Dr Farid A Malik |
No army of the world can effectively confront the enemy if it loses public support. It is the inevitable lesson of history which is mostly ignored by the powerful. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. On December 16, 1971, Lt. Gen. A. A. K. Niazi Commander of the Eastern Command together with 93000 soldiers surrendered to Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora at Ramna Race Course Garden in Dhaka.
With a hostile Bengali population, the army had to fight on multiple fronts. Some important leaders of the Awami League escaped to India, to form a government in exile. Together with their militant wing called ‘Mukti Bahini’ and active support of the Indian Army, East Pakistan became the Republic of Bangladesh. When asked by a reporter why did the command decision to surrender when they could have held on.
India has little to gain and more to lose from this misconceived adventurism.
The senior officer promptly replied in consideration of loss of human life. Some officers fought on till they achieved “Shahadat’. My own cousin Major Arjumand Khand (Shaheed) refused to surrender and opt¬ed to fight till the end. The prisoners of War (PoWs) were then transported to camps in India under the protective custody of the Indian Army. A war crimes tribunal was set up in Bangladesh to try the former rulers and senior officers.
I see another surrender in the making at Srinagar’s Bakshi Stadium sometime next year. It is India’s turn this time around. With about 1 million soldiers and RSS goons in the valley, this will be the largest laying of arms ever. The traitor of the Kashmiri cause Ghulam Muhammad Bakshi the last Prime Minister of the state replaced Sheikh Abdullah who was imprisoned for his defiance.
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After him the post of Chief Executive was watered down to Chief Minister (CM). Perhaps history is on its course correction, moving towards surrender in the largest stadium of the valley built by an Indian tout. In private Sheikh Abdullah admitted that accession to India was the biggest blunder of his life, but he insisted that it was a mistake not a sellout. Unfortunately, Pakistan has not been able to develop an effective strategy for the liberation of Kashmir. Most attempts have been half-cooked and ill-planned.
The Kashmiri leadership of the Muslim Conference that were opposed to Abdullah’s accession wanted to lead the crusade for liberation. First, it was President Sardar Ibrahim Khan and then K.H. Khurshid who launched his Liberation League. Both were outstanding leaders, able and honest, totally committed to the Kashmir cause. Somehow Islamabad remained uncomfortable with them and created third rate leadership in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as was done in Pakistan.
Some important leaders of the Awami League escaped to India, to form a government in exile.
Both nations continue to suffer till today at the hands of this corrupt, inept leadership. The elected government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) revived the Kashmir cause. In AJK elected leadership emerged which launched major development projects. The opposition today who played a pivotal role in hijacking democracy in bringing the elected government down now praise his vision.
In one of his last speeches in the parliament ZAB proposed the idea of autonomy with porous borders as a first step in resolving the long-standing dispute with India, Musharraf’s confidence-building measures also relied on the concept of demilitarization, common supervision, autonomy with porous borders. In the words of PM Imran Khan, “India has played its last card”, now it calls for a befitting response. Both from Kashmir and Pakistan. Timing plays a crucial role.
Indian designs have to effectively countered. Demography is very critical. As long as the Kashmiri population is in majority, India does not have a chance. Their surrender at Bakshi Stadium will be unavoidable. Like “Jihad-e-Afghanistan’, “Jihad-e-Kashmir’ has the potential to liberate the valley. Kashmir cannot be turned into Palestine. The players in the equation are totally different.
Arab states have been neutralized, leaving Palestinians to fight their own battles. Kashmiris are not alone in this struggle. Independent or part of Pakistan it is a win-win situation for both. In 1962 during the Indo-China war, the leadership in Pakistan shied away from liberating the valley, in 2019 under an elected government there will be no sell-out. The combined thrust of Mujahideen, Pakistan, China, Iran, Afghanistan will crush Indian expansionist designs. Israel is too far away to come to the rescue of RSS controlled Hindu fascist state.
Somehow Islamabad remained uncomfortable with them and created third rate leadership in AJK as was done in Pakistan.
The mighty Soviet Union installed Dr. Najibullah Ahmadzai as President of Afghanistan and then started to withdraw. After their complete withdrawal in 1992 Najibullah could not hold on and tendered his resignation. He tried to flee to India but landed up taking refuge in the UN Headquarters. Finally, he was captured by the Taliban and assassinated on September 27, 1996. Like the Soviet invading army, the Indians will have only two options; retreat back or surrender at the Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar.
There will be no third option, an invading army cannot survive against the will of the local population. Forces of liberation have always prevailed over troops of occupation. Nations must learn from history to correct their course of action. Failed war in Afghanistan caused the collapse of the mighty Soviet Union. Hitler’s invasion of Russia proved disastrous for Germany. In 1971, 93000 Pakistan’s had to surrender in Dhaka. Better sense should prevail in India, a Hindu state cannot be created by eliminating the Muslim population.
This revenge game will be destructive and destabilizing for the entire region with heavy human toll which can be avoided through a negotiated settlement of this long-standing dispute. India has little to gain and more to lose from this misconceived adventurism. Like Hitler’s Germany, Modi’s India will break-up into several fragments as it has always been, only real democracy can hold it together. Writing is on the wall, ‘retreat now or surrender later at Bakshi stadium in Srinagar’. I promise my Kashmiri brethren to be there to witness the largest laying of arms in human history. The time clock has started to tick from August 05, 2019.
Dr. Farid A. Malik is Ex-Chairman of Pakistan Science Foundation. The article was first published in The Nation and has been republished with the author’s permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.