Kashmir- The Proxy War

Kashmir has become an obsession with Pakistan. She has never been able to reconcile to the outcome of the three wars especially separation of Bangladesh from her. Pakistani military junta has used Kashmir as an alibi for usurping power on petty pretexts and retaining it for as long as they can overlooking the needs of poor Pakistanis and development of Pakistan . Their so-called concern for Kashmiri Muslims is nowhere seen when it comes to poor hungry Muslims of many African countries. Instead, militant groups exploit their hunger and hire many of them for laying their lives in militancy affected areas.

Christina Lamb writes in her book,’Waiting for Allah: Pakistan’s Struggle for Democracy’,” A Canadian who attended Quetta Staff College in the early 1980’s told me he was amazed that while Soviet forces seemed to be an imminent threat just over the border in Afghanistan, strategy at the military academy focussed entirely on India”. Kuldeep Nayar also expressed similar views in his essay ‘Kashmir in Pakistan’s context’ published in Competition Review(Mar 1992),”Five years ago when I was in Pakistan last, Kashmir was mentioned in passing, now it is almost an obsession. Two developments are responsible for it. One, the persistent militancy in the valley has both surprised and impressed Pakistan, which recalls how its infiltration in 1965 was failed by the Kashmiris themselves. Two, the renewed world interest has made Islamabad believe the question can be reopened.”

The insurgency in Kashmir was meticulously planned by President Ziaul Haq of Pakistan who annihilated Z A Bhutto, the chief wrecker of democracy in Pakistan when Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was denied power. In order to gain legitimacy Ziaul Haq took shelter under Islam and supported fundamentalism. He left no stone unturned to develop closer ties with Islāmic countries of Gulf  in tune with the Mecca declaration. Shimla Agreement was of no consequence to him in so much so that he told Rajinder Sareen , an Indian journalist, that Kashmir was a disputed area but not the Northern areas of Gilgit , Hunza and Nagar .  This view-point of Pakistan is reflected in the Staff Study of the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, Karachi, “Pakistan , however, maintains that the Shimla Agreement does not bar it from raising the issue at the United Nations as proclaimed by India. in fact the very first clause of the Shimla Agreement reaffirms that principles and purposes of the Charter of United Nations shall govern the relations between the two countries.*

According to Major General M Tariq, the then Commandant, NDC Pakistan, “It may be prudent to follow a policy of normalisation with India maintaining a credible military deterrence. We should however, exploit Indian instabilities through media and other psychological operations and covert means.Our external problems with Afghanistan , internal political , economic and psychological weaknesses have greatly curtailed our liberty of action. we only hope that we can overcome our problems while the Sikhs and Kashmiris remain active. Pakistan should not lose its chance of the Century….Recall our missing the opportunity in 1962.**

A G Noorani has exploded the myth of spontaneous uprising in Kashmir as claimed by Pakistan by analysing statements of various leaders of terrorist movement and their aides operating across the border and established Pakistan’s involvement in sponsoring the militancy in Kashmir. Some excerpts are reproduced below;

  • Amanullah Khan (JKLF Leader based in Karachi deported by British Govt on 15 Dec 1986) : a) Political planning started in 1986 up to 1987 and armed struggle began on 31 July 1988.[Interview to Zahid Husain , Newsline, Feb 90] b) Our struggle started on 31 July 1988 by blasting three buildings belonging to Government of India in Srinagar [interview to Zahid Husain, Sunday,18 Mar 90]. c) The present uprising is the result of well laid plans and that the militants receive arms and training through his organisation based in Pakistan. [interview to Zahid Husain, The Times, London, 30 Jan 90].
  • Hashim Qureshi (JKLF activist involved in hijacking of IA plane to Pakistan in 1971) wrote series of articles in Urdu Newspaper ‘Chattan’, Srinagar in November 1988 [excerpts reproduced by O N Koul in Statesman of 19 Apr 1989] a) The subversion in Kashmir started as far  back as 1984. b) He was tortured by Pakistan especially ISI for his refusal to become their agent on their terms.
  • Dr Farooq Haider, (Rawalpindi) [ Interview to The Economist, London, 9 June 90] a) We chose Srinagar as the first stage of our attack b) claims 10,000 supporters.
  • Shabir Shah (People’s League leader,Kashmir) [Interview to Zafar Meraj, Kashmir Times, 10 Feb 89] lauded the role of General Zia and ISI in helping the Kashmiri Freedom Fighters.
  • An Insider [Quoted by Zahid Husain in Newsline in May 1990], Like the Afghan policy the Kashmir policy is also now practically run by Armed forces.
  • Selig B Harrison writes in Washington Post on 23 April 1990, “Pakistani stimulation of the Punjab insurgency goes back to the beginnings of the Ziaul Haq regime in 1978. By 1984, the Pakistan Army Field Intelligence Unit  was helping organise the Liberation Front in the Kashmir valley. By 1988, the ISI Dte in Islamabad had begun to set up training camps in Pakistan held Azad Kashmir manned by retired Pakistan Army Officers (There are 63 camps, half in Pakistan and half in Azad Kashmir)
  • Sardar Mohd Abdul Qayyum Khan, the then President of Azad Kashmir said on 18 October 1986,” We are reactivating  the movement of the liberation of Kashmir.”
  • Javed Mir (JKLF Leader in Kashmir) [ India Today 15 Mar 90] We get our arms from our brothers in Azad Kashmir and other places in the world.
  • Gates Mission of USA after visiting Pakistan and Azad Kashmir confirmed in New York Times on 17 June 1990 that there were 31 training camps established across the border.
  • Ahsan Dar (the then Commander in chief, Hizbul Mujahideen, an armed wing of Jamate Islami) [interview to Yousuf Jamal, The Telegraph, 27 July 1990] Confirmed that they had 11,000 armed guerillas.
  • Steve Cole  reported from Kashmir in International Herald Tribune that training camps were established by Pakistan in its territory. ***

The Indian Defence Research Team reported following findings about low-intensity conflict started in Kashmir in 1990’s.

  1. A leaflet simultaneously distributed in all mosques at Srinagar contained the following message in Urdu  – Where we get going our tools will be sabotage, terrorism, and mob violence so that we hound out the puppet regime and establish Islamic Order.
  2. Special groups like Al Hamza and Ansarul Islam for dare-devil operations be established.
  3. The Intelligence summaries collected by 15 and 16 corps really contained nothing more than what was publicly known
  4. People of Doda, Kishtwar and Bhaderwah were on the warpath in 1988 against the J&K Government. As such there was a perpetual shortage of labour to work on the roads.
  5. Violence increased in Jammu-Pathankote belt during 1986.
  6. Mob violence was engineered on the pretext of the Maqbool Bhat hanging day and Satanic Verses episode.
  7. Continuous drift in policy on Kashmir was noticed during the year.****

In fact,Christina Lamb rightly sums up the psyche of Pakistan in her book ‘Waiting for Allah;Pakistan’s Struggle for Democracy’ in following words:

“Unable to create their own national identity in a positive sense, they define themselves negatively by being anti-India , anti-Moscow and even anti-West, though not within earshot of their US patrons when the next delivery of American fighter jets is awaited.”

*Staff Study, ‘Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’, Quarterly Survey Jan-mar 90, Pakistan Horizon, No 2, Vol 43 (Apr 1990,Karachi)p2.

**Maj Gen M Tariq, The Muslim, Pakistan, 6 Apr 1990, rep by CB Khanduri, ‘Analysis of Kashmiri Problem and an approach to Solution’ in Strategic Analysis, Vol XIII,No 6,Sep 1990.

*** A G Noorani, ‘Pakistan’s complicity in Terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir; The Evidence and the Law’ Indian Defence Review, Jan 92, p24

****IDR Research Team, ‘Op Topac ; The Kashmir Imbroglio’, Indian Defence Review, July 89




Leave a Reply