Having Failed to Drum up Support on Kashmir, Pakistan Inspects the Option of Militancy

CNN-News18

Immediately after the abrogation of Article 370, the first call came from someone very close to Pakistan Intelligence agencies and his straight question was about the new account that India has opened. Their worry was not the removal of special status but to know the seriousness of the Indian government in dealing with the subject.

The government didn’t wait for winters to come, darbar to move from Srinagar to Jammu but they just did it in the last few days of the Parliament session. They have gone ahead by announcing this in the Parliament without any briefing to the security forces, bureaucrats or the local politicians. Even the Union cabinet colleagues came to know about this in the CCS only.

This time the signal was very clear: we have to do it. Kashmiris felt insulted and humiliated in the initial days but gradually they started coming to terms with it. And slowly bought the idea of development and peace in the Valley.

Pakistan, which survived 70 years only on the Kashmir issue, is suddenly finding itself in deep sea. The neighboring country always thought and given idea to the world that the Kashmiri people want to join Pakistan and would sacrifice their lives for the same.

Even after almost 70 days, not a single Kashmiri came on the road to die for what was the basis of Pakistan’s thought process. Pakistan expected heavy mobilisation, clashes with security forces and finally heavy casualties but nothing is working. Why?

The reason behind this is very clear — machinery to implement the same is not available on ground. People are also thinking peacefully about the gains out of new developments. They are looking at pros and cons. They are accepting that Pakistan is not going to give them anything. They know the situation of their relatives in Mirpur and Muzzaffarabad. They know the conditions of mujahideen recruited by these Jihadi tanzeems.

To a large extent, previous mobilisations in the Valley were managed by Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which continued to build its narrative on the dead bodies of innocent Kashmiri people. Pakistan is still hopeful that once restrictions are lifted they will be able to mobilise its resources on ground and will ensure that people will come out and casualties will take place.

Another failure for Pakistan is to carry out any major attack during these 70 days. Security forces are on high alert and they know the dangerous game plan of the enemy.

On diplomatic front, too, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan made a disaster. He was hopeful of major international pressure in the UNGA. A political novice, he is far removed from realpolitik and was happy to play to the tunes of real establishment of Pakistan. He never realised that army is no more interested in the driving seat. They have a new model for the CEO who can be removed any day. Imran Khan kept on showing his helplessness and never realised that he is preparing the ground for his exit.

On the contrary, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s approach was realistic. A leaked video showed that he was clear it’s difficult for them to put pressure on the world against Indians, including Muslim countries, because they have strong business ties with India. The Pakistan Prime Minister never realised that his ‘Naya Pakistan’ should not be about jihad but about economy and development.

The failure of mobilising the crowd and getting UNGA and international support resulted in the selection of soft targets, killing shopkeepers and truck drivers. This is the only thing they have done in the last 30 years to keep the pot boiling. After all, this is a matter of their survival and the army of the non-state actors they have created. Pakistan always maintains political, moral and diplomatic support for Kashmiris but never talks about the militant support.

The country has failed on three counts but its option of using militancy in the name of jihad is still available. Recruitment from South Punjab, training in Rawalpindi and infiltration in Kashmir is the only dream that they can sell to their youth.

(Views expressed by the author are personal.)