‘Islam is just a facade for Pakistan’

We reproduce below excerpts from the website run by the Shabir Shah-led Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, castigating Pakistan for using the façade of a ‘jihad’ to impose its own agenda in the Valley

The ruling elite and the military establishment of Pakistan is paranoid about an independent Kashmir — and I really don’t understand why. Pakistan talks about "self–determination" as long as it means Pakistan will be able to gain. Pakistan is completely allergic to the "I" word. They have an agenda to suppress, undermine, and prevent any organized movement that begins to harness the natural aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir for independent Kashmir.

Pakistan has backed groups that have a destructive approach to the freedom struggle and have a distorted agenda which exploits the name of Islam. In 1990, Pakistan realised that JKLF would not serve its selfish interests so they went to the old habits they learnt from the CIA in the Afghanistan war theatre — they backed multiple groups, most notoriously Jamaat-e-Islami and Hizbul Mujahideen and encouraged them to wipe out the pro–independence struggle while they fought India. The battle or "jihad" waged by these groups was designed to create chaos and create desperation but it never was disciplined, organized, strategic, or aimed to empower the common people of Kashmir to stand up for themselves.

Pakistan supported extremists with a Pakistani nationalistic agenda in Kashmir. It must be understood that their agenda is separate from main stream Islam and they only exploit the name of Islam for their political agenda. As such they tried to create a desperation in the Kashmiri society and force a communal revolt. There are reasons for this. An activist of Jamaat Islami once explained that they must wipe out tourism and education in order to make the common people desperate and ready for "revolution".

I never understood why in Kashmir schools were burnt or why blasts were placed in civilian, non–military zones. Why bridges were destroyed. Why Kashmiri people were kidnapped. I know of people who would have sacrificed everything for freedom who were kidnapped and told to pay so many lakhs of rupees or give their son for their organisation or be killed. Why did this happen? And why did this continue with full knowledge of the leadership of these organisations? Its absolutely inexcusable.

A Jamaat supporter once explained to me that sometimes you have to force a people to wake up and realise what is best for them. He said without jobs and education "jihad" will be the only avenue. These politicians call this creation of chaos, this self–destruction "jihad"? I call it a "facade". Do these organizations think you can call something "Islamic" and that is enough?

(T)hey manipulated and extorted. Their methods broke down political and social institutions when what was needed was a strengthening of these institutions so they might be utilised for the cause of freedom. What’s more, these organizations directly targeted JKLF boys and then they fought even among themselves. How could these organisations be expected to succeed with this type of treachery and lack of morals?

We have seen what was done to Kabul in the name of Islam — the blood of Muslims was made to run through its streets at the hands of other Muslims. Hekmatyar had a dispute with Prof. Rabbani and it resulted in the death of thousands of Afghans. Mosques were destroyed. An entire city which survived the evil Soviet onslaught was razed to the ground. This was a dispute between two Jamaat Islami supporters. And both sides called it "jihad". What’s more, the Taliban have taken their place, also in the name of Islam and also with the backing of Pakistan.

Tolerance is the epitome of Jammu and Kashmir and all the people of the state of different faiths have, do, and will live in peace with each other. And the communal flames of the last nine years have been ignited by foreign hands and have nothing to do with Kashmiri actions. And if Islam is to spread further in Jammu and Kashmir it will spread by example and by practice and according to the will of Allah— just like it did when Islam first came to Kashmir.

The truth is the people of Kashmir are sincere Muslims – meaning that they are also tolerant, positive, and caring human beings. There is a profound love for Islam and the people of Kashmir embrace tolerance and compassion towards all as part of their belief. Likewise, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are not just Muslim. In fact a significant portion of the population is Buddhist, Sikh, and Hindu. And Kashmiris have co–existed in a peaceful way for centuries.

Much to the dislike of Pakistan and pro–Pak groups, the majority of Kashmiris want re–unification and independence. And they are going to have to come to terms with this reality sooner or later. And no matter how much they cloak their rhetoric in terms of "Islam" this fact is not going to disappear.

Archived from Communalism Combat, July 1999, Year 6  No. 51, Cover Story 3



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