Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Police action against lawyers in Muzaffarabad.

Police action against lawyers in Muzaffarabad.
Dr Shabir Choudhry 19 May 2009

According to reports emanating from Muzaffarabad, there was a serious police action against a peaceful demonstration in Muzaffarbad, capital of Pakistani Administered Kashmir. The city showed scene of a battleground, according to eye witness who was present when the policemen bravely attacked and injured peaceful demonstrators.

The trouble started when lawyers began their demonstration against unjust and unreasonable attitude of authorities in Muzaffarabad. According to Khawaja Abid Kashmiri, a local political activist who witnessed the police charge said, ‘Police in hundreds were waiting for the demonstrators, and as soon as they emerged from the Central Bar building, police charged at them with sticks and started beating unarmed and completely peaceful demonstrators’.

He said, ‘Demonstrators had to take shelter inside the Bar building, but they were chased by the police who generously used tear gas and big sticks to beat the lawyers’. In this ‘jihad’ against lawyers total of 22 lawyers suffered head injuries, and 16 lawyers had their arms broken. Police have ‘won’ the day but there is much anger and resentment among the people of the city.

According to local people some officers of Muzaffarabad Development Authority wanted to misappropriate land that they can sell it at higher rate later on. In this regard one officer named Khawaja Amar Mehmood went to dismantle a shelter of one lawyer Hazoor Imam Qazmi. Mr Qazmi is a lawyer of High Court and Supreme Court. He challenged the action of the MDA officers, but Khawaja Amar Mehmood expressing his arrogance and power demolished parts of his dwelling.

Mr Qazmi obtained a stay order from the court next day, and presented that to Khawaja Amar Mehmood who allegedly ignored the court action and went ahead with his mission of demolishing the remaining parts of Mr Qazmi’s dwelling. Mr Imam Qazmi and his family tried to fight off this illegal action of MDA officers, but had no luck as the officers were well prepared for their action.

According to Abid Kashmiri a twelve year old young daughter of Mr Qazmi also resisted this action and said, ‘Uncle why are you doing this to us. Why are you throwing out our belongings?’ Instead of showing any sympathy or care, MDA officials fiercely pushed her away. She fell down and hurt herself.

In another incident which took place on Neelam Road Muzaffarabd, Raja Ijaz Dilwar’s house was demolished in presence of Assistant Commissioner Muzaffarabad, Abdul Hamid Kayani. And when Raja Ijaz Dilwar protested against this unfair treatment, he was personally beaten up with a stick by the Assistant Commissioner, and Mr Dilwar’s leg was broken during this mission of the authorities.

Because of these actions the local people were very angry and they arranged the demonstration to show their disgust. The authorities were angry over this and ordered police to teach them a lesson. In this police action apart from the lawyers, bystanders were also beaten up. In total twenty two law - abiding advocates had head injuries and sixteen of them had their arms broken.
It is a basic human right to hold a peaceful demonstration, but when a territory is colonised or when it is ruled by undemocratic forces the right to assemble or a right of speech is brutally silenced. How unfortunate that this area is known as Azad Kashmir, but it lacks azadi in true sense.

I wonder why authorities in Muzaffarbad want to create new problems when they already have so many problems on their plate. Still there are thousands of earthquake victims who need to be housed and properly looked after. Apart from that there are many other problems that need their immediate attention, and which are related to welfare and education of people. They are advised to formulate policies for the welfare of the people, rather than uprooting those who have shelter, and beating up those who are there to promote and protect law and rights of the citizens.

According to confirmed reports MDA officer Khawaja Amar Mehmood is a brother of Khawaja Hassan who lives in Belgium, and presents himself as a nationalist Kashmiri. But sources in Belgium claim that the man is acting mysteriously and have practically become a mouth piece of Pakistani funded Kashmir Centre in Brussels.

His main mission is to create divisions among the nationalist Kashmiris. In the past secret agencies of India and Pakistan used to accuse Kashmiri nationalists of being ‘agents’ of either India or Pakistan; now this mission is assigned to Khawaja Hassan, who is working very hard to discharge his duties to divide Kashmiris and make allegations against true Kashmiri nationalists.

It is claimed by political activists in Muzaffarbad that he was also instrumental in withdrawal of National Awami Party from All Party National Alliance, a platform of Kashmiri nationalists. In view of some political activists the move is designed to discredit APNA which has infuriated Islamabad policy makers, as it has strengthened ties between people of Gilgit and Baltistan and people of Pakistani Administered Kashmir.

This move of new NAP leaders could have far reaching consequences and could split the party. The new President of the NAP, soon after his election declared that his party will no longer be part of the APNA, as he was not happy with certain things in the alliance.

His action whether supported by his Executive Committee or not demonstrates that the previous leadership of NAP was weak and na├»ve, and he is clever and stronger. It shows that the previous leadership of NAP failed to understand ‘wrong policies’ of the APNA, and he understood them and took action as soon as he was elected.

However sources close to the former President Professor Khaleeque claim that he still regards himself to be part of the APNA set up. I don’t know how that can be possible but it will surely create divisions within the ranks of the party; and Khawaja Hassan should get full credit for the accomplishment of his mission.

APNA is an alliance of Kashmiri nationalist parties. It may not be perfect, and some of its constituent parties or leaders may not be liked by every one, but these small matters could be resolved from inside. APNA is alliance of like minded parties and has agreement of parties on broader issues. The constituent parties, big or small are free to hold their own separate functions and promote their ideologies.

In my view anyone who is trying to weaken APNA or wants to give it a bad name is not helping the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir. It is well known that Amanullah Khan group of JKLF is not part of this alliance as there is a big question mark on his nationalist credentials. He and pro Pakistan parties with whom he associates himself will be happy that APNA is weakened.

However those who are acting as ‘B’ team of Islamabad or working for Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan, they will be happy that they have managed to dent the credibility of this alliance which has worked hard to promote the nationalist cause and bring people of Gilgit and Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir closer.

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: drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com

To view other articles see my blog: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com

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