Kashmir water war

The recent moves towards peace between India and Pakistan, symbolized by the historic establishment of bus service across the line of control in divided Kashmir, are a welcome development. But the April 6 arson attack on a Srinagar compound where trans-border bus passengers were being housed is testament to the potential for further armed resistance. This report from the Pakistan Daily Times of April 25 delineates some of the little-noted reasons that Jammat-e-Islami, the biggest Kashmir resistance group, is not laying down arms (a position supported by the group’s legal arm, Muthidda Majlis-e-Aamal):

LAHORE: General Pervez Musharraf’s stand on the Kashmir issue will weaken the freedom struggle of Kashmiris, said Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Muthidda Majlis-e-Aamal (MMA) president and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) ameer on Sunday.

The MMA leader said Kashmiris had already rejected Gen Musharraf’s ‘division plan’ and vowed to continue their struggle.

“The unilateral confidence-building measures by Pakistan cannot camouflage the Indian forces atrocities against the Kashmiris,” Ahmed said. He said that the Kashmiris had not sacrificed 80,000 men and women so that the Line of Control could be made a permanent international border.

He said that New Delhi had not pulled back its troops from Kashmir even as a customary confidence-building measures and the “assault” on Kashmiris continued. He said General Musharraf’s proposal to divide Kashmir into seven zones showed his ‘contempt’ for Kashmiri martyrs.

He added that while Islamabad was obsessed with unilateral peace and friendship plans with India, the Indians would ditch Pakistan on the Baglihar Dam issue. “This obsession for peace with India has led them to cut their own jugular vein.”

The reference to the Baglihar dam is particularly telling. The Pakistan Times reports April 24 that despite the peace moves, Pakistan is preparing a case before the International Court of Justice over the hydro-electric project that India is building on the Chenab River, which will divert water from Pakistan-controlled territory, and which Pakistan charges violates the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960. India’s Kishanganga hydro project on the Jehlum River, another Indus tributary, would also divert water from Pakistan. The Hindustan Times reported April 6 that Pakistan is also petitioning the World Bank to halt funding for the project until the controversy is resolved.