The writing on the wall in Kashmir: Talk about it now to avoid a disaster

Kashmir: why no one talks about the reality?

By Shaheen Sehbai

I have been waiting for a serious discussion on Kashmir on our TV channels even 20 days into a clampdown and curfew, after a well-planned strategy by Modi to visit Islamic capitals and keep them quiet and get medals to demoralize the Kashmiris, and Pakistanis.

For a while, he may have succeeded, but not for long.

On Saturday, August 24, a show hosted by Dr Moeed Pirzada, “Hard Talk” on 92News TV, put together a panel with Ambassador Munir Akram, Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed, Lt General Amjad Shaoib and businessman/strategist and analyst Ikram Sehgal. They discussed the nitty-gritty of the issue but only in coded, diplomatic language.

Why our analysts cannot talk in clear un-coded words is not yet clear but what they mean is clear, though only to a few who understand what they are saying and what they want to say, but cannot, for whatever reasons.

The participants said Pakistan was right in conducting a propaganda exercise, an offensive to tell the world what was going on, Imran Khan was the best thing that happened to Kashmir in many years, nay decades and so on.

But what they stopped short of saying was what will happen in Kashmir. Amb. Munir Akram said the first important thing was the response of the Kashmiris, when and if the curfew was lifted.

If, he said, the Kashmiris respond in a way that Indians cannot keep control of security and the internal situation becomes unsustainable, the game will change.

What he means, he did not say explicitly. Let me do that.

What he has in his mind, and he did not say so is that after so many days/weeks, when the Kashmiris are allowed to come out of their homes or when they revolt and defy the forces, will the Indian troops be able to keep control.

He does not believe so and I agree.

The Kashmiris have fought against very difficult odds and reached the point where a massive military might had to be used to keep them confined to their homes: No milk for kids, no medical facility for their sick, no food for the mass prisoners, no freedom to walk out, no freedom to speak, no freedom to interact with their family, their countrymen or the rest of the world. This looks like a Nazi camp.

So after all these atrocious conditions, the Kashmiris, not just the Hurriyet guys, but all Kashmiris, including those who previously supported Delhi policies, get their chance, will not surrender. They will fight back.

How will they fight back? That’s the key question, which every analyst is trying not to answer.

When Kashmiris see no way forward, despite their struggle, they will have to upgrade their struggle. That means instead of stones and sticks, the street fighters will use bullets and guns. Pellet guns and smuggled rifles will hit not just the Kashmiris but the Indian soldiers will also get killed.

This fight will upgrade to an armed revolt, a justifiable one though.

Ask the Americans what that scenario means, especially what they saw and experienced in Afghanistan. Or ask the Russians when, and how, the Mujahideen struggle turned a huge corner when whoever made Stinger missiles available to them and Soviet helicopters started crashing.

That was an Afghan watershed moment and now a watershed moment awaits the Kashmiris.

If Modi continues with his Nazi policies, bullets will replace stones and then another change, after a few weeks or months, could again kick up the level.

That would be the induction or introduction of “Suicide Bombers” in the Kashmiri scene.

When suicide jackets become the weapon of use, Indian soldiers and forces will have to study how Pakistan army tackled that menace.

The Indian army commanders will have to determine whether they can sustain 70,000 casualties like Pakistan did and for how long. If they face a couple of thousand dead in a few months, they will have to look at America which has been forced to pull out its troops from Afghanistan, despite all its might and dollars, after losing just a few thousand soldiers.

Obviously, and naturally, India will blame Pakistan for this escalation and change of tactics.

But will Pakistan be really to blame? The Indians may do so and they may use their economic or business clout, being an attractive billion-buyers market, like getting an award or a 21-gun salute.

But the fact is that the world has changed and is changing in many ways.
How?

  • Thousands of mercenaries, Islamic or other trigger-happy fighters, who have been used by anyone, and everyone, who needed them, are now jobless and Kashmir will become a fertile recruitment ground for them.
  • With the Indians defying the world conscience and abusing human rights, money will not be a problem.
  • Like the helicopters which recently lifted ISIS/Daish fighters into Afghanistan from the Mideast, or anywhere, to fight for anyone who paid them, a few sorties could bring in suicide bombers and loads of jackets to make money to combat the Indian troops, not very well known for their moral or professional courage or strength.
  • If a few dozen or a few hundred suiciders manage to infiltrate Kashmir, the war will change into a mini Afghanistan, a free-for-all, which the Indians will never be able to handle.
  • Pakistan has been fighting these suicide bombers for years and Islamabad does not have a brigade of jobless jacket-wearers to be air lifted and dropped in Kashmir. They have killed all or as many as they could find. Finding and exporting them is impossible and could even be counter-productive and fruitless.
  • But these bombers could come from anywhere. All borders with Kashmir are open and any low-flying chopper from any side can drop 20 to 50 persons on ground at night or anytime, any day.
  • Indians will be clueless and will only blame Pakistan but without any evidence. If they ever catch a flight or any attacker alive, it would be hard to prove Pakistan was involved. The Indians are not so smart as events after February and Abhinandan’s disaster proved.
  • Pakistan has its own problems including FATF and other economic challenges and PM Imran Khan has promised the people he will bring about a change. He cannot indulge in such luxuries and neither can the army.

The second view was whether an India-Pakistan war becomes a real prospect and then the world will wake up to resolve the issue. “These two scenarios can bring about a real change,” Munir Akram said.

Any threat or a possibility of a nuclear war will shake the world and will be stopped at any cost. Pakistan will only be told not to react but under real pressure of defeat in Kashmir, India can divert attention. Pakistan will have no choice.

The fact on ground is that in a conventional military war in Punjab or Sindh borders, both the armies will not win a decision victory but Pakistan Air Force, a far better force than the IAF, will make the difference. The Indians know it and was proved in February. That may lead India to make a nuclear threat but it would be counter-productive as Pakistan has far greater tactical nuclear/missile capability. The world knows it and may not allow it in a battlefield.

So as Ikram Sehgal said on TV, Pakistan must use its diplomatic offensive through old diplomats who have known friends in world capitals. This war of words can continue but all depends on how the Kashmiris react and how fiercely.

The key is that Pakistan must focus on telling the world, and now, with all the force it can muster, where the situation is heading for.

We must say clearly that India is inviting a disaster but we will have nothing to do with it.

Suicide attacks in Srinagar, New Delhi or BJP leaders including Modi, anywhere will only be an outcome of Modi’s Nazi policies.

Once the message gets through, Pakistan and India will then re-evaluate their positions.

India has put itself in a tight corner and if the Indians are ready to become the next Afghanistan, it is their choice.

Let it be known that the mercenary fighters, who defeated the Russians and the Americans, are now ready with their rhetoric and arsenals, and jobless youth, to take on India. Already some voices are being heard.

Pakistan only has to watch out and not get caught in this war.

But if India imposed one, Pindi leaders have said it clearly that they are ready.

Let the world also listen and get ready.

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