Monday, 21 April 2014

If I am attacked, Dr Shabir Choudhry

If I am attacked, Dr Shabir Choudhry    21 April 2014

While talking to journalists before flying to Azad Kashmir via Islamabad, Dr Shabir Choudhry said, ‘I sincerely and honestly believe that Jihadi groups and the Pakistani agencies have done enormous damage to the cause of Kashmir; and because of this I have systematically and consistently opposed them, and exposed their designs on Jammu and Kashmir. In order to expose them I have written many books, articles, made public speeches, talked in the TV shows, TV interviews, and have exposed them in the UN Human Rights Sessions in Geneva’.

‘As a result of my campaign I have been getting threats and personal abuses by unknown people; or people with fake IDs on social media. These people pretended to be Kashmiris who wanted to join Pakistan, or who promoted militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. Some of them claimed that Jihad was the only solution to the Kashmir dispute, and clearly said that people with my views – who promote secular, liberal and united and independent Jammu and Kashmir, must be silenced’.

On many occasions I was called a ‘Kaffir’ and warned that if I put my ‘foot on any part of Jammu and Kashmir State, they will eliminate me’.

In view of these threats I avoided going to so called Azad Kashmir and Pakistan; and when I had to visit, I avoided addressing public meetings. But that meant giving in to the threats of these thugs and terrorists. I don’t want them to get this pleasure that they can intimidate me and the civilised society by use of gun.

So I am defying their threats and have decided to travel to Azad Kashmir and Pakistan, where I will address public meetings; and again in a place like Muzaffarabad which has offices of many jihadi groups and where Pakistani secret agencies are very active. I am going there to promote a peaceful struggle for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, and advance the cause of democracy, equality and fundamental human rights for all. Occupiers and oppressors need to be reminded that you cannot silence our voices, and our struggle will continue.

My struggle is against forces of occupation, terrorism, extremism, violence and intolerance; and no matter what, my struggle will continue. However, if I am attacked during my visit to Azad Kashmir and Pakistan or even in Britain the Jihadi groups like LeT and Jaish, and the ISI section that deals with the Kashmir will be responsible for this attack.

Dr Shabir Choudhry, leader of Kashmir National Party, writer, author, TV anchor and human rights activist.    
Drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com
During my stay in Azad Kashmir my phone will be: 0092 (0) 341 053 3076


Sunday, 20 April 2014

”Islamic Republic of Pakistan” Should be renamed as “People’s Republic of Pakistan”, by Shah A Siddiqui

”Islamic Republic of Pakistan” Should be renamed as “People’s Republic of Pakistan”, by Shah A Siddiqui
It is a shame for Pakistanis to keep the name of the country  on the ground of “Islam” and also there is no need to apron string the ‘Islamic’ with the country’s name. Simple “Pakistan” or  “People’s Republic of Pakistan” is very appropriate according to the ongoing pity situation of the country. Is there any logic to keep the name “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” and humiliate the religion.  In that respect there are several Muslim countries in the world who could be  better Muslims than us and better governance are being carried out, but they are not using the religion with their country’s name.
There are 57 countries in the world who are Muslims by the Muslim population, but they did not choose the string of Islam with their country’s name. What went amiss with the leaders of Pakistan that they are humiliating the Islam since last 67 years in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Are the leaders performing their responsibilities according to the constitution of Pakistan and Islamic Shariah? Our nation had been adjudged the most corrupt state in the list of 97 countries and stands at 7th ranking, should we proud for being a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?
Each and every political leader of this state is corrupt, except a few.  Ripping off the country’s economy, looting the wealth and filling their suitcases with money out of the pocket of poor countrymen. Is this Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where the Imam masjid rapes the innocent young girls and boys in their ‘hujras’ and ‘madrasas’ where the poor parents sends  their children to get an Islamic education.
This is Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where the Baloch leader and a member of the parliament support the killing of seven women by burying them alive. Should we proud to be a citizen of the ‘Islamic’ Republic of Pakistan, where Muslims of different faction slaughtering each other every day in the name of Islam.
Is that Islamic Republic, where the minorities have no freedom to live their live according to Islamic teachings and their churches, temples are being put on fire and their houses are being burnt. Same with Ahmadi minority, facing the persecution and being killed by their fellow Muslim citizen.
Does Islam permits you to celebrate cultural shows and musical evenings when the one part of the country suffering from drought and people are dying due to hunger, unavailability of clean water  and health care? So far, more than 250 people died, including 70 children in a village Thar in Sindh province. Hazrat Umar was not
sleeping at night time and he uses to travel around the city to recover out if any inhabitant is sleeping without taking his meal. Pity on those leaders who claims to be a Muslim and posses a high seat in the society but acting anti Islamic way. The Parliamentarian amended the constitution and made article 62 & 63 workable, but the leaders made fun of its own rules and trashed these articles during general election held in 2013.
Did the father of the nation Hazrat Quaide Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah ever mentioned in his speeches during his struggle to achieve a country for Indian Muslims to be an Islamic country? Never. He was interested to take a separate sovereign  state  on the basis of two nation theory, but he clearly referred in his addresses and writings that the country Pakistan will also be a land for those non-Muslims who desire to dwell with serenity and self-respect.
Quaid e Azam had clearly outlined his vision of Pakistan in an address to the constituent, delivered on 11 August 1947.He spoke of an inclusive and impartial government, religious freedom, rule of law and equality for all. Where are the Pakistani Muslims now, are they respecting the vision of their assemply Father of the Nation. How this nation can respect Quaide e Azam’s vision when they have no self respect and have no respect, even as a Muslim, for the teaching of the Quran and the Sunnah.
 Is that Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where the mausoleum of their Father of the Nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah had been changed into  an  hourly rented  “Prostitution room” by the local management and when it was brought out by a local TV anchor, no action was taken against those culprits. Where the morality stands of these Pakistani citizens of the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”
The Pakistani nation is trying to pose as a fundamental, principled and honest Muslims, where they go to the mosque five times a day for prayers and every day a new mosque being built at the corner of each mohallah but the heart and minds of those Muslims are being more polluted with  sins, where 3 months baby girl  is not being spared to rape and 9 month baby boy get arrested in a murder incident , Is it not an insanity of a corrupt Muslim society.?
There are hundred of thousands of reasons to condemn the use of Islam for the country. Just look around the world and see the Muslims, who are the citizen of their country like Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, UAE, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and many more, as I said there are about 57 Muslim countries in the world but only one crazy Muslim country we can see in the globe whose terminology towards Islam is just opposite. These 57 states are not labeling Islam to prove that they are Muslims, but ‘Alhamdu Lillah’ the people and the government are better than us and they are in the airstream of the development according to the advanced universe. We take in examples of Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, UAE and Brunei.
Bribery, kidnapping for ransom, robbery and killing  in broad daylight in front of law enforcement agencies is very common. Our government has failed to control the law and order in the country. Talibans are spreading every where in the country and killing people but the security forces are paralysed.
These countries I have mentioned are Muslim nations, but there is one more country in the world who is not a Muslim country and their formation is founded on freedom  of all forms, it is the United States of America, thousand times better than any so-called Islamic state. In the USA I can go to mosque without fear of bombing, with freedom of religious activities, freedom of speech and above all the Masses are most humble and kind. The people of Pakistan and the leaders of Pakistan always curses to the USA but they are also dying for coming to enjoy the freedom and clean water, clean food and welfare society and education. USA is not a Muslim nation, but its organic law and government are tolerant and always their heart is receptive to take anybody from any religion or country, Every religion is free to perform his rituals and worships in the USA. Can a Pakistani citizen feel free to do all these, if he is not a Muslim  and even if one is Muslim by different faith will face hardship and persecution to perform his rituals. Sunnis will kill to Shia, Barelvi will kill to Deobandi. In the United States everyone is free to perform his religious ritual and festivities and this is what Islam teaches us. This country is more Islamic than Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the most sacred place in the world. In KSA not a single person can overstay beyond his visa regardless of your religious affiliation, but in America one can enter legally, illegally, the person just got in a shelter and get all facilities what a human being needs, from food to health care and education. Is this gesture, not more than Islamic countries. So it is not necessary to keep a ‘dum Challah’ of Islam with the name of Pakistan.
70 percent leaders does not pay the tax, they steal electricity, they steal gas, they steal water for their luxury castles and their mills and factories. The poor honest citizen suffers for their bad deeds. The leaders take Millions of rupees as a loan and later they get waived their loans, is this the teaching of Islam?.  I will not hesitate to blame the general public also, who are not pious or chaste either. The responsibility goes to the common men also. They are not taking any interest to uplift their life style and control the corruption in the society. I know In Karachi and Lahore and many other big cities, people steal electricity by a hook from the main line and they steal gas also. Most of the restaurant owners steals gas and water by bribing the City officials.
The country should be free like it was early 70’s before the corrupt Kath Mullahs hijacked the country in the name of Islam and running their notorious business and ripping of the country. Before Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto’s era, Islam was not alive in Pakistan or people were not allowed to go to mosque in that free society? There use to be celebration of Miladun Nabi and Majalise Aza, and Procession of 10th Muharram, everywhere without any fear. Muslims, Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus all were living in peace and in an environment of brotherhood. Every Muslim has his own responsibility for his good deed ad bad deed, if he goes to the bar to drink alcohol or he goes to the night club to enjoy his evening, he himself is answerable to God.
Still, when Talibanization is going on in Pakistan, there is alcohol, female prostitution, male prostitution, Qahba Khana everything is running but underground which is open to everyone. When the Talibanization is on the top, in Pakistan the “Male Prostitution “ is equally growing with the Islamization. There are hundreds of stories in the media that Talibans are using and molesting young, handsome boys during their training as a suicide bomber. Where the Islam is?
The responsibility goes to the Pakistani citizens who are posing like an extreme Muslim and the other side they are more dirty from inside. Being a Muslim they are feeding their own citizens  the dead meat of donkeys, dogs, horse and dead chickens beside their regular 5 time prayers.
The system will not be cleaned until the people get himself clean, and honest. The country needs to clean and reforms the system in Police department and Judicial and bring them to justice, specially  the Judges like Choudhry Iftikhar, should not be spared to live a free  lavish life in the bullet proof car provided by the government. He was the Chief Justice of Pakistan and was a most corrupt Judge in the judicial history. If the Judge and police are corrupt in the society,  you cannot bring welfare in the nation.
It is, therefore, my humble request to the corrupt leaders of Pakistan to stop insulting and humiliating ‘Islam’ and change the name of the land and keep it simple “Pakistan” or “People’s Republic of Pakistan”. A bunch of states in the universe has changed their state names in the past years and I am certain it will not harm Islam or Muslims, but at least by our characters and behaviors the name of ‘Islam’ will be relieved to be insulted or humiliated.

To: dallaspakistanis@yahoogroups.com; pakistaniamericans@yahoogroups.com; american_pakistani@yahoogroups.com
From: 
shah.usa@hotmail.com
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 Subject: Dallas Pakistanis :: Islamic Republic of Pakistan” Should be renamed.

Suspension of Gilgit-Pindi bus service threatened

Suspension of Gilgit-Pindi bus service threatened
By Our Correspondent  Published: April 20, 2014
At least 30 buses are escorted together from Gilgit to Rawalpindi and made to stop at several check posts. PHOTO: EXPRESS/ FILE

GILGIT:
Office bearers of the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Transport Association and Kohistan Transport Association (KTA) on Saturday threatened to suspend the bus service between G-B and Rawalpindi over their disapproval of the ‘convoy system’.

At least 30 buses are escorted together on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) from Gilgit to Rawalpindi and made to stop at several check posts for clearance. As a result, people travelling on passenger buses have to travel for at least 26 hours instead of 13 to reach Rawalpindi from Gilgit.

The system was introduced as part of official security measures following terrorist attacks on the KKH in 2011-12, when selected passengers were made to disembark and were then shot dead on the strategic highway.

In case transporters go through with their threat, the plight of passengers will be exacerbated as they will be forced to spend extra on private vehicles.

We go on strike from April 24 if the convoy system is not abolished, threatened presidents of GTBA and KTA on Saturday.

“This system has bankrupted us and is also a source of humiliation for the passengers,” said KTA President Gul Khan. “We went to every official in Gilgit, Kohistan and Peshawar but didn’t get a positive response.”

In addition, transporters said, buses are made to stop in Besham for nearly eight hours during the night owing to security risks. However, this stop is a bane for passengers as the area lacks good hotels.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2014.

Wheat subsidy protests: G-B protesters threaten to block Karakoram Highway, hold long march, GILGIT:

Wheat subsidy protests: G-B protesters threaten to block Karakoram Highway, hold long march, GILGIT:
Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) continues to be in the grip of protests after the federal government’s refusal to restore the region’s wheat subsidy.

The shutter-down strike announced by the Awami Action Committee (AAC) entered its fifth day on Saturday. The strikes were launched to pressure the government into restoring G-B’s wheat subsidy which was put in place by prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto owing to the region’s remote location and poor economy.

The AAC, an alliance of around 23 religious, nationalist and political groups formed earlier this year with the single objective of lowering wheat prices, says it will continue the strike till its demands are met.

“Our demands remain unchanged and we will call off the strike after we get written orders from the government,” said Maulana Sultan Raees, a member of the AAC’s executive body, on Saturday.

The movement has intensified in Skardu, located around 270 kilometres from Gilgit, where at least 30,000 people attended sit-ins on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Yadgar Chowk. “The people of the town are highly charged and the number of protesters keeps increasing as people pour in from the surrounding areas,” said Nisar Khan, a resident of Skardu – the second largest town of G-B after Gilgit.

“The rallies here have been witnessing huge crowds in the past three days and more people keep coming,” he said. The protests charged up further after an AAC delegation visited the town on Friday seeking mass support for the strike.

According to witnesses, people chanted slogans like “Go [chief minister] Mehdi Shah, go” as guest speakers held him responsible for the current situation.

The towns of Ghizer, Astore, Hunza and Chilas were equally disturbed as demonstrations kept routine life at bay.

In Chilas, AAC has threatened to block the Karakoram Highway from Sunday (today) to press the government further.

“There will be a long march from all the valleys towards Gilgit,” said AAC Chairman Ehsan Ali.

“We will exercise this option very soon if our demands stand unfulfilled,” he told a rally at a protest camp at Ghari Bagh on Saturday.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2014.

An open letter to UJC Supremo Syed Salah ud din

An open letter to UJC Supremo Syed Salah ud din
Respected Brother Syed Salah-ud-din Sahib Chief United-Jehad-Council (UJC)
Asalamu-Alaikum
In the absence of Shura system of Hurriyat Conference the forum fell a prey to clandestine intrigue and conspiracies of the adversaries with the result that the forum got split into three fragments. This is a stark reality to be taken notice of. I do understand that you always felt equally worried about the internal bickering of Hurriyat forum. Now it seems that fission, schism and dissension has become hallmark of Hurriyat Conference.
In such a situation it is imperative for you as the Ameer of Jehad in Kashmir to assert with your wisdom, prudence, stoicism, political acumen and resolve of a committed Mujahid to stem the rot and rectify the wrong.
All the votaries of freedom movement are interested in ensuring complete poll boycott in Kashmir to facilitate a peaceful and political settlement of Kashmir issue. Also complete boycott of these farcical and sham elections will signify and symbolize a genuine desire and aspiration of ours to avoid further bloodshed in Kashmir.
It is now time to realize importance of constituting a committee of political scientists, analysts and militant strategists of Kashmir and Pakistan. This committee will work as a permanent workshop and think-tank to facilitate early peaceful and honourable settlement of Kashmir issue.
The whole nation feels aggrieved over the flippant behaviour of the resistance leaders who matter. This is not the time for recrimination, imprecation and sarcasm and satire. It is time to show magnanimity, generosity, spirit of accommodation, reconciliation and in fact exhibition of Islamic brotherhood (akhoowat).
Dear brother, be aware of your position as the supremo of resistance movement of Kashmir. Onus for genuine assertion lies on your shoulders. You cannot afford to watch the situation like a mute spectator. The whole nation is looking at you. So muster up courage to assert like a brilliant and prudent leader of Kashmir to save Kashmiri nation from confusion, chaos, commotion and pandemonium.
Unity of thought and action should be prioritized. And this is what I emphasize as ex-chief of United Jehad Council and well wisher of this nation.
I wish you success.
Yours brotherly,Date: 20-04-2014
Muhammad Azam Inqilabi,

Ex-chief United Jehad Council (Patron JK Mahaz-e-Azadi)

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Geelani must come out with proof to substantiate his allegation: Mirwaiz ‘He has no copyright on Kashmir’s resistance movement’

Geelani must come out with proof to substantiate his allegation: Mirwaiz
‘He has no copyright on Kashmir’s resistance movement’

Srinagar, Apr 19 (KNS): Taking strong exception to the statement made by Syed Ali Geelani that emissaries of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had met some Hurriyat leaders, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) on Saturday said the allegations of Geelani need to be substantiated by him with proof of when, where and with whom this meeting took place.

“If he fails to do so and if he has any moral integrity he needs to apologize for these fabrications not to us but the nation which he is trying to mislead and among whom he is trying to create mistrust,” Mirwaiz said while addressing a press conference, according to KNS correspondent.

Mirwaiz said that time and again Geelani has been creating situations where pro freedom leaders have to prove their sincerity to the movement. “But his sincerity is above doubt it is a far granted. All else for him are guilty till they prove their innocence.”

Mirwaiz said: “Many times I, my party and people have been hurt by Mr Geelani’s  remarks wanting to create suspicion in the minds of people  but resisted responding only keeping in view the integrity and unity of the movement. But there is a limit to tolerance,” the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman maintained.

He said Geelani’s ‘fabrications and allegations’ have gone too far this time. “Our patience should not be viewed as our weakness. It is a quality inherited from my family, forefathers and my father who for the past decades have rendered innumerable sacrifices for the nation and whose sole purpose in life was safeguarding the interests of Kashmiri people.”

Mirwaiz said that he has inherited this legacy of sacrifice of patience of tolerance of faith in goodness of human being of trust of accommodation not a legacy of creating mischief suspicion and misgiving. “Does meeting people with differing or opposite views construe a sellout or insecurity towards the movement? Is it some kind of a benchmark of sincerity? We have always kept the public well informed about any and every meeting. Who can dare to sell out or compromise on the Kashmir issue especially people like us whose family has been the founders of the movement and have dedicated ourselves to the cause for the past  more than 100 years.”

Such statements vitiate the atmosphere and create and facilitate such serious situations that become the cause of physical elimination of which my family has become a target not once but twice. One fails to understand why Mr Geelani is trying to project his image before people as the most sincere, holier than other leaders and has to do so at the expense of others by trying to malign them. “Would we have doubted his sincerity if he had met Modis emissaries and not told the nation?” he asked. 

He said: “Mr Geelani has made a deliberate attempt to mislead the people of Kashmir and since 1990- he has been continuously doing so.” Mirwaiz added that Geelani is not a god father of the ongoing resistance movement of Kashmir and that no person shall be allowed to create misconception at this crucial juncture of the movement.

Clarifying that his faction of Huriyat has not met any emissary of Modi, Mirwaiz stated that whenever his amalgam held dialogue- the same was carried out openly. “Our stand is clear that Kashmir can either be resolved through the implementation of UN resolutions or through the dialogue between India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir.”

He asked: “Geelani is trying to create chaos in Kashmir and due to his irresponsible statements several Huriyat leaders have been targeted in the past. Geelani should come clear about whom he wants to get killed this time.”

He said the nation can never forgive Geelani and that before pointing fingers at anyone, he should have gone for self introspection. “He is the man who has contested Indian elections for many a times and took oath of the constitution of India.”

Mirwaiz said that almost every time Geelani uses the traditional rhetoric of ‘sell out’. “Who the hell is Geelani? He has no right to give irresponsible statements,” said Mirwaiz, adding Geelani’s questioning the relevance of Tosamaidan issue is absurd as the firing range at this meadow reflects the mindset of government of India.

Stating that Kashmir is at the state where its leadership has to take serious responsibilities and that farsightedness is the need of the hour. “Geelani sahib should not treat our patience as our weakness and we must not be compelled to come out on streets and in media as far as Mr Geelani’s approach and mindset is concerned.”

Remarking the Huriyat (G) chairman was never right in his approach and policy, Mirwaiz said that Geelani has no copyright on Kashmir’s resistance movement. “Geelani wants to be seen as the sole conscience keeper of this nation. He has to change his approach. He is always surrounded by a coterie of so called columnists who declare him right all the time and portray others with the different brush.” (KNS)

Mirwaiz knee jerk reaction unwanted, uncalled for: Hurriyat (G)
Srinagar, Apr 19 (KNS): Terming Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s press conference as a kneejerk reaction which according to it was ‘unwanted’ and ‘uncalled for, Huriyat Conference (G) Saturday stated that it has not named any leader meeting BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s emissaries.

Huriyat (G) chief spokesman Ayaz Akbar told KNS on phone that people are the best judges and the reaction of Mirwaiz is in itself self speaking.  “We are on record of not naming any person or party vis-à-vis Modi’s issue but what Mirwaiz Sahib has accused cannot be answered in the same tone.”

“We had not named any party during Geelani sahib’s press conference but now as Mirwaiz Sahib is speaking over the issue- people can decide themselves as they are the best judges.” Akbar added that Hurriyat (G) cannot cross the ‘fine line of etiquettes and morality’ by reacting harshly to Mirwaiz’s allegations.
The Hurriyat (G) also condemned the statement wherein Mirwaiz accused Geelani of preparing ground for the killing of the leaders in Kashmir. “We can have difference of ideologies but never have we believed in harming anyone nor we use the language that Mirwaiz sahib is using,” Akbar said.(KNS)


Thirty-year hostility over Siachen

Thirty-year hostility over Siachen
Alarm bells have started ringing as the thirty years of war over the Siachen have caused melting of the world’s biggest Glacier at an unusual speed, and if it dissolves towards the mid 21st Century, it would not only ravage India, Pakistan and other countries in the region, but, according to Al-Gore’s award winning documentary on global environment, it would also cause huge tsunamis to inundate and even make countries of the Gulf region to disappear. Al-Gore was the vice president in the President Clinton administration. He urged the international community to help Pakistan and India resolve the conflict and withdraw their forces from Siachen as early ass possible.
The presence of thousands of troops since 1984 has introduced pollution and melting on the glacier. Dumping of non-biodegradable waste in large quantities and the use of arms and ammunition has affected the ecosystem of the region. Findings of a survey, by Pakistan Meteorological Department in 2007, reveal that the Siachen glacier has been retreating for the past 30 years and is melting at an alarming rate. The study of satellite images shows that the glacier is retreating at a rate of about 110 meters a year and that its size has reduced by 35%.
In 2001 India laid oil pipelines about 250km long inside the glacier to supply kerosene oil and aviation fuel to the outposts from base camps. As of 2007, the temperature rise at the Siachen was estimated at 0.2-degree Celsius annually, that causes melting, avalanches, and craters in the glacier. About 1,000kg of waste is produced and dumped in glacial crevasses daily by the Indian forces. The flora and fauna of the Siachen region are also affected by the huge military presence.
The region is home to rare species like snow leopard, brown bear and ibex, which are at risk because of huge military presence. The idea of declaring the Siachen region as a “Peace Park” was basically presented by environmentalists and peace activists only to preserve the ecosystem of the region. One of the worst experiences of environmental degradation in the glaciated region has been the mammoth avalanche that hit a Pakistan Army base in Gayari on April 7, 2012, wherein 129 military personnel and 11 civilians lost their lives.
Although the “useless” presence of armies is impacting the economy of both the countries wherein Pakistan is annually spending about $60m, almost 2.35% of its army’s budget, and India is spending $0.99bn, which is 6% of its army’s budget – yet most of the casualties are weather related e.g. India suffered 4,000 from 1984 to 2013 and Pakistan 1,000. More soldiers have died in Siachen from harsh weather than from combat. Indian deployment (4,000 soldiers) is double than Pakistan’s (2,000 soldiers). Thirty years ago, on April 13, 1984, India occupied Siachen as a move to what it calls “preempt occupation by Pakistan”, an unfounded assertion that disregarded the fact that it was India, which initiated patrolling in the area as far back as 1978 when they sent a strong expedition to scale a series of peaks on either side of the glacier under a colonel nicknamed Bull Kumar. India occupied two northern passes on the Saltoro Ridge, thus began the longest undeclared war on the highest battlefield in the world – located in the eastern Karakorum range in the Himalayas north-east of the grid point NJ-9842, the Siachen Glacier is 68km long and 2-3km wide. The conflict triangle is about 1,400sq miles. Average winter snowfall is 10.5m and temperatures can dip up to -50°C.
Pakistan had de facto control up to Line NJ 9842 – Karakorum Pass (KKP) since 1947 till 1984 when India violated the Simla Agreement and captured this un-inhabited and unoccupied territory. Article 2 (2) of Simla Agreement reads: “Pending the final settlement of any of the problems between the two countries, neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation.” Pakistan’s control on these areas was accepted by the Indian leadership in the past. Jawaharlal Nehru’s address to the Indian Parliament on May 7, 1962, acknowledged Pakistan’s de facto control up to KKP: “The defence of which is under the actual control of Pakistan.” Acceptance of Pakistan’s control by India is also evident due to the non-delineation or demarcation demand of the LoC beyond point NJ 9842 after the Tashkent (1966) and Simla (1972) agreements. Authorization of as many as 21 mountaineering expeditions in the area by Pakistan from 1974 to 1984 is yet another proof of Pakistan’s control over the area.
Pakistan has on a number of occasions tried to conduct talks and resolve the matter with India but Indian stubbornness on achieving an agreement on its own terms has produced no results. Pakistan wants both sides to pull back to the positions they held more than 20 years ago before India occupied most of the ice field. India agrees but says the withdrawal should be preceded by marking the current position of the two forces. An understanding reached between the two countries during the talks to disengage in 1989 and 1992 but peace could not materialize, thanks to Indian insistence on authentication of actual ground position line (AGPL) along Saltoro Ridge before disengagement and Pakistan’s refusal to give in on any condition which alters the status of the area.
Why Pakistan cannot authenticate these positions is that it would be tantamount to authenticating Indian aggression in 1984 and elsewhere later.
Thus, Indian Army is a stumbling block to a negotiated settlement. Pakistan is willing to show flexibility and solve the issue despite the fact that it has the superior strategic orientation because India operates on exterior lines and is at verge of its culminating point being at the optimum distance from its logistic basis with virtually no communication infrastructure; less the aerial route to support it. Pakistan will be willing to go to any length to make peace dream come true, short of legitimizing India’s violation of the Simla Agreement.
Indians can draw strength from disengagement precedents and processes at the Chumik Glacier in 1989, Kargil in 1999, and the ceasefire in force since November 25 2003, rather than succumbing to the apparent trust deficit and play in the hands of forces (Indian army and extremist Hindu political leadership) bent to disrupt the march towards peace.
It is evident that Indian government and their army are not on the same page on the issue. If the successive governments have been trying to resolve the issue, the army has always been opposing peace initiatives. Scholars and environmentalists around the world, including those from India, suggest that sanity should prevail, sooner the better, and Siachen must emerge as a Peace Zone from a War Zone. If both are able to reach an agreement to disengage from Siachen, the money saved can be spent on human security and development. The same budget can be used for the uplift of the conflict-hit areas.
The writer is PhD scholar (Peace & Conflict Studies) and author of “Human Security in Pakistan” book published in 2013.