In a post last year, I had brought up the growing Chinese presence in PoK. My opinion on that is only getting stronger. To me, the matter is simple. China wants that port in Pakistan. What does Pakistan want from China? Kashmir is pretty much the only thing.
The timing is about right too. The ill thought out war in Afghanistan is on a shaky foot as always, the US is looking for ways to leave, Pakistan is getting bolder on the subject of Kashmir. Even before that post, I had written another, where I thought that the flood in Pakistan probably prevented a Pakistani effort to use Kashmir’s summer of rage to “liberate Kashmir”. The Chinese troops, Pakistan’s rhetoric, increasing comments from Pakistan’s jihadis pointed to that.
Since then, winter came and went. Its time for a new summer. Hafiz Saeed has held open rallys for the “liberation” of Kashmir. The other great “co-incidence” – India-Pakistan peace efforts already has happened too, with the cricket match in Mohali.
Today, news reports are on the rise about China’s presence in Pakistan, which China denies, but news channels are showing footage. Tough to argue that.
We have news that a pro-independence leader Maulana Showkat has been assassinated in Shrinagar in a bomb blast. No blame games have happened so far, which is telling, since if it was India suspected, people would be vocal. Still, India is likely to be blamed by the separatist leadership – its tradition.
To me, it is telling that the rise of rhetoric in Pakistan and Chinese presence on the LoC is accompanied by the killing of a moderate, pro-independence leader. If we remember, this was also the man who issued a fatwa against stone-pelting and engaged with the interlocutors. He had called for an inquiry into the killings of moderate separatist leaders like Mirwaiz Farooq, Abdul Gani Lone and Qazi Nissar and while he was a friend of Yasin Malik, he did not belong to either Hurriyat faction. Will probably be another 20 years before someone puts him among the likes of Lone and Mirawaiz – blamed on India, but ‘tidied up’ by the pro-Pakistan hardliners. Pro-independence would be inconvenient for the game plan I think is happening.