After lots of persuasion by the Indian producer, I agreed to appear at News X India in the show, ‘Nation at Nine’ moderated by Athar Khan. The show was also attended by two Muslims; an Indian colonel and Miss Qadri. Each one in turn spoke their vitriolic bit demonizing Pakistan for the latest surge in Indian Occupied Kashmir and justifying killing of unarmed Kashmiris. On my turn, it became a mad fish market. When I saw the recoding, my voice was muted most of the time- journalistically, a very unethical practice.

I have consistently refused to appear in a show ‘News Hour’ hosted by Arnab Goswami on Times Now. He employs a deceitful method to belittle Pakistan. Yesterday, I declined repeated requests by both channels.

Such programmes are propaganda to strengthen Indian official policy and mute voices of conscience. For Pakistani participants, the exception is when they talk anti-Pakistan. In contrast, Indian guests on Pakistani channels are generally well received. Some channels and anchors are consistent in their anti-Pakistani establishment agenda.

Though the trend is yet to set in Pakistan, many Indian writers have begun to question the secularist base of India. In Pakistan, the trend is to challenge the establishment. Pakistan can go to hell. The motivations of opinion makers on same issues are in contrast.

Pankaj Mishra an Indian laments in, ‘Why silence over Kashmir speaks volumes’. He questions, “Why the immense human sufferings of Kashmir occupy such an imperceptible place in our moral imagination?” He goes on, “though New York Times described the protests as a comprehensive intifada-like popular revolt, BBC and CNN don’t endlessly loop clips of little children being shot in the head by Indian soldiers. Bloggers and tweeters in the west fail to keep a virtual vigil by the side of the dead and the wounded. No sooner than his office issued it last week, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, hastened to retract a feeble statement expressing concern over the situation in Kashmir.” Perhaps, he is nor aware that such and imperceptible place also exists in the elastic conscience of many in Pakistan.

Nitasha Kaul in her essay, ‘From funerals to freedom for Kashmir: undoing the Great Indian Democracy’, writes that “Indian desperation to possess the territory of Kashmir in its entirety, even if it means sacrificing all Kashmiri, and many Indian lives, is a blot on Indian democracy.”

Arundhati Roy writes, “To continue its occupation in Kashmir, India has made its forces immune from every law there.” She has accused India of not being serious in punishing the military, paramilitary, police and government backed gunmen declared accused in various heinous crimes. She has alleged that troops involved in heinous crimes through FIRs have evaded action and become habitual offenders; a very dangerous trend.

Ironically, the same ‘whys’ can be applied to Pakistan’s neo-liberals. Unlike Indian voices of conscience, they will never raise their voice over Kashmir. Voices that exist are not muffled.

The latest uprising in Kashmir became a hot topic in many Whatsapp groups. While everyone discussed the likelihood of a rally along the line of control, the fiercest of human rights activists shied away. For those who carry out a candle vigil on the flimsiest pretext, Kashmir is a product of military corporate. It has nothing to do with Pakistan’s interests and therefore, they have nothing to do with it.

Last night my opinion was reinforced. Attending French Bastille Day celebrations in Islamabad, I met left leaning opinion makers. All were of the view that like Pontius Pilot, Pakistan should wash its hands off this latest surge. A renowned journalist felt that exposing India will make Pakistan vulnerable to similar propaganda in Balochistan. I retorted that just yesterday, civil rights activists carried out the biggest rallies in all parts of Balochistan in support of Kashmir. Why do they equate Balochistan with self-determination in Kashmir? They resonate geopolitics.

To me the patriotic left of Pakistan had held the key to an egalitarian Pakistan. It was the left that opened the windows on Kashmir. Now it is a pile of debris thriving behind a façade of liberalism and anti-military rhetoric. Their views echo western geopolitics bent on making Pakistan a failed state.

This left was once led by progressives like Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Mian Iftikharuddin, Dr. M D Taseer and Habib Jalib. Once the pride of Congress, they chose to challenge Nehru, Patel and Menen over Kashmir. They were friends with Kashmiri leaders like GM Sadiq and Sheikh Abdullah. They were insiders. Dr. Taseer and Mian Iftikhar travelled frequently to Kashmir to galvanise support in favour of Pakistan.  In many trips they carried direly needed weapons. These plans were a secret shared only with Khan Abdul Qayum Khan, Mr. Aslam Khattak, Khurshid Anwar and General Akbar. Prime Minister Liaqat Ali endorsed the uprisings in Srinagar. Indians called them shameless intriguers of Pakistani left and a blot on the history of left movement in the Indian sub-continent. Their crime was that they exposed and countered Indian designs.

Alas, this left is gone. It is represented by sold out dirt, for which Kashmir is out of fashion and equivalent to supporting what they call “Jihadi” mindset of Pakistani establishment. Kashmir Movement that their heroes started is irrelevant to their existence.

But these neo progressives are not alone. Pakistan’s politic body across the spectrum is infested with similar sentiments. Most parties are willing to play politics over Kashmir but will not budge an inch when it comes to their pound of flesh. According to Arshad Khan a blogger from UK, “Let alone the neo progressives, false sub-nationalists and Deobandi sellouts that Nawaz Sharif has gathered around himself in his alleged anti-establishment camp, their otherwise non-popular politics rely on anti-Pakistani (and Pro-India and Pro-Afghanistan) narrative.” This is clearly visible in politics of Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, Asfandyar Wali, Altaf Hussain and Achakzai. Most political parties involved in the election campaign in Azad Kashmir shun the idea of nonpolitical rallies in support of the freedom movement lest they dilute their prospects.

Beyond politics, this betrayal across the political body is far worse. Most political activists in social media tend to devote more time to party politics/anti-establishment issues than national interests. The two successive governments have ensured policies that lead Pakistan to a socio-economic meltdown. Despite the constant downslide a word of criticism never comes from educated neo progressives. Rather many are seen defending such policies.   

According to Pankaj Mishra, India in the fantasies of western strategists appears as a lifeline to flailing and counterweight to China. He is on spot and this explanation will shape environments against Pakistan.

As the situation of Indian atrocities worsens, more youth will rise in IHK. India will violate the working boundary and line of control. Deployments could take place. With two most lethal armies’ eye ball to eyeball, Pakistan will be brought into nuclear focus. Militant activities will increase. Efforts will be made to undermine the armed forces. Successions could become controversial. The international silence over Kashmir will continue.

It is to break this intellectual logjam amongst the educated elites of Pakistan a small volunteer group of activists have decided to conduct #KashmirRally on 17 June 2016 at Muzaffarabad. The twin purpose is to show support for the Kashmir freedom struggle and awaken the silent majority of Pakistan to activism. To make this rally a success, Pakistanis are requested to swarm to Muzaffarabad as they did during the earthquake of 2005. Maybe, then we will be able to awaken the sleeping conscience of our leaders and opinion makers. The size of the rally will not matter. It will set a trend. Who knows, it provides the precursor of an egalitarian Pakistan.