Monday, November 2, 2009
India and Pakistan | Friends or....
Syed Muzammil Hussain
Alec Smart: While this article looks promising, I would like to stress yet again that there should be no nationalism and we should be one and only one Ummah. Period. Thanks to our guest writer Mr. Syed Muzammil Hussain for this brilliant write-up. I have tried to highlight a few points in red and dark red, please pay special attention to them.
A recent news item in various Indian, Pakistani and Indian
Administrated Kashmir papers says:
"The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has denied visa to a peace
activist, Ershad Mehmood, who along with 17 other delegates was
scheduled to attend the 4th intra-Kashmir Conference held in Srinagar
recently. The High Commission refused the visa to Mehmood, a writer
and columnist, at the eleventh hour for reasons not revealed.
Reacting to the action, Mehmood, who is a fellow of Intra-Kashmir
Dialogue, told that the conference was aimed at providing a unique
opportunity to Kashmiris on both sides of the line of control to
develop a broad-based understanding and to know each others’
viewpoint. “If the governments of India and Pakistan impose undue
restrictions on political activists, the Kashmiri civil society and
its representatives, to get together, and do not facilitate the
dialogue, then it would certainly be difficult to restore the
composite dialogue process,” he said, adding that the unjustified
impediments in the talks among all the stakeholders would also have
serious implications and repercussions on the over all political
situation in the region. He added that if an concerted cooperative
effort is not dedicated by the governments, the situation may thus
endanger a well cherished process of multilateral peaceful dialogue
to the Kashmir issue.
Pertinently Ershad Mehmood, an advocate of Intra-Kashmir dialogue, has
been regularly attending the conferences held in Jammu, Srinagar and
New Delhi. He is the first journalist from AJK who visited Kashmir in
2001. He writes in various national and international journals on
Kashmir and the Indo-Pak relations have been the focus of his most
professional journalistic writings over the past 20 years. He has also
been engaged in the Track-II discussions being held at different
The sad news of denial of Indian visa to Ershad Mehmood is seen by
some analysts as a “Good” omen, because it is likely to serve as an
eye-opener message to all the people of the sub-continent who have a
sense and value human dignity for a larger communal interest. Ershad
was born in Rawala Kot, Azad Kashmir, a Pakistani administered part of
Kashmir which was a united territory before the sub-continent was
divided into two countries i.e. India and Pakistan on 14th August
1947. Subsequently, Kashmir was further fragmented into various
parts; namely Indian Held Kashmir, Azad Kashmir (Under Pakistani
administration) and Gilgit Baltistan, without any administration for
As a son of the soil every Kashmiri, who was born in any part of the
divided motherland, has an undisputed and undeniable right to travel
to any part of his/her territory. This right has never been given to
Kashmiris. Instead, they were forced to travel between Pakistan and
India on visa documents, e.g. a Kashmiri living in Baramula has to
obtain a visa from Pakistani Mission in New Delhi to travel to
Muzaffarabad. Like wise another Kashmiri living in Muzaffarabad has to
obtain a visa from Indian Mission in Islamabad in order to travel to
Srinagar. It is very interesting that distance on a direct route
between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad is only 130 kilometers or 75 miles.
It is rather ironical and tyrannical that sons of the soil are
deprived of their in-born right to move freely in their own
motherland. In some cases, where sons-daughters and even parents are
separated due to uncalled for territorial restrictions, and wishing to
see and meet their near and dear have to wait for years to get a
Keeping in view this situation, both India and Pakistan agreed to
start a bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad and to open some
crossing points for travel within divided Kashmir, but this
arrangement did not bring fruitful results for Kashmiris because
procedure to get a permit to travel to any part of the divided land is
very complicated and cumbersome. Both the countries have restricted
movement between divided parts of Kashmir to blood relations only.
This implies that a person who has no blood relation in either parts
of the divided land, is not entitled to and thus unable to travel
within his/her own territory. The world, as a global village, is
moving towards borderless states, but Kashmiris are forced to live
under heavily guarded territorial restrictions. This pathetic
situation requires urgent action from intelligencia. People at the
helm of affairs are expected to make changes in the present laws,
which are a major impediment to the Kashmiris’ for free movement
within their homeland. For example I was born in Pakistani side of
Kashmir and I have no blood relations in other side of the divided
land. Same is the case of Mr. Ershad Mahmood, who was born in
Rawlakot. He has a passion to work for his motherland but has no
blood relation in Indian Administrated area. Legally, inhabitants of
all parts of Kashmir should be allowed to travel without any
hindrances, hurdles and restrictions, which are unjustified and are
created by the so-called bureaucracies of India and Pakistan.
Mr. Ershad Mahmood’s case is just one indication of this irony. There
are millions of Kashmiris, who wait for ages to get permission to
travel to other parts and eventually breath their last in just waiting
for a favourable reply to their visa request. Srinagar is just 130 km
(75 miles) from Muzaffarabad but unfortunately both the bureaucracies
have divided this territory in a way that Kashmiris, if allowed, have
to travel all along thousands of kilometres to meet their near and
dear at their destinations. This attitude requires urgent change of
minds towards a human cause.
This change of mind should come from people who have respect for human
values. Both India & Pakistan are spending heavily on their defence.
Why, because they are afraid of each other and feel permanently
threatened. Both nations have deployed their forces on the Kashmiri
forefronts. A huge expenditure on defence needs on both alienated
sides have placed their people in a very precarious position and are
thus made to live far below the international poverty line. Basic
infrastructures are lacking. Hospitals are jam-packed with huge
turn-out of patients but no proper medical services and medicines are
available. Youth are largely deprived of their right to get proper
education. Environment is shabby and developing into slums and kiosks
endangering the general life and health standards. Alas, what a
grief-stricken situation we, the Kashmiris are in?
The history of Kashmir issue is a painful story of shameful
retractions from solemn pledges, of tall claims on the stage and
devilish misdeeds behind the curtain, of might throttling the right,
of misrepresentation of facts and misinterpretation of agreements and
of colonialistic approach to a problem concerning decolonisation. It
is also a sad story of a simple problem being changed into an
imbroglio by vested interests to avoid its equitable solution, of the
basic right of self-determination being sacrificed at the altar of the
selfish interests of bigger nations and international power politics.
Besides being one of the most interesting but dangerous byproducts of
the partition of Indian Sub-continent, creation of Kashmir issue was
also an ill-conceived plan to keep India and Pakistan fighting and
weakening each other so that they could not get strong enough to pose
any danger to outgoing but fast fading British colonialism.
AND WHAT IS WAYOUT?
Only way out is to make Kashmir a bridge of friendship between India &
Pakistan as by adopting this approach both the nations can reduce
tensions and conflicts. For example
1) Pakistan can gain from economic contracts with India.
2) India can gain if it gets road access to Central Asia.
3) Both nations will have less violence, more peace means more tourism.
4) If they start complementing each other, we can influence world
decisions. Instead of subtraction we will be adding to well being of
all the citizens of India, Pakistan and Kashmir. Then a Kashmiri
living in any part of his/her motherland will have an opportunity to
travel freely to any part of his/her territory. Both Pakistan & India
shall prosper contributing towards world peace and stability. Then a
time will come to enable millions like me to travel to Sri Nagar from
Muzaffarabad in early hours of the day and return to the home in the
evening. This is quite possible because if two Germanys can bury their
differences, why should not both India & Pakistan? Scandinavian
countries are most prosperous in the world. Why? Because they have no
enmities and they are not hostile to each other. They live in a
friendly atmosphere. India & Pakistan fought five wars. Thousands were
sacrificed at the alters of egos of their rulers. But for What?
Obviously for Kashmir. Yes, they (people of India and Pakistan) can
benefit from Kashmir if they make it a bridge of friendship. A
Pakistani living in Lahore or Faisalabad or Karachi or Peshawar or
Quetta has very right to travel to Sri Nagar or any other part of
Kashmir and like wise an Indian from Bombay or KolKutta or any other
part of India has right to visit any part of Kashmir to enjoy beauty
of nature. India and Pakistan have right to remain nuclear and possess
what they want, but they should not fall prey to Kashmir.
Kashmir should not be allowed to be a bone of contention for ever.
Britain sow the seed of hatred in the sub-continent. They wanted to
make the sub-continent a milking-cow for them even after their return
from this region. Both India and Pakistan had produced world class
genius leaders like Gandhi & Jinnah who never thought of enmities. But
both the leaders passed away in early period of 1948 and both the
nations spoiled their resources in last 62 years.
Now after 62 years of foolishness, both the nations should realize to
bury their differences for their future generations.
Here is a brief description of Indo-Pak defence situation along with
an over view of Kashmir.
The supreme command of the Armed Forces is vested in the president. As
well as armed forces of 1,325,000 personnel in 2008 there are
1,721,000 active paramilitary forces including 208,000 members of the
Border security Force based manly in the troubled Jammu and Kashmir
region. Military service is voluntary but, under the amended
constitution, it is regarded as a fundamental duty of every citizen to
perform National service when called upon. Defence expenditure in 2005
was US$21,726m (US$ 20 per Capita and 2.7% of GDP). India’s spending
on major conventional weapons was second only to that of china at
US$10.2bn-in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 China’s expenditure was higher,
although in 2003 that of India (at US$2.9bn) was the highest in the
world. In Sept. 2003 India announced that it would be buying 66 Hawk
trainer fighter jets, with delivery expected by 2009. In Oct. 2003
agreement was reached for India to purchase Israel’s sophisticated
US$1bn. Phalcon early-warning radar system.
India’s first nuclear test was in 1974. Its most recent test were a
series of five carried out in may 1998. According to the Stockholm
International Peace Research Institute, India’s nuclear arsenal was
estimated to consist of a minimum of 50 nuclear warheads in Jan. 2007.
India, known to have a nuclear weapons programme, has not signed the
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty, which is intended to bring
about a ban on any nuclear explosions. According to Deadly Arsenals,
published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, India has
chemical weapons and has a biological weapons research programme. In
2006 the USA and India announced a civil nuclear co-operation
initiative. Under the terms of the deal, India was exempted from a ban
on nuclear energy sales that had previously covered non-signatories of
the International non-proliferation treaty, of which India is one. In
return India agreed to open up 14 of its 22 nuclear Installations to
international inspections. However, the deal has yet to be ratified.
The army is organized into six commands covering different areas,
which in turn are subdivided into sub-areas, plus a training command.
The strength of the Army in 2006 was 1.1m. There are four “RAPID’
divisions, 18 infantry divisions, ten mountain divisions, three
armoured divisions and two artillery divisions. Each division consists
of several brigades. Officers are trained at the Indian Military
Academy, Dehra Dun (Uttarakhand). Army reserves number 300,000 with a
further 500,000 personnel available as a second-line reserve force.
There is a volunteer territorial army of 40,000. There are numerous
paramilitary groups including the Ministry of Defence Rashtriya Rifles
(numbering 57,000), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (36,300) the state
Armed Police (450,000), the civil Defence (500,000) the central
Industrial security Force (94,000) and the Ministry of Home Affairs
Assam Rifles (63,900). An Army aviation Corps was established in 1986.
The Navy has three commands; Eastern (at Visakhapatnam), Western (at
Bombay) and southern (at Kochi), the latter a training and support
command. The fleet is divided into two elements, Eastern and Western;
and well-trained, all-volunteer personnel operate a mix of soviet and
western vessels. In May 2003 india held joint naval exercises with
Russia in the Arabian Sea for the first time since the collapse of the
The Principal ship is the light aircraft carrier, Viraat, formerly HMS
Hermes, of 29,000 tonnes, completed in1959 and transferred to the
Indian Navy in 1987 after seeing service in the Falklands War. In 2003
india began construction of another aircraft carrier and began
negotiations to purchase a third from the Russian navy. The fleet
includes 12 soviet-built submarines and 4 new German design
submarines. There are also 25 destroyers and frigates. The Naval Air
force was 7,000 strong in 2006: equipment includes 34 combat aircraft.
Main bases are at Bombay (main dockyard), Goa, Visakhapatnam and
Calcutta on the sub-continent and Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.
Naval Personnel in 2006 numbered 55,000 including 5,000 Naval Air Arm
and 1,200 marines.
Units of the IAF are organized into five operational commands central
at Allahabad, Eastern at Shillong, Southern at Thiruvananthapuram,
South-Western at Gandhinagar and Western at Delhi. There is also a
training command and a maintenance command. The air force has 170,000
Equipment includes more than 850 combat aircraft. Major combat types
include su-30s, MiG-21s, MiG23s, MiG-27s, MiG-29s, Jaguars and Mirage
2000s. Air Force reserves numbered 140,000 in 2006.
A council for Defence and National Security was set up in Jan. 1997,
comprising the President, the Prime Minister, the Ministers of
Defence, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Finance and the Military Chiefs of
Staff. The Council advised the government on the determination of
national strategy and security priorities, but was disbanded in Feb.
1997. The Council was revived in Oct. 1999 following the change of
government but was to have a wider scope and not restrict itself to
Pakistan provides the largest contingent of peacekeepers to the United
Nationals of any country. At Aug. 2007 there were 10,616 personnel
serving in 12 different missions.
Defence expenditure in 2005 totalled US$4,050m. (US$25 per capita),
representing 3.7% of GDP.
Pakistan began a secret weapons programme in 1972 to reach parity with
India, but was restricted for some years by US sanctions. The
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that
Pakistan possesses a minimum of 60 nuclear weapons. In May 1998
Pakistan carried out six nuclear tests in response to india’s tests
earlier in the month. Pakistan, known to have a nuclear weapons
programme, has not signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty,
which is intended to bring about a ban on any nuclear explosions.
According to Deadly Arsenals, Published by the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace, Pakistan has both chemical and biological weapon
Strength (2004) 550,000. There were also about 292,000 personnel in
paramilitary units: National Guard, Frontier Corps and Pakistan
Rangers. Army reserves number around 500,000. In April 2004, the army
announced a cut-back of 50,000 soldiers.
Most armoured equipment is of Chinese origin including over 2,400 main
battle tanks. There is an air wing with fixed-wing aircraft and 21
The combatant fleet includes seven French-built diesel submarines,
three midget submarines for swimmer delivery and eight ex-British
frigates. The Naval Air wing operates six combat aircraft and nine
The principal naval base and dockyard are at Karachi, Naval personnel
in 2004 totalled 24,000. There is marine force personnel in 2004
totalled 24,000. There is a marine force estimated at 1,400 personnel
and naval reserves of 5,000.
The Pakistan Air Force came into being on 14 August 1947. It has its
headquarters at Peshawar and is organized within three air defence
sector, in the northern, central and southern areas of the country.
There is a flying college at Risalpur and an aeronautical engineering
college at Korangi Creek.
Total strength in 2004 was 415 combat aircraft and 45,000 personnel.
Equipment included Mirage IIIS, Mirage 5s, F-16s, Q-5s and J-7s. There
were 8,000 Air Force reservists.
(The Statesman’s Year Book 2009, Published by Palgrave Macmillan, New
1. Officially termed as Jammu Kashmir State and surrounded by
Pakistan, India, China and Afghanistan, Kashmir has a population of
over 16 million, more than individual populations of as many as133
independent nations of the world
2. For longer part of its history, Kashmir enjoyed its identity with
its frontiers expanding and shrinking periodically. Kashmir reached
the zenith of its glory and prosperity when it was free of others’
3. The economic potentials of Kashmir are such that within a decade or
two of its re-unification, it can become the most prosperous territory
of the region. Kashmir is called “Switzerland of Asia” and “Nature’s
Show-Window” for its fascinating natural beauty and climate most
pleasant and full of health. Kashmir valley and Gilgit Baltistan in
particular are famous the world-over also for dozens of sky high-peaks
including K-2 and Nanga Parbat. All this can invite millions of
tourists every year. Kashmir is very rich in water resources and can
generate electricity on a large scale that is badly needed by its
neighboring countries. Fruit, timber, minerals and herbs are found in
abundance in different parts of the State. The handicrafts of Kashmir,
famous the world-over, can prove a valuable asset. Watch making
industry, already functioning in Srinagar on a small scale, can be
4. The overall literacy rate in Kashmir is higher than that of both
India and Pakistan.
5. Both India and Pakistan are committed, through their declarations
made on national and international level, to Ronour will of Kashmiris.
6. Kashmir has an area of 222,000 sq. Kms. spread over five regions,
Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Ladakh under Indian control since 1948 and
Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan under Pakistan. The population of
Indian administrated areas is over 10 million and those living in Azad
Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and abroad number over 6 million (Various