Monday, 25 May 2009

Why we formed Kashmir National Party

Why we formed Kashmir National Party
Dr Shabir Choudhry 25 May 2009
Since the formation of KNP last year - May 2008, people have asked many times why we have formed a new party and why we did not join one of the existing pro independence parties. I have replied to this question many times.

Rashid Khan Sahib wrote: ‘below mentioned article did not carry any serious matter to discuss’; and yet went on to analyse the entire article by taking out things out of context. He further wrote: ‘I would like to know, though it is not necessary to know, that while there were so many pure nationalists parties were already existing, with same manifestos, programmes and objectives with little difference, then what was the need to form a new party in the name of KNP?’

Respected Rashid Sahib ‘if there was no serious matter in the article to discuss’, then why you took the trouble to discuss it. Anyhow your question with regard to formation of KNP is a genuine one, and I will try to answer this once again, and hope that it will help you and others to understand the matter in hand.

We were among those who helped to set up the JKLF in Birmingham (England) in 1977. We worked hard to protect and promote the JKLF ideology and sincerely hoped that I will help to advance the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir. When we realised that the top JKLF leadership has betrayed the ideology and the movement we sincerely tried to rectify the situation internally, and protect and promote the real ideology of the party.

When we realised that the forces which want to keep the JKLF and the movement divided were more powerful and influential; and that we could not get the JKLF united, we decided to dissolve our faction of the JKLF and set up a new party with a new name- Kashmir National Party. Our reasons to form KNP are as follows:

1. We formed a new party because we sincerely believed that policies of most nationalist parties were not in tune with the present day demands of the Kashmiri struggle. Their policies were designed either in geo political situation of 1980s or in 1990s; and geo political situation of the world has changed. Also politics of Jammu and Kashmir and the struggle has changed; and these changes should reflect in our policies.

2. Because of discriminatory clause, part 7(2) in the ACT 1974, which states: ‘No person or political party in Azad Jammu and Kashmir shall be permitted to propagate against or take part in activities prejudicial or detrimental to the ideology of the State’s accession to Pakistan’, Kashmiri nationalist parties don’t take part in elections? However some Kashmiri nationalists have individually taken part in the elections in Pakistani Administered Kashmir.

3. We were the first political party to write it in our constitution that we will take part in the elections despite this discriminatory clause. KNP aims and objectives states: ‘Without prejudice to our inherent and most cherished right to independence; and despite restrictions upon those who adhere to this ideology, KNP in order to empower people and promote democratic values and culture of accountability and transparency will support democratic process in the divided State and might take part in the electoral process’.

4. We are pleased that NAP as a political party has also decided to take part in the elections despite the discriminatory clause. We can assure the NAP leadership that they will get our full cooperation in this matter; and in every other matter which can advance the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.

5. Many nationalist parties of Pakistani administered Kashmir still want to liberate ‘Indian held’ Kashmir first; and regard ‘Pakistani Occupied Kashmir’ as Azad Kashmir. Some even say that once Kashmir is liberated from India then we can speak to Pakistan, knowing that it will not happen till doomsday. They fail to distinguish between two different kinds of occupations; as a result their strategy to liberate our homeland is contradictory and confused. One can even say their policy and strategy is discriminatory in nature, as deep down in their hearts they see the struggle in the context of Muslims and non Muslims.

6. Our policy is crystal clear on this. We believe a person who is enslaved himself in one room cannot ‘liberate’ his brothers who are enslaved in the other room. In order to help them I need to be free myself first. I need to struggle against my slavery according to situation where I am enslaved and suffering; and my fellow countrymen can struggle according their conditions where they are enslaved and suffering. We can help, support and coordinate our struggle, but cannot abandon struggle for our liberation until the rest of the Jammu and Kashmir is liberated from India.

7. Some nationalist parties in order to be in ‘good books’ of certain quarters oppose and condemn terrorism, but not only justify militancy and violence on the Indian side of the LOC but also promote it. These nationalist parties also oppose armed struggle inside Pakistani Administered Kashmir. KNP on the other hand oppose terrorism in its all manifestations and wherever it takes place. We are not among those who wrap violence in holy cover of jihad when it takes place on the Indian side of the LOC and call it terrorism when it takes place in Pakistan.

8. We believe people of State of Jammu and Kashmir cannot get unification and independence by use of gun. Use of gun whether it was in the form of Tribal invasion in 1947, Pakistani led war in 1965, or in the form of jihad, militancy or a proxy war (1988 to date) has only resulted in misery and suffering of the people. We have not made any progress towards goal of our most cherished goal of independence. We therefore feel that struggle now has to be political and democratic. We need to give chance to genuine peace process and dialogue among all the Kashmiri ethnic groups and India and Pakistan.

9. Some Kashmiri nationalist organisations use name of secularism and yet they are actively engaged in politics of communalism and they promote politics based on religion. KNP on the other hand genuinely believes that religion has no role in politics. Jammu and Kashmir is multi religious and multi ethnic State and we cannot let religious forces to divide our beloved homeland. KNP strongly believes that majority ethnic group – Muslims have to win trust of the minorities by going extra mile and take concrete steps to promote and protect rights of Kashmiri minorities.

10. KNP gives great importance to working with trade unions and other progressive forces in the country; and will promote role of working class people and underprivileged classes. KNP believes corruption, nepotism, deiscrimination and regionalism are poisionous for society, as they destroy peace, harmony and cohesiveness of the society, we therefore, will have zero tolerance to all these evils. We will root out racial, communal, regional, linguistic and class prejudices; and promote unity, friendship and equality amongst all people of the State.

11. Apart from that some nationalist parties want to establish a communalist society in Jammu and Kashmir – a society which has strong traditional, cultural and religious roots. We believe communism might not be suitable for the society of Jammu and Kashmir.

In our opinion no existing Kashmiri nationalist party offered us all the above and we had no choice but to make a new start with a new name. I hope that respected Rashid Khan and others will have better understanding of KNP now.
Also I hope that those who preach us to ‘accept’ decisions of their parties will at least respect decisions of our party - KNP. We don’t expect them to accept our decisions, as only party members are expected to accept them. Others have a right to criticise, comment or reject our decisions and we have to tolerate that, as this essence of democracy.

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:


H Khan said...

Hello, I think that your policies are THE BEST that I have read in regards to Kashmir being freed. I feel very sad when I hear Kashmiris referring to themselves as Pakistani or Indian when their ancestors would've fought for Kashmir to be independent. I think your views are not biased and I wish you all the best with your party. Salaam :)

Anonymous said...

pakistan zindabad...kashmiris love pakistan

Faisal Ashfaq said...

Unrealistic policies