Wednesday, 28 May 2008

‘I am sorry for my past errors’

‘I am sorry for my past errors’
Dr Shabir Choudhry 1 December 2006

As a writer and a political activist I get some abuse from those who disagree with my views. These people fall in to two categories: those who sincerely think that my views are against interest of Pakistan and the Kashmiri struggle; and the second category is of those foot soldiers of Pakistani establishment who once instructed by their bosses will continue with their ‘duty’ without thinking merits or demerits of what they are doing.

Some of those who are not ‘hooked’ and make angry comments or abuse me because they sincerely and strongly disagree with me, after realising their mistake contact me and apologise for their behaviour. Although they try to curb my right of expression, but this shows good side of their character. Foot soldiers, however, are paid for their services and don’t care where the truth lies. Their aim is to make hay while sun of Kashmir dispute shines. Their loyalty could be purchased with a medical seat, a plot in Islamabad or some share in the Pepsi building in Srinagar.

One of my critics, Syed Razahk, who falls in the first category, sent me an email apologising for his mistake.

Dear Sir,
Some 2 years back I called you and Shaukat Baloch un Islamic and Problem maker for Pakistan interference in Azad Kashmir only last week I read about the HRW(Human Rights Watch) report on Azad Kashmir the total interference of Pakistan which has converted the region into a militia base for Militants like Taliban Afghanistan. I pity the people now who were completely brainwashed to think a nation as their enemy. Whose activities are closely monitored, suppressed individual opinion, I don’t know which idiot called it Azad Kashmir, its POK. If it’s Azad Kashmir then why should everyone read the
declaration of accession to Pakistan?

I did not write to you for discussion I am writing it for an apology. Please forgive me.
I understood one thing clearly now Pakistan is not a divine cause. Muslim League wanted to rule its masses and so partition was made. The most important its better to obey the rules of the land than to defy it and get caught up in a mess for the sake of religion. For religion cannot mean integrity just it’s your personal belief and the meaning which you understand your life.
Regards Syed Razakh, email:
Note: Hope you forgive me for the past comments.

I don’t know Syed Razahk, and can’t remember what he said to me two years ago. I can’t even remember if I replied to him and tried to justify my position. Change in his thinking came about after he read a report of Human Rights Watch, which explains how azad is Azad Kashmir. The report also explains in details about plight of the earth quake victims.

My hats off to Syed Razahk who has acknowledge his mistake and apologised for it as soon as he realised that it was a mistake. Not every one has this courage and moral strength to acknowledge mistake and apologise for it. Most people instead of accepting a mistake and giving some credit to assumed ‘culprit’ or ‘adversary’, will stick to the view expressed and continue to defend it.
A lot of credit should be given to Human Rights team which went to Pakistani Administered Kashmir, did their research under different pressures and presented this marvelous report which has helped many people to understand true situation in this area. The report has exposed Pakistan policy in Azad Kashmir, and has explained what Pakistani agencies and bureaucracy are doing in there; and how they oppress and exploit the people of this area.
Human rights abuse is common on both sides of the LOC, and because world attention was focused on human rights violations on the Indian side only; plight of the people on the Pakistani side was overlooked. Pakistani authorities encouraged Kashmiri leaders and political activists to focus their attention on the Indian side only; and because of this majority of Kashmiris were reluctant to raise their voice against rights abuse on the Pakistani side of the divide.
Pakistani establishment successfully tamed some Kashmiri nationalists, and they could only see wrongs on the Indian side of the LOC. However some nationalist Kashmiris consistently raised their voice against this unjust treatment, and instead of listening to their pleas and rectifying the problems they were accused of being ‘anti Pakistan’. The authorities made unfounded allegations that these Kashmiris were saying this to support the Indian propaganda.
Facts cannot remain hidden for ever, and now internationally renowned human rights body, after detailed research and analyses reported the same thing what Kashmiri nationalists have been saying for many years and especially after the deadly earthquake last year. This proves that research of Kashmiri nationalists, their analyses and contacts on the ground were correct; and moreover people of the area clearly feel that Pakistani control here is illegal and against the wishes of the people.
Human Rights Watch confirms our contention that Azad Kashmir is not free by saying that:
“Although ‘azad’ means ‘free,’ the residents of Azad Kashmir are anything but,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Pakistani authorities govern Azad Kashmir with strict controls on basic freedoms.”
The people of Jammu and Kashmir including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan want to live in peace and enjoy fruits of freedom, but as a result of forced division and policies of India, Pakistan and militants we are suffering on both sides of the divide. Pakistan likes to point finger of blame to India for human rights violations, but completely ignore its obligations on this side of the divide. Human Rights Watch reports ask Pakistan to “… start looking into ways of ending human rights abuses in Azad Kashmir”
I hope that common sense prevails, and the concerned authorities seriously and sincerely look in to these issues. We are not anti or pro any country. We are pro peace and pro people. We sincerely feel that Kashmir dispute is holding progress of South Asia. We also feel that there is no military solution to this dispute – direct military clash, proxy war or ‘Jihad’ can only add to our miseries and problems. So instead of hurling a barrage of allegations on those who are pro peace and want to resolve the dispute, it is prudent to engage them in talks and benefit from their wisdom and experience.
Writer is Chairman of Diplomatic Committee of JKLF and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:

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