Friday, 30 May 2008

Political Price for Geneva Trip

Political Price for Geneva Trip
Dr Shabir Choudhry April 2003

In accordance with the JKLF Central Committee instructions Mr Abbas Butt, President of JKLF and Dr Shabir Choudhry, Chairman JKLF Diplomatic Committee, proceeded to Geneva to take part in UN Commission on Human Rights, and made interventions on Respective item agendas.

Mr Abbas Butt’s intervention was about Political and Civil Rights in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan; and I spoke about upraising of the Mangla Dam and its enormous negative impact on the people of Mirpur.

Those who wanted to focus all the attention on the events on the Indian side of the divide and wanted to give this false impression that everything on the Pakistani side of Kashmir is rosy, were greatly perturbed by this. They did not imagine that the JKLF leaders will reach to the UN Commission and expose this, as they were led to believe that JKLF is in pockets of some people who regularly receive brief cases.

Soon after my intervention, one Kashmiri nationalist leader Arshad Khan commented that perhaps your days in JKLF are numbered. In eyes of those who control this movement, you are considered as loyal and sincere only if you attack India, and boast to continue with your Jihad against India. Contrary to their expectations and assurances given to them by senior most leaders of JKLF, you have tried to raise issues which concern people on this side of the divide, and you will not be forgiven for this.

Although some people contacted me and complained about my intervention, and told me not to go beyond this point; I did not pay much attention to the comment of this Kashmiri leader, as I thought may be he was trying to wind me up.

While plans were being discussed and finalised how to deal with Abbas Butt, who had complete confidence of the JKLF Central Committee, and Dr Shabir Choudhry, who has been a thorn in the flesh for a long time, then came the issue of International Kashmir Alliance which was formed under Geneva Declaration, and formally launched in a Press Conference in London on 10th April 2003.

A man known to us as Farooq Papa from Canada (some others call him a ‘renegade militant’ who left his party and everyone else behind, and with collaboration of some Indian officials fled to Canada, said good bye to the JKLF and established a Council for Independent Kashmir, ditched that and joined the JKLF again), came to London and asked the Senior Vice President Councillor Nazam Bhatti to take over as a President. When Nazam Bhatti told him that we have Abbas Butt as a President, and in his presence how could I take over. He replied, ‘Don’t worry about that, I am going to dismiss him’.

Nazam Bhatti replied, may be you do these kind of things in Srinagar, but this is Britain, and we have democratic set up here, and we do everything in accordance with constitution. If Mr Abbas Butt has done something which is against JKLF ideology or outside bounds of the constitution, then JKLF Central Committee can take appropriate action against him. You or anyone in Srinagar has no right to take any disciplinary action against the President or any other member in Britain.

Farooq Papa also spoke to Zubbair Ansari, Secretary General of the JKLF, with same manner, and told him if he wanted to stay in the JKLF then he has to follow his directions. Zubbair Ansari was stunned by this attitude and arrogance, and told him that the JKLF is not a ‘jageer’ of you or anyone else that you could dictate us like that. If there are any issues which need to be discussed then we are willing to sit down and discuss these matters.

Farooq papa is a person who talks with gun in his hand, and has no time and aptitude for dialogue and discussion, and had no reply to rational arguments of Zubbair Ansari; so he put the phone down without saying Khuda Hafiz.

After failing to instigate revolt against the elected President here, Farooq papa contacted me and categorically told me to either quit from International Kashmir Alliance or quit from JKLF. I asked him to define his role and in what capacity he was speaking to me. He said I am speaking on behalf of Centre. When I challenged him who has authorised you to talk and behave like George Bush, and impose yourself on us, he waffled and said I am not here to discuss legal and constitutional matters, I want immediate written statement that you will resign from this Alliance or I will dismiss this setup in Britain.

Again I said you have no right to do this, the constitution does not allow you or anyone else outside Britain to take such action. ‘Constitution allows it or not, I am going to do it, and the Centre will support me everything I do. This Alliance is threat to the struggle, and you have joined people like Shaukat Kashmiri and Nazir Gilani who have known contacts with the Indian agencies; either you leave this alliance immediately or I will dismiss the set up here’, Farooq Papa said.

I reacted by saying that Shaukat Kashmiri’s party is in alliance with our JKLF in Azad Kashmir (All Party National Alliance), why is it that alliance in Azad Kashmir is halal and alliance in Geneva is haram. And as far as Nazir Gilani is concerned, when he had friendly relationship with Mr Tramboo then it was appropriate to request him to preside international conferences, and get his support in personal and political matters; and it was also appropriate for Yasin Malik to receive receptions from him, and ask him to accompany him everywhere. To them Nazir Gilani became ‘undesirable’ when Mr Tramboo and others felt that his foot is no the oxygen pipe.

As far as this alliance is concerned it is not against the ideology of JKLF nor it is against JKLF constitution. It is pro people, and strongly believes in right of self - determination under the UN Charter, advocates accountability and transparency in the Kashmiri politics on both sides of the divide. I can’t see anyone opposing this unless they are anti people, anti accountability, and believes in corruption and commercialisation of the Kashmiri struggle.

Despite that if senior colleagues think it is against the interests of the JKLF, and senior colleagues ask me to leave this in the interest of the JKLF I can leave this alliance, as JKLF is my first priority, but let us have a meeting to discuss this.

After noting my flexibility and willingness to make a compromise in the interest of JKLF, he turned around and spilled the beans by saying, ‘Why did you make this intervention on the Mangla Dam? It is only a side issue which does not warrant this importance’. I said may be to him and some others, Mangla Dam is a side issue, but it is a matter of life and death for more than 100,00 people, whose homes and graves of love ones are going to go under the water for the second time.

Like President Bush and Prime Minister Blair had no time for the second resolution in the Security Council, as it might have paved way for a peaceful resolution, and that was not what they had planned. Similarly Farooq Papa did not want any sitting as it could have paved way for some solution, and he didn’t want that as mission assigned to him by his masters was to destabilise and destroy the JKLF. His demand was ‘unconditional surrender’, with no face saving or strategy to save the JKLF, and in his last sentence to me on Sunday 13th April at 11.50 pm was, ‘I have orders to dismiss this set up’.

I said despite all flexibility and offers of compromise, if you think dismissing JKLF set up in Britain is in the best interest of the JKLF and the Movement, then go ahead and do it; but remember you have no legal right to do this, and we will not accept this lying down.

In the morning of 14th April, we discovered that emperor Farooq papa has shown mercy on the JKLF set up in Britain, but ‘fired’ Abbas Butt and Shabir Choudhry for not obeying his orders. It is ironic that throughout his short stay with Mr Tramboo in London, he did not care to contact Mr Abbas butt who was and still is the President of JKLF UK & Europe.

Well done Farooq papa and all those who have supported him in this mission. But take this from me and my colleagues that we will take this fight to Srinagar and other parts of the State, and would not allow this commercialism to succeed. We would not allow you to build your political empire on the dead bodies of the Kashmiri people and would not allow you to perpetuate the misery of the innocent Kashmiris.

We will go to the JKLF members and explain to them that the organisation we have worked for 25 years has been hijacked by some ‘mercenaries’, who want to receive a price for destroying the party which fights for the unification and independence of the State. We will also tell that we will not allow these merchants of new East India Company to make the JKLF a subsidiary branch of Jammat E Islami.

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