Pakistan’s sponsoring of terrorism in Kashmir is not a new thing but a known fact across the world. For decades, Pakistan has tried to use the Kashmiri Muslims as a fodder for its proxy war against India. The recent killings of terrorists like Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces were once again used as an opportunity by ISI and the Military to stoke the fire in the relatively peaceful Kashmir Valley by instigating the mobs; resulting in incidents of stone throwing against the Indian security forces. These incidents by the locally hired mobs; as revealed by Indian Intelligence Agencies and corroborated by media reports clearly suggest that it was the handiwork of ISI and its handmaidens like the separatists whose agenda is not seeking autonomy or governance reforms for the state of Jammu & Kashmir but secession from the Indian Union. Intelligence agencies, in the past have ably documented the fund flows to these separatists from Pakistan and the Gulf Arab states that are spreading the Wahhabi ideology in the Kashmir Valley through madrassas. It is noteworthy that Hurriyat Conference, the separatist group was created with the active connivance of former US diplomat Robin Raphel in 1993 under the Bill Clinton administration.
The Indian security forces ably responded to the threats posed by the paid stone-pelter’s who were used as shields by the separatists and other terrorist elements backed by ISI to re-ignite the fire in the valley. The designs of Pakistan have always been to bleed India by a 1,000 cuts through a wave of radicalization, demographic warfare, terror attacks, drug peddling and fake currency rackets across India.
However, the biggest challenge that the Indian state faces today is from those within India who dish out an apologetic narrative about the stone throwers being innocent victims and the Indian state as some kind of a brutal regime. This narrative, which always existed in the Track II circuit, has become even more brazen and open with some stretching it to lengths; to argue about the brutality of the Indian state and the case for a plebiscite. It is time to call out these intellectuals and let it be known that the silent majority does not accede to their view whose end is the balkanization of the Indian Union. The question of a plebiscite doesn’t arise; and moreover in 1959 Pakistan’s Ayub Khan had also stated that a plebiscite in Jammu & Kashmir is an unlikely solution; a view that was further confirmed in the 1971 Shimla Agreement and the 1999 Lahore Declaration. In 2010, the UN removed Jammu & Kashmir out of the dispute issues list and even the US and other major powers including Russia and China have called for the bilateral resolution of the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
It is surprising to see a section of intellectuals in India condone the radicalisation in the Kashmir Valley and the separatist’s viewpoint; giving the foreign media and thinktanks, a tool to target India. The apologists fail to understand the hybrid nature of war that India faces from Pakistan; and end up playing the role of props in PsyOps by ISI and the Military to demoralise the Indian State and its security forces operating in the valley. The narrative that the stone pelting and Kashmir problem are home-grown is a myth being perpetuated by some which was shred to pieces in the recent speech by Hafiz Saeed, (a terrorist heading banned organisations LeT and JuD in Faisalabad, Pakistan) where he openly proclaimed to being in touch with Burhan Wani and separatists leaders like Asiya Andrabi who advocate Jihad against India. Hafiz Saeed further stated that a LeT commander was leading the funeral procession of the slain terrorist, Burhan Wani in the Kashmir Valley. It is indeed baffling how these pseudo-intellectuals ignore the role of the ISI handmaidens and terror sympathisers that organise such chaos in Kashmir.
The duplicity of Pakistan and its apologists is not limited to Kashmir alone but extends to the wider role that Pakistan has played in the region in abetting the terror activities; from the rebels in Northeast India, the terror cells in Sri Lanka; to the attacks in Bangladesh and its western neighbour Afghanistan. The intellectuals, cutting across the sections of society in India and overseas deliberately fail to notice how Pakistan has been double-crossing the US in the War on Terror by backing terror groups like the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network etc. and their suicide bombings targeting the Afghan government, civilians and the Coalition Forces stationed therein. The recent disclosure by the former Afghan intelligence chief, Rahmatullah Nabil who put out documents and the communication of ISI show how Pakistan fooled the world in the War on Terror i.e. Zarb-E-Azab by simply transferring the Haqqani Network assets away from the conflict zones. The letters of the Pakistani military intelligence of July 2014 have also revealed that ISI was thanking the people responsible for targeting the Kabul Airport and is stated to have made a payment of 2.5 million Pakistani rupees to each of the four terrorists. The ISI in a note dated 6th April, 2015 has also documented the GHQ (Pakistani Military) giving directions to the Quetta Shura or the head body of Taliban on the negotiations with the Afghan Government.
While Pakistan’s double-cross is an open secret, there are yet some who choose to stay oblivious to the hard truth to keep their gravy train running. The deception of the Pakistani State and its religious war against India (Ghazwa-e-Hind) doesn’t end with Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network, D Company or for that matter Lashkar e Taiba whose chief and the main culprit of the 26/11 attacks openly moves around in Pakistan instigating Jihad against India.
The deception of Pakistan’s Military Intelligence establishment has further continued in the form of the ISIS bogey in the Subcontinent. While it is partially true that elements of Pakistan Taliban, the main rival of Afghan Taliban have pledged allegiance to ISIS, the presence of Daesh in the Af-Pak region and the Subcontinent is very limited compared to Syria and Iraq. Moreover, the methods of attacks by ISIS in Afghanistan or even Bangladesh lately are not its modus operandi. ISIS’s strategy has been to hold territory unlike Al-Qaeda and ISI-backed groups that create hostage situations and segregate people on religious lines like the 26/11 Mumbai attacks or the 2016 Dhaka Café attack.
The Dhaka attack clearly had the signature of ISI recruiting local modules to carry out these attacks to further the ISIS scare in the Subcontinent. The waving of ISIS flags in the Kashmir valley is also similarly a part of PsyOps by ISI to carry out propaganda and covert warfare with the plausible deniability under the ISIS banner. The hand of ISI behind the so-called ISIS attacks in Afghanistan was recently called out by the Afghan Military commanders sharing information with NATO forces which stated that the Pakistan-backed LeT’s chief Hafiz Saeed has been actively backing terror attacks in the name of ISIS in Afghanistan’s territory. From the capture of ISI-recruited terror modules from Sri Lanka, the Herat Bombing of the Indian Consulate, to the expelling of a Pakistani diplomat by Bangladesh; Pakistan has been at the epicentre of the terrorism emanating in the region and the world. Despite this a section of elites both in India and across the world somehow want to condone these attacks and obfuscate the real truth.
For far too long the doves in the Track II circuit in India and the intellectuals across the world have tried to spin a yarn of wool that Pakistan is actually fighting the global War on Terror and moreover, is a victim of terror itself. It is time that Pakistan’s bluff on the state-sponsoring of terrorism from Kashmir to Afghanistan to Bangladesh and the other parts of India; be called out. Certain lobbies in India and around the world have run incessant campaigns about how the use of pellet guns by the Indian Security forces violate basic human rights, an issue which Pakistan has also sought to internationalise unsuccessfully. While these PsyOps by ISI and its apologists have failed to bring their point home, their hypocrisy on Pakistan is blatant with their silence on the human rights violations by the state in Balochistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir where the people have resisted the Pak oppression and the continuous rigged form of democracy. Recently, there were again massive protests in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir with the locals protesting against the rigged elections when PML (N), the ruling party swept the elections. There has been large-scale violence, arson and shutdown in POK yet these apologists seem totally oblivious to the stark realities of the region which is far worse than what exists in Jammu & Kashmir. These self-declared champions of peace have also failed to take up the cause of Balochis and other minorities that are facing brutal oppression from the Pakistani establishment and will not narrate how thousands of Balochis, Ahmedias and Shias have been killed over the decades in Pakistan or expound on the rapid decline of Hindus and Sikhs population there. Ironically, the champions of democracy and human rights go silent when it comes to Pakistan’s track record in its treatment of minorities which is abysmal.
Agendas have long been allowed to run wild to question the very basis of the Union of India while obfuscating the real sponsor of terrorism in India i.e. Pakistan. Poverty or the Indian governance failure is a lame excuse to soft peddle terrorism. The plotters of 9/11 and the Dhaka Terror attacks were well educated and highly qualified; and radicalised with a certain ideology.
It is only when we accept that there is an existential problem on our western border that we will be up to the task to deal with it. One of the reasons Pakistan has again escalated the proxy war in Kashmir is because of the trouble it faces at home due to its growing isolation with the United States who has let the ball drop on ISI’s proxies of Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network etc., setting more conditions on the military aid to rein in the Taliban. Faced with a squeeze on its western border with Afghanistan by NATO and China’s carte blanch for CPEC; Pakistan has embarked on a dangerous game of more escalations on the Line of Control in J&K and instigating terror in the valley to draw the world’s attention to the Kashmir issue. It is time the Indian leadership and its security establishment draw up a comprehensive plan of Hybrid Warfare to counter ISI’s covert and propaganda war against India. We have extensively covered the failures of India’s foreign policy, Pakistan’s role as the frontline state for global terror and the use of PsyOps in Hybrid Warfare in our upcoming book #TheNewGlobalOrder.
Moreover, it is also time that the Indian government and its citizens stop being apologetic about the retaliation of their security forces in Jammu & Kashmir and let them act with any forces inimical to the Indian interests as they deem fit. India has always been a peace loving country that desires to live in harmony with its neighbours but this should not be perceived as its weakness. The Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s speech at SAARC in Pakistan in August 2016 where he has stated that “terrorists should not eulogised as martyrs and the strongest possible steps should be taken against countries that support terrorism; and if we are to rid ourselves of terrorism, we will have to genuinely believe that attempts to distinguish between good terrorism and bad terrorism are misleading” is a step in the right direction.
The Union of India has a document signed by the last Maharajah Hari Singh that clearly states that Kashmir belongs to India and this is where the entire Kashmir debate should simply end. Thus the actions or inactions of the Indian government (used as the justification of terror by Pakistan) are irrelevant about the status of a territory that rightfully belongs to India; and no external force should be granted the right to interfere or dictate otherwise.
It is simple. Would you allow a violent neighbour to encroach upon your house, abuse your property and family and call your family names or would you take action? Moreover, would this action that is taken by all means necessary be considered unfair? So the question that arises is- if the actions taken against a violent neighbour are not unfair why should Pakistan deserve any leniency? Which of its actions per history suggest that it deserves sympathy and a fair treatment instead of contempt? While this in no way suggests that India should go to war with Pakistan and stop any attempt at peace talks, it means that India should recognize Pakistan for what it is and deal with it accordingly. Moreover, Kashmir should not even be an issue as the question of it belonging to Pakistan simply does not arise and Pakistan should only be acknowledged as the world’s biggest exporter of terrorism. It is time the Indian government adopts a strategy of offence instead of defence in dealing with Pakistan and stops being apologetic about using any force to secure what rightfully belongs to it.
While the government needs to stop giving explanations about its actions against an enemy to the Indian citizens, it is time the people of India also start unquestionably believing that Kashmir belongs to India making it difficult for the intellectuals and the peace-loving circuit to hide their actions; revealing them for the rank opportunists and lovers of the gravy train that they really are. It is only when the citizens go beyond naming and shaming those who seek to commit treason against the Union of India, that we will have taken the first step in defeating the PsyOps that ISI has been carrying out since decades, creating a doubt about Kashmir in the Indian citizens and an identity crisis for the Kashmiris while profiting from its export- terrorism. For this we will also have to accept that Pakistan’s Military and ISI will never want peace with India contrary to the spiel by their government and civil society activists as that would make them irrelevant. In geopolitics, becoming irrelevant is like signing your death warrant. The Union of India and its citizens should thus stop treating Kashmir as a Pakistani problem forcing it to find another reason to justify its love of terror.