Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Jihadi culture on rise in Pakistan

Jihadi culture on rise in Pakistan
Dr Shabir Choudhry 23 December 2009

Despite ‘war on terrorism’ and Pakistan’s war against Taliban and massive propaganda against Muslim militants ‘Jihadi culture’ is on rise not only in FATA but in various parts of Pakistan, including Punjab.

Renowned Pakistani writer and defence analyst, Dr Ayesha Siddiqa writes: ‘Madrassas nurturing armies of young Islamic militants ready to embrace martyrdom have been on the rise for years in the Punjab. In fact, South Punjab has become the hub of jihadism. Yet, somehow, there are still many people in Pakistan who refuse to acknowledge this threat.’

Religious groups promoting jihad have very organised system of recruiting and training young people to advance the cause of Islam. Poverty stricken areas with economic deprivation are fertile ground to spread extremist views. Young children are recruited from madrassas and are looked after so well that their own living style looks much inferior.

They undergo ideological indoctrination where they are told that jihad is must in life of a true Muslim; and this jihad must continue till the end of their lives or until all infidels have become Muslims. They are told that a martyred person (Shaheed) will be blessed with a place in heaven where they will get 70 hoors (extremely beautiful virgin girls); and one shaheed will be allowed to get forgiveness for 70 additional people.

This temptation is too much for poor and impoverished young boys to reject. They not only want to enjoy better status in this life – power of gun, prestige and economic stability; but also dream of heaven, hoors and bounties of heaven look so real that they abandon their existing life for a better future.

The poor and the underprivileged generally become an easy target of militant outfits, which offer money, power and better future; and country’s deteriorating economic situation would surely attract more people to militant fold. It is also possible that they will help to recruit their friends and relatives as they also want them to embrace martyrdom that they can live in heaven together.

The jihadi culture nourished during General Zia-ul-Haq’s rule. It had three clear objectives: A proxy war of America against Soviet Russia in name of Jihad, a proxy war of Saudi Arabia against Shia Community and Iran and to extend his military rule. Talented secret agency of Pakistan, ISI under watchful eyes of CIA created many jihadi outfits. Later on this jihad was also ‘exported’ to Kashmir and other countries as well. These Jihadi outfits get official patronage as long as they work within the parameters set up by the establishment.

The Jihadi outfits which are still actively recruiting and training people are: Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT). According to Dr Ayesha Siddiqa between 5000 and 9000 from South Punjab are actively engaged in fighting in Aghanistan and Waziristan. However, according to a renowned Pakistani researcher, Hassan Abbas, around 2,000 militants are fighting in Waziristan.

The recent attacks in various parts of Pakistan could not have been carried out without careful planning and logistical support of Punjabi Talibans. The government and policy makers deny this fact because they don’t want to draw attention of the US and other Western powers to gravity of situation in South Punjab. Apart from that they don’t want to eliminate them altogether, as this home grown crop could be used against India at an appropriate time.

Another difficulty in crushing them is that these militants and outfits are closely associated with Pirs, religious institutions, landlords and drug mafia and the authorities do not find it easy to eradicate them. Also using army or rangers in East Pakistan, FATA, Balochistan even in Sind is one thing but it is totally different cattle of fish to use it in any part of Punjab.

Madrassas and seminaries flourished in all parts of Pakistan in 1980s and 1990s. They have also shown impressive growth in South Punjab as well. According to one report prepared in 1996 there were 883 madrassas in Bahawalpur, 361 in Dera Ghazi Khan, 325 in Multan and 149 in Sargodha district. The madrassas in Bahawalpur outnumbered all other cities, including Lahore. These madrassas belong to Deobandi sect of Islam and do not include the Ahl-e-Hadith, Barelvi and other branches of Islam.

According to estimate of Intelligence Bureau of Pakistan, there were approximately 1,383 madrassas in the Bahawalpur Division which had 84,000 students in 2008. Bahawalpur alone has more than 36,000 students. It is estimated that there are more than one million students in various madrassas in Pakistan. It is difficult to tell how many of them will pick up gun to advance cause of these militant groups, and how many of them will become suicide bombers in search of heaven and hoors.

Question is if these students who graduate from Madrassas don’t resort to violence then what future do they have? At best they will become imams of some mosques or open more madrassas in some remote areas of the country. The existence of madrassas is very important for the teaching of Islam but these madrassa should also teach other subjects that people graduating from there could find alternative jobs in the society and play their due role in the progress of society.

Historian Tahir Kamran conducted a survey in which he says there were 1320 madrassas in Punjab in 1988 and this rose to 3153 by 2000. This dramatic increase is about 140%; and worries all those who are concerned about the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan. These madrassas were expected to train and supply militants for the war theatre in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Before 9/11 there were more than 15000 militants from the Bahawalpur division alone.

The government instead of facing the challenge find it more convenient to deny the existence of these extremist groups or rise of these madrassas; and just call it propaganda of anti Pakistan forces. This is more so when matter is related to Punjb; and especially Maulana Masood Azhar who is perceived to be so influential that authorities feel unable to arrest him or detain him in real sense.

One such claim made by the authorities was that Maulana Masood Azhar was on the run and he never visited his home town in the last three years. Truth was that on 29 April 2008, Maulana Masood Azhar had a massive book launch of his new book - Fatah-ul-Jawad- Quranic Verses on Jihad, in Bahawalpur. What is more intriguing is that, JeM’s armed volunteers were in full control of the relevant parts of the city, even they controlled all entrance and exit routes of the city that day. The police or any other personnel related to the government were not visible that day.

Dr Ayesha Siddiqa further writes: ‘The LeT’s presence in South Punjab is far more obvious than others courtesy of the wall chalkings and social work by its sister outfit, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Despite the rumours of friction between the LeT and the JuD leadership, the two segments operate in unison in South Punjab. Three of the favourite areas of recruitment in South Punjab for all outfits are Cholistan in Bahawalpur, the Rekh in Dera Ghazi Khan, and the Kacha area in Rajanpur’.

This militancy, one way or the other, is supported by middle class Pakistanis and some government departments. Rich Pakistanis pay Zakat – Alms to help poor and needy. They also support religious institutions, as they provide religious teaching, shelter and food to poor. Also huge amount of funds are diverted from the Middle East and Gulf States in support of these institutions.

Furthermore the government collects huge amount of money by directly deducting Zakat from accounts of people and help these institutions by providing Zakat money to them. Apart from that, government apparatus, especially secret agencies share certain information with them; and at times provide training and weapons to them.

I regularly support one madrassa in Pakistani Administered Kashmir; and I have asked the management of that madrassa to introduce other subjects as well, including computing. I have donated them a computer and printer that students, apart from gaining Islamic knowledge are also equipped with other useful skills.

It is religious duty of all Muslims to give Zakat and Sadqa; and help the poor and needy. It is also our duty to help and support religious institutions and help them to spread message of Islam. My request to all donors is that they should urge the management committees of madrassas that they should teach students other subjects apart from the religious teaching.

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.
To view other articles see my blog:

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Riots after rigged elections in Gilgit Baltistan

Riots after rigged elections in Gilgit Baltistan
London, 22 December 2009

Elections were held today, 21 December 2009, in LA19, District Ghizer, to elect member for Gilgit Baltistan Assembly.

Front runner in this election was Nawaz Naji, a leader of National Balwaristan Front. It was widely believed that Nawaz Naji would win this seat with a big margin. Through out the day all the poles and reports from all 12 poling stations indicated that Nawaz Naji was leading the poles. Up till 8pm at night it was declared that Nawaz Naji was leading the poles.

Supporters of Nawaz Naji were preparing for celebrations when, to surprise of everyone, at 9pm it was declared that Peoples Party candidate Pir Saeed Karam Ali Shah has won the elections.

This news resulted in a strong protest by supporters of Nawaz Naji in various localities. The police and Rangers responded by firing at the protesters which killed on person and injured.

This further infuriated the angry people and they have started attacking official government building and public property. The situation is very tensed and supporters of Nawaz Naji fear for life of their leader and other senior political activists.

The protesters reject Pakistani style of democracy in Gilgit Baltistan and demanded new elections.

Shafqat Inquilabi, a leader of BNF while talking to Dr Shabir Choudhry on phone said, ‘All those who love democracy and believe in human rights of people must protest against this attack on fundamental rights of people, and oppose Pakistani imperialist design in Gilgit Baltisan’.

He further said, ‘He would hold a press conference in Muzaffarabad (tomorrow 23 December) to expose the rigging and Pakistani oppression in Gilgit Baltistan.

Those who want to get more information or express support, they can reach Shafqat Inquilabi on this number: 0092- 436 5100 270

Issued by Dr Shabir Choudhry
Mobile: 0044 77909 42471

Friday, 18 December 2009

Can Pakistan win this war?

Can Pakistan win this war?
Dr Shabir Choudhry 18 December 2009

Pakistan is at war, and this time the war is not with India. The wars with India proved disastrous. This war is with its own people and within its defined borders. Some call it America’s war whereas the government and the army call it ‘Pakistan’s own war’. Is it really? Pakistan is determined to win this war; and I sincerely hope they win it, as this is very important for peace and stability of Pakistan, Kashmir and the region.

As a result of this war Pakistan is under attack. One by one all highly guarded institutions have been attacked, clearly showing that those who target these attacks are few steps ahead of Pakistani secret agencies. Pakistan claims Talibans are behind these attacks.

Before we answer that question we have to establish who are the Talibans? We are told they are people who have studied in Madrassas (Muslim religious schools) and generally belong to poor families. They are not considered educated or even rational. They are labelled as illiterate, backward and narrow minded extremists.

If the above is true then where did these ‘backward’, ‘illiterate’ and ‘irrational people’ learn art of modern warfare? Where did they learn art of espionage and counter espionage? In which Madrassa did they learn to plan terrorism so meticulously and execute their plans so effectively that the top Pakistani intelligence agencies find themselves helpless?

How could backward and uneducated people living in caves and mud houses in neglected areas of North West Frontier and FATA have access to secret information about various places, especially offices of secret agencies, their movements and who is living where and doing what?

I am not condoning what they are doing, but question is why are they targeting offices and officers of secret agencies and officers of the Pakistan army? How do they know who belongs to ISI and who is a senior officer in the army; and where they live?

Are these terrorists – Talibans - ‘illiterate’ and ‘backward’ people who are calling the shots; or they are among those who were trained to export violence and jihad in other countries? Are these the people who were considered an ‘asset’ to conquer and control ‘strategic depth’; and now there was a conflict of interest between the trainers and the trainees? And these trained ‘boys’ feel that their mentor is fighting America’s war and protecting a ‘big Satan’, which is trapped in Afghanistan.

Apart from that, unlike Kashmiris, these ‘boys’ have grown up and have become fully matured men, and feel that they can decide what is good for them. Furthermore, unlike Kashmiris, they give preference to their interest and not to the interest of those who trained them and funded them. They think their ‘jihad’ has not ended yet, although interest and priorities of their mentors to some extent have changed.

People could argue, Taliban are wrong, they have started targeting mosques and public places where civilians get killed. But the counter argument put forward by supporters of the Taliban is that those 83 boys and girls who were killed in Bajour Madrassa were also innocent, and were there to learn Qur’an. They were killed when Tribal leaders agreed to respect the writ of government and lay down their arms. It was only when innocent children were killed in the Madrassa in Bajour that the wave of suicide attacks started. Similarly those girls and boys who lost their lives in Red Mosque and Jamia Hafisa were also innocent and they were killed and burnt by use of white phosphorous, an illegal chemical weapon.

In response to this one could say that the target was ‘terrorists’ inside those establishments and girls and boys died in a ‘collateral damage’ – a term used to cover up or justify killing of innocent civilians. But there are not many takers of this argument. If terrorists takeover London University and refuse to come out, should the innocent students, teachers and other staff be gunned down with use of heavy weapons and burnt to ashes with use of white phosphorous?

I won’t talk here of big targets like attacks on GHQ and various offices of secret agencies including offices of ISI, elite secret agency of Pakistan. I want to briefly analyse three attacks which happened in Rawalpindi.

A serving General of Pakistan army’s car was targeted by a 15/16 years old suicide bomber on the Maal Road Rawalpindi in which the General lost his life. How did this young uneducated teenager know that this was the General’s car? How did he know what time the General would be leaving hospital and reaching those traffic lights where the car was attacked?

In another incident dozens of innocent civilians lost their lives near a bank in Sader, in a suicide attack. Apparently this attack was on civilians, but reliable sources reveal that the target was a Major of ISI and his four colleagues who reached there in a car which was parked in a car park; and that was where the attack happened. The ISI Major was injured in the attack but his four colleagues together with dozens of other people perished. The question is how the bomber knew he was an ISI officer and he had four other ISI personnel with him?

The last attack in Rawlapindi was in a mosque on 4 December 2009. It was a deadly blow to Pakistan army and its image. This attack, like others in the past, was condemned by the government and the army. There was also a strong reaction from the people of Pakistan as well because the attack was in a mosque during a Friday congregation at a Parade Lanes mosque. Many declared that those who attack mosques are not Muslims. May be they are not.

But the counter argument is what about the attack on Red Mosque and Jamia Hafisa, and destruction of other seven mosques in Islamabad on Murree Road which happened during Musharaf’s rule? Those people who destroyed these mosques, were they Muslims or non Muslims?

And moreover, what about the attack on Holy Kabbah by Hijaj Bin Yousaf? No mosque on earth can match the sanctity of holy Kabbah. Hijaj Bin Yousaf was a Muslim. His army was Muslim too; and those he was fighting were also very good Muslims. Also what about attack on holy Kabbah by some Iranians about three decades ago? Were they Muslims or non Muslims?
I am not justifying an attack on any mosque or holy Kabbah. I, in fact, in line with Islamic teaching respect all religious shrines and places of worship. I only want to make a point that sometimes fighting forces do attack places of worship, wrong as it is, to promote a cause they believe in or to eliminate high value target; or simply to take revenge.

In Rawalpindi mosque the target was not ordinary people who went their to pray, but the prime target was Hashim Masood the only son of the corps commander of Peshawar, Lieutenant General Masood Aslam, who is commanding operations in South Waziristan. Apart from him, 17 officers of the Pakistan Army were killed; among them was a General of the Armoured Corps, Major General Bilal Omar, a Brigadier some Colonels and Majors.

I, like other people, also condemn this attack; and express full sympathy with the families of those who lost their love ones in this tragic act of terrorism. I pray Allah to grant heaven to those who lost their lives.

Mufti Waliur Rahman Mehsud, the chief of the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan, while accepting the responsibility for the Rawalpindi said their ‘primary targets’ were the army officers in the mosque. He did not even express any remorse on the death of civilians, because in his view they were relatives of army officers and their demise ‘did not matter’.

When F16 strikes or Drones attack, innocent people get killed. They are labelled as terrorists; even when among the death include innocent children and women. There is no one to show who the victims are; and those who kill have no interest to show the damage they have inflicted. If somehow it is known that there were no terrorists and only innocent people were killed, a few lines statement is issued to say it was sad, but it was a ‘collateral’ damage.

Can anyone cover the death of innocent people in the Rawalpindi mosque under the term of ‘collateral damage’? People should not be allowed to kill innocent civilians under the cover of ‘collateral damage’, whether the killer is using F16 or a suicide jacket.

That aside my question is how did these ‘uneducated and backward’ tribesmen knew that Lieutenant General Masood Aslam’s only son was in the mosque? How did these attackers managed to enter this highly guarded and secured zone with so many weapons?

Talibans or Pathans are good fighters, and we all know that. But it is beyond their ability to collect so much intelligence, analyse it, make sense of it, and monitor activities of their targets and plan attacks with so much precision.

What this means is that someone else is providing them the required information. It is this someone else who plan attacks with military sophistication and precision; and Taliban only provide manpower or volunteers to carry out the job.

Important question is who is this someone? Many Pakistanis claim that Blackwater (new name Xe) is behind these attacks. Others say RAW and Mossad, Indian and Israeli secret agencies are behind them. Some others claim that the American’s are providing the intelligence and the Taliban are implementing the plans.

It is possible that there is more than one agency at work to destabilise Pakistan. It suits their national interest to destabilise Pakistan. But destabilisation of Pakistan also suits many Pakistanis as well; and they have different reasons for that. Because of this aspect of the war which Pakistan is fighting, some still think it is ‘inside job’.

They claim the disgruntled elements of the establishment and security apparatus are helping the Taliban by providing important information. It must be understood that the war Pakistan is fighting is not against any tribe or geographical area of Pakistan. They are fighting fanatics belonging to a cult, which is willing to die and blow them up to promote their cause. They are also determined to kill anyone who is perceived as an ‘enemy’ or threat to their cause.

These fanatics were recruited during General Zia time and groomed during 1980s and 1990s to promote a particular brand of Islam and export that ideology to serve the cause of Islam and Pakistan. To them end justify means; however wrong that might look to others. These fanatics were appointed in various ministries and in different sections of the Pakistani establishment; and with time they earned promotions and increased their area of influence.

These fanatics did not belong to one tribe or one region of Pakistan. Thousands of them were from various towns of Punjab and Frontier Province. Because of their common ideology and common goal they had good networking and coordination among them. It is this relationship which is causing so much trouble to Pakistan and Pakistani secret agencies, as their loyalty to the cult is much stronger than their loyalty to their departments.

When Pakistan made a U Turn on its policy and joined the America’s war against terrorism these people, as a matter of policy, became part of the war on both sides. However this policy could not continue for too long. Some people were made to retire and others were posted to less significant posts; but some others decided to become inactive for some time.

Some Pakistanis are claiming that they have won this war because of some success in Swat and in South Wazirstan. In my opinion it is too early to make this claim, as the war has just begun. True, Pakistan wants a quick end to this war; but the Taliban leaders have a strategy to drag it on for many years. Moreover external factors will influence the final outcome of the war.

If Pakistan wants to win this war then they have to change their strategy. They must not only rely on use of F16 and helicopters gunship. They have to win minds and hearts of the people and that could not be won by use of brute force and making more people homeless, making more orphans and martyrs. Above all they seriously need to look for moles among their ranks. It is these people who are cause of so much death and destruction in Pakistan.
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.
To view other articles see my blog:

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Another Kashmiri abducted by Pakistani secret agency

Another Kashmiri abducted by Pakistani secret agency
London 16 December 2009

It looks that Pakistani secret agencies have decided to crush activities of Kashmiri dissidents in Azad Kashmir or more appropriately Pakistani Occupied Kashmir, area under their control since 1947.

Another young Kashmiri Kabeer Shah has been abducted from Athmaqaam three days ago, and no one knows his where about.

Four Kashmiri youths were abducted by ISI Lt Col Hamza from Muzaffarabad about four weeks ago and were only released after a massive campaign for their release in Muzaffarabad and close coordination and support of Asian Human Rights Commission and other human rights groups.

The detainees were taken to a Pakistani city of Peshawer where they were severely tortured and their families harassed and intimidated.

Neelam Valley and Athmaqaam are the worst areas for human rights abuse by Pakistani agencies and forces of occupation. These areas are not easily accessible and are divided by LOC. Also these areas are the focal point for infiltration of militants across the LOC therefore very sensitive as far as the Pakistani agencies are concerned.

In view of growing activities of the secret agencies and abduction cases Kashmiris in Muzaffarabad have set up Missing Persons Society to monitor activities of the secret agencies and to provide support and legal help to victims of abduction.

Famous political activist and a leader of NSF Mahmood Baig has been elected Chairman of this group and Afzaal Sulehria, Zonal President of Kashmir National Party has been elected Secretary General. Both of them played a lead role in the release of the four abductees last week.

While speaking to Dr Shabir Choudhry, Afzaal Sulehria said, we are really concerned about the growing abduction cases of Kashmiri political activists, and request all freedom loving people to help us to fight illegal activities of the Pakistani secret agencies.

Pakistani secret agencies, especially ISI has little regard for the Pakistani law, but as far as Pakistani Administered Kashmir is concerned they are law themselves, as they do not come under jurisdiction of the local law. Local administration even President and Prime Minister of Pakistani Administered Kashmir have no control over them. IG police of Pakistani Administered Kashmir is always a Pakistani and has no control over the activities of the secret agencies.

Issued by Dr Shabir Choudhry

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Is Pakistan a failed state?

Is Pakistan a failed state?
Dr Shabir Choudhry 12 December 2009

Many people say Pakistan is a failed state; others say no it is not. Some Jihadi groups and right wing people call Pakistan a ‘fort of Islam’; and a ‘successful’ state, as it made a valuable contribution in the collapse of one Superpower; and has virtually bankrupted the other Superpower in a ‘war on terrorism’.

They make these lofty and irrational claims despite the fact that the country has not won any war against its arch rival, and lost East Pakistan in the war of 1971; and suffered humiliating defeat with imprisonment of more than 90 thousands prisoners. The country is on a verge of economic collapse and rulers are going out with a begging bowl from one country to another; and there is a civil war going on and bombs are blowing in every city and all highly secure institutions have become targets of these bombs.

That aside the issue of a failed state is mentioned from time to time by political commentators and journalists. A failed state is the one which fails to fulfil basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government. All sovereign states have legitimate right to control its territory and have monopoly of use of force within that territory. A state is perceived as a failed state if:

• It loses a physical control of some parts of its territory;
• It loses monopoly over use of legitimate physical force;
• Its writ of government is challenged by militant groups;
• It’s power to make collective decisions is gradually eroding;
• It is unable to provide basic necessities and essential public services;
• It is unable to interact and make legally binding agreements with other states.

Whether we call Pakistan a failed state or ‘dysfunctional state’, phrase coined by a famous writer Tariq Ali; some, if not all, of the above characteristics do apply to Pakistan. A failed state has a weak government which is unable to assert its authority in parts of its territory. In a failed state public services are either non existent or very ineffective and there is widespread corruption, nepotism and criminal activities. In a failed state there are internally displaced people forced out of their homes because of law and order or civil war and sharp economic decline.

According to various indicators including America’s ‘Foreign Policy’ and ‘The Fund For Peace’ Failed States list 2009, Pakistan is a failed state and is among the ten top failed states, with Somalia being at number one. The following list shows the worst 20 states in the world:

1/Somalia, 2/Zimbabwe, 3/ Sudan, 4/ Chad, 5, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 6/ Iraq, 7/ Afghanistan, 8/ Central African Republic, 9/ Guinea, 10/ Pakistan, 11, Cote d’Ivoire, 12/ Haiti, 13/ Myanmar, 14/ Kenya, 15/ Nigeria, 16/ Ethiopia, 17/ North Korea, 18/ Yemen, 19/ Bangladesh, 20/ East Timor
Indicators of state vulnerability
There are twelve indicators which demonstrate state’s vulnerability. Out of twelve indicators four are social, two economic and six political. Social indicators which put a state in a category of a failed state are:
1. Demographic pressures – high population density relative to supply of food and other life sustaining resources, ownership of land and transport; and control of religious and historical sites etc;
2. Massive movement of refugees and internally displaced peoples –forced uprooting of large communities causing food shortages, disease, lack of clean water, land competition, and turmoil that can spiral into larger humanitarian and security problems;
3. Vengeance seeking groups - recent or past injustices, atrocities committed with impunity against communal groups or specific groups, institutionalized political exclusion;
4. Chronic and sustained human flight - both the ‘brain drain’ of professionals, intellectuals and political dissidents and voluntary emigration of the middle class.
Economic indicators
1. Uneven economic development along group and tribal lines – inequality and injustice perpetrated against a group or a tribe in education, jobs, and economic status.
2. Severe economic decline – shortage of food items, high inflation, drop in foreign investment, debt payments, collapse or devaluation of the national currency and a growth of hidden economies, including the drug trade, smuggling, and capital flight.
Political indicators:
1. Criminalization or de-legitimisation of the state – in a failed state there is endemic corruption and ruling elites oppose transparency, accountability and political representation and use their positions to misappropriate funds in a systematic way;
2. Progressive deterioration of public services – gradually functions of the state become ineffective and fail to protect citizens from terrorism and violence; and fail to provide essential services, such as health, education, sanitation and public transportation etc.
3. Widespread violation of human rights: in a failed state political system is authoritarian and dictatorial, where constitutional and democratic institutions and processes are suspended or manipulated. It is common to have politically inspired violence, rising number of political prisoners, widespread abuse of legal, political and social rights, including those of individuals, groups or cultural institutions, harassment of the press, politicization of the judiciary, internal use of military for political ends, public repression of political opponents, religious or cultural persecution;
4. Security apparatus as ‘state within a state’- in a failed state some individuals and organised groups operate with impunity. State-sponsored or state-supported private or religious militias terrorize and eliminate political opponents, perceived enemies, or civilians considered to be sympathetic to the opposition. This ‘army within an army’ or ‘state within state’ protects and promotes the interests of the dominant military, religious or political elite.
5. Rise of factionalised elites - the ruling elites and state institutions have conflict of interest. They could have divisions based on religious, tribal or nationalistic or sub nationalistic lines.
6. Intervention of other states - in a failed state there is a direct or indirect military or Para-military engagement of other countries – they support one or the other group in accordance with their interest, which seriously affect internal balance of power. This intervention is more extensive by those who provide military and economic help.

If one examines situation of Pakistan impartially then one reaches the conclusion that most of the above are clearly visible in Pakistani society today. I leave it to the judgement and wisdom of the readers to decide if Pakistan is a ‘failed state’, ‘successful state’, a ‘fort of Islam’ or a state struggling for its survival. However one thing is clear that Mohammed Ali Jinnah did not dream this kind of Pakistan. Dream of his Pakistan was shattered in early 1950s, and then the country physically disintegrated in to two countries with the ruling elite having any remorse over it.

I wrote this piece because I was asked why ‘You Kashmiris want to join a country which has a begging bowl in hand and which is a failed state?’ I am not in a position to pass on a judgement if Pakistan is a ‘failed state’ or a ‘successful state’, but one thing is sure that Pakistan is not the country of our dreams. We Kashmiris don’t want to become part of this society or this country which appears to have no future; and those who express their desire to become part of Pakistan are either doing it for ‘rewards’ or have a myopic view of politics and future of Kashmiris.

But that does not mean we want to be part of India or any other country. Our dream is liberal, democratic and independent Jammu and Kashmir. I hope we get this dream in our life time; and if that does not happen then I hope that our future generations will continue the struggle until they get unification and independence. I hope our future generations will benefit from fruits of liberal and democratic society and establish a society based on Kashmiri culture of tolerance and coexistene.

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:

Monday, 7 December 2009

Protest against ISI in Muzaffarabad

Protest against ISI in Muzaffarabad
London 7 December 2009

People of Muzaffarabad today once again protested against clandestine activities of Pakistani secret agency ISI which kidnapped four Kashmiris from the city about two weeks ago.

One of the four was released after many days of torture and inhuman treatment, but the remaining three are still kept in a secret location by the ISI. People of the city have been holding protest marches since the kidnapping of these people.

These people were taken by the ISI from a local police station where they were kept for some questioning. People of the area demand that the detainees should be released without any delay otherwise they will have no choice but to continue their protests and expose injustice of the Pakistani agencies.

These protests have been organised by Ifzal Suleria, Zonal President of KNP and Mahmood Baig, leader of NSF. A large number of women and people from the business community took part in the demonstration. The demonstration started from the Bank Road and ended at Central House of Journalists, where leaders of the campaign addressed the gathering.

While condemning this act of ISI female speakers took off their bangles that they could present them to the local government officials and local police who could not even protect life and liberty of their citizens; and Pakistani secret agency in a day light violate human rights of local people and detain them against the law.

While talking to Dr Shabir Choudhry, Ifzal Suleria said ‘While we were busy arranging protests everyday, some political parties have been taking credit for these protests and sending wrong news on internet and to other media people. He said reality is that those who claimed credit for these demonstrations were not even present in these protest marches. They didn’t even send a single person to these demonstrations, but they were quick to send news to claim credit for this.

Ifzal Suleria said, ‘Our main concern is the release of the detainees. People of Muzaffarabad know who have been making sincere efforts to get the detainees released’.

He further said, among the arrested were: Raja Shahid Qayyum, a fourth year student from Centre Plate, Faizan Butt first year student from Centre Plate, Ali Rathore from Madina Market and Shafiq Butt from Centre Plate Muzaffarabad.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, ‘while attention of the world is focussed on war against terrorism and what happens in FATA and to some extent in Srinagar, secret agencies of Pakistan have a free hand to oppress and intimidate those Kashmiris who challenge Pakistani rule in Azad Kashmir’.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, ‘human rights of people in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan must also be respected and non Kashmiris must not be allowed to disrupt peace and tranquillity of the area’. He said, ‘all non local people in whatever capacity they are there must be made to leave our territory that we can manage our matters without any outside interference’.

KNP leader said, ‘violence and terrorism must be opposed in all its manifestations and one must not be selective in this regard. All those who espouse terrorism must be condemned and opposed and those who try to justify it in name of religion or under any other banner, for example, strategic asset are not sincere in this matter.’

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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Sunday, 29 November 2009

New map expose Pakistani designs on Kashmir

New map expose Pakistani designs on Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry 29 November 2009

While talking to some Kashmiris in London, Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri told us a story that on the day of Hashim Qureshi’s wedding in Rawalpindi a famous writer and leader Dada Amir Haider was also present (he was the first Asian who had honour of meeting Lenin and was close associate of Nehru, Gandhi and Ghafar Khan). During discussion on politics of Pakistan and Kashmir Dada Amir Haider said:

If Pakistan remains of only one province and even if that is on fire there will be still some ‘idiot Kashmiris’ who will say we want to be part of this land which is on fire. 1

His message was that nationalist Kashmiris should ignore these ‘idiots’ who do not care for welfare of their own people and unity of their country; and are more concerned about welfare and future of Pakistan. This policy is illogical and illustrates flattering nature of the people concerned. Who would in his right mind appreciate actions of this man who ignores responsibilities to his own parents, and expresses love and care for his neighbour?

That is not because they love Pakistan but because they cannot think for themselves and they are infatuated with love of Islam. They think we (Kashmiris) must express love for Pakistan because Pakistan was set up in name of Islam, no matter what is happening in that Pakistan and what is geography of that land of pure. Furthermore this flattering but illogical attitude makes them darling of Islamabad which showers them with rewards.

It is these sentiments which Pakistan has successfully exploited since 1947. On Jammu and Kashmir both India and Pakistan had same policy and that was to make the State part of their country. Both countries had different reasons for doing this; and both adopted different strategies.

Jammu and Kashmir had a Muslim majority and India claimed that inclusion of the State with India would strengthen their secular ideals; Pakistan on the other hand claimed that inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan would strengthen Islamic ideals. Furthermore they wrongly thought that the State should have been ‘awarded’ to Pakistan even though the Two Nations Theory – a formula devised to divide the British India did not apply to Jammu and Kashmir and other Princely States.

Pakistani officials relied on their use of arms and exploitation of Islamic sentiments; and despite the Standstill Agreement they managed a tribal invasion and stabbed the Maharaja government in the back and inadvertently paved way for accession to India, which was accepted provisionally. This naked aggression resulted in killing and suffering of innocent Kashmiri people and subsequently led to the division of the State.

Tragedy is that even that aggression was presented to us Kashmiris as a Jihad which was carried out to help the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunately many Kashmiris still regard that as true; and Pakistani officials have still not abandoned their policy of ‘liberating’ Jammu and Kashmir through jihad. What happened in Jammu and Kashmir in name of ‘Jihad’ is a tragic story. Once again Pakistani policy makers relied on use of arms and used a ‘proxy war’ and ‘terrorism’ to advance their interests in the region.

It is, however, true that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism; but is it not also true that all these groups who are out of control and fighting Pakistan were created, trained and funded by Pakistani agencies? Should we feel pity that Frankenstein’s monster disobeyed his creator? There is an ideological conflict between Pakistani agencies and these jihadi groups.

Whereas terrorist groups do not understand complexities of diplomacy and are groomed from childhood with one agenda – to wage jihad; Pakistani state apparatus are accountable for their actions to those who fund them. They have to demonstrate that they have changed their policy of training and funding of terrorists.

This is partially true. Those who are challenging the writ of government and are not prepared to understand compulsions of the government of Pakistan will face wrath of Pakistan, but ‘good boys’ who are still prepared to continue jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan are still adored and supported. What is happening in Pakistan is a direct result of policies of Pakistani agencies. Their wrong policies of the past are here to haunt them and make them appear victims.

Despite all these problems, their obsession to get Kashmir or at least make it unstable is not affected by internal problems. They have come out with true colours with their policy on Gilgit Baltistan. They have annexed this territory in name of new package and ‘empowering people’.

But despite this illegal occupation, their puppets are trying to defend this colonialism disguised in new package. Some area of the State was occupied by Pakistan in disguise of Jihad in 1947; now it is annexed in disguise of ‘empowering people’ to pave division of the State. Yet some puppets are still saying we want to become part of Pakistan, even though some areas which are constituent part of Pakistan no longer want to be part of that country.

Wasn’t Dada Amir Haider right when he said: If Pakistan remains of only one province and even if that is on fire there will be still some ‘idiot Kashmiris’ who would say we want to be part of this land which is on fire?

I have no doubt that there will always be some who will support State of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan; others will support accession to India and some will even prefer the status quo. Majority, however, wish to see their State united and independent, whether it is possible or not under the prevailing situation.

Those people, who still think that the government of Pakistan is sincere with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and that their sole aim is to help people to get independence, need to view a map produced by Foreign Office of Pakistan. Just click the link for this map provided below, and please tell me where is the territory known as Azad Kashmir.

A similar map was produced about three years ago and after our (we were part of one group of JKLF at that time) strong protest it was removed by saying that it was a mistake. One can make the following observations from this map:

1. POK or AJK, as it is known, does not show up as a separate territory but part of Jammu Kashmir (disputed territory);

2. Does that mean Pakistani Foreign Office regard Azad Jammu Kashmir as disputed?

3. Gilgit is shown part of Pakistan and not Jammu and Kashmir;

4. Baltistan is shown part of Jammu and Kashmir (disputed territory);

5. Does that mean Pakistani Foreign Office regard Baltistan as disputed?

6. Akasi chin is not shown at all;

7. Does that mean Pakistan considers Aksai chin is occupied by China, but the territory belongs to Jammu and Kashmir?

I am sure people will be able to pick out more points from this map, but important thing is that we people of Jammu and Kashmir need to protest now and not when the final hammer falls down.

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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1. This was revealed to me by a Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri Chairman UKPNP, who heard this from Dada Amir Haider, a prominent leader of the Left.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Cutting out a role for China

Cutting out a role for China
Dr Shabir Choudhry 21 November 2009

Statement of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq regarding a role of China in Kashmir dispute has surprised many. We people of Jammu and Kashmir are in limbo mainly because we are occupied by three countries, although it was only two who were considered party to the Kashmir dispute.

With exception of Palestine those countries which were colonised by one country, after some struggle gained independence; but those countries which were occupied by more than one country are still occupied, divided and struggling, as is the case with Kurdistan and Jammu and Kashmir.

Many experts believe had Jammu and Kashmir been occupied by one country then dispute of Jammu and Kashmir would have been resolved by now. People of Jammu and Kashmir are divided, as some want to join India, others want to join Pakistan or become independent from both of them. Some are even happy with the status quo. So the struggle has more than one dimension and people are not sure whether their struggle is for accession or independence.

This matter is made more complicated by making it a religious struggle, struggle of Muslims, rather than a political struggle of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Of course this religious dimension suits Pakistan and religious elements as it strengthens their position; and they deliberately promote religious confrontation to create more divisions in the ranks of those who are involved in the struggle or have suffered because of it.

Even though we, people of Jammu and Kashmir, are the main party to the dispute, we were never made part of any negotiations by the two occupying and recognised parties to the dispute, namely India and Pakistan. It was they who have dialogue with each other to settle the Kashmir dispute on our behalf; and there is a lot of resentment among the people of Jammu and Kashmir because of this.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is known to have made many controversial statements in the past and making mess of the Kashmir dispute. He is also among those who opposed a dialogue with India without the inclusion of Pakistan. At that time India was desperate to talk; and was openly saying to the Kashmiris that ‘sky was the limit’. India wanted a dialogue with Kashmiris, people who mattered and people who were suffering; and not with Pakistan because of issues related to infiltration and supporting terrorism. Talks at time could have prolonged the cease fire and helped to save many innocent lives.

When, at last, India offered a dialogue with Pakistan, government of Pakistan did not hesitate for a second and accepted the offer of talks. They did not even for formality sake asked for the inclusion of the Kashmiris. Even that did not open eyes of the Kashmiri leadership.

India is a party to the Kashmir dispute because of the ‘provisional accession’. Pakistan is a party because of the de facto control of Jammu and Kashmiri territory; and their position was recognised as a party. China also has Kashmiri territory under its control. China occupied Aksi Chin in 1962 war with India; but they also received a gift of about 5000 square kilometres territory from Pakistan in 1963.

China received this gift from Pakistan for the services which China was to provide to Pakistan in future. However both countries singed a Sino Pakistan Border Agreement in 1963 and Article 6 of the agreement says:

‘The two parties have agreed that after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the boundary as described in Article. Two of the present agreement, so as to sign a formal boundary treaty to replace the present agreement, provided that in the event of the sovereign authority being Pakistan, the provisions of the present agreement and of the aforesaid protocol shall be maintained in the formal boundary treaty to be signed between the People’s Republic of China and Pakistan.’

One can see it is clear that China has no role in resolving the Kashmir dispute. Its role only comes once the solution of the Kashmir is found. It looks that government of Pakistan wants China to have a role in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute; after all they are also de facto occupier, and if one de facto controller of a territory could have a role than why not the other.

Perhaps it is because of this Pakistan pulled a string, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed his intention to visit China. Furthermore he said: “China definitely has a role in the Kashmir dispute. It is a great global and regional power and has a direct link to the dispute. It is definitely a stakeholder.” In this regard Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s meeting with the Pakistani High Commissioner in Delhi last week should also be kept in mind.

Many wonder why Mirwaiz Umar Farooq wants to cut out some role for the third occupier – China. Doesn’t he realise that matters are already too complex, and by having another big player in this, it will only aggravate the matters. Does he want a solution or throw a spanner to prevent any possibility of finding a solution.

What if in future a part of the State territory is occupied by Afghanistan – our fourth neighbour, then are we going to chalk out a role for them as well?

Why all of sudden he has decided to go to China. Something is being cooked up. We have to view this in light of recent Pakistani manoeuvres in Gilgit Baltistan, and a joint statement of USA and China which has crucial sentence about South Asia, it says:
‘The two sides welcomed all efforts conducive to peace, stability and development in South Asia. They support the efforts of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight terrorism, maintain domestic stability and achieve sustainable economic and social development, and support the improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan. The two sides are ready to strengthen communication, dialogue and cooperation on issues related to South Asia and work together to promote peace, stability and development in that region.’
Kashmir dispute was not a bilateral matter, as it concerned with our inherent right of self determination and independence, but both India and Pakistan worked hard to make it a bilateral dispute in which the UN Resolutions have no role. It also looks that in this ‘bilateral dispute’ people of Jammu and Kashmir do not matter much either.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Sahib what are we likely to achieve by dragging China in to this dispute? China is a powerful neighbour of Jammu and Kashmir. We want to have a friendly and cordial relationship with them; but we cannot have that when China is also in possession of our territory.

We anticipate no role of China in resolving the Kashmir dispute; and if China wants to have peace and stability in South Asia, which suits Chinese future aspiration as well, then best thing is to declare that China will vacate all areas of the State under their control once the Kashmir dispute is resolved to the satisfaction of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

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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Sunday, 8 November 2009

Introduction by Professor Rafiq Bhattti to new book:

Introduction by Professor Rafiq Bhattti to new book:

The new dimensions of Kashmiri struggle

A prominent politician and author of European Parliament Kashmir Report – Present situation and future prospects, Baroness Emma Nicholson wrote an introduction to Dr Shabir Choudhry’s last book titled: ‘Struggle for independence, Proxy war or Jihad’. The book was very well received in various circles, and after great demand its translation in Urdu was published in July this year.

It was an honour for me to translate that book from English to Urdu, which has been appreciated by many quarters. I was further honoured when Dr Shabir Choudhry asked me to write an introduction to his new book: ‘The new dimensions of Kashmiri struggle’.

The new book is a collection of new articles written by Dr. Shabir Choudhry, a prominent Kashmiri scholar and political analyst. These articles are not slogans are emotional reflections but ground realities and facts which were willfully ignored to distort the legal and constitutional status of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir. The legal and constitutional distortions were intentionally and maliciously made by both Indian and Pakistani governments to suite their national interests.

Not only Indian and Pakistani governments played malicious role to exploit the resources of the State, but they promoted and supported such parties and politicians in the State who pleaded the cause of Indian and Pakistani agencies and establishments for their petty personal gains at the cost of national freedom and fundamental human rights assigned to the people of Jammu and Kashmir by the UN Charter, and our inherent right of self determination.

Dr. Shabir Choudhry whom I pronounce as the “Antina” and “Mobile Cell” of Kashmiri nation is a prolific and regular writer particularly on Kashmir dispute since many years. His writings are scientific and systematic. He is pro-people, pro peace and pro-Kashmir writer. His writings are based on reasons, prudence and rationality. He is a staunch believer in democracy, rule of law and social justice.

Although Dr. Shabir Choudhry is a political thinker, yet all his pen work is based on dignity of mankind, fundamental rights, social equality, economic justice and democratic ideals. He supports the cause of Kashmiri nation not because he himself is a Kashmiri, but because he believes in fundamental rights of people and democratic rights of all citizens. He strongly believes that forces which preach violence, terrorism, extremism and hatred must be opposed and defeated.

He is not an ‘armchair analyst’ or an ‘armchair scholar’. He has done extensive research on Jammu and Kashmir and India - Pakistan relations. He is considered as a leading authority on the subject and fully understands legal and constitutional position of the Kashmir dispute because of his study and in - depth knowledge of the legal documents which include the following important documents:

1. Transfer of power, 3 June 1947.
2. Cabinet Mission Memorandum.
3. Indian Independence Act 1947.

To re-enforce his arguments, Dr. Shabir Choudhry quotes many statements of the stake holders of the division of India i.e. British Government, Indian Congress leader and Muslim League Leaders, particularly. Transfer of Power, 3 June 1947, Cabinet Mission Memorandum and Indian Independence Act 1947 along with the policy statements of Lord Mountbatten, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah are very crucial and relevant which Dr. Shabir Choudhry has mentioned with authenticity. These documents and statements give insight-into the legal and constitutional status of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir.

The book comprising of 45 articles is of great intellectual and practical significance for all those who believe in democracy, rule of law and social justice for the people of South Asia in particular and for the world in general. It will enlighten the astray young generation in Kashmir and will prick the bubble of “Ilhaq” and “Attot Ang”. Contents of the book, I believe, will also give food for thought to thinking people in India, Pakistan, Kashmir and overseas.

The facts about Kashmir dispute have been changed into fiction. This fiction is made part of curricula of schools, colleges and universities in both parts of the State controlled and occupied by India and Pakistan. The net-result is confusion and contradictions. It has damaged the genuine freedom struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir which was secular, democratic and pro-people. It has endangered the peace, prosperity and progress of this region.

In this book Dr. Shabir Choudhry has very eloquently and strongly condemned terrorism, extremism and sectarianism in all forms and manifestations. He is of firm belief that ultimate, safe and acceptable solution of Kashmir dispute is linked with free and fair will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are the principal party to this dispute. India and Pakistan must honour their national and international pledges made by their leaders. In one of his book, “Kashmir Needs a Change of Heart” Dr. Shabir Choudhry has very prudently explained as to what should be done for an honourable solution of this dispute.

Dr. Shabir Choudhry is an author of more than twenty five valuable books and booklets on Kashmir. He regularly writes very thought provoking articles about Kashmir to generate awareness among the new generation of Jammu and Kashmir. His articles are published, reproduced and referred in papers of international standing. He is neither against Pakistan nor India as interest oriented sections across LOC assume. As an acknowledged scholar of high caliber and integrity, he is often invited in different seminars and conferences at international level.

The literature produced by Dr. Shabir Choudhry has brought about a positive change. Those who have read him are better informed on various aspects of the Kashmir dispute. They appreciate his wisdom, analytical, rational and balanced approach on the topic. He has managed to present a Kashmiri view point and has successfully countered the propaganda of extremists and that of India and Pakistan.

Many ‘Kashmir watchers’ and students who want to know facts about the Kashmir dispute very often contact his publisher Muhammad Rafiq Khawaja, Chief Executive of Kashar Printers and request books of Dr Shabir Choudhry. He has persuaded many to abandon extremist ideas and support peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute through a process of dialogue.

This book, I hope, will help the readers to comprehend the contemporary requisites of Kashmir dispute; promote rights of people and strengthen those forces who believe in peace, tolerance and rule of law. I suggest all sections of Kashmiris to read it between lines and avail its rational.

Professor Muhammad Rafiq Bhatti
Principal Shah Hamdaan College, Mirpur
November 2009

New dimensions of the Kashmiri struggle.

New dimensions of the Kashmiri struggle.
Dr Shabir Choudhry 8 November 2009

Yes, it is time for a change. We have always opposed the status quo in hope that change will bring better results - it will bring freedom, peace and prosperity; and now that change is in the offing I am apprehensive as to what it might bring. I don’t know what this change will bring to us. Will we, as a nation forcibly divided be any better off or worse?

At one time it was only the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir that was viewed as disputed; and more or less everyone from the Pakistani side of the divide wanted to liberate that side which had better living standard, better infrastructure and more political, economic and social rights.

Although Pakistan, their agencies, political parties pro Pakistan Kashmiris on both sides of the divide and some ‘nationalist parties’ who are considered ‘B’ team of Pakistan wanted to ensure that attention is focussed only on the Indian side of the divide and only those areas should be seen as disputed; but hard work of true nationalists have paid off, and now areas of Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir are also deemed as disputed.

Those who were living on the Indian side also thought the grass was greener on the Pakistani side of the divide; and they might get better rights and better future once they join Pakistan. Now all that has changed, as people come to know that there is no grass on the other side at all; and whatever little grass is there is rotten.

Furthermore they think if Pakistan had any love for the people of Jammu and Kashmir then they could have given fundamental human rights to the people who were living in the areas under their control. Denial of basic human rights to these people shows what care the Pakistani officials have for the people of the State. With time people have come to know Pakistani designs on Kashmir – they are only interested in the territory and the resources the State can offer to them.

People had to pay big sacrifices and suffer for many decades in order to reach this stage. They are not happy with India, but they no longer wish to join Pakistan either. They no longer trust those leaders who led them on this path where they suffered while the leadership enjoyed their lives and built their economic empires.

A big change has taken place and people have realised that if violence is ‘haram’ (religiously not permitted) in Pakistan or inside Pakistani Administered Jammu and Kashmir then how could it be ‘halal’ (religiously permitted) on the Indian side of the divide.

Support for democratic process

Yes, more changes are taking place. People have greater awareness and they no longer wish to follow their leaders blindly. They want to hold their leaders accountable for what they do. Did anyone visualise that the people of Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir will defy repeated requests of APHC leaders to boycott the elections; and despite threats of militants, they refused to boycott the elections and voted for their candidates.

People of Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir voted with their feet; they came out in very large numbers to cast their votes and stunned everyone. Some Kashmiris voters said, we hate India, but our hate is stronger for those who tell us to boycott elections, as this helps them financially and politically, and we have decided to defy their call and come out to vote in large numbers.

At one time to support an election on the Indian side of the divide was a serious crime. People were beaten up and killed for supporting the elections or for expressing their desire to be part of the democratic process. When my colleagues and I supported the electoral process, anti elections or anti democratic forces fully supported by Pakistani agencies came for us. We were declared anti Kashmir, anti Movement, anti Islam and pro Indian.

Despite this nefarious campaign against us we continued with our jihad of speaking truth and educating people about their rights and obligations; and opposing terrorism, violence, extremism, communalism and hatred. Many thought we will not be able to withstand this onslaught and propaganda, and will perish under this tremendous pressure; but we stood our ground and, if anything, the forces that opposed us are on the run and are busy realigning themselves.

Changing attitude

Another big change has taken place on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir. According to a report of English daily Kashmir Observer of 18 February 2009, nearly 14,000 youths took part on the Indian army’s recruitment drive which began in the district of Baramulla.

This has made people think why such a large number of people have turned out to join the Indian Army, especially if they thought it was an army of occupation that committed serious crimes against innocent people of Kashmir. Some people say it is the poverty and unemployment which is forcing people to join the army; however others have different explanations for this.

People of Palestine dislike and hate the Israeli army; and there is more poverty and unemployment there than what there is in Jammu and Kashmir. Then why is that the struggling people of Palestine do not join that army which they regard as killer army and army of occupation?

Small people big roles

People of the Valley, by and large, have developed superiority complex that everything should revolve around them; and that people of the other regions of the State should follow them. They wrongly think that every one should speak about them and support them, and they don’t have to even mention about miseries of the people belonging to other regions of the State.

This complex or ego of the ‘Valley leaders’ is regularly massaged by both India and Pakistan by giving them more attention than they deserve. Both governments have worked hard to promote those people as leaders of the Kashmiri Movement who were uneducated, uncommitted and lacked vision and directions. Aim of both governments and their agencies was to promote those who did not know what requirements of a genuine independence movement were.

Plan was to keep genuine freedom fighters under shadow and away from the lime light. Small people were assigned big roles – roles which they did not deserve; and had no clue how to perform them. The result was chaos and destruction. Tens of thousands of people lost their lives, thousands were tortured, imprisoned and raped; and we still have not moved a step forward, if anything the independence struggle was associated with Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.

Despite all the above sacrifices our struggle is still not considered as an indigenous Kashmiri struggle, where people of the State could decide their future. Still it is Indian and Pakistani bureaucrats and politicians who will decide what is good for us. India and Pakistan were considered to be the main players in the Kashmir dispute, even though we are the principal party.

Emerging role of China

However the above scenario is changing now. Role of China in Kashmir dispute is becoming more visible and stronger; and this gives totally new dimension to the Kashmir dispute and how it might be resolved. China’s interest is not only confined to the territory of the State, but it goes well beyond the boundary of the State. In order to fulfil their future aspirations, China needs to ensure that they maintain what the State territory they already have, but also ensure that they have greater influence and hold in the territory of Gilgit Baltistan. For this they have chalked out a programme and they are increasing their influence and hold over the areas of Gilgit Baltistan.

It is believed that they have leased various areas of Gilgit Baltistan from government of Pakistan, who are willing to sell anything and everything as long as they get cash for that. More than ten thousand Chinese, majority of them army men, are actively working in the area under different pretexts or under different development and exploration projects.

In the past they used to come to Gilgit Baltistan, stay in temporary shelters and go back after completing the project. This time the Chinese have come to stay, as they have started building permanent residential houses and have started taking keen interest in local matters, including local politics.

Unlike leaders of Pakistan, Chinese leaders are patriotic people. To them national interest is more important than the personal interest and self aggrandisement. They are not sure if Pakistan will survive as a nation state or will be able to hold on to the territory they have currently under their control. If Pakistan fails to protect its own borders and areas of the State under their illegal control, then China will not remain spectator and let others take over these strategically important territories which are extremely important to the Chinese future plans.

In this scenario they will take over these areas and protect their investment and interests directly linked to Gawader sea port and beyond. One can see how new developments and new dimensions in the Kashmiri struggle are taking place; and what impact they can have on unification and independence of former State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Asserting youths and Safr e Azadi

It is pleasing to note that Kashmiri youths on both sides of the divide have decided to be more assertive. They have decided to play an active role, and advance the cause of Jammu and Kashmir. The emerging role of the Kashmiri youths has forced the leadership of various Parties to be more careful in what they do and what they say.

Another important change is that for the first time initiative led by youths of the Valley, have forced the leaders to follow the theme; and even speak for the rights of the people of Gilgit Baltistan. Although not too strongly but it is pleasing to note that for the first time some leaders of the Valley have criticised action of the government of Pakistan regarding their new package on Gilgit Baltistan. This means for the first time they have realised that vast areas of Gilgit Baltistan are part of the State.

Because of more awareness and realisation of their strength and role, people have started questioning role of their leaders. Many ask why leaders have remained tight lipped regarding the plight of people of Gilgit Baltistan for the past sixty two years. Were they afraid that by speaking for rights of these people the leaders (who claim to represent whole of Jammu and Kashmir but in reality represent themselves and few localities of the Valley) could have lost their perks and other rewards.

Kashmiri youths also ask what was the purpose of collecting signatures in so called Safr – e Azadi - meaning journey for independence, if they were to be handed over to Prime Minister of a country which occupies two areas of the State, namely Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan and deprive them of basic human rights.

How interesting Yasin Malik got a gun and training from Pakistan and made use of that in the Valley and later on surrendered the gun to Delhi. He got new training and a new weapon – peace offensive during detention in a farm house in New Delhi, used it in the Valley, collected signatures and surrendered them in Islamabad.

Was this campaign taken - on to help government of India to get this message across to the Western capitals that right of movement of people is not restricted provided they abandon violence and move around without a gun? Message was clear: look a former militant who has surrendered his gun is allowed to walk with his friends freely from village to village, from town to town, at day and night to spread his message to hundreds of people in public meetings.

Message was that restriction of movement was only for those who use violence to promote their politics and intimidate local people. This message was projected through appropriate channels and helped India to ease pressure of the Western countries. Indian planners of this strategy were pleased with the outcome. Apart from other rewards, they allowed Yasin Malik to go to Pakistan with all the signatures that he can present them to Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan.

But question is why Shaukat Aziz – he was a person on loan to Pakistan and his job was to ‘screw up’ economy and the country to the best of his ability and leave, which he did very effectively. Why Yasin Malik didn’t give these signatures to some international body like the UN, which now says the UN has no role in the Kashmir dispute. Wouldn’t this have helped to strengthen the Kashmiri cause that people are not happy with the status quo; and that something must be done to improve the conditions of Kashmiris.

Furthermore, wouldn’t it have been better to present these signatures to the European Parliament which has started taking more active role in the Kashmir dispute; and have passed a resolution on Kashmir, which is the first of its kind and which is the first international initiative on Kashmir after the UN resolutions?

The European Parliament Resolution on Kashmir has also brought new a dimension to the Kashmir dispute. EU parliament, in its Resolution authored by highly respected and talented Baroness Emma Nicholson, differentiated between a right of self determination and a right of accession. It was a right of accession which the people of Jammu and Kashmir were offered by the UN, and which Pakistan has been supporting, and not a right of self determination.

Furthermore the EU Parliament in its Resolution has rightly focussed attention on the neglected people of Gilgit Baltistan, and demanded that people of this region should get their political and democratic rights. May be it was this pressure that has resulted in Pakistan granting some rights to the people of Gilgit Baltistan

New Package on Gilgit Baltistan and border crossing

At last government of Pakistan has acknowledged that this territory has a name – Gilgit Baltistan; and that they are not Northern Areas. Furthermore, people of this area could not be neglected anymore. They deserve to have their political and democratic rights, just like people of any other nation.

What Pakistan has given in this new package is not enough; and it shows Pakistan’s real designs related to the territory of Jammu and Kashmir. This new package and Pakistan’s endeavour to change the status of Gilgit Baltistan has removed the thin veil which hid the real designs of Pakistan.

This was welcomed by collaborators and opposed by people of the area and Pakistani Administered Kashmir. Nearly all nationalist parties openly spoke out against the new package and held rallies and public meetings against it. Pakistani establishment was not expecting so strong response from the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Under pressure from the youths of his party even Amanullah Khan had to speak out against the new package. In the past, like Molana Fazal Rehman provided a friendly opposition to government of General Musharaf, Amanullah Khan successfully provided a ‘friendly opposition’ to policies of Pakistani governments. His real opposition was against India and not Pakistan; and many nationalist parties DONOT regard his group of JKLF as a nationalist party.

It was because of his friendly and very often ‘negotiated opposition’, as stated by Nawaz Malik, Senior Minister of Azad Kashmir in a public meeting in Luton, England, that people called him ‘B’ team of Pakistan. Of course ‘A’ team consist of those who openly speak of accession to Pakistan and say they are soldiers of Pakistan and fighting Pakistan’s war.

Amanullah Khan is a shrewd politician, he realised he could not satisfy his rebellious youths and other parties by cosmetic changes or activities. He normally feels comfortable in the company of pro Pakistan parties, but this time he had to woo some nationalist parties to reassert his claim to nationalism. He, therefore, desperately needed a face saving activity.

There was a lot of international pressure on Pakistan that Kashmiri militants were getting training and arms from Pakistan; and Pakistan was on a verge of being declared a terrorist state in 1992. Amanullah Khan’s services were hired to take off this international pressure by staging highly propagated activity of ‘border crossing’ drama of February 1992, where he was fully helped and supported to muster people but told not to go beyond a certain point that it could be demonstrated to the international community that people of Azad Kashmir were supporting militancy; and Pakistan was having difficulty in controlling these people.

Influenced by a large number of people, and especially youngsters, he ignored the agreement with the establishment and tried to go beyond the agreed point, which resulted in shooting by the Pakistan army and killing of eight innocent Kashmiri youths.

Amanullah Khan decided to have another border crossing show. This time he was to ‘run over’ the border between Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. While he himself was comforted in safety of his office in Rawalpindi, he wanted his protestors to reach Pakistani Parliament in Islamabad at a time when there was high alert everywhere. Because of the war on terrorism or more appropriately a civil war, no part of Pakistan, especially in Rawalpindi and in Islamabad was considered safe, genius Amanullah Khan wanted to raid the Pakistani Parliament under this situation.

Like in 1992, he was told that he would not be allowed to proceed beyond a certain point; and that point was Azad Patan Bridge. But question is if the protestors had to come back from that Bridge then why take them there. Perhaps it would have been better to protest outside the AJK Assembly, like NAP, NSF and JKNLF have done.

Like the border crossing of February 1992, this time again, Amanullah Khan’s real agenda, like the last time is not what he claims. It is too early to say what terms of the deal were agreed this time, but surely one day in future it will be known.

Increased role of Kashmiri nationalists

Another new dimension is the confidence of nationalist parties in Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir. They have all of sudden become very active and persuasive. JKNLF had an impressive show in Muzaffarabad, and demonstrated its power and influence. Also NAP and NSF had some activities in various towns which were good shows and resulted in arrests and injury of their leaders. Similarly JKPNP after a long time had a good show in Mirpur.

Newly established Kashmir National Party gave a new twist to Kashmiri politics and history by deciding to hold a Black Day on 22 October. In the past Black Day was held on 27 October to coincide with landing of the Indian Army in Srinagar. But KNP claimed that it was the Tribal Invasion which violated the Standstill Agreement and undermined the sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir State. They said it was the Tribal Invasion supported by Pakistani officials that resulted in our suffering and division of the State, therefore, the Black Day should be held on this day.

Furthermore UKPNP also flexed its muscle and had an impressive show in Rawalakot. It showed its strength and openly spoke against oppressive policies of Pakistani rulers. Apart from that All Parties National Alliance is also getting its act together and playing its part in promoting the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.

All these activities were in one way against the Kashmir policy of Islamabad. This sudden upsurge of Kashmiri nationalists unnerved the ruling elite, especially the rulers of Islamabad who have interest in keeping these areas under their control and exploiting natural resources.

JKLF Yasin group in Pakistani Administered Kashmir is virtually on death bed, and are not in a position to put up any show apart from issuing a paper statement from time to time. So only party the Pakistani establishment could rely on is the JKLF Amanullah Khan Group. It is possible that they requested the old, tried and trusted ally to come out and show that he is still alive and kicking. They knew if logistic support is provided and a task of apparently against Pakistani policy is given it will suit both: Amanullah Khan and his party will get a new lease of life and it will help Pakistani establishment to marginalise the other parties who are genuinely working in the field.

Role of MQM and other Pakistani parties in Gilgit Baltistan

Entry of MQM in the Kashsmiri politics is certainly a new dimension. Some years ago when the MQM was not involved in the Kashmir politics and was not even that influential in the politics of Pakistan, a Pakistani friend from Islamabad came to visit me. This friend has good interaction with foreign diplomats in Islamabad and also has ear of the Pakistani establishment. He also has good knowledge of Pakistani politics and India Pakistan relations. During our conversation he suggested that I should join MQM. With amazement I asked reason for this. He said:

‘MQM is going to play a leading role in politics of Pakistan; and they will also have a big say in politics of Kashmir as well’. He smiled at me and said, ‘You have given enough time and suffered enough, and in my opinion you should get some rewards now and MQM can help you with that.’

I said to him, ‘Like any other political activist I also want rewards, but I would not accept any rewards at the cost of my ideology. I don’t want Pakistani parties to operate inside Kashmiri territory’. Also I told him what I thought of MQM and refused to take that path. I thought may be on suggestion of Pakistani agencies he was trying to woo me and distract me from my mission. Anyhow what he said became true.

Now when I see MQM marching right from Karachi to Azad Kashmir and to Gilgit Baltistan and holding big public meetings, his words echo my memory. Gilgit Baltistan is part of State of Jammu and Kashmir; and Pakistani presence there is illegal and unwarranted. They have injected millions in the polity of the area and are busy corrupting people with their ill gotten money.

These Pakistani parties with help of their money and huge propaganda machinery and media will defeat most of local parties and especially nationalist candidates. They have already violated State Subject Laws, control local economy and now with help of election drama they will hijack and ‘legally’ dominate polity of the area as well. To fool people and the world at large, they will call this ‘granting independence and empowering people’.

Yet another dimension

India claims the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India, and furthermore Kashmir is part of their constitution; but we challenge this contention because the accession was ‘provisional’ and had to be ratified by the people of the State in free and an impartial plebiscite.

In any case for all practical purposes India settled for what they had. India was more than happy to have a treaty on basis of the cease fire line or the present LOC. However, it was Pakistan which wanted more territory of the State to satisfy their imperial and economic designs; and for that they started direct and indirect wars.

What this indicates is that India did not believe that the accession was final; and that it was for the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir, otherwise they would not have settled for the status quo or remained silent on the plight of people in Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir if they had thought these people were ‘Indian’ like people of other Indian states.

But after sixty two years of silence all of sudden India has changed its stand or strategy. They have not only raised objections to the Chinese intentions to build dams in Gilgit Baltistan, they have also asserted their claim that these areas belong to India.

This dimension of the Kashmir dispute will change the scenario and will have great impact on politics of the region and that of South Asia. So in presence of all these dimensions discussed above, what is there for us? Are we going to be any better off, or we will be a battleground for a new conflict and new tension, which may attract other players in the conflict?

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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Monday, 19 October 2009

Tribal invasion was unprovoked aggression against Jammu and Kashmir, declares Black Day Conference.

Tribal invasion was unprovoked aggression against Jammu and Kashmir, declares Black Day conference.
18 October 2009, London

A unique conference known as Black Day Conference was arranged by Kashmir National Party in Watford, England, which wanted to examine the role of Tribal Invasion. The Tribal Invasion was unprovoked aggression against people and State of Kashmir which started on 22 October 1947 and violated Kashmiri sovereignty.

In the past years people of Kashmir held Black Day demonstrations against India to coincide with the arrival of Indian army in Srinagar. It was for the first time that a conference was held on 22 October to coincide with the attack of the tribesmen on State of Jammu and Kashmir which forced the Ruler of the State to seek help from India and subsequently accede with India, although that accession was provisional and had to be ratified by the people.

The Black Day Conference was first of its kind and attracted a lot of interest by the concerned parties. Thirteen political parties from the UK representing various political view points participated in the conference and declared that the tribal invasion was designed to force the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir to join Pakistan. Apart from Kashmiris a number of Pakistanis were also present in the conference to express their support for the cause of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Black Day Conference started with opening remarks of the KNP Chairman Abbas Butt who welcomed all the participants and explained order of the day and rules regarding this crucial debate. He said, ‘Our struggle is not against Pakistan or Pakistani people; it is not against India or Indian people. Our struggle is against injustice and wrong policies of Pakistan and India. If India and Pakistan change their Kashmir policies and people of Jammu and Kashmir get their right of self determination then we can all live in peace and harmony and work for peace and stability of the region’.

Abbas Butt said, ‘We have produced a booklet especially for this conference which explains with historic evidence that the State of Jammu and Kashmir was independent after the end of the British Raj; and that tribal invasion was supported by Pakistani authorities in clear violation of the Standstill Agreement concluded between the Maharaja government and government of Pakistan’.

Dr Shabir Choudhry, Spokesman of Kashmir National Party in his key note speech said, ‘The tribal invasion was planned and supported by government of Pakistan, and aim was to punish the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir who refused to accede to Pakistan or India. This tragic event changed the course of our history and our destination. It undermined our sovereignty and deprived us of our independence. It divided our beloved motherland and divided families and the nation. It killed innocent Kashmiri men and women. It plundered and looted Kashmiri resources. It is the main cause of our present miseries and troubles’.

Dr Shabir Choudhry further said, ‘If there was no tribal invasion then there might have been no Kashmir dispute as we see it today. It was possible that both countries in absence of this dispute could have resolved other issues and could have developed friendly and cordial relations; and that could have led to peace and stability in the region’.

He said, ‘The genie of extremism and hatred released in name of jihad in October 1947 to advance political agenda, continue to spread extremism and hatred. Unfortunately that policy of promoting extremism to advance political agenda continued until very recently, and forces of extremism and hatred have become power in their own right. They have already affected lives of millions of people. Like any other living being, it wants to live and flourish; and has become out of control. Like Frankenstein monster it has turned against its creator, hence we see cries in Pakistan about terrorism, jihad and establishing writ of government, all claiming to be on the right path’.

Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, Chairman of UKPNP in his key note speech praised the KNP leadership for taking this daring step of having a Black Day Conference. ‘It is something new. It makes people think what happened in October 1947. Which were the forces that caused so many problems to us? We need to reorganise our struggle, and must not follow the old line which was given by those who had interest in territory of Kashmir’.

He said, ‘Strategy in the Kashmiri struggle was wrong and that is why we have not made any progress in the last sixty two years. We must not be afraid of criticism and exploring our history which has been distorted by those who occupy us. We must get our facts right and in this regard Dr Shabir Choudhry and KNP has done a considerable work and that must be appreciated by the Kashmiris’.

PNP Chairman said, ‘Kashmiri struggle is a political struggle. It is not fight against any religion or any community. We have common problems and we have common enemy and that is illiteracy, poverty, and extremism’.

PNP Chair added, ‘Why is it that people of so called Azad Kashmir at the age of fifteen have to say good - bye to their homeland and become a migrant? It is because we were invaded. We are occupied and our State is forcibly divided. Our resources are being exploited by those who occupy us. If we were masters of our own resources then we could have been very well off’.

Mahmood Kashmiri, President of NLF said, ‘We are grateful to KNP leadership for providing us with this opportunity that we can all sit down in this round table conference and debate who did what to us in 1947. It is important to get our facts right that we can plan our future strategy’.

Mahmood Kashmiri said, ‘Those who criticise and say that we should not look at the past mistakes are wrong. It is absolutely crucial that we analyse past mistakes of the Kashmiri leadership, and blunders of our so called friends that we know who has been sincere with the cause of people of Jammu and Kashmir’.

NLF President added, ‘It is only appropriate that we struggle on this side of the LOC; and other Kashmiris struggle in other parts according to their situation and according to their strategy’.
‘It was a wrong policy that we must liberate Srinagar first and then liberate this side of Kashmir’ Mahmood Kashmiri said. ‘It was wrong at that time and it is wrong now. We have problems on this side of the LOC and we have to struggle on this side according to our situation. What sense does it make to have a protest against a Commissioner of Mirpur when injustice is being done by the Commissioner of Muzaffarabad.’

Ali Adalat, representative of KIN said, ‘We people of Jammu and Kashmir have got our priorities wrong. We are confused with our identity. We don’t know if we are Pakistanis or Kashmiris. I can understand there could be pressure on people in Pakistani Administered Kashmir to speak out, but what holds them back in UK. Why they are afraid of getting themselves recognised as Kashmiris that we also benefit as an ethnic minority group’.

Ali Adalat said, ‘True both India and Pakistan have exploited us economically and otherwise. We also have been victim of communalism and extremism. But why we are not taking a lead and ensure that we get our rights recognised in Britain. We ensure that we are not excluded from decision making process, as we were excluded in the past be it in 1947, UN Resolutions, Tashkant Agreement, Shimla Agreement any many other subsequent agreements’.

He said, ‘We have to learn from past mistakes. I agree that the Tribal Invasion was a blunder. If the aim was to help Muslims then why attack an area where there was 95% Muslims. Why not attack and help Muslims of Jammu where they were in minority and where they were being killed. They attacked Srinagar which is more than 135 miles, but did not go to Jammu from Sialkot which is less than 20 miles’.

NSF leaders Asif Masood, fully appreciated the efforts of the KNP leaders and expressed their full support to cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir. Asif Masood said, ‘Those who tell us to liberate Srinagar first are wrong and are trying to divert our attention and our resources’.

He said, ‘We have always opposed politics in name of religion. We opposed militancy in name of Jihad even when many organisations praised it and took pride in being part of that’. He said, ‘We need to have unity among ourselves and correct strategy to liberate the State. Our struggle is on this side of the LOC and not on the other side’.

Surrinder Kaul, President of Kashmir Peace Committee, highly appreciated the Black Day Conference. He said, ‘It is important to set historical record right. As a child I witnessed this tribal invasion and have personal memories of this tragic event. These people did not come to Kashmir to liberate us or help anyone’. He said, ‘We people of the divided Jammu and Kashmir must interact with each other that we have better understanding of each other. It is important to have conferences like this, but I wish if we can have a conference like this in Srinagar and other places of the State’.

Surriya Makhdoom, representing World Sindhi Congress said, ‘The People Sind voted for Pakistan. It was the Sind Assembly which passed a resolution in support of Pakistan. But after becoming a part of Pakistan we are still not enjoying our full democratic rights. We are still struggling for our educational, linguistic and cultural rights’.

She fully supported Kashmiri struggle for right of self determination, and urged that we should all work together for peace and fundamental rights of the people in the region.

NAP leader, Asghar Malik, said, ‘We have always supported the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir and will continue to do so’. He appreciated the hard work done by the KNP leadership and assured the audience ‘that his party will support the cause of unity and work for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir’.

He said, ‘We are not against Pakistan but it is our birth right to struggle for our fundamental rights and independence of our motherland’. He said, ‘It is only appropriate that we struggle on this side of the LOC, but coordinate with other parties struggling in other areas’.

Mujtaba Ali Shah, Secretary Information of the United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) expressed ‘his serious concern on rise of religious intolerance in areas of Pakistani Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Beltistan’. He said, ‘Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and other jihadi groups have entrenched their positions in Azad Kashmir and the puppet government of Azad Kashmir has instructed the local administration to accommodate the Pakistani and other jihadis by all means possible, including in madrassahs and sate run schools’.

He said, ‘He was a witness to the murder of a young Shia student in Muzaffarabad at the hands of LeT terrorists after the martyred student protested against the activities of LeT soon after the 2005 earthquake’.

Nawaz Majid Kashmiri, Secretary General of KNP Britain Zone said, ‘The Tribal invasion communalised the Kashmiri politics in which people of the State suffered immensely. It was this unprovoked attack which forced the Maharaja to join India’.

He said, ‘Our struggle is not for any accession or against any religion. Our struggle is for a secular and independent Jammu and Kashmir where all ethnic minorities of the State can live in peace and harmony.’

Jameel Latif, President of UKPNP Britain in his short speech assured the audience that his party ‘Will not shy away from speaking the truth and speak for the rights of our people’. He said, ‘We were the first party to hold a demonstration outside the Pakistani High Commission to protest against the new package for Gilgit and Baltistan and against annexation of this area to Pakistan’.

Ayub Rathor, representing JKLF group of Farooq Papa expressed his full support for the conference and assured the audience that his party will support unity among the Kashmiri parties. He said, ‘If we remain divided and don’t set out our priorities then it will be very difficult to get independence.’

Moohammed Nazam Bhatti, President of KNP Britain Zone thanked all those who made such brilliant arrangements for this conference and said, ‘We always have taken a lead in promoting the cause of people and independent Jammu and Kashmir’. He said, ‘I was only fifteen years old when I became one of the younger members of the JKLF when it was formed in 1977. Like my other colleagues I have worked all my life to advancethe cause of a secular and independent Kashmir’.

Arshad Khan of Muslim Conference, differed with the other speakers and said, ‘The Tribesmen came to help people of Kashmir. It is possible that there were some bad people as well who committed some crimes. My party policy is that we should become part of Pakistan, but I respect views expressed by other speakers. We need to understand each other and tolerate criticism.’

Usman Kayani, Secretary General of UKPNP Britain said, ‘If people of Pakistan can hold demonstrations against injustice in Pakistan and no one questions their loyalty and no one calls them traitor, then why should we be afraid of holding demonstrations against those who do injustice to us’. He said, ‘Our first loyalty is with our motherland and not with our neighbours, no matter how good is our neighbour.’

Mumtaz Rathor of JKLF Farooq Papa group and other speakers also expressed their views and assured the audience to work for the cause of Kashmir.

The following resolutions were passed by the Conference:

Resolutions passed by the Black Day Conference arranged by Kashmir National Party in Watford (England) on 18 October 2009

Participants of this conference unanimously:

1. Declare that the Tribal Invasion supported and directed by Pakistani authorities was aggression against the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It desecrated sovereignty of the State which was independent at that time of this unprovoked aggression;

2. Agree that the tribal attack was a clear violation of the Standstill Agreement signed by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Government of Pakistan;

3. Recognise that this aggression carried out in name of jihad was designed to force the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir to accede to Pakistan. It resulted in death and suffering of innocent Kashmiris; and changed the course of our history as the Maharaja was forced to seek help from India and accede to India against his will;

4. Note that the accession was provisional in nature and had to be ratified by the people of the State, however they never had chance to express their opinion on this matter;

5. Welcome the resumption of dialogue as that is the only way forward to resolve the Kashmir dispute; but emphasise that people of the State must have a final say on the future of the State;

6. Express their determination to promote the cause of peace, democracy and equality for all citizens of the State; and oppose forces of extremism and hatred;

7. Acknowledge that terrorism has added to problems of the people of the State and it should be opposed in all its manifestations;

8. Affirm their determination to oppose all those forces who want to divide the State of Jammu and Kashmir, as the State is one political entity and must remain so;

9. Resolve to continue their struggle for unification and independence of the State;

10. Strongly believe that the State of Jammu and Kashmir is multi religious and multi cultural; and this aspect of our society and culture must be recognised and promoted.

11. Urge the British government and governments of other countries to recognise people of Jammu and Kashmir as Kashmiris and not reclassify and redefine them as Pakistanis or Indians.

12. Demand that people of Jammu and Kashmir who were uprooted because of the troubles in the State must be settled back in their homes with dignity, honour and safety.

13. Emphasis that right of movement within the State is our fundamental right; and CBMs are designed to prevent free movement of the Kashmiri people. We demand that restrictions in the CBMs must be lifted that people of the State could easily interact with their fellow citizens.

14. Support democratic, economic, educational, cultural and linguistic rights of the Sindhi people.