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Volume 2, No. 4 - September 2002

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Jethmalani Committees, Shabir Shahs and Hurriyats
Subodh Atal, Ph. D.

The latest round of talks between the committee headed by Ram Jethmalani and Islamic separatists of Kashmir valley are again designed to gradually wean the separatist leaders one by one away from the Pakistani stranglehold on thinking in the region. The Indian government had some level of success with Abdul Ghani Lone in earlier backdoor talks with him. Lone had agreed to participate in elections in the state, which are anathema to the Islamic fundamentalism thought exported from Pakistan. According to these concepts, the entire world will someday be part of an Islamic khalifah, with Muslims controlling each country. And secular elections in which non-Muslims can participate is not part of the concept of the global Ummah.

The Pakistani ISI got Lone killed last May due to his betrayal of the Islamic cause. His sons have now inherited his political role, and are now leading the People's Conference. But they too are afraid to overtly support elections. The Jethmalani committee next targeted Shabir Shah for weaning away from the separatists. But under pressure from his Hurriyat compatriots and the terrorist forces in Jammu and Kashmir, he has vacillated back and forth, and most likely will not be running in the elections either.

That leaves the National Conference as the only major party running in the all-important elections. The Pakistani terrorists are targeting its activists daily. Earlier this week a National Conference political worker was beheaded in the valley, and later a group of the party's activists were attacked with grenades while they were trying to put up election posters. If the atmosphere of insecurity being created by Islamic terrorists and the non-participation of many groups result in low turnout on election day, Pakistan will be quick to say that the elections have no meaning there.

Pakistan got a preview of Indian democracy in the opinion poll carried out earlier this year by Mori International in Jammu and Kashmir. The poll was conducted quietly before the Pakistani terrorists and their Islamic separatist friends got whiff of it. The results were a shock to them. About two-thirds of the state's residents wanted to stay in India, only 9% wanted to be part of Pakistan. The infuriated Hurriyat chief located the Kashmiri man who had been contracted to supervise the poll, and threatened to put him on the dreaded terrorist hit list. In the bigger picture, Pakistan is making sure that the state elections, through non-participation and low turnout, will be called a farce.

Yet the Indian government is projecting the elections as a major part of the "solution" to the Kashmir issue. Committees, Shabir Shahs, Hurriyats and elections are not going to solve the issue. The issue will not be resolved until the Islamic assault on the state of Jammu and Kashmir ends. And that assault is not going to end until Pakistan is free to export fundamentalist fervour and jehadis into Kashmir and other parts of India. No amount of dialogue with Pakistan or its proxies is a solution to the Kashmir "issue", because Kashmir is not the issue, even terrorism is not the issue; the core issue is Islamic fundamentalism exported from Pakistan and financed by the Saudis and other wealthy Muslims around the globe.

Only the United States has the Islamists' number today. It did not believe in dialogue with Bin Laden last year, and now it has shown that it does not believe in dialogue with Saddam Hussein.

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