Back in 1999, at the very beginning of the Kargil crisis, this is what sensible, pro-democracy, anti-extremist Ayaz Amir had to say about the Kargil fighters:
SETTING aside the threat of war, it is instructive and not a little inspiring to consider the courage and skill of the fighters who are challenging the might of the Indian army and air force along the cruel heights of Drass and Kargil in Indian-held Kashmir. Risking a battle in which the chances of death outweigh those of remaining alive requires motivation of a high order. Whatever the Indian side may say, these fighters have a better right than most to call themselves mujahideen, those who fight in the way of Allah.
Whether any or most of these fighters acquired their combat skills in Afghanistan is a matter of detail. What is important is that their spiritual outlook has been shaped by the Afghan experience which they, and a goodly part of the religious and military establishment in Pakistan, considers to have been a true jehad. It was the spirit of jehad which drove the Soviet army from Afghanistan. It is the spirit of jehad which can drive the Indian army from Kashmir. The various schools who subscribe to this thinking consider it an article of faith that the seeds of the break-up of the Soviet Union were sown in Afghanistan. Might not the same happen in Kashmir with similar consequences for India?
And in the same column, this absolute gem:
How can the liberation of Kashmir by force of arms be considered an unjust cause? But it does mean that if we are to sustain this policy it must become the common property not only of madrassa students, great as their contribution is, but of all Pakistanis, including those from the affluent classes. Why must only the poor go to Kargil? Why not others? Who provides the volunteers for such organizations as Lashkar-I-Tayyaba, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, etc? Is mainstream Pakistan represented in them? If not, this represents a serious fissure in society, a divide which has affected our polity already – by weakening the foundations of democracy and giving free rein to social extremism and bigotry – and which can be expected to affect it more as time passes.
There is another contradiction brought to the fore by the spirit of jehad in Kashmir. Can righteous wars be waged by corrupt emperors? Let us liberate Kashmir by all means but let us first look within ourselves a bit. Blundering leaders have taken the country to disaster before. The people of Pakistan deserve better than to be led into further disasters by a ruling coterie which does not pay taxes, defaults on loans, amasses flats in London and uses power for personal enrichment.
Let us, therefore, have the sense to decide what we want. If a liberation war in Kashmir, so be it. But let us break our begging bowl first.
And in those quotes we have Ayaz Amir’s entire, forever-dissatisfied worldview in which the brave freedom fighters are the heroes, the affluent class (which includes our generals) with the begging bowl to the West is to be despised, and the connection between the two is to be to ignored.