Kashmir Under Assault From Lodhi Propaganda

Former Pakistani ambassador to the US, UK & UN, Maleeha Lodhi’s column on Assault on Kashmiri Identity in ‘Dawn’ is full of ISI propaganda written in collaboration with half-separatist dynast politicians, militants-turned-leaders and some unnamed Kashmiri journalists.

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By: Arshia Malik
Updated: 04 October, 2022 10:04 am IST
Former Pakistani ambassador to the US, UK & UN, Maleeha Lodhi

Former Pakistani ambassador to the US, UK & UN, Maleeha Lodhi’s column on Assault on Kashmiri Identity in Dawn newspaper is full of ISI propaganda written in collaboration with half-separatist dynast politicians, militants-turned-leaders and some unnamed Kashmiri journalists.

Let’s deconstruct it fact by fact. Lodhi alleges that Kashmir is “occupied” by India, especially after the nullification of Article 370 on August 5, 2019. As a Kashmiri, who grew up on the ‘kabaili raid’ stories of 1947, let me remind her that Pakistan has been trying to occupy Kashmir since India’s Independence and Britain’s construct of Pakistan as the first Islamic State.

The Pakistan invasion of Kashmir in 1947 is what led to Kashmir’s conditional accession to India – defence, foreign policy and communications being the three sole areas where India would be responsible. Subsequent attempts to annex Kashmir beyond the cease-fire line (LoC) in ‘65, ‘71’ and eventually the ‘99 Kargil War negated the conditional terms. In addition to that, a proxy Islamist war was imported in 1989, a culmination of ISI’s war room plans throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

This Islamist insurgency cost us our social fabric, the ethnic cleansing and forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, indigenous inhabitants of the Valley have survived seven attempts of Islamic conquests on Hind. Plus, secular, liberal, dissenters of this Azadi movement were also targeted.

Not only were prominent Kashmiri Pandit public figures and politicians assassinated, but those seen as “collaborators” with the Indian State in government departments, political parties or civil society were also murdered. This created a pogrom for the minorities wherein they were categorically “terrorised” to leave with just their belongings, transacting distress sales under duress, becoming refugees in their own country in Jammu (J&K’s winter capital) and various Indian cities. Not to mention the civilian deaths of at least a few hundred.

Lodhi alleges assault on Kashmiri identity. What can be the most ferocious assault on one’s identity than to have Urdu imposed as the official language of the former State, now Union Territory?

Post-nullification this has been rectified to equalise the diverse ethnicities speaking Dogri, Pahadi, Ladakhi, as well as Kashmiri. Yes, attempts by civil society, not officially, are being made to return to the Sharda script of Kashmir as opposed to the Nastaliq one currently in use, another historical wrong of the post-Islamic conquest of India by Turkic Mongols.

Lodhi’s lies do not see the assault on whatever composite culture of tolerance there was in Kashmir in the 80s that I grew up in but was shattered by their proxy terror groups like the JKLF and Hizbul Mujahideen.

The terror pogrom mentioned above also enabled a manufactured consent for Azadi, which Kashmir’s silent majority had to go along with under the AK-47 and the economic war of the Hurriyat thugs (a conglomerate of separatist politicians enabling a merger with Pakistan).

Lodhi chooses to turn a blind eye to the assault on Kashmiri liberal sensibilities of the 80s with the import of Wahhabi Islam through its preacher-terrorists who created a hysteric, schizoid atmosphere of piety. Loudspeakers would proclaim this Islamised psychosis 5 times a day, and a paranoid Wahhabised population would ensure attendance at Jamaat strongholds; with no thought for the minorities still left in the Valley (a handful of Kashmiri pandits, Kashmir Sikhs and other denominations like Christians, Buddhists and agnostics).

Lodhi has accused schools in Kashmir of being forced to recite Hindu bhajans, a fallacy considering it is a devotional song rather than a Hindu hymn. All those decades of Islamist insurgency made sure Quranic recitations became part of the educational establishments across districts, in both government and private, with no room at all for other cultures and festivals or a token display of them. Now that the administration wants to upgrade them to be inclusive of other faiths, Lodhi terms these “administrative diktats”.

Might she be reminded of how Hindus, Sikhs and Christians in Pakistan are treated and how it is a concern for the “Human Rights violation conflict industry” too?

Lodhi has used statements from the Mirwaiz (father assassinated by terrorists), Shabir Shah (militant-turned-separatist politician), Farooq Abdullah (dynast politician often used by New Delhi to impose a puppet government and whose loyalties keep changing from pro-India to the inclusion of Pakistan in talks to outright autonomy (Azadi) for Kashmir). She shows concern for their prolonged detention under the Public Safety Act, and National Security measures post-nullification.

Let us deconstruct for her what the lockdown post-nullification entailed. Since August 5, 2019, not a single civilian life has been lost to terror or stone pelting and the subsequent crackdown on the rabble-rousers. The Intifada mobilisation through WhatsApp was severely destroyed by the Internet blackout until confidence in the administration could be restored to the common, hapless Kashmiris that if they speak or express their minds freely, they will not be harmed.

Dissenters of Azadi have been murdered, extorted, threatened, fired from their jobs, and also ostracised by the ecosystem funded by Left-leaning Indian liberals and an entire anti-India global outrage industry that thrives on the Oppression Olympics of Muslims all over the planet to recruit impressionable minds into Naxal anarchy or Islamic Jihad – armed or intellectual.

Lodhi will never look into those statistics of two generations of Kashmiri youth buried six feet under and a third generation radicalised in hating the Hindus, Jews, and agnostic Muslims who are critical of regressive practises in Islam, covering them under the blanket term of mukhbirs, collaborators, and blasphemers, hence justifying their killing, wajib-ul-qatl.

She should not rely on the statements of the separatist thugs who built their careers and their palatial bungalows and settled their kids abroad in Ivy League universities. She should not rely on the statements of the separatist thugs who have malls as real estate side-businesses on the blood of more than 2 lakh men and boys of Kashmir, used as cannon fodder for their proxy war against the Indian Army in a false dispute over Kashmir.

These unelected Gupkar gang thugs cannot speak about Wakf Board or shrine properties considering they have been “conflict entrepreneurs” their whole lives due to India’s liberal and secular democracy and, of course, the “Dulat Doctrine”, which enabled them to justify and intellectualise pure and simple terror and religious bigotry or Kashmiri Sunni Islamist supremacy.

Lodhi needs to understand how misogynistic and marginalising Article 370 “Special Status” was for residents of J&K. The Valmiki community can now get jobs with eligible qualifications, as opposed to the earlier discrimination of menial posts despite educational degrees. The refugees of North West Frontier Pakistan are citizens now with voting rights. Any daughter of Kashmir, who marries a non-local, will not be deprived of her inheritance and property rights, as was the case under the Ranbir Penal Code of pre-nullification Kashmir, which had two constitutions, two flags, and dual citizenship. The J&K Reorganisation Act of 2019 made sure that all laws of the IPC would be applied to the Union territory of J&K and Ladakh.

Jammu, the winter capital of J&K has often complained of the administration’s “Jammu blindness” when it comes to the allotment of funds for development projects, Assembly seats and policy making. With delimitation, the Kashmiri hegemony will be broken and Jammu’s districts, where Gujjar-Bakerwals (another sub-group marginalised in early Kashmir) and Dogras reside, along with a sizeable Kashmiri Muslim population as well as Kashmir Pandit refugees, will get their long-awaited dues. The decision on the number of seats each region can share is based on the 2011 census, which is outdated, but something is better than nothing.

Lodhi can grow wiser and understand that Kashmiris are no longer insulated from geopolitical happenings and how the Great Game was played using them as pawns. They understand Pakistan’s “unfinished business of Partition” and how they use “collaborators” on this side of our border, along with help from Ankara, Turkey and an anti-India global lobby to foment this “occupation” and “demographic change” propaganda.

Kashmir’s identity is not under assault, rather they are beginning to embrace their identity as Indians of a civilizational state rather than a British construct of an Islamic State that is Pakistan – an Army with a country to run and continually failing to do so; and watching how Pakistan’s export of Jihad to Afghanistan and India has brought destruction and death to two great regions of the Indian subcontinent.

Arshia Malik is a Delhi-based writer, blogger and social commentator
Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author’s own

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