Statement by National Student’s Federation of Pakistan on Kashmir
May 21, 2013 Leave a comment
Protests at killing of Sardar Arif Shahid
Protesters have taken to the streets in various parts of Pakistan and Pakistan administered Kashmir, angry at the killing of a pro-independence Kashmiri leader.
Sardar Arif Shahid was shot dead by unidentified men near his home in Rawalpindi on 13-05-2013 (Monday night.)Mr Shahid led the All Parties National Alliance (APNA), which advocates independence from India and Pakistan, as well as being the president of National Liberation Conference (NLC). Both countries claim the region, which is divided between them across a ceasefire line known as the Line of Control. Demonstrations were also held in other cities and towns in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.Protesters carried banners with slogans against the Pakistani army and the ISI intelligence service, which they blamed for the killing.
‘Pool of blood‘
Sardar Arif Shahid was taken to a military hospital where he was pronounced dead.Mr Shahid was a vocal critic of Pakistan’s role in sending militants to fight a “proxy war” against India in Indian-administered Kashmir. He also criticized Pakistan’s policy of treating Kashmir as its “colony”.
Sardar Arif Shahid was an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s Kashmir policy
The Pakistani government banned him from travelling abroad in 2009, and later confiscated his passport and other identification documents. The Ministry of Interior told a court in December 2012 that his documents had been confiscated due to his “anti-state activities and on the recommendation of the director-general of the ISI intelligence service”. Three months ago, police in Rawalpindi registered a case against him for publishing a monthly magazine which it is alleged contained anti-Pakistan material.
Mr Shahid was “the victim of targeted killing by some state actors”.
Glimpse on Line of Control
The two countries fought wars over Kashmir in 1947-48, 1965 and 1984. They formalised the present existing ceasefire line as the Line of Control in the Simla Agreement, but this did not prevent further clashes in 1999 in Kargill, which is beyond the Line of Control. India and Pakistan came close to war again in 2002.
The situation was further complicated by an Islamist-led insurgency that broke out in 1989. India gave the army additional authority to end the insurgency under the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Despite occasional reviews of the AFSPA, it still remains in force in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. During the period of “operation brasstracks” in which India initiated military action against insurgents, the limited autonomy to Indian-occupied kashmir under article 370 of the constitution was also abolished.
In the summer of 2010, more than 20 years after the AFSPA was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir, pro-independence public protests erupted, and clashes with Indian security forces left more than 100 people dead. When taking into consideration the fact that both India and Pakistan have a large nuclear arsenal, the stakes seem quite high.
An improvement in relations occurred after 2002, which saw some road and rail communications into Pakistan reopened, but this ended abruptly with the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. India blamed Pakistani and Kashmiri Islamists, in particular the Lashkar-e-Toiba group, for the attacks.
For two years dialogue was stalled between both countries till Talks resumed in 2010, and relations slowly started to improve again.
By 2012, with India promising an amnesty to those who took part in the violent protests of 2010 and Pakistan gradually withdrawing financial support from insurgents fighting Indian rule in the Kashmir Valley, many former militants had become convinced of the futility of the armed struggle against the Indian authorities.
The population of historic Kashmir is divided into about 10 million people in Indian-administrated Jammu and Kashmir and 4.5 million in Pakistani-run Azad Kashmir. There are a further 1.8 million people in the Gilgit-Baltistan autonomous territory, which Pakistan created from northern Kashmir and the two small princely states of Hunza and Nagar in 1970.
The government of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has often been led by the National Conference, a pro-Indian party led by the Abdullah political dynasty. Pakistan runs Azad Jammu and Kashmir as a self-governing state, in which the Muslim Conference,PPP,PML(N) NAWAZ SHARIF are playing a prominent role .
The National Conference moved from a pro-independence stance in the 1950s to accepting the status of a union state within India, albeit with more autonomy than other states. The newly formed National Conference government in Kashmir had to eventually deal with an intransigent Indian state which would often resort to manipulating elections to curb the autonomy of the state of Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir is diverse in religion and culture. It consists of the heavily-populated and overwhelmingly Muslim Kashmir Valley, the mainly Hindu Jammu district, and Ladakh, which has a roughly even number of Buddhists and Shia Muslims. This region is divided again between India and China with China occupying a vast portion of Aksai Chin as a result of the 1962 war with India.
The Hindus of Jammu and the Ladakhis back India in the dispute, although there is a campaign in the Leh District of Ladakh to be upgraded into a separate union territory in order to reflect its predominantly Buddhist identity. India gave the two districts of Ladakh some additional autonomy within Jammu and Kashmir in 1995.
Kashmir’s economy is predominantly agrarian. The important tourism sector in Indian-administered Kashmir was hard hit by the post-1989 insurgency, but has recently bounced back and in 2011 a record 1.1m tourists visited, mainly from India itself. Nevertheless, due to the backward nature of industrialization there remains a very high number of unemployed youth who are the bulwark of discontent in Kashmir today.
Now the ruling classes of India and Pakistan long to strengthen the peace process by the introduction of various trade and transit measures. America’s broker role in India-Pakistan relations have revived in importance following india’s entry into Afghanistan as a major investor and America’s concern over Pakistani cooperation in it’s Afghan war. This entry has only served to complicate the Kashmir situation and give it an international dimension.
Our political stance
We condemn the assassination of pro-independence and liberal leader and absolutely involve in arrangement of protest in all over regions of Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir with our program that socialist Federation of Kashmir then south Asia is solution of liberation and independence.
Transitional slogans and demands
The capitalist state is the weapon in bourgeoisie hand which they utilize against freedom Fighters, Human Rights Activists and Leftists.
We condemn the vicious Murder of Arif shahid and chant slogan, go back Pakistan and Indian Forces.
Stop the killing of Kashmiris, balochis and deprived all over the world
We appeal to all Trade unions, Youth organization, Human Rights Activists, Shopkeepers to be the part of these protests.
We appeal all national and international pro-independence Liberals and Leftists to condemn this assassination,
This is all the more true for bourgeois international law and the character of the so-called United Nations. It is a symbol of legalistic and diplomatic hypocrisy. Lenin once called the League of Nations a “thieves’ kitchen”. The United Nations, if anything, is the greatest deceiver of all.
Kashmir is the oldest unresolved dispute on the agenda of the United Nations. It is still unresolved. Many later disputes put to the United Nations have not been resolved either. Two hundred and eighteen resolutions have been passed against the atrocities and the occupation of Palestinian land by the state of Israel. Not one of these resolutions has been implemented.
The recent imperialist invasion of Iraq is a glaring example of the impotence of the UN. The problem is that most conflicts around the world cannot be resolved on a capitalist basis. Hence, as a deviation or a delaying tactic, these politically decadent leaders refer them to the UN. Such is the case with Kashmir. The United Nations is financed by imperialist and reactionary bourgeois states. How could it dare confront them or impose any decision against their vested interests? The UN is simply the gossip club of the rulers of oppressive regimes that rule through an exploitative system. The UN was a rotten compromise between Imperialism and Stalinism in the past, now it is an instrument for justifying and legalising the economic and military aggression of imperialism, especially that of the United States. India and Pakistan both contribute immensely to UN military programs and India in particular has controlling role in the campaign in the Congo in addition to being one of the top 10 funders of the UN.
The liberation of Kashmir will not come from UN resolutions or the charity of the imperialist masters. It will come through the revolutionary struggle of the Kashmiri masses, which they have carried on with such courage and bravery for so long. With all these sacrifices they have a huge treasure of experience of struggle. From this will emerge the exact path to take, in order to achieve their freedom.
The mountainous region of Kashmir has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for more than 60 years. Why is Kashmir disputed?
The territory of Kashmir was hotly contested even before India and Pakistan won their independence from Britain in August 1947.
Under the partition plan provided by the Indian Independence Act of 1947, Kashmir was free to accede to India or Pakistan.
The Maharaja, Hari Singh, wanted to stay independent but eventually decided to accede to India, signing over key powers to the Indian government – in return for military aid and a promised referendum.
Since then, the territory has been the spark for two of the three India-Pakistan wars: the first in 1947-8, the second in 1965 and a third in 1984 in which India took control of Siachen.
In 1999, India fought a brief but bitter conflict with Pakistani-backed forces who had infiltrated Indian-controlled territory in the Kargil area.
How dangerous is the Kashmir dispute?
From potentially being one of the most dangerous disputes in the world – which in the worst-case scenario could trigger a nuclear conflict – the recent warming of relations between Delhi and Islamabad has led to less sabre-rattling over the Kashmir dispute.
In 1998 India and Pakistan both declared themselves to be nuclear powers with a string of nuclear tests.
In 2002 there was a huge deployment of troops on both sides of the border as India reacted to an armed attack on the national parliament in Delhi the previous December.
India said the attack was carried out by Pakistani-based militants assisted by the Pakistan government – a charge always denied by Pakistan.
Why has there been so much violence been in Indian-administered Kashmir?
Although in recent years violence in Indian-administered Kashmir has abated, the causes of the insurgency have not gone away.
Demonstrations still take place regularly in the Kashmir valley
Put simply, many people in the territory – especially in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley – do not want it to be governed by India. They would prefer to be either independent or part of Pakistan.
The population of the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir is over 60% Muslim, making it the only state within India where Muslims are in the majority.
The sense of alienation from Delhi is especially to be found among young people in the Kashmir valley, a problem which has been made worse by high unemployment and what many see as heavy-handed tactics from Indian paramilitary forces in stifling their protests.
Although the insurgency today may not be so vigorously fought as it was in the 1990s, the scope for violence to re-surface – as happened in 2010 – is never far away.
While violent demonstrations and curfews no longer take place on a daily basis, this “tinder box effect” on the streets of Srinagar and other towns in Indian-administered Kashmir – in which angry crowds take to the streets often without much notice – is still a feature of life.
What’s changing now?
For much of the 1990s, separatist militancy and cross-border firing between the Indian and Pakistani armies left a death toll running into tens of thousands and a population traumatised by fighting and fear.
Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India where Muslims are in the majority
While relations in general warmed from 2000 onwards, tension again resurfaced with theMumbai (Bombay) attacks of November 2008 – in which gunmen from Pakistan killed 165 people.
But there have been signs over the past decade that things are improving:
In 2003, the two countries agreed to a ceasefire across the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir
In 2006, Pakistan said it stopped all funding for militant operations in Kashmir, ignoring protests by some of the more influential groups
In February 2010 India announced an amnesty for fighters from Indian-administered Kashmir, saying they could return from Pakistani territory
Early in 2012, Islamabad cut by half the administrative funds it issues to groups that still maintain offices in Pakistani-administered Kashmir
At the same time it offered a cash rehabilitation package to former fighters to abandon militancy
One thing that has not changed, however, is the Line of Control (LoC) which divides Kashmir on an almost two-to-one basis: Indian-administered Kashmir to the east and south (population about nine million), known by India as Jammu and Kashmir state; and Pakistani-administered Kashmir to the north and west (population about three million), which is labelled by Pakistan as “Azad” (Free) Kashmir. China also controls a small portion of North Kashmir and the bulk of Ladakh province in Aksai Chin.
Are there grounds to hope the Kashmir dispute can be resolved?
India and Pakistan have since February 2010 embarked on a series of confidence building measures and held regular peace talks. Both countries say that they are eager to end the dispute over the contested Siachen Glacier.
The warming of relations between India and Pakistan has corresponded with less violence in Kashmir
An end to the violence and uncertainty in Kashmir would also be widely welcomed in India and Pakistan – and not only by those weary of the fighting or those who see it as a hindrance to the economic development of the South Asia region.
However, a diplomatic solution has escaped both sides for more than 60 years, and there are no signs of any new proposals yet.
Furthermore, both governments face powerful hardline groups within their own countries who will be carefully monitoring the talks to make sure concessions they deem to be unacceptable are not offered to the other side.
What remains of the insurgency today is led by four main groups: Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkatul Mujahideen and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front. All are believed to be losing influence.
Kashmir experts say that the new mood in Indian-administered Kashmir is less supportive of the insurgency and more in favour of civil liberties and human rights.
India says that the way forward is through elections: It says that in recent years people on the Indian side of the territory have voted enthusiastically in assembly and council polls.
In July 2012 evidence of warmer relations between India and Pakistan was highlighted by Foreign Affairs Minister SM Krishna who praised Islamabad for its “new mindset” toward India which he said was “frank and candid”.
But problems and suspicions remain. India’s army and paramilitary forces insist that a few hundred armed militants are still active.