By Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

Young men trained and equipped by Lashkar and Jaish, come not to ‘free’ Kashmir. They come to die for the supposed glory of Islam. This is amongst the two large-scale scams perpetrated by the Pakistan Army, the other being real estate. Pakistan also knows that if the Kashmir issue becomes pan-Islamic, it will automatically be internationalized.

When did it exactly start? No one knows. But it can be said with a degree of certainty that in the early nineties when the Pakistanis decided that JKLF or Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, a “pro-azaadi” terror outfit in Kashmir, should cease to exist, it was the beginning of Islamic Jihad in the Kashmir valley.

JKLF wanted Jammu & Kashmir to be ‘free’ from India. Pakistan applauded it. But JKLF also wanted Jammu & Kashmir to be free from Pakistan. Suddenly, JKLF leaders started getting killed.

Look at the names of the terror outfits operating in Kashmir today. You have Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Al-Badr, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Hizb-ul Mujahedeen, Harkat-ulJehad al Islami and many others. Do you see a single name with Kashmir in it? These are all Arabic names. And all along Pakistan has maintained that Kashmir “freedom movement” is an “indigenous” struggle for freedom from Indian “oppression”.

Islam does not recognize nation states. The overriding belief is that of the “Ummah”, the global Islamic brotherhood, that all Muslims irrespective of the country they inhabit, are brothers bound by a common faith. The nation is incidental. Faith is supreme.

From the Pakistani perspective, ‘azaadi’ for Kashmir would be the legitimate cover. That would help lend credibility in the eyes of the west. But the soul, deep inside, would always be violent Islamic Jihad.

When a Pakistani head of state goes to the United Nations, the speech is always about the ‘freedom struggle’ in Kashmir. Recently, Burhan Wani has been dragged out of his grave to bear witness to India’s blatant violation of all things fundamentally human. But go on the streets of Srinagar and you see something very different. During violent stage-managed protests, there are no Kashmiri flags being waved. Incidentally, Kashmir is the only Indian state with its own flag, constitution and penal code. It has more ‘azaadi’ than all the other Indian states combined. What you see is a sea of ISIS flags with a black background and Quranic inscriptions. And, you see the flags of the chief sponsor, Pakistan.

Where is the Kashmiri flag?

The truth is that the first Kashmiri who waves the Kashmiri flag will be floating in the Jhelum, face down. That is what happened to the JKLF.

Increasingly, what you hear from the loudspeakers in mosques after Friday prayers is a script, which is more Arabic in spirit, than Kashmiri. The sermons discuss what is happening in Syria, Palestine, Myanmar and Yemen. There is an incessant one-way flow of disinformation, which thrives on those two factors so popular in the world of political Islam – victimhood and conspiracy.

Tarek Fateh and I were panelists on a discussion at a TV studio and the show went on air, the voice in the background informing viewers about how a Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Bahadur Ali had been charge sheeted by the NIA. The terrorist’s confessional statement was played. For a few seconds, Bahadur Ali’s face was still, and then he started speaking. The terrorist, who had come into Kashmir to “kill as many Hindus as I could”, started confessing in chaste Punjabi, the lingua franca of much of Pakistan.

Almost all infiltrating terrorists caught by security forces in Kashmir speak mostly Punjabi. Some speak Pashto. A terrorist speaking in Kashmiri is yet to be our guest.We have killed Sudanese, Lebanese and Afghan terrorists in Kashmir. This is a multi-national Islamic terror franchise.

These terrorists have scant knowledge of the Kashmir ‘dispute’ or the local ebbs and flows. This is important because what else could be the motivation of a young man who hails from rural Pakistan, to infiltrate into India? He enters India with the certain knowledge that he will come face to face with the Indian Army, and the encounter will be entirely brief and one-sided.

These young men trained and equipped by Lashkar and Jaish, come not to ‘free’ Kashmir. They come to die for the supposed glory of Islam. This is amongst the two large-scale scams perpetrated by the Pakistan Army, the other being real estate.

Pakistan knows that if the Kashmir issue becomes pan-Islamic, it will automatically be internationalized. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), that sub-optimal and geriatric body of 57 Muslim states, most of them tin pot dictatorships and sundry kingdoms, will need little persuasion to raise the Kashmir bogey at every turn of the road. They cannot give freedom and democracy to their own people. The least they can do is give opium. And what better opium than religion? Karl Marx was right.

When was the last time you heard a Kashmiri politician on TV discussing anything else apart from the “Kashmir issue”? When the last time roads, education, health and electricity were important to the Kashmiri politician?

Kashmir will continue to burn because the local leaders and their sponsors in Pakistan want it to burn. A burning Kashmir means money, fame and instant celebrity hood. It is a cash cow. If a burning Kashmir means personal profit, the last thing they would want is Kashmir to be peaceful. I know it’s cruel. But it’s also logical.

Kashmir ticks all the boxes – money, religion, fame and leadership. Peace? Who wants peace in a state where blood is profit?

Winters in India always bring the sad news of people dying in ‘cold waves’ in UP, MP and Rajasthan. But no one dies of a cold wave in Jammu & Kashmir, the coldest state in India. Farmers commit suicide in Maharashtra because of their inability to pay back loans and famine. But in spite of frequent “shutter-downs” and ‘hartals’ in Kashmir, almost a weekly feature when business is totally shut down, no one commits suicide.

Where is all this money coming from? It is not just simply our central government giving funds to Kashmir. The central government gives funds to every state.

Today, there are more men with skullcaps in Kashmir, than ever before. Girls riding scooters have been threatened with acid attacks. Say “Khuda Hafiz” in downtown Srinagar, and you stand to be ticked off. The correct greeting, we are told, is “Allah Hafiz”. Khuda is secular. Allah is the God of the Ummah.

Fading memory takes me back to Lucknow, where as a child I met an old Muslim man who said to me “Al-hamdulillahirabbil ‘alamin”. All praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds. Allah is the “rabb” of all the worlds. He is not “rabbil’ Muslimin”, or “rabb” of the Muslims alone.

The word Allah predates Islam. Before Islam was revealed, the pagans who inhabited Mecca worshipped Allah. The word “Allah” was carried forward after Archangel Gabriel revealed the Quran to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The word Allah itself is not a Muslim word. It is a secular word, which simply means God in Arabic. It was co-opted by the Muslim clergy later to mean God of the Muslims alone. It was co-opted by force.

They are now doing the same with Kashmir.