Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir is its undoing

New Delhi: A former Indian top intelligence official has said that Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir has given its Army an institutional supremacy. This obsession had also led to birth of several terrorist organizations which has ultimately killed the democratic institutions in Pakistan.

“This was facilitated by the early demise of Md. Ali Jinnah and the assassination of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, the two stalwarts of the Pakistan movement who could have given a democratic direction to the country. Pakistan Army became the arbiter and wresting Kashmir became the national obsession. The Kashmir mission is central to the maintenance of supremacy of the Army and its most cogent rationale. Pakistan gradually became an Army with a state rather than a state with an Army,” former Special Secretary in the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), Jyoti K. Sinha, has written in the Indian Defence Review (IDR).

The officer further said that the Pakistan Army is dominated by the Punjabi Muslims, whereas other communities in the country have little or no presence in it. “A Baluchi or a Sindhi General does not exist. There are a few Pashtoon Army officers but they can hardly either aspire or dream of becoming of force within the officer corps of the Pakistan Army,” Sinha wrote.

While mentioning an interesting anecdote Sinha wrote: “Soon after the 1971 war, Lt. Gen. Habibullah Khan, a retired General of the Pakistan Army was on a visit to the Bihar Regimental Centre at the Danapur Cantonment, Patna. He had begun his career in the Army as a young officer in the Bihar regiment and was one of the honoured guest at the Golden Jubilee Celebration at the Bihar Regimental Centre, Danapur. He with some bitterness mentioned to a fellow officer, who was his batchmate at the Royal Indian Military College, Dehradun, that though very well placed in the Pakistan Army and with an impeccable record he could not become Chief of the Pakistan Army as he was a Pashtoon”.

Anti-Punjabi Muslim sentiments translated into Bengali nationalism in East Pakistan. The spark which led to the 1971 war with India and its disastrous consequences for Pakistan was the arrogance of Punjab to deny political power to the Bengali Muslims of East Pakistan.

“Under the Pakistan Army regime led by General Yahya Khan, the Punjabi Muslims manufactured the theory of two majorities in a ‘democratic polity’ which Pakistan aspired to create after the 1970 elections.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman whose party won a majority in the Pakistan National Assembly was denied the post of Prime Minister of the country. What happened thereafter is history but yet the vivisection of Pakistan had little or no impact on the Punjabi Muslim mindset. It is laughable but true that both in Islamabad and Rawalpindi it was said that creation of Bangladesh was good riddance of the dark, short and indolent Bengali Muslims. Pakistan had become more homogenous and the Pakistan economy would now prosper. The irony is that every possible economic indicator shows that the Bangladeshi economy is in a far better shape than that of truncated Pakistan,” Sinha wrote in his article.

In 2017, the GDP growth of Bangladesh was 7.30 per cent whereas that of Pakistan was 4.71 per cent.
The foreign exchange reserve of Pakistan in April 2018 was USD 17,539 million and it is steadily declining whereas that of Bangladesh was USD 30,937 million and is steadily increasing.

“There is a real possibility of Pakistan’s economy going bust. What a delicious irony!” wrote Sinha.
He added: “The Bangladeshi polity after the initial hiccups is stabilizing into a healthy democratic polity with the Bangladeshi Army finally becoming totally subservient to the civil authority and the duly elected government. The Pakistani polity today remains as unstable as ever with an unpredictable future. The deep state continues to wield the big stick. Kashmir is a prize which must be won whatever it takes”.

“It is said that history repeats itself and this is very likely to happen in Pakistan as it refuses to learn from it. The Pakistan Army continues to rule the roost and must continue to have the first claim on the shrinking resources of Pakistan. The veneer of democracy may be cultivated and encouraged but the deep state must always have the last say. After all Kashmir remains the unfinished agenda of partition! If three successive Indo-Pak wars have not produced the desired results then Pakistan must resort to other means to wrest Kashmir from India. The theory of the thousand cuts was evolved by the wily General Zia-Ul-Haque. He proved himself to be too clever by half,” Sinha wrote.

He further said: “The deep state in Pakistan launched a covert war to wrest Kashmir from India.

Terrorists’ organizations were created and supported to launch a covert war in Jammu & Kashmir. The Jehadi ideology was spawned and it spread to other parts of the world with devastating effect. The dominance of the Punjabi Muslims ensured through the mechanism of the Pakistan Army and justified by the national obsession with Kashmir will continue to obstruct the evolution of a democratic polity in Pakistan which alone can ensure that all the sections of the people of Pakistan feel secure about their future within the Pakistani polity.”

Sinha further said that Baluchistan, which constitutes nearly 50 per cent of the land mass and only 5 per cent of the population of Pakistan, has remained starved of resources because the country’s resources must be diverted to the higher cause of building up the country’s defense forces and the security apparatus to complete the unfinished agenda of Partition.

He added that the Pashtoons comprising nearly 25 per cent of the Pakistani population and Sindhis constituting 14 per cent of the population must abjure their fair share in the resources of the country and their position in the power structure of the Pakistani polity till the deep state wins in the valley.

“The problem is that in waging this war history will repeat itself for Pakistan without India raising even a little finger. Pakistan is fighting a war which remains to be lost. It is not difficult at all to see the writing on the wall. It may take another 20-25 years to complete the script,” Sinha concluded.