Gilgit-Baltistan move and Hizbul chief's video reveal Pakistan's true Islamo-fascist agenda in Kashmir
Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Islamabad's move to formally annex it will be in blatant violation of every agreement, resolution and declaration.
Two apparently unconnected events reveal the Islamo-fascist movement in Kashmir and its creator Pakistan's true agenda. The separatist 'struggle for freedom' is finally laid bare for what it really is. The truth that emerges out of decades of violence and bloodshed is now heavier than ever before.
Both events took place roughly at the same time. On Thursday, news agency PTI reported that Pakistan is planning to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region as its fifth province via a Constitutional amendment. To recall, Pakistan has four provinces — Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh. It also lays claim on two 'autonomous territories' — Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan — which it federally administers through a puppet regional government. India considers these so-called 'autonomous territories' (also known as Northern Areas) as integral part of Jammu and Kashmir which have been illegally occupied by Pakistan.
Simply put, Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Islamabad's move to formally annex it will be in blatant violation of every agreement, resolution and declaration. It is also Pakistan's formal announcement to the world that it no longer considers Gilgit-Baltistan region to be a part of Kashmir.
In one stroke, this move completely exposes Islamabad's game by removing its last moth-eaten fig leaf over Kashmir insurgency. That Pakistan never cared about the "aspirations of Kashmiris" and eyed the territorial gains as part of a larger Islamo-supremacist project has never really been in doubt.
But it always garbed its design under a pall of morality, claiming to be only interested in providing 'moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmir over its right to self-determination'. This laughable excuse has now exhausted its political necessity. Decades of waxing lyrical in every international forum about the validity of Kashmir's 'strife for freedom from brutal repression of Indian rule' has given way to an open flout of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, Radcliffe Boundary Commission, 1972 Shimla Agreement or 1999 Lahore Declaration.
To quote author C Christine Fair in The Times of India, "In its effort to seize Kashmir through warfare in 1947-48, 1965 and 1999 and by supporting a menagerie of terrorists since 1947 and an intense proxy war since 1989, Pakistan has demonstrated that it actually has little regard for the Kashmiris themselves."
This has now been set in stone. There is not a shadow of doubt that Pakistan's intention to formally annex Gilgit-Baltistan changes the entire Kashmir narrative that is so popular with India's Track 2 and Track 3 'diplomats' of the kebab-cocktail circuit. The impact of the move is such that Syed Salahuddin, the PoK-based chief of terrorist outfit United Jihad Council has "requested" Pakistan not to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as its province because it exposes the truth of Kashmiri "freedom movement"., as reported in The Times of India.
The second event, which provides further insight into Pakistan's greater game was the release of a short video clip by Zakir Rashid Bhat (alias Musa), who has taken over from the slain Burhan Wani the responsibility of running Hizbul Mujahideen's operations. In the video, the engineer-turned-terrorist calls Kashmiris to take up arms and pelt stones not to demand right to self-determination but to turn the Valley into an Islamic Caliphate. Calls of 'Kashmiri nationalism' has now been subsumed into a greater war of Islamo-fascist movement that pre-empted the rise of Islamic State (IS).
The Hizbul chief calls the demand for Kashmiri nationalism 'un-Islamic'.
"I see many people in Kashmir are engaged in a war of nationalism, which is totally forbidden in Islam," says Musa, adding "nationalism and democracy are un-Islamic", according to a report by The Kashmir Monitor. "Our intent should not be that we are fighting for Kashmir's freedom. Instead, it should be that we are fighting for supremacy of Islam. We want to introduce Sharia here," says the Hizbul chief. In an apparent warning to Indian security forces, he says "They think by killing militants, they are defeating us. We get martyred and in fact it is a victory for us… We are victorious alive and even after death. There is no question of defeat because we are fighting for supremacy of Islam”.
Musa appeared to be smartly dressed in the sleek video, taking a leaf out of Islamic State's propaganda tools, and thanked the locals for helping terrorists slip away during counter-insurgency operations. He also sought their help through social media on the movement of security forces, as reported in The Times of India.
This is not an isolated incident. This Islamist project is a decades-long effort started by Pakistan back in 1980s when it reared and dispatched Salafi terrorists to distort the Kashmiri mindscape and introduce a narrow version of intolerant Islam that ran at odds with Kashmir's open and syncretic Sufi tradition.
Georgetown University professor Christine Fair, who specializes in the political and military affairs in South Asia, tells us in The Times of India column already mentioned above that the Pakistan-reared Deobandi and Salafist terrorist outfits destroyed Sufi shrines, attacked civilians and altered the Islamic landscape.
These terrorists, in her words, "sustained a reign of terror against women who do not veil as they demand by throwing acid on their faces and other crimes. The consequences of this are visible to any long-time observer. When I first visited the Valley in 1991, I never saw a woman in a black burqa with niqab. Instead women wore a scarf tied behind their necks. Now the black burqa, niqab and even socks and gloves are ubiquitous even beyond the cities and towns. The Pakistanis may never have Kashmir, but their violence has transformed it."
So we see two simultaneous movements by Pakistan. One, it is formalizing its hold on PoK, thereby trashing Kashmiri "freedom movement" to the dustbins of history. Two, it is trying to align and subsume the "freedom movement" into a larger Islamic Caliphate project of which Pakistan itself is a part.
Follwing the blast at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, the sufi shrine in Pakistan's Sehwan that killed scores of devotees, author William Dalrymple wrote about the extent to which syncretic versions of Islam is being rapidly replaced by narrower adaptations, drawing from his travels to the region.
Talking to Saleemullah, who ran the largest madrassa in Sehwan, Dalrymple gets an idea about the "puritanical severity" of his views and the theocratic tension at work between imported Wahhabi tradition and the ethnic Sufi tradition still dominant among locals.
“Sadly this town is full of shirk [heresy] and grave-worship,” Saleemullah told Dalrymple according to the piece carried by The Kashmir Monitor.
“It is all the Hindu influence that is responsible. Previously these people were very economically powerful in this area, and as they worshipped idols, the illiterate Muslims here became infected with Hindu practices. All over Pakistan this is the case, but Sindh is much the worst. Our job is to bring the idol and grave-worshippers from kufr [infidelity] back to the true path of the Sharia… “Mark my words, a more extreme form of the Taliban is coming to Pakistan."
Therefore, Pakistan's imperialism in Kashmir is part of the Islamo-supremacist movement that is washing over its landscape. This fresh alignment strengthens its political and ideological hold over Kashmir and opens another front against India.
This should also be a wake-up call for Indian peaceniks and Shariah Bolsheviks who roam in our hallowed Universities calling for a 'political solution' to Kashmir. As terrorists kill sarpanches, use children as shields in counter-insurgency operations and try to gain moral leverage over their dead bodies, their heinous role is given wider acceptance by a section of our own polity. This is the saddest part in the entire tragedy.
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