by MM.Khajooria

It was in the second fortnight of 1992 that I published my Research Paper titled ‘PAK Game Plan Under Review ; New Thrust in Kashmir on the Anvil’ in the” Shivalik Chronicle”, the fortnightly I was then editing. The relevant portion read:

“According to information gathered, Pak government had set up a select group of specialists who were tasked “to recommend measures to speed up de-accession of Kashmir from the Indian Union and its final amalgamation with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

The group recommended that:

“The freedom fighters should launch operations in such a manner that it takes more than 400 soldiers to secure the supply line to maintain 100 soldiers in place in Kashmir. The ultimate aim should be to make occupation of Kashmir cost prohibitive for India.” ‘India will leave Kashmir only when it becomes economically impossible for her to hold the state in subjugation”. It further adds “Soldiering is an occupation in India, a means to provide sustenance to the poor. A soldier killed is expendable and easily replaceable .An Oil Tanker or even six tyres of the tanker that carry oil would be hard to replace. The attacks should therefore hence forth aim more and more on Defence Establishments, oil depots, Gas plants and Food grain stores”.

Al Qaeda chief Zawahiri in his first ever video posted on the Al -Sahab channel with the photo of since eliminated Zakir Musa flashing on the screen wrote “I am of the view that the Mujahideen (armed terrorists) in Kashmir- at this stage at least- should focus with single mind on inflicting unrelenting blows on the Indian Army and government so as to bleed the Indian economy and make India suffer sustained losses in manpower and equipment.” He made two other very significant points. “All the Pakistani Army and government are interested in exploiting the mujahideen for specific political objectives, only to dump or persecute them later,” “conflict with India ” he asserted “is essentially a secular rivalry over borders managed by the American intelligence.” This position on Jihad is supported by majority of Muslin scholars and clergy. They argue that only war for Islam, Allah and Caliphate can be Jihad. A conflict over territory between two countries is essentially secular in character and could not be Jihad.Late unlamented Zakir Musa had the same point publicly and forcefully.

The “fight in Kashmir” is not a separate conflict but part of the worldwide Muslim community’s “jihad against a vast array of forces. This formulation laid the foundation of the fundamental switch of the a so-called freedom struggle by Kashmiris against India to ideological Islamic Jihad for Allah, Rasool, Islam and Khilafat.

Zawahiri also said the “fight in Kashmir” is not a separate conflict but part of the worldwide Muslim community’s “jihad against a vast array of forces.” He called on “unnamed” scholars to propagate this point. He warned that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, which he termed America’s primary tool in Pakistan, will try to prevent the Mujahideen from doing so, so that they remain under their control forever as a political bargaining chip.

It is a historical fact that Gen.Zia , the ”Mullah in Khaki’ plugged Kashmir terrorism into the international terror grid taking advantage of the US promoted Islamic Jihad in Afghanistan. The boys from Kashmir were trained in far off Afghanistan in Afghan Mujahideen US financed Training facilities. Sizeable consignments of weapons, communication hardware etc meant for fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan were diverted to Kashmir with the connivance of CIA. A recent report confirmed that thousands of Rifles and other small Arms were still lying with the ISI greased and packed.

As of present there could be no Jihad in Kashmir without the involvement of Pakistan. The ideological foundation of the Jihad in Kashmir as propounded by Zawahiri has already been embraced. The Wahhabi Jammat Ahil-i-Hadees is making waves in Kashmir. The civil society and educational system have been significantly subverted. Many young men of impressionable age are indoctrinated and persuaded to become terrorists, call then Mujahids if you will. Kashmir has been on the radar of Al Qaeda from the days of Osama bin Ladin. Decades back, he called upon the Military Islamist community in general and Mujahideen groups in particular to go to the rescue of terrorists operating in Kashmir. This message was particularly meant for Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish -e-Mohammad and the like affiliated with Al Qaeda. It should be remembered that Al Qaeda is not and never was a structured organization. It has always been very loose in terms of organization , very amorphous. The greatest danger lies in its affiliates -terrorist outfits spread across more than fifty countries.

The Pak Al Qaeda affiliates like Lashar-i-Taiba and Jaish-i-Mohammad United Jihad Council headed by Mohd Yusuf alias Salah-ud -Din joined the Pak ISI in a conclave in Muzafarabad in 2014 and decided upon a “realistic “approach- ,keep ‘ideological’ differences over the concept and contours of Jihad aside and collaborate in ‘Freedom struggle’ in Jammu & Kashmir. Hafiz Syed even agreed to oversee major operations. Consequently the Hafiz was reported to have personally directed some of the BAT OPS in Poonch area. In fact, he was known to have surveyed the target zone a day before ‘BAT action ‘at least on two occasions.

The situation has since dramatically changed. The unprecedented deployment of security forces in the run-up to August 5, 2019; large-scale preventive arrests ,launching of criminal proceedings against over ground faces of terror, detention of junior-level political workers, effective curbs on movement and the lack and absence of any leadership to lead protests has yielded rich dividends.

Terror-related incidents dropped from 198 during January-July 2019 to 124 during January-July 2020. However ,the challenge of local terrorism has kept the Security Establishment on edge.

The Local youths continue to join terrorist ranks despite being aware they are in the cross-hairs – with many of them being killed. Now that the terror attacks are becoming more and more cost prohibitive for the terrorists with security forces eliminating the Jihadi top leadership and raw Recruits at a scale unacceptable to Pak ISI, her proxies and Jihadi Mentors, there is talk of resorting to “bleeding India economically” as suggested by Zawahiri our strategists would be well advised to watch out and craft appropriate response.