Will Pakistan be able to isolate India internationally on Kashmir?
It’s unlikely that Pakistan will succeed in isolating India internationally after the decision of the Modi government to divide J&K into two Union Territories and remove Article 370 that gave a special status to the state. The reasons are not too difficult to understand with the changing geopolitical realities since the early nineties. India of 2019 is much more different than India of the 1960s or the 1970s. Investment opportunities, huge burgeoning aspiring middle class numbers offering big market and strong robust democratic credentials are something which no nation will ignore. Today multilateral arrangements like UNO, WTO, EU, NATO etc are fast losing their credibility.
Apart from mere ritualism of criticising India which India can easily ignore without having to bear any repercussions, the United Nations can’t offer any solace to Pakistan. Imposing sanctions on India or blatantly seen to be siding with Pakistan in this tussle are the least likely options that US or western European nations or even China & Muslim countries will want to exercise. It is always a wise option to put your eggs in the basket of a rising strong state than in the basket of a failed tottering-towards-its demise state in international diplomacy.
Perhaps the most catastrophic development in the world polity has been the rise of political Islam. Political Islam with its thrust on governance as per Sharia will always be at loggerheads with the modern constitutional secular democracies. Just witness what is happening in the USA and other European countries where the rapidly increasing immigrant Muslim population has posed problems to universal freedom and social & constitutional values of those nations. Attacks by Jihadi outfits have intensified in Europe and the USA and there have been calls for imposition of Sharia in Belgium by Islamist parties.
Radical Islamist attacks in Denmark, London and the twin towers in New York are some of the most outrageous events that have shaken the world and the liberal democratic regimes out of complacency. Even India has suffered Mumbai serial blasts and attack on its Parliament. The failure of the liberal democracies to rein in Islamization has led to the coming to power of Right-wing parties who are whipping up xenophobia and intense hatred against immigrants. It’s not only the violent terror attacks through which political Islam achieves its objectives but also through affecting change in demography by increasing the population of Muslims so much so that the native population is outnumbered.
Political Islam may be anti-democratic but, in some cases, it has used democracy by sheer weight of its numbers to capture power and dismantle free speech and free society. It was this phenomenon that transformed Arab spring to Arab winter very soon. Today there are more than 50 Islamic countries who practise Sharia as universal law within their territories. It is a harsh reality that more than 70 percent of the international refugees are Muslims but isn’t it interesting that these Muslim refugees don’t seek shelter in Arab countries but want to migrate to non-Muslim countries preferably Europe? Why Rohingyas want to come to India? Why Syrians want to go to Germany? There is something more than that meets the eye. It’s not the issue of better development and welfare opportunities but it’s subtle jihad. The desire to Islamise and capture the lands of Kefirs or the infidels is the real reason. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1919, the Islamists realized that they do not possess the military might to capture the infidel lands and spread Islam and hence, they decided to take the demographic route vide increase in numbers through population growth or Conversions.
The entire world understands that J&K is not merely a political problem or a problem related to alienation and development deficit. The real problem is pan Islamization. The PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti sees the removal of Article 370 as an attempt by the Indian govt to change the Muslim majority character of the state by settling in Hindus and Sikhs. The syncretic Sufism is no more the defining trait of Kashmir but Islam in the state is now defined by radical version of Wahabism that has been exported from west Asia. The Left-Congress eco system had adopted an ostrich like approach when in 1989, the Kashmiri Hindus who were an integral part of the composite Kashmir culture, were hounded out of the state and those who refused to budge, were mercilessly murdered and their women raped.
Article 370 lost its meaning the very day when an estimated five and half lakh Kashmiri Pandits were compelled to leave the state. More than 20 lakhs migrants from western Pakistan still reside in refugee camps in Jammu but they have no voting rights and domicile rights in the state. The Kashmiri politicians have no issues when Rohingyas settle there but when it comes to Hindus, they start seeing red. The harsh reality is that the Kashmiri politicians do not want J & K to have Hindu and Sikh population in the state. This is nothing but a manifestation of their desire to convert Kashmir into a land of only Muslims. The destructions of Hindu temples in a place where Shankaracharya stayed and Vaishnav Devi Temple is located, not to forget the Amarnath cave, smacks of a deep-seated conspiracy to delink Kashmir from its Hindu past.
The democratic international community has now begun to understand the game plan of the pan Islamist forces and hence the repulsion towards them in the free societies of the world. No European nation, USA and Russia are going to buy the arguments of Pakistan. Even the all-weather friend of Pakistan, China is confronting Islamic fundamentalists in Xinxiang province and it knows that any leverage given to Pakistan on terrorism is only going to complicate matters in its own backyard.
Article 370 bred terrorism and secession tendencies. In the garb of autonomy, radical Islam was being imposed on the people of Kashmir. Removal of this article will not only foster development by checking corrupt J & K politicians but will also usher in integration and connectivity with the rest of the country. Moreover, it will enable the Govt at the Centre to crush Islamist forces. A nation which has more than 5000 years of civilizational and cultural continuity, a nation where majority Hindus refused to convert and maintained their religious identity despite 700 years of Muslim rule and 200 years of Christian rule and a nation where religion was always a matter of faith, not ideology will never be cowed down by Islamist threats.
The author works with IGNOU as Assistant Registrar. He frequently blogs/writes articles on social and political subjects. A post graduate in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations, he also holds a post graduate diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication. He may contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.