Pakistani rogue policy on Kashmir

"Diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan soured for many other reasons, and eventually resulted in three further wars in Kashmir the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965, the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 and the Kargil War in 1999. India has control of 60% of the area of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir; Pakistan controls 30% of the region, known as Gilgit-Balistan and Azad-Kashmir. China has since occupied 10% of the state in 1962."

by Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

(October 08, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) For decades, rulers in Islamabad are playing nasty tactics in keeping Jammu and Kashmir into turmoil by instigating and funding Islamist militancy in that area while Pakistan is continuing to capture a part of Kashmir in the name of Azad Kashmir, which actually is the sanctuary of militancy under direct rule of Islamabad and Pakistani intelligence outfits. It is believed that, Islamist militancy is not only trained but also exported to South Asian region and other destinations from this place under the direct patronization of Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence [ISI].

Jammu and Kashmir is home to several valleys such as the Kashmir Valley, Tawi Valley, Chenab Valley, Poonch Valley, Sind Valley and Lidder Valley. The main Kashmir valley is 100 km [62 mile] wide and 15,520.3 km [5,992.4 sq mile] in area. The Himalayas divide the Kashmir valley from Ladakh while the Pir Panchal range, which encloses the valley from the west and the south, separates it from the Great Plains of northern India. Along the northeastern flank of the Valley runs the main range of the Himalayas. This densely settled and beautiful valley has an average height of 1,850 metres [6,070 feet] above sea-level but the surrounding Pir Panjal range has an average elevation of 5,000 metres [16,000 ft].

Because of Jammu and Kashmir's wide range of elevations, its biogeography is diverse. Northwestern thorn scrub forests and Himalayan subtropical pine forests are found in the low elevations of the far southwest. These give way to a broad band of western Himalayan broadleaf forests running from northwest-southeast across the Kashmir Valley. Rising into the mountains, the broadleaf forests grade into western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. Above treeline are found northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows. Much of the northeast of the state is covered by the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe. Around the highest elevations, there is no vegetation, simply rock and ice.

The Jhelum River is the only major Himalayan river which flows through the Kashmir valley. The Indus, Tawi, Ravi and Chenab are the major rivers flowing through the state. Jammu and Kashmir is home to several Himalayan glaciers. With an average altitude of 5,753 metres [18,875 ft] above sea-level, the Siachen Glacier is 70 km [43 mi] long making it the longest Himalayan glacier.

The area known as Jammu and Kashmir came into existence when the Mughal emperor Akbar invaded Kashmir in 1586, led by his general Bhagwan Das and his aide Ram Chandra. The Mughal army defeated the Turk ruler Yusuf Khan of Kashmir. After the battle, Akbar appointed Ram Chandra as the governor of the Himalayan kingdom. Ram Chandra founded the city of Jammu, named after the Hindu goddess Jamwa Mata, south of the Pir Panjal range.

In 1780, after the death of Ranjit Deo, a descendant of Ram Chandra, Jammu and Kashmir was captured by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh of Lahore and afterwards, until 1846, became a tributary to the Sikh power. Ranjit Deo's grandnephew, Gulab Singh, subsequently sought service at the court of Ranjit Singh, distinguished himself in later wars, and was appointed as the Governor or Raja of Jammu in 1820. With the help of his able officer, Zarowar Singh, Gulab Singh soon captured Ladakh and Baltistan, regions to the east and north-east of Kashmir.

In 1845, the First Anglo-Sikh War broke out, and Gulab Singh contrived to hold himself aloof till the battle of Sobraon [1846], when he appeared as a useful mediator and the trusted advisor of Sir Henry Lawrence. Two treaties were concluded. In the first, the State of Lahore [i.e. West Punjab] was handed over to the British, for an equivalent amount to ten million rupees of indemnity, the hill countries between the Beas River and the Indus River; by the second the British made over to Gulab Singh for 7.5 million rupees all the hilly or mountainous country situated to the east of the Indus River and west of the Ravi River" [i.e., the Vale of Kashmir]. Soon after Gulab Singh's death in 1857, his son, Ranbir Singh, added the emirates of Hunza, Gilgit and Nagar to the kingdom.

Ranbir Singh's grandson hari Singh had ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1925 and was the reigning monarch at the conclusion of British rule in the subcontinent in 1947. As a part of the partition process, both countries had agreed that the rulers of princely states would be given the right to opt for either Pakistan or India or — in special cases — to remain independent. In 1947, Kashmir's population was 77% Muslim and it shared a boundary with Pakistan. On 20 October 1947, tribesmen backed by Pakistan invaded Kashmir. The Maharaja initially fought back but on 27 October appealed for assistance to the Government-General Louis Mountbatten, who agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India. Once the papers of accession to India were signed, Indian soldiers entered Kashmir with orders to stop any further occupation, but they were not allowed to expel anyone from the state. India took the matter to the United Nations. The UN resolution asked Pakistan to vacate the areas it has occupied and asked India to assist the U.N. Plebiscite Commission to organize a plebiscite to determine the will of the people. Pakistan refused to vacate the occupied areas.

Diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan soured for many other reasons, and eventually resulted in three further wars in Kashmir the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965, the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 and the Kargil War in 1999. India has control of 60% of the area of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir; Pakistan controls 30% of the region, known as Gilgit-Balistan and Azad-Kashmir. China has since occupied 10% of the state in 1962.

The eastern region of the erstwhile princely state of Kashmir has also been beset with a boundary dispute. In the late 19th- and early 20th centuries, although some boundary agreements were signed between Great Britain, Tibet, Afghanistan and Russia over the northern borders of Kashmir, China never accepted these agreements, and the official Chinese position did not change with the communist takeover in 1949. By the mid-1950s the Chinese army had entered the north-east portion of Ladakh: By 1956–57 they had completed a military road through the Aksai Chin area to provide better communication between Xinjiang and western Tibet. India's belated discovery of this road led to border clashes between the two countries that culminated in the Sino-Indian war of October 1962. China has occupied Aksai Chin since 1962 and, in addition, an adjoining region, the Trans-Karakoram Tract was ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963.

Taking the advantage of Muslim population in Kashmir [Jammu Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir], Pakistani government and its intelligence outfits are applying tactics of pushing captured Taliban and Al Qaeda militants inside Jammu Kashmir area with the instruction of taking part in Jihad against India. Pakistani military intelligence agency ISI is said to have been offering the extremists the option of either going to jail or crossing the Line of Control.

The "jail or jihad" option offered to the Taliban and Al Qaeda men seems a useful diversion for ISI. The Pakistan military establishment has had to fight the Taliban, once its close allies in Afghanistan, but is looking to turn the situation to its advantage.

Apprehensions in Indian security circles that the crackdown by the Pakistan army on Taliban - seen as a last resort after the jihadist turned their guns on the Pakistani state - could mean trouble in Kashmir are being proved correct. Not only have infiltration attempts by regular jihadist outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba gone up, the presence of Taliban poses a new threat.

The Taliban, who recently fought against Pakistan army in Swat Valley and other areas along the Pak-Afghan border, were well trained and battle-hardened. They could put their experience of fighting US troops to use in Kashmir.

Many Kashmiri militants are believed to have joined the Taliban and al-Qaeda groups after Islamabad was forced to shut down their ISI-sponsored training camps under American pressure following the September 11 attacks. In past four months, a number of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Joish-e-Mohammed militants were arrested by Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies. They confessed during interrogation that, Pakistani government were funding and patronizing their activities in South Asian region. Pakistan has consistently denied such allegation and tried to say that, they only are ‘helping’ their ‘Muslim Jihadist Brethren’ in ‘Indian occupied Kashmir’. Pakistani rulers claim that, Kashmir is being ‘occupied’ by India, though they never can give any answer as to what they think about part of Kashmir in Pakistan.
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