Thursday, 29 May 2008

DO NOT insult the Kashmiri people

DO NOT insult the Kashmiri people
Shabir Choudhry
Director, Institute of Kashmir Affairs

Whereas I welcome constructive criticism, but this liberty should not be used to insult
the pride and integrity of the Kashmiri people. Samiullah Malik, in response to my article, 'Jinnah wanted a secular Pakistan', did not question the validity of my arguments and quotations, but due to political animosity chose to divert the debate and accused JKLF, the Institute of Kashmir Affairs and me that we are working for 'Akhand Baharat'. I wrote the article as a Director IKA, I don't know why he thought it fit to attack JKLF, its ideology and insult the people of Kashmir. His hate and dislike of the Kashmiri people is very apparent when for Kashmiris he uses words like 'kicked out'.

Other contributors have shown more sense of responsibility and tried to put forward their point of view without making allegations like Samiullah Malik. But even these people have only produced quotations of Mr Jinnah which he made before August 1947. I do not doubt these statements for a moment. My contention is did he make any such statement after the creation of Pakistan. Could any one produce any evidence that he made certain efforts to "Islamise" Pakistan. Perhaps it would be interesting for the readers to know that the first law minister of Pakistan was a Hindu. Please don't tell me that he was appointed to introduce an Islamic law?

Also it won't be out of context to quote something else here. The Pakistani delegation which left for New York in January 1948 (Mr Jinnah was alive at that time) was briefed in the following words:
"You are a new nation and are going on a very serious mission. Don't give the impression that because you come from a new country you don't know how to mix socially. You will be invited to parties and receptions, so behave like the Americans do".

'The Kashmir of Sheikh Abdullah', page 82, by Bilqees Taseer (wife of Dr MD Taseer who was a member of the delegation).

Anyhow it would be pertinent to remind the readers of the following:

1. That during the campaign for Pakistan, there were some religious groups who opposed Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and called him Kafir e Azam, instead of Qaaid e Azam. These people also opposed creation of Pakistan, as they wanted a united India. It is, therefore, quite possible that these people are still working for a united India. But as far as I am and the JKLF is concerned we are working for a united and an independent Kashmir. If this hurts someone's "Roti, Kapra and Makaan" then we cannot help it. These personal attacks ensure us that we are on the right track, and we will continue our struggle, even though some cronies will continue to oppose it.

2. It should also be noted that what Mr Jinnah and his Muslim League wanted and what the ordinary people wanted were two separate things. The Muslim League wanted a Muslim State, not an Islamic state. May be people like, Samiuulah Malik do not understand the difference between the two. There are more than 50 Muslim states in the world, but it is debatable how many of them are Islamic states. The people, of course, paid sacrifices in the name of Islam, but the Muslim League and its leaders used name of Islam as a slogan.
This is not only my view, this is view of many Pakistani experts, who have spent their lives in research on history and politics of Pakistan.

3. If anyone thinks differently then please come out with evidence, not allegations. Provide evidence that Mr Jinnah, after the creation of Pakistan claimed that he would have an Islamic rule in Pakistan. Also provide evidence of his efforts, after 14 August 1947, to make Pakistan an Islamic State.

4. Hypocrisy of those who dislike Kashmiris is that if a Pakistani says something
about Pakistan or its leaders, it is accepted as criticism. But if a Kashmiri says something that is automatically construed as anti Pakistan, anti Islam and God knows what.

5. Some of these so- called Pakistani patriots do not even try to understand the difference between opposing a government policy and opposing Pakistan. The integrity and security of state of Pakistan is very important to us. We need a strong Pakistan. That is in the best interest of Kashmiris as well. But we cannot give the same respect to Pakistani governments,
because they have messed up the Kashmir issue. We only criticise those policies of Pakistan governments, which affect our home land-Kashmir. It is not only my right but also duty that I project JKLF and its ideology and defend it no matter who the offender is. And in doing this if I make a few enemies I don't care.

6. It is in the political culture of Pakistan to call each other an Indian agent. Even Prime Ministers, ministers and other leaders are not spared. Good thing is that, after labelling these leaders with most disgusting allegations they accept them as leaders and Prime Ministers. So it is not difficult to understand political background of Samiullah Malik and people who understand psyche of these people are not surprised at his outburst. I hope this will help ordinary readers to understand thing in better light.

Apart from the controversy what kind of Pakistan Mr Jinnah had in his mind, people are also led to believe wrong things about his vision of Kashmir. It is very clear from his statements that he supported an independent Kashmir. And this is different to what now people of Pakistan and Kashmir are led to believe. There is no historical evidence to support the story that Mr Jinnah said Kashmir is "Sha rag" of Pakistan. If there is any dispute on this I would welcome scholars to clarify this point with evidence. Of course no abuse, which only comes from people with very shallow academic political background.

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