Friday, 30 May 2008

Loss of 5 Million – real cause of opposition to IKA and our ‘ouster’

Loss of 5 Million – real cause of opposition to IKA and our ‘ouster’Dr Shabir Choudhry May 2003Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.comAfter the formation of IKA and our alleged ‘expulsion’ from JKLF, I have received dozens of letters from various parts of the world fully supporting me and the IKA leadership.Of course there has been some opposition from very powerful quarters, who already appear to be on the run. There are many reasons for this opposition, some might have personal goals to settle, but some have no choice but to obey the orders as it is their bread and butter. I sympathise with them, as they have families to look after, and with children going to private schools and medical colleges it becomes increasingly difficult to make both ends meet.IKA might not have got the publicity and importance it has got within short span of time if it was not for these extremely nervous people, apparently working for ‘liberation’ of Kashmir. If one analyse the Kashmiri politics impartially, then it becomes crystal clear that their struggle is for ‘liberation’ from many other things, but it is clearly not for liberation of Kashmir. They wish to continue with whatever they are doing in the name of ‘liberation’ (as America has imposed its agenda on Iraq in name of liberation); and in order to confuse the people they are coming with different stories. It is, therefore, imperative that some background is explained as to how this Alliance was formed.During our visit to Geneva, which shocked some people, Abbas Butt and I discussed with Mumtaz Khan and Shaukat Kashmiri that, we must do something to coordinate our activities that issues could be raised about the problems of the people on this side of the divide. We have always told the world that there are human rights violations taking place on the Indian side of the LOC, and that there is armed struggle going on there; but we have neglected in our duty to present the case for whole of the State, with the result that the international community thinks areas under control of Pakistan are satisfied with the status quo.We all agreed that we need to work out a strategy that we can present the case for the entire State, and that we must start some kind of peaceful and political movement on this side that the world community could understand our resentment with the status quo. We were quite concerned about the issue of Mangla Dam and the way we were exploited in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan.During our discussions there were some other people from Azad Kashmir, Jammu and the Valley, and they also agreed that the movement should have a national character. Shaukat Kashmiri at that time told us that they had initiated a process with Dr Nazir Gilani and others to work out a similar strategy. Dr Nazir Gilani at that time was sick in London, and was under medical advice to take complete rest. Once we had evolved some kind of consensus among us, we decided to request Dr Nazir Gilani to come back to Geneva. Because of his health, he was reluctant to travel, but after our insistence he travelled to Geneva on Sunday.On Dr Nazir Gilani’s arrival we had two meetings with him, and agreed on the ‘Geneva Declaration’. It is alleged that Hashim Qureshi is in the IKA. It is totally wrong, he was not part of any of the meetings and nor is he part of the IKA, in fact, he was not in Geneva at that time.Many would wonder why the IKA is taken as a threat by some people, really speaking we never expected this, but increasingly picture is becoming clear. Out of manyletters I have received over the last week, I am going to produce some excerpts for the benefit of my readers that they can understand this game. Because of security of my sources I could not release their names, but these are genuine Kashmiris who have knowledge about things and pain for the suffering of their fellow Kashmiris.First excerpt:‘Dear Dr. Shabir Choudhry,What a hue and cry about the formation of IKA as if something heavy has fallen from the heaven? I agree with the observation of Shawl sahib wherein he has expressed his worry about his contact in APHC office in Islamabad.What I heard here in Rawalpindi is no different than that. I was told that last Saturday, a meeting took place between General Khalid of ISI and Farooq Papa and Majid Tramboo(From Srinagar) in London. General Khalid had insisted and thereby persisted that you and Abbas Bhat should be expelled from JKLF, obviously because of your lecture at Geneva. General Khalid had assured them that if they do that, he will convince APHC Srinagar to endorse the move.Much more interesting that General Khalid had told both Farooq and Majid if they do not insist on Independent Kashmir and talk about UN resolutions, he will finance two offices for them, one at Brussels, to be run by Majid and another at Toronto, to be run by Papa. Not a cheap bargain. According to my sources, unfortunately, the bargain has been accepted by both Majid and Papa. Now is the time to watch if there is any activity at Brussels and Toronto.What worries me is not that APHC Srinagar endorsed this statement? That never surprised me. What surprised me that Yasin Malik has also been in the meeting?Your well wisher. (name withheld)Some people were amazed as to why APHC was so prompt in arranging a meeting, and were ready to jump in to this fray without any hesitation. This letter indicates that perhaps just one phone call was enough to do the trick; however people query that APHC some times has no time to meet for weeks on important issues; but on the opposition to IKA they wasted no time at allWe all know who is running the Kashmir policy, it is open secret, and it is because of this at times the Pakistan government gets into difficulties; and in order to ease off this pressure it was decided to ‘open’ five offices to project the Kashmir dispute at the international level. According to the plan these offices were to be run by some Kashmiris living in various important cities of the world, and that would have constituted an international structure of the ‘movement’. This plan was under discussion for many years, and it was finalised very recently, and my source refers to that as follows:Second excerpt’Now all that was sorted out, and a sum of 5 million was sanctioned that these 'mujahids' could do 'Jihad' in name of Kashmir; and that would take some pressure off Pakistan…. (Name) contacted one of our mutual friend and looked for a place for office in Brussels, by you launching the IKA, they think you people have pre – empted them, hence went down the drain all the hard work and 5 million.’Readers would feel that it is becoming a bit clearer now, and if you were to lose that large amount of money because of some one, wouldn’t you be angry; and to rub salt in the fresh wounds, IKA is demanding accountability and transparency in the Kashmiri politics.Third excerptThere is no need to hide this source as he has made his letter to me public. Ishfaqullah Shawl addressed me in this letter sent to the Kashnet (internet discussion forum of Kashmiris around the world): Dear Shabir Sahib‘I came to know about the IKA some time back and I was wondering about the silence on this part of the world about this alliance. Three days back when I met an APHC leader here in Islamabad I found him restless and he while talking to some other person criticized the interventions you and Mr Butt made in Geneva. He was of the view that their masters here are angry and they want to take immediate action against these two leaders. When I read the statement (Abbas Butt and my speech at the UN Human Rights Commission) and (which is available here on this forum too) there was no surprise for me in it. Shabir Sahib, the decision of your ouster from the party was not the decision of JKLF high ups but some other authority directed the JKLF bosses in Srinagar to do so and fire Shabir Chaudhary and Abbas Butt.Anyway, these are the efforts in vain and after every passing day the conscience of people is raising. Till now by making such childish attempts these people try to save their skin. I agree with your opinion that if UKPNP is not pro India for JKLF leadership in All Parties National Alliance then what is wrong in IKA. The conclusion is that until our leaders either in Srinagar or in Muzaffarabad will not take their decisions independently they could not succeed in attaining the desired goals of liberation (If they have any).I am fully convinced now with your opinion.’IshfaqFourth excerptI have to protect identity of this source who wrote in a private email to me:‘My sources told me that what has happened is that they (Majid and Papa) were told that they should remain silent and should not emphasize independent Kashmir and should occasionally focus on UN resolutions on Kashmir. This means that it won't be a sudden death of the purpose (united and independent Kashmir) rather a gradual one. This is a dangerous and dirty game.’Dear readers, so you can see the game. I have been a source of trouble for many years because I have been projecting the JKLF ideology in its true perspective; and have criticised all those who are against united and independent Kashmir. I had many warnings from ‘friends’, JKLF colleagues and some threats from unknown people who told me to shut up or we will shut you. Even some friends and well wishers outside the JKLF told me that your days in the JKLF are numbered, as you have crossed the line many times but because of your long association and dedication with the movement, you are spared. They asked me to remain quiet for some time, but I thought it was my obligation to keep on fighting my corner.As for Abbas Butt he ‘committed two crimes’: 1, he refused to take any action against me as in his opinion I was only projecting the JKLF ideology, and working within the constitutional structure; 2, he himself crossed the line by speaking in support of people of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan.Despite all that we are still JKLF leaders, and JKLF Executive Council has given us full support. Apart from that we have support from many quarters of the JKLF, who know that we are not post 1990 product and have a track record going back to 1973, when we started our struggle for united and independent Kashmir.
The writer is a Chairman Diplomatic Committee of JKLF, a known writer and author of many books and booklets on Kashmir, and lives in London.

Another grenade missed target?
Dr Shabir Choudhry

Bombs and guns are part of every independence struggle. One cannot imagine a community or a group of people fighting against foreign rule and there are no bomb blasts and no thundering noise of guns and screams of suffering people.

What is important in war of liberation is that human suffering is minimal and especially suffering of the civilian people is lowest possible; and that they are not deliberate targets of those who have gun at their command.

Here we are not interested whether those with guns are in army uniform, uniform of some militia group, or they are individuals who have been given guns to fight. To me important thing is whether they value human life or they are trigger happy individuals who are more interested in statistics and news in the paper about their actions.

This news in the media serve different purpose for different people with gun; and they all try to get their version of the event clearly in order to get appropriate rewards from their superiors. Of course this reward could be in many shapes and forms – it could be in form of a bag full of dollars or promotion in the ranks.

A genuine freedom fighter would try his level best to preserve life and ensure that civilians DONOT get killed or suffer as a result of their action. He will also ensure that as a result of his action ordinary citizens are not caught up in what is known as ‘cross firing’, or face wrath of state apparatus as a direct consequences of their action.

Similarly civilised and professional soldier should not kill innocent citizens, and take revenge by killing and intimidating ordinary citizens just because they have suffered an embarrassing attack at the hands of those who are fighting for independence. It is justified and appropriate that combatants target each other, and not target ordinary citizens.

But that is not what is happening in Kashmir. It is unfortunate to note that there have been numerous actions where ordinary citizens have suffered; and it appears that either those actions were foolishly planned with no concern about the welfare of citizens or unarmed civilians were the targets of these bomb blasts.

I want to give some examples to support my point of view.
ANI report of Sunday October 26, 9:10 PM reads like this: ‘At least fifteen people were injured as a massive explosion rocked a crowded market place in the remote Brighbara village in south Kashmir on Sunday.The injured have been admitted to a local hospital. At least four are critical. Eyewitnesses said unidentified gunmen hurled a grenade in the busy area at around 11.00 am (local time), causing panic.
‘Eyewitnesses said they were not sure whether the grenade attack was targeted against the army or civilians. "At around 10.30 a.m there was a grenade attack, there was big blast. We don't know if they (militants) were targeting the army or the civilians. At least 15 people have been injured," Fayaz Ahmed, an eyewitness, said. "There was a grenade attack; I don't know how it happened. We just looked around and there were injured people lying all around," said Mohammad Shahnawaz, another eyewitness. (ANI)’

Reuters news agency, in its news flash on 28th October stated: Kashmir grenade wounds at least 35

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Suspected separatist militants have thrown a grenade inside Indian Kashmir's main telegraph office, wounding at least 35 people, a police officer says. Rebels fighting Indian rule in Kashmir have several times in the past attacked the heavily guarded telegraph office in the heart of Srinagar, the summer capital of the state.A Reuters photographer said the grenade exploded inside the premises of the telegraph office on Tuesday, but there was no damage to the main building.The attack came after a Pakistan-based rebel group threatened to intensify militant activities in India's only Muslim-majority state during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, the region's main newspaper reported.The English-language daily Greater Kashmir cited Abu Huziafa, a spokesman for the Lashkar-e-Taiba guerrilla group, as warning of an escalation by the militants."People should keep themselves away from security installations as they could become unintended targets of such attacks," Huziafa was quoted as saying.Ramadan began in Kashmir on Tuesday.The banned Lashkar-e-Taiba also dismissed an offer by the Indian government to hold talks with Kashmir's main separatist alliance.

3. Another news item stated: 1 killed and 22 injured in twin grenade blasts
Srinagar, Oct 26: One person was killed and twenty two injured in two separate grenade explosions in Jammu and Kashmir Sunday. Fourteen people, including 12 civilians, were killed when militants attacked an Army vehicle in south Kashmir's Bejibehara town around 1025 hours. A paramilitary trooper and a policeman were also injured in the attack. A police spokesman said the militants hurled a grenade at an army vehicle when it was passing through the town. The grenade missed the intended target and exploded on the road injuring 14 persons including 12 civilians.
According to another news item, ‘One person was killed and eight injured in a grenade explosion at Kishtwar, Sunday. The militants lobbed a grenade towards a security forces vehicle. The grenade missed the target and exploded at a bus shelter where commuters were alighting from a bus, police said’

These are news items of last week of October 2003, and many more incidents could be cited where bomb have ‘missed their target’ and fell in a crowded place injuring and killing innocent ordinary Kashmiris. I don’t think any sane person can justify acts like these as they are not Jihad and they are not part of any genuine freedom struggle. In a genuine freedom struggle you fight for rights of people and protect them and not kill, injure, intimidate and harass them in order to assert your ‘authority or to achieve political and financial rewards.

If army men are behind these acts, as suggested by pro Pakistan cicles, then they must be condemned; but if militants are doing this, as the reports suggest, then they should also be condemned and exposed because by committing these acts they are only helping the ‘enemy’, and ‘terrorising’ their own people.

Right of self determination is very basic human right, and we must all endeavour to get this, but there are other rights which are also very important. While discussing right of self determination, a distinguished Kashmiri human rights activist and Chairman of IKA, Dr Nazir Gilani said: ‘Right to live supersedes all other rights’, and like any other people on earth the people of Kashmir also have right to live with dignity and without fear of threat or intimidation.

IKA is a pro people and pro peace platform which believes that resolution of Kashmir could not be achieved by use of force, or by intimidating people and throwing bombs which generally miss their targets. All the parties to the dispute must analyse their hitherto policies and their actions and see if they are helping the cause of peace and saving lives.

And those who have commercialised the Kashmiri polity must also realise that human cost of their enterprise is becoming too much for the people of Kashmir. It is okay for those who are either benefiting from this struggle or having luxurious life away from the ‘battlefront’ to say that in the struggle people get killed. Perhaps they will think differently when a bomb misses its target and lands in their garden.

Writer is a Spokesman of International Kashmir Alliance, and writer of many books and booklets on Kashmir.

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