Thursday, 29 July 2021


 Ali Ahmed, a former infantry officer in the Indian Army who has served in Kashmir and later served as a senior political affairs officer with the UN, said that for Pakistan, Islam had always been “a very useful tool to attract people to go across [to Kashmir] and do mischief. There is money in it and there are volunteers.”

“Its not all about Islam,” Ahmed said. “They may have these terms that sound Arabic but they are not necessarily Islamic. The Hizbul Mujahideen is not necessarily Islamist, they have as much nationalism and sub nationalism and Kashmiri nationalists in it. That [name] maybe a term to perhaps attract money from Pakistan or the Muslim world.”

Outfits like the TRF on the other hand, Ahmed said, “may not attract the funds that are required to keep the whole thing going. So even if there is a [later] reversion to Islamic symbolism that doesn’t necessarily mean Islamism is resurging [unless] if the Islamist energy is diverted to Kashmir by Pakistan.”

Pakistan at the moment is waiting as the events unfold in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal, said Ahmed, adding that these events could “encompass” Kashmir. “If the Indians play hardball, the Pakistanis have got this lever,” he said.

“Then you would need Islamism because it gives you the kind of energy to take on a state as powerful as India. If Islamism has seen the back of the Soviet Union and the United States, it will be possible to think that it will at least tie India down in Kashmir.”