Whether or not there is a sustainable policy of rapprochement before the Obama administration to address the woefulcondition of Muslims around the world, and not only promote its own imperial interests, but certainly an over whelming majority of Muslims is suspicious of how America plays with the sovereignty of Muslim states and ignores problem of Kashmir and Palestine. The future of energy and mineral resources of the Muslim world has also disturbed the Muslim world. Academicians in the Foreign Service and thinkers in Pakistan are of the view that a transformation from independence to dependence is taking place in the Muslim world, thought to be the aim of the United States. This is ominous for the political and economic doctrine of the fathers of modern Muslim states, especially Pakistan, which was from the beginning a thorn in the eyes of Hindu fanatics and Zionists. Pakistani political thinkers maintain that the US is the champion of the radical use of force in the present day world. The desire emanates from the Bush doctrine, meaning pre emptive use of force against any country not toeing America’s line of political perception of the world.
In March 2004, I attended a briefing by Foreign Service experts in Islamabad, who analyzed the post 9/11 demoralizing affect on the concept of freedom and freedom movements. They were of the view that Americas’ military strength was beyond challenge, as it had new offensive weapons. America’s strength is uni-polarity and her military strength exceeds ten nations. US will build India counter to China. The only ideological challenge to America comes from Islam, though USA and Europe differ in their approach to view this challenge. In 2004, Pakistans’ former President and retired army Chief Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf floated his ideas on the solution of Kashmir dispute that disillusioned the people of Kashmir and divided their leadership. This too was the fall out of the latest American policy on Pakistan
Kashmir and Palestine are two major problems and festering wounds which plague the body politic of the Islamic world. Both Kashmir and Palestine have a long history of promises by the World body and the people in these regions continuously suffer from the pangs of separation. Jammu and Kashmir got divided when the United Nations ordered cease-fire between India and Pakistan in 1948, to hold plebiscite in the whole region. The Palestine was divided by the allied victors of the 2nd world war to create a Zionist state against the wishes of the Palestinian people. Israel was given the right to live and also every opportunity and material support to annex more and more parts of Palestine by aggression and bloodshed. There was talk of the right of self determination for both Kashmir and Palestine in the United Nations, but, never materialized, resulting in wars and bloodshed every now and then in these regions. As per Jammu and Kashmir, the UN, India and Pakistan every time in the past asked the Kashmiris to be ready for a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under the united Nations auspices to decide once for all, their political destiny.
Bill Clinton called Kashmir a flash point to underscore the importance of its solution for peace but without any progress in the right direction. Obama also in the beginning re kindled hopes through his statements among the people of Pakistan and Kashmir, but it proved to be his rhetoric. Today, people think that they are being betrayed, as the focus is only on America’s expanded military interests. Obama- roadmap in the Muslim world, as seen by the politicians and strategists of this country, does not augur well for the country’s sovereignty. The rank and file looks scared all around, because of the inflation, alarming price-hike, energy crisis, hoarding and smuggling of essentials; illegal profiteering, corruption, increasing crime rate, despite the record security network in the history of the state.
Moreover, question is raised about the future of Pakistan and the impact of US policies on the sovereignty of the country; that how long Pakistan will remain a centre- stage for fulfilling the military and economic ambitions of America. Obama’s election and post -election speeches and promises look like a story of bygone days. The environment in the White House shows a different picture—without any scope for a solution of Kashmir and Palestine in line with the Right of self determination. Every sane voice for the basic right of the Kashmiris is bracketed with terrorists. Although Pakistan continues to play her part in “the war on terror” but, there are some puzzling comments and statements; the US Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Clinton said that US wronged Pakistan for 30 years. “It is fair to say that our policy towards Pakistan over the last 30 years has been incoherent. I do not know any other word”, she remarked on 19 May, 2009, at the Foreign Press Centre White House. On US double standards Jay Jonson a famous musician and writer of New York wrote, “after Obama apologized for the strikes which the Afghan Government claimed killed well over a hundred ordinary country folk, came the report that the families of those killed and subsequent Afghani dead falling in harm’s way of the US military, continuing as before, can apply to receive up to $2,000 compensation. This is the price the great United States of America puts on an Afghani or Pakistani human being, while awarding $100,000 to families of Americans who die while fighting and killing wherever. Shocking? Shame provoking?” Wall Street Journal comments on Obama’s Cairo speech in these words, “one benefit of the Obama presidency is that it is validating much of George W. Bushes’ security agenda and foreign policy merely by dint of autobiographical rebranding’ clear enough in Cairo-where he offered artfully repacked versions of themes President Bush sounded with his freedom agenda.”
From every angle of analysis it looks that despite Pakistans’ deep involvement in the “war against terrorism” at the cost of her own economy and security, America is not cognizant of Pakistans’ basic problems and core issue with India, while sole emphasis is to project India as the most important player in the administration’s new regional policy. “India is playing a very important role in Afghanistan”, stressed Robert Blake US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs in a recent statement. In the eyes of the majority of Pakistanis and neutral observers that role could only be to destabilize and weaken Pakistan and compel it to abandon the cause of Kashmir’s peaceful political movement under the UNCIP resolutions. This is evident from the administration’s strong support to India over the question of the Mumbai Terror suspects. It also indicates that Kashmir has been kept hostage to Mumbai wrangling with Pakistan, and India has full support to ignore Pakistan’s sincere call for talks on this issue. Besides, New Delhi wishfully thinks that the popular movement of freedom in Kashmir may dwindle any time under the pressure of inner conflicts. India believes that the current political, economic and social turmoil will not permit Pakistan to revive the late 1980s and 1990s situation and public enthusiasm in Kashmir or Pakistan. True, the armed struggle for freedom may be in doldrums today, because of the Alqaeda phenomenon and combined war of cross and crescent against anything which may look akin to Muslim national thinking of freedom and democracy in the world. Still the present Kashmiri generation is moving seriously towards a peaceful struggle that would be self reliant, confident, and independent of military means and material.
India knows very well that Kashmiris are made of a different metal and their valiant and peaceful resistance for a noble mission is time tested. They can be killed but can’t be subdued by military might. No doubt, the Kashmiris offered tough fight against the occupation army during the last 19 years, but one should not forget that it is a dimensional struggle, needing a short term and long term strategy with sustenance and social security plan to help the victims of the state terrorism in all situations.
Pakistanis have a key role in Kashmir, but unfortunately today owing to post 9/11 state of emergency, it faces altogether a different environment of diverse interests of internal and external forces and state and non state actors. All these actors have clash of interests badly eclipsing the simple demand of the right to self determination for Kashmir. And on the whole, their actions and interests clash with the larger interests of the people of Pakistan. In this state of affairs the elite class and Influential political, economic and military writers and strategists and some power share holders advocate less-than-freedom status under India for Kashmir, starting from trans-LOC- controlled trade to political, cultural and business tours and conferences, guided by silent West backed back-channel or secret but low profile activities in different countries of the world.
Consensus upon these ideas originated between them during the regime of Nawaz Sharif and Atal Behari Vajpayee, when the then Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India made an agreement to address their differences on Kashmir and other disputes through composite dialogue. In the successive years beginning from 9/11, 2001, a useful weapon in the shape of “war on terror” came in many hands to ignore the cry for freedom in Kashmir. Certainly, war is no option between India and Pakistan; it could be disastrous for millions of people living in the sub continent, but the people of Kashmir can’t be satisfied or silenced unless they get the answer to their slaughter, bloodshed, rape and forced disappearances. What is their fault? Why should they become scapegoats for the so called “war on terror”? Is it the answer that the aggressor and invader should be the master of their destiny? Guns are not silent; they continue their brutalities by all means over the unarmed and innocent Kashmiris. We simply want an opportunity to live in peace and freedom with all nations not excluding India and Pakistan. But mark these words that however louder the slogan of trans-LOC and Indo-Pak trade may be, river-water dispute between the two countries could trigger another bloody clash between them, possibly nuclear. Given the centrality of Kashmir, popularity of the Kashmir freedom struggle and thrust of American interests in this region, Americas support to a just and popular solution based on the will of the people is of paramount importance. Despite Americas’ global might, its economy due to recession will not withstand the onslaught of ruthless boundary less wars by either Alqaeda or Black water. The multi faced economic or military aid to Governments or private agencies may not every time reach deserving peoples of the world. Undoubtedly, America, in spite of its unmatched might on earth is looked down on; but, unpopular and weak regimes support it to continue their rule. Therefore, to regain confidence of the oppressed nations, peoples and under privileged, which have been deprived of their right to self determination, America should abandon its military expenditures and expenses on overt and covert tasks, and not support Governments which break laws of the United Nations and violate Universal Declaration of Human Rights. America should realize her weaknesses and those of her allies without any loss of time, as the universal laws of rise and fall of nations and states are not static or subordinate to imperialism. However, powerful imperialists or their satellites may be, they will not be able to rescue each other in front of the power of God. Therefore, reconciliation should not be with the evil forces; submission before the highest good is the only alternative. America as the only big power on earth could do a lot for humanity and oppressed and enslaved nations, but unfortunately, it lacks ethical and rational approach to the problems of states and nations. America is always and everywhere in search of agents not selfless popular leaders to rule indirectly over different states. The people don’t like viceroys over their heads. This is the pathos of Kashmir and Palestine also. Had America and west kept up their promises in UNO on Kashmir, the situation would have been different. Alas, the top dog on our planet America wants India to be a regional dog against china, and on the other hand Pakistan despite her sacrifices in the “war on terror”, a sitting duck, in between the conspirators. in this difficult and awkward situation no bilateral pact, no triangular talk or controlled business activity through the LOC could end human rights abuses inside India’s occupied Kashmir. How could that end, when every soldier and police man enjoyed liberty and impunity under the draconian laws? When the US wants to protect its own region; and under the pretext of fighting the Alqaeda and Taliban justified its invasion on Iraq and Afghanistan, why can’t it help India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir dispute according to the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. America should not be a cold fish on Kashmir.
Lastly, I quote below a paragraph from an article written by late M P Bhanddara a renowned Parliamentarian of the National Assembly. He wrote in Dawn on 29 April, 2007:—
“Our faith in Indian ‘assurances’ is a little incredulous given the history of the past. We are the injured party and Indian civil society should appreciate this fact. But, if nothing happens notwithstanding the unrestrained optimism of Foreign Minister Kasuri, say within a year from-well after the elections in Pakistan-it will be legitimate for Pakistan to repudiate the ‘bilateral’ clauses of the Simla Agreement, which as stated earlier, is an unequal treaty. India, in retaliation, may decide to walk out of the Agreement altogether; so be it. This agreement has failed to provide peace or security in Kashmir. It has not avoided war, nuclear weaponisation has. So long as bilateralism’ means an Indian monopoly in determination and interpretation being the bigger, the more powerful and in possession of the disputed area, India’s own decision will be ruled by the safest option available. The Indian song is sweet and seductive but when it comes to ground realities in dealing with neighbors, it hardly moves a millimeter.”
Note: The writer is Convener All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference AJK Chapter and Chairman J&K People’s Freedom League. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org