Is Pakistan Losing Young Kashmiris?

Posted by Ahmed Quraishi on Sep 21st, 2010

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Images of Indian military brutality in occupied Kashmir are giving way to a new perception of India: 'The Ugly Indian'.

Images of Indian military brutality in occupied Kashmir are giving way to a new perception of India: 'The Ugly Indian'.


Is Islamabad out of sync with the new generation of freedom fighters in Kashmir?


Wednesday, 22 September 2010.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Pakistan lost a friendly Afghanistan after 2001. Now it looks set to lose Kashmir eight years later.

You’d think the latest uprising in Kashmir against Indian occupation is a godsend for Pakistan, which has been championing the cause for three generations.

But all signs indicate that Pakistan is losing the respect and trust of Kashmir’s younger generation. This is similar to the way Islamabad lost the admiration and trust of the Afghan Pashtun during the last eight years, and the trust of a large chunk of Pakistani Pashtun, who remain loyal despite severe setbacks.

Kashmir was never India’s despite the forced annexation. So it’s a lost cause for India anyway. But the danger is that it could turn into a lost cause for Islamabad as well.

Unlike India, Pakistan still has time to stop that from happening.

If the gap widens between Pakistan and Kashmir’s new generation of young freedom leaders, third parties might try to hijack the movement away from its essentially pro-Pakistan character. Many of Pakistan’s antagonists believe that if Kashmir can’t be India’s, it shouldn’t also be Pakistan’s.

Pakistan’s dilemma can be traced to the bad strategic choices that its leadership made in the eight years since 9/11, putting the interests of others before its own.

Pakistani officials, civilian and military, can see that this policy has strategically impaired Pakistan. And there’s no better example than Kashmir.

By now, Pakistan should’ve been on top of the courageous popular uprising where kids, women and young men are unanimous in rejecting an Indian occupation army of rapists and killers.

Islamabad should have moved beyond the verbal to the practical, smuggling in food supplies and medicines and allowing freedom fighters from within the Kashmiris in Azad (Free) Kashmir to cross into the occupied portion to help their brethren face the Indian tyranny in self defense.

But so bad is Pakistan’s strategic environment that mere talk of this brings embarrassing smiles in Islamabad’s power corridors these days. Pakistan’s leadership has never been as impotent as it is today.

We have already alienated large segments of Kashmiris when former president Pervez Musharraf ended Pakistani support for Kashmiri freedom fighters in the hope that India would buy his Kashmir formulas and help him emerge as the superman of peace [India didn’t, thank God, a decision it now regrets]. He also allowed India to build tens of small- and medium-sized dams on Kashmiri rivers by ordering Pakistani military units along LoC to stand down enough for Indian construction workers to proceed.

And now we have his successor government, led by President Zardari, which takes its cue on Kashmir from Richard Holbrooke who says he can’t be seen uttering what he degradingly calls ‘the K-word’.

What has gone unnoticed in this grim picture is that Pakistani diplomats and military officials have quietly reversed many of the policy wrongs listed above. Kashmir now is an urgent international dispute and Pakistan won’t follow any dubious formulas for its resolution and would stick to the many UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.

That taken care of, Pakistan now needs to catch up with the kids of Kashmir.

Young Kashmiris are maximizing the power of Internet and social media to break the wall of Indian censorship.

Pakistan has several news agencies, like the Kashmir Media Service, exclusively focused on spreading the word on Kashmir internationally. But despite their good intentions, they live in the 20th century.

Pakistan Foreign Office has no public diplomacy sections, no hired talent that can pick a cause like Kashmir and turn it into a catchword in the trendy worlds of television and cyberspace.

Pakistan’s giant state-run media and the private 80+ television news channels are incapable of conveying Kashmir’s voice to a global audience in an attractive way. Compare that to how young Kashmiris are creating compelling videos of Indian military atrocities and posting them to YouTube.

Pakistan should also get out of the post-9/11 apologetic mode on Kashmiri freedom groups. The United States blackmailed the Pakistani government in 2002 to lump these groups together with al Qaeda. Recently, Washington has been fronting for India on a Kashmiri group, Lashkar e Tayyiba, or LeT, comparing it to al Qaeda and talking about the Kashmiri group’s ‘global reach’. Indo-American attempts to link Kashmir to terrorism should also be smartly countered.

It is time Pakistan drew a red line: Kashmiri resistance to Indian terrorism targeting civilians is legitimate under international law.

As a last option, let’s recall China’s lesson on Hong Kong: Stick to your claim and never settle.

Our choices are clear and time is short: Pakistan can either win Kashmir’s young guns, or lose them forever.


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7 Responses for “Is Pakistan Losing Young Kashmiris?”

  1. Ishfaq says:

    Dear today’s Pakistanis what hope can Kashmiries have from you when your people have developed a sea of tolerance against any depth of humiliation committed against you (and kashmiries are different people), by anybody be it outside powers/countries or insiders of your country . Dear today’s Pakistanis before talking about Kashmir please remember Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and your cold blooded tolerant behavior , Hell Fire Missiles fired against you and your silence and on on .

  2. Dear Mr. Moin Ansari,

    Thank you very much for your comment.

    I know and I am glad that the current popular uprising in Kashmir against Indian occupation is led by pro-Pakistan Kashmiri leaders.

    I have no doubt about that, but I appreciate that you so clearly enunciated it here for the benefit of others.

    My column, including the title, is meant to help our policymakers strengthen Pakistan’s fair and legitimate case on Kashmir. That’s what the Kashmiris want Pakistan to do.

    So my piece was basically an attempt to plug the gaps, if you will, and point out weaknesses that we need to take care of before they worsen.

    Keep up your good work.


  3. Moin Ansari says:


    A sea of Pakistani flags and Crescent and Stars fluttered on all buildings on August 14th (Pakistan’s Independence Day). Black flags were waived on August 15th (India’s Independence Day). this happens every year. It is pedagogical to note that it is illegal to fly the Pakistani flag in Kashmir–the Kashmiris get around it by waiving the “Kashmiri flag” (which is close to the Pakistani flag without the white stripe).

    We were a bit surprised at your title. We must pay more attention to the Kashmiri youth. However the Indian Occupied intifada is being run by the Pro-Pakistani leaders like Syed Geelani, Syeda Andrabi, the Kashmiri Muslim League, the Jamat e Islami the Dukhtaran e Millat–al of which want total and immediate amalgamation of Kashmir with Pakistan.

    Pakistan Patriot ( Rupee News () and Pakistan Historian ( recently published a book review of “Nava-e-Hurriyat”–a straigth forward rendition of the History of Kashmir. It is not surprising that the truth mimics the Pakistani version of events.
    This is a must read for all Pakistanis–and gives us a window into the thinking into Indian Occupied Kashmir.

    The previous regime tried to sideline the Pro-Pakistani Kashmiri leaders like Syed Geelani. Geelani stood his ground and did not budge from his principled stand “Kashmir hamara hai, hum Pakistani hain”) of accession of Kashmir to Pakistan. In my mind this is the biggest blunder of the previous regime—it is sad that the media did not highlight it at the time. We did on Rupee News.

    It is our fault that the Pakistani media does not air the views of Geelani and Andarabi who have been leading the current intafada.

    The are not “hardline” separatists as the Bharati media portrays them–they are Pro-Pakistani activists. We should call them what they are.

    A lot of Bharatis pose as “Kashmiris” and post nonsense on the internet. The IP addresses of such posters have to be researched and exposed. We do it, and have found a lot of bogus posts.

    We request you to change the headline.

    Editor Pakistan Patriot

  4. ABBASI says:

    Whatever tragedy is enrolled in Kasmir is but a natural result of continual Indian supperession. Aside the hurt feelings of ordinary (and true) Pakistanis, the so-called leaders would not avail this tragic situation to be exposed in the United Nations.

    The best our Foriegn Secretary could think is to ask America to put it on the list where Palestine is under consideration. Pitty… how myopic one could get. Does he not know that whatever is happening in Palestine is designed by the zionist rulers of America and it is simply because the (whole) country called Palestine belongs to Muslims.
    Our Mr. Shah Qurashi should be informed that Kashmir also belongs to Muslims.

    Furthermore, our wise guy should also be informed that America is a convicted CRIMINAL state, adjudged by the International Criminal Court for America’s crimes against humanity (98% victims were Muslims), committed during 1992 Kuwait-Iraq War.
    Would it not be like trusting a convicted thief to look after you money? Surely Mr. Mahmood Qurashi can do better! And the people of Kashmir need every help in their struggle for freedom NOW. There are all sort of Bholay Babas in Pakistan.

  5. Akhtar Malik says:

    In my opinion if at all India gets ready to resolve the Kashmir issue, the Kashmir will neither become a part of Pakistan nor will be governable by Pakistan. What to talk of Indian held Kashmir, I am worried about the future of Azad Kashmir and even Gilgit-Baltistan.

  6. qasim butt says:

    In my humble opinion, if we do the diagnostics of the current geopolitical situation of kashmir, pakistan, afghan trio versus india, It becomes imperative to think out side the box and go to the grassroot level rather putting up high marks.

    Pakistan is undergoing the period of worst people of governance in the history since its independence. Any freedom movement linked to Pakistan is going to bear unfruitful results. Pakistan had a strategic depth in afghanistan and kashmir before 2001 but not now.All the struggle and violence of kashmiri youth will going to end in cold revenge from Pakistan and its ruling government. I see these violent events as step by step proceedings to create further vacuum between pakistan and kashmiri people. And moving towards the agenda of creating an independent kashmiri state. Pakistan has its wings clipped and now nothing cant be achieved if ruling government is replaced by people of vision who can focus down to the national state objectives of Pakistan upon which this state was created. And that was to establish the haakimiyat of Allah and Prophet(PBUH).

    This can be learnt from the history, all those movements whenever initiated with weak and corrupt government has lead to ultimate disaster. and that is what i see with current kashmiri happenings. I think as soon as afghan pashtun have established there return as ruling government, Pakistan will going to face very cold shoulder relationship from them.

    Pakistanis have committed blunders but on the top fo that they are not ready to mend there mistakes, which ultimatly going to bring it back on there face.


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