Ex-RAW Chief’s Pragmatic Approach on Kashmir

  • By Sajjad Shaukat

In wake of continued siege and prolonged curfew, Indian security forces have martyred more than 100 innocent persons who have been protesting since July 8, 2016 against the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces in the Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Without caring for severe criticism all over the world, during his address on the Independence Day of India on August 15, 2016, Indian extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is also leader of the ruling fundamentalist party BJP went aggressively further in a diatribe against Pakistan by claiming that people of Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir are thankful to home for raising voice for their suppressed rights.

On the other side, against his false anti-Pakistan statement, huge rallies and demonstrations were held in Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, including some other cities of Pakistan. Opposing Indian intervention in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan, the speakers on this occasion strongly condemned Prime Minister Modi’s aggressive designs against Pakistan and Kashmiris. They urged international community, civilized world and human rights organizations to take serious notice of the Indian state terrorism—genocide of Kashmiris in the Indian-held Kashmir and interference in Pakistan’s province of Balochistan.

In this context, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that the situation in Balochistan cannot be equated with Kashmir and Indian Prime Minister was only trying to divert world attention from the “grim tragedy” unfolding in Kashmir over the past five weeks.

One can clearly not that Indian-controlled Kashmir (IOK) is burning since July 8, 2016. The lava of resentment from the bursting volcano of IOK is now spreading from the urban centers to rural areas. Indian rulers have been trying to brush aside the issue by keeping it under the carpet, accusing that Pakistan is fuelling the flames.

At this critical juncture, the interview of A. S. Dulat, former chief of India’s spy agency RAW published in the magazine, ‘The Wire’ of August 27, 2016 sheds some light on finding a settlement of the Kashmir dispute. A.S. Dulat is relevant to the issue and helps in understanding the crisis in Kashmir and seeking possible solutions. Dulat who also was director of the Intelligence Bureau, has served in Kashmir for a long time. His most important tenure was between 2001 and 2004, when he was the advisor on Jammu and Kashmir in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s office. In 2015, his book Kashmir, The Vajpayee Years, co-authored with senior journalist Aditya Sinha, created uproar since he became one of the few members of the Indian security and intelligence community to advocate a reduced military presence in Kashmir and to argue the need for India to build confidence amongst Kashmiris through humanitarian measures.

Dulat, while emphasizing that Pakistan’s role is not the only catalyst for the crisis, talks about the need for the Indian government to start talking to separatist leaders in the Hurriyat Conference, Pakistan, and other important political players. He indicates as to how Vajpayee’s and Narendra Modi’s strategies on Kashmir are poles apart and elaborates on why Kashmiris warmed to Vajpayee. He stresses that India should engage in principled dialogue with people in the Valley, instead of taking a naïve and aggressive line. His condemnation of the Modi government for not talking to Hurriyat and for its high handedness in IOK is spot on. He rightly concludes that the Kashmiri uprising is 100% indigenous and Pakistan was taking advantage of the situation in IOK.

However, realistic analysis of A.S. Dulat shows his pragmatic approach regarding the Indian-occupied Kashmir, as he points out that the problem has been there for a while. Under the surface, there has been a lot of anger, hatred and alienation. Never before has it seemed so much in the open. In this context, He said, “Now, you have slogans put up: ‘Indian Dogs Go Back!’ It’s bad and the common Kashmiri is suffering.” He attributes all this, unfortunately, to the BJP-PDP alliance in the Indian-controlled Kashmir. In the 2014 elections, the result was such that this was the only alliance which could work. It was a natural alliance and [PDP leader] Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, therefore, opted for it although he stated that it was an alliance between the North Pole and the South Pole. Everyone hoped that it would bring Jammu and Kashmir together.

In fact, it has torn Jammu and Kashmir apart, because the Kashmiris have been very apprehensive that the BJP and the RSS are gradually penetrating into the Valley. They are very sensitive to that because with that comes fears of the repeal of Article 370, that there may be a change in the demographic pattern of Kashmir and so on. So as long as Mufti Sayeed was there, he muddled through. He was an unhappy man because Delhi did not understand what was happening. So he died an unhappy man.

As war of liberation in the Indian-held Kashmir has accelerated, Indian Prime Minster Modi has no option, but resuming the dialogue process with Pakistan, starting where Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh left it. Modi’s diversionary tactics, drawing the attention off IOK and talking about Balochistan would not help as the problem lies in Kashmir and New Delhi will have to talk to Islamabad.

In this regard, another news item reported in various news papers is the speech given by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati in Azam Garh, Utter Pradesh. In her speech she has said that BJP may start a war with Pakistan and engineer Hindu-Muslim riots prior to the upcoming polls in utter Pradesh. She has predicted that BJP will use these tactics to divert attention from its failing government policies. Mayawati’s predictions merit attention because BJP is an irrational party, which comprises extremists, who can go to any extent to achieve their gains. Modi, who ignited Gujarat and is responsible for the slaughter of 2000 innocent Muslims in 2002, only because he was seeking re-elections in the province, can well take India to war so that the elections in UP may be won.

Nevertheless, Indian rulers must take cognizance of the interview of the ex-chief of RAW A. S. Dulat in order to seek a peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute, as he has shown a pragmatic approach on Kashmir.

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