This has got to be a first! From the inception of Pakistan, when in 1948 Army regulars were used with tribals to try and annex Kashmir from Raja Hari Singh, which drove him to come to India, using people from outside Kashmir as a strategy has been the central piece of the “Kashmir policy”.
India on its side has messed up the rule there trying to bolster the sycophants like Farooq Abdullah etc but it is a fact that Pakistani Army has used terrorism as a strategy. Zia-ul-Haq called it “Strategic Depth”.
Asif Ali Zardari has, in an interview with Wall Street Journal, finally called the militants in Kashmir as what they are – “Terrorists”! Not only that, he expressly differed from the word that Musharraf has used all the while – “Freedom Fighters”.
Zardari also did not seem to have any fear of the Indo-US Nuke deal.
“India has never been a threat to Pakistan,” he says, adding that “I, for one, and our democratic government is not scared of Indian influence abroad.” He speaks of the militant Islamic groups operating in Kashmir as “terrorists” — former President Musharraf would more likely have called them “freedom fighters” — and allows that he has no objection to the India-U.S. nuclear cooperation pact, so long as Pakistan is treated “at par.”
This will open up some of the channels of discussions in India but it will also make him a ready target in Pakistan. If he carries on this track he could put himself in danger in his own house. But the fact is that same guys who were brought up as “freedom fighters” in Pakistan, have been busy destroying it and killing its own citizens!!
But it takes a lot to face the truth as it is. And I have always believed that such mindless passion of any group or society or person usually destroys that same one and I believe it will take a hard toll on Pakistan. Policies built on hatred can never succeed on a long term basis. These policies have turned a region which was one of the most peaceful – and that was probably the place where Vedas were written and Jesus may have got his highest wisdom has been made into a killing field… based on religious hatred.
Anyways, there have been contrasting responses to this statement in India and Pakistan:
Welcoming Zardari’s statement on Kashmir, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said it “is confirmation of India’s assertions all these years”.
In contrast, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) took exception to Zardari’s description of militants as “terrorists” and said it would raise the issue in Pakistan’s parliament.