Kashmir Day... By Atif
06 February, 2013
Processions are taken out across Pakistan to support the rights of Kashmiris for independence or accession to Pakistan. I was a school child when February 5 was declared Kashmir Day and also a national holiday. There used to be a lot of enthusiasm about Kashmir in Pakistan and many people believed that the unfortunately divided but stunningly beautiful Valley of Kashmir would soon join the Pakistani federation.
State-owned Pakistan Television aired immensely popular plays like Angar Wadi, an unsuccessful attempt to send a message across the Line of Control (LoC) to Kashmiri nationalists that they should embrace the concept of nationalism based on religion instead of Kashmiri culture and join Pakistan. The Kashmir jihad was in full swing and the successive Pakistani governments of the 1990s did their best to win support from the Muslim and non-Muslim world for the Pakistani stand on Kashmir. The situation took an awkward turn when Pakistan and India went to war in 1999, once again in Kashmir. Without going into the events that led to the Kargil debacle, this appeared to be the last armed struggle between the two nuclear weapon possessing neighbours. General Musharraf, in his day, even went to the extent of scrapping what used to be the principal stand of Pakistan over Kashmir, the UN resolutions. This was the height of pragmatism in the approach of the Pakistani establishment, which has since not shown any interest in reviving Pakistan's narrative on Kashmir to pre-Musharraf days.
All the major political and non-political stakeholders in Pakistan have now realised that the most sought after support of local Kashmiris to join Pakistan will always remain a distant dream. We have paid a very heavy price to learn this lesson right from the days of Operation Gibraltar to Kargil. Finally, lessons have been learnt and, with this, observation of Kashmir Day will also gradually lose its fervour like Defence Day. Kashmir belongs to the Kashmiris like Pakistan belongs to Pakistanis and India belongs to Indians.
MALIK ATIF MAHMOOD MAJOKA