By Dr Shabir Choudhry
It is true majority of people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir do not want the status quo. They want this forced division, extremism, violence, hatred and culture of fear and intimidation to end. Many in Pakistan also want the suffering of the Kashmiris to end. Some even say, let Kashmiris be independent if that helps to end their miseries.
But that is not the view of those who control the Kashmir policy, indeed many other policies. It won’t be wrong to say that Pakistani governments, their agencies and religious zealots give people of Jammu and Kashmir, practically one choice and that is to join their country; or else the tragedy will continue in the form of forced division of the State, religious extremism, violence, armed infiltration, death, destruction and suffering.
People of Jammu and Kashmir have expressed more than once in various surveys that they don’t want to be part of Pakistan. All that, however, fall on deaf ears and the old policies continue with some cosmetic changes. Kashmiri struggle is not a religious struggle or struggle for accession. Despite that, let us look at what Pakistan has to offer to us people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The following quote is taken out from an article written by a loyal Pakistani who is a chief coordinator of a Pakistani think tank called, ‘Pak International Friendship Forum’ (PIFF). He also had very close working relationship with the Pakistani establishment. He writes:
‘The law and order situation in the rest of the country is also not satisfactory. The terrorists and criminal seems to be rampantly taking the population hostage. Fear and insecurity are prevalent everywhere. Influential personalities and government functionaries living in metropolitan cities have build fortress around their living places. It looks that Pakistan has gone back to the tribal period, where each family has to take up arms for their protection. The bomb blasts, suicide attacks, target killings, kidnapping for ransom, looting, arson are rampant everywhere.’
Does the above quote motivate anyone to be part of this society? I know many who are part of this society and they desperately want to dissociate themselves from there because they see no future there for them or for their children. Anyway, if you are a Kashmiri and still think that we should join Pakistan, before you cast your vote read the following:
‘Power shortage, gas load-shedding, price-hike, unemployment, protest and demonstration by masses have become the order of the day. Hardly any day passes when there is no mass demonstration, turned violent against long and unscheduled power shutdowns and outage of gas supply to domestic consumers. Prices of essential commodities are now raised by hours and government seems to have no control over profiteering, hoarding and unlawful price-hikes. The people of Pakistan are facing the worst shortages of everyday commodities and services in our history; no gas, no electricity, no petrol, no sugar, no flour, no onions, ever-rising prices and inflation, new taxes, more factories being closed or going bankrupt, unstoppable judicial corruption, injustice, rising unemployment, rising energy costs, more people dying every day for no fault of theirs, police killing those whom they are protecting, mullahs inciting everyone to kill those who do not conform to their thinking, newly unleashed blackmailing and self-serving electronic media on the loose only caring for their ratings, hoarding, looting, black marketing, touts, pimps and plunderers having a ball of a time and most important a total breakdown of law and order anywhere and everywhere.’
The author, in this article titled, ‘Dilemma of Pakistan’ gives more details of the Pakistani society, what I could call a true picture of the Pakistani society. I commend him for writing that. I know he is not ‘anti Pakistan’. He is a loyal son of soil who wants these serious problems to be resolved. It is only Kashmiri nationalists who are labelled as ‘anti Pakistan’ when they expose wrongs of Pakistan.
I have many reasons for not wanting to be part of Pakistan; one is that it is not a practical solution, because there is no way India would give away Jammu and Kashmir to its arch enemy – Pakistan. Also if resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute is to be found in religion or Two-Nation Theory, then it will surely lead to a division of the State on religious lines causing more trouble, hatred and extremism.
Another think tank of Pakistan, ‘Pak Institute of Peace Studies’ (PIPS) writes: ‘Rule of law is a critical element of good governance, which is lacking not only in KPK and FATA but across the country. According to World Justice Project rule of law index 2010, Pakistan is among the countries where rule of law is sorely lacking. The latest Funds for Peace failed states index ranks Pakistan as the 10th most poorly governed state on account of poor governance as well as security indicators.’
PIPS report further reveals that in year 2010 there were 3393 terrorism-related incidents in Pakistan, which resulted in death of 10003 people; and injured 10283.
The situation in Pakistan is likely to get worse in 2011, we can pray for betterment, but let me assure all the concerned, that prayers in matters like these do not help, people who are running the country or controlling the society have to devise appropriate policies to establish peace and harmony.
I don’t mean to say that Pakistani society is the only one to have problems. Problems are part of the human civilisation; but why we – people of Jammu and Kashmir – should be a part of the society which has more problems than others, and where no one seems to be safe and where there is no future for our future generations?
Writer is head Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org