The current Kashmir crisis presents one of the biggest threats to the world peace and security since the Second World War. What is the way forward of the current Kashmir crisis? Every Pakistani is thinking about this most difficult question that demands an answer sooner rather than later. This article will unravel the origin, nature and significance of this crisis. It will also explain how perceptions were shaped before and during the August 5 Indian action and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s thought process and strategy to deal with this crisis. It will also briefly compare the transforming nature and role of leadership of Pakistan and India over the years and how it is expected to behave in the current crisis and future.
The Kashmir issue has many dimensions, ranging from the diplomatic, legal, political, strategic aspects and the distribution of natural resources within the region. However, the most critical aspect of the Kashmir crisis is the humanitarian dimension of the current crisis. After the curfew imposed by Indian forces on millions of peaceful Kashmiris has entered its second month, the world sits on the brink of one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of the 21st century. The complete isolation of the Kashmiris living under Indian occupation from the rest of the world is preventing the world from knowing the real extent of tragedy, misery and pain being constantly inflicted upon them by the military forces of a country that internationally presents itself as the world’s largest democracy. How India globally presents itself as the land of economic opportunity and stable democracy while hiding its most hateful and cruel face against its different minorities in general and Kashmiris in particular is a fascinating story that must be understood and exposed.
Twenty-one years ago, BJP started a “Shining India Campaign” on which $350-400 million was spent that aimed to internationally brand India as a very progressive, modern country with a very positive image. One must objectively recognize that this long-term and expensive campaign was quite successful in shifting the narrative. Three years later, 9/11 tragedy occurred and India smartly shaped its global and domestic narrative in order to internationally present Pakistan as an irresponsible state that was a source of terrorism and a threat to the world. India did not offer any major active support to the U.S. led global war on terror in the conflict zones in which Pakistan offered its land routes, air space and sea lanes, rendered the greatest sacrifices and suffered the biggest economic losses. India, in contrast, merely used its narrative to try to delegitimize the UN recognized Kashmir freedom struggle by presenting it as Pakistani-sponsored terrorism.
The world is living in a “post truth era” where perception has a much greater power than reality. India successfully engineered this narrative through social media, think tanks, scholars and film industry. Gradually, we started seeing Indian actors figuring in Hollywood movies that painted Muslims and Pakistanis as terrorists. Strategic messaging started to shape the global perceptions that Pakistan posed a threat rather than offer any positive relevance to the international order. This was particularly painful because while the world was being fed this Indian narrative, Pakistani soldiers and citizens were offering the greatest sacrifices to fight and defeat terrorism, including that which was Indian sponsored, armed and trained. Unfortunately, most of our response was based on appeasement, apology and defensive reactions in order to remain relevant to the Western powers. This approach only emboldened India and reduced world attention towards the plight of the Kashmiris.
India tactfully aligned its interests with the United States and presented itself as counter weight to China and Russia, in order to gain strategic relevance with the emerging world order. At the same time, India also attempted to present itself as a victim of terrorism and extremism, allegedly sponsored by Pakistan. However, what most people ignored is that extremism is a mindset and has no links with religion. This Indian narrative strengthened its ties with global powers and badly damaged our international standing and harmed our diplomacy.
In reality, India neither sent its troops to fight a battle in support of its Soviet allies during the Cold War in Korea, Vietnam or Afghanistan nor in its current so-called strategic partnership with the United States in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria. In contrast, Pakistan offered great sacrifices during the Cold War (1948-1989) as well as during the global war on terror (2001-2019), on several fronts around the world. The brave Pakistani nation sacrificed its sons, daughters and children and accepted great losses to our economy for world peace. Despite these unparalleled sacrifices, we were still demonized throughout the world and aspersions were cast upon our responsibility as a nuclear power.
The South Asian subcontinent was ruled by the Muslims for almost eight centuries (997-1857) whereas the British ruled India for almost a century (1857-1947). The BJP’s Hindu extremist ideology aspires to rewrite the history and restoring the Hindu pride by punishing the Muslims for ruling the region for so long. Taking revenge from Pakistan, armed with very capable, experienced and professional armed forces and a credible nuclear arsenal was very dangerous while colonizing Britain was of course not possible for India. Therefore, carrying out genocide against Kashmiris, its Muslim minorities and dominating the region by constraining Pakistan through diplomatic, psychological and economic means and sponsoring terrorism through its proxies inside Pakistan is the current Indian strategy. The current siege of Kashmir and genocide of peaceful Muslims in Kashmir is the first phase of the BJP strategy because it offered India the lowest military risk and convenient target. Interestingly, internationally branding India as a shining, rising power and economic hub to attract Western investment goes on in tandem. Has the world sold its conscience to the devil? Does it take only the horrors of Auschwitz concentrations camps to awaken the world? Right now, Modi-led India has turned Kashmir into a concentration camp, ten times bigger than Auschwitz was under the rule of Nazi ruler Hitler. The scale of Kashmir tragedy is ten times bigger than what Nazis did to the Jews and deserves proportionate world concern and timely intervention to free the Kashmiris from Indian oppression and occupation.
The massive scale of the Kashmir tragedy has proven the two-nation theory and the wisdom of our great founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, more than ever before. Even the pro-Indian Kashmiri leaders like Mehbooba Mufti have now recognized the historic mistake of falling for the myth of secular India and overlooking the reality and depth of Hindu hatred towards its minorities in general and Kashmiris in particular.
Kashmiris and Pakistan represent the same ideology, same soul, same aspirations, same dreams, same way and purpose of life. Neither Indian carrots can lure them not its sticks can subdue them or change these fundamental realities. The hearts, minds and souls of Pakistanis and Kashmiris are inseparable. Separating Pakistan and Kashmir is like separating Makkah and Madina, which is impossible. Pakistan is incomplete without Kashmir and Pakistan is the strength of the Kashmiris and it will stand by them till they get their right of self-determination, which both India and Pakistan and the UN have promised them.
After Pakistani nation elected PTI in the last elections, our leader Imran Khan extended his hand of peace to Modi to herald a new era of peace, progress and prosperity for the region. This gesture was neither a naïve gesture nor a sign of weakness but based on our strong principles, inspired by our last holy Prophet (PBUH) that a Muslim should never be the first one to start a war, even while dealing with the enemy. Imran Khan’s principles are based on the example of the last holy prophet (PBUH) and rules of statecraft of the Riyasat-e-Madina. It teaches us humanity, human dignity, sacrifice and compassion where power is a means to the end of human dignity, justice and progress. It is different from the contemporary western political thought, based on realism in which power is the ultimate end, subordinating all other moral, ethical and spiritual ends. The ultimate end of power, according to Muslim ideology is, to work for the well-being, honor, justice and progress of the people. This is why our leader extended an olive branch to Narendra Modi, a leader raised by RSS extremist Hindu ideology and who rose to power after murdering over a thousand peaceful Muslims in Gujrat as its Chief Minister. He is gravely mistaken if he thinks that what he did in Gujrat, he can also do in Kashmir and get away with it.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, following the supreme example of the last holy Prophet (PBUH) who had invited the Quraishi leaders in Makkah to the peaceful ideology of Islam, despite their cruelty towards Muslim minority who lived in Makkah. But unfortunately, Muslims’ desire for peace has often been misinterpreted as a sign of weakness and several people who do not understand Muslim philosophy, underestimate our resolve for independence and responsibility to protect the weak and oppressed. Pakistan’s creation is the ultimate and physical manifestation of these core value that Muslims can never live under tyranny and resisting oppression is a religious and ideological obligation not merely a human right recognized under the UN Charter, which emerged 13 centuries after the human rights charter of Islam that our last holy Prophet (PBUH) gave in the state of Madina.
If we carefully look at what the United States Presidents do after they leave Oval office, we see that after retirement they devote their time and influence to social work. We are blessed with a leader who has come to power on the basis of his great contributions towards human security and welfare and wants a peaceful, progressive and prosperous Pakistan where social-justice is the core value. We need to understand the philosophy of Imran Khan, and not misunderstand his desire for peace as a sign for weakness. If we compare the emergence of Imran Khan and Narendra Modi on the South Asian political landscape, our leader became prime minister after serving the humanity through social work, collecting money for poor cancer patients and working for the well being of the poor. He was the one to stand for the oppressed Pakistanis living in the tribal areas when they were the poor victims of drone attacks, which sometime our leaders of that time lacked even the courage of condemning. In contrast, how did Narendra Modi come to power? By murdering more than a thousand Muslims in Gujrat. Instead of being punished for these brutal crimes he became Prime Minister of India and was given red carpet welcome by some of the world powers, who call themselves the defenders of human rights. It is the collective responsibility the entire international community and world organizations like the United Nations and OIC to help humanity from grave dangers to their lives, honor and properties but they have sadly let the humanity down particularly in Kashmir where one hundred thousand people have been murdered by the military forces of the world’s largest democracy. The world has a responsibility towards the Kashmiris to free them from
Indian occupation and tyranny. And while our oppressed brothers and sisters are dying in captivity, in hunger and our sisters are being molested in Kashmir, we cannot stand by and watch and have a moral and ethical responsibility to help save them.
Mr. Imran Khan has exposed the reality of India before the world, like never before. We must give great credit to our Kashmiri, local and international journalists as well as social workers for raising their voice on this issue and exposing the myth of secular and shining India, which was hiding its real face of hatred and violence against all other people, except extremist Hindus. For the first time in 72 years, people around the world now are concerned and believe that there is a grave international human crisis that needs to be immediately addressed.
The Kashmir issue has been raised on the diplomatic level at UNSC, the European Union, OIC and all the major global forums have discussed this issue. Our leadership is going to raise this case before the UNGA shortly. Our armed forces are ready and have shown the resolve to fight till the last soldier and last bullet for Kashmir and our nation is united in its support for Kashmir. Personally, I believe nature is taking its course and all ups have downs. There is a verse in the Quran that states, “they plot and plan, and Allah plans too; and Allah is the best of planners.” I believe Kashmir freedom struggle has entered its decisive phase and the time has come where Indian occupation will finally end. It is the beginning of the end and after the long night of oppression the dawn of freedom is awaiting the Kashmiris nation and completion of Pakistan.
Narendra Modi poses a grave danger to the international security and world peace and it is crucial for the Indian military and its leadership to decide whether they will protect hundreds of millions of poor Indian people, living below the poverty line, or will they be used to promote the irrational and disastrous agenda of the nuclear armed RSS. The Modi government is in control of the RSS and India is the only country among those possessing nuclear weapons in the world that is being lead by a terrorist organization. The world is not safe with a Hindu extremist organization controlling a large and growing nuclear arsenal. After the tragedy of 9/11 a number of countries including Pakistan started de-radicalization programs. The program to de-radicalize the RSS for the sake of world peace is a long overdue obligation for the world organizations. I urge the world to look at Kashmir as a critical and humanitarian issue that poses grave threat to world peace, far beyond any temporary economic and regional geopolitical gains. The Kashmiris have been forced to finally decide to free themselves from Indian tyranny and occupation and they can turn the myth of rising and shining India into a country that resembles a nuclear-armed Afghanistan, populated by 1.3 billion people. It could turn all the Indian dreams of rising as a great power and luring foreign investment and tourism into the worst nightmares.
I request the entire Pakistani diaspora to write to their respective Member of Parliaments, Congressmen, Representatives and governments and they should explain to their governments that this is a grave humanitarian catastrophe much beyond what the Nazis did during the Second World War unleashed by almost a million Indian armed soldiers occupying Jammu and Kashmir. The world must act now before it is too late. Our Prime Minister, government, military forces and the entire nation will stand with Kashmiris in their struggle for freedom, till our last breath. To help the oppressed and oppose the oppressor is an obligation upon all of us.
Mr. Iftikhar Durrani is Special Assistant to Prime Minister of Pakistan on Media.
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