Dealing with Separatists

Very rightly, the Ministry of External Affairs has rejected the passport application of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the Hurriyat’s so called top man. It is well known that this seditious fellow’s anti-India rhetoric is directly proportional to the doles he gets from Pakistan’s ISI and the red carpet and hugs he receives from Abdul Basit, Pakistani high commissioner lodged in New Delhi. Not only has Geelani been spewing venom against India and fallacious charges against Indian security forces, but he has the gumption of applying for a visa with the ‘nationality’ column left blank ostensibly on grounds that he “lives in an internationally recognized disputed territory”, as he bragged to the media later. It is quite certain that despite senility, Geelani was clear that that his passport application would be rejected by the MEA with an incomplete application, notwithstanding the fact that he has orchestrated waiving of Pakistani flags in rallies organized by him, and his rhetoric is to induce sedition in the youth. This later gambit passport application gambit was obviously to raise his value with his foreign handlers. The best part is that Geelani has had Indian passport issued to him earlier, as reported in the media, which he could not have got without mentioning his Indian nationality.

In context of dealing with separatists, it is significant to note that within a month plus of his release from jail after four years on March 7, Masarat Alam was back in the news chanting “Hafeez Saeed ka yehi paigham, Kashmir banega Pakistan” at a rally in Srinagar under separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani as thousands of people flocked the streets, some raising Pakistan’s flags and shouting anti-India slogans. That his release from jail on March 7 itself was questionable but then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Saeed passed on the buck saying that the release was facilitated by the legal proceedings under the previous regime under Omar Abdullah. Post the Srinagar rally, the Home Minister spoke to CM Mufti, after which an FIR was registered against Geelani, Masarat Alam and Bashir Ahmed Bhat alias Peer Saifullah. Later, Geelani was put under House Arrest and Masarat too arrested as reported by the media, basically to stop another rally called by Geelani at Tral. Masarat was defiant that he would continue such activities. It was more than three decades back that one could see on TV the India Tricolour being burned as Pakistan lost a cricket match to India being played in Srinagar. We seem to have permitted such type of activities to continue and grow because terrorism has become an industry and Kashmiri political parties draw upon radical support as well for wining elections. Interestingly, the FIR lodged for arrest of Masart Alam was for “provocative activities” which is hardly anywhere close to treason against the Union of India.

But then, above was expected when first thing that Mufti did after becoming Chief Minister was to publicly thank Pakistan, that too in presence of our Prime Minister. Of course, his political party, PDP, has active support of the Hijbul Mujahiddeen based in Pakistan. But why blame the J&K State when the Centre itself has been dealing with separatists and their Pakistani mentors in knee jerk fashion. The previous Congress led government facilitated visas for hardcore separatist Hurriyat leaders to Pakistan, to even meet the rabid anti-India mullah Hafiz Saeed. Sushil Shinde, the then Union Home Minister referred to Hafiz Saeed in Parliament as “Shri Saeed”, even as Congress spokesman Digvijay Singh recently referred to the traitor Masarat as “Masarat Sahab”. You also earlier had Salman Khurshid, then Foreign Minister breaking protocol, in face of serious cross-border raids by Pakistani army, rush off to host the Pakistani Prime Minister on a private visit to Rajasthan in face of definitive MEA advice not to do so, even as the said Pakistani Prime Minister passed an anti-India resolution in the Pakistani Parliament after returning home.

As per a veteran R&AW officer, some of our politicians have been under ISI blackmail having used hawala for illegal black money transactions. So it is not difficult to put two and two together because hawala in India is run by ‘D Company’ of Daud Ibrahim who himself is franchisee of the ISI. The important point here too is that whenever, India has made efforts to normalize relations with Pakistan, the Pakistani and political hierarchy and administration, dancing to the music of the Pakistani military and ISI have gone out of their ways to undercut any improvement of ties. Witness when our Foreign Secretary travelled to Pakistan as part of his tour of SAARC countries, Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor stated that India had been forced by America to open dialogue with Pakistan. This, despite Government of India permitted Abdul Basit to entertain Hurriyat leaders on Pakistan Day, at the Pakistani Embassy. Obviously, it was at this event that Geelani was briefed what actions should be organized in future to incite the population in the Valley against India. So you had Geelani leading an anti-India rally conjointly with Masarat Alam, and later one by Geelani at Tral. The latter rally too saw a host of Pakistani flags organized by Geelani and though Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Saeed stated that action will be taken against such individuals, nothing was heard thereafter.

To expect Pakistan to change would be most stupid. That country is held hostage by its military, which will not change course because of the power it enjoys. That is why the National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz officially states that Pakistan should not attack those terrorist organizations who are not attacking Pakistan. The message is very clear that the proxy war against India will continue. And, that the reason that 42 terrorist training camps are running full steam in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Pakistan’s state policy of terrorism is buoyed further with the Chinese and the Obama administration’s supporting, arming and through financial aid. Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani too has decided to try his luck in befriending Pakistan, the ISI having secured an MoU with the Afghan intelligence. It will be little wonder if Ghani is double crossed in the same manner as India was; Prime Minister Vajpayee travelling by bus to Lahore in unprecedented fashion with extended hand of friendship and Pakistan backstabbing through massive intrusions in Kargil during 1999. This notwithstanding, the bottom-line is that Pakistan will continue to engineer and exploit separatism in India, particularly in J&K, as part of heightened proxy war. We need to deal with separatists in firm manner.

Prakash Katoch is third generation army officer hailing from Himachal Pradesh. He is former Lieutenant General from Special Forces and post-retirement has published over 2100 articles on international affairs, geopolitics, military, security, technical and topical issues besides authoring two books. He is active in seminars at both national and international levels.

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