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:

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