The Emotions of Alienation

The Emotions of Alienation

SYED ATA HASNAIN I must admit that I am a cricket buff and would miss everything else just to take in the thrills and pleasures of a hard-fought one day match involving the men in blue. In the midst of the anguish that I faced watching my favorite team lose to Pakistan in the recent Asia Cup came the nails in the coffin of defeat, delivered by the events in Meerut. A segment of 67 young students from Kashmir allegedly and admittedly cheered for Pakistan even as the negative emotions from defeat were just about eroding. On a social media discussion I initiated with a wise and mature group of people I made an opening statement. It stated that the action of the students was “akin to the famous Hindi proverb – ‘ Aa Bael Mujhe Maar’, an euphemism for harakiri. Human instinct usually ensures that when no advantage accrues to you from a certain action you desist from it. However, if you still insist on doing it then it is at the risk of your neck”. The subsequent discussion was shorn of any major emotions but one thing was clear the friends from Kashmir who were engaged in the debate displayed a surprising naivety about the reality of the situation surrounding the problem of Kashmir, the way it is viewed by people in rest of India and the emotions connected with it. I tried to explain the issue of Realism through an example. In 2011, the World Cup was approaching and the chances of Dhoni’s men lifting it were reputed to be strong. I was heading the Army in Kashmir and in the middle of an exciting experiment to change the narrative through innovative methods of outreach to the ‘Awaam’. There were daily meetings with different stake holders and suggestions were being received from all quarters. Someone suggested that cricket being a passion, a virtual ‘Diwaangi’, in Kashmir it would only be appropriate that people in way off villages and towns must get the opportunity to view the World Cup matches. In their usual innovative way the Army formations went a couple of steps beyond the normal television sets and utilized their video...

Neither Azad nor Kashmir

Neither Azad nor Kashmir

Sahil Mushtaq POK covers an area of 5134 sq miles (13,927 Sq Km) with a population of 4.5 million. The region of POK is officially known in Pakistanistan as the Azad Govt of Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K).  The state is divided into three divisions viz Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Poonch and ten administrative Districts with Muzaffarabad as the capital of the state. The Muzaffarabad division comprises of Muzaffarabad and Neelam, Rawalakot division comprises of Bagh, Poonch and Sudhniti districts and Mirpur division comprises of Mirpur, Kotli and Bhimber.  These ten districts are further divided into 32 sub divisions. The people’s participation in the political and socio – economic development is ensured through elected institutions of AJ&K Legislative Assembly comprising 41 directly with 8 indirectly elected members and the AJ&K Council with 6 elected members.  Presently, Sardar Mohd Yaqoob Khan is the President and Chaudhary Abdul Majeed is the Prime Minister of AJ&K.  Urdu is the official language while Pahari, Mirpuri, Gujjari and Punjabi are also widely spoken. Farce of Autonomy & Anger against Pakistanistan in POK Theoretically, Azad Jammu & Kashmir is a self governing state under Pakistan’s control however according to the general public opinion and sentiment in POK reflects that “although ‘azad’ means ‘free’, the residents of Azad Kashmir are anything but free.  The Pakistan authorities govern Azad Kashmir with strict control on basic freedom and liberties”. It has been acknowledged by the global community as well Supreme Court of Pakistan has admonished Islamabad’s oppressive, undemocratic and colonial subjugation of the POK.  The residents of ‘Azad Kashmir’ are mostly Sunni Muslim and predominantly Punjabis, with barely 20 percent Kashmiris.  Expropriation of land and residence rights of natives in POK stands in sharp contrast to strictly adhered provisions in the Indian Constitution, disallowing non-Kashmiris to acquire property in J & K. Far from a ‘special status’ that Article 370 grants to J & K, people residing in POK lack any constitutional status whatsoever. Development wise, POK remains one of the poorest and most neglected part of Pakistan, with a minuscule per capita income of Rs 1,802 compared to J & K’s average of Rs 2,700. There is an acute shortage of electricity, water and basic amenities...

Jammu and Kashmir, Where Are We And Where Are We Going ?

Jammu and Kashmir, Where Are We And Where Are We Going ?

Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM**, VSM**  Commentaries on Kashmir have been the flavor of the season ever since Shekhar Gupta’s article in Dec 2013 suggested that the time was ripe for the Army to vacate the hinterland and restrict itself to the LC in J&K, declaring a ‘victory’ of sorts for the Indian State. A series of articles in response by informed military leaders argued that there was no question of a victory against our own people and that the Army was as yet relevant. This is because the conflict stabilization stage in J&K was still existent. Any decisions about diluting the Army’s role in the stabilization process would need to be taken in the light of the potential situation in the region as the draw down and vacation of Afghanistan is commenced by the ISAF in Afghanistan. These decisions need not be taken under pressure of adversarial propaganda about the presence of disproportionate strength of the Army in J&K. We also need not be pressurized about the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) presence or begin to think that its job is over because the residual strength of terrorists is extremely low. It needs to be remembered that the RR was raised for a purpose. Some claim it was to defeat insurgency while the truth actually points to the fact that it was raised for the purpose of re-integrating J&K with India; the task of re-integration has not yet been completed and therefore the necessity of the RR’s presence in Kashmir remains. Currently the main theme of all discussions on Kashmir is the likely effect of the withdrawal of the ISAF by end of 2014. Will it see a repeat of the events of 1989 which witnessed the inception of militancy and entry of foreign militants in Kashmir? The less informed are assuming that Kashmir will see much more turbulence in 2014-15. However, it perhaps may be  incorrect to template 1989 to 2014. The situation is vastly different. There are very few mercenaries in Afghanistan whose main commitment will be to assist the Taliban against the Afghan National Army without much attention towards Kashmir. The Pakistan Army will similarly be more...

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