Thursday, 29 May 2008

Border Crossing of Feb 1992

Border Crossing of Feb 1992

Dr Shabir Choudhry
to martin.soekefe.
More options 20/03/06

Border Crossing of Feb 1992

Political Background

Before we analyse the border crossing itself we need to look at the geo - political situation of that time.

The freedom movement was at its peak and India was under a lot of pressure. Pakistan's role after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan was over and her importance much reduced. India was much too closer to the US. The US was on the verge of declaring Pakistan a 'Terrorist State', for helping 'terrorists' in Kashmir and elsewhere; also for not listening to the US with regard to the nuclear programme.
Pakistan desperately needed to show the world, especially the USA, that she was not 'exporting terrorism', and that it was Kashmiri people's indigenous struggle.
How could this goal be achieved? Could people like Sardar Qayyum and others have done it? Would the outside world believe that they could go against the wishes of the Islamabad Government? Answer is no.
Amanullah Khan, as the Chairman of JKLF, an organisation working for united and independent Kashmir, appeared to be not in the good books of the Islamabad Government, especially after declaring the AK government in exile in 1990, was the man who could have delivered the goods.
Reasons for agreement could be as follows:

He wanted to further internationalise the Kashmir issue
This could provide an impetus and motivation to the people on both sides of the border, and especially people of Azad Kashmir who hitherto were not taking keen role in the struggle
This would give new shape to the Movement
It is in his nature to experiment new things
This would give him international exposure which he desperately wanted- his position was badly damaged after giving interview in the USA about the killing of Kashmiri hostages (Vice Chancellor Musharaf etc)
It is in nature to do things, whether or not they help the organisation and the movement, to attract personal publicity
This agreement would provide desperately needed funds which could be used for other purposes, as the Kashmiri people were expected to meet most of the costs themselves (and they did that as well)
If the adventure is successful it will assert his authority on the freedom movement and the Kashmiri leadership
Agreement and support

It was agreed that, apart from providing substantial funds, the authorities would provide all the necessary support. (it will be explained later).
Demonstrators would be allowed to proceed to the specified point only, and not to risk their lives by allowing them to cross the LOC. There was no question of Pakistan army shooting the unarmed demonstrators, as they were not supposed to cross that point.
Raja Muzaffar's house was officially JKLF Head Office which only had one telephone line. On urgent basis the 'authorities' provided extra phone lines, fax lines, photo copiers, telex facilities, transport, media coverage, special facilities for those journalists from abroad (from visas to transport, communication etc), medical facilities etc. In other words everything you can think of was provided. The control room was fully equipped with the required items. In England we set up our own control room to keep in touch and brief the media of what was going on, and I was co- ordinating between the two places.
Can you or someone else tell me why? You know authorities in AK and Pakistan can take many months to process and install just one phone line, here in military style everything was done according to the required standard and agreed timetable.
The demonstration proved to be very successful, beyond expectations of every one. AK and Pakistan authorities did not create any obstacles for those arriving from various parts of AK and Pakistan, if anything, full media coverage was given and they were encouraged. It was expected that the Pak army would block roads etc, but the crowed got too excited and furious, and wanted to go past the specified point. Even before the crowed reached that point some undesirable events took place which could not be controlled when there are thousands of people fully charged with passions and the weather was also bad to make things worse.
Anyhow during the march many people were injured and seven people lost their lives, of course shot by Pakistani army. Among the killed was Raja Muzaffar's nephew, only son of the unfortunate parents. This changed the situation. Amanullah Khan was also furious for what had happened, and felt cheated. At the heat of moment he declared that they would cross the border again on 30 March 1992.

Now let us compare the two events.

Unlike last time AK and Pakistan authorities did the following:
Before 30 March border crossing, the only phone in JKLF Head Office was disconnected (others facilities were also taken back soon after the 11 February March)
Telephone for regional or Rawalpindi office was also disconnected
Main leaders were arrested either in Rawalpindi or Muzaffarbad, regional leadership were also arrested- in total about 800 people were arrested
Unlike last time all the routes to Muzaffarabad were blocked. People travelling from Mirpur wrer stopped there, likewise people from Kotli, Bagh, Pullandri, Rawlakot, Rawalpindi etc were stopped in their respective towns.
There was very little media coverage, there were no media people from abroad
As a result of all this the demonstration of 30 March was effectively controlled and stopped in its tracks, in other words, 'crushed'.
We had no contact and knowledge of the events taking place in AK and Pakistan, and we had to phone other people, and rely on the information provided by them to find out what was happening
JKLF leadership was behind the bars and Malik Latif and I had to run around to different embassies in London to get help for the release of 'our leaders'. At that time, apart from being the General Secretary, I was also Head of Diplomatic Section of JKLF
You can see from the above that one programme was carried out with their consent, and it was very successful, and the other was without their approval, and it was effectively stopped and controlled
The interesting thing is that in both cases Pakistan was successful. She managed to convey the desired message to the outside world that the government is trying to control the Kashmiris, but what did the Kashmiris got?


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