Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is Pakistan fuelling Kashmir’s violence?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Stone pelting civilians, Kalashnikov carrying security forces and complete breakdown of law and order. After years of simmering Kashmir valley seems to be burning again. Ironically all this in a year when Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had declared 2010 to be a year for tourism in the scenic valley about which the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan had once said “Agar Firdous Bar Roi Zamanast Tho, Haminasto, Haminasto, Haminasto" (If there is ever a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here).

It is a well known fact that nothing happens in the valley without political and diplomatic interest. The question is who the biggest gainer in all this is? Pakistan seems the obvious answer. Imagine this Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haidar Khan has asked Pakistan to de-link Kashmir issue from the peace talks with India as he believes Pakistan doesn’t have much bargaining powers at present due to the international pressure. A violent valley gives Pakistan a chance to blame India of atrocities.

Years of cross border terrorism have given Pakistan very little gains as far as diplomatic victories are concerned. Post 9/11 the global perception on terrorism has changed and Pakistan finds itself isolated on the Kashmir issue. It’s biggest supporter America doesn’t give much weightage to the Kashmir issue owing to its covert support to Taliban and better economic ties with India. America cannot afford to upset India anymore due to economic pressures with a crumbling economy back home with many signalling it will soon cease to be the biggest economy in the world.

On one hand the terror outfits in the valley are keeping the security forces busy on the border districts and on the other the people of the valley are being incited to violence. Stone pelting seems to have become the latest weapon among the hardliners to fight the Indian establishment. The J&K government seems to be loosing its grip completely over the Kashmir valley and Omar Abdullah doesn’t symbolise a chief minister in control.

In the last decade several peace initiatives starting from the Vajpayee era had brought down the violence in the valley. The Army had moved to the borders and the paramilitary forces and police taken control of the valley. All this seems to be crumbling like a pack of cards in the last 12 months. It is high time India starts talking hard with Pakistan and makes the international community do the same. Considering the economic interest America and the European Union has in India this isn’t impossible. A few measures in the valley won’t yield results unless Pakistan has been taken care of.


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