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.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Tribal invasion and its implications

Tribal invasion and its implications
Presentation of Dr Shabir Choudhry on Black Day conference organised by Kashmir National Party in Watford, England.

Mr Chairman, friends and colleagues aslamo alaykam

1. Introduction

Tribal invasion was a major event in the modern history of Jammu and Kashmir. This tragic event changed the course of our history.
• It changed our destination.
• It changed secular ethos of Kashmir.
• It undermined our sovereignty.
• It deprived us of our independence.
• It divided our beloved motherland.
• It divided families and the nation.
• It killed innocent Kashmiri men and women.
• It dishonoured Kashmiri women.
• It plundered and looted Kashmiri resources.
• It is the main cause of our present miseries and troubles.
• In one sentence, it is the cause of all of our problems we face today.

We need to investigate and analyse what was this tribal invasion? How did it happen? Who were behind this and what was the purpose of this? We people of Jammu and Kashmir are repeatedly told that tribesmen from North West Frontier came to Jammu and Kashmir to help us. They came there for Jihad. However historic facts do not support this contention.

These tribesmen were set on us not to help us, but to subdue and invade us. Some of them might have been motivated by holy name of Jihad, but for the majority it was an opportunity to satisfy their hunger for loot and plunder, and take away Kashmiri women. Religion of victims was not an issue to them; and their victims included Muslims and non Muslims.

In name of ‘Jihad’ when these unruly tribesmen entered territory of Jammu and Kashmir, their first victim was a Muslim. When the tribesmen attacked house of a non Muslim citizen of Muzaffarabad, Master Abdul Aziz in line with his Islamic duty and Kashmiri ethos, tried to protect his neighbour. He asked them not to loot and kill his non Muslim neighbours.

The tribesmen did not like intervention from Master Abdul Aziz, and killed him on spot. To these ‘jihadis’ crime of Master Abdul Aziz was so severe that he did not even deserve a funeral (janaza) or a burial. They threw his dead body in River Neelam.
They created mayhem and sent the message to all that if anyone even questions them as to what they were doing, they will eliminate that person. Grandchildren of Master Abdul Aziz, first victim of the tribesmen still live in Muzzafarabad, and explain the tragic events which they heard from their elders.

2. Legal status of Jammu and Kashmir

It is well established fact that the State of Jammu and Kashmir had attained its sovereignty after lapse of the British Paramountcy on 15 August 1947. The Independence Act, Section 7.1 explains that after ‘the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian States lapses’; all powers which were responsibility of the Crown were to revert back to the Rulers of the States.
This point was further elaborated by Governor General of India Lord Mountbatten in his address to a Special meeting of the Chamber of Princes on July 25 1947, he said, and I quote:
There had been universal acceptance among the States of the Cabinet Mission's Memorandum of 12 May and when the political parties accepted the Statement of 3 June they fully realised and accepted that withdrawal of Paramountcy would enable the States to regain complete sovereignty……Now, the Indian Independence Act releases the States from all their obligations to the Crown. The States will have complete freedom- technically and legally they become independent. Unquote.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah agreed with the above legal position. He strongly believed that the State of Jammu Kashmir and other Princely States had a right either to accede to India or Pakistan, or become independent States. In a reply to a question on 17th June 1947 about legal status of the Princely States, Mohammed Ali Jinnah said:

‘That after the lapse of paramountcy the Indian States would be constitutionally and legally sovereign states and free to adopt for themselves any course they wished. It is open to States to join Hindustan Constituent Assembly {or Pakistan Constituent Assembly} or to decide to remain independent’.

Despite all pressures from Lord Mountbatten, different leaders of Congress and Muslim League the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir did not accede to any country. He wanted to remain independent. He attained his independence after lapse of paramountcy on 15th August 197. As late as on 12 October 1947, the Maharaja wanted to remain independent, and this position was reinforced by his Deputy Prime Minister Ram Lal Batra, who during his visit to Delhi said:

‘We intend to keep on friendly relations with both India and Pakistan. Despite constant rumours we have no intention of joining either India or Pakistan, and the Maharaja and his government have decided that no decision of any kind will be made until there is peace in the plains. He also revealed that the Maharaja had told him that it was his ambition to make Kashmir Switzerland of the East – a completely neutral state.’ 1

All sovereign states must have four characteristics, and before any state attains sovereignty these attributes must be satisfied:

1/ First attribute is that the state should have people. This attribute Jammu and Kashmir satisfied before the lapse of Paramountcy. The people living within the State boundaries were regarded as citizens of Jammu and Kashmir; and State Subject Definition Notification dated the 20th April, 1927 further strengthens our case in this regard.
2/ Second attribute of a statehood is that the state should have a defined territory. Size of the state does not matter; it could be a city state. The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir had clearly defined territory of which he was the Ruler.

3/ Third attribute of a statehood is that there should be a government. A government could mean one or more people who are responsible for making laws and keeping law and order. All these attributes were satisfied before the lapse of paramountcy.

4/ Fourth attribute of a statehood is that a state should have capacity and right to enter in to relations with other states. This attribute distinguishes states from lesser units like members of a federation.

The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir attained this capacity after the lapse of Paramountcy. He demonstrated this ability or right by concluding a Standstill Agreement with government of Pakistan; and by offering to have a Standstill Agreement with government of India.

Some people argue that because the State of Jammu and Kashmir was not recognised, therefore it was not a sovereign state. This is not true. A State becomes sovereign when it is granted independence by a paramount power; legally it attains independence from that moment and does not depend on recognition of other states. Israel exists as a sovereign country, yet it is not recognised by so many countries.

In case of Jammu and Kashmir, India and Pakistan could not have recognised it as a sovereign state as both wanted Kashmir to join one or the other Dominion. Other countries could not recognise the State of Jammu and Kashmir so soon because situation was not clear; and the State of Jammu and Kashmir could not maintain its independence due to the tribal invasion which forced the Maharaja to accede to India, which was provisional and had to be ratified by people of the State.

3. Who planned the tribal invasion?

Mohammed Ali Jinnah and government of Pakistan always took pro Maharaja and anti people position in Jammu and Kashmir, in hope that the Maharaja will join Pakistan. Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir RC Kak also gave them similar impression, but on 11 August 1947, he was replaced by General Janak Singh. In second week of September he was replaced by Mehr Chand Mahjan, who incidentally was a member of the Punjab Boundary Commission.

It is claimed by some Pakistani writers that he was assured of the post if he had provided the State a land access to India. Even though the District of Gurdaspur had a Muslim majority, the Radcliff Award divided the district in such a way that India had a land access to Jammu and Kashmir. 2

On 24 August 1947, Mohammed Ali Jinnah sent his Military Secretary, Colonel William Birnie to Kashmir that he can negotiate for him two weeks holiday visit in Kashmir in mid September. He came back after one week and gave Mohammed Ali Jinnah news he did not want to hear. Because of the political turmoil the Maharaja government refused this request. This stunned Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Pakistan government. They realised that all was not well, and things were not evolving the way they envisaged.

After few days the Pakistan government sent a secret agent to Kashmir to ascertain the situation there. His report was not encouraging either. In view of this report Liaquat Ali Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan convened a secret meeting of top officials in Lahore to ‘decide how to force the Maharaja’s hand’. Authors of Freedom at Midnight write and I quote:

‘The conspirators dismissed immediately the idea of an outright invasion. The Pakistan army was not ready for an adventure that could lead to war with India….Colonel Akbar Khan proposed that Pakistan supply the arms and money to foment uprising of Kashmir’s dissidents Moslim population. It would require several months, but the end, Khan promised would see forty or fifty thousand Kashmiris descending on Srinagar to force the Maharaja to accede to Pakistan’. 3

The second proposal was presented by Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, Chief Minister of North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, which involved use of the tribesmen to force the Maharaja to accede to Pakistan. I once again refer to authors of Freedom at Midnight, and I quote:

‘Sending those dangerous hordes to Srinagar had considerable appeal. It would force the swift fall of the Maharaja and the annexation of his state to Pakistan. And by offering the tribesmen the opportunity to loot the bazaars of Kashmir, their covetous eyes could be kept off the bazaars of Peshawear…..The gathering closed with a stern warning from the Prime Minister. The operation must be a complete secret. Finances would be provided by secret funds from his office. Neither the officers of Pakistan’s army nor her civil service nor, above all, the British Officers and administrators in the service of the new state were to know.’ 4 Unquote

In line with this secret decision Muslim dissidents were encouraged and fully supported to rise against a ‘Hindu Maharaja’. The Maharaja government had many serious problems to deal with. Future of its State was uncertain. Both India and Pakistan applied tremendous pressure for accession.

Muslims in Poonch had started their armed rebellion at a time when there were communal riots in parts of Jammu, mainly started by non Muslims who uprooted from Pakistan. Situation in Gilgit Baltistan was not satisfactory either, as his newly appointed Governor Gansara Singh was having some difficulty to assert his authority in this region which was only reverted to the Maharaja on 1st of August 1947.

State forces were not capable of dealing with all these problems; and to make things more difficult for him the Pakistani government in clear violation of the Standstill Agreement stopped essential supplies to Jammu and Kashmir. The Maharaja government complained to the government of Pakistan, and requested to lift the economic blockade. Pakistani government was in no mood to lift the economic blockade without getting the accession of the State; and to accomplish this task they sent Major A.S.B Shah, a junior officer who had no knowledge of Kashmir history and had no skills in politics and diplomacy. A junior military man had to negotiate and persuade experienced Maharaja Hari Singh, Prime Minister Mehr Chand Mahajan and Ram Lal Batra Deputy Prime Minister.

Mehr Chand Mahaja later recorded that, ‘Major Shah was in Srinagar with a whip in one hand and a letter of accession in the other…..He was keen to have an assurance of the State’s accession to Pakistan or in the alternative, a negative assurance that I would not advise the Maharaja to accede to India. I told him this would take some time but he was not prepared to wait. When I found he had came there almost with an ultimatum, I said, “If you raise the blockade and allow food, cloth and petrol to enter the State I will discuss the matter with you.” 5

Major Shah agreed to persuade Mohammed Ali Jinnah to lift the blockade, and sent him a telegram, but got no favourable reply. Instead he was told to ask Mehr Chand Mahjan to go to Lahore and discuss the matter there. Mehr Chand Mahajan said: I was in no mood to fall into Pakistani hands. I declined the invitation as the object was to coerce me in to securing the State’s accession’. 6

4. Arrogance of Pakistani rulers

Government of Pakistan managed to fool people for sometime that these tribesmen came to help and liberate people of Jammu and Kashmir. They also claimed that these tribesmen were motivated by religious sentiments and came there on their own. Unfortunately some Kashmiris also advanced and supported that propaganda as it suited their political and personal agenda.

Over the years it has been revealed by many Pakistani officials and writers that the whole affair was initiated and managed by Pakistani officials; and main attraction for the tribesmen was not liberation of Kashmir or jihad but loot, plunder and Kashmiri women. Unfortunately those who planned this tragic expedition permitted them to loot and plunder and create atmosphere of fear that the Maharaja surrenders and begs Pakistan for accession.

People of Jammu and Kashmir had to pay a big price for this blunder of the Pakistani government. Despite all the humiliation and degradation which Sheikh Abdullah suffered at the hands of Mohammed Ali Jinnah and other Muslim League leaders, he was considering some kind of understanding with Pakistan where by the State could have maintained its special status in return for Pakistan taking certain responsibilities in line with the Standstill Agreement.

Even as late as first week of October 1947, he was persuaded by Dr M D Taseer and Mian Iftikhar Uddin to travel to Lahore and meet Mohammed Ali Jinnah and finalise matters. Sheikh Abdullah secretly travelled to Lahore with Dr Taseer and stayed at Mian Iftikhar Uddin’s house. Ego and pride of Mohammed Ali Jinnah overcame national interest of Pakistan and that of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Despite sincere advice of some people Mohammed Ali Jinnah refused to meet him, which was against Islamic teaching, against rules of politics and bad statesmanship.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah said, ‘I don’t need to meet this man. Kashmir is in my pocket’. 7 In another place ego centric Governor General of Pakistan said, ‘Who is Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah? I am prepared to discuss Kashmir with the Maharaja or senior Government official from Kashmir.’ 8

This was the fourth time Mohammed Ali Jinnah rebuffed the tallest leader people of Jammu and Kashmir ever had; and it was the last opportunity to bridge differences between the most popular leader of Jammu and Kashmir and Governor General of Pakistan. According to Balraj Puri, Mr Jinnah wanted ‘complete surrender on the part of anybody, particularly a Muslim, seeking political alliance with him. It was too tall demand from the tallest leader of Kashmir, who was no less proud of his own personality as also that of Kashmir’. 9

Pakistan lost Kashmir not because Indians were too clever, but because Pakistani leaders were not farsighted; and they were too arrogant and ego centric. To them satisfaction of their ego was more important than the national interest. At a time when Congress leaders were trying to meet and appease Sheikh Abdullah, leaders of Pakistan treated him like a trash. They thought with help of tribesmen they will be able to annex Kashmir.

Even after this last rebuff, Sheikh Abdullah’s men were in Lahore waiting to meet some sensible Pakistani leaders with whom they could negotiate something, but Pakistani government abandoned political and diplomatic route and relied on the force of gun. It was their arrogance, impolitical attitude and too much reliance on use of gun which cost them Jammu and Kashmir. Ultimately it was the people of Jammu and Kashmir who had to suffer at that time; and who continue to suffer because of follies of Pakistani rulers.

5. What if there was no tribal invasion

I understand we cannot turn back clock of history, but as thinking people who were victims of tribal invasion; and who are even today suffering as a direct result of that conspiracy, we can analyse what might have happened if there was no tribal invasion

All the available evidence clearly indicates that the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir did not want to accede to any country. He wanted to maintain his independence. It was possible that he could have maintained his independence if there was no outside interference.

True, not all of his citizens were happy with him; but it is also true that his subjects enjoyed more rights than subjects of other Princely States at that time. It was quite possible that after independence of his State and after independence of the Sub Continent, he could have made changes to his style of government where by he could have given more rights to people and Assembly.

He could have maintained his neutrality and made agreements with both India and Pakistan. Even few days before the tribal invasion his Deputy Prime Minister explained his vision of the State in the following words: ‘The Maharaja had told him that it was his ambition to make Kashmir Switzerland of the East – a completely neutral state.’

If there was no tribal invasion people of Jammu and Kashmir could have avoided loot, plunder and rapes in 1947. They could have avoided separation of families. They could have avoided division of their homeland. They could have avoided other miseries since 1947. They could have avoided the present suffering on both sides of the divide which was thrusted upon them as a direct result of militancy which started in 1988.

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.

In conclusion, one could say that source of many of our troubles and troubles of the region are directly related to that fatal decision of directing hordes of tribesmen in name of jihad to invade Jammu and Kashmir and loot, plunder and rape people without any accountability.

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.

I hope those quarters who deliberately promoted extremism and hatred have learnt their lesson. Also I hope they will do their best to put things right; and will not promote terrorism and hatred in future, or create more hurdles in our inherent and most cherished right of self determination.

I thank you Mr Chairman.


1. Kashmir Problem – its legal aspects, Dr HO Agarwal, page 31
2. The Kashmir of Sheikh Abdullah, Bilqees Taseer, Page 264
3. Freedom at Midnight, Larry Collins and Dominque Lapierre, Page 402
4. ibid, Page 402
5. opcit, Bilqees Taseer, page 265
6. ibid, page 265
7. ibid, Page 301
8. ibid, page 303
9. ibid, page 305

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Attack on GHQ analysed

Attack on GHQ analysed
Dr Shabir Choudhry 13 October 2009

Pakistanis are very determined people. Once they set their eyes on something they will go for it all the way. They wanted to get Jammu and Kashmir, not because they wanted to ‘liberate them’ but because that suited their national interest; and for that they risked everything and despite many internal and external threats, still have not abandoned their mission to get Kashmir.

Likewise war against Taliban was not their war, but they wanted to make it their war as it suited them. They worked hard for number of years to make it a Pakistani war. Their sincerity in this regard and hard work has paid off, and now it is their own war. It has knocked the walls of their command and control centre, a building which was supposed to be most important and heavily guarded.

This building – their GHQ should have be impregnable, and yet only ten men in broad day light managed to penetrate that and kill more than fourteen army men including one Brigadier and one Lt Colonel. They even managed to make thirty nine people hostage for more than eighteen hours. Nine attackers were killed and there commander was injured and arrested.

Americans and others involved in the ‘war on terrorism’ must feel satisfied now. They can take a back seat and let Pakistanis fight this war which will kill more Muslims and Pakistanis, as both warring sides are Muslims and Pakistanis. Full Pakistani involvement in this war will mean America can stay longer in Afghanistan and put in practise policies to control and dominate this region and Central Asia.

No one wins in wars. All lose although some lose more than others. In this war where battleground is Pakistan and its cities, Pakistan cannot be a winner. It is not a war, it is called a civil war, and Pakistan fought one civil war in 1970/71 with disastrous results.

Pakistani army and leaders are claiming that outcome of the attack is a ‘victory’; and ‘paid defence analysts, conspiracy theorists and TV anchors’ were hired to distract attention and present it as a great victory. If the aim of ten militants was to host a Taliban flag on the building of GHQ, and they failed in that then it is a victory for the army, but anyone with any sense knows that this was not their aim. Their aim was to cause death and make big news of this; and they have done that successfully. They killed two senior officers and twelve others. They have sent a clear message that they can penetrate anywhere and that nothing in Pakistan is beyond their reach.

This attack has seriously demoralised common man because they think if the headquarters of the army is not safe then how could we be safe in this environment where terrorists are calling shots and attacking and penetrating army and security related institutions. First responsibility of every state is to provide basic security to its citizens, and if that is not guaranteed then people have right to question the purpose of government and State.

Disturbing aspect of this episode is that there were intelligence reports that something similar to what has happened might be attempted. The report was also published in some Pakistani newspapers which clearly stated that there could be attack on army headquarters by militants dressed as soldiers. The report also warned that the attack could be a joint effort of Taliban, Lashkar e Tayiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad. People want to know why despite a prior warning from intelligence reports preventive measures were not taken.

What annoys people more than anything else is the fact that these organisations were established, trained and funded by Pakistani agencies to advance Pakistan’s political agenda. In other words Pakistani money and know how was used to train these people who have now turned against Pakistan and its policies. They have become a major threat to Pakistan, its security and society. They have killed thousands of Pakistani soldiers and many senior officers.

Moreover the commander of the operation, Aqeel, alias Dr Usman, is a former soldier himself. He left army service and first joined Lashkar e Taiba, and then he joined Jaish e Mohammed and then became part of Tehrek e Taliban Pakistan. No one knows how many Dr Usman’s have joined the terrorist groups and where they are hiding with inside knowledge. It also raises a serious question as to how security agencies will react if in future another attack is made with dozens of trained militants, especially on sensitive facilities.

It is a major policy blunder, a major security laps and a big failure, and despite that if Pakistani analysts and military generals want to present this as a victory then may Allah put them on right path? In view of many analysts, Pakistani and foreign, it was not a victory for Pakistan, if anything; it exposed Pakistani potential and security preparedness.

There should have been a committee set up to investigate what went wrong; and how it could be avoided in future. We know it won’t happen. Last time it was Prime Minister Junejo who set up a committee to find out who was responsible for Ojeri Camp explosions. The men in Khaki did not like this, and his government was dismissed before the report could be completed. No wonder every politician is congratulating the army for this ‘victory’ instead of asking for any investigation.

To make things worse for Pakistan their one time ‘blue eyed boy’ and famous commander, Ilyas Kashmiri is still alive. He was thought to have been killed by a drone attack on 14th September 2009 in a village of Turikhel near the town of Mir Ali in Taliban-controlled North Waziristan. Ilyas Kashmiri is a former commando of Special Services Group of Pakistan army. He has promised retribution against the ''U.S and its proxies,''

According to the US intelligence reports, Ilyas Kashmiri is one of al Qaeda's most dangerous commanders. At one time he was operational chief of the Harkat-ul Jihad Islami, an Al Qaeda-linked terror group that operates in Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. He was listed as the fourth most wanted terrorist by Interior Ministry of Pakistan.

Some analysts believe that Ilyas Kahmiri could also be behind the attack on the GHQ. Dr Usman, commander of the attack on the GHQ, is also a member of Harkat ul Jihad Islami and served under Ilyas Kashmiri. He is a commander of Brigade 313 which is thought to behind many of the high-profile attacks and bombings inside Pakistan. ILyas Kashmiri dropped out of favour with the Pakistan military after he refused to join Jaish e Mohammed. After army attack on Red Mosque, he set up a camp in Ramzak, North Wazirstan, where many people were recruited. It is believed that many radical army officers were among those who joined him.

This week alone Pakistan has lost more than 125 people in terrorist related incidents, and yet Rehman Malik, Interior Minister of Pakistan has guts to say that he and his strategy was working. I don’t know how many times he has claimed that his strategy has broken back of the terrorists; and each time terrorists come back with vengeance and bigger attack to humiliate him and Pakistani efforts to fight terrorism.

Attack on GHQ has hurt Pakistan and its pride, but Rehman Malik defends his intelligence services, even though they failed to stop the attack despite reports of the attack in advance. The report of the attack was even published in a newspaper on 5th October. Once again he has boasted to ‘wipe out Islamist extremists’; I am not sure how many people will take that statement seriously.

If Pakistan seriously want to combat terrorism then first things they want to do is to change Rehman Malik. Since he has taken over there has been increase in terrorist attacks, and Pakistani image has been tarnished. It shows the man doesn’t know what he is doing. One cannot root out terrorism with slogans and bragging. Terrorism has become very sophisticated; and to root it out one needs more sophisticated planning and determination.

Secondly they need to realise that terrorism of all kinds is bad. Combating terrorists at home and supporting them elsewhere gives contradictory signals. If terrorist act is condemnable if it takes place in Islamabad it should also be condemnable if it takes place in Srinagar or Jalalabad.

Thirdly they need to look at causes which breed terrorism. Is it poverty which forces people to join ranks of these? Do they join them for ideological reasons? Are Madrassas churning out religiously motivated graduates who become easy target for the recruiters? Are these people taking revenge because their love ones have lost lives as a result of drones attacks or some aerial bombardment? Or spirits of innocents died during the assault on Red Mosque are haunting those responsible for that ‘crime’?
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, 11 October 2009

Kashmiri demonstrators demanded Pakistan to leave Kashmir

Kashmiri demonstrators demanded Pakistan to leave Kashmir
KNP also took part in the demonstration outside Pakistan High Commission

London, 13 October 2009

Kashmiri nationalist parties who demand unification and independence of Jammu and Kashmir held a picketing outside Pakistani High Commission in London. Despite the wet weather a large number of Kashmiris gathered outside the High Commission and shouted pro Kashmir slogans; and demanded that Pakistan must not annex Gilgit Baltistan as it will lead to serious problems for Pakistan.

People of Jammu and Kashmir hitherto have been keen in speaking against Indian role in Jammu and Kashmir and having demonstrations against India, but it looks tide has turned. People of Jammu and Kashmir have seen true intentions of Pakistan and feel no hesitation in standing outside High Commission of Pakistan and shout ‘Pakistani forces out of Kashmir’. ‘Pakistan ka jo yaar hai - ghadaar hai ghadaar hai, Ilaaq ka jo yaar hai Ghadaar hai, meaning who so ever is friend of Pakistan is a traitor….who so ever is for accession is a traitor.

Demonstrators also shouted against India and demanded that India should also leave Kashmir; and that Jammu and Kashmir should become an independent country. It was a big demonstration if we compare it with demonstrations of Kashmiri and Pakistani held in London over the past years; and people travelled from various towns to express their anger and disapproval of what Pakistan was doing in Gilgit and Baltistan and ‘Pakistani Occupied Kashmir’.

It was interesting to note that some pro Pakistan Kashmiris were also present to show their support for this picketing, and for the first time they spoke out against Pakistani policies with regard to Kashmir. They said they were deeply disappointed with policies of Pakistan; and wanted to show their anger and frustration.

Demonstrators shouted Zardari jee ye Kashmiriyoun ke saath Ghadaari hai, meaning what you are doing is treason to Kashmiris. They also said Geelani jee hamain ye ghulami qabool nei…. Bacha bacha kat maray ga Kashmir sooba nei baney ga, meaning Prime Minister Gilani we reject this slavery – reference to a new package on Gilgit and Baltistan. They said every Kashmiri child will die but Kashmir won’t become a province of Pakistan.

Demonstrators got really angry when Pakistani High Commission even refused to accept a petition from respected Kashmiri leaders representing various political parties. ‘This is like rubbing salt in our wounds’, said Dr Shabir Choudhry, Spokesman of Kashmir National Party.

He said, ‘We used our democratic right and like civilised people did not use foul language against Pakistan or threw stones or tomatoes at the High Commission. We were here to express our disappointment and anger; and least we expected was that someone from the High Commission come out and receive our petition and pass it on to President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani that they also know what our concerns were’.

Abbas Butt, Chair of KNP said, ‘The attitude of the Pakistani officials was very annoying and this was a slap on our faces. It was a common decency that they should come out and meet the Kashmiri leaders. It is their arrogance and wrong policies which is turning Kashmiris against them. Today even pro Pakistan Kashmirirs have come out to protest against their policies in this cold weather’. He said, ‘Pakistani officials treat Kashmiris as slaves of medieval times who do not deserve basic humane rights, but they are wrong we will fight back and get our rights’.

JKNLF President Mahmood Kashmiri expressed his deep anger on attitude of Pakistani High Commission officials. He said, ‘They should have enough decency to come out and meet us. They have shown that they are worse than Indian officials. At least Indian officials respectfully take petition from us when we hold demonstrations outside the Indian High Commission’. He said, ‘Our struggle is against wrong policies of Pakistan and not against the State of Pakistan, but you can see after refusing to accept petition some Kashmiris have shouted slogans against Pakistan. This is no way to win minds and hearts of people’, he added.

When the delegation that went to hand - in the petition came back and explained what had happened, some Kashmiris in frustration and anger shouted anti Pakistan slogans. Leaders acted quickly and requested them not say anything against state of Pakistan, however still some shouted, ‘Kashmiriyoun ka barra qatil Pakistan and chhotta qatil Hindustan’- meaning, ‘Pakistan is a big murderer of Kashmiris and India is a small murder’. Also they said, ‘Kashmiriyoun ki Azad ke do shaitan eik India doosra Pakistan’- meaning ‘Two Satans are against Kashmir’s independence one is India the other is Pakistan’.

Tahir Bostan, President of JKPNP also expressed his anger against the attitude and arrogance of the Pakistani officials. He said, ‘This attitude is insulting. This shows what respect Pakistani officials have for Kashmiri leaders’. He said, ‘Our struggle against wrong policies of Pakistan will continue, and we will start a campaign against Pakistan, and will hold a series of demonstrations outside different Pakistani missions’.

The following parties and their supporters were present in the demonstration:

1/ Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Front
2/ Jammu and Kashmir National Awami Party
3/ Kashmir Freedom Movement
4/ Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front
5/ Kashmir Liberation Organisation
6/Association of British Kashmiris
7/Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (Y)
8/Jammu Kashmir Peoples National Party
9. Kashmir National Party

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Black Day for Kashmiris on 22 October

Black Day for Kashmiris on 22 October

Kashmir National Party is holding one day conference on Kashmir in Watford, England. The conference aims to examine what importance of 22 October has in history of Jammu and Kashmir.

Some people encouraged by Pakistani establishment hold a Black Day on 27 October every year to coincide with the landing of the Indian army in Kashmir which came there on the request of the then Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.

KNP leaders however believe that we have to look at the root cause. Jammu and Kashmir had a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan and in contravention of that Agreement, government of Pakistan managed a ‘tribal invasion’ which not only violated Kashmiri sovereignty but also committed serious human rights abuses and killed innocent people and raped women.

This looting and pillaging continued for many days and the Maharaja and his forces were unable to defend the State territory or the people of Kashmir; and had no other choice but to seek outside help.

KNP Spokesman Dr Shabir Choudhry said, our miseries and troubles started with that tribal invasion. It caused death and destruction in Kashmir, and forced the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir to seek outside help, which resulted in provisional accession and subsequent arrival of the Indian army.

We believe the State of Jammu and Kashmir is not part of India or Pakistan and we strongly oppose policies of both countries; but as for as Black Day is concerned we should have a Black Day on 22 October because this is the day when our troubles and miseries started.

We expect writers and leaders to explore this aspect of our history and educate people rather than treading on the path shown to us by those who have interest in occupying us and exploiting us.

Details of the conference are as follows:

• Why 22 October matters in Kashmiri history?
• What are our grievances against Pakistan?

Venue: Watford
Time: 2pm
Date: Sunday 18 October 2009