The Partition of British India on the basis of religion & two nation theory is the root cause of extremism in South Asia, writes Sajid Hussain

The Partition of British India on the basis of religion and two nation theory is the root cause of extremism in South Asia.

The state of Jammu & Kashmir was officially founded on 16th of March- 1846 under the Treaty of Amritsar between Maharajah Gulab Singh and the British East India Company.

Jammu Kashmir was one of the largest princely states outside of British India. The Governor General of Pakistan signed the Standstill Agreement with the ruler of Jammu Kashmir on 12th August 1947.

Pakistan started a military expedition in Jammu Kashmir under Operation Gulmerg in Jammu Kashmir and Operation Datta Khel in Gilgit- Baltistan. The tribesmen, equipped, trained and transported by the Pakistani military, invaded in Jammu Kashmir on 22nd of October-1947. Those who entered into our state began the indiscriminate killing of innocent people.

India and Pakistan fought three wars over the Jammu and Kashmir, in 1947, 1965, and in a limited conflict in 1999.

The people of Jammu & Kashmir have been suffering from conflict for the last 6 decades and terrorism and extremism emerged as a result of this ongoing conflict.

The Taliban has now taken over almost all of Afghanistan and is flexing its muscles for global legitimacy. Despite continued international pressure, the Taliban have so far failed to appoint any women in their cabinet. Their failure to do so exacerbates concerns about significant deterioration in women’s rights under the new regime, especially after the new government announced that secondary school would resume for male students only, while claiming that female students will be able to return in the near future.

No public explanation has been provided for why girls have been prevented from resuming their education. In addition, the majority of women in the public sector have not yet been allowed to return to work. Our main concern now is that their rule in Afghanistan may affect the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Many international experts apprehend that Taliban may fuel terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir by sending its fighters or by training Pakistani mercenaries.

Some leaders of Pakistan’s ruling party have also said on television that the Taliban would come and fight for them in Jammu Kashmir.

The Taliban who have now been released from prisons in Afghanistan have been warmly welcomed by the religious and extremist elements in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

However, there are extremist elements in Pakistan who are fuelling terrorism in Kashmir purely for personal interests. These elements are closely connected to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as well as their Army. They may resort to recruitment of fresh cadres from Kashmiri students and residents of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

Also, various terror organisations like the Lashkar-E-Toiba and Jaish-E-Muhammad have well established recruitment cells in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, from where they have historically recruited terrorists.
Pakistan may utilise the support of Taliban in training these terror recruits and later push them in Jammu Kashmir.

The U.S. State Department lists three Islamist groups active in Kashmir as foreign terrorist organisations: Harakatul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistan’s ISI is accused of arming, training, and providing logistical support to militants in Kashmir.

The al-Qaeda Connection.

Many terrorists active in Kashmir received training in the same madrasas, or Muslim seminaries, where Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters studied, and some received military training at camps in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Leaders of some of these terror groups also have al-Qaeda connections.

The long-time leader of the Harakatul-Mujahideen group, FazlurRehman Khalil, signed al-Qaeda’s 1998 declaration of holy war, which called on Muslims to attack all Americans and their allies. Maulana Masood Azhar, who founded the Jaish-e-Mohammed organization, traveled to Afghanistan several times to meet Osama bin Laden. Azhar’s group is suspected of receiving funding from al-Qaeda, U.S. officials say. In 2006, al-Qaeda claimed to have established a wing in Kashmir.

Two faces of terrorism in the name of religion.

Religion is used for the instigation of terrorism by two sets of actors in Pakistan.

These two sets are somewhat inter-related but show certain differences with respect to their objectives, areas of operation and targets of violence. First, there are sectarian groups belonging to the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam that are active in terrorist activities which are mostly but not exclusively directed against the people from the opposite sect.

The Sunni militant organisations call for Pakistan to be declared a Sunni state while Shias fight for specific political rights to safeguard their distinct status.

The second set of actors are Sunnis jihadi groups that were considered by the Government of Pakistan up to 2001 as strategic tools to be used in Afghanistan and in Jammu Kashmir as well. Many of the jihadi groups that were active in the Jammu Kashmiri insurgency after the Afghan jihad.

The Deobandi groups that have become the most important in connection with terrorism and thatalso have significant interconnections.

Effects of terrorism.

The rising level of violence has proved a difficult challenge for people of Jammu kashmir. Ironically, far from being able to secure civilians against terrorist attacks, the police force itself is particularly vulnerable to attacks by well-trained and highly motivated terrorists.

Social disorder and instability have been the result, adversely affecting the economy of the country.

Over the years, however, the effect was to change the whole context of the insurgency from freedom struggle to jihad, and the pro-freedom indigenous movement became marginalised in comparison with the jihadi groups that supported Kashmir’s annexation to Pakistan.

Among the groups that are active in the insurgency, the most important
Are Hizbul Mujahedin, Harkat-ul-Mujahedin, Jaish-eMohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Due to international pressure extremist organizations in Pakistan can be diverted into social work in the name of Islamrather than of jihad. This is new form of Rising Threat of extremism in South Asia in the name of Social work Particularly in Pakistan and its occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

I would draw attention to an important issue that the citizens of the state of Jammu and Kashmir are facing, and how they are being affected by these acts of criminals and rascals.

The citizens of the state of Jammu and Kashmir travel from Kashmir to Pakistan or from Pakistan to Kashmir, via Tain-Dhalkot road and their vehicles are looted with the force of a gun during their journey, they are killed, they are beaten. They are abused, they are injured, they are tortured. This is intolerable.

Pakistan has completely failed to protect the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir during the journey, as criminals are roaming around freely & openly, and are not punished. We urge upon the international community and all international organisations to take cognisance and put pressure on Pakistan to resolve the issue and ensure safety ,security and the dignity of the citizens of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the protect their lives, their liberty, and their property.

Editor's note: the above text was delivered at a conference at the Press Club, Brussels, by Sajid Hussain, on Friday October 1st 2021.

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Sajid Hussain

Sajid Hussain

Sajid Hussain is Secretary Information for the United Kashmiri Peoples' Party (UKPNP) Europe Zone, A Political Activist and Human rights Defender.

Follow Sajid on Twitter @SAJIDSABIR

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