‘Armed Struggle’ and the GREF Camp Attack

Niloofar Qureshi
January 17, 2017 OPINION 476 Views
‘Armed Struggle’ and the GREF Camp Attack

By claiming that the attack on the GREF labour camp in Akhnoor was carried out by Pakistan based militants as a reply to Indian army’s ‘surgical strike’, JuD chief Hafiz Saeed has acknowledged that militants from across the border see nothing wrong in targeting unarmed civilians. At a time when our leaders are trying to convince the international community that the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir is only against “occupational forces” and hence justified as it has nothing to do with terrorism, the JuD chief’s admission regarding the Akhnoor attack has come as a big spoiler.
That violence as a resort to rectify a wrong has no takers in today’s world is stating the obvious. Moreover, to achieve the ‘right to self determination’ through use of violence is an impractical idea and this fact has been acknowledged in the past by Geelani sahib himself. On this issue he has pointed out that “The armed struggle won’t serve its purpose unless and until it is well coordinated. It needs support of a country which could provide supply of weapons, resources and training camps which we don’t have. It also needs ideologically perfect youth. It needs strategy. The militancy in Kashmir lacks these things.”
Geelani sahib has rightly pointed out the essential requirements for waging a successful ‘armed struggle’ and there is nothing to suggest that any of the preconditions have been met. Consequently, what we have been witnessing for more than a quarter century is only the extinction of our youth without any material gains. Without meaning to belittle the sacrifices made by the youth, the wisdom of engaging in ‘armed struggle’ that lacks the capacity to deliver is something that should be bothering us as a people. Too many lives have been lost and numerous homes destroyed in the ongoing violence and civil society must step in to put an end to this futile exercise!
How can we afford to be silent spectators when no country or organisation has yet approved of the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir? Pakistan may be supporting this but the harsh reality is that it’s only paying lip service. If Islamabad really considers that ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir is fully justified then why is it afraid of openly supporting the ‘freedom fighters’? When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hails slain Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani as a “Kashmiri Leader,” then why is Islamabad shy of helping the HM in its ‘armed struggle’? It is because of such fundamental contradictions in Islamabad’s Kashmir policy that raises serious concerns regarding its sincerity towards the Kashmir cause.
While Pakistan deserves full credit for its continued diplomatic efforts to highlight the Kashmir issue in international forums, its failure to make any headway in this regards remains a matter of grave concern. A case in point is Islamabad’s failure to even get the OIC’s support for the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir. Last year Islamabad raised our hopes by claiming that during the Foreign Ministers OIC meet in Tashkent had rejected “Indian attempts to equate the indigenous freedom movement of Kashmiris in Kashmir with terrorism.” However, with Kashmir finding no mention in the list of violence affected places mentioned in the OIC final declaration, the view of the OIC members on ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir is self evident.
Coming back to the Akhnoor incident, the attack on a civilian labour camp of GREF may have given the JuD chief an opportunity to claim fulfillment of his threat of giving a “befitting response” to India and letting Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi “know what is meant by surgical strikes.” However, this deadly assault on unarmed civilians has only provided more credence to New Delhi’s allegations that the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir is nothing but downright terrorism. Such incidents don’t auger well for the ‘right to self determination’ movement and it’s a pity that the JuD chief has chosen to put his personal ego over the interests of Kashmiris!
Those who oppose the concept of ‘armed struggle’ aren’t enemies of the people; they are also a well meaning lot that wishes the Kashmir struggle well. Unfortunately, those wielding the gun and those supporting ‘armed struggle’ have no time or patience to even listen to these people. Conversely, anyone airing contrarian views on this topic is immediately debunked as a ‘stooge’ of the government, security forces or intelligence agencies. Consequently, while every other issue related to the Kashmir issue comes in for some sort of discussion, ‘armed struggle’ remains a holy cow and not once has it been seriously considered by our leaders.
As I write, an encounter is raging in the Pahalgam area of Anantnag district in south Kashmir and all one can do is to pray for the safety of the trapped militants. Hearing the news of our boys dying in the prime of their youth is heartrending and its time we got over the “blood of martyrs” syndrome and seriously gave the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir a second look!

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