By: Imran Khushal
Before going to analyze, is terrorism transforming Kashmir, or otherwise, let us see what was the latest ‘’untransformed status of Kashmir’’. All most everyone knows that it is divided and disputed between two nuclear states, India, and Pakistan, but not many people are aware of China’s occupation, which is another nuclear state. So it is a part of the land, (for the contesters), surrounded by three nuclear states and, being contested, mainly between India and Pakistan. India wants to annexed the remaining part of it, namely, Azad Kashmir, or as they call it, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, or PoK, whereas Pakistan wants to liberate the rest of Kashmir, namely Jammu and Kashmir, as they call it, Indian Occupied Kashmir, or IoK, not to leave it independent but to annexed the whole sum. And this is perhaps the dumbest strategy for expansion of any of nuclear states so far. It’s not that nuclear states are always the wiser states, but they have capabilities to foresee future and plan in advance. Many of these plans fail when implemented, but still they plan. In Kashmir’s case, we see no planning on either end to cope with the upcoming or already came, challenges. They wanted and fought on the piece of land and ignored everything else, and they are again ignoring everything else. The only thing for these two states is “territorial Expansion”. And no matter what they pay for it, they want it.
Terrorism for individuals is terrorism, but for states, it is a mean of fighting the war to weak and deteriorate other states, and to gain relative power on them, for example, the United States’ war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, was clearly terrorism, but it gave them what they wanted. Terrorists for individuals are evil and immoral but for states they are strategic assets and force multiplier, for example, Osama bin Laden was a terrorist, but he enjoyed protection as an asset and force multiplier.
This tool and the mean of fighting the war and destabilizing the enemy were never abandoned in Kashmir neither by India nor Pakistan. These strategic assets and force multiplier are still there and could be activated on one single command, if not already had been activated. This reality coupled with a new reality that many Kashmiri students from south Kashmir has joined Hizbul Mujahideen, a militant organization which altered the theme of Kashmir insurgency of 1989 from “Sovereign Kashmir” to “Pakistani Kashmir” and replaced Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) as the top most guerilla organization of Kashmir, opens a new window to foresee Kashmir’s future from a global perspective.
Globalization has made migration an organic aspect of today’s world and there are tens of thousands of Kashmiri migrants in Europe as well as in the Middle East. Global Terrorism offers the solution to all evil including Kashmir and Palestine issue, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Qaeda challenge Gulf Regimes’ which are clearly exploiting these migrant workers. Frustration at work and turmoil at home can lead many of them to join these terrorist organizations and maybe many has already joined them. As they have fled from Europe to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria they could join it in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Kashmir.
As in August 2014, Kashmiri Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told Media that “a Kashmir youth has reportedly joined powerful Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Australia”. And as it was reported in the Nation Pakistan, that “The revelation by Chief Minister came after Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) flags became the common sight during anti-Israel and anti-India demonstrations and clashes in Old City and Civil Lines of Srinagar since July 11, this year”. Also, in July 2015 as First Post India, reported that according to an Indian defense analyst, Alok Bansal, “No doubt, it (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a major concern in terms of the country’s internal security. The IS jihadists have already announced a war in future from the soil of Khorasan that includes India. For the IS, their ultimate battle for global jihad will be on this land of Khorasan. They have also talked about Kashmir. The unfurling of IS flags will give a boost to the radicalization in Kashmir valley, as more number of educated youth are joining militancy.”
So, as it is clear from these developments that Kashmir, which already had seen militancy and is fueling militancy at the moment could also see flocks of Kashmiri migrants coming home and joining militant organizations. Which will clearly transform its realities and most probably convert it into next battleground. As Pakistan and India are nuclear states and will avoid head to head collision, Kashmir would serve as proxy war ground.
This upcoming disaster is posing a threat to the political stakeholders in the region and abroad. To the socio-political and economic institutions of the region and development on democratic front no matter how tiny that is. This threat requires clear actions from all the stakeholders. Muzaffarabad and Srinagar should come up with more jobs and employment opportunities, (even if they can’t). Social and political activists should play their role in youth counseling and democratizing their thoughts. Political parties should participate in the electoral process and bring democratic reforms within themselves to accommodate youth and give them a sense of belonging and positivity. Writers should write about harms of militancy and terrorism and try to convey their message to the masses that why terrorism doesn’t work.
Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be followed @imrankhushaal