Not yet over
By M Ziauddin
We still seem to be in the middle of it. We have perhaps entered the mediatory phase with the US leading the intervention with China, Russia and Europe joining in. But the actual talk, it seems, is being carried out with the combatants by the leadership of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
From the way things are shaping up we seem to be confronted with a second Simla but without a Bhutto who had managed to save Kashmir from the ashes of Bangladesh war. There was nothing between Indian troops and the Azad Kashmir then, but Bhutto produced a miracle out of his Simla.
This time, things look much more serious because of the famous ‘tilt’ of many in the world in favour of India.
Meanwhile, India on Wednesday handed over a dossier to Pakistan with “details” regarding the Pulwama attack. In another development, PM Khan announced the release of an Indian pilot downed by Pakistan.
Indeed, had it not been for our Armed Forces’ training all these 71 years keeping close tabs on India’s strategies and tactics to catch Pakistan by surprise, it would have appeared the final call on Kashmir on Monday last when the Indian Air Force went all the way to Balakot, near Abbottabad and were chased back within minutes. Next morning, they came back not to be chased out but to be downed—as many as two — with one pilot captured. India had a black face. So talks of mediation got started in right earnest.
If Jaish-e-Mohammad has no link to the Pulwama attack or the video claiming its responsibility, then Maulana Azhar is in Pakistan and should have immediately denied any links with the attack. The absence of denial could have serious consequences. Now the Indian narrative is being supported by most of the world.
Maulana Azhar and/or JeM have in the past had taken responsibility for attacks in Kashmir yet he has not been convicted in Pakistan for lack of evidence.
Earlier, on Sept 21, 2016 three former foreign secretaries and one former National Security Adviser (Inamul Haq, Riaz Khokhar, Riaz Mohammad Khan and General Durrani) writing in a column in a leading national daily warned: “Nothing will help India more than an evidence of outside militant elements blending with the indigenous Kashmiri uprising to justify its extreme violence in Indian-Occupied Kashmir and its aggressive posture against Pakistan. We should be open to cooperating with any investigation into the Uri attack.”
And recently these three former foreign secretaries writing in a national daily on February 24, 2019 had said “Every act of violence in the past, be it the attack on the Indian parliament or the Mumbai attacks or Pathankot and Uri incidents have been exploited to the maximum by India to malign Pakistan and distract attention from the deteriorating human rights situation in IOK. All these acts have damaged the Kashmiri cause and Pakistan. There is no conceivable advantage that Pakistan could expect from Pulwama.
“This argument is challenged by the view that in the past Pakistan’s policy encouraged non-state actors, such as the proscribed JeM and LeT. Pakistan carries this baggage of history, like most other nations inherit burdens from the past. Pakistan has suffered massively on this count. Thousands of our soldiers were martyred and tens of thousands of our people lost their lives in fighting terror. We still have unfinished business, but we have to overcome this difficult challenge. Autonomous armed groups in a country are a recipe for doom. Pakistan must implement its National Action Plan in letter and spirit.”
The writer served as executive editor of The Express Tribune from 2009 to 2014