Instead, we only talk defensively about this side of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has been internationalised because of terrorism.

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