The Kashmir problem


Even after these many years, there appears to be solution in sight



I have not been able to make out why General Pervez Musharraf, who is under house arrest on charge of treason, has made a public speech on the Kargil war which I watched on a television channel. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must be under pressure from the army to allow Musharraf to propagate an account which is not factually correct.

Surely, Nawaz Sharif remembers how he was removed through a coup staged by General Musharraf. Yet, the Pakistan Prime Minister sought US President Bill Clinton’s intervention on July 4, the US Independence Day, when Clinton was too occupied, for the safe passage of the Pakistani soldiers. They had been hopelessly surrounded by the Indian forces at the Kargil heights. President Clinton telephoned then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to request him to let the Pakistani soldiers go without any reprisal.

In fact, President Clinton in his book, My Life, recorded the event in these words: “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan called and asked if he could come to Washington on July 4 to discuss the dangerous standoff with India that had begun several weeks earlier when Pakistani forces under the command of General Pervez Musharraf had crossed the LoC which had been the recognized and generally observed boundary between India and Pakistan in Kashmir since 1972. Sharif was concerned that the situation Pakistan had created was getting out of control and he hoped to use my good offices to resolve the crisis.”

The President also recalled in the book that “Sharif’s moves were perplexing because that February, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had travelled to Lahore to promote bilateral talks aimed at resolving the Kashmir problem and other differences. By crossing the LoC, Pakistan had wrecked the talks.”

Still, Musharraf has the audacity to say that Pakistan had “caught India by the throat” at Kargil. He claimed to have raised a “second force”. This is the first time that Musharraf has admitted about the “second force”, the motley section of non-state actors, including the terrorists and infiltrators.

This has been New Delhi’s allegation all along. But Islamabad was denying it. Musharraf’s speech is meant for the Pakistani audience to rehabilitate himself in his own country which blames him for the debacle in 1999. His claim that he had got India “by the throat” is without any evidence and out of the sneering remarks he evokes in his country. The Indian commanders of those days have vehemently denied Musharraf’s claim. His purpose is to deny the facts and put the blame on the Pakistani politicians to assert that they have converted a military victory into a defeat.

The fact is that Musharraf’s antics made Pakistan face a humiliating defeat. True, he was able to station the infiltrators on top of the Kargil heights. But the Indian forces, after heavy losses, turned the tide and captured not only the Kargil heights but also thousands of Pakistani soldiers.

Yes, it did take us much too long to gear up to it. The plan on the offensive by our army was not ready till America had mooted a proposal for the withdrawal of the intruders. Although at a disadvantage, the Indian forces showed grit and fought bravely. The air force coordinated well. India had cleared two-thirds of the occupied territory when Pakistan asked the intruders to return home. There was miscalculation on the part of Pakistan’s top brass that it could demarcate another LoC to its advantage.

Just as New Delhi never gave out how much territory it lost, Islamabad too did not tell about its reverses. The Tiger Hill had been recaptured by India when Pakistan briefed the media that the mujahedeen control on the Tiger Hill was intact. Had the Pakistanis been kept informed on the reverses, their feeling of humiliation would not have been as deep as it is today.

The problem with Musharraf is how to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of Pakistanis. They know how he embarrassed the army with the ignoble defeat at Kargil. And they have not forgiven him. Thank God, the Pakistan media has not been taken in by his claim. He continues to be in the dog house and his latest diatribe has been noted without any comment of support.

But this is not the dominant discussion in Pakistan today. The denial of passport to Syed Shah Geelani, a separatist leader, is catching up all the attention. It is being argued that he should not be forced to spell out his nationality because he is a subject of Jammu and Kashmir, a “disputed territory”.

Geelani has changed in the last few years. Earlier, he felt little hesitation in pronouncing his nationality as Indian. Some years ago when I used to meet him regularly, he never raised the issue. Even though he belongs to Jamiat-i-Islamia, he wore his nationalist credentials on his sleeve. Why has he tilted towards Pakistan is something that requires a deeper study. He is generally not a person who is swayed by emotions.

What India has to look into is the reason for his tilt. Maybe, there are many Geelanis in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Why have they not changed in the last 70 years when Kashmir acceded to India? Is it religion? If this were so, the Kashmiri Muslims would not have been greatly upset when there was a proposal to have a separate colony for the Kashmiri pundits.

“They are part of us,” the Kashmir Muslims would say and they would “live in our midst” as they used to do earlier. Kashmiriyat is a product of sufiism which is a synthesis of religious values of Islam and Hinduism. Maybe, after the accession, India has forgotten those values. The need is to refurbish them, not to get lost in parochial ideology.


  1. Too much Bashing for the great General Musharraf and an article aimed at humiliating Pak Armed forces. Only some looney could have agreed to publish biased Indian trash article.

    • Ms.Fatima:

      This article does not humiliate Pakistani army. Time and again, the Generals and think tanks running the Pakistani army have humiliated Pakistani army by their ill thought out or thoughtless actions. During and post Kargil, the stature of Pakistan took another serious set back among the nations. It still has not recovered from an image as an untrustworthy nation.

    • JUST six months after independence, in a pictorial write-up on Pakistan, America’s Life magazine noted that the newly born nation of 70 million desperately needed India’s capital and industrial know-how to “supplement its faith in Allah and the leadership of an ailing Jinnah”.
      ''Economically, India is growing faster than Pakistan and, unlike Pakistan, has never been ruled by generals. A ready measure of the strength of the Indian economy, besides its faster growth, is the value of its rupee. Two Pakistani rupees now buy one Indian rupee. Not long ago both were at par. Apart from the benefit of trade, firmly rooted democracy and a secular tradition, the dream of an armed confrontation to wrest Kashmir stands buried forever.''

  2. The pack of lies from a so called Samaritan; it is amazing! Well Nayar, at least, admits Pakistan's dominating position and India suffering heavy loses. And where are those thousands of Pakistani soldiers he claims were captures by Indian army.

  3. Why is a pakistani media publishing website such an article?
    Fo u think india today would publish an article golorfying pakistans victories.

    And this, right here ladies and gentleman should tell u all u need to know about our corrupt media and crazy publishers.

  4. Sir,
    Nehru and Lord Mountbatten is the root of the Kashmir Problem, because a refugee does not dictate condition for his survival, whereas the King of Kashmir set conditions and the protector granted everythings(he asked for)! That is part one, the other part is going to UNO was foolish on part of India. It was equally nonsensical not to have CAG or Indian Penal Code or Civil Procedure Code or Indian Right to information Act. Equally senseless was to allow Farooq Abudulla to become CM when he had surrendered Indian Citizenship to British Citizenship but continued to be Kashmir Citizen.

    So, all successive Governments, saw the problem as window of opportunity, to corruption, and felfdom. Leaders enjoyed, while the soldiers died. Leaders enjoyed, but, people did not get the promise, or, the prosperity. Kashmir Govt and Govt of India saw this as god sent opportunity to settle scores even with the aid or Terrorist or Pakistan. Both enjoyed game while soldiers and people died.

    With such kinds of acts Kashmir can become even bigger problem with passage of time and blessings of politicians….

  5. ''The event which really put Pakistan back and effectively derailed it for many years was the 1965 war. This was not a war imposed on us by India. We started off a train of events in Kashmir to which India reacted by crossing the international border in front of Lahore and Sialkot. We didn’t liberate Kashmir but the walls between India and Pakistan went up and militarism and heavy defence spending became permanent facts of life with us. Our national security state is less a throwback to the events of 1947 than to the 1965 war. Bhutto went on to make a political career for himself at the altar of anti-Indianism. ''

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