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Kashmir Watch

Each year when Pakistan and India celebrate their independence, anxiety takes over the minds of many.

 

The clouds always appear ominous when it comes to Kashmir. But as India marks the 70th year of independence, the clouds look menacing.

 

One Sunday afternoon, after I finished work at my rural clinic in Anantnag, a friend asked me to accompany him to Zain Shah Sahib’s shrine located on a hill top in South Kashmir’s Ashmuqam village.

 

The government’s reply last month to the Supreme Court, saying that the questions raised in a petition challenging Article 35A require a “larger debate”, has predictably stirred a hornet’s nest in Kashmir.

 

It seems that in Pakistan the title of PM has become a burden too difficult to carry. First, Nawaz Sharif was ousted as Prime Minister by the Supreme Court.

 

The country has a new prime minister, four days after the last one was removed, but there is still a great deal of uncertainty over the government because there is likely to be a third prime minister by the end of next month.

 

The divisive issue of Kashmir is cannon fodder for a section of the electronic media thriving on uber-nationalism. Forever on the lookout for sensation, they either miss the wood for the trees or consciously conjure up smoke suggesting a forest fire where none exists.

 

The Hizbul Mujahideen leader, Syed Salahuddin, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, Mehmood Shah, have in the past several days come out publicly against Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS), arguing that neither of them have a role in the Kashmir separatist cause.

 

Images of Kashmiri separatists walking the corridors of the Prime Minister’s office during Atal Behari Vajpayee’s tenure have been replaced with visuals of Hurriyat Conference leaders being arrested and taken into custody by a central agency.

 

India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested on June 24 seven prominent Kashmiri separatists on charges of receiving funds from Pakistan to sponsor terrorist activities and stone-pelting protests in the Kashmir Valley.

 


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