Pakistani people are now paying with their blood for their “past flawed policies on Kashmir” and in the “security establishment’s foolhardiness” in allowing non-state actors “ingress” into the valley and harming the cause of the “Kashmiri struggle”, a leading Pakistani daily stated Friday.
“Even as Kashmir Day was observed Wednesday, few people realised the enormous damage done to the cause of Kashmir’s freedom by Pakistan’s past cultivation of non-state actors,” the influential Dawn newspaper said in an editorial headlined ‘Flawed Kashmir Policy’.
“True, some political governments were mindful of the hazards inherent in such a policy but helpless in the face of the military’s stiff opposition to their views,” it said.
The problem was the army’s insistence that it alone knew how to handle Pakistan’s security policy, the editorial stated.
Once the government conceded this point, it practically handed over to the army “the gamut of security issues from Afghanistan and Kashmir to N-weapons”.
“This practically hamstrung the Foreign Office and – in Kashmir’s case – served to de-legitimise the Kashmiri struggle for freedom from Indian occupation,” it said.
Stating that the “uprising” in the Kashmir Valley in the late 1980s was genuine and indigenous, it said “New Delhi was stunned, for the occupied territory had never seen such a revolt before”.
“No wonder it responded by rushing more troops to the Valley and implementing laws that armed its security agencies with sweeping powers of search and arrest.
“The result was a menacing rise in human rights violations that drew international condemnation,” the editorial said.
But, according to the Dawn, “the situation took a tragic turn when militant organisations, euphoric over the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, began to cross over into India-held Kashmir”.
This, it said, “gave an altogether new and unwanted dimension to the Kashmiri people’s struggle” and the world suspected Pakistan of allegedly supporting infiltrators.
“In the wake of 9/11, and the rise of terrorism on a global scale, India won a major propaganda victory when it sought and received unqualified Western support to de-legitimise the Kashmiris’ struggle and portray the freedom fighters as terrorists,” the editorial continued.
“With Afghanistan liberated, and the ingress into the valley restricted under world pressure, the ‘out of job’ militants turned their guns on Pakistan.”
According to the daily, people in Pakistan were now paying with their blood for the “security establishment’s foolhardiness”
“Nevertheless, the past flawed policies on Kashmir should not be allowed to overshadow the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination now. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent dialogue offer to India should be seen in that context,” the editorial said.