Palestine – Kashmir hyphenation: Pakistan’s new war cry

It is high time for the people of Palestine to understand that a fanatical  Islamic leadership is dragging them deeper into ruin.
Keywords: Pakistan, Kashmir, Palestine, Hamas,  Conflict, War, Terrorism, Peace, Fanatic, Ideology
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Non-Democratic dispensation

Chairing a meeting of the core Gupkar Gang, Dr Farooq Abdullah pontificated, stating that the Union Government led by Shri Narendra Modi should play its role in stopping bloodshed in Gaza and bringing peace to the Middle East. He added that the government of the land of Gandhi should carry the message of peace to West Asia. He may have said something more but we confine our views to the printed word only.

These are pious words any rational being will welcome.  But coming from the mouth of a veteran political leader of the sub-continent, people will ask questions likely to cast doubts on the sincerity and conviction of Gupkar’s leadership.

Selective reaction

Farooq Abdullah has not seen or heard what is going on in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan for a long time. The Gupkar Gang wants “greater autonomy” for J&K but would not react to the repression of the Baluch Liberation Movement for autonomy or independence. The reason is simple.  Gupkars do not want the Muslim-majority-state of J&K to be integrated into a Hindu-dominated Indian Union, nor do they want the Muslim-majority region of POJK to seek independence from a military-dominated regime in Islamabad. In simpler language, Dr Farooq Abdullah opposes democratic dispensation for the Muslim ummah whether in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or J&K, a federated unit of the Indian Union.

Take another example. Nearly 1.1 million Afghans — all Muslims — had sought asylum in Pakistan when the Soviet incursion into Afghanistan in 1979 forced their displacement from their homeland. They have been living in makeshift refugee camps on Pakistani territory for nearly four decades, particularly close to Quetta, the capital city of Baluchistan province. Their younger generation grew up in Pakistan, speaks Urdu, the language of Pakistan, and has become part of Pakistani society. Pakistan has been receiving massive aid from private and official sources including the United Nations by way of donations for the hapless Afghan refugees. Where have those billions of dollars landed nobody knows. The Afghan refugees continued to live in shanties while the Pakistani Generals bought themselves palatial residences in exclusive areas of big American and European cities.

Only weeks ago, the caretaker government in Islamabad decreed that the Afghan refugees have to return to their native land. The order was implemented forthwith. So far, nearly 1,50,000 Afghan refugees have been pushed back despite protests from the victimized people who have no means of subsistence and no homes and shelters in Afghanistan. We have seen heart-rending visuals of emaciated children, women and old people in tatters trekking back to the Afghanistan border. We have seen the images of aged and famished Afghans begging not to be displaced but to no avail. They say that they are thankful to Pakistan for giving them asylum for nearly four decades but the manner in which  they are pushed back and thrown into destitution is unbearable. Compare this to the large-heartedness of the European countries and of the United States which have given asylum to millions of Muslim migrants from the Africa and Asian continents.

Politicising faith

Where is the Islamic brotherhood (ukhuwwat)? Where is the Organisation of the Islamic Conference which broadcasts its concern for the Muslim ummah? Where is Erdogan, and where are the Ayatollahs of Iran whose patriarch announced during the heyday of Iran’s Islamic revolution that “the sword is the gift given by the providence to the ummah.” Where are the Pakistani leaders who swear by the resolutions of the UN on Kashmir but turn a blind eye to what the UN Charter stipulates regarding the international refugees’  right to return to their native countries?

Where are Farooq Abdullah and his Gupkar Gang who embraced thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees and resettled them illegally in the Jammu Division (not Kashmir) on humanitarian grounds but will not say a word on the plight of the Afghan refugees in Pakistan? Farooq Abdullah and the Gupkars will lament the loss of life in Hamas but remain lip-sealed when Azerbaijan killed Armenians with Turkish Bayraktar drones or when it recently drove away thousands of Armenians from their native habitat in Nagorno Karabakh.

Pak’s argument

Pakistani argument is that these Afghan refugees are in nefarious collusion with an anti-Punjabi Segment of the Pakistan Army called TTP, and hence, must face punishment. TTP is the face of the armed uprising of the Pathans and Pashtuns of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa against the domination, deprivation and discrimination they endure at the hand of the Punjabis who dominate the politics, economy, and military power in Pakistan. The Afghan refugees have close ethnic, linguistic, social and religious ties with the Pashtuns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Their empathy for their kinsmen is similar to the feeling of brotherhood that  Pakistanis claim to share with Kashmiri Muslim insurgents.  

Leaders of many Muslim states like Iran, Algeria, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, and Pakistan have given a call to the Muslims of the world to unite and fight Israel to the finish. In Pakistan, Maulanas have made thundering calls for Muslims of the world to unite for destroying Israel and “liberating Kashmir.” They covertly tell their faithful that the way the attack of Hamas on Israel was planned, funded, and executed successfully on October 7, should be used as the formula for liberating Kashmir. Some Hamas suicide bombers were reportedly trained by Pakistan’s ISI somewhere in Northern Pakistan. Reports are that the Pakistani army has even started glider training for the terrorists to make them airborne for aero-infiltration of Kashmir. In J&K, Pakistani Rangers have intensified their shelling on forward Indian army posts and pickets and increasing attempts at sneaking terrorists across the LoC as well as the international border.

As part of this newly threatening posture, Pakistani leaders and Maulanas have become more vociferous about Pakistan exercising the nuclear option against Israel and India. They are assertive because they think that suicide bombers (fidayeen) will be as successful in a blitzkrieg on Kashmir as Hamas was in Israel on October 7.

In the final analysis, neither Palestine nor Iran, neither Hezbollah nor Hamas are seriously considering a nuclear option. It is Pakistan that has created compulsions for itself to go for the nuclear option.

The reasons are more complex than what many surmise. A wide faultline separates the Pakistani masses from the Punjabi-dominated administration, political and military power. Economically, Pakistan finds no relief even if granted alms by some Arab states or global lending agencies. India refuses to have any dialogue on bilateral issues, including Kashmir, with Pakistan unless Pakistan winds up its terror shop. The TTP are successfully and relentlessly ambushing and humiliating the Punjabi army. The Baluch Liberation Army has made the Punjabi army’s patrolling of the Baluch – Afghan border a death trap in which hundreds of Pakistan’s soldiers have been lost. The hostility of the Taliban regime to the West has dashed Islamabad’s long-standing desire for  “Westward Depth”. The enduring popularity of Imran Khan has not left an option for the Pakistani army to call for war. 

It is high time for the people of Palestine to understand that a fanatical  Islamic leadership is dragging them deeper into ruin.

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K N Pandita

K N Pandita has a PhD in Iranian Studies from the University of Teheran. He is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University.

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