Once more with honesty

Kashmir is deemed to be central to the very being of the state in Pakistan's national discourse. The military leadership in GHQ Rawalpindi has constantly linked national security with the Kashmir issue. While local Kashmiris originally observed July 13 as their Martyr's Day to recall the events of 1931 during Dogra rule, in recent years, February 5 has been observed as Kashmir Day in Pakistan. This change of date was initiated by the Jamait-e-Islami, Pakistan, in 1991 to express its solidarity with the people of Kashmir and to draw attention to the alleged oppression by India. It is declared a holiday so that the Pakistani people and the national political leaders can reiterate their support to the Kashmir 'cause'.

This year was no different and on Tuesday, February 5, President Musharraf repeated the predictable rhetorical commitment to the people of Kashmir. In a tragic juxtaposition, albeit unintended, the days before and after Kashmir Day were blood-stained. On Monday, February 4, a suicide bomber on a motorbike rammed into a bus in Rawalpindi and killed 10 army medical personnel. And on Wednesday, February 6, a serving major general and two brigadiers died in a helicopter crash near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. This crash is reported to have been due to a technical fault and no terrorist linkage has been established.

Official Pakistan is still inflexible on the Kashmir issue and maintains that the only support being given is 'moral'. There is no attempt to come to grips with the reality, that in many ways, the tools used to 'bleed' arch enemy India are now haemorrhaging the Pakistani state. It is both ironic and irrefutable that the Pakistani military leadership that had internalised the covert operation using irregulars and the mujahideen (derived from the success of the ISI during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan), and later used this strategy against India by stoking religious radicalism and jihadi fervour from the early 1990s, is now unsuccessfully grappling with the very genie it has nurtured.

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