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“To great evils you need great remedies’’

<em>Kashmir Highway</em> has been renamed <em>Srinagar Road</em> by Pakistan and new direction signboards have been installed in Islamabad. This act is part of a week long campaign organised by the Military public relations department the infamous ISPR and the civil government run ministry of Broadcasting and Information.

The Prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has officially been invited by the puppet government of the so-called Azad Kashmir (PoJK) to lead a public rally (despite the Covid-19 pandemic) in Muzaffarabad, and reignite the flame of an extinguishing aspiration among the people living under the occupation of Pakistani military establishment, to continue to support the notorious jihadist political narrative and its proponents such as Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Pakistan sponsored Hurriyat Conference or the Jihad Council.

Among other measures jointly planned by the above mentioned ISPR and the Broadcasting and Information ministry are the orders sent out to media houses to publish special supplements on Kashmir and present the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution in all newspapers as a demonic step that has usurped the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

All the above efforts are to intended to numb the conscious of the people of Pakistan, keep the oppressed subjects of Pakistani occupied Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan confused and continue to nourish the false narrative that India is an occupier of Jammu and Kashmir (J&amp;K) and Ladakh, which are now legitimate parts of the union territory of the Republic of India. All this is being done to hide the fact that it was Pakistan military and not the India army who with the help of tribal mercenaries attacked the sovereign state of J&amp;K on October 22, 1947.

Pakistani military and civil establishment as well as the religious clergy continue to rule over a population of 220 million through fear and manipulation. Hence since its inception Pakistan has painted India and the Hindus as an existential threat to its survival. In order to create a homogenous narrative that can bring various ethnic groups and diverse cultures under one umbrella the establishment has imposed the hegemony of the Wahhabi Islamic sect as the single acceptable cultural embodiment in which all indigenous cultures such as Dogra, Baloch, Punjabi, Sindhi and Pashtun, to mention a few, have been forcefully dissolved. Secondly, the above-mentioned troika has imposed Urdu language as the national language of Pakistan and has successfully managed to eradicate the linguistic heritage of the aforementioned ethnic groups.

However, those who have been subjected to the barbaric rule of the Pakistani establishment have always challenged the oppressive attempts of the establishment. The Baloch, the Sindhi and the Pashtun have even resorted to armed uprisings. One such uprising later triggered a civil war and culminated in the break away of the eastern wing of the country with the birth of Bangladesh. This seriously challenged not only the two-nation theory, that was promoted as the basis of a separate homeland for Muslims of united Hindustan, but it also seriously weakened the military’s grip on state power.

Hence ever since the 1971 Indo-Pak war the Pakistani establishment has been meticulously working on two projects. One is the forceful indoctrination of its own population with conservative Wahhabi/Salafist version of Islam and the other is injection of new religious narrative to the Valley of Kashmir.

New academic syllabus was introduced across Pakistan and in the Afghan refugee camps along the Pak-Afghan border that glorified invaders such as Muhammad Bin Qasim, Mahmud Ghaznavi, Mohammed Ghouri, Nadir Shah, Ahmed Shah Abdali, the Mughal Raj and all who had previously attacked and plundered the Indian sub-continent. They were presented as heroes and their barbaric rule as the glorious period of Hindustan.

From this narrative a claim was engineered that since it was the Muslims who lost their empire to the British, therefore, to launch and be part of Gazwa-e-Hind (Islamic religious war on India) is an obligation and the final destiny of every young Pakistani. In this way the creation of Pakistan was linked with the movement initiated by the Muslims’ quest for identity.

Syed Ali Khan who was an Urdu-speaking Muslim ideologue of North India initiated it. Syed Ahmed Khan was the founder of the Anglo Muhammadan Oriental College (now Aligarh university) in 1877. It was this institution that later was to become the crucible of separatist Muslim League. Although demands for a separate homeland for Muslims emerged much later in the 1940s but the cultural/religious narrative of an imaginary deprived Muslim population had been cultivated for more than half a century. Hence every young person who reached his seventeenth birthday would wonder why he had not been able to conquer Hindustan like seventeen-year-old Muhammad Bin Qasim did in the eighth century.

Once a certain theologically dominant national narrative was established among at least two generations born after the creation of Pakistan, the military, civil bureaucracy and clergy subdued a whole nation state to its dictates. This gave rise to a fascist Pakistan.

Today, the troika of the Pakistani establishment manages to stay in power and controls a nation of 220 million by indoctrinating them with the two-nation theory of Jinnah, instilling the fear of an (imaginary) impending Indian/Hindu invasion and the duty of every able-bodied Muslim to follow the footsteps of Muslim invaders to launch jihad on kafirs (infidels) by initiating Gazwa-e-Hind.

The abrogation of Article 370 by a two third majority of the Indian parliament has seriously dented the perception of the oppressed population living under the occupation of Pakistani troika. With hollow predictions of a bloodbath that would ensue if Article 370 was not re-imposed upon a ‘besieged’ Kashmir, three failed attempts to get a motion approved by the UN Security Council to condemn India and her defeat in mobilising its closest Muslim allies in 57 countries has pushed the Pakistani troika on the backfoot and for the first time they find themselves at the receiving end.

It is in this backdrop that the troika is organising a state sponsored fascist propaganda campaign against India. It has utilized all available resources including print and broadcast media, mobilisation of public into rallies (despite the on-going threat of a third spike in the current Covid-19 pandemic), and the vast network of mosques across the country and in occupied territories. The purpose of all this is to inject a new lease of life into their rudely exposed theological cultural narrative that has kept Pakistani and oppressed people hostage for more than seven decades.

Pakistan is an evil entity run and controlled by an evil and unholy alliance between the Military, the civil bureaucracy and an Islamic jihadist clergy. Until the oppressed nations living under the yoke of the troika are set free, perpetual peace in the region will remain a far-fetched dream. To great evils one needs great remedies. Unless there is a collective will, among neighbouring nation states and most importantly the current government led by Narendra Modi, to address this great evil, a great remedy will be hard to apply.

<em>(The writer is an author and a human rights activist from Mirpur in Pakistani occupied Jammu and Kashmir currently living in exile in the UK.)</em>.