Recent public debate in the Kashmir Assembly about the authenticity of the shame list of 2006 sex case literally turned the assembly into a liberty hall, allowing the antagonists to bandy about reckless, unsubstantiated accusations of the most debasing kind against each other with an element of unprecedented irresponsible frivolity.
The whole episode is a shocking reminder that shows that the pro Indian political parties do not have the liberty of independent thinking. They are still leveraged by the Indian intelligence agencies that control their thought processes even in matters of opinion. Furthermore, the leaders of the people and freedom fighters are mere spectators in this comic opera. The entire Kashmir politics is what the French used to call in the eighteenth century “the stuff of an opera farcical theme”. The political parties in Kashmir since 1947 have been fabricated by intelligence agencies but to their dismay they have found these parties to be a crock of gold.
What worries me is that the present situation is going to fuel the disillusionment of common masses. That would again pave the way for revival of militancy in the State. Militancy will revive in the State for the simple reason that shortage of water in the Punjab province of Pakistan has put the entire Pakistan on a trajectory of economic downslide. Indians have damned up Indus and Chenab rivers with impunity. Further, in the name of development the Indians are busy damning the Kishen Ganga river. Pakistani Punjab and Sindh are now real antagonists due to shortage of water. Baluchistan has virtually turned into an insurgent state. India had to supply fifty five thousand cusecs of water to Pakistani Punjab during June and July 2009 but record manifests that till 31st July 2009 only 33,000 cusecs of water was supplied to Pakistan. Pakistan has suffered a forty percent water shortage currently.
One has to trace out the lines of the modus operandi of the Indian intelligence to create this hyper critical misadventure. Approximately, twenty crore rupees were expended to create a political party in Kashmir that would mobilize the Kashmiri public opinion to oppose the Indo-Pak Indus Water Treaty of 1960 by propagating the preposterous idea that the Treaty is detrimental to the interests of Kashmir valley. It also encouraged India to dam up Kishen Ganga river for constructing electrical power projects. This whole idea was so preposterous that eminent Indian thinkers (at whose behest this demand was hyped) publicly called it a mistaken view. B.G Verghese whose views have been published by Indian Research Press Centre for Policy Research in a long and tedious piece of writing, expressed himself thus: “J&K believes that it got a raw deal from the Indus Water Treaty as it was deprived of its legitimate share of this natural resource. This is a mistaken view. India secured the entire waters of three eastern rivers, the Sutlej, Bias and Ravi, which do not flow through J&K (barring some minor influents of Ravi) and specified uses for J&K from the three western rivers, the Chenab, Jhelum and Indus which were other wise allocated in their entirety to Pakistan.”
Dr Manmohan Singh has evolved the theory of “No bilateral dialogue till Pakistan squashes terror network on its soil”. So environmental studies are pushed to periphery. Pakistan wanted China to assist it in the widening of Kara Koram Highway. And it also wanted China to develop Gwadar port. The upshot of this policy was rise of insurgency in Baluchistan and FATA Regions. Simultaneously these environmental conditions that dictate Pakistan’s foreign policy will force it to look to central Asian countries and not only towards Saudi Arabia. Hence normalization of relations with Iran has become an imperative. Pakistan by mending fences with Iran will be able to give some symmetry to its relationship with Russia also. Pakistan will be able to import huge quantities of electricity from Tajikistan. Hamid Karzai who realizes that now in U.S scheme of things his importance is on a trajectory of decline, may, to save his power structure, turn more reconciliatory towards Pakistan. A rapprochement with Afghan Taliban on power sharing is also on the cards. A new configuration of political forces is emerging in this region. Ahmadinejad’s resounding electoral victory based on fair and equitable elections have lent an underpinning of stability to Iran.
India’s egregious blunder has been to disregard the interest of Iran and to distance itself from Iran – Pakistan – China gas pipeline project. The Indian foreign policy is the crack baby of some indoctrinated bureaucrats with a myopic vision. Asif Ali Zardari is already pursuing backtrack diplomacy with Baitullah Mehsud and other Pak Taliban. Already a wedge has been drawn between Pak Taliban and Al Qaeda. If this rapprochement between Pak Taliban and Zardari governments attains accomplishment then Pakistan will be able to revive insurgency in J&K to force India to share equitably the waters of Chenab and Jehlum with Pakistan. Security paradigms in south Asia are set by geopolitical and economic conditions. This will also give contour to Nepal’s strategic balancing towards India and China. Water resources of Kashmir are key to any viable solution. My conclusion is that an equitable sharing of water resources of Chenab, Jhelum and Indus rivers in accordance with the terms of the Indus Water Treaty has placed India and Pakistan on a firm collision course. Revival of militancy in J&K state, will pave the way for this internecine conflict.
Author is the senior Advocate in High Court specializing in constitutional and criminal matters.