The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs or impede their efforts to obtain it.”
– John Stuart Mill
The American administration is trying to please the Indian leadership, even if it has to abandon certain goals that were set by the United Nations with USA’s support.
Against this backdrop, the arrest of respected Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai (now under house arrest), Executive Director of Kashmir Centre and Chairman of Kashmiri American Council, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, had come as no surprise to the majority of Pakistanis.
Dr Fai worked to highlight India’s atrocities in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He is considered a leading light in the Kashmir struggle in the USA by several Indian intellectuals, who frequently attended the functions that were arranged by the Kashmir Council in different parts of the world.
However, it seems that the Americans, who have been working on a concerted effort to malign Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the ISI, are now trying to weaken the country’s resolve to support the people of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK), who have been reeling under the oppression of 900,000 men of the Indian armed forces deployed there for the past several decades.
In this context, the accusation levelled by the Americans against Dr Fai is not only flimsy, but also smacks of ill motives to damage the cause of the Kashmiri people. They must remember that the UN resolutions clearly maintain that the will of the people in IHK must be ascertained to decide the future of the region.
Besides this, the Indians, too, have never allowed the Kashmiris to express their free will in a transparent and democratic manner, since the elections are held under the shadows of massive troops deployed in the disputed valley.
Nevertheless, the frenzy that has erupted after Dr Fai’s arrest in the US, Indian media, and, more specifically in some of our TV has not surprised anyone in Pakistan. The expression of glee and gratitude being celebrated in India tells us the entire story.
After Fai’s arrest, the ‘extremist’ Indian media demanded action against those scholars, writers, journalists and men of letters, who had participated in seminars and meetings arranged at different times by the Kashmir American Council to highlight the Kashmir cause.
It is pertinent to know that in certain cases some leading Indian jurists, too, are being openly accused of being on the payroll of Pakistan’s ISI. All this has come at a time when India and Pakistan once again had agreed to engage with one another in peaceful negotiations in an effort to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries.
Meanwhile, as this propaganda had reached crescendo levels in the US and India, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during a three-day visit to New Delhi, exhorted India to be more assertive and play the role of a leader in the region.
Since Ms Clinton’s statement was totally uncalled for, the Pakistani leadership rightly snubbed her and maintained that relations between countries are based on mutual respect and equality, and Pakistan is not willing to accept the hegemony of any other country.
Anyway, after Fai’s arrest, similar actions are being initiated by Washington’s friends and allies: The offices of the Kashmir Council in London and Brussels have also been targeted by the same lobby.
Surely, this is a very serious development that needs to be condemned by Pakistan and all the nations, who believe that the struggle of the Kashmiri people is for a just cause.
All the civilised countries must not only openly reiterate their support for the Kashmiris, but also pressurise the Indian government to implement the UN resolutions.
On its part, Islamabad must take up the issue with Washington and make it clear that Pakistan will continue to highlight and extend its support – moral and diplomatic – so that the international community remains aware about the plight of the Kashmiri people.
At the same time, it must ensure that Fai is not given a raw deal by the Obama administration due to Indian pressure. However, USA’s claim that Dr Fai had failed to register as a lobbyist for a foreign government, and received funds from the ISI, is not something big enough to subvert the Kashmir struggle.
Pakistan should raise this issue specifically in the Organisation of Islamic Countries, or OIC, so that there is a counterweight to the present lobbying by the US and India against Pakistan and the Kashmiri people.
It will also be well within its rights to bring to the notice of the Indian government the propaganda campaign unleashed by those who patronise saffron terror against the minorities in India.
One hopes that those who have been attending the meetings organised by Dr Fai’s Kashmir Council will continue to raise their voice for the Kashmiris and not be cowed down by the Indian media.
The Government of India, too, should come out and rein in those who are levelling all sorts of wild accusations against Pakistan.
More so, hopefully, the Americans will soon realise their folly, since it has not only damaged the cause of the Kashmiri people, but also further strained its relationship with Pakistan.
They must remember that it is in their interest that Pakistan wins the war on terror and eradicate militancy from its border areas.
In case the war continues for a long period of time, then the world will have to face the consequences. God forbid, if terror is exported through Afghanistan to the West, or elsewhere, violence and chaos will replace harmony and order.
It is a proposition that will surely not be in anybody’s interest. So America, instead of following a policy of India appeasement, must use its influence so that the outstanding issue of Jammu and Kashmir can be resolved peacefully allowing both India and Pakistan to march towards prosperity ushering in an era of wellbeing for their people.
Without a settlement of the Kashmir problem, there will be no lasting peace in this part of the world.