by Zafar Bangash (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 48, No. 7, Muharram, 1441)
In a brazen act of illegality that mirrors Hitler’s grab of Czechoslovakia in 1938, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thrown the gauntlet and swallowed up the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The land grab was preceded by the deployment of tens of thousands of additional troops to augment the 700,000 troops already there. India’s Hindu fascist ruler was aware that the Kashmiris would react angrily to this illegal act. Fearing an eruption, Indian occupation troops have bottled up the Kashmiris in their homes since the night of August 4. Communications with the outside world have been cut off.
All this is well known and widely reported even in the Western media. The question that Pakistani decision-makers must answer is: what are they going to do to confront and reverse India’s illegal act? So far, Pakistan’s response has followed a familiar pattern: appeals to the “international community,” to “friendly countries” of which there are few, and to the UN Security Council. This has been tried for more than 70 years without achieving anything. It is not because Pakistan’s position lacks moral or legal basis. On both counts, it is on solid ground but regrettably the world is not governed by the rule of law. Might is right applies. So following the same beaten path will not yield a different result.
Pakistan will have to think outside the box. A good starting point would be to take a dispassionate stock of its friends. There is no point complaining about the betrayal of Arabian rulers. They are the enemies of Allah (swt), His Prophet (pbuh), and of Muslims. If they have abandoned the Palestinians and joined hands with the Zionist colonizers of Palestine, it is unrealistic to expect that they would care much for the Kashmiris. Treachery runs in their blood. What lessons Pakistan should derive from this rude awakening is important. It must, however, be admitted that Pakistan’s diplomacy has been a colossal failure.
Given the new grim reality, Pakistan will have to draw up a comprehensive plan to confront the latest threat from India. It faces two options: either accept India’s grab of Kashmir and, therefore, Indian hegemony, or prepare to confront it with all the means at its disposal. The time for half measures is over. It appears Pakistan had no contingency plans to confront India’s illegal action in Kashmir although Modi had made clear during his election campaign that he would carry it out. This is a major failure on Pakistan’s part.
It must now prepare for a long drawn out struggle. The burden cannot be placed entirely on the military. This will require sacrifices from all segments of society. But first, there has to be a will and determination to carry through this struggle. Unfortunately many people in Pakistan, especially the elite, are not accustomed to struggle, much less a prolonged one. The elite are armchair revolutionaries who discuss strategies over elaborate dinners in their palatial homes but have little appetite for practical action.
There has to be belt-tightening and sacrifices across the board. Second, a multi-pronged strategy must be evolved in which overseas Pakistanis can also play a major role. At the very least, they can launch a boycott of Indian goods. They should work with labor movements in the West and convince them to not unload Indian goods when ships dock at their ports. This strategy was successfully used against apartheid South Africa as well as Chile when the latter was under military dictatorship.
Within Pakistan it has to be clearly understood that India has occupied Kashmir militarily. It is Indian state terrorism and a declaration of war against Kashmir and Pakistan. This has to be confronted by military means. India has many fault lines; these should be fully exploited even if more criminal acts can be expected from Modi and his ilk.
The extensive media coverage of Modi’s crimes has created enough awareness both among Muslims and justice-seeking non-Muslims everywhere to empathize with and support the Kashmiris’ just cause. This sentiment must be utilized to create an environment in which Hindu fascists are confronted at every opportunity and made to feel unwelcomed. This should include protests at events where Bollywood actors and actresses appear.
The real struggle will have to be waged inside Indian occupied Kashmir. For seven decades, the Kashmiris have shown their willingness to make enormous sacrifices. The cost of India’s occupation must be escalated to a point where it would no longer be feasible for it to continue. Nearby Afghanistan offers a ready example. The much-maligned Taliban have been able to defeat the self-declared superpower and rub its nose in the dust. A similar scenario can be repeated in Kashmir against a fascist India. Nothing less would do.
Zafar Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT).