By Sheikh Qayoom:
WHAT next after nearly every Kashmiri household has stocked for the D-day they believe is imminent? Trifurcation, abrogation of 35A, delimitation, flag hoisting at every Panchayat in the Valley on August 15 or a full blown, straightaway war between India and Pakistan? No marks for guessing that nobody, not even probably Governor Satya Pal Malik has a straight-faced answer to all this. Governor Malik, probably for the first time, decided to do a bit of plain speaking when he said on Saturday: “All is well today, I cannot predict tomorrow”.
That exactly is what every other top civil, police, paramilitary and Army officer will tell you even if they choose to speak on this issue. The result has been that the killing of seven terrorists of a Pakistani border action team (BAT) by the Army in Keran sector off the Line of Control (LoC) two days back is blown out of proportion by desperate rumour mongers who want to turn Kashmir upside down.
The rumour-mongers want Kashmiris to believe that two diplomatically belligerent, nuclear-powered South Asian neighbours, would go to war and that would be a Sunday afternoon tea party. “Around 40,000 Islamic fighters led by Hafeez Sayeed or Azhar Masood have been seen near the LoC in Gurez, which is close to Gilgit-Baltistan. They are waiting to sneak in”. This might look like the fib of an uninformed rumour monger, but when this comes from someone who claims to have access to inside information, it is natural for Kashmiris to tremble with fear, but just momentarily.
Everyone swept off his/her feet by such a rumour would not miss to question as to how the so-called leaders in the 40,000 such fighters can afford to come on horseback to surprise an Army that has just celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Kargil victory. Nobody would miss to notice that Gurez, Gulgit and Baltistan are so far away from each other that any sabre-rattling fighter coming on horseback would drop dead of sheer fatigue and back ache.