Stop the disastrous gun game?

Hashim Qureshi
The people inhabiting 8,000 square miles of earth in Kashmir have been living under the shadow of the gun, under the fear of the gun and under the diktat of the gun for last three decades. A hundred thousand of Kashmirs are said to have perished in the gun game and thousands are reported disappeared. Thousands of nameless people have been buried in their graves as a gift of the gun. People have lost the count of the graves that gun created. The assassin and the assassinated both remain buried in one graveyard?
The gun brought the sickening gift of orphan-hood to thousands of children. No one has been able to keep a record of the women turned widows owing to the gun. The gun forced lakhs of people including the Pandit community to abandon their homes, properties, relatives, friends and neighbors. It is the gun that has brought disaster to the educational system in Kashmir. The gun has rendered our veiled women unsafe. For thirty years we have been living under the shadow of the gun, we are afraid to speak out the truth. People say if we tell the truth we are not aware who of the gun totting guy will knock at our door at midnight and gun us down there and then.
Is it not the gun which made the gunman of Hizbul Mujahedeen shoot and kill Bashir Ahmad Bhat of Sopor and his three year old son Burhan who was sitting in father’s lap. What was the crime committed by this infant?
The gun has rent our honour asunder. We lament on one Kunan Poshpora incident but we do not know how many of such events take place individually and collectively without our knowledge? Ordinary man cannot visualize how much ugly and tarnished the gun has made our image. Our conscience and our inner self repeatedly ask us a question about what did the State and especially Kashmir get out of the gun except destruction and annihilation.
In 1970s the gun was taken as the guarantor of freedom. Countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos Algeria, South America and many African countries did obtain their freedom through the gun. But a deeper study of their struggle will not show that any of these struggles was fought in the name of religion nor was there a profusion of informers within their struggles. Freedom struggles to which we allude were all disciplined and planned and carried out in a way that all freedom loving countries of the world extended their support to them. But when I try to analyze the struggle in Kashmir, I come to the conclusion that Pakistani intelligence agency ISI gives our boys training in arms for a period of 8 to 15 days at the most and then they are pushed into Kashmir to fight the highly trained and experienced Indian army soldiers. (Some people castigate me for telling this truth). This is how the ISI makes our youth the sacrificial goats and fodder for the Indian guns. I sometimes think whether it was not the agenda of ISI to get thousands of innocent Kashmiri killed and their dead bodies piled up to make a propaganda spree around the world that India is killing Kashmiri and thus play one up game? Anybody with live conscience or anybody with even a small knowledge of military activities will have no hesitation in saying that the purpose of a 30 year-long use of gun had no purpose for Kashmir’s other than that of turning Kashmir into a vast graveyard?
From the very beginning I raised my voice against the gun. I cried at the top of my voice and to make the militants, politicians and the people of Kashmir understand that gun was their worst enemy and that it would lead us to no place except our total disaster. But mounds of hatred and organized propaganda were unleashed against me. For my staunch opposition to the taking up of gun and not becoming a complicit in the destruction of my compatriots in Kashmir forced me to go on exile from Pakistan.
I bore much suffering with fortitude. I have passionate love for my motherland, its streams and springs, its meadows and snow clad mountains, its people and their traditions. I gave up the comforts and beauty of European life because I am obsessed with nationalist sentiments. It was my leader Maqbool Butt  that infused in me the meaning and spirit of nationalism. Sadly for many in Kashmir patriotism or nationalism mean only accession either to India or to Pakistan. That is not how I look at nationalism. In all languages of the world and in all lexicons that exist the meaning of patriotism is that one should love ones land, ones people and ones traditions without linking it up to any religion or ethnicity or class and creed. Protecting ones motherland and working for its development and progress is the meaning of patriotism.
But this meaning has been changed in Kashmir. School and college buildings were torched on the basis of gun power. All symptoms of progress were erased. I struggled against all this.
Unfortunately, the minds of people in the Valley are frozen to the extent that one who gives call for freedom for an untied Kashmir is labeled as either pro India or pro Pakistan. I have to say with regret that there are some who wearing the mask of free and independent Kashmir are on the pay roll of ISI and engaged in spreading hateful propaganda against me.
When a question is put to those who carry gun or those who have left it some time back, as to what has been achieved through the gun  during last thirty years their unanimous reply is that “with the help of the gun we have  been able to project Kashmir issue before the world  community.” This is all senseless and let me use logic in explaining my point.
Had Kashmir issue become urgency for the world community then it would have been taken up by it during last thirty years either at the level of UN or the Security Council? In order to put up a resolution before the UN for taking up any issue at least four members should be the signatory to the resolution.  This situation never took place.
* World powers never took the issue anything but freedom of Kashmir. World community considers it always a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and advised both to discuss the issue and resolve it bilaterally through peaceful talks.
* Three previous General Secretaries of the UN namely Boutros Ghali, Kofi Anan and Banki Moon said that “they cannot take up Kashmir issue unless the two involved countries namely India and Pakistan together approached them.” They further asserted that the issue should be resolved according to the Shimla Agreement.
* Those who think that Kashmir issue will be resolved through the clauses of the Security Council resolutions are deceiving themselves and others as well because Shimla Agreement clearly states that “all outstanding issues between the two countries including J&K will be resolved through bilateral dialogue peacefully and without intervention by a third party.” Parliaments of both the countries have ratified the Shimla Agreement and therefore none of the two can go to a third party for intervention.
* This is the reason that for last thirty years Pakistani Establishment, Pakistani propagandists and their cohorts in Kashmir have not been able to produce a reply to the question why despite shedding crocodile’s tears for Kashmir’s, they have not been able to bring a motion in the Security Council of the UN for last thirty years.?
* We need to come out of dreams and fantasies because we are on the ground and we have full knowledge of ground realities. We have to answer the question whether a few people carrying weapons and crossing the border enters into our state will be able to win us freedom through the force of arms and we know that most of these militants come from the cadres of Hizbul Mujahedeen.
i ) 3 or 4 Pakistani organizations are involved in crossing the border and entering into Kashmir. These are LeT, JeM, HuM, Hizbul Mujahedeen and now we learn that ISIS and Al Qaeda are also part of these militants.
ii) All these organizations have been designated by the US and the UN and also some European countries not only as militant organizations but most of their leaders also have been declared international terrorists?
iii)  Kashmir issue was known to the world even before the gun came into action in Kashmir. From 1947 the issue has been known to the world. As such gun wielders cannot claim that it is because of the gun that Kashmir issue has been internationalized. Many events like the war of 1965, hijacking of Ganga, Kargil war, Tashkent agreement and Shimla Agreement all are known to the world.
However one thing is to be conceded. The hurling of bombs kills many innocent people and the news of killing of innocent people resounds in the world media and nations condemn it. But does it help solving Kashmir tangle? No it doesn’t, and we shall have to accept that gun is not the instrument through which Kashmir issue will be resolved.
iv) We need to remember that all those who take up gun are those who want accession to Pakistan or they belong to violent organizations that are fully supported and provided by Pakistan army through ISI with logistic support, financial support and military support. There are proxy organizations that want Kashmir’s accession with Pakistan. Therefore these organizations cannot be considered anyway in favor of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
In terms of self governing State of Jammu and Kashmir, Liberation Front was also a big organization. “But in Kashmir valley this organization has also been marching along with the pro- Pakistani parties and leaders and has broken down ideologically. In 1994 the party had declared it would go by the ideology of civil disobedience and shun the gun but contrary to all that it has sent its representative to the Jihad Council.”
Our party Democratic Liberation Party has been subjected to conspiracies and perfidies. I give a small example here. Manzurul Islam and Yasin Bhat were lured away from our party. “Hurriyat leader Gillani Sahib planted kiss on their forehead and welcomed them to his fold.” They were asked by the then Hurriyat chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat to give a press conference.  This is what the two persons themselves disclosed. They were afraid of our truth and honesty of purpose
Has India suffered any grave damage by our guns during past thirty years that would force her to change policy on Kashmir? No nothing of this sort has happened nor is there any possibility it will happen in future.
Entire world considers gun as a symbol of violence and destructions. This thinking is deep among the world community. With gun in hand even right demands are not easy to be won.
The boys who get killed are the sons of their parents. Will they be able to fight the Indian forces with a gun or a grenade or a pistol in their hand? Recently two more persons were killed with Isa Fazli and from their possession one gun and one pistol were obtained. The result was what we have seen all the three were gunned down. Is it not humiliation to open ISIS, al Qaeda and Pakistani flags in their funeral? Islamic countries are fighting against al Qaeda and ISIS and these organizations have been uprooted from Syria and Iraq, Their dead bodies are buried after wrapping them in the flags of these organizations. Pakistani flags waved on these occasions also show that Pakistan is supplying those arms and money. This game is stage managed by Pakistan and the entire world knows and acknowledges it,
In final analysis we find that gun is the biggest enemy of Kashmir’s and Pakistan is stage managing the killings through its proxies which the entire world considers terrorists. That is how India also looks at it. Kashmir’s are taking part in elections and even foreign observers monitor the fairness of most of these elections. There was only one way for our movement to succeed and that was civil disobedience. It would have maximally reduced the cost we have paid for our movement and besides that the entire world would have extended its support to us. Why we consider the gun as the enemy of Kashmiris is what this article explains at length.
I hope that civil society will initiate a fair and unbiased debate on the issue.


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