Kashmir’s long road ahead

January 2, 2009

After India last held state elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002, the Kashmir Valley witnessed a period of relative peace only to see it shattered when plans to give land to Hindu pilgrims triggered the biggest protests since the Kashmir separatist revolt erupted in 1989.

The latest elections – which produced a turnout of more than 60 percent despite a boycott call by separatists and ushered in a new state government led by Omar Abdullah – have provided a second chance to change the mood in the volatile Kashmir Valley. But do India and Pakistan, and the Kashmiris themselves, have the ability to turn this second chance into a real opportunity for peace?

Despite the outrage over the Mumbai attacks, blamed by India on Pakistan-based militants, there are some promising signs. The elections were remarkable for the fact that armed separatists based in Pakistani-held Kashmir made no attempt to disrupt the campaign, as they did during the previous polls in 2002. If Indian assertions are correct that the Pakistani security establishment controls the level of armed separatist activity in Kashmir, then the absence of violence would not have been possible without the active cooperation of Pakistan – a factor acknowledged by The Hindu in an editorial

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has spoken repeatedly of the need to make peace with India, including over Kashmir (as discussed here, herehere and here) and despite widespread scepticism in India that his views are shared by the powerful Pakistan Army, Pakistan does seem to have delivered in keeping the militants at bay during the elections.

Meanwhile trade between the Indian and Pakistan-held parts of the divided former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir has continued even through the heights of the post-Mumbai tensions

And perhaps one of the more promising signs is that Indian newspaper columnists have been careful on the whole to avoid any hint of triumphalism in proclaiming the high turnout an endorsement of Indian rule, suggesting that New Delhi may have learned the lessons of last year’s land protests – that peace in Kashmir cannot be taken for granted.

Instead columnists stress the long road ahead in bringing any kind of normality to the state.  (The political parties which fought in the elections made a point of trying to delink Kashmir’s status from the polls, running their campaigns instead on issues of governance.)

In the Hindustan Times, columnist Prem Shankar Jha analyses the voting patterns across the state and concludes that behind the overall high turnout there were still strong pockets of resistance, particularly in the Kashmiri capital Srinagar. ”The voting pattern shows that ‘separatism’ has not died, but become more localised,” he writes. ”While the government has been congratulating itself in the jump in the turnout in Srinagar from barely 5 per cent in 2002 to 20 per cent this year, it has  chosen to forget that in a truly free and contested election, such as that of 1983, the turnout in the city was over 80 per cent,” he adds. ”The abstention is significant because except in China nearly every successful rebellion has begun in the cities and has been led by precisely the kind of people who remain alienated today.”

Writing in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar says the elections offer a new opportunity to hammer out a solution in Kashmir which is acceptable to India, Pakistan and Kashmir.  However, he adds that ”New Delhi would be deluding itself if it believes in the aftermath of the elections that it can arrive at a settlement without the separatists,” and urges both India and Pakistan to provide greater autonomy to the parts of the former kingdom under their control. “Without doubt, the Kashmiris want to have an identity of their own,” he says.

So what are the pitfalls ahead?

The Arab News highlights the risk of communal discord following a strong showing in the elections by the hardline Bharatiya janata Party (BJP) in Jammu, the Hindu-dominated part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.  Any increase in Hindu-Muslim tensions would provide fresh fuel to the militants, just as support for the armed separatist movement appeared to be waning, it said. “The lesson for India — and Pakistan — surely has to be that Kashmir is put into cold storage as an issue on which they are prepared to fight a war. The minute they commit themselves to that, the militants have lost their greatest weapon. ”

The Economist calls the elections “a good vote in the angry valley”  but warns that India should not be lulled into thinking that Kashmiris had been won over to Indian rule. ”Many Kashmiris, as the recent protests served to re-emphasise, are deeply unhappy to be in India,” it said.

That view is echoed by the BBC’s Andrew Whitehead, who also writes that the new government ushered in by the elections will find it hard to convince Kashmiris that their grievances can be addressed through local politics until relations between India and Pakistan are repaired following the Mumbai attacks

Kashmir has always been unpredictable, and remains a tinderbox vulnerable to any sparks coming from inside or outside the Valley. The Indian government’s long-awaited decision on whether to carry out the death sentence of Mohammad Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri convicted of involvement in an attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001, could be one of those sparks.  Many Kashmiris believe he was wrongly convicted.

And if anyone needs a reminder of the anger bubbling below the surface in India’s only Muslim-majority state, they need look no further than Friday’s protests against Israeli strikes on Gaza. At least 50 people were injured when police in Srinagar fired teargas to disperse protesters.

(Photos: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah waves to supporters/Fayaz Kabli

Kashmiris protest in Srinagar against Israeli strikes on Gaza/Fayaz Kabli)

Comments

Alas Myra,
It seems you have completely bought the Islamist propaganda such as from Arab news and the long time backers of Muslim aggression(since 1947 and before) in UK exemplified by The Economist and BBC.

Under this aggressive Islamist view, Muslims can carve out 2 different countries for themselves in the subcontinent, expel the Hindu populations from those territories, gurantee second-class citizenship in their lands.

Under this aggressive Islamist view, after getting lands for themselves, Muslims can have 100 parties of Muslim Leagues, to convey and represent the endless grievances of Muslims, but HINDUS SHOULD NOT HAVE ANY POLITICAL PARTIES. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HINDUS TO HAVE ANY GIIEVANCES. How can they? Hindus in Jammu were genuinely aggreived by the Amarnath land row.

But then how can they get aggrieved? If they are Hindus, they are not supposed to

Do you personally subscribe or agree with this aggressive Islamist view?

 

A simple solution let the people of Kashmir decide what they want because we will not accept if anything is imposed on us.

Indian security forces out of the Kashmir valley…
Pakistani troops out of AJK….

Both countries provide security for kashmir, simple. We want a Kashmir where out hindu brothers live side by side with and the Buddists in peace n harmony. By firstly de militrising the whole of Kashmir would be good start. Kashmiris can have their own police force but overall security in the hands of India n Pakistan. The LOC should no longer be there so the Kashmiris families on both sides can travel on the other side vise versa.

Posted by Kashmiri | Report as abusive
 

And for the record, has Arab news, BBC, Economist any of these have ever expressed concerns about the communal discord created by the muslim political parties of Kashmir and Pakistan?

 

Interesting that this report cites what Arab world, bledding heart Indian liberals, or Pakistanis saying on Kashmir Vote. But it does not cite what mainstream Indians say on this issue.

For decades, India falsely pursued Nehruvian policy, special rights for J&K just because its a muslim majority state, though claiming India is a secular country.

Why Muslims be given special rights in a secular state?

Also, consider what will happen to 500,000 kashmiri Pandits who have been driven out from the valley?

The solution of J&K lies in integrating it with india like any other state. A hard policy is required, as appeasement has only fuelled separatism and Jehadi terrorism.

Posted by Dipak Ghosh | Report as abusive
 

Myra
I couldn’t have agreed more with you, yes this is a true opportunity to make meaningful progress. The world is getting more volatile now more than ever, any chance of peace and stability cannot be wasted by India and Pakistan. If Kashmir dispute is settled, both countries can concentrate to improve quality of life of their people. Pakistan has gone an extra mile probably due to international pressure to keep things calm in Kashmir. Onus is on India now, the ball is in their court to make meaningful progress. Talk to Kashmiris, understand the sensitivites and settle the dispute. Just like people in Kashmir who get upset over Israeli aggression in Palestine, so do people in Pakistan over any Indian agression in Kashmir. Muslims across the world are like one body, if one part is in pain the whole body feels the pain.
More tragedies like Mumbai can occur if Kashmir continues to be a bone of contention between the two countries. For Pakistan also, making peace with India is very important and is understood by the present government.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

In response to the above comments, I don’t “agree” with or “endorse” any of the many different views expressed about Kashmir.

If, as I have done, you spend time with Buddhists in Ladakh, Kashmiri Hindus in Jammu, and Kashmiri Muslims in Srinagar, and then travel between India and Pakistan to try to understand the views in both countries, you realise there are not just three sides to this dispute — there are many, many different sides.

My job as a journalist is to try to capture as many of these different views as possible and, rather than grab at simplistic answers, to find a way of explaining its complexity.

If I have not highlighted op-eds or news stories that deserve to be included in this post, then please post a comment with the appropriate links.

But don’t over-simplify. If there is any subject I have covered in my career that I have learned not to have an opinion on (or rather learned that there are far too many different opinions for my views to count) then it is this one.

So let’s try to have a debate on this blog that doesn’t descend into the usual mud-slinging?

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

India and Pakistan should get on with the business of settling the Kashmir dispute to their satisfaction and, most of all, to the satisfaction of the suffering Kashmiri populace. Of course, the Pandits’ grievances must be addressed and they must be allowed to return to Kashmir in peace and security. Other problems must be resolved such as the interests of the people of Ladakh. And very importantly, all groups must be allowed to stay in place in Kashmir with no transfer of population such that happened in 1947.

I know that it is very difficult for India to accept even the idea of the possible loss of Kashmir. Any country would be resistant. And from that perspective I am very sympathetic to India.

But India should come to terms with reality. Perhaps the ultimate solution would not be so bad.

I will not offer any solution of my own except to say that the Kashmiri people, the Indian people and the Pakistani people need a solution

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

You may believe that you are being dispassionate but can you show me one editorial/commentary that you have linked in this post that does not have as its thesis – “India should not think that these elections suggest an end to separatism”

Every op/ed or commentator you quote here had predicted abysmal turnout. Mr. Jha, I recall said that the turnout overall would be less than 10%.

What credibility do these guys have?

Isn’t it hypocritical and self-serving to say that low turnout means Kashmiris dislike India but a high turnout does not mean the opposite?

Is is always heads I win/tails you lose?

Please re-check your objectivity. The post does betray an agenda, sad to say.

Thanks

Posted by Rajat | Report as abusive
 

Balochis and Pakistan should get on with the business of settling the Baloch dispute to their satisfaction and, most of all, to the satisfaction of the suffering Baloch populace. Of course, the Pashtuns’ grievances must be addressed and they must be allowed to return to Balochistan in peace and security. Other problems must be resolved such as the interests of the people of Punjab. And very importantly, all groups must be allowed to stay in place in Balochistan.

I know that it is very difficult for Pakistan to accept even the idea of the possible loss of Balochistan. Any country would be resistant. And from that perspective I am very sympathetic to Pakistan.

But Pakistan should come to terms with reality. Perhaps the ultimate solution would not be so bad.

I will not offer any solution of my own except to say that the Balochi people, the Pakistani people and the Afghani people need a solution.

Posted by rajat | Report as abusive
 

rajat:

The situation in Baluchistan is not in dispute between two countries (you are incorrect that it is in dispute between Pakistan and Afghanistan). It is not a dispute with resolutions on the books of the United Nations Security Council as Kashmir is.

Your sophistry is not going to work.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

How many times have you covered the “elections” in Pakistani controlled Kashmir? Have you posted on the views of the people there as to whether they want to stay in Pakistan or be free? How about the people in Gilgit and Skardu whose legal status is is murky?

It is tiring to see some Western reporters abuse the relatively better access on the Indian side and end up portraying the entire Kashmir issue being restricted to the discontent of Urban Kashmiri-speaking petite-bourgeoisie Muslims, without mentioning the Gujjar Muslims of Rajouri or the Shias further north in Kargil, let alone the chased out Hindu pandits and the Dogra Hindus of Jammu and the Ladakhi Buddhists.

Kashmir is more complicated than most people here can figure out in one lifetime. And the Srinagar/Baramullah clique that masquerade as the sole representative of “Kashmiris” should know that their “grievances” are no more important than that of any other group, anywhere else in the world.

Posted by Rajat | Report as abusive
 

Since you don’t like sophisticated reasoning, how about a simple one.

Pakistan will not get a single inch of Kashmir. Ever. No plebiscite, no referendum and no border changes, period.

You can agree to the LoC as a border or go pound sand.

As long as Pakistan tries to bleed India with jihadists, the only change in territory will happen on the Western side of Pakistan. You can try 100 more Mumbais and then blackmail us but India will not budge. The only thing accomplished by Kargil was to make the LoC into a border.

BTW, if I recall correctly, the Kabul government does not recognize the Durand line. I wonder why?

Posted by Rajat | Report as abusive
 

Moderation on all the sides is need of the hour.

On the one hand extremists in India demand that India should not accept anything less than taking over the entire occupied Kashmir (POK) from Pakistan. This extremist Indian view extends to support for the liberation of Balochistan, Paktoonistan, Sindhudesh, Jinnahpur for the Mohajirs and so on.

On the other hand, extrmists in Pakistan feel having India give up Kashmir valley will be the first step in the dismantling and breaking up of India into numerous pieces.

Instead of indulging in on such self-destructive objectives, both sides could focus on economic development. Once religion based terrorism, sponsored by Pakistan is eliminated, LOC could be made a soft border. Every one can work on improving the living standards of ordinary people on both countries.

 

Kashmiris have spoken they want a democratic society. They woke up to stark relities of life. They realized the Paki and terrorists intention of supporting K cause.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/conflict-in dia_pakistan/jihadi_2941.jsp

Posted by Amar | Report as abusive
 

@ Myra, Alethia, Umair, Ali, Kashmiri,

I have not heard one person mention India’s right to territorial integrity. Why should India set the precedence on giving away its land?

Why does not Pakistan give the Balochi’s independence, or the Sindh, or SWAT or NWFP? It is really quite silly and strange that Indian Kashmir would be a sore spot for Pakistan. Pakistan already got its much larger portion of Kashmir during Partition. Please provide an answer to this.

India is an inclusive and secular democracy. A political power hungry and Islamicist radical mindset, fueled by hatred from Pakistan has been fomenting this separatism from Pakistan.

I can finish this discussion right now. If Kashmiri’s especially the militant ones don’t like India, they should go to Pakistan and be with their own bretheren, where there is a much larger portion of Kashmir. They can live in even worse poverty and government subjugation there.

Myra, will you please be a voice of reason once in a while here? The so-called Kashmiri’s wanting independence are the same ones with madrassa education, they don’t want to be educated in a modern sense and they don’t want to function in a secular, democratic modern society.

Myra, what I want you tell these people is actually how they really should realize how good they have it, but don’t want the opportunity to seize it. They don’t want to be like modern, or educated muslims. It is a culture of apathy where one keeps blaming a fictitious “boogey man” and blaming them for all their foes. Its like black americans blaming all whites for their misfortunes. That excuse cannot work forever. The hate must stop somewhere, it can start in the madrassas.

In short, Myra, you need to be a voice of reason here for pro-Kashmiri separatists and tell these people “Suck it up, Princess, things are not that bad, try harder and you will succeed and be successful”….

If Indian Kashmiri’s want to embrace the past and can not look forward to being a part of India, maybe they should take the “SUMJ-HOTA” bus to Pakistan Kashmir and just go away and stay there.

It is also a danger to let India Kashmir separate, as it will become another terrorist state from where the Pakistan Army or other Terrorists like them will use that land to launch Terrorist attacks against India.

Myra, India has been nice during 1965, 1971 and 1999. In either of these three wars, India could have flattened Pakistan into extinction, but India has a soft-heart towards Pakistan, since we share a common ancestory and common past.

The exact opposite is however true, Pakistan and those who sypathize quietly, with its expansion through hate and terrorism, quietly wish India a slow death to extinction.

Myra, again please remind all of our friends here that India Kashmir really is a non-problem. The real problem here is Islamic Radicalism and hate taught in almost every Mosque in India and Pakistan, that is the true enemy, the enemy called hate, manufactured in the minds of so-called religious men, searching to expand their influence through hatred, death terrorism and in the name of God.

It is a certain guarantee that if you dismantle the terror and madrassa network in Pakistan and remove all the Terrorists in Kashmir (yes, Kashmiri separatists are Terrorists, even by Pakistan, Zardari’s own admission) that the Kashmir issue and agitation will stop and all Kashmiris in India will live in peace and harmony.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

@Victor,

Victor you are always a voice of universal reason and I respect your opinion. However, India cannot ever have a full, wholesome and trustworthy neighbourly relationship with Pakistan, until the Pakistani Terrorist Production Structure (ISI, Madrassas, Jihadis, Radicalized Mosques, Pakistan Army, Rogue Elements, my favourite “non-state actors”) is permanently flattened and destroyed into a billion pieces. Once that has happened, I am in full favour these two countries becoming very close siblings, with cricket matches, full trade and cultural ties resumed and all friendships resumed.

Nothing will happen, we will not budge an inch until the Terrorist Infrastructure is flattened and permanently destroyed. Doing so, will also remove impassioned right wing hindu groups in India, which are formed as an anti-thesis to the Terrorism, first directed, as always from Pakistan.

We are a forgiving people in India and can move on, once this happens, fully, in front of the world, with full transparancy, and no lies and no double talk.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Is separating Kashmir from India really an option?

Option 1: Kashmir a separate country

Problem1: India and Pakistan will never agree and even if they do it will continue to be a stage for proxy wars from both sides. China will not mind adding another Tibet to its country.

Problem2: ITS THE ECONOMY STUPID. A land locked country with only two major industries Tourism (doesnt look to promising since its still a troubled region) & Agriculture (mostly fruit exports). Kashmir cannont function as an independant country.

Option2: Kashmir merges with Pakistan.

Problem1: Pakistan’s economy all ready on the brink of disaster. Presently there is a near civil war like situation in Pakistan because of lack of electricity, water, gas, fuel other necessities. How will Kashmir benefit from joining a country all ready on its way back to “stone age”.

Problem2: Taliban at the gates, I dont see how the moderate/sufi culture can withstand the imminent threat of radical islam. Bangladesh has already seen the results of joining pakistan, massacare, genocide at the hands of west pakistan.

Option3: Kashmir stays with India (Turn current LOC to international border).

Problem1: Continued violence and unrest of the local population against India. Punjab and Assam had much more intense and violent independent movements. Over time after cross support for spearatist movement have stopped all separatist movement have died its natural death, Assam is on its way (sporadic events still exist). Kashmir will not be any different once a stable comptent local government work towards the regions growth.

Problem2: Continued pressure from Pakistan and other world communities to resolve Kashmir issue. In the current economic, political, terrorist and geo political conditions it will be a miracle if Pakistan doesnt break into separate states. I dont see a UN council petition in the future to merge Kashmir into Balochistan, Sindhidesh, Greater Punjab or Jinnahpur.

Solution: Wait and watch the situation will resolve itself.

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive
 

KASHMIRIS HAVE PARTICIPATED FOR RELIEF IN THIER DAILY NEEDS AND IMPROVEMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE WHICH OTHERS TAKE FOR GRANTED.
UNEMPLOYMENT ALTHOUGH BASIC REASON FOR NOT HAVING EMPLOYMENT AS INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FORTHCOMING,TOURISTS ARE NOT COMING (BOMBAY IS FACING SAME AND OTHER PARTS OF INDIA).FOR ALL THIS ALSO THERE IS A NEED OF FINAL SETTLEMENT OR ELSE THIS TIME ROUND ALSO ANY MONEY WILL BE AGAIN WASTED.
WHY NOT GIVE CONFLIC INSURANE TO ALL INVESTORS. NAME IT INVESTMENT INSURANCE ,THEN ONLY SERIOUS INVESTMENT WILL COME.TILL INDIA AND PAKISTAN AND THE KASHMIRI PEOPLE SETTLE THE PROBLEM TO THE SATISFACTION OF ALL

Posted by mubeen kashmiri | Report as abusive
 

They (Indian) says there was 50/60% turn out at the recent election, were thereany independent observers to endorsed these claims. World knows that 700 thousand Indian troops are guarding the every nook and corner of Kashmir so how one can be sure about genuiness of this election.

Posted by Al Baloushi | Report as abusive
 

@Umair,
I fail to understand what your country’s fixation with Kashmir, other than grabbing land. How is Pakistani progress and nationhood tied to Kashmir?
As someone pointed out, Kashmir is just an Indian state mismanaged by Indian Govt. vide article 370. There is no case for Kashmir to seperate from India. While India is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, there is no reason Kashmir can’t be a part of India. All Kashmiri grievances are either self inflicted by Kashmiris or by Pakistan. Indian state is just trying to protect its territorial integrity.

Pakis, you are better off improving your nation than think about annexing territories of other countries. First protect your own territories and put in some semblance of civil rule.
You are the biggest jokers of the world, albeit sinister ones.

 

TO,
Mr RAJAT& .. Hima Bindu…
I am a kashmiri and tell me what i want …???
india, pakistan or A SOVREIGN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY…..
My answer is definitely sovreign independent country called as ” UNITED STATES OF KASHMIR”

Now how we are going to fulfill this dream …??
Till date you have seen , political struggle , armed srruggle of kashmiries … but we are now more powerful than ever with our INTELECTUAL ARMY of brave minds who are going to take this cause to its logical end…..
concerning your anguish about kashmiri pandits they are more than the part of the kashmiri oneness and are being guranteed that they are more secure in kashmir than in india, about budhists and dogras of jammu…..
it is only the wickedness of indian so called democrecy which has communalised the mindset of innocent people of jammu and put their intrests on stake during the recent land row of AMARNANTH SHRINE…
otherwise you better know thair are examples of communal harmony in kashmiris for whole world……..

Now comming to the basic issue why kashmiris want FREEDOM……??
the ANSWER is simple ……
THAT KASHMIR WAS NEVER THE PART OF india , AND NOR IT WILL REMAIN IN FUTURE…….
ONE THING I WANT TO MAKE CLEAR THAT DONT THINK THAT I AM PLEADING THE CASE OF PAKISTAN HERE THEY ARE ONLY THE OCCUPIERS OF KASHMIR ON THEIR SIDE AND THEY ARE ALSO SUPPOSED TOP LEAVE THAT PART FOR THE LONGLASTING PEACE AND STABILITY OF THE REGION OTHERWISE THE STRUGGLE OF KASHMIRIS AGAINST INDIA WOULD BE SAME AGAINST PAKISTAN AS WELL…….

LETUS BE WITNESS ….. FOR THE PELEBISITE AND THE MAKING OF ” UNITED STATES OF KASHMIR”
I WILL WELCOME IF YOU WAKEUP SOON….. OTHERWISE YOU KNOW THAT THE DREAM WHICH YOU PEOPLE HAVE IN YOUR SLEEPY EYES IS GOING TO PERISH WITH GREAT DISASTER….Als……..

Posted by bilal sarwar | Report as abusive
 

1. In India controlled Kashmir, there is no question about Independence / Pakistani control / India control. People have voted with great enthusiasm, proves Kashmiri people want to be part of India. Which was obvious choice looking at the progress India is making in many fields, where as Pakistan is all but going down with it’s LET and covert ISI plans.
2. I don’t understand why some people (very few, residing in some parts of Srinagar) in Kashmir are demanding independence (or Pakistani occupancy). India is better country than Pakistan, and promises to become a world power in near future.
3. There is no point Kashmir being Independent state. This will not help them in any way. They will have hostile neighbors like Pakistan (always ready to occupy reminder Kashmir ), China (already eaten up a part of Kashmir, sold out by Pakistan), and of course we have Afghanistan (Kashmiri’s definitely don’t want to be ruled by Taliban). People are intelligent enough to understand this.
4. Kashmiri people are intelligent enough to understand that big united country is more powerful than a small independent state.
5. Kashmir has been integral part of India since ancient times. With changing times the people got converted to other religion. But India has absorbed people with all the religions in the course of time. And future will show that India will do that again for Kashmiri people, (some people will talk about Amarnath row here, but let me tell you what happened there was not as serious as it was made to look by Kashmiri media controlled by separatist). Indian government is committed to people of all states may it be Tamilnadu, Gujarat or J & K.
6. Kashmir issue is going to become history with time, as has happened with the Khalistan issue (which was also backed by Pakistan). But I don’t think Pakistan will keep quiet, they will try to make one more state unstable.

Posted by pravin | Report as abusive
 

The bogus thing called “Kashmiriyat” was exposed when the Srinagar mafia could not agree to lease a small piece of land for people of another faith. This shows that if the Hurriyat gang ever had full power, their first job would be to tell all Hindus and Buddhists to convert to Islam or get their throats slit.

The reality is that the Princely State of J&K is now split between THREE nuclear powers – don’t forget China. Three monkeys fighting for a banana will always end up splitting it into three pieces and the banana has no hope of existing as a single entity.

If anyone has ideas on how everyone can stay happy without territorial changes, let’s talk. If not, tough.

Posted by Rajat | Report as abusive
 

victor

you are right, but small correction. neither the civil government in pakistan wants to dismantle india and civil government in india wants to dismantle pak. it is the intention of the radicals on both the sides. just think who is creating and supporting the radicals. it is created by US in pakistan to dismantle USSR. Now the same US is using these radicals to dismantle inida. after india it will be china. so US is having bigger aim in asia. it always endeavours spreading religionism and regionalism across the world, dismantle the countries, unipolar the world and rule like king of the world. US always supports disintegration of countries. pak can also become as you said and india can also become as you said. all countries having different ethinic peoples have comman enemy. it is not their neighbours as they think.

Posted by venkat | Report as abusive
 

Bilal,
I am Indian muslim and have always felt let down by the behaviour of Kashmiri muslims.

Why are you so selfish and think only about your Kashmir. Have you thought about what will happen to Indian muslims when separation of Kashmir from India happens?

 

Venkat,
We have our own weaknesses and bicker among ourselves. Finally all of us put the entire blame on the US,because it is universally accepted US has its trace on every regional problem in the modern times [img]http://www.smileycons.com/img/emoti ons/107.gif[/img]lem
Myra also mentioned about Afzal Guru , that guy himself is tired of living and want to die. I remember him mentioning to the press that he prefer L.K.Advani to be the prime minister of India because he’s the only one who can hang him..[img]http://www.smileycons.com/img/ emotions/99.gif[/img]

Posted by mitchell | Report as abusive
 

@Bilal
at the height of Khalistani militancy this is exactly what most Sikhs were saying.

I wonder what makes your state different.

 

@Myra,
looking at your postings, you don’t appear to be a neutral party here.
If indeed you are neutral, I am amazed at your failure to take into account the Islamic hatred that comes out of Pakistan which is the basis of most problems not only in Kashmir, but also the terror attacks in many parts of India and world.

 

I have been to both India and Pakistan have found the people in both countries to be eager to be friendly with people the other country.

It is a myth that most Pakistanis hate India and visa versa.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive
 

Bilal,
You ask Kashmir was ever part of India.

Was Sindhudesh ever part of Pakistan? What type of self-determination did the people of Sindh have? Their Hindu brothers were expelled from their beloved ancestral homeland, a land where they had lived for thousands of years. Now they are scattered all over India. Meanwhile, the Sindhi Muslims resent the fact Karachi has been taken over by Pashtuns and Jinnahpuris.

You say you are Kashmiri, don’t speak for Pakistan. But Pakistan does use you, and thinks that’s a leverage against India. This wants India to support the aspirations of Jinnahpuris and Balochis.

http://www.petitiononline.com/mohajir/pe tition.html

In 1816, Jammu was annexed by Ranjit Singh. In 1941 Gulab Singh extended his kingdom by annexing Ladakh. Where is/was your United States of Kashmir? It wasn’t there, it’s not going to be there.

The Indian subcontinent hosts hundreds of ethnicities, speaking 1000 languages and practicing all the religions in God’s earth. There are linguistic ethnic groups- Sindhis, Gujaratis, Bengalis, Maratis, Pathans, Punhabis, Tamil, Telugus,Kashmiris …the list is long. The only ethnic, linguistic group in the subcontinent that constitutes a separate country is Bangladhesh- whose birth was precipitated by Pak army’s genocide of Bengalis in 1971.

Kashmiri muslims wanting a separate country seems to have born out of sense of entitlement out of events of partition, UN resolutions, etc. In any case another intolerant country based on religious exclusivity is the last thing the subcontinent needs.

The priorities are – control of religion based terrorism, as waged by Kashmir “freedom movement” should be eliminated. Once this is achieved LOC could be liberalised. Other genuine grievances of Kasmiri muslims could be fullfilled without redrawing of India’s current borders which includes the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

No need to erect new Berlin walls!!!

 

+++It is a myth that most Pakistanis hate India and visa versa.

- Posted by Alethia ++++

The vice versa part of the above statement is correct. However, the first part of statement about the “myth” of “most Pakistanis hating India” has a serious caveat. Most Pakistanis vigorously support sponsoring terrrorism on the unarmed civilians of India. Have done so, and continue do so. Major part of this strategy is simply denying the sponsorship of terrorism.

You yourself is an example!! I’m sure you know you haven’t convinced any Indian here.

 

“How many times have you covered the “elections” in Pakistani controlled Kashmir? Have you posted on the views of the people there as to whether they want to stay in Pakistan or be free? How about the people in Gilgit and Skardu whose legal status is is murky?”

Rajat, well said. I do not expect Myra, at least on this blog, to provoke a well informed discussion on the resolution of Kashmir issue (Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Northern areas, POK, Aksai Chin). Myra, for her reasons, is restricted to criticize based on her largely unrestricted visits to the Indian side of Kashmir and unbiased media coverage that exists there. She will get a clear perspective only if visits to POK and Northern Areas are open to journalists, without any intervention from the generals in Rawalpindi. Until then, people like Myra will continue to interpret a one sided view of Kashmir as total resolution to the old dispute.

Jammu and Kashmir cannot be resolved on the lines of the demands of the militants or that on the lines of the plebiscite designed in 1952. Kofi Annan, in 2005, openly declared the UN plebiscite to Kashmir inappropriate on his visit to South Asia.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive
 

Victor,

If you think good, you’ll get good.

If you think bad, you’ll get bad.

You are free to think the way you like, but your negative thinking contibutes nothing to understanding between people and countries.

I fervently believe in better understanding between people and countries and I certainly do not believe in terorism.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive
 

Hima Bindu,

I dont think Myra is biased in any way, please refrain from making such observations.

I dont know what you mean by “Islamic hatred that comes out of Pakistan” ??? is this something that can be quantified and even if so I am sure there is equal negative feeling from India.

Lets all hope for a peaceful resolution of Kashmir.

Wish everyone here a very prosperous new year!

Posted by belligerent | Report as abusive
 

++++I certainly do not believe in terorism.

- Posted by Alethia ++++

If what you are doing now is based on not believing in terrorism, one shudders to think what you will do
if you start believing in terrorism!!

BTW, anywhere in the world when people think of better understanding between peoples and promotion of peace, the first and only country that comes to the minds of people is Pakistan. No kidding.

And on the latest post from “belligerent”. You didn’t have to steal nother person’s ID.

 

Alethia
— How about giving these sermons (if you think good, you’ll get good.If you think bad, you’ll get bad.)to Israel? asking them to think ‘positive’of Palestine, contributing to some understanding between people and countries.Asking America not to label Hamas as ‘thugs’…or do you have different yardsticks for the Israeli reactions?

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

@Alethia,

You are a noble person saying good begets good. Sure that is quite good thinking, when you are thinking of people who are from Guilt based societies, which often have rule of law, democracy and secularity. As a latte-liberal, you have a “bury” your head in the sand type of attitude.

Its this exact liberal ness that will be your undoing, as well as the undoing of the Western World and India.

Secular and democractic societies have common core values, those of the right of the individual to exist, the right to free speech, the right to question, the right to freely develop one’s own endeavers.

I never cease to be amazed at how gullible and naive you are, with regards to “Shame” based societies. These shame based societies, often do not value or have any of the core values, I listed above. They often follow a dictatorial, facist, communist, or totalitarian mindset that the individual is expendable for the common good.

Time and again History has shown that Guilt Based Societies, as they show liberality towards Shame based society people, because they share different core values, either the shame based society individuals will be at your feet (if you are superior, militarily and by numbers) or they will be at your throat and try to overwhelm you mentally and physically by destroying you.

Alethia, you do not have a realistic, practical approach to analyze events and offer little to resolve anything here. Your “niceness” will be used against secular societies and their destruction.

If the tables were turned, and you were living in a Shame Based society, in most of those countries, you would be forced to marry some guy and be his chattel.

It is dissappointing to naive and gullible “latte-liberal” as your self, so freely and stupidly apologizing constantly for not being nice enough to those from Shame based societies.

Since shame based societies must blindly follow a doctrine, there is no real room to question outside of those rules. The only thing, at the end of the day, people from Shame based societies respect and respond to in a positive manner, is a firm hand and overwhelming, sledgehammer might.

Please educate yourself on shame vs. guilt societies.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Bilal
Does your ” UNITED STATES OF KASHMIR” include Jammu, leh, Ladakh? & POK & the Northern Areas, Aksai Chin & the territories gifted by Pakistan to China? or do you mean only POK & The Kashmir Valley?

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

Mayra, again you came up with your stupid artical.Why don’t u devote yourself some time to study the reality instead of posting these kind of baseless articles.Before writting anything about kashmir you must know half of the kasmir has been captured by pakistani terrorists and they are launching strikes from there to original(indian) kashmir.Real problem is pakistan and their international terrorists.And you must remember mayra,India hasn’t forgot about kashmir occupied by pakistan.It has to be rejoined with india ,no matter how long it will take.

Posted by Singh | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

The success of fair and free elections does not bode well with the Jihadis residing in Pak occupied Kashmir. If history is any witness, when things start looking up in Jammu and Kashmir militants start attacking at the Line of Control trying to infiltrate on the Indian side.

As I speak, a long battle with the militants is on at Poonch, near the line of control. It looks, every attempt will be made by the Pakistan based jihadi groups to bring violence back to Kashmir.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive
 

“Bilal,
I am Indian muslim and have always felt let down by the behaviour of Kashmiri muslims.

Why are you so selfish and think only about your Kashmir. Have you thought about what will happen to Indian muslims when separation of Kashmir from India happens?”

- Posted by Khurram

maybe you should ask yourself this question first, why should the people of kashmir suffer under a brutal occupation so that people like yourself can have comfort and an enhanced feeling of citizenship?

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive
 

bilal sarwar,

Come out of your dream world and accept reality, there can not be an ‘independant’ kashmir unless you can move your geographical location somewhere else, the people of Azad kashmir are happy as part of pakistan, I am of half kashmiri ancestry and in pakistan we face no discrimination accept that brought about by the views of people like yourself.

When kashmir bleeds Pakistan hurts; can the same be said of anywhere else?

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive
 

Ali,

The geography of pre-1947 Kashmir includes Jammu, Kashmir valley, Ladakh, Leh, Pak Occupied Kashmir, Northern Areas and Aksai Chin. Each geographical part has divergent political aspirations and it does not want to join Pakistan. I have few questions for you when you say Pakistan cares for Kashmir. They are as follows,

1) If Pakistan cared for Kashmir, why would it hand over large chunk of J&K land – Aksai Chin – to China?

2) If Pakistan cared for Kashmir, why would the demography in Northern Areas altered by an infiltration from Pakistani Punjabis & Pashtuns? (Northern Areas are treated as federally administered areas like FATA & NWFP)

3) If Pakistan cared for Kashmir, why did Pak Occupied Kashmir and Northern Areas are treated as colonies?
(Evidently, POK got the civil right to vote in 1974 and Northern areas in October 1994. The elections, often rigged, are a sham over there. Despite the name “Azaad”, those areas are not sovereign.)

4) If Pakistan cared for Kashmir, why has Pakistan not invested in the development of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and the Northern Areas? (The dams built on the rivers in POK gives water to the fields in Punjab & Sindh. The Kashmiris do not get anything in return)

5) If Pakistan cared for Kashmir, why the secessionist movements in Gilgit & Baltistan are brutally squashed by the Pak military? (No foreign journalist, such as Myra, or the UN, is allowed to go there are report)

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive
 

On the one hand you say that the absence of violence during these elections would not have been possible without Pakistan’s co-operation. Isn’t that also an admission that Pakistan has been creating and abetting violence? Yet you then talk of Indian ‘assertions’ of Pakistan’s culpability in terror attacks. You seem to have doubts about Pakistani involvement and yet have no hesitation in congratulating the Pak military of keeping its nose out of Kasmir during the elections. Am I the only one who sees a contradiction here?

As far as Zardari’s oft repeated proclamations of friendship for India, have you not heard similar statements from the Indian side over the years? But coming back to Zardari, lets see now how many other statements he has also made. A few months ago he said that those who indulge in violence in Kashmir are terrorists..do you think he was referring to Indian militants in Kashmir or Pakistanis operating in Kashmir? A few days ago he said there are no terrorists operating from Pakistan. Have you read what Gordon Brown had to say, just to give one non-Indian example. Now we have fairy tale of non-state actors. Again, arent these a bundle of contradictions? Your comments and analysis could have been more balanced.
Regards

 

Nikhil ,

1, The small piece of land Pakistan accepted as a part of china is inhabitable; unlike India we are more concerned about the well being of the people and the lands where they reside.

2, When people see themselves as essentially the same; concepts such as infiltration have no meaning, Pakistani Punjabi’s and pakhtuns are historically, socially and genetically related to the majority of kashmiris. The main connection between Kashmir and the rest of the world
has always been through sialkot.

This was also why hundreds of thousands of Muslims lost their lives in Amritsar at partition as it was handed over to India unexpectedly, otherwise India would have no land route to Kashmir.

3, When an area is under the constant threat of war elections have little meaning, I find an Indian talking about election and specifically rigged elections in Kashmir quite disturbing considering the violence the majority of kashmiris in Indian administered Kashmir are put through when the real sham elections take place. By azad the reference is being made to Indian occupied Kashmir, as we don’t need force to hold Kashmir.

Here’s a question for you, what percentage of the hundreds of thousands of Indian security forces in Kashmir are originally of kashmiris majority population.

4, Pakistan has invested alot in Kashmir, unlike Indian Kashmir people are free to visit azad Kashmir and see for themselves.

5, You obviously haven’t been keeping track of the news, many journalists have recently visited gilgit and surrounding areas, I have myself visited the northern areas of Pakistan and felt no hostility from the local population. Any movements in these areas are directed at the federal government, generally politically motivated and to do with resources rather than the any question separation.

let me put this question to you, why is it that large numbers of NGO’s/ human rights organisations regularly condemn the Indian government for actions in occupied Kashmir yet the same can not be said of azad Kashmir? are they biased?

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive
 

Ali
‘let me put this question to you, why is it that large numbers of NGO’s/ human rights organisations regularly condemn the Indian government for actions in occupied Kashmir yet the same can not be said of azad Kashmir? are they biased?’
—because they can then beg for alms & emotionally black mail thegullible & obtuse Saudi’s Arabs & others such claimant of sham brotherhood,(even by some western powers for ulterior motives as it keeps India’s diplomacy in check & humor Paki’s for whose Punjabi landlords & army top brass Kashmir is actually a real-estate deal,their father-in-laws Hillstation) they get handsomely paid for their deceitful propaganda…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

Ali
‘The small piece of land Pakistan accepted as a part of china is inhabitable;’
—for us Indians it is a part of our motherland— It’s you Pakistani’s who can do this to your own mothers when they turn unproductive , not us, we remain loving her till our last breath…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

Do you people want a solution to the kashmir issue?
I have one….
stage 1) Let the Pakistani Government honestly-honesty is very important here- flush out all the militant activities against India and Kashmir and provide India the proof.

stage 2) Assure India that because will be no more terrorist attacks ,they have to move their army away from the disputed territory .So people cannot accuse the Indian army of violence against locals any more..

stage 3) Now in a peaceful Kashmir , get a consensus from the Kashmiri people using the media and force the Indian Government to come to the bilateral talks and resolve their issue..

As the militants try to attack India more and more, India will place more and more armymen in the borders and that will only strengthen Indian hold towards Kashmir.So the crucial process is in the hands of Pakistan – destroy terrorism in exchange for some useful talks with India..

Posted by mitchell | Report as abusive
 

In response to the comments above, this post is primarily about the Kashmir Valley and not about the other parts of the former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir, each of which probably deserves a blog entry of their own. Yet many of the comments have addressed other parts of the former kingdom, particularly those under Pakistani control.

So let me ask this question. Would those of you who have posted comments about places outside the Kashmir Valley argue that the Kashmir problem can be resolved only if the former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir is addressed as a whole? The UN resolutions of 1948 do apply to the whole of the former kingdom.

But taken to its logical conclusion, would you really argue that the unrest in the Kashmir Valley could be resolved if China were to hand back the Shaksgam Valley (ceded by Pakistan in 1963 pending a final settlement on J&K)?

Or try another question to take it out of the Kashmir context. If there were suddenly to be a great deal of unrest in Scotland in favour of autonomy or independence from England, would you immediately start posting comments about Wales?

By the way, I’m not taking a position on this — I’ve heard people argue that the former kingdom has to be taken as a whole, just as I have heard others say that the LoC should be turned into a permanent border. I’m just making a plea for consistency and rigour. In other words, you can’t respond to unrest in the Kashmir Valley by pointing to the conditions of the Baltis without taking that view to its logical conclusion.

Dara,

On your point about Pakistani involvement/non-involvement in violence in Kashmir. The operative phrase is “if Indian assertions are correct” – ie if you believe Pakistan is behind militant violence in Kashmir, then you have to also assume that it made a deliberate choice to prevent violence during the elections. And re what Gordon Brown had to say, I think you’ll find I quoted him in an earlier post about the Mumbai attacks. But going back to the point I made at the beginning, this blog was focused on the Kashmir Valley, and I haven’t heard Gordon Brown make any comments recently specifically about the Valley.

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

“Muslims across the world are like one body, if one part is in pain the whole body feels the pain…”

Well when pain becomes more wide spread, and forms a gangrenes and maybe septic and spread infection to others. The surgeons do come to make surgeries.

Finally, people came to know that the cat was closing its eyes and drinking milk all these years…

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •