Kashmir Truth Be Told Blog
Yus neereth gassan, pheereth cha yevaano: morda che gassan zinde (Kashmiri saying)

8/21/08

We have better choices

I will again pick up where I left off last night and would like to request new readers to please read my previous posts below to get an idea of what I was talking about. I am thankful for the many thought provoking comments that have been posted and I will try to incorporate them somehow into the larger picture about what we should expect should Kashmiris opt for any of the possible choices that are presented to them through a referendum.

The issue that I was considering in the last post was whether Kashmiri minorities will feel safe and secure in a Kashmir governed by Pakistan. While pondering over this issue what I felt was that even though there are sectarian clashes in many districts of Pakistan, we should not paint this with a broad brush and stigmatize the whole of Pakistan. There is a whole community of Ismailis living in Hunza who feel safe enough to work in Lahore and Islamabad, while leaving their families back in Hunza. Although, some might argue that the reason why Hunza itself has been saved from sectarian clashes is the fact that there are no other major sects living in Hunza. This region is dominated by the Ismaili community and there is not a large presence of Punjabi Sunni muslims in this region.

While mentioning the sectarian harmony of Hunza, one cannot deny the horrors that other minorities face in the bigger cities of Karachi, and other cities where the religious minorities live in small pockets of these areas and are often targeted by fundamentalists. This is the unfortunate scenario which might replicate itself in Kashmir should the leaders of these fundamentalist parties and organisations have unfettered access to Kashmiri youth.

Opponents to my argument will rightly point out Muzaffarabad and Murree as prime examples where even though they have been ruled by Pakistan, there have not been any serious sectarian clashes in recent history in these regions. While this is true, it should be noted that these regions have smaller populations compared to Srinagar, and smaller towns and villages tend be more closely knit, with a very good community spirit even though the people themselves might be practicing different faiths or belong to a different religious sect than that of their neighbours. People in smaller towns and villages tend to look out for their neighbours and usually have a good brotherhood compared to the city folk. Unfortunately, when we have to make comparisons with other cities of Pakistan, we have to look at the larger ones such as Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore; and sadly it is in these cities that the worst sectarian clashes usually take place.

I will continue talking about the options in yet another future posts, so please check back...

2 comments:

  1. I would first congratulate the administrator of this blog for his/her understanding and facilitating a free exchange of thoughts and

    perceptions here. For those who have lived, worked, or mingled in the Kashmir valley, it is easy to understand that the issue of 'azadi

    of Kashmir' is a sentimental issue here. It is an issue that is discussed in drawing rooms, coffee houses, universities, religious

    congregations, international forums, etc. They have from time to time exhibited their revolt against integration with india, who is seen

    as the 'occupying force', carried on and supported an armed struggle against india, indegenously and with political and armed support

    of pakistan, and later even in collusion with pan Islamist terrorist groups initially affectionately designated as freedom fighters. Sadly,

    violence in any form invites its own demons, and it was not different in this case too, as soon enough the demon turned against many

    peace loving kashmiris. They are taking their pound of flesh, in a way that only a kashmiri can understand. Committed to azadi beyond

    redemption is kashmir today, and no other reasoning will work. Its 'enough is enough' for both across the divide situation.

    My object in skimming through the past is to try and tell people who get into 'you did this, you did that brawls' here, that this is an issue

    that demands respect and sobriety. Its like a person trying to fight cancer without proper treatment. The cancer that did not ask before

    it developed. A cancer that no one wanted. Lets address that instead of discussing history that everyone knows anyways. Or else we

    can carry on blaming kashmir for unpatriotic posturing and being anti nationals and at the same time saying yes to all the money and

    projects that came out of the indian taxpayers money, and kashmir blaming india for using brutal force in suppressing the armed revolt

    perpetuated by them,... and it can go on and on.

    On the issue of Azadi for kashmir, lets say that a premise be made wherein it is decided to allow plebisite in J&K. Who makes it is

    important but lets discuss that as we progress. Lets disregard all voices opposing it. Ok, as a layman, I have a few questions here:

    1. India and Pakistan would need to agree to de-militarise both divides of jammu & kashmir and replace it with UN peacekeeping

    forces . Which means leave their positions won or lost at the cost of bloody wars and skirmishes, remove all ordinance, remove

    personnel from strategic locations, vacate their headquarters, permanent war equipment etc etc at a huge loss to their resources.

    India could maybe withstand the economic brunt of this mammoth exercse, what about pakistan, can they inspite of their sorry state of

    economics? What kind of a pressure would make them withdraw from their territorial domains. Who will apply the pressure? Indian and

    pakistan governments? Kashmiri people? (55% of the J&K population?)USA? EU? who?

    2. It can be safely estimated that 45% of the hindu, buddhist and christian population will vote for India. No doubtes about that. The

    kashmir valley will totally vote azadi, but accross the banihal tunnel, there are muslims in the districts of Poonch, Rajouri and Doda,

    and Kathua who may opt for India. You can never be sure. Anyways, lets asume that the plebisite is in favour of azadi. How would you

    divide J&K with about 50% spread out in different areas voting for India? Or would kashmiri azadi settle for holding 45% hindus and

    4% muslims who vote for india against their wishes?

    3. Lets talk about infrastructure and economics. Lets not go into details. Lets talk about basics.

    Which army is going to ensure the territorial integrity of independent kashmir? Pakistani, Indian or Nato forces who are fighting terror

    in Afganistan, Iraq, and other places? (UN forces are dependant of NATO forces you know, since they dont have regular armies) And

    if you get NATO there with the usual components from the US, UK, Germany etc., there will surely be the talibans and al-quaidas, and

    more shifting fro afganistan and eslewhere. Pakistan would not mind that as long as they give free access to them to cross over into

    independant kashmir as long as they dont foment terror in their frontiers. How long will it take independent kashmir to raise its own

    army? Their Police? Will it again have to depend on India for goodies? From which resources will they get the hardware and

    technology? Who will finance them, and at what cost? Will it follow that kashmir becomes a hot spot for international exploitation. Will

    it in any way change the basic ethos of 'kashmiriat'. Will it convert kashmir yet again into an existance of blurred nationality?

    Lets talk about technological infrastructure, Roads, power generation, communication, Industry, Railways, Airports. So far all of them,

    and development were with compliments from the govt of India, and many of them run and managed by personell from India with

    technology imported from India without a cost. How will Independent kashmir gather resources to give its people the quality of life

    existing till now? Are you sure that tourism industry will be able to get kashmir its financial resources when it is known that the State

    had to desperately depend on huge resources from India even when tourism and other fruit trade in kashmir was at its peak? I have

    read somewhere in this blog about that kashmir has enough power generation capabilities to cater to a good economy. It is true if the

    whole of J&K is taken as azad, which will probably never be the case. Many of the power generation resources fall across the tunnel,

    and seems impossible that india will forego either the territory or resource when in comes to the finals. Therefore who do you think will

    be able to exert that much pressure on india to let go of these natural resources?

    The above were only some of the contentions that I do strongly feel about. I believe it is always better to look the devil in its face and

    then take it on. It is better to have a clarity of perception before a decision. The decisions, I believe is each to his own. Thats a right

    all should enjoy, but should be calibrated and specific. I am sure someone in this forum has a better perception than mine. I shall wait

    for it and will add as more thoughts surface.

    Rajiv

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rajiv I copied your post and put in on the other forum, if you dont mind.
    http://kashmir.forumakers.com/forum.htm

    ReplyDelete