For the first time, the link, the connection, and the bondage of Islam that were used as a cultural tool to hold together the oppressed people of PoJK/GB and Pakistan have been shattered beyond repair
On September 29, Imran Khan arrived in Muzaffarabad to address a public rally in the capital of Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK). He once again used Islamic religious rhetoric to subdue a rebellious oppressed population that has over the past months demonstrated its resilience beyond a doubt.
In order for the Pakistan military establishment to maintain its conquest of the land and people of Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir and Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (PoGB) it is fundamental that complete synchronisation of cultural (read Islamic) ideology of the oppressor be established on its subjects.
Only religious indoctrination of the whole population could have paved the way for 75 years of oppression in PoJK and PoGB. If the consciousness of the masses were not in general agreement with the narrative of the military establishment, the subjugation would not have lasted for such a long period of time.
The ruling ideas of the Pakistan military establishment still play a big role in the moulding of the general consciousness of the people of PoJK/GB.
Human consciousness is a social product and individual consciousness is determined by the person’s position in society. Today the people of PoJK/GB realise that their social position is, in actuality, that of second-class citizens who have no political or economic rights.
The homogeneous social consciousness between the oppressor and the oppressed is glued between them through a religious (Islamic) narrative and has been used to make our people accept the plunder of our natural resources and the denial of our basic human rights.
With the growth of social media and the internet, the homogeneous social consciousness is now being challenged. WhatsApp and Facebook have provided access to information in a way that 20 years ago could not have been imagined.
From Muzaffarabad to Neelum and Mirpur and from Gilgit to Skardu, the people of PoJK/GB are challenging the nature of the social relation between Pakistan and the regions like never before.
However, the dominant world outlook in the occupied territories is still derived from the religion of Islam. Nevertheless, slogans such as Allah o Akbar and Pakistan ka matlab kiya: Lailaha illal la, are gradually being replaced by slogans such as Ye jo dehshat gardi hay is kay pechay wardi hay and Hum kiya mangay: Azadi. But the predominant cultural connection of Islam with the Pakistan establishment’s narrative has not yet ended. The political justification for the ongoing occupation is submitted to the interests of Islam. Land grab in both PoJK and PoGB is executed by the Pakistan military in the name of defence (read Islam) against a ‘Hindu’ India.
But things are changing. The forceful imposition of fuel charges (taxes) on electricity bills, cuts in subsidies of essential goods, political manipulation guided by the Pakistan military establishment in both PoJK and PoGB to form pro-Pakistan governments, and the brutal suppression of peaceful protestors in recent months have contributed to a change in the world outlook of the oppressed.
The blatant acts of colonial plunder of our natural resources such as precious stones, forest wood, and diversion of rivers to build hydropower plants for electricity supply to Punjab, have left a deep impact on the consciousness of the people of PoJK/GB. From this, the world outlook of the oppressed has for the first time shown signs of a break from the world outlook of the oppressor.
However, only by way of perpetual accumulation of the understanding of the nature of colonial oppression over a certain period of time can lead the consciousness of the people of PoJK/GB to a stage when the complete break away from the cultural (Islamic) world outlook takes place. And believe me, that stage is approaching fast.
With the reports coming out of the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir regarding economic and infrastructure development, suppression of terrorism, foreign investment, Panchayat and DDC elections and an unmatchable surge in tourism, the oppressed people of PoJK/GB can feel the difference between living as an oppressed nation and a people living as part of a voluntary union of the republic of India.
For the first time, the link, the connection, and the bondage of Islam that were used as a cultural tool to hold together the oppressed people of PoJK/GB and Pakistan have been shattered beyond repair. Imran Khan’s visit to the capital of PoJK has been another futile exercise to mend it.