The last thing I read before I went to sleep was a chapter from the book ‘Shantaram’. He was told- a dream is the place where a wish and fear meet, and a nightmare is when they are the same thing. Interesting, I thought, as I fell asleep.
Well, I had a nightmare, followed by a dream. And let me tell you, when I woke up, I was completely speechless. It made sense, what I’d read. I love dream analyses, I keep an irregular dream diary- but this, THIS- this, was absolutely fascinating. A wish and a fear.
A waking nightmare is a whole different ballgame, and as I watched this tragedy unfold in Kashmir on my television, I wondered how it is that I was born into what I believe is a post-materialist generation, while my fellow Kashmiri’s in the state will not understand that concept for generations to come.
Ghulam Nabi Mir hurled a bomb at worshippers at Tahab. He was paid 1000 rupees for the job. He claims the Hizbul Mujahideen paid him, the Army seconds his account, although the militant outfit denies involvement, saying they would never jeopardize their freedom struggle by throwing a bomb in their own stronghold- Hizb’s south Kashmir base.
You know what struck me as the police [army?] questioned him as to why he did it [the camera’s were there]- that he mentioned he had been paid a thousand rupees, (besides the death threats), and he did not realize what a meager amount it was, despite the questioners surprise as well.
‘ONLY a thousand?’
Five people died. That’s the number of an average family. So this is how much life in Kashmir is worth?
It speaks volumes about the poverty and desperation in the region.
At work, I was asked today if I had an opinion on the joint Indo- Pak terror deal. Do I? It’s all well and good to sign a deal, but what is the guarantee that it will work? Do we trust each other to be honest? Will we share information? Will they share information?
Brief re-cap for those joining us now: Especially in the Indian controlled region of Kashmir, intensified insurgency and the presence of the Indian army (for safety measures) has led to an unbearable state of affairs. Bombs, terrorist attacks and more bombs have kept the region from functioning normally- and people like Ghulam Nabi Mir at having the chance for a ‘real’ life. Although we had our problems since partition, after the end of the Soviet-Afghan war, Afghani Mujahideen fighters infiltrated the state making things worse. Along with the separatists who wage war to free Kashmir from the clutches of India, this makes for a terse situation.
Now, for the longest time, India has insisted that Pakistan is behind the terrorists. Pakistan toned down their involvement by calling the separatists ‘freedom fighters’ and lamely admitted that they were sure there was cross border terrorism, but somehow avoiding responsibility for it.
Manmohan Singh called India and Pakistan both ‘victims of terrorism’ in Havana. Really? We are victims of cross border terrorism while they set up state sponsored training camps under the ISI which perhaps have a life of their own. To equate the two is wrong, but perhaps he was trying to extend an olive branch and lay the foundation for a peaceful future.
I thought to myself today, why would Pakistan want to sign this deal? After 9/11 Musharraf certainly tried to disassociate himself from the terror groups, and the Lashkar and Jaish were banned. [We know they do exist, just under different names.] Now, this move by him was certainly clever given the international suspicion regarding Islam- and especially Islamic fanaticism- but is it a path he can hope to stay on?
[If you watched Jon Stewart’s interview with the General on the Daily Show, he does admit that when the US asked them if they were with the Allies or not, he thought about the best way out, and took it. When the situation does not apply, will the strategy change?]
A view I’d read on the Internet argued that while Pakistan remains an Islamic state, how will it turn its back towards the Islamic extremism successfully? Is the extremism coming from Afghanistan as they claim or vice-versa as Karzai would?
G. Parthasarthy, former Ambassador, has a bleak view of this new joint venture and calls it a trap. It is a mistake to move away from internationalizing the issue, and now if India were to complain about another Pakistan sponsored attack, we will be told to discuss it in our new forum. The questions that need to be clearly answered before we can trust our neighbors are straightforward: do they still continue to use terrorism to reach their foreign policy goals?
But a differing view was offered by a Professor at Jamia Milia, Radha Kumar, who said the fact that Pakistan had even begun to admit that ex-Lashkar operatives do exist instead of hotly denying their existence altogether is progress; and this platform will make it easier for the rule of law to apply.
Personally, I have so many dear Pakistani friends that at times I find it next to impossible to believe that we should not trust them. But personal friendships forged in Montreal are very different from matters of national security. Personal friendships did not make Ghulam Nabi Mir’s life less desperate.
There is much to gain for both countries if we could normalize relations, but to do that the one unanswerable question of Kashmir needs to be answered. Ask yourself this then: if we move away from Siachen, will the Pakistan army try and re-capture it? Can you say no for sure? Ay, there’s the rub!
Jawaharlal Nehru said the only alternative to coexistence is co-destruction. If only hopes and fears meet to resolve themselves. If they turn out to be the same thing, we may never wake up from this nightmare.