Pakistan’s perfidy has not ended with the Indian air strikes on Balakot. Infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) may have come down along some of the known traditional entry points. Still, the enemy has found new routes along the Line of Control. The fresh band of terrorists appears more committed and prepared to sacrifice their lives.
It reflects the type of brainwashing they are made to go through at the Jamaat-i-Islami seminaries in Pakistan. Moreover, security forces have revealed that they have seized some items of weaponry left behind by the evacuating American troops in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani terrorists who martyred our two army officers and one police officer in Kokarnag, Anantnag gunfight the other day are reported to be the same who attacked our soldiers on August 4 last, in which four patriotic soldiers were martyred.
It is now nearly two years that Pakistani war mongers — army experts, ISI, and the jihadi outfits — have shifted the fighting sectors from Uri, Nowgam, Teethwal, and Karnah in Kashmir valley to the outflanks of Rajouri, Poonch, Riasi and upper reaches of Pir Panchal on the valley side.
They have secured their road map along the Pir Panchal range and shifted the range of operations to the western Pir Panchal slopes and strategic towns or villages along the heights. They have at least two advantages in this shift of the locales. Firstly, it is all mountainous and not motorable.
Thus, rapid movement of troops to counter their clandestine entry is not that easy. Secondly, the local population speaks the Pahari language, which is also the spoken language of the highlanders from PoJK who serve the terrorists-jihadis under duress as guides or providers of logistics. They trust the co-linguists more than the Kashmiri-speaking people in the valley.
The situation is something like this now. The terrorists-jihadists have found a somewhat less exposed mountainous route to enter the territories of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K); they have established hideouts as well as secret observation posts along the Panchal; they have dependable conduits who are privy to their movements and help them in making safe plans for attacking the army posts and above all they are reliable informers for them.
It is also known that, like Hill Kaka, these terrorists have established hideouts in dense forests like those in Surankot and Mendhar in the border district of Poonch, where the army had ultimately to deploy helicopter services.
A decade ago, they had established an operational chunk in the forests of Poonch called Hill Kaka, which the Indian army had to liberate after meticulous planning.
The civilian locals along this route are more vulnerable to threats and intimidation from the jihadists because they are scattered over a vast hilly area and do not usually live in clusters.
Though the Central government has been very frugal to the Gujjars and Bakarwals, the migratory highland population, to win them over as peaceful patriotic citizens, the recurring fear of the guns of militants shakes their faith sometimes.
Whether the defense ministry will undertake any punitive action as it had to do in the Pulwama incident is something on which it will not be safe to comment. But a few considerations cannot be put aside. The foremost is the rising anti-Pak sentiment in PoJK and Gilgit–Baltistan region.
The oppressed people openly appealed to the Indian Prime Minister to rescue them. On humanitarian grounds, it is highly desirable that PM Modi briefs the world leaders on the plight of the hapless people in Gilgit and Baltistan and also apprises them of the dangers hidden in this reckless policy of Pakistan.
They deserve moral, political, and logistic support without inhibition. The uprising in those areas should exacerbate to the extent that the uprising becomes uncontrollable. The message must go to Beijing also.
There is another aspect of the Kashmir conundrum. Local leadership in Kashmir Valley has developed the habit of blackmailing the Indian government and squeezing funds more than they expect. They do it by haranguing New Delhi with the threat that only they stand between the people and Pakistan in Kashmir.
Under Modi’s administration, this blackmail has not worked. Money does not flow to their coffers through clandestine sources. Hence, they have ganged up and formed the Gupkar Gang, an anti-India political front of such leadership as it finds itself shorn of power and authority.
Talking To Pakistan
Former CM Farooq Abdullah says India should talk to Pakistan. In the recent shootout in Kokarnag, he added the term “arrogance” to his usual rhetoric. He said, “Hindustan ko ghumand chhar kar Pakistan ke saath bat karni chahiye.” (India should shun arrogance and talk to Pakistan).
If he thinks talks will solve the logjam, why did he not take the initiative during his long stint in the office as chief minister and initiate talks with Pakistan when he had a close ally ruling at the center?
When militancy reached its zenith in 1990, Farooq Abdullah, heading the Congress-NC government, abandoned Kashmir under a pre-planned strategy and went to London to play golf. If he sincerely desired a solution, he should have flown to Islamabad, not London. Whether Pakistan authorities would allow him to land is a different question.
As the National Conference (NC) chief, he deputed an MP from his party to undertake monthly visits to Pakistan and negotiate with them. What was the outcome? Will he spell it out?
Abdullah should ask for the speech his father delivered at Hazratbal when he had his second stint in office. It will open his eyes and remove the cobwebs of confusion overtaking him because he has lost power.
In 1974, Abdullah arrived in Mirpur (PoJK) from London, and sharing a platform with the pro-Pakistani elements, he raised a gun in his hand and announced, “If my father reiterates J&K’s accession to India, I will take up this gun and fight.”
Did Nehru not send Sheikh Abdullah to Pakistan with the proposal of a confederation of three states, India, Pakistan, and J&K, in May 1964? Gen Ayub Khan rejected the plan and showed the door to Sheikh Abdullah.
He came to Muzaffarabad to plead with “Azad Kashmir” leaders but received a cold shoulder. Farooq should have completed his father’s mission but chose to become Chief Minister and blackmail New Delhi.
Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee traveled to Pakistan by bus. While discussing peace, friendship, and good relations, the Pakistani army commander positioned the jihadis and troops atop Batalik in Kargil.
When PM Modi made an unscheduled visit to Lahore to felicitate the wedding of Premier Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter as a gesture of goodwill, Pakistani ISI hatched the Pathankot attack conspiracy.
Farooq Abdullah should define with whom Indian authorities will talk in Pakistan. He should volunteer to lead a delegation of the representatives of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and open talks with Pakistani authorities emphasizing the subject of Islamabad conceding the rights of the oppressed people of these regions.
Abdullah and his political counterpart Mehbooba Mufti are insisting on bilateral talks. Talks are not held between an aggressor and an aggressor. They must clarify to the people of Kashmir why J&K leadership decided to accede to India in 1947.
When Sheikh Abdullah, the famous leader of J&K, approached India for military help against the invasion of Pakistani Lashkars, he should have understood that it meant asking India to make considerable sacrifices in fighting the intruder and throwing him out. No state can claim total sovereignty by asking its neighbor to fight against its enemy.
Abdullah’s father should have talked to the leaders and commanders of the invading Pakistani Lashkars to decide the Kashmir issue by sitting around the negotiating table.
What Farooq wants India to do today after 75 years of independence is what his father should have done way back in 1947-48. He realized his Himalayan blunder, but 1964 was too late a time.
And Abdullah pontificates that India should “shun arrogance” and talk to Pakistan. The Sheikh and Nehru had agreed that Maharaja Hari Singh would go out of state for six months, and then he would be recalled, and a just decision about his position would be taken. Hardly a month had passed when the Sheikh wrote a bullying letter to Nehru to depose the Maharaja or be prepared for withdrawal of accession. This is called arrogance.
Barely after six months, the Sheikh, in his RS Pora speech, threatened to withdraw accession if India did not make him the Sultan of Kashmir. This is called arrogance.
After the deposition of the Sheikh on August 9, 1953, NC leaders called a big congregation on Pathar Masjid grounds in Srinagar to discuss the situation. Maulana Masudi, Secretary General of NC, was addressing the gathering, saying that NC would send a delegation to meet with Prime Minister Nehru and discuss the issue.
Suddenly, a young man stood up from among the mob and cried at the top of his voice, “Maulana Sahib, stop this talk. We will take up the gun and fight against India.” Maulana Masudi retorted, “Hurl shoes at him. He is talking nonsense.” This young man was no one other than Farooq Abdullah. This is arrogance.
His father was hobnobbing with the Americans who had promised him massive support for development. He had held three secret meetings with the American ambassador, Adlai Stevenson, in a houseboat in Kashmir.
The man who managed to strengthen his so-called freedom movement with the support of the Indian Left had made a U-turn and was prepared to sit in the lap of the Americans. This is arrogance. Abdullah should have no difficulty in understanding these facts of history.
The people of Kashmir must tell Farooq how his father and then he and his son have destroyed Kashmir by encapsulating dynastic rule. That option has been eliminated by the Indian nation once and for all.
Abdullah is trying to halt the march of history. That will never happen. His lament will go unheard because he is marching against the tide.