This Ramadhan, Pakistan!

It''s time we re-envision the territory, and the peoples of J&K.
This Ramadhan, Pakistan!
File Photo

Pakistan was born in the last week of Ramdhan. Not a bad idea if some moments are spared to talk about it, this month, this week. Mired in problems from the moment of its birth, actually from its conception, this country is accused of all the bad things in the present world. But a country of more than 200 million souls can't be all about wicked. It certainly is not. 

The terrorism-of-propaganda conducted by India against Pakistan over these 70 years has adversely affected our ability to look at Pakistan as a live politics, and a living people. Add to it the failure of Kashmir's Azadi politics to look at Pakistan as a nation-state. Our relation with Pakistan is guided by one of these – fervid emotion, sweeping naivety, or thorough depravity. This has created immense problems to the Resistance politics of Kashmir, and the associated Azadi movement, and it's destined to create more in future. There is a need to reflect on this more seriously, more consistently, with the faculties of head and heart employed justly and proportionately. 

For many years now Pakistan is reaping the harvest of its fallacies. But for some time now a new intellectual curiosity is surfacing up, and it is beginning to inform the state institutions. Some profound conversations on the making of Pakistan, and on the relationship between State and Islam, are happening in this country; that sounds like a change. The shift in global power equations is also informing the politics, and the society of Pakistan. 

Is this internal and external reorienting pushing Pakistan towards a change that will become pronounced by the day; too early to predict. But much depends on how Pakistan's political and intellectual leadership opens up the collective mind, hews new paths towards democracy, and economic prosperity. Right now Pakistan's core constitutional politics is affecting changes in the frontiers – FATA, AJK, and GB, hence the column.

If it makes people happy anywhere in the world, it gives a reason for  people everywhere in the world to feel happy. If it happens in the neighbourhood, happier one feels. And when it happens to a people we are organically tied to, it's time to celebrate. Emotionally it's a moment of joy, and in terms of politics-of-people it's time to feel the winds of change, and pray for more change. Surprisingly when the people of FATA, GB and AJK, all in the continuity of our territory – emotional and real – hit a significant milestone in the journey to political empowerment, we sort of skipped the scent in the breeze. One reason for the people of Kashmir is, of course, the deep atmosphere of mourning that refuses to yield for more than two years now.  From July 2016, it's an interminable grieving. May God dispel this sadness around us and relieve us from this condition of permanent pain. Amen.

But beyond this is a serious problem. Before taking the lid off that problem, just a line about the constitutional amendments related to FATA, GB and AJK. The suspended state of affairs in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu Kashmir is a legacy of the founding crisis of this country. Even if too little too late, the recent constitutional amendments that made FATA a part of KPK province, it's a step ahead. Similarly, the political empowerment of GB, and AJK can begin a long awaited unwinding.  But unfortunately we, on this side of the Line, act as a huge roadblock in this process of constitutional reforms, and deepening of democracy. And that is the problem. 

When the talk of making GB a permanent province of Pakistan hit the headlines last year, our Resistance leadership was more than quick to denounce it. As if it is for us here in Srinagar to decide the politics of a common man in Gilgit, and Muzaffarabad. Our only reason, if that can be called as a reason, to oppose such a proposal is that it would adversely affect the disputed nature of J&K. As if Kashmir dispute is finally going to be settled in a court of law! This dispute, whenever it is resolved, would be resolved on the basis of the ground situation, guided by international political atmosphere, the accompanied power equations, and our ability to create an effective politics within Kashmir.  

We should have long back thought over these questions, and informed our collective  politics accordingly. We didn't, and complexities piled one over another. It's time we re-envision the territory, and the peoples of J&K. It's time to disentangle the Politics-of-Azadi from the Politics-of-Dispute. It's time to rethink about what Pakistan means to Kashmir, and to Kashmiris.  If that doesn't happen, we will create problems for the peoples living across the Line, and also limit Pakistan in some undesired ways. This will in turn harm our collective politics. If anyone would benefit from it, it's the oppressor. And we all know who that is.    

If we care for people, and love azadi, and our ideas of good and bad are not limited by borders, it's time to congratulate Pakistan and join the people in FATA, GB and AJK in their celebrations. Give it to them, how they want to shape their future. Whatever the reasons, if the process of political empowerment has begun, though very late, it's a nice morning breeze. So if you are not a parochial, not driven by any visceral hatred, feel free to say – Pakistan Zindaband. The day India accepts the demands of the people – in the mainland, in the North East, and in Kashmir – and gives to them what they deserve, I will not hesitate for a minute to say Hindustan Zindabad.   

For the moment, Pakistan Payendabad. 

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