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Why India celebrates October 22 as "Black Day"
New Delhi: Some countries haemorrhage themselves at birth, and Pakistan did just that by invading Jammu and Kashmir 75 years back and is still stuck in that groove because of its obsession with Kashmir which has left its own citizens suffering from economic negligence in a self-serving military-civil establishment.
The Kashmir obsession of Pakistan has led to a self-serving military-civil establishment in the country, which controls everything, including democracy. This elite has led to millions of Pakistanis growing up with the illusion that they can wrest the territory they claim. It has denied normalcy to the people and stalled peace and progress.
The people have suffered economic negligence since the funds go to the military and billions have been spent to justify the chase of an 'unattainable mirage'. Pakistan took this step just nine days after being carved out of India. It first dispatched armed irregulars and then regular troops to invade Kashmir. The campaign was led by the maverick Major General Akbar Khan who brazenly called the troops as 'raiders'. The Pakistan Army code-named the Kashmir mission as 'Operation Gulmarg'. The boastful book of Khan which was belatedly published in 1970, leaves little to argue or imagination about the nature and motive of the operation.
India observes October 22 as "Black Day". It is done by India in purely legal terms just to tell the world that India had sent the troops only after Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession. However, it had been factually established that the Maharajah had acted after touring Poonch and Owen Pattan in the Jammu region. The region fell on October 8 and 9, 1947.
Thousands of Pathan raiders, promised loot and fun, had outnumbered a platoon (24 men) of Gorkha soldiers under Subedar Dhan Bahadur Singh (2 JAK Infantry).
It was later analysed by the defence analysts that Pakistan began the thrust in the Jammu region, and not in the Valley because Pakistan's survival rested on Poonch, while Kashmir had its own significance. The Peshawar-Rawalpindi road lay only 50 miles from Jhelum along which ran the international boundary. Further, Pakistan's connectivity to the North was via the road that ran just across Jhelum. And, of course, Mangla Headworks (later converted into a dam) was central to Pakistan's water security.
Also, to place things in perspective, it must be noted that Mohammad Ali Jinnah was in communication with Hari Singh trying to convince him to accede Pakistan. He also sent cables to the Pakistan government asking it to stop raiding bands from entering Jammu and Kashmir. But, despite that his outreach was ignored and he was snubbed.
Although, now the stage was set for Pakistan to launch an all-out strike. But what Pakistan didn't factor in was the firm Indian response.
Because of this, the raiders wasted their time looting, raping and arsoning. Large-scale atrocities were committed by the invading forces. Civilians were looted, women were raped, many people were killed and even hospitals weren't spared from attacks.
As the gory news travelled, the population started resisting the invaders. Young Maqbool Sherwani first misled the advancing marauders about the direction to the Srinagar Airport, which was very crucial to their plans, which stood foiled. Sherwani then also cycled from village to village to inform about the invasion. Ultimately, the raiders caught Maqbool and killed him.
Recalling the incident even after 75 years is relevant because Pakistan has so far fought four wars with India over Jammu and Kashmir. And, because it was Pakistan who initiated all four, but failed to achieve its objective, the world sees Pakistan as a 'loser' unwilling and unable to give up, because its establishment survives and thrives on it.
Unsurprisingly, none wants to discuss Kashmir. And even while the United States, China and friends in the Gulf may help in Pakistan's misery caused by floods and economic distress, even President Joe Biden, like his predecessors, Clinton and Obama, has called it "one of the most dangerous places" in the world. (ANI)