Saturday, 23 January 2010

To Chief Minister of Punjab

To Chief Minister of Punjab
Dr Shabir Choudhry 24 January 2010

Dear Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab aslamo alaykam
It was pleasure to meet you in a meeting arranged by Lord Nazir Ahmed in House of Lords in London. Your speech to Kashmiri leaders assembled here was no different to speech of any other Pakistani leader and did not impress me or inspire me.

Policy of Pakistani leaders on Kashmir is no different than policy of India, as both countries want to make my homeland part of their countries; and they have been fighting over it since 1947.

Both countries want to get Kashmir not because they have welfare of people in their minds, but because they have territorial designs on the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
In order to accomplish their territorial designs, both countries have divided the state by force and made lives of people miserable on both sides of the forcibly divided LOC. Innocent people suffer on both sides of the divide to varying degrees because they don’t want to be part of either country.

Sir, I appreciate your concern about human rights abuse on the Indian side of Kashmir; but please tell me who is responsible for human rights abuse and denial of fundamental human rights on this side of LOC? Who has denied people of Gilgit Baltistan of their basic rights since 1947?

In a room where there were more than fifty people present, you would not remember me, but if I tell you what questions I asked you after your speech it will surely refresh your memory.

Sir, it was me who asked you, “If we put question of human rights abuse on one side, then tell me what is difference between India’s Kashmir policy and that of Pakistan, as both countries want to get Kashmir and have no care for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. What the Zardari government has done in Gilgit Baltistan has further exposed the Pakistani policy on Kashmir; but question is why your party - Muslim League N had to be part of that sin?”

Your facial expressions were not good when you heard that, and Lord Nazir Ahmed also didn’t look happy; but before he could stop me I quickly added that: “Those Kashmiris who say people of Mirpur have given sacrifices for Pakistan by allowing construction of Mangla Dam are wrong. Let me make it clear that this construction and subsequent upraising was against our will; and was forced upon us. It could be called injustice, oppression, exploitation, but not sacrifice. If Pakistan wants water and energy then best thing is to construct dams inside Pakistan.”

Of course some other people also asked some harsh questions, among them were questions of Arshad Malik and Mobeen Qadari; and you didn’t look happy. Perhaps you were not expecting this kind of ‘reception’. May be you were expecting to hear Shabaz Sharif Zindabad and Muslim League zindabad. May be we have disappointed you; but don’t you think we are also disappointed by your policies and policies of other Pakistani leaders.

However, I agree with you that General Musharaf has done enormous damage to the Kashmir dispute; but he was a Pakistani General and a Pakistani President. To us Kashmiris, Pakistani rulers whether in uniform or in a sherwani and a suit have same Kashmir policy. They all want to occupy us and enslave us, deprive us of fundamental human rights; and exploit our economic resources.

I also agree with you that Pakistan needs economic stability in order to influence the Kashmir dispute. But Sir, economic stability is also important for people of Jammu and Kashmir; then why Pakistan is exploiting us and using our natural resources?

Chief Minister Sahib, you are lucky man. You were born with a golden spoon in mouth. You are extremely rich and powerful. You, your brother Nawaz Sharif and your party are very popular in Pakistan; but your Kashmir policy is not. All of Pakistani leaders and generals are obsessed with getting Kashmir, occupy Kashmir and exploit resources of Kashmir.

This policy of getting Kashmir at all costs, be it in form of Tribal Invasion, Operation Gibraltar or Kargil fiasco have backfired and landed Pakistan in quandary. But no one seems to be concerned about evaluating that totally flawed and out of date policy.

Sir, don’t you think it is time to review Pakistan’s Kashmir policy? If you want to make Pakistan prosperous and stable then you need to learn from past mistakes. You also need to seriously and sincerely evaluate Pakistan’s Kashmir policy; and formulate a new policy in view of new geopolitical situation.

And before you do that, please keep in mind that Kashmir dispute is not an issue of water. It is not a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan. It is not a jugular vein of Pakistan. It is not an issue of accession with India or Pakistan. It is not part of Two Nations Theory, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah more than once demonstrated that through his statement and practise.

Sir, Kashmir dispute concerns fundamental right of self determination of people of Jammu and Kashmir, a right which is our birth right, a right which no one could take away from us - even rulers of Pakistan could not take that right away from us.
And finally, please don’t confuse right of self determination with right of accession which was given to us in the UN resolution of 5 January 1949. In Pakistan may be right of accession is called right of self determination, but world at large have different meaning of right of self determination – this right could not be limited or made conditional.

The above observations are made by a true Kashmiri nationalist who does not seek any favours from you or anyone else; and if this letter somehow makes its way to you please don’t get angry. Please remember that the above views are shared by all true Kashmiris and you need to take them in to consideration when formulating the Kashmir policy.

Finally we people of Jammu and Kashmir have no desire to be part of either India or Pakistan; and those Kashmiris who tell you that they are eager to join Pakistan are not sincere with you. They don’t want to join Pakistan but they don’t want to say that because they don’t want to deprive themselves of rewards and privileges which Pakistan agencies provide them.

Yours sincerely
Dr Shabir Choudhry
Head of Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets; also Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.
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Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Independence or accession?

Independence or accession?

Dr Shabir Choudhry 19 January 2010

The man sounded energetic and confident. He is a political activist fromSrinagar and, I was discussing peace process in Kashmir and its likely outcome. I said to him, in negotiations all parties have to give some and take some. Are people of Kashmir now ready to make a compromise? “No way”, he said confidently. “We will never compromise. We want Azadi (freedom)”.

What do you mean by Azadi (freedom) I asked him? He hesitated for a moment and said, “By azadi, I mean azadi”.

I said different people have different meaning of freedom. Freedom generally means absence of restrictions and an opportunity to exercise one's rights and powers.
He said, “We don’t want the Indian army here”.
I asked, “If the Indian army moves out and issues related to law and order are controlled by Kashmiri police or local militia; you have freedom of speech and freedom of movement; is that satisfactory to you”.

He was little perplexed, and appeared bit unsure, and then he said, “We want India to be out of Kashmir. We don’t want to be part of India.”

I asked him, “If you don’t want to be part of India then what do you want to do when Indians move out?”

“We will have azadi (freedom) from India and run our own government, or join Pakistan”, he said.

This has been the problem with the Kashmiri struggle and people of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir is forcibly divided and each region has its own interest and own agenda with no clear destination in mind.

As Kashmir is multi religious and multi ethnic State, there bound to be regional and ethnic issues; but while keeping those issues in mind we have to promote a national interest, and not interest of one religion of one region of the State. Similarly we have to ensure that we do not become foot soldiers of either India or Pakistan.
If ultimate aim of some Muslims of the Valley of Kashmir is to join Pakistan then that could be called accession and not azadi or freedom. Perhaps these people don’t know that the people of Pakistan are also in search of freedom since 1947, and they haven’t seen that yet; and in frustration they are looking for alternatives and some are clearly talking of breaking away from Pakistan.

Furthermore by promoting a Muslim cause or playing a Muslim card they are in practice dividing the State on religious lines; and that is something we must oppose at all costs. The last division on communal lines took place in South Asia in 1947, and people of South Asia are still paying price for that division with their blood.
That division caused death and destruction to property, and affected lives of millions of people. The scars of that bloody division were so deep that communities even now have been come to terms with that. Memories of that division, which generated hatred and animosity among the communities is still dividing the communities and poisoning politics of that region.

Apart from that it is religious fanaticism which has become threat to peace and stability in South Asia and Jammu and Kashmir. It is this fanaticism which is giving bad name to jihad and Islam; and creating enormous problems for Muslims through out the world.

Those Kashmiris who claim that divisions among the Kashmiris are superficial and that all Kashmiris are untied around the demand of right of self determination are not correct as there are deep divisions in the ranks of the Kashmiri people. Even people have different interpretations of right of self determination; and they confuse that with right of accession which was given to us in the UN Resolutions. It is only appropriate that we accept this reality and make sincere efforts to forge some kind of unity.
The divisions we have are ideological and clearly divide the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It is unfortunate that even in 2010; there are some Kashmiri leaders who justify use of violence to promote their cause. Some want an Islamic rule; while others want democratic and secular form of government. Some even want to make this struggle a struggle of Kashmiri Muslims, which practically means they want a division of the State on communal lines.

These leaders represent a vested interest which wants instability in the region, as that suits their commercial and political interests. They want pot of communalism and hatred keep on boiling that they can advance their agenda and impose their will on other people.

If we want peace and stability in South Asia then we need to resolve the Kashmir dispute; and we cannot resolve the Kashmir dispute by making it a Muslim problem or a problem of water and resources. It is deeply disturbing that despite enormous sacrifices by the people of Jammu and Kashmir the Kashmir dispute is still perceived as a dispute which has to be resolved by the governments of India and Pakistan.
True, the Kashmir dispute has to be resolved by a process of dialogue and not by use of a gun; but we the people of Jammu and Kashmir must be part of this dialogue process, as we cannot allow bureaucrats of India and Pakistan to decide future of the State and future of our generations.

Writer is Head of Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.
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Senior JKLF leader joins Kashmir National Party

Senior JKLF leader joins Kashmir National Party

Disappointed with leadership and out date of policies of the JKLF a senior JKLF Aman Group leader has resigned from his post and joined Kashmir National Party.

Raja Kafeel, who was President of the JKLF Aman Group in politically important town of Dheer Koat has resigned from his position by saying that the JKLF has lost its importance; and its policies are out of step with the present requirements of the Kashmiri people.

While talking to the media men Raja Kafeel said the present policies of the JKLF could only keep its name alive but cannot make progress and meet needs of the Kashmiri struggle.

Raja Kafeel said, “How could you win confidence of the people if you have no programme or a policy which is pro people; and which could help you to win support of the people. I have decided to join Kashmir National Party as its policies are more forward looking and in tune with the requirements of the people.”

Dr Shabir Choudhry has welcomed Raja Kafeel in to the KNP fold and assured him that the party will do everything possible to advance the cause of Kashmiri peoples unfettered right of self determination.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, “We imposed restrictions on accepting members from the other nationalist parties; and we have lifted that restriction now, and in future will accept like minded people who want to promote cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir”.

KNP leader said, “It is unfortunate that some parties in name of nationalism are still promoting communalism and violence which is harming the cause of Kashmir”. END

Sunday, 17 January 2010

KNP concerned over growing extremism in PAK.

KNP concerned over growing extremism in PAK.
London 17 January 2010

Kashmir National Party leader Dr Shabir Choudhry expressed great concern over growing extremism in Pakistani Administered Kashmir. He said, “People of our region are suffering because of wrong policies of Pakistani agencies which continued unhindered in this area for many years ago”.

KNP leader said, “It was a deliberate policy of Pakistani agencies to promote policies of extremism and they exported terrorism in disguise of Jihad for many years and now those policies have come to haunt them”.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, “Our region is peaceful and terrorism and suicide bombing are alien to our culture and society. Because of policy of extremism our people in Pakistani Administered Kashmir have suffered continued harassment and humiliation for many years”.

KNP leader further said, “How could you effectively fight war on terrorism when secret agencies are still funding and supporting jihadi groups in certain parts, especially in parts of Pakistani Administered Kashmir”.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said,“In mountains of Pakistani Administered Kashmir there were still militant camps which espouse terrorism in name of jihad and it is special breed of Islam which they want to impose on people. This sect of Islam has their followers in all areas of Pakistani Administered Kashmir and in Pakistan; and it was they who are responsible for these suicide attacks in Pakistani Administered Kashmir”.

KNP leader also expressed his serious anger on the growing acts of harassment and victimisation in Pakistani Administered Kashmir, where authorities have unleashed state terror on peaceful demonstrations in Muzaffarabad and in Kotli.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Final round has to come yet

The Final round has to come yet
Dr Shabir Choudhry 7 January 2010
There was a lot of talk about the final punch of President Musharaf when he was President of Pakistan. The punch came with disastrous consequences for Pakistan and him. Pakistan still has not recovered from that ‘punch’; and he is out of country and could face deportation and a trial before Pakistani courts.

General Musharaf was a ‘brave man’, that is what he repeatedly told his country men with gun in his hand. He didn’t tell them that he surrendered after only one phone call from the USA. Anyhow his deportation and trial is a complicated matter; and much depends on what will happen to much talked political initiative or ‘punch’ of President Zadari who still holds most of powers of President Musharaf.

President Zardari has no intention of creating any problems for a person who has given so much to him; it is because of that he is continuing with most of his policies, including some senior officers, bureaucrats and Provincial Governors. In Pakistan there are many forces competing with each other. It is difficult to predict outcome of this power struggle, but there is another external factor looming; and which could have serious impact on internal power struggle.

India and Pakistan have had unfriendly relations soon after they became independent. They have not learnt to live like good neighbours. The vested interest which wants both countries to be at daggers drawn is too powerful; and wants to ensure that both countries are constantly in a state of war. Both countries had wars in which India emerged as the better side with Pakistan losing East Pakistan; and pain of this defeat was added by humiliating surrender of more than 90 thousands troops. India is much bigger and stronger than Pakistan, but Pakistan is not prepared to acknowledge India’s dominant role; and it is because of this some experts believe a final round has to come yet to settle this matter for once and all.

After the Mumbai attacks in November 2009, I predicted a war to take place between February and March of 2009 with disastrous consequences. I also predicted certain geographical changes to take place. Thank Allah SWT I was proved wrong and the war did not happen mainly because of the following reasons:
1. President Obama took over in January 2009, and wanted to try his new initiative on ‘Afpak’. He also wanted to give another chance to Pakistan to comply with what was demanded from them and what they promised to deliver honestly and sincerely; and not to do what President Musharaf did.
2. The war could not have started before March 2009 and the Indian elections were not too far; and under the rules the government could not start a war when elections are just around the corner.
3. Pakistan agreed to control ‘terrorists’ on this side of LOC and within Pakistan; and take appropriate measures to bring to justice all those accused of some involvement in the Mumbai incident. Pakistan also agreed to fully cooperate with India in their investigations.
4. There were other international factors which did not support waging of the war, including alternative supply route for the American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
5. Situation inside Pakistan was not yet fully ready for such action.

But a lot has changed since March of last year. Strategy on ‘Afpak’ has not been successful; and 30 thousands more soldiers have been sent by the US with a new strategy which will have a significant impact on Pakistan and its ‘own’ war in FATA, Malakand Division and insurgency in Balochistan.

Many divisions of Pakistan army are engaged in this ‘war’ making the international borders with India and along the LOC vulnerable. Apart from that Pakistan today is more volatile, more divided and politically more unstable; and in view of anti Pakistan forces Pakistan has been considerably ‘softened’ because of systematic and consistent suicide attacks, drone attacks, insurgency and other attacks.

In other words situation is conducive for the final round. How and when this final round will start it is difficult to predict, because when analysing matters related to international relations with so many interests competing against each other; and some factors becoming active only once conditions have reached certain level, one has to be careful in making predictions.

Unlike last time I will not give date and likely outcome of this final round, but one thing is certain that it will come and settle many outstanding issues, possibly with some geographical changes. The present government in Pakistan seems to be at war with so many forces; and at times appear to be kicking in the air or in every direction from where opposition or criticism could emerge. They are willing to take on anyone and everyone; and when no one suitable opponent is found they challenge individual journalists.

With that kind of mind - set two controversial statements from Indian officials were seen as blessing in disguise; and something to divert attention and opportunity to flex muscles. The first statement was made by Vishnu Prakash, India’s Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, who said: “The entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession to India in 1947. Any action to alter the status of any part of the territory under the illegal occupation of Pakistan has no legal basis whatsoever, and is completely unacceptable.”
The other statement was made by Army Chief of India, General Deepak Kapoor, who talked of ‘the cold-start strategy’ and enhancing India’s ability for a ‘two-front war threat, from the west and the north-east.’
At one time India was more than happy for a status quo in Jammu and Kashmir, meaning Pakistan retain areas of the State under their control, provided the remaining Kashmir was accepted as part of India. But over the recent past Indian claim on the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is becoming more frequent and assertive.
This is not acceptable to Pakistan. They reacted angrily and bluntly. Even cool minded and cautious General Kayani called the statement of the Indian army Chief as, “an adventurous and dangerous path, the consequences of which could be both unintended and uncontrollable.” He added that the Pakistan Army was “fully alert and alive to the full spectrum of threat which continues to exist in conventional and unconventional domains.”
Some other senior military officials said: Indian generals know our military capability, and they should avoid making such illogical statements as Pakistan is fully prepared to face all kinds of situations.
Capability of any military is judged by its performance in actual war with the enemy and not against its own people. Last two military confrontations Pakistan and India had were in 1971 and in Kargil; and it is not clear from the statements of these military officials which capability they were referring to – the one demonstrated in Kargil or the one in 1971.
Anyhow on the issue of General Deepak Kapoor’s statement, a famous Pakistani journalist Nazir Naji commented: ‘Target of this threat is Pakistan; and China is only cautioned to keep out of this. India knows well that both India and China cannot afford a war with each other, as priority of both is economic growth and stability. But my information is India has plans to attack Pakistan in near future’.
The threat of war is credible; and unlike the previous wars Pakistan will be fighting on Eastern and Western borders. America, like in 1971, will not come to save Pakistan, if anything, will punish Pakistan for certain policies. However role of China will be crucial in this matter.
True, China has no desire to engage in any war, be it with India, America or Russia; but at the same time China will not be a silent spectator and could take initiative to safeguard its interests linked to Gilgit Baltistan and Gawader.
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:

Monday, 4 January 2010

People should protest against President Zardari

People should protest against President Zardari
Dr Shabir Choudhry
London 04 January 2010

People of Jammu and Kashmir should protest against Asif Zardari who plans to visit Muzaffrabad, capital of Pakistani Administered Kashmir, said Dr Shabir Choudhry, Spokesman of Kashmir National Party.

President of Pakistan, Asif Zardari is visiting Muzaffarabad tomorrow, but he is not welcome there, as we do not welcome those who have imperialist designs on Kashmiri territories.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, ‘Asif Zardari has let down his people and people of Jammu and Kashmir have no hopes from him, especially when his government has practically annexed Gilgit Baltistan’.

KNP Spokesman said, ‘Gilgit Baltistan is legal part of State of Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistani presence and rule there is illegal and unconstitutional. Position of Pakistan in Gilgit Baltistan is that of an occupier and aggressor; and these rigged elections do not change legal position of these areas or that of Pakistan’.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, ‘Kashmir National Party with help of other like minded parties and groups will hold protests to express our disgust and anger’. He further said ‘Those who are welcoming him are no different to President Karazai of Afghanistan or Maliki of Iraq and will be treated like collaborators.’

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, ‘We are not part of any country and we are forcibly divided by those who occupy us. Our struggle is for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir and it will continue despite all the odds’. END

Dr Shabir Choudhry
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -- George Orwell.