Maloy Krishna Dhar started life off as a junior reporter for Amrita Bazaar Patrika in Calcutta and a part-time lecturer. He joined the Indian Police Service in 1964 and was permanently seconded to the Intelligence Bureau.
During his long stint in the Bureau, Dhar saw action in almost all Northeastern States, Sikkim, Punjab and Kashmir. He also handled delicate internal political and several counterintelligence assignments. After retiring in 1996 as joint director, he took to freelance journalism and writing books. Titles credited to him are Open Secrets-India's Intelligence Unveiled, Fulcrum of Evil – ISI, CIA, al-Qaeda Nexus, and Mission to Pakistan. Maloy is considered a top security analyst and a social scientist who tries to portray Indian society through his writings.
“Martyrs are crown of the Umaah and they restricted Russians in Afghanistan, otherwise Pakistan was endangered; the movement for independence in Kashmir will be continued even though Musharraf has taken a U-turn.” (Daily Times 31. 03. 08)
So said the supreme commander of the Muttahida Jihad Council and Hizbul Mujahidin (HM), Syed Salahuddin, in ‘An evening with the heirs of Martyrs’ organised by the Jamait-e-Islami (JI) Karachi at Idara-e-Noor Haq (INH) on March 30.
The Jamait branch of Pakistan has been in the forefront of jihadist struggle since 1980. When we speak of Harkat-ul-Jiahd al Islami (HuJI), we forget that this dreaded outfit was originally floated by the JeI in 1980. Its ISI and Al Qaeda backed incarnation was born in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 1993.
Syed Salahuddin, who claimed responsibility of a bomb blast in Srinagar on March 20, 2008 and who keeps on blowing hot and cold and often misleads the Indian electronic media by Goebbelsian propaganda about peace, anchored a meeting of the jihadi outfits at Lahore April 6.
At this meeting, attended by representatives of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Al Badr and other jihadist organisations, he declared that Pakistan’s Kashmir struggle would not be diluted even if the democratic government continued the process started by President Pervez Musharraf.
No law-enforcing agency was around the meeting venue to apprehend the members of the banned jihadist groups like LeT, JeM, HuJI and Al Badr. A representative of the Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan of Mullah Mehsud also attended the meeting.
These noises and overt war cries indicate that while the government of Pakistan may continue to take part in the ‘comprehensive talks,’ the jihadist outfits and their master handler, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) would continue to carry the flag of jihad in Kashmir and promote the demand of another ‘Muslim Homeland’ in India.
A little before these meetings, at Darra Adam Khel near Peshawar, jihadists who once fought as Pakistan’s private proxy warriors in Indian-controlled Kashmir, had gathered to express solidarity with their Kashmiri brothers.
Kashmir Day was institutionalised to pledge solidarity with Kashmir, but it actually sought to boost the government in power in Islamabad by aligning it with Pakistan’s India-driven nationalism.
The Kashmir issue has transformed the region to a perpetual theatre of war. On the plea of taking Kashmir back from India, Pakistan was transformed from a regular state to a terror-spawning country dominated by the army, which overthrew elected governments at regular intervals. Military rulers rode the crest of Pakistan’s ‘Cold War nationalism’ and military budgets were not discussed in National Assembly to keep the Kashmir cause alive.
Pakistan’s ISI promoted private warriors in Kashmir, and decided to rely on a low intensity cross-border conflict inside Kashmir. This, coupled with Islamabad’s nuclear quest, generated a crisis because the strategic elite in Islamabad did not think of nation building. Religion was used to promote jihad. A hardline version of Islam was adopted in Pakistan by promulgating laws. It was also implanted in Indian Kashmir through the mujahideen. Islamic religious extremism was triggered in other parts of India as well through ISI and Jihadi modules.
The jihad in Afghanistan was diverted to Kashmir by the major jihadi militias and they enjoyed immunity from law in Pakistan. But what was manufactured in the ISI and Army factories has now penetrated civil society and created new centres of power, which the state of Pakistan seems unable to control.
Such ground realities had forced Asif Zardari to eat his words after boldly declaring that his country would not put Kashmir on the top of the agenda. Democracy or dictatorship, Pakistan is finally ruled by the Army, Allah and America. The ISI continues to nourish the jihadi tanzeems with substantial help from the religious congregations.
The erosion of Musharraf’s power base and fresh noises made by General Kiyani alongside nervous reactions of Prime Minister Gilani should not be taken as the new weathercock of Pakistan’s Kashmir policy. Pakistan cannot afford to cease the peace process, but it is sure to gradually retreat to its traditional position of increasing diplomatic efforts and seeking international mediation and offer strategic support to the Kashmiri resistance movement.
Right from Mehbooba Mufti to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to diehard Pakistan follower Syed Ali Gilani, most Kashmiri leaders expect a brief period of lull followed by vigorous diplomatic noises and reinforced jiahadist attacks in Kashmir and mainland India.
In Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Sardar Abdul Qayoom Khan son and protĂ©gĂ© the current Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan have not deviated much from the agenda set by Zia-ul-Haq and Benazir Bhutto. Parvez Musharraf had only strengthened the “dynastic” rule of the Khan family in Muzaffarabad.
Pakistan observed Kashmir Day on February 5. The official noises were drowned under the mass of unofficial functions of the opposition that condemned Musharraf’s Kashmir policy.
The strongest message came from the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N). Mian Shahbaz Sharif accused Musharraf government of making a U-turn on Kashmir, and described it as treachery. He “vowed that after coming into power, PML-N would liberate the Kashmiris from the cruel clutches of India and restore the dignity of Army.”
How can the elected government, despite the diplomatic chirping of peace songs, go back on this announcement?
Jamait-e-Islami Pakistan that boycotted the recent election also held various public functions clearly stating that under no circumstances would the Kashmir cause be sacrificed. In one of its largest public functions in Lahore, Liaquat Baloch said that Kashmir issue could only be resolved through the UN Resolutions. He and Mohammad Hussain Mahanti, head of Karachi JeI, warned that people were ready to take to streets to support the cause of the Kashmiris.
According to doves and hawks in Indian and Pakistani Kashmir Musharraf was working on a new political formula to “liberate” Kashmir. He was supposed to implement a new plan for Kashmir in which Indian Kashmiri leaders would participate in the state elections and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq would take over as Chief Minister, and his faction of the Hurriyat Conference would call for the resistance militants to disarm.
Similar calls were there from Azad Kashmir government and other pro-Musharraf Kashmiri activists, ending the jihad and thus repeating Sheikh Abdullah’s disbanding of Mahaz-e-Rai Shumari or Plebiscite Front in 1974, after he was given the position of chief minister-ship without even contesting elections.
According to a news report by Hamid Mir, a Pakistani journalist only days before 18 February 2008 elections, Musharraf’s advisor Tariq Aziz, Srinagar based Hurriyat leaders and Indian officials met in Dubai to discuss the Naya Kashmir Plan exploring various options on Kashmir after the elections. (Jang, February 21, 2007).
According to Hamid Mir, the meeting was attended by many Hurriyat leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq along with Indian and Pakistani diplomats and intelligence officials. The reported Musharraf plan, on which both Delhi and Islamabad was banking under guidance of the US had run into hidden banks after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the election reverses. Delhi’s Musharraf card has failed. What next?
Observant Kashmir journalists like Atahr Parvaiz (Kashmir Times, February 22, 2008) feel that Islamabad and Delhi’s dream Kashmir policy has suffered serious setback with the election results. The PML (Q) leaders and other jihadi groups are not likely to leave the banner of war in Kashmir to new peace dialogues.
The new government, despite its popular mandate, would tread cautiously and try not to provoke the jihadist tanzeems by adopting soft Kashmir policy.
India is about to walk into another election, and there might not be pro-US policy makers like Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and M K Narayanan around to pursue the soft-ball game. Even if they are returned to power, the new masters of Pakistan under the observant eyes of Al Qaeda, Tehrik-e-Taliban, Lashkar, Jaish and HuM etc might not take the risk of incurring internal turmoil.
They would, in all probability, allow the ISI and Muriddke, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Waziristan based militant leaders and Mullahs to continue with the jihad inside Kashmir and mainland India.
The United Jihad Council (UJC), conglomerate of 13 militant outfits has declared (The News, Pakistan February 6, 2008) in unison with the Markaz ud Dawa (read LeT) that the Kashmir issue would continue to dominate Pakistan’s internal and external policies. There are indications that Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Taliban are pitching in with the known devils to advance the cause of jihad in Kashmir and India.
Recent arrests of SIMI leaders in Madhya Pradesh and other places indicate that the militant organisation was directly in touch with Al Qaeda and ISI. Interrogation of Qamaruddin Nagori, a top leader of the organization, Amaan (a trainer), Zakir Lala and Irfan Chhipa etc brought out the fact that Al Qaeda and ISI were using the organisation to launch fresh attacks on sensitive targets.
That the SIMI and the Indian units of Harkat-ul-Jiahd al Islami, Ahl-e-Hadith and various jihadist outfits floated right from Kerala to Assam were acting as secret modules of Pakistani and Bangladeshi jihadist pincer heads was well established in admissions by the NSA that the ISI was still active in fomenting jihad in India.
General Pervez Ashfaq Kiyani has also sounded new notes on emerging scenario in Kashmir when he talked of ‘National Consensus’ on Kashmir. During his visit to a forward location near the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir and while addressing Army officers on February 12 last, General Kayani highlighted the “national consensus” that exists on Kashmir and “reaffirmed commitment of Pakistan Army to the Kashmir cause, in line with aspirations of Pakistani nation.” (Pak Tribune, 13 March 2008).
The mood of the Indian Kashmiri leaders was summed up by Mehbooba Mufti when she acknowledged the role and function of the symbol of Pakistan in the Kashmir’s socio-political landscape; “We have a sentimental and geographical affinity with Pakistan.” (Kashmir Watch December 19, 2007).
The recent diplomatic blitzkrieg during the 11th Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) held at Dakar, Senegal (March 14-15 last) also exhibited renewed vigour in the Pakistani establishment to place Kashmir firmly on the international scene. The Kashmiri and Pakistani delegations held several high-powered meetings to boost the issue.
Speaking at a meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, the OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said, “The question of Jammu and Kashmir has been one of the oldest unresolved issues on the agenda of the OIC.” (Arab News, Saudi Arabia, 16 March 2008).
The meeting reaffirmed the long-standing position of the OIC in support of the Kashmiri people's right to self-determination, the protection of their human rights and settlement of the dispute in accordance with relevant OIC and UN Security Council resolutions.
These portends indicate that the latest effort of India and Pakistan to resume the ‘comprehensive dialogue’ would probably hang in the uncertain air of diplomatic posturing and India has to prepare for renewed jihadist attacks in Kashmir and the rest of the country. Political and diplomatic noises are just the smoke screens to befool the people.
India needs to be on its toes. This jihad is not only for Kashmir. It is aimed at driving more daggers of separatism in the minds of a section of the people who still think that the Paradise is on the Indus and not on the banks of the Ganga, Jamuna, Brahmaputra, Narmada, Krishna and the Kaveri.
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and not of Sify.com