February 5, Kashmir Solidarity Day and the genocide of the Kashmiri Pundits

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On February 5 my people living in Pakistani occupied Jammu Kashmir(PoJK) will once again
be forced by the Pakistani military establishment to dance to the tune of a false jihad e
Kashmir narrative. Pakistan’s selected prime minister Imran Khan will be visit Kotli city and
Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will arrive in Muzaffarabad to fan
anti-India (read Hindu) sentiments and accuse Modi Sarkar of depriving the people of the
Valley of basic human rights and committing all kind of atrocities one could imagine under
the sun.

The people of PoJK who are currently struggling to buy our staple diet – flour, gain access to uninterrupted flow of electricity and clean drinking water, control of their natural resources such as forests, rivers, mountains and above all the right to a live a dignified life, will be bombarded with drummed up rhetorical phrases and religious jingoistic demagogy and present the usurper Pakistan army as the sole defender of ‘our’ ideological as well as
geographical boundaries. For weeks there is no flour available in PoJK. The subsidy on flour given to those unfortunate Jamwals who live along the Line of Control (LoC) has been abolished. From Bhimber to Mirpur and Muzaffarabad the people of PoJK have been ceaselessly protesting against lack of Atta, electricity and clean drinking water.

For months the government employees have been observing pen-down strikes. Several
departments have not been allocated enough funds for them to be able to pay salaries to
their employees and starvation has now become a reality in most of the households. Men
and women walk to work each morning in the hope of being paid their dues only to return
empty handed to their wretched pitiful families.

For years’ petty shopkeeper, the owners of cottage size workshops carving handicrafts and
the eager student await the day when the daily routine of 20 hours’ load shedding will be
end and they would be able to gain academic excellence, manufacture and sell their
products to fill the bellies of their loved ones who have become so much used to hunger and starvation that a full meal could easily make them sick.

In January 1990 at a time when the jihad in Afghanistan was concluded and Pakistan army
could no longer sell a jihad infested religious-cultural narrative to its subjects to justify its
perks and unabated interference in the political and economic spheres of the country, the
Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) devised a new strategy to keep numb the inquisitive conscious of the people of Pakistan and PoJK. It was the Jamat e Islami under the leadership of its Amir Qazi Hussain Ahmed which came up with the idea of ‘celebrating’ February 5 as Kashmir Solidarity Day.

It was commemorated as a concealed celebration of the genocide of Kashmiri Pundit’s in
the Valley during January 1990 when hundreds of thousands of Kashmir Pundits were forced to abandon their centuries old home land and become wanderers in the plains of India and beyond.

Commemoration of February 5 as Kashmir Solidarity Day also became a means to gain
public approval for the tradition of perpetually stirring religious-fascist-military jingoism
before and after the Pakistani military terror organization, the ISI, unleashed an unbridled
bloody carnival of death and destruction among the people of the Valley through its
extended arm: mujahedeen returning from Afghanistan.

Kashmir Solidarity Day is an annual exercise to reinforce a fake political narrative and the
evil communal ideology of two-nation theory initiated by the British divide and rule strategy
and implemented by Jinnah and his stooges. It is a day when the people of PoJK, PoGB and
Pakistan are reminded that the protectors of the ideological and geographical boundaries of
Pakistan is none other than the Pakistani military itself. On February 5 this year once again
Imran Khan and Bilawal Bhutto will descend upon the occupied Indian territories to spread
lies against India while concealing the crimes they have committed against our people since October 22 1947.

Pakistani military establishment has converted an Indian population living under Pakistan’s
occupation against their own mother land. They have bombarded our people with false
historical narratives and enslaved them mentally through vigorous propaganda blasted
through the loud speakers of the mosques, the print media, television talk shows and by
creating a curriculum that is taught in schools and colleges in which India is presented as an enemy thus providing Pakistani military establishment with an imaginary enemy.
However, inside the confines of the intellectual iron walls of two-nation theory our people
are faced with a perpetual down ward economic, political and social spiral in which their
bellies are starving, politics is controlled by generals with fat bellies and society is
fragmented and broken on communal, ethnic and sectarian basis by the mullah.

Kashmir Solidarity Day in actuality is a festival of hate, a celebration of death and
destruction and a practice that turns people into fanatic and blood thirsty zombies and
robots who are willing to stab or cut a fellow human beings throat without a second
thought.

The speech delivered by Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa last week at the
graduation ceremony of Pakistan Air Force Academy in Rawalpindi has caught the
imagination of the people of both India and PoJK and PoGB. Unlike previous speeches of war jingoism, he has asked for peace in the region and has said that in order to achieve peace he wants to exercise a policy of ‘peaceful co-existence’. General Bajwa said that it was time to ‘extend a hand of peace in all directions’.

At first this might seem as a genuine change of heart. However, it will only become a reality if general sahib holds negotiations with India and immediately ends cross border firing, something that is considered a tactic to help terrorists infiltrate into Indian union territory of Jammu Kashmir by giving them cover fire.

Next step in the direction of establishing peace would be to start closing down the hundreds of jihadi terrorist training camps dotted all over Punjab and PoJK. Third step in the direction of establishing regional peace would be to enter into negotiations with India for the unconditional withdrawal of Pakistani military from PoJK and PoGB and the return of Indian territories that Pakistan had illegally occupied since October 22, 1947.
And finally, General Bajwa will have to put all CPEC project on hold until such time when the peaceful transfer of our lands is accomplished.

General Bajwa’s speech has another dimension as well. In the wake of Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation on the world forum he is sending a message not only to the international community that Pakistan army is ready to negotiate a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan but also is distancing itself from the government of Prime minister Imran Khan who is expected to deliver a fiery speech in Kotli in PoJK on February 5.

The question is whether it is an indication and a polite warning to the embattled prime
minster to mellow down his anti-India rhetoric during his speech to gain favor as the
Financial Action Task Force meets next month or is he sending a message to the trouble
Afghan president who is embattling a Taliban onslaught despite attempts for peace made
during the recent Doha negotiations?

Pakistan faces economic meltdown and a looming political crisis. General Bajwa’s message
could also be to a domestic audience since the Pakistan Democratic Movement is in its final
preparations for submitting their collective resignations to the speaker of the national
assembly and a possible long march towards Islamabad. Or is the military establishment
trying to mend its image before it brings in yet another of their puppet prime ministers?
Only time and actions taken by the general over the next couple of weeks would reveal.
Meanwhile, it is no more than a wait and see game whether the General matches his words
with actions, and in which ‘direction’.

 

-Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza is an author and a human rights activist from Mirpur in PoJK. He currently lives in exile in the UK