Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has appealed to Kashmiris to celebrate August 14 - the day Pakistan was founded - while observing August 15, India's Independence Day, as a "black day". At the height of the recent spiral of violence that began in mid-June in the Valley and so far has claimed 50 lives, Geelani showed his preference for Pakistan over India. The Hurriyat chief said that there was little or 'no room for the third option of independence' and that Kashmiris would have to choose between India and Pakistan. Geelani's own choice was clear: he would opt for Pakistan. Dismissing Geelani as an obvious mouthpiece for Islamabad, Indian analysts have said that, thanks to the stringent counter-measures taken by New Delhi, Pakistan had been forced to modify its earlier strategy of cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and instead resort to fomenting mass demonstrations in the Valley. When security forces fired at stone-throwing protesters, they exposed New Delhi to the charge of human rights abuse. Pakistan's game plan seems to be to orchestrate such confrontations till Barack Obama's India visit in November, thus compromising New Delhi's Kashmir policy in the eyes of the international community. That innocent people, including women and children, have been killed as a result is unlikely to trouble Islamabad's conscience. Or, for that matter, the conscience of its loyal supporter, Syed Geelani. The reasons behind the Hurriyat chief's espousal of Pakistan - at any cost - are clear to see. Under Indian rule, Kashmir has long been under army occupation, with the inevitable loss of civil liberties that this entails. Under Pakistani rule, liberated Kashmir will not be singled out for such discriminatory treatment. For the simple reason that not just Kashmir but all of Pakistan will be - as it always has been, since inception - under de facto military rule, flirtations with cosmetic democracy notwithstanding. Pakistan has long realised that democracy is a delicate plant, susceptible to many blights such as rigged polls and sectarian politics, ills which have plagued India's Kashmir. Pakistan-occupied Kashmir - or Azad Kashmir as it calls itself - has never had to suffer such afflictions because Islamabad very prudently has never introduced democracy to its pure and unpolluted soil. No democracy, no rigged elections, or political infighting. That's what the 'Azad' in Azad Kashmir means - azadi from the diseases of democracy. Then take education and employment opportunities. After all these years, New Delhi has failed to set up a single IIT, or IIM, or any such educational institution in the Valley. The result has been that Kashmiri youth are often ill-equipped to find desirable jobs and make rewarding careers for themselves in an increasingly competitive world. Pakistan, on the other hand, has an enviable track record of establishing specialised training institutions all over the country, including in Azad Kashmir. These state-sponsored institutions impart practical and theoretical training to young people of both genders to pursue careers in what many claim is the fastest growing industry in the world today: terrorism. Pakistan is acknowledged to be the world leader in the global promotion of an industry which guarantees young people a necessarily brief but fulfilling career, with retirement benefits that include a one-way ticket to Paradise. It is for these and similarly compelling reasons that Geelani and his followers want to align with Pakistan. However, if they do so, they'll lose out on one score. Kashmir has always been famed for its wool, which goes into the making of its world-renowned shawls and carpets. If it does ever side with Pakistan, Kashmir stands to lose the wool: the wool that Islamabad has successfully pulled all these years over the eyes of Kashmiris like Syed Geelani.