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OPINION | JKLF, the Face-Saver of the Pakistani Military Establishment

This is not the first time that JKLF has come to the rescue of a diplomatically battered Pakistani military establishment.

Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza |

Updated:November 5, 2019, 6:41 PM IST
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OPINION | JKLF, the Face-Saver of the Pakistani Military Establishment
File photo of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik.

The final act of the political drama ostensibly scripted by the Pakistani military establishment and staged by the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was performed on October 16 when UN representatives (facilitated by the puppet government of Pakistani-occupied Jammu Kashmir) arrived at Jaskol and were handed over a page-long memorandum.

The memorandum demanded action from the UN to help lift curfew in Indian Union Territory of J&K, but remained silent on the continuous atrocities committed by the Pakistani government and its military in PoJK and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) where the course of river Neelam has been altered for the construction of a dam causing serious lack of water in the PoJK capital city of Muzaffarabad and perpetual land grab by the Pakistani military generals as well as lack of human and civil rights in GB.

This is not the first time that JKLF has come to the rescue of a diplomatically battered Pakistani military establishment. During the 1970s and 80s when the governments of prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1971-77) and military dictator Zia Ul Haq (1977- 88) failed in their attempts to arouse popular uprising amid political discontent in the Valley, it was none other than the JKLF who facilitated the Pakistani military establishment with a political and logistic corridor through which harbingers of terrorism began to entered the Vale of Kashmir.

During the early 1990s, hundreds of JKLF volunteers were recruited into the jihadi training camps run by Pakistani military in Rawalpindi district and PoJK (Azad Kashmir) and then sent across the Line of Control (LoC) into Jammu. On their return to PoJK, the JKLF members brought back with them new recruits from Srinagar and suburbs. These (Srinagar-based) new recruits were then trained in ‘jihad’. However, according to one such ex-jihadi militant who spoke to this scribe, the Pakistan army sodomised these new young militants before they were sent across the LoC!

JKLF gave a new lease of life to Masla-e-Kashmir (problem of Kashmir) by creating havoc in the Valley. Armed with the hate ideology of two-nation theory of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the JKLF goons, initially disguised as secular in form but fanatically religious in content, launched unprovoked murderous attacks on our Hindu Pandit brethren, which led to the murder of many and internal displacement of hundreds of thousands. Once again, an attempt to plant communalism in Kashmir was initiated at the behest of the Pakistani military establishment.

The most infamous incident when the communal weapon was used to weaken the ruler of Jammu-Kashmir took place during pre-Partition days on July 13, 1931. Communal riots were instigated and exploited by a Muslim clergy against the ‘Hindu’ Maharaja of the state in which 21 people are claimed to have lost their lives.

Muslims were gathered outside the Srinagar Central Jail to protest against a devious inmate’s detention. His name is said to be Abdul Qadeer, but no one knows where he hailed from. Apparently, it was his provocative speeches of religious hate against a ‘Hindu’ Maharaja that had resulted his arrest. Meanwhile, the imam of Srinagar Jammia Masjid continued to use traditional religious rhetoric to poison the minds of innocent Muslim worshipers and fill their hearts with hate and fanaticism against the Maharaja who was equated with the Egyptian pharaoh.

On July 13, 1931, the day when the trial of this dubious character was to begin, large crowds were gathered outside the jail at the behest of the imam of Jammia Masjid. A member of the crowd, known by the name of Ghulam Muhammad Halwai, is said to have attacked a policeman and snatched his gun. However, before he could handle the gun, he was shot dead by a fellow policeman. At this point, the mob became uncontrollable and hand-to-hand fight sued in which resulted in the police opening fire.

July 13 is celebrated annually in Pakistan as a great event when a ‘subjugated’ Muslim population rose against a ‘Hindu tyrant’. The event is also presented to the poor population of Pakistan as an evidence of the inevitable result of the two-nation theory and thus justification of rebellion by the Poonch soldiers of Muslim decent against Maharaja Hari Singh during the 1947 Pakistan-sponsored attack on the state of Jammu Kashmir. One should also consider the fact that out of 7,167 Kashmir soldiers who served in the Second World War, 6,402 were from Poonch. Hence, since the Muslims from Poonch were brain-poisoned with communalism, rebellion against one’s own country should not come as a surprise.

The fanaticism generated by the communalism of 1947 was once again performed in Jammu Kashmir with the help of Pakistan military sponsored religious fanatic jihadists who launched a spree of gruesome massacre and kidnapping of their own people; the Hindu population in Poonch, Mirpur, Muzzafarabad and other places. It was an act of ethnic/religious cleansing and for this act of violence the Pakistani military has yet to stand trial at the Haig International Court for war crimes.

The abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution which has abolished the special status granted to Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh by the 1954 constituent assembly of the state has added a new chapter to the ill-fated people of Jammu Kashmir. One hopes that this time around, the people of the Valley in particular and the rest of the region in general will benefit by this change of governing status dispensed by the stroke of a pen. However, one thing should be crystal clear that Pakistani establishment is not going to let go of its attempts to cause religious hate by staging political dramas such as the one that began on October 4 and concluded on October 16.

It is important that we examine the significance of the decision of JKLF to begin a protest march for Kashmir on October 4. What is the significance of October 4? And why was October 4 chosen as a date of the launch of the march towards LoC with the slogan ‘Chalo Chalo Srinagar Chalo’? Let us briefly examine the significance of October 4 in our tumultuous history.

As Jinnah’s two-nation theory based on communalism spread during the unsettled period of 1947 throughout northern India, Bihar, Bengal and other parts of the subcontinent, Jammu Kashmir remained calm. Meanwhile, attempts had been initiated in Pakistan to grab Jammu Kashmir and forcefully annex it with Pakistan. Although the naked aggression of Pakistan surfaced on October 22, 1947 when she launched a surprise attack on the princely state of Jammu Kashmir from five entry points, but the preparations had begun much earlier.

On October 4, 1947 at a local hotel room in Rawalpindi, leaders of Muslim Conference gathered to form a so-called revolutionary government of Jammu Kashmir. They declared a provisional government and nominated Khawaja Ghulam Nabi Gilkar president and Sardar Mohammad Ibrahim Khan as Prime Minister. This was the same Sardar Ibrahim Khan who had been sent to England for higher education by Maharaja Harri Singh and who was on his return made the Public Prosecutor in Mirpur (1943) and later as the State Advocate General of the Princely State of Jammu Kashmir.

It was these sons of the soil who conspired against their own people and state in favour of turning them into a perpetual colony of Pakistan. Sardar Ibrahim plotted against his own people and was heavily rewarded by the Pakistani state. He was given the title of founding father of Azad Kashmir (PoJK) and made its President.

October 4 is regarded as the day that laid the foundation for Azad Jammu Kashmir (PoJK). Hence the decision by JKLF to initiate a ‘Chalo Chalo Srinagar Chalo’ march on October 4 has a strong connotation to it that is deep rooted in communalism. Therefore, once again JKLF has facilitated the Pakistani military establishment in forwarding and cementing a communal narrative based on Jinnah’s two-nation theory!

In my view, the whole exercise from October 4 to October 16 served three purposes. Firstly, it diverted the energies of a besieged people of PoJK towards an imaginary goal, i.e. Srinagar Chalo. It helped exhaust the anti-Pakistan euphoria that had kicked in after Pakistan failed to convince a single country to condemn the Indian government for initiating the abrogation of the Article 370 and 35-A.

Secondly, as the march was addressed predominantly by Muslim religious provocateurs, including the notorious Salahudeen, leader of the Hizbul Mujahedeen, it turned into yet another attempt to strengthen the two-nation theory based on the hate of an imaginary other.

And finally, the JKLF march and sit-in just six kilometres from the LoC was an attempt to save the humiliated diplomatic face of the Pakistani military establishment. However, this time round the innocent people of PoJK, who have been victims of Pakistani imperialist colonisation and plunder of their natural resources, have never been more prepared at any other time in history to challenge their oppressor. It is only a matter of time before a popular revolt with overthrow the yoke of slavery and the people of PoJK, which was originally West Jammu will re-join their brothers and sisters across the border.

(The writer hails from Mirpur in PoJK. He is the leader of Tehreek e Itefaq e Rai and can be reached at Shaboroze@gmail.com. Views expressed are personal)

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