Fear of youth in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) coming out on the streets holding the Indian flags have prompted the Pakistan military to empower the fascist organisation Islami Jamiat e Tuleba (IJT) in every school, college and university to unleash terror and call for renewed 'jihad' in the valley.
On March 18, the youth walked miles from the city of Rawalakot to the crossing point at Titrinote demanding the opening of borders between PoK and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. They were attacked by the IJT members while youth leaders were delivering anti-jihad speeches.
Slogans such as Hum lay kay rahen gay Azadi (We will get our freedom), that once echoed in Indian Jammu and Kashmir, Arr par jorr do, tutay rishtay khol do (Open the border and re-establish broken relation) are now part of every single political or social agitation across PoK.
Amid constant uproar in the valley, the Islami Jamiat e Tuleba (IJT, Islamic Students Society), gave an open call to local youth inviting them to join the jihad against India in the Union Territory of Jammu Kashmir in a recent event held in Rawalakot city in the Poonch Division of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The event was attended by more than 200 youth who were gathered from all over the Poonch Division of Rwaalakot district in PoK.
IJT is the militant student wing of the infamous Jamat e Islami and is allegedly funded and controlled by Pakistan inter-services intelligence agency (ISI). It has always been used to crush dissent against the military that pops up in educational institutions in Pakistan.
IJT was the main street force that was used by the former military dictator late General Muhammed Zia ul Haq to crush the anti-martial law student movement, during his reign that spanned from July 5, 1977, to August 19, 1988.
During that period the IJT goons used to attack and break up any political event or public gathering that called for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan.
Currently, the IJT is being used to spread fear among the Baloch students at Punjab university in Lahore, Quaid e Azam university in Islamabad, Karachi university and other educational institutions.
Recently the IJT members were set loose to attack Hindu students who had been celebrating Holi in the aforementioned universities.
The IJT members carry weapons and clubs and are protected by the university administration and the state of Pakistan.
Many right-wing politicians in Pakistan hail from the IJT. Babar Awan, a Pakistani politician, and senior lawyer and Siddique Ul Farooq were student IJT members who began their political careers while at Government degree college Rawalpindi in 1977.
Most of the ministers in the previous Pakistan People's Party and the current Muslim League Nawaz governments hail from IJT.
However, recently the military establishment in collaboration with the ISI, has started organising infiltration of the IJT in the educational institutions of PoK.
This is a worrying development. Most of the people living in PoK are of secular minds despite the religious-communal indoctrination of the two-Nation theory by Pakistan over the past seven decades.
There is a strong secular nationalist current in PoK that calls for the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people. There is also strong leftist tendencies present in the PoK political scene which calls for an (imaginary) socialist revolution that would end the capitalist system in the region.
Since the abrogation of article 370 of the Indian constitution on August 5, 2019, which gave Jammu and Kashmir the so-called special status, the perspective of the youth in both PoK and occupied Gilgit-Baltistan has seen a great leap of both faith and belief.
The inability of Pakistan to garner anti-India support from 56 Muslim countries to condemn the action taken by the Modi Sarkar and the failure to provide PoK with basic essentials of living has for the first time made the people of PoK realise that Pakistan is no big brother or 'loyal' to the cause of the so-called Kashmir issue.
The youth in PoK have, over a period of four years, delved into the history of the Pakistani occupation of their state. They realised that Pakistan and not India had attacked and is responsible for the breakup of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The great leap in social infrastructure development in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of article 370 has opened their eyes to the fact that Pakistan has not spent a single paisa for the development of PoK. On the contrary, Pakistan has looted their natural resources and stolen their water.
The regular broadcast of Radio Himalaya news, for more than 5 years now, has also played a significant role in making the youth of PoK and occupied Gilgit-Baltistan realise the reality and the gravity of the conflict between Pakistan and India that has been a constant source of strengthening the Pakistan army and its states hold on their territory.
Scores of universities and colleges in PoK are running regular clandestine study groups where the history of the conflict is being revisited.
Time is running out since the IJT has millions of rupees of funds available to run their affairs and are armed whilst on the other hand the pro-India and anti-Pakistan forces in the PoK are kind of penniless and lack the organisational infrastructure to give the IJT a daring fight back.
Only time will tell what would transpire but at the moment the facts on the ground do not seem to favour the forces who are fighting for the reunification of PoK and occupied Gilgit-Baltistan with India.
Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza is an author and a human rights activist from Mirpur in PoK. He currently lives in exile in the UK. (ANI)