Islamabad seems to be in the habit of simultaneously coming up with contradictory statements and the latest example of this are the comments regarding the attack on an Indian army base near the Line of control at Uri. Speaking to BBC Urdu, Advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz outrightly debunked New Delhi’s accusation of Pakistan’s involvement in this attack. He has reasoned that “Kashmiris are fighting for their rights in the disputed region and the attack on Indian army base has not benefitted them, in fact it helped diverted global attention from Indian atrocities.” And in order to demonstrate that Pakistan had nothing to do with this incident and thus not scared of any external inquiry, Aziz demanded an international investigation into the Uri attack.
Though he did not specifically say so but it is obvious that by taking pains to explain why the Uri attack could not have been the handiwork of militants and demanding an international inquiry he was clearly hinting that this attack in which 19 Indian army soldiers were killed could have been an ‘inside job’ to divert “global attention from Indian atrocities.” Aziz may not be a career diplomat but he is nevertheless a very sharp and balanced person who knows when to say what. That’s why one didn’t expect a person of his stature to come out with his ‘inside job’ theory, which is regrettably as puerile as the claims that Islamabad is orchestrating terror attacks against its own people just to vilify New Delhi by playing the card of being (in Sharif’s words) the “principal victim of terrorism including that supported, sponsored and financed from abroad”!
However, by saying that “The Uri attack can be the reaction of the atrocities in Kashmir” Nawaz Sharif has contradicted his own official advisor’s contention and given this incident a completely new dimension. Coming from the Prime Minister of Pakistan himself this view becomes more authoritative and directly links the current protests in Kashmir to the terror attack in Uri. Whereas Sharif may be intending to downplay the Uri attack by giving it the semblance of a ‘crime of passion’ by calling it a “reaction of the atrocities in Kashmir” but in doing so he has unwittingly ended up helping New Delhi. This is because the reasoning that “atrocities in Kashmir” is the motive for the Uri attack Sharif amounts to his accepting that this incident is the handiwork of an entity that sympathises with the separatist camp that has called for these protests.
If one goes by Sharif’s ‘reaction’ hypothesis, then the finger of suspicion directly points towards militant groups fighting in Kashmir and this in turn vindicates New Delhi’s allegation that the Uri terror attack is the handiwork of a Pakistan based terror group. This is probably the reason why instead of acting on Islamabad’s appeal for intervention to stop Indian atrocities in Kashmir, Washington has instead asked it to take immediate action against militant groups using Pakistani soil for attacking neighbouring countries. Thus it is clear that while Nawaz Sharif may have made the “reaction of the atrocities in Kashmir” statement to justify this violent act but what it has actually achieved is just the opposite!
While what both Sharif and Aziz have said on the Uri attack hasn’t helped the Kashmir cause in any way, there is great merit in the latter’s opinion when it is viewed in the broader context. Aziz’s observation regarding the Uri attack being an ‘inside job’ to divert global attention from “Indian atrocities” may be farfetched but his basic contention that due to violence global attention from the main issue gets diverted is a universal truth. That is why it is imperative that both separatists and militant commanders alike should seriously introspect on the pros and cons of accepting ‘armed struggle’ as a means to secure the ‘right to self determination’. Needless to say that any attempt to ‘legitimise’ violence like Sharif has done in this case will be of no avail! And since violence is costing us very dearly in terms of lives, our leaders can no longer afford to continue following a ‘wait and watch’ policy.
It is imperative that both separatists and militant commanders alike should seriously introspect on the pros and cons of accepting ‘armed struggle’ as a means to secure the ‘right to self determination’. Needless to say that any attempt to ‘legitimise’ violence like Sharif has done in this case will be of no avail! And since violence is costing us very dearly in terms of lives, our leaders can no longer afford to continue following a ‘wait and watch’ policy.
Tailpiece: After having experimented with armed struggle for more than quarter of a century it has become abundantly clear that militancy has done the Kashmir cause more harm than good. How can we on the one hand demand implementation of UN resolutions that envisage peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue and on the other hand simultaneously use violence as a means to secure the same?
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