Sunday, 23 November 2008

We voted ‘because of the hate of our own leaders’.

We voted ‘because of the hate of our own leaders’.
Dr Shabir Choudhry 23 November 2008

Second phase of elections in the Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir have finished with astonishing outcomes. If we look at the Pakistani media or views of those who support Pakistan irrespective of what they have done to the Kashmir dispute, then we find that there has been a total boycott of elections and that the Indian army has only one mission and that is to kill innocent people.

But when we look at other media and speak directly to people on ground then totally different picture emerges, which shows that some members of the Pakistani media and their puppets have only one mission: and that is to tell lies and hide facts from people as they have been hiding facts from their own people regarding matters directly related to Pakistan and its security.

According to BBC representative Altaf Hussain, he has ‘not seen such long queues for any voting in the past’. And despite cold weather people have come out in thousands to vote. In his report, filed on 23 November 2008, he showed long lines of people standing outside polling stations.

According to BBC turnout in today’s voting was 65%, however voting in Noshera and in Kalakote was 70% and 73% respectively. Another interesting aspect of this election is the attitude of young people, who have openly defied calls for boycott and used their democratic right to vote. People see this as a protest vote against pro Pakistan leaders who used the Kashmiri struggle to feather their own nests.

In this regard this, a member of Al – Fatah Force wrote from Bandipora:
‘Our leaders Geelani Sahib, Mirwaiz Sahib, Yasin Malik, Javed Mir and others had appealed earlier that people should stay away from these elections but we want to tell them that our people voted not because of the love of pro Indian leaders but because of the hate of our own leaders’.
‘These so called pro movement leaders make huge property on the blood of our martyrs especially on the sacrifices of our common Mujahideen. We will not raise our fingers on other leaders. Let us take the example of our own Ameer Mohammad Farooq Rehmani. This lucky man is from Bandipora but for the past 15 years enjoys a luxurious life in Pakistan. Many mujahideen of our party are married now but we have no money and no future of our children. Rehmani spent more than 12 lakh Rs on the marriage of his son in Pakistan while our brothers are denied even the life saving drugs from his office. We are treated as slaves, how can we stop our brothers and sisters from taking part in the elections’. (Author of this statement could be reached on this email:

Apart form these reports I have personally spoken to many journalists who were monitoring these elections, and who confirmed that people have clearly rejected calls of boycott as ordinary masses have no trust in those who give calls of boycott. One person I spoke to said:
‘It is true we want independence and don’t want to be part of India, but by staying away from polling booths we will only strengthen hands of those who are promoting a Pakistani agenda in Jammu and Kashmir, and are getting rewards for this.’

This amazing turnout has bewildered everyone. After ‘successful communalisation’ of the Kashmiri polity, anti election leaders and their mentors thought they have won the battle, and they were predicting a total boycott and a possible ‘blood bath’ which could have helped them make political gains. Even Indian government officials were worried that the turnout could be low compared to the elections of 2002; and that ‘terrorists would stage bloody incidents’, which could have embarrassed India.

But the voting in six constituencies of Ganderbal, Kangan, Darhal, Kalakote, Rajouri and Nowshera have hugely surpassed the figures of 2002 Assembly elections; and those elections were, by and large, accepted and hailed by all those who believe in democratic values. One has to understand that there was pressure on the voters from both camps – one urging them to stay away from polling stations, and the other encouraging them to exercise their democratic right in favour of their candidates.

To make matters worse for those wishing to vote, weather was extremely cold; and despite that the turn out was better than 2002 elections. Masuad Samoon, Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir gave details of the voting in a press conference held on 23 November 2008, which confirmed that turn out was much better than 2002 elections. For example in Rajouri constituency, the polling was 27.05 percentage in 2002, and it shot up to 67% in the polling held today. Similarly the turnout in Kalakote has surprised everyone which increased from 48.66 percent in 2002 to 73 percent today.

Mufti Sayeed, former Chief Minister was also astonished by the turn out; and called it a ‘trendsetter for the rest of the phases’. He was among those who wanted the elections to be postponed because in his opinion the situation was “unfavourable” for the elections, as he also feared low turn out and bloody incidents.

He further said, “Gun is no solution and we have had a bitter experience of it. America has used it in Iraq and Afghanistan and the outcome is before everyone. We want to resolve problems through democratic process as there are no other way to resolve the Kashmir issue”. He added that in order to resolve the Kashmir dispute, “We all, including India and Pakistan, have to move from stated positions”.

What has angered many people is the hypocritical approach of anti elections lobby – they support elections in areas occupied by Pakistan; but are prepared to go to any lengths to oppose elections in areas occupied by India. They all know that elections are not substitute for referendum and there is the UN Security Council resolution on this matter as well.

In view of many analysts they oppose elections for two reasons: rewards from Pakistani agencies for doing this; and fear that if they took part in fair and impartial elections they will lose their seats, hence fully exposed before everyone. They would like to take part in kind of elections which are held in Pakistani administered Kashmir where outcome is decided in favour of the higher bidder.

At the time of elections in 2002 I had a meeting with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials, and pleaded that the APHC leaders could possibly win the elections. I was told that in their judgement and in light of reports they have, there was no way they could win elections. And that if these leaders had even fifty fifty chance of winning, they would have taken the option of participating in the elections.

They further said if they were so sure about their popularity the best way was to take part in elections, and then speak with authority, as Sein Fin leaders used to do – they used to take part in elections in Northern Ireland and after winning their seats they refuse to come to Westminster.

In other words resentment against India or against certain issues does not mean support for these leaders who after 20 years of blood, killings, rapes, custodial deaths and destruction still don’t know what they want to achieve. They still have no strategy on solution of the Kashmir dispute. Still they are not sure if they want some kind of accession or become independent. Some of them are happy with the status quo; others cannot tell the difference between right of self determination and right of accession, which is available to people of the State under the UN resolutions. It is because of this confusion they keep on demanding on implementation of the UN resolutions.

In view of the confusion these leaders have, and because of their ego centric approach and lack of sincerity, majority of people of Jammu and Kashmir don’t see them fit to lead forcibly divided nation of Jammu and Kashmir.

The present turn out should also be seen as a protest vote against policies of Pakistani governments. Kashmiri youths see Pakistan’s Kashmir policy changing like weather changes in England. Kashmiri youths are annoyed with continued proxy war, proxy politics, forced division and subjugation; and want to make their wishes known.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:

To view other articles see my blog:

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

KNP vision of united and independent Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry 19 November 2008

As a leader of a new party - KNP, time and again we are asked what kind of Jammu and Kashmir we have in mind. When we say that we want a secular and independent Jammu and Kashmir, non Muslims, especially the Pundit Community seriously question our intentions; as in their view the JKLF also talked about the same goals and yet chose to remain silent, and in some cases took active part in campaign against the Pundit community in the Valley in 1990.

It is tragic that some JKLF stalwarts took active part in this crime against the non Muslim Kashmiri brothers. This clearly was not the JKLF policy, at least on papers and for those of us living in liberal and democratic societies in the Western Europe. Some of us only heard of these tragedies in mid 1990s. When we questioned this we were told that they could not help it because when Muslims of the Valley were persecuted, local JKLF members were also swayed by the propaganda of Jihadi groups which were unleashed by the secret agencies of Pakistan.

Those of us who opposed dictation from the secret agencies and criticised what happened to the non – Muslims, and in some cases continued to happen in 1990s, attempts were made to silence us. As we were not mouth piece of any secret agency, and our struggle was genuinely for all citizens of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, we strongly opposed policies of communalism and hatred and strongly opposed those policies which were embedded to advance the cause of the Pakistani establishment.

Adhoc Chairman of the JKLF, Yasin Malik could not tolerate this and manoeuvred our expulsion from the JKLF. We were told later on that he had too much pressure from the ISI to expel us. We had no choice but to set up our own group of the JKLF. After very careful consideration we abandoned the JKLF as it was carrying very heavy ‘baggage’, and established a new party – Kashmir National Party.

Kashmir National Party believes in liberal and democratic society, where all citizens are equal before law. We want to create a society where no one is discriminated on grounds of religion, region, ethnic or linguistic backgrounds. We want to promote equality and rule of law for all citizens of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

In our view the most important function of a government is to maintain law and order so that the life, property, dignity and religious beliefs of all citizens are fully protected. For this purpose the government must legislate appropriate laws and set up fair and impartial sytem of governance; and by promting peace and harmony among all sections of Jammu and Kashmir society.

We can only make State of Jammu and Kashmir peaceful and prosperous if we concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially ordinary people and those who are less priviledged. Our guiding principle in running the government would be justice, rule of law and complete impartiality from the state.

KNP would like to see all people as citizens of the State and not as Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Budhists. We believe religion is a personal matter of citizens, and the state has no role in determining what they should practise. Religion, caste and creed has nothing to do with the business of the State; and citizens are completely independent in their personal lives, as to what religion they want to practise or not to practise.

We believe children are our future, and we will ensure that our future is in safe hands. Every child has right to education and fulfil his/her full potential, and we will ensure that our children get pen in their hands and not a gun or knife. For nation’s progress, prosperity, peace, tolerance and stability population has to be educated to the highest possible level; and for this purpose we will provide free eduaction to a degree level to all citizens.

Education will be one of our main priorities. We will further ensure that those who are responsible for teaching and training are fully qualified, and are able to discharge their responsibilities with dedication and sincerity. In this regard teachers would be encouraged to undertake further training to enhance their teaching and training skills.

We believe corruption, nepotism, deiscrimination and regionalism are poisionous for society, as they destroy peace, harmony and cohesiveness of the society, therefore, we will have zero tolerance to all these evils. We will legislate clear laws and devise appropriate mechanism to deal with these matters in such a way that no one dares to bend or break the relevant laws.

If justice and merit are ignored in a society it not only creates tension, hatred and disunity, but also holds progress and development because it leads to corruption and nepotism leading to wrong people taking top posts. Emphasis of KNP, therefore will be rule of law and merit in all matters to root out these evils. Our message in this regard will be very clear that those who are invloved in coruption and other wrong doings are not loyal to the country and nation; hence will be appropriately punished for their crimes.

For progress and development of society there must be peace and stability that all sections of the society work as a big team for welfare and development of the country. KNP believes that peace and harmony could be promoted by advancing patience and tolerance in place of arrogance; and by treating all ethnic groups of the nation with equality and justice.

KNP strongly believes that ‘hungry man is angry man’ and subject to influences of criminals and enemies of the nation; therefore, it will be our priority to devise such policies which promote economic stability. KNP believes that colonial powers have no interest to strengthen economy of their colonies – they make economy of occupied territory subservient to their own eonomy and make their subjects believe that they cannot survive without their help and donations.

At present the State is divided and occupied. Both India and Paksitan have occupied the State with their national interest in mind; and the interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is not their prioirty. Result of this policy is that we are forcibly divided; and policies of those who occupy are designed to further divide us on religious, regional and ethnic lines. And those Kashmiri leaders who rule us on both sides of the divide are only interested in looking after the interests of those who have appointed’ them, hence people of Jammu and Kashmir face oppression and economic deprivation.

KNP believes this should not be our fate because we deserve better, and because the State of Jammu and Kashmri has great economic potential. As an independent state Jammu and Kashmir could become economic tiger within five years of independence, provided its economic policies are devised by Kashmiri experts with Kashmiri interest in mind. Research carried out by some Kashmiri experts show that if we only rely on water resources of Jammu and Kashmir (this does not include resources of AJK and Gilgit and Baltistan) then within five years we could be in a position to help both India and Pakistan with their energy problems.

Apart from that we can attract massive international investment and support to further boost our economy by making Jammu and Kashmir Switzerland of Asia in true sense. Investment can only come if there is peace and stability. Generally investers are not interested in politics and religion, as their prime concern is to get best returns for their investement.

If a country has law and order problem and have corrupt officials then investers will go elsewhere. As an independent nation we have to make State of Jammu and Kashmir attractive to investers. For that we have to ensure that there is no law and order issue here; and that there is no corruption, black marketting and red tape to discourage foreign investment.

KNP believes that all the above could only be achieved if there is an indpendent judiciary in the country to provide cheap and immediate justice to all citizens of Jammu and Kashmir State. A country citizens of which trust their judicial system, and who have access to justice make progress in all walks of social life; and those who are denied justice and equality generally end up becoming ‘failed states’ and ‘banana republics’.

KNP will make every effort to promote good governance, and establish a mechanism that all departments of government are accountable and transparent.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:

To view other articles see my blog:

Saturday, 15 November 2008

KNP will work with like minded people to promote cause of United and Independent Kashmir, KNP Executive Council

KNP will work with like minded people to promote cause of United and Independent Kashmir, KNP Executive Council

Kashmir National Party held a meeting of its Executive Council in Birmingham, England, to discuss the on - going situation on both sides of the divided Jammu and Kashmir. KNP leaders said, ‘We strongly condemn human rights abuse on both sides of the divide; and that our struggle is against all those who have occupied our homeland’.

KNP leaders said, ‘Jammu and Kashmir State is one political entity and must remain so whatever the future outcome of the State’. They said, ‘The dispute is a political in nature and those who are trying to communalise it are making its resolution more difficult, and they are paving the way for division on religious line’.

KNP leaders said, ‘Scars of communal division of India in 1947 are still visible and haunting people of South Asia’. They said, ‘We must oppose division of the State, and fight forces of communalism, extremism and hatred’.

KNP leaders said our struggle is for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir; a Kashmir where all citizens of the State are treated equally and no one is persecuted because of religion, colour, region or ethnic back ground. They said unlike some parties our struggle is not for rights of Muslims, rather we want human rights of all citizens respected. We want all people of the State to enjoy fruits of democracy and live without fear and intimidation.

To achieve above ideals the KNP can work with like minded parties, but will not cooperate with those who are promoting either Indian or Pakistani agenda on Kashmir. They said people of Jammu and Kashmir need to be more careful of those who are wearing hat of independent Kashmir, but in actual fact are advancing agenda of our occupiers.

KNP leaders said it is hypocrisy of leaders to actively take part or support electoral process in Pakistani Administered Kashmir, but oppose the same electoral process on the other side of the divide, especially when the UN Security Council has made it clear that no election can substitute plebiscite. Elections are not held to decide the future status of the State; they are held to run local administration that the elected leaders could help to resolve everyday problems of local people. Those who oppose elections are against democratic process and are frightened that they will lose them, hence be exposed before the people.

KNP leaders said they are seriously considering fielding a candidate in bye election taking place for the Azad Kashmir Assembly. They said we strongly oppose the Act 74 which bars those candidates who oppose accession to Pakistan ideology, but have agreed to take part in elections in support of the democratic process.
The following was present in the meeting: Abbas Butt, Nazam Bhatti, Masoom Ansari, Zubbair Ansari, Ehsan Ansari, Nawaz Majid, Asim Mirza, Isahaq Mughal, Mumtaz Mirza and Dr Shabir Choudhry. END Dr Shabir Choudhry

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