Pakistan has two narratives. That it is the fortress of Islam, and hence, irrespective of credibility and capability, it is somehow responsible for the leadership of the Muslim world. And that Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan. Everyone knows that these narratives are as real as Santa Claus. Everyone, except Pakistan.
Pakistan has two fathers, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Maulana Abu Ala Maududi.
While Jinnah found it perfectly acceptable to use Islam and the Two Nation Theory to create Pakistan, he realized soon enough that he had created a monster. And he realized this before 14 August 1947. On 11 August, he outlined his vision for the fledgling state. “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed; that has nothing to do with the business of the State.” Soaring words indeed, from a man who had conspired to create a theocratic state over the dead bodies of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
Maududi, an influential cleric amongst many other things, had never reconciled to the creation of Pakistan. He was of the opinion that Islam did not recognize geographical boundaries, the Ummah being the glue that bound Muslims together. He also felt that partition was counter-productive because while Jinnah thought he had divided India, he had actually divided Muslims. Maududi was an Islamic supremacist in the strictest sense of the word. His party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, found legitimacy in Iqbal’s poetry.
Soon after his death, Pakistan buried Jinnah, and with him his ideology of hypocrisy. It is now unabashedly in the bosom of its other father, Maulana Abu Ala Maududi. Today, the Pakistani Sunni majority hates Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and everyone that there is to hate. True democratic secularism has been achieved. Everyone hates everybody equally, without discrimination.
This hatred has a history. And it all started with Pakistan’s hatred towards Hindus and India, an illogical hatred of a long subjugated majority, which came to power using democracy and non-violence, and hatred of India because of Kashmir.
With each passing year Pakistan realizes that its dream of Kashmir is fading, and with each passing year the wound deepens further, suppurating and festering. This pain of impotence finds voice in delusions of Jihad.
There are many reasons for violence in Kashmir, strategic depth and “economies of low intensity conflict” the most obvious. A lesser-known reason is that Pakistan has no option. It has built up mass hysteria for 70 years, an opiated populace finding solace in a synthetic utopia. Pakistan is riding a tiger.
Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, Chief of Pakistan Army and the President of Pakistan, had an eye for talent. In the early eighties, he spotted a fiery cleric from Sargodha (Pakistani Punjab) with a small yet passionate following. So impressed was he with the cleric that he appointed him to a senior position in Pakistan’s powerful Council for Islamic Ideology.
In the mid-eighties, 1986-87 by some accounts, the cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed joined his friend Abdullah Azzam and spawned the Marqaz Dawa wal Irshad, a non-government organization dedicated to the resettlement of former militants from the Afghan jihad. This was a façade. In the early 90’s, Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence and Hafiz Saeed together formed the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), the Army of the Pure.
Terror organizations are not new to Kashmir, but there is an interesting learning to be had here. All terror organizations that had Kashmir as their central charter have all but disappeared, a case in point being the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) which considered Pakistan to be as much the aggressor as India. In fact there is hardly any operational terror group with the word Kashmir as part of its name. The so-called “azaadi” struggle has been highjacked by terror organizations with Arab and Pan-Islamic names like Hizb-ul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Al-Badr and many more.
Terror groups in Kashmir are funded by Joint Intelligence (North), the ISI’s Kashmir Desk, based out of Islamabad. JI (N) receives funding from the intelligence fund, which is an undisclosed part of the Pakistan national budget. Some funds are received from Saudi Arabia. Mostly, these funds are not for Jihad but for propagating the Saudi Wahhabi school of thought. Diversion of funds is a Pakistani specialty. They have been doing it since the days of the US funded Afghan jihad in the eighties.
These funds are mostly funneled through Hafiz Saeed of the LeT and Syed Salahuddin, the Chairman of the United Jihad Council. The method is the age old and trusted hawala system, wherein money is transferred to the ISI’s assets in J&K for further dissemination. Terrorists carry Indian currency with them when they infiltrate. Fake Indian currency is a huge state-sponsored racket in Pakistan. Next time you go to the bank to deposit cash and the cashier rejects a few currency notes, specially the 1000 or 500 denomination; you know where they are coming from.
With over 20,000 madrasas, mostly unregulated by the government, Pakistan already has a mass base of would-be Jihadis. Quranic studies form a lion’s share of the education imparted in these madrasas. In most madrasas, the only education is the Holy Quran. When the students come out of the four suffocating walls of their Islamic seminary, they find that they do not have the educational skills to get a respectable job.
Well indoctrinated and well motivated, the most brainwashed amongst these students find themselves at a tri-junction once they graduate. They either join the ranks of terrorists in Kashmir mostly through the LeT or Hizb-ul Mujahideen, go to fight the coalition forces in Afghanistan or join the ISIS. So much for career choices!
The LeT has training modules for selected students. Only those who are ideologically indoctrinated and see this temporal world as a temporary residing place and those who live for the afterlife are welcome.
You have all heard stories about how terrorists look forward to death because of the promised 72 hoors and rivers of milk and honey. For an impoverished teenager who has only seen poverty, has a worldview nurtured by an illiterate maulvi and who has absolutely no future, 72 virgins are not a bad deal, the rivers of milk and honey be damned.
Once the potential Jihadi is selected, he is put through Daura-e-Sufa, a 21-day religious indoctrination course in which he is taught about the futility of life and how Jihad is a shortcut to Jannat (paradise). Sustained effort is made to religiously indoctrinate him so that he is emotionally calloused enough to kill with impunity. Remember, this to-be Jihadi has spent his entire life in a madrasa. He is looking forward to die. It is this part of the Wahhabi philosophy, which is taught.
The next step is Daura-e-Aam, which is again a 21-day capsule course. But in this training course they are put through a physically demanding schedule and taught basic weapons and uniform recognition of Indian security forces. Only about 10% of the batch makes it to the next level.
The top 10% are then sent to receive advanced training as part of the Daura-e-Khas module. Here they learn about weapon systems and the LeT organization. They are taught the finer details of how to conduct attacks on military camps, driving, explosives, use of radio sets, using of crew served weapons (weapons requiring more than one person to operate). They are taught to evade Indian Army patrols, navigation and survival. The training is extremely tough and only few pass this advanced course. Less than 10% make it.
The training instructors are retired personal of the Special Service Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army. SSG is Pakistan Army Special Forces. JI (N) and the Covert Action Division (CAD) of the ISI overview the entire training module.
The best of those who qualify are sent to fight the Indian Army in Kashmir.
The main staging bases for infiltration into Kashmir are located in Muzzafarabad, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), and are controlled by Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, under the overall supervision of JI (N).
The topography of the Kashmir Valley and Jammu area ahead of Akhnoor, Surankote, Krishna Ghati, Bhimbar Gali, Mendhar and Poonch & Rajouri and Doda and Kishtwar is extremely uneven. In many areas in the upper reaches, it snows heavily and there is constant firing along the Line of Control. Hence it is not possible to build a physical barrier everywhere. These gaps have to be guarded physically, usually by ambush teams. The ambush teams cannot cover every inch of ground. There are gaps between ambush teams. These gaps are further covered by army patrols. This is not a 100% foolproof method, but it is the best and the most practical under the circumstances.
Pakistan Army units give covering fire to infiltrating terrorists. Many terrorists are killed during infiltration along the Line of Control. Those who manage to escape then fight as fedayeen (suicide squads) and target security forces. Very few go back alive. Most of them are killed.
Kashmiri militants are not battle hardened enough to afford the kind of traction that Pakistan wants in Kashmir. They are just not ruthless enough. Many feel homesick after some time and want to go back. Some become informers. Hence the burning need for Pakistan to export terror into India.
Indian Kashmir has a separate flag. It has a separate constitution. It has a separate penal code. Then what is this “azaadi” that Kashmiri separatists keep demanding? “Azaadi” is a synonym for wanting to merge with Pakistan.
That’s why during protests on the streets of Srinagar, you don’t see the Kashmir flag. What you see is a sea of Pakistan flags. It is not so much emotion, but the willingness of the separatists to wear the sponsor’s logo on their jersey.
Kashmiriyat is dead. What you have are the foundations of the Khilafat, and the seed of the Islamic State.