Kashmir, which was
once described by Mahatma Gandhi as an island of secularism in the Indian
sub-continent, is in turmoil. Yes it is. It is only democracy that provides
an outlet whereby political grievances can be aired, positions narrowed
and accommodation achieved. A democracy can deal with a movement of political
dissent by talking, discussing and acting. It cannot when the other side
does not believe in talking, does not believe in an opposition or representative
government, in fact does not believe in democracy itself.
Destruction of houses by Pak Trained
Kashmir, therefore, represents, a major challenge
to Indian democracy, in fact to all democracies how can a democracy confront
a non-democratic system that only uses catchy democratic phrases such as
Human Rights, self-determination etc. in the furtherance of its 'cause'
while denying all such democratic values itself ? How can a democracy take
on a religious crusade, "Jehad", that does not believe in democratic tenets
but exploits them to the hilt for advancing its vested interests ?
Pakistan has claimed for itself a role in speaking
for the Indian Muslims, in general, and the Kashmiris in particular. It
has claimed the right to extend moral and political support to them. Its
covert support in terms of providing arms and training, to terrorists and
subversives has already been well documented and exposed.
This tract takes a close look at the situation
in Kashmir and at Pakistan's own track record as a 'champion of Human Rights'.
Can human rights, essentially a democratic concept, be applied selectively
? Whose human rights are being violated anyway ? What is Pakistan's own
record in respecting human rights - and treatment of minorities ? What
does self-determination mean in an Islamic context?