Sunday, 23 October 2016
Memorandum presented to Nawaz Sharif Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan on Black Day London 23 October 2016
Dear brother in Islam, Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan may Allah’s mercy be on you.
1. Whereas, as you know, Islam associates great importance on honouring agreements; it is sad to note that Islamic Republic of Pakistan openly and aggressively violated the Standstill Agreement which the Maharaja Hari Singh, as an independent Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir State concluded with Pakistan. Almighty Allah commands:
‘Oh people of faith, honour your pledges’. 1
2. Whilst Islam rightly attaches great importance on saving human life and saving dignity of women and old, it pains me to point out that those who attacked our motherland – Jammu and Kashmir on 22 October 1947, looted and plundered our cities, villages and killed innocent people, burnt our shops and houses, kidnapped women and raped them. It adds to our suffering that all this was done in name of Islam and jihad.
We are sure you know Islam says: If you kill one innocent human being that is as if you have killed the entire humanity. During this unprovoked aggression which was designed to capture Kashmir, tens of thousands of innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir were mercilessly butchered; even women and old were not spared.
We wonder who will be held responsible for all these killings, rapes, kidnappings and forced conversions on the Day of Judgement. Our beloved Prophet Mohammed Peace Be Upon Him commanded:
‘Do not break your pledges, do not mutilate dead bodies, and do not kill children’. 2
3. Although Islam says respect rights of neighbours, however, we sadly note that our Muslim neighbour, contrary to the teaching of Islam and civilised behaviour, has always exploited us, abused us, created problems for us, curbed our fundamental rights; and initiated such policies that aggravated the already bad situation and added to our misery and suffering.
4. Being strongly of the opinion that all our current problems are related to that unwise and unwarranted attack of 22 October 1947; as it forcibly divided our State and we suffer on the both sides of the divide. Our land became a battleground for competing interests of our mighty neighbours, namely India, Pakistan and China, in which we suffer.
5. Note with regret that, despite our suffering and a great human and economic loss of Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir and India, Pakistan has not abandoned its obsession to capture Kashmir by force.
6. Urge you to reconsider rationale of this policy which is imperialist in nature. If you are a true well-wisher of people of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir, then please stop export of extremism, terrorism, religious intolerance and hatred to areas of Jammu and Kashmir State; and grant fundamental rights to the people which live under your control in so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
7. Request you to revisit teaching of Islam with regard to equality and fairness. If still you feel we are not equal to you, citizens of Pakistan, then, at least, consider us human beings and let us live with honour and dignity. Unite both areas of Jammu and Kashmir State; and let us be masters of our land and resources.
We look forward to hearing a positive reply from you.
1. Holy Quran, Sura Almahida, section 1
2. Hadees narrated by Hazrat Buraydah in Muslim Shareef and quoted in Islam and sanctity of Human Life, page 9
People from Jammu, Srinagar and various parts of Pakistani Administered Kashmir participated in the demonstration.
Representatives of the following parties signed the memorandum:
Organisation Name signature
1/ Kashmir National Party Abbas Butt
2/ JKLF Nazam Bhatti
3/ UKPNP Zulfqar Khan
4/JKPNP Tahir Bostan
5/Friends of JK Ejaz Pracha
6/ Voice of Jammu Yogish Sharma
Issued by Dr Shabir Choudhry: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, 21 October 2016
Why is Pakistan letting itself Colonised by China?
21 October 2016
International Monetary Fund's latest warning on CPEC has sent ripples in Pakistan's political class. Soon after the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s assessment on CPEC, lawmakers from the upper house of Pakistan expressed fear that the CPEC could turn into another East India Company if the country's interests were not actively protected.
Last year in April, Chinese President Xi Jinping rolled out his most ambitious project China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with the initial investment of 46 billion-dollar. The CPEC investment is one of China's biggest ever outside the country.
Soon after the announcement, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the $46 billion CPEC would be a "game-changer" for the country as well as for the entire South Asia region. Sharif's statement underlines the geopolitical significance of this project not only for Pakistan but also for the South Asian giant.
But, the first real assessment by an international financial global organization has raised serious doubts about the long-term impact of the Chinese investment in Pakistani economy. IMF has warned in its latest report that the repayment obligations that come with the investment will be serious for the country.
Moreover, Beijing stands to gain more as the CPEC will essentially make it easier for China to import oil, gas and other resources from Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran via the port and an extensive land route in Pakistan.
However, Pakistan has got its own share of problems that will force Nawaz Sharif to walkover the IMF's warning and look forward to the Chinese investment. Here's why:
As per the State Bank of Pakistan, country's total foreign debt and liabilities has piled up to Rs 74 trillion, which is a record high in the history of Pakistan. Till 2013, the total debt of the country stood at $61.9 billion, which was the first financial year of Nawaz Sharif's government.
Pakistan badly needs huge foreign investment as the current situation is quite disappointing. The State Bank of Pakistan statistics showed that country's overall foreign private investment (FPI) plunged by 55 per cent to $405.5 million during July-February 2015-16 from $898.3 million in the same period last year.
This drastic decline was due to a massive outflow of $345 million from the equity market during the period. Nawaz Sharif knows that terrorism has severely affected country's prospects of foreign investment. And in such turbulent time, he is in no position to back off from the 46 billion-dollar project which is three times the total FDI Pakistan has got in the last decade.
India's Rise ::
Pakistan's relations with the United States has virtually ebbed over a period of last one decade. And, during the same period India's economy has done fairly well. Last year, India replaced China as the fastest growing major economy in the world.
According to Delhi's Central Statistics Office, India's economic growth is now expected to hit the high of 7.6 per cent in year 2016. India's last year's quarterly growth was in line with expectations at 7.3 per cent which outstripped China's 6.9 per cent.
All troubles aside, India's economic growth could be the most worrying factor. India is one of the biggest purchasers of arms in the world and Pakistan will be deeply worried with its neighbour's military prowess exceeding its own. China also sees partnering with Pakistan as an effective strategy to counter India's rise in the region.
"Much of what we have seen in the strengthened China-Pakistan alignment in the last decade is a reaction to the rise of India. China's move to invest in Pakistan has been purely geopolitical and it's policy has been driven by power political criteria," writes Andrew Small in his book - The China-Pakistan Axis.
Pakistan has also been gripped by severe energy crisis for some years with parts of the country facing acute electricity shortage. In most of the places electricity cut goes for up to 20 hours a day. The country has an installed electricity capacity of 22,797 megawatts (MW), but production stands at a dismal 12,000 MW. China has announced $34.4 billion for power projects in Pakistan.
What is more serious of all is acute poverty in Pakistan. A little less than half the population of Pakistan comes under poverty line. At least four out of 10 Pakistanis are living in acute poverty with the population of Balochistan faring the worst among the provinces. Pakistan's first-ever official report on multidimensional poverty states that 38.8 per cent of Pakistan's population lives in poverty. A majority of the rural population 54.6 per cent lives in acute poverty.
Monday, 17 October 2016
ISIS leaders look to Pakistan for refuge
By MADHAV NALAPAT 15 October, 2016
Several serving and retired Pakistan army officers are in West Asia, training the fighters of ISIS and other like-minded organisations.
More than 300 serving officers of the Pakistan army and over 2,000 retired officers have in the past been, or are in, West Asia, “training fighters of ISIS and other like-minded organisations” in their war against the governments of Iraq and Syria, claim analysts working exclusively on tracking that particular complex of terror organisations. They say that “elements (of the Pakistan army) are taking leave and going under assumed identities to Iraq and Syria to conduct such training”.
In the past, such activities also took place in Jordan, Turkey and Qatar, but over the past year, Amman, Doha and Ankara have become wary of groups of fighters, who, for long, were using their territories for training and recuperation. Training is given “in the handling of communications equipment, interception of signals and the handling of explosives”.
The analysts spoken to claim that “more than money, it is ideological fervour that is motivating such Pakistani volunteers” and that assistance to ISIS is taking place “despite opposition from a few senior officers in the military”, who, however, have so far declined to punish the volunteers (training ISIS, Al Nusra and other such groups) “for fear of sparking a revolt in their ranks, where hundreds of officers and tens of thousands of other ranks are sympathetic to ISIS”. Hence, it has not been a surprise that almost all recent attacks by ISIS-affiliated “lone wolves” have had a Pakistan connection. An example is the recent terror attack in New York and New Jersey during the week after the anniversary of 9/11.
Oddly, the United Nations Security Council has yet to take up and get implemented India’s two decades-old proposal for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, although it is hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi will be able to get the UN leadership to agree to ratify this essential legal move in the battle against terror.
Despite efforts by the Barack Obama administration and its regional allies to slow down the Syria-Iran-Russia advance against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the takeover of Aleppo by the troika is calculated to take place by mid-November. Alarmed at the advance of the Iraqi army and the irregulars backing its thrust into Mosul, President Recip Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is “seeking a Jarabalus” in Mosul. In that Syrian town, ISIS fighters switched their label to become “moderate opposition fighters” and are now protected by the Turkish army. In that garb, they expect to recuperate from recent losses and get back into the battlefield against the US and its European allies, the way the Taliban did in Afghanistan just two years after getting rescued by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) wing of the Pakistan army in Kunduz and other locations in 2001. Over the past five months, and now in his final days in office, President Obama has once again handed over the keys of foreign policy to Hillary Clinton, who through Secretary of State John Kerry is following a policy of seeing the Damascus-Moscow-Tehran combination as a bigger immediate threat to US than ISIS and other jihadi groups operating in the region. This is despite the spread of these organisations into Europe and North America. Preparatory to a US military challenge to Moscow and Tehran in Syria, following an expected victory by the Democratic Party nominee in the 8 November 2016 Presidential elections, a demonisation of Russia and of Vladimir Putin has begun through the media. The expectation is that as President, Hillary Clinton will be able to get even a Republican-controlled House of Representatives as well as the US Senate on her side, should there be actual combat on a limited scale between the US and Russian militaries in a regional theatre that has witnessed bloodshed on a scale not seen since the Vietnam War. Such a conflict between Russia and the US could escalate in such a manner as to provide an escape hatch for elements of the ISIS leadership, which is facing the loss of territorial outposts in Iraq and Syria because of Iran, Syria, Iraq and Russia together with a strong and largely separate showing by the Kurds, despite the relative lack of assistance given to these fighters by the Obama administration, which is very respectful of the views of Doha, Riyadh and Ankara in such matters.
However, those tracking the activities of ISIS in Iraq and Syria say that the organisation is still nervous of a “November Upset” in the US elections that would bring Donald J. Trump into the White House. The Republican Party nominee has publicly endorsed a strategy of going along with Iran and Syria to battle ISIS. Taking a view from history, those such as John Kerry who see the troika fighting ISIS as the primary foe, may be compared to British and French leaders in the 1930s who saw Adolf Hitler as a lesser evil than Joseph Stalin, while Trump may be compared to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who from the start of his tenure in office saw Hitler as the main foe and was willing to ally with (and assist) Moscow in its battle against Nazified Berlin. Contrary to the views expressed in US media, it is Trump and not Clinton that ISIS and Al Nusra fear, given the Republican nominee’s persistence in placing ISIS at the core of US security threats, rather than Moscow and Tehran, the way the Clinton team does. Trump has also distanced himself from the soft line of both the Bush and Obama administrations on Pakistan, with “action” thus far against that country’s terror factories being largely limited to words designed to soothe policymakers in Delhi and excite the media in India into reporting that Washington has finally “gone against” Islamabad.
Washington’s longstanding softness towards Pakistan is despite the fact that numerous terror groups are based in Pakistan and have the protection of the Pakistan army. These include Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tehreek-e-Jafferia, Al Qaeda, Siphah-e-Sahaba, Al Badr, Harkat-ul-Ansar, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi and the Jamaat Al Fuqra. National Security Advisor of Pakistan, Sartaz Aziz has himself admitted that terrorists (mainly from Afghanistan) “by 2007-08 had covered most of the tribal areas. They killed the tribal leaders, then they started establishing their communications networks, IED factories, suicide training centres.” According to Aziz, during the past 15 years, Pakistan has lost more than $100 billion as well as the lives of over 10,000 security personnel. However, the fact is that not just the civilian leadership of Pakistan but the military as well, which is unable to act against such activities in an all out manner, because of the fact that since 1979, “mujahids” were openly trained in Pakistan for the Afghanistan and later the India theatre. From 1989 onwards, the cadre which later became known as the Taliban, began to get trained by the ISI in camps in Pakistan, mainly in the North West Frontier Province as well as in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Given the toxicity associated with ISIS, in a (for that organisation) worst case scenario for it, such as the wresting from it of Mosul, Aleppo and afterwards Raqa, it is likely that a “Turkish solution” will be found for its dilemma, in that much of its cadre would, for the record, switch their allegiance to the so-called “moderate fighting forces” that in reality are (besides the Kurds) little other than ISIS and Al Nusra elements in disguise. Analysts warn than elements in the Pakistan army, who subscribe to the ideology of ISIS, are “busy locating places in Pakistan that can be used to shelter leadership elements of ISIS”, the way Osama bin Laden was protected by the military in Pakistan since his escape from Afghanistan after 9/11 and his execution by US SEALS in 2011. “Already about 26 leadership elements of ISIS have been identified and steps are under way to get them to Pakistan through the Afghan border”, an analyst revealed, warning that India needs to “prepare for this new threat, as it is certain that the Pakistan military will make operations against India the condition for sheltering elements of the ISIS leadership” in Pakistan.
Sunday, 16 October 2016
Civil Military relations in Pakistan are no clearer, Saneela Jawad
Pakistan’s security and military policy are covered in ambiguity. The civil-military relationship has been a roller coaster ride for many years and instead of changing the policies of the country the government is not doing anything about improving its relations with its neighbouring countries that have been falling apart due to this lack of clarity.
Not only that, it has drawn criticism from allies like Afghanistan and the United States increasing the rift between the civil and military leadership threatening the long-term diplomatic strain.
Pakistan’s increasing isolation from its neighbouring countries has also shown the need for clearer policies.
Its variation between ‘good and bad Taliban’ and accusations that Pakistan supports the Haqqani Network is a direct threat to peace and stability in the region. Two years into Zarb-e-Azb, the state policy with regard to the Haqqani Network is still not clear.
Former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani while talking to DNA said that Pakistan’s security establishment has always had a certain ambiguity in its policies. Not only that, it presents its policy different to the domestic audience than it does to the rest of the world.
“Pakistan would like its people to believe that the sole threat to them comes from India and that the Pakistani military is capable of handling this threat along with its allies (in earlier years the US, now the Chinese and maybe even the Russians),” he said in an email interview.
The deteriorating ties with the US further decreased Pakistan’s importance as an ally to Washington after the US Congress debated on whether Islamabad is a friend or foe and thus, decided to decrease its economic and military aid given to Pakistan to fight ‘terrorism’.
Public opinion about Pakistan has also had an impact on policy. According to a Pew poll, only 10 percent of Americans trust Pakistan and only 22 percent of Pakistanis have a favourable view of the United States.
Similarly, Pakistan, now, is facing one of the biggest challenges ever. Ever since the purported ‘surgical strikes’ on terror camps in Azad Jammu and Kashmir launched by Indian troops, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been threatening to destroy Pakistan. Not only that, New Delhi has intimidated Islamabad with a water war.
Because of Indian lobbying, two US Congressmen have proposed a bill to have Pakistan declared a ‘terrorist state’.
“Pakistan is a nuclear state, so the US will make sure not to put it under sanctions as its necessary for the US to stay connected with Pakistan to work on nuclear non-proliferation,” said academic Qamar Cheema while talking to DNA.
“Hard sanctions are not imminent and this is not the first time that the United States is talking about declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism,” said Haqqani.
Similarly columnist and a senior politician Ayaz Amir while talking to DNA stated that sanctions are too extreme of an option.
Additionally, the tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan had earlier caused clashes among the armed forces from both sides suggesting that the relationship between the two regions is filled with disagreements.
The lack of clearer approach in policy matters as such raises questions about the government’s competence. Why hasn’t the government been able to reach a consensus on a strategy regarding counterterrorism?
“Pakistan has continuously been blamed for the US failure to pacify the situation with Afghanistan. Due to the lack of state policies Pakistan has always been put in the spotlight,” says Amir.
Kabul has repeatedly blamed Islamabad for all its woes and snubbing it in every international forum. Not only that, the Afghan government increased the transit tax on Pakistani goods by 100 per cent, which caused the transporters to go on a strike, which has created a crisis situation across borders.
Furthermore, the fact that Pakistan’s power structure is dominated by military suggests how there is little room for the civilian leadership to alter the state policy.
“You cannot blame the army for expanding their area, but in order for civilians to dominate an area of their own they need to get their priorities right,” said Ayaz.
Pakistan must develop a strategic and effective diplomacy to deal with the issues. The internal rift between the government and the civilian authority is the reason for the isolation of the country as it gives freedom to the non-state actors against whom action must be taken. In addition to that, Haqqani said, “Pakistan’s neighbours and the international community want to know why Pakistan is willing to target only some terrorist groups –the ones that wreak havoc inside Pakistan –but not others, especially those that attack in Afghanistan and India.”
Despite its success, Operation Zarb e Azb has targeted some terrorists, but only those that attack the Pakistani state.
“The Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani, that target Afghans and Americans, and the Lashkar e Taiba and Jaish e Mohammad, that target Indians, have faced no action,” Haqqani added.
This suggests that Pakistan needs to take action against all terrorist groups to end the perception about ambiguity in its views on terrorism.
Furthermore, Civilian leadership cannot afford to make essential improvements in defining what truly is best for the nation or not.
“Security and foreign policy is not in the civilian leaders’ control. The very fact that the army, which in other countries is part of the government, is spoken of in Pakistan as a separate and superior institution to the government in Pakistan tells us everything,” said Haqqani.
Lastly, the need for leadership in Pakistan to set their priorities right is very important. Not only that, the need for a realist foreign policy should not be overlooked. The idea of a civilian control should only be considered if the leadership understands what needs to be focused on.
We have to battle for our security, however, we ought not to make India the end all and be the greater part of our presence.
Monday, 10 October 2016
Maharaja Hari Singh, last Ruler of an independent Jammu and Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry 10 October 2016
I am grateful to ‘Voice of Dogras’ for inviting me to speak on the occasion of birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Ruler of an independent Jammu and Kashmir State. This function is to be held in the British Parliament on 10 October 2016.
Due to family commitments, I am unable to personally take part in this important function; however, I promised Madam Manu Khajuria, Chair of ‘Voice of Dogras’ that I will send my message in writing.
Chair, Friends and colleagues
All those who have made some contribution to history are controversial people; and Maharaja Hari Singh is no exception to this. The fact that he is a controversial figure is tantamount to acknowledging that he has made some contribution to the history of Jammu and Kashmir and the region; and which is still considered to be significant.
Critics of Maharaja Hari Singh
Maharaja Hari Singh’s critics could be characterised as follows:
1/ People of the Valley of Kashmir erroneously think they are the chosen people; and people belonging to other regions of the State of Jammu and Kashmir are inferior to them. Since Maharaja Hari Singh belonged to Jammu, they never accepted him as an equal, or even a ‘Kashmiri’, hence the Quit Kashmir Movement against the Maharaja, at a crucial time when important decisions were being made in whole of the Indian Sub Continent.
At this important juncture of history, people and the ruling elite of Jammu and Kashmir must have been on the same page to safeguard interests of the Jammu and Kashmir State; alas some political aspirants had other ideas which were detrimental to the interests of the State.
2/ Muslims of the State, in Particular Muslims of the Valley of Kashmir regarded him as a ‘biased’ Hindu Dogra; and examined his Rule from religious perspective. Most literature against the Dogra rule or Hari Singh was produced by the Muslims of the Valley which had religious and regional bias.
This literature, to a large extent, had inbuilt bias against Hari Singh and his administration; and many people of Pakistan, Pakistani occupied Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and the Kashmir Valley were and still are influenced by that literature.
3/ Other critics of Hari Singh view his administration in the light of the Western democracies of 21st century. Little they know what were the political, economic and social conditions of the people in the British India, and especially in the Princely India. All these approaches to evaluate his rule and his legacy are wrong, as they will reach wrong conclusions.
Was he a communal Ruler?
We have to analyse his rule and achievements under the prevailing political, economic and social conditions of that time. Moreover, we should examine his administration as a Ruler of a multi religious and multi ethnic State; and not as a follower of a particular religion.
He may not appear a democrat, especially if we see his rule in the light of democracy we see in Britain or in the Western Europe; but he was far ahead of other Princely Rulers of India. He was the first Ruler to grant Assembly to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Among the biggest criticism against the Maharaja Hari Singh are events which culminated in to the tragic event of 13 July 1931, in which more than 21 innocent citizens got killed and injured. And because of these events people label him as ‘anti Muslim’. His officials could have been too harsh with Muslims, and there were heavy taxes imposed on Muslims, which generated resentment and hatred against his rule, especially in 1947 when religious sentiments were running very high.
But is it not true that officials even in 21st Century democracies, at times, treat people harshly and exhibit anti certain community actions? Are we not complaining about taxes and high prices on various items used in everyday life in 21st century? In other words people always complain about inequality and unfair treatment in every society. This is not to suggest that officials of the Maharaja were pious people and they were not biased or oppressive. Muslim subjects strongly felt that they were treated unfairly and that they were burdened with heavy taxes which resulted in resentment and anti Dogra sentiments.
Anyhow, before we comment on the events in which Muslim sentiments were very seriously injured, thinking people need to see why these four incidents happened at that particular time. No one can trace any such incidents before 1930/31 or after this.
Then question arises why these events happened at that time. Why sentiments of Muslims were hurt. Can people remember there was a Round Table Conference in London in 1930? This is where the British asked the Maharaja to lease areas of Gilgit to the British that they could check the Soviet Russia’s activities from there.
As a loyal son of the soil, the Maharaja refused. The British made it apparent that they did not like this rather rebellious attitude of the Maharaja Hari Singh; and that there would be a political price for this.
At that time Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir was a British gentleman called Mr Wakefield. His services could be utilized to teach Hari Singh a lesson, hence four communal incidents in which Muslim sentiments were very profoundly hurt. Colonel Tej K Tikoo, commented in the following words:
‘Clipping the Maharaja’s wings would serve their immediate purpose. Besides, it would serve its other strategic purpose; coerce him to submit to the British demand for lease of Gilgit, the all important strategic outpost in the Great Game.’ The Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Wakefield, ‘was ideally placed to implement the conspiracy on the ground’. 1 It looks he completed his task effectively.
These communal events, bad and undesirable as they were, were orchestrated systematically to inflame religious passions of Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir and in the British India. They held the Maharaja Hari Singh responsible for these communal events, and were determined to overthrow him. In this struggle, Muslims of Punjab were supporting them.
It is true, the Muslims were politically suppressed and economically strangled, but was that not the case in the rest of India too; and there were other reasons why they were behind, one reason was their refusal to learn English and lack of cooperation with the British who were, at that time, masters of India.
Abdul Qadeer was an employee of an English army officer, who was on holiday in Kashmir, staying in a house boat in the Nasim Bagh. When the Muslims were killed as a result of firing, and their passions were running very high. When the crowd was emotionally charged, out of nowhere, Abdul Qadeer Khan appeared on the scene and delivered a powerful speech to inflame passions of the Kashmiri Muslims. He said:
‘Muslim brethren! The time has now come when we should meet force by greater force to put an end to the tyrannies and brutalities to which you are subjected; nor will they solve the issues of disrespect to Holy Quran to your satisfaction. You must rely upon your own strength and wage a relentless war against oppression’. Pointing his finger towards the palace, he thundered: ‘Raze it to the ground’. 2
Abdul Qadeer Khan was arrested and imprisoned, but not many people know that under the pressure of the British he was released secretly. Important point was he came, played his role brilliantly, created the chaos which the British wanted; and disappeared.
After the tragic killings of 13 July, The All India Kashmir Committee was established to support Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir and lobby the British on their behalf. They conducted a successful campaign to exert pressure on the British to intervene to stop the killing of innocent people. Due to internal and external pressure the Maharaja appointed a Commission, which was known as the Glancy Commission.
The Commission had the task of looking into the grievances of the community groups in the State, particularly the Muslims, who had serious complaints against the Government. The Maharaja also promised that once the Commission had completed its task, he would hold a conference under the chairmanship of Mr. Glancy, to consider constitutional reforms.
The Commission completed its task and presented the report on 22nd March 1932, and made 12 recommendations, of which these are the important ones:
- That certain Muslim religious shrines should be restored to Muslims;
- Complete religious liberty should be enjoyed by every class and community;
- A special inspector of Mohammedan education should be appointed and the number of Muslim teachers increased;
- All communities should receive a fair share of Government appointments;
- All vacancies should be properly advertised;
- There should be decentralised power so that ministers could function properly;
- Certain taxes should be abolished and industrial development should receive the urgent attention of the Government.
In my opinion Hari Singh was a true nationalist. His vision and care for his subjects could be seen from the fact that in order to protect interests of his subjects he introduced State Subject Laws in 1927, that no non Kashmiri can buy any land in Jammu and Kashmir.
It is sad to note that whereas, India, by and large, has respected State Subject Laws, Pakistan has openly contravened these laws, especially in Gilgit Baltistan where tens of thousands of Pakistanis have settled; and a large areas of the region are leased to rich Pakistanis who are plundering our natural resources.
He exhibited statesmanship by dealing and having very tough negotiations with great and clever leaders of that time, for example, people like Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Pandit Nehru, Mahtama Gandhi, Mountbatten, and Sheikh Abdullah etc. He must have had strong nerves to put up with the pressure of Muslim League, Indian National Congress, Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, and Mountbatten who were forcing him to either accede to Pakistan or India. He did not surrender to this pressure; and as a loyal and brave son of the soil, he protected the interests of Jammu and Kashmir State; and opted to remain independent.
He wanted to preserve his independence which he gained after lapse of the British Paramountcy on 15 August 1947. As the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, he concluded a Standstill Agreement with the government of Pakistan. He also offered India a Standstill Agreement. India did not refuse to sign the Standstill Agreement; but wanted to discuss this matter further.
It must be remembered that he was the first Princely Ruler to establish the Constituent Assembly. He was gradually giving away his powers to the people and the Assembly when, Pakistan, in violation of the Standstill Agreement, attacked State of Jammu and Kashmir on 22 October 1947. If there was no tribal invasion, it was more than likely that Jammu and Kashmir would have been an independent country with a constitutional monarchy.
When he was forced by the Tribal attack to seek help from India, in his letter to Mountbatten, Governor General of an independent India he wrote: ‘so that it has become difficult to stop the wanton destruction of life and property and the looting of the Mahura power house,...The number of women who have been kidnapped and raped makes my heart bleed.... I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion... . I have accordingly decided to do so, and I attach the instrument of accession for acceptance by your Government. The other alternative is to leave my state and people to free booters. On this basis no civilised government can exist or be maintained. This alternative I will never allow to happen so long as I am the ruler of the State and I have life to defend my country...’ 3
If one impartially read these sentences, one can see his pain on the destruction and loss of life of his Subjects. No matter what was attitude of some of his officials, this letter shows he cared for his people, whether they were Muslims or non Muslims.
In my opinion, the biggest tribute to his rule is that even his Muslim critics also demand protection under the State Subject Laws, be they are in Srinagar, Jammu, and Muzaffarabad or in Gilgit. Furthermore, majority of the people seeking unification and independence of Jammu and Kashmir demand all the areas of the State of which he was the last Ruler.
1/ Kashmir: Its Aborigines and Their Exodus p 133
By Colonel Tej K Tikoo
2/ Justice Yusuf Saraf, Kashmiris Fight For Freedom, Vol. 1, p.374.
3/ Maharaja Hari Singh’s letter to Mountbatten written on 26 October 1947
Dr Shabir Choudhry
Chairman Institute of Kashmir Affairs
Writer, TV anchor and author of dozens of books on Jammu and Kashmir and India Pakistan relations.
Tel: 07790 942471
Contesting Kashmir, by Dr Niaz Murtaza.
GIVEN the ulterior agendas of global powers like the US, the UN record of resolving the status of contested domains is poor. Eritrea, Kashmir, Palestine, East Timor and Western Sahara’s fates languished at the UN for decades. Eritrea and East Timor gained freedom, not primarily due to the UN or even their freedom forces, but because their occupiers — Ethiopia and Indonesia — collapsed temporarily.
The cases of Kashmir, Palestine and Western Sahara, occupied by strong, US-allied states, remain unresolved. Other freedom drives with mixed popular support in strong states — eg in Turkey, India and Pakistan — have not even made it to the UN agenda.
But some states got freedom without ever being on the UN agenda. Nearly a dozen did so easily, but only because the ex-USSR collapsed. Bangladesh became free with the helping hand of a powerful neighbour; Kosovo only after relentless US bombing of Serbia. Showing maturity which often eludes even democracies, Sudan’s autocratic regime let South Sudan go, despite little new external pressure.
History has lessons for India and Pakistan.
This history has lessons for India and Pakistan. Those for Pakistan are immediate. No strong state has ceded land recently to its arch enemy through bilateral or multilateral talks or overt or covert war. Afghanistan’s freedom came not from the fabled bravery of the ‘mujahideen’ but USSR’s lack of emotional investment there and the creeping collapse of communism. India is a rising, not decaying, power and is emotionally invested strongly in Kashmir. Thus, the chances of India ceding Kashmir due to bilateral or multilateral talks or covert or overt war are near zero.
Yet talks are the best bet even if they do not ensure success. They allow Pakistan to escape global rebuke for and the domestic blowback from hosting militants. Decades of space for anti-India and Afghan militants has not given India-held Kashmir freedom or Pakistan strategic depth in Afghanistan against India. It has boosted India’s global portrayal of Kashmir as a terrorism case. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, it has ironically given India strategic depth against Pakistan in Afghanistan. For this, our physical and ideological defenders must be held accountable. But their accountability in Pakistan is even less than that of corrupt politicians.
We may chafe at the silence of Western democracies at Indian atrocities in Kashmir. But it may help reduce the hurt if we remember that Western powers also remained largely silent when we committed atrocities in Dhaka since we were a US ally then, as India is today. In fact, they also remain largely silent even today at atrocities in Balochistan.
But of course tens of thousands of people do not periodically take to the streets shouting “azadi, azadi” in Quetta as they do in Srinagar, making silence on Kashmir more odious. Terrorism involves killing civilians. So which is terrorism and more condemnable: the killing of 18 soldiers in Uri or the killing of 80-plus civilians elsewhere in India-held Kashmir?
The lessons for India are less immediate, yet crucial. Yes, there is little chance of it losing Kashmir soon. Yet, its Kashmir position is largely based on might-is-right rather than ethics, logic or legality. No major power accepts its position of endlessly referring to Kashmir as its integral part, not even its close regional allies Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The world still considers it disputed territory despite India’s growing global clout, reflecting the absence of even an inch of progress despite decades of Indian efforts. That principles are closer to Pakistan’s basic position on Kashmir (but not its current strategies) is refreshing for a state whose policies are so often unprincipled.
The lack of alternative views on Kashmir in more democratic India is odd. Pakistani liberals critique their country’s security policies far more openly despite greater risks here. Forget hawks, even Indian liberals argue cockily that Pakistan cannot liberate Kashmir, implicitly accepting the lack of principles in India’s position. The knee-jerk response to this jingoism is that neither can India liberate Azad Kashmir or the part controlled by China.
A more sensible response is that even if the world does not run mainly on principles, they are not entirely absent from the global political calculus. As India becomes a bigger power and more aligned with Western democracies, such an absence of principles will bite. The process can be hastened if Pakistan reins in militants, for the global focus will then be on Indian atrocities. Ironically, Pakistan itself is delaying this outcome.
But ultimately India will realise that territories do not become one’s integral part by repeated unilateral declarations but by local and global acceptance. To gain global legitimacy for its Kashmir claims, it will eventually have to talk with Pakistan and the Kashmiris. Not the aggression of the hawk but the patience of its cousin eagle, as shown so well by China on Taiwan, will serve Pakistan more in contesting Kashmir.
The writer heads INSPIRING Pakistan, a progressive policy unit.
Published in Dawn October 11th, 2016