From the end of the 1980s towards the beginning of 1990s, in our region (Azad Kashmir), a storm erupted in newspapers, TV, mosques, schools, colleges, cities, markets, and villages. There were chants, songs, processions, Mujahideens, prisoners, killers, dacoits, Kalashnikovs, camps, training, Vigo cars, double-door vehicles, agencies etc. etc., it appeared as if Kashmir’s independence is on the horizon. It was implicit that once Kashmir became independent, thousands of emotional young people would be brought in to show them the Islamic State comparable to paradise, a castle of Islam, and the superpower of Muslims. All of this was an illusion but thousands of young people were brainwashed to believe this. These gullible young men were fed false stories of oppression and coercion, and were thrown in front of a powerful, highly-trained and organized Indian army holding a few Kalashnikovs, grenades and bullets. Thus, in the name of the holy “Jihad,” the worst and most infamous era of business based on human killings, lootings and humiliation began. The destruction that occurred in Kashmir in the name of this holy Jihad resulted in the loss of human life, damage of property, displacement of people, and death of thousands of young people who were martyred on both sides of the ceasefire line. Children were forced to quit schools, their childhood snatched.
One can just imagine how much cruelty was inflicted in the years since 1988. The luxury and comfort of (Pakistani) generals, colonels, political parties, political sycophants and clerics became possible on the pretext of this very jihad. The people of “Jihad Council” and “Freedom Conference” enjoyed tremendous benefits. These people bought properties and houses in Muzaffarabad, Islamabad, DHAs (Defence Housing Authority, Karachi) and were able to float large businesses during these times. On the other hand, there are numerous examples of exploitation and humiliation in camps and migrant colonies that are beyond description.
The purpose of this entire mournful story is to ask: What happened as a result? Where are those who were responsible for fueling Jihad today? Where are those who were exploited and those who were oppressed? What did they invest those billions of rupees in? What was the outcome? And if only that capital had been invested in human development projects instead of spreading negativity and destructive activities, how much better the situation would have been today.
If PTV, Radio Pakistan, Jang newspaper, and the Nawaiwaqt were the only things that existed then people would have been fooled for some more years. Not anymore. Today, the situation is such that those who want to free Kashmir have become a symbol of disgrace in the world. Flour is scarce in “Azad Kashmir”, there are screams of hunger everywhere; people are selling their children, parents are committing suicide and those whose wish was to hoist flags on Delhi’s Red Fort are roaming around the world with “katoras” (begging bowls). They had only spread ignorance and violence for 70 years, and pointed fingers at others.
Look at the economy of Bangladesh today and evaluate the economy of India, which has surpassed the economic power of Britain. While the Jihadis were going to “liberate” Kashmir, there are now three international airports and direct economic ties with the rest of the world from Srinagar. Srinagar’s agricultural produce is reaching markets in Dubai and Europe directly. Traders in Srinagar have access to global markets. The world’s latest railway line and the highest railway bridge have been built inside Jammu & Kashmir. The distance between Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh is being reduced through tunnels. The infrastructure of Jammu & Kashmir is being developed making it a model area for the world. Highways and motorways are being built, and the atmosphere of development and prosperity is spreading. All these achievements have been made possible by peace and stability, which is why the people of Jammu & Kashmir have shown their faith in peace and stability. Flour and rice are available at a rate of three to four rupees per kilogram, electricity bill costs sixty rupees, fruits cost between fifty to hundred rupees, and there is no vegetable whose price exceeds thirty rupees. Now it has come to the point that the Kashmiri whom we used to present as a victim and chanted slogans to free is talking to us about onions, tomatoes, and fruits in their local market. Instead of working to free them, we are discussing going to Srinagar to buy flour, ghee, and onions at affordable prices!!
Imagine why did this happen? Because they learnt lessons from history, did not interfere in the affairs of others, made policies according to the demands of the modern world, focused on science, technology and modern sciences, created institutions, strengthened democracy, kept the army within its limits and focused on economic development instead of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. The conditions of both countries, which gained independence from British rule on the same day, are in front of everyone. One is achieving new heights of development, while the other is falling deeper into an abyss. There is still time for the leaders of this country to wake up, come out of the the past, and make an effort to understand the present and the future according to the circumstances then perhaps after half a century, the conditions will improve significantly and they can be saved from being erased from the world’s map. They can start copying their neighbors at least, otherwise the laws of nature cannot be changed. By doing useless, faithless, and unnatural deeds, no matter how much they pray, perform Hajj, Umrah, and Tawaf, go to Mecca and Medina and make requests, they cannot change the laws of nature, nor can they be saved from the revenge of nature.