Sunday, 15 August 2010

Q1.Could you please brief me about what happened in 1988, which led to first local uprising in Kashmir?

Q1.Could you please brief me about what happened in 1988, which led to first local uprising in Kashmir?

1. Answer by Dr Shabir Choudhry

A. Roots of that uprising could be traced back to many years of mismanagement, maladministration and proxy politics by New Delhi. Turning point was rigged elections of 1987. People finally realised that they cannot have rights or positive changes by ballot. This frustration and anger was visible in the Kashmiri youths. At that time war or ‘Jihad’ in Afghanistan was coming to an end which could have made thousands of people ‘redundant’. These people were not employable in the sense of real employment, as the only skill they had was to use gun in guerrilla warfare and kill and destroy. A skill hardly useful for peace time and development or political stability. The authorities in Islamabad, who managed this ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan, were seriously concerned as these jihadi warriors could have created problems for the Pakistani society, so they had to find some thing for these jihadi warriors to keep them occupied.

B. Also keep in mind that Pakistani government always suspected India, perceived as arch enemy, and was worried that India might attack Pakistan, especially when Rajiev Gandhi was Prime Minister of India, so they wanted to ‘engage India’ and ‘keep India bleeding’ that she cannot consider any military adventure against Pakistan.

C. Apart from that Islamabad wanted to take revenge from India for 1971 defeat; and take revenge from Kashmiris for not ‘helping’ them in war of 1965 and in 1947.

D. But there is another aspect to this. In 1987 Amanullah Khan, Chair of JKLF was expelled from the UK because of alleged anti state activities. He felt very disappointed and frustrated, and envisaged no future for himself, as not many people like to abandon life style of Britain and live in Pakistan. Frustrated and demoralised Amanullah Khan became easy prey of ISI, elite secret agency of Pakistan which masterminded the ‘Jihad’ in Afghanistan. They offered him a deal which was previously rejected by a representative panel of senior leaders of the JKLF, as it was not in favour of the party, the movement and the Kashmiri nation.

E. The JKLF delegation which met senior ISI personnel consisted of five senior leaders of the JKLF, namely late Sardar Rashid Hasrat, Dr Farooq Haider, Hashim Qureshi, Aslam Mirza and Zubair Ansari who was Secretary General at the time of this meeting. Zubair Ansari told this writer that during the course of this meeting he bluntly told the officers that: ‘you are looking for sacrificial lambs (qurbani ke bakray) to target India and advance the interest of Pakistan’. He further said: ‘let me make it clear to you that we will not be part of your proxy war in which people of Jammu and Kashmir will suffer and it will not help our national struggle’.

F. Other members of the delegation, notably Hashim Qureshi was also very forceful in rejecting this deal. But to Amanullah Khan it was an opportunity of life time and he grabbed it with both hands, hence the JKLF provided raw material which was to be used in this ‘proxy war’ to advance Pakistan’s national interest.

G. What you got to remember is at that time there was no JKLF in Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir. Yasin Malik, Javed Mir, Ashfaq Wani, Hamid Sheikh and some others were asked to come to Muzaffarabad for training. The result of this training was the first violent action carried out by the JKLF on 31st July 1988.

Q8. How important is the role of Pakistan in projecting Kashmir cause to the Western world?

Q8. How important is the role of Pakistan in projecting Kashmir cause to the Western world?

Answer by Dr Shabir Choudhry

A. Role of Pakistan in the Kashmiri struggle needs a detailed reply. I have written books on this. In my opinion, which is shared by Kashmiri nationalists and many neutral scholars, respective Pakistani governments have messed up the Kashmir dispute, because of lack of proper understanding the dispute, lack of proper vision and selfish attitude. A brief details are as follows:
B. Nehru asked Mohammed Ali Jinnah that people of Princely States should be allowed to decide future of Princely States. Mohammed Ali Jinnah refused this, and emphasised that the ‘Rulers’ should decide future of their states. Mohammed Ali Jinnah must have thought that this way he will be able to get Jammu and Kashmir as Maharajah Hari Singh and Pundit Kak, Prime Minister of Kashmir were in his confidence. He never got on well with Sheikh Abdullah, most popular leader of Kashmir, and if a right to decide was vested with the people Mohammed Ali Jinnah could have lost out.

C. With this policy Mohammed Ali Jinnah aimed to get States of Hyderabad and Junagarrh as well. Both of these States had Muslim Rulers, but majority of population in both states were non Muslim. Rulers of both States were in his contact, and were not willing to accede to India; but if a right to decide was vested in the public then of course decision would have gone against Pakistan.

D. Irrespective of Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s sermons on democracy and human rights, when it came to the crunch he supported autocratic rulers. He didn’t want people of the Princely States to take decision with regard to their future. He felt more comfortable with autocratic and unelected rulers.

E. At one time Pakistan was offered to take Kashmir and keep hands off Hyderabad and Junagarrh. The Pakistani government of the time refused to accept this, as they wanted to get all three States, but due to wrong policies and lack of appropriate planning they lost all of them.

F. Mohammed Ali Jinnah refused to talk to Sheikh Abdullah, most prominent leader of Kashmir, and insulted him at a crucial time of partition. Sheikh Abdullah secretly travelled to Lahore in second week of August 1947, to discuss and formulate some common strategy on future of Jammu and Kashmir, but Mohammed Ali Jinnah blatantly refused to meet him by saying ‘why should I meet him when Kashmir is already in my pocket’.

G. Despite this insult Sheikh Abdullah sent two representatives to Lahore that they can talk to Mohammed Ali Jinnah. These leaders were never given a chance to meet Mohammed Ali Jinnah – they were still in Lahore waiting for a meeting when on 21st October 1947, Pakistani government managed a tribal invasion with disastrous consequences. We people of Jammu and Kashmir are still suffering as a result of that illogical and brutal invasion.
H. Tribesmen invaded Barmullah on 24th October, and celebrated this victory for three days by dancing, pillaging and raping Kashmiri women (To them they were non Muslims; to me they were human beings and Kashmiris). They could have taken over Srinagar within hours as there was no defence of any kind as Maharaja’s army had deserted. Perhaps to these tribesmen and their leaders dancing, looting and raping was more important; and when they eventually decided to proceed to Srinagar, the Indian army had landed on morning of 27th October 1947.

I. Initially Kashmir was registered as a ‘Kashmir problem’ in the UN, clearly showing that the matter related to Jammu and Kashmir. It was government of Pakistan which got it changed to ‘India and Pakistan problem’, hence making it a territorial dispute, to which world powers were hesitant to take sides; but at that time were eager to support right of self determination and oppose imperialism.

J. The first UNCIP Resolution (13 August 1948) had inbuilt option of an independent Kashmir, which reads as follows: The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan reaffirm their wish that the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people…

K. The phrase ‘future status’ of the state, implied accession to Pakistan, accession to India or an independent Kashmir. It was Pakistan and not India, which got it changed in the second UNCIP Resolution of 5th January 1949 to the following: ‘The question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite;’

L. The purpose of this change was to ensure that ‘Kashmir dispute’ remains a territorial dispute; and that people of Jammu and Kashmir must not get independence. In other words for policy makers of Pakistan, it was acceptable if in a referendum Kashmir goes to India, but not acceptable if Kashmiris were to become independent.

M. The outcome of a referendum could have gone against Pakistan, especially when Sheikh Abdullah was at the helm of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, and Indian army was also present there. It is precisely why Pakistan did not honour conditions of the resolution and refused to withdraw her forces from AJK and Gilgit and Baltistan.

N. Pakistan as early as 1950 agreed to divide Kashmir; and had many rounds of talks afterwards to get maximum area of Jammu and Kashmir, which means Pakistani rulers had no interest in right of self determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. To them safety, welfare and prosperity of people of Jammu and Kashmir was not priority; they were more interested in territory, strategic security, water and other resources of Jammu and Kashmir.

O. Once we have established what Pakistani game plan on Kashmir is then we can see how well they have done to project the Kashmir dispute. When ever they project Kashmir dispute or take any action on Kashmir, be it diplomatic or political manoeuvring, some kind of war or a proxy war the planners always have Pakistani interest in mind, whether they achieve that or not it is a different matter.

P. Some critics argue that Pakistanis are not even concerned with interest of their own country, so why should we criticise them for not doing enough for Kashmiris. That is not a valid excuse. It is true they don’t have a proper system in place to discuss, plan and execute policies with sincerity and dedication, but that is not fault of Kashmiris. They are responsible for the mess they have created for their own country and neighbours including Jammu and Kashmir.

Q. Role of Pakistan is crucial in matters related to Jammu and Kashmir. It is because of their de – facto control of Jammu and Kashmir territory, and enormous influence which result in many problems in Jammu and Kashmir. It is because of their direct and indirect involvement which has helped to keep the Kashmir pot boiling; hence we see the present shape of the Kashmir dispute.

R. Kashmir was not the only Princely State to have rough deal at the time of Partition, but today we don’t even hear about their plight; but Kashmir dispute is still perceived as most dangerous spot on earth; and that is mainly due to the Pakistani involvement in this matter. People of Pakistan have also suffered due to the Kashmir dispute in many ways; and I believe Pakistan’s consent is crucial to any final settlement on Kashmir.

Q2. What was the ideology of JKLF – its core agenda since inception, and how it changed over time?

Q2. What was the ideology of JKLF – its core agenda since inception, and how it changed over time?
Answer by Dr Shabir Choudhry

A. JKLF was formed in Birmingham, England in 1977. It believed in united and independent Jammu and Kashmir free from both countries, of course from China as well.

B. The JKLF Head Office was in Britain, but when Amanullah Khan was expelled in 1987, we transferred the JKLF Head Office to Pakistani Administered Kashmir. Perhaps that was the first serious tactical mistake we made, and I take responsibility for that as I forcefully advocated this change. Late Afzal Jatalvi and I were senior office bearers at that time, and we both agreed that it was in the best interest of the Party because we feared some action against the JKLF in Britain as a result of Mahtare Rawinder (Indian diplomat in Britain) kidnapping and subsequent killing in Britain.
C. JKLF believed in non communal politics- religion to us was a personal matter and state should have no role in it. We strongly believed in equality for all citizens, rule of law, democracy and liberal ideals.

D. To us both India and Pakistan were occupiers, hence equally bad as far as imperialism and occupation was concerned. Our struggle was against both.

E. But when Amanullah Khan was expelled from Britain and he had Head Office in Muzaffarabad, he decided to take help from one occupier (Pakistan) to fight against the other occupier (India). With that deal of JKLF and ISI began a gradual shift in the JKLF policy as the party was used as a vehicle to promote a proxy war. The JKLF officially still adhered to the old policy, but gradually walked in to the trap and was forced to support communalism, regionalism and terrorism against innocent people, which opened wounds of the partition of India. In Kashmir policy of religious hatred and intolerance was unleashed where non Muslims were targeted and the struggle was presented as a Muslim struggle.

F. Struggle for independence or right of self determination was transformed in to a ‘Jihad’ against Hindu rule or Hindus in which minorities were targeted. Cinemas, beauty parlours, tourists, religious festivals (Amar Nath Yatra) of other religions etc were targeted, not to mention targeting of other political views, even if held by Muslims. All this was against Islamic teaching, but unfortunately it happened, and the JKLF leadership unfortunately either remained quiet or became part of this communal game. From then onwards it became a Muslim struggle and not a Kashmiri struggle; and the JKLF groups while still wearing a secular hat became part of this game for various reasons.

G. Workers and lower to middle ranking leadership of the JKLF groups still sincerely believe that they are advancing the cause of an independent Kashmir. They wrongly think that the JKLF is still advancing policy of secularism and liberal democracy.

H. Those who sponsored this campaign of terror and gun culture in Kashmir brought in Jihadi warriors from other countries which changed the fundamental character of the struggle. It was no longer a Kashmiri struggle- it became part of the Islamic fundamentalism which provided a big propaganda stick in hands of India and Europe.

I. It is interesting to note that those who sponsored this campaign of terror or religious fanaticism had cinemas, beauty parlours, tourists etc in their own country but encouraged these extremists to target people who were using these services in Jammu and Kashmir. Aim was to promote religious hatred, intolerance, regionalism and communalism, and widen divisions among Kashmiris. They were successful in this. Freedom or independence of Jammu and Kashmir was never their aim, their hidden agenda was to ‘keep India engaged’ and ‘keep India bleeding’, and they were successful in that.

J. A senior government official who I know very well advised me in 1992 that I should do something else and make a career as there was nothing in this struggle of Kashmir. He said that I was talented and educated person and should not squander my time in this, as Kashmir will not get independence because those who planned this struggle never envisaged that. They only wanted to engage India. He said, he told them not to start it in Kashmir as Muslims will become target of Indian wrath, and that it was ok to do it in Punjab, Asam, Nagaland etc, but he was vetoed out.

K. I did not believe him as I thought he was just trying to discourage me; after all he was ISI man, and wanted to deprive the movement of my skills and talent. But by 1995/6, I was convinced that he was correct, and that we Kashmiris were taken for a ride by Pak agencies - they used us Kashmiris to keep the wolf away from their door. But it was too late.

L. Amanullah Khan also realised this that he was used to advance a Pakistani interest, but he is stubborn man who believes in dictatorship in the organisation and strong hold on all institutions of the party with trusted and ‘yes man’ kind of people holding various ceremonial positions. He with support of ISI managed to keep his stature and his JKLF group. Some critics believe that one of his tasks is to ensure that the JKLF remains divided; and that all nationalists are divided too. Anyone who dared to challenge him was expelled from the party on charges of working for either ISI or RAW. Reality however is that he is the one who closely worked with ISI and continues to do so.

M. Apart from that not all matters were under his control, as someone else called the shots. But being a stubborn man who was led to believe by flatterers that he is like Chairman Mao and infallible, he didn’t want to accept his mistakes or even abandon what he thought was a struggle. He thought once we get Kashmir internationalised perhaps we will get help from other countries and Pakistani influence could be neutralised, but he didn’t realise that the world has changed since 1970s. Mentally he is still living in 1970s. He failed to appreciate changes going on in the international politics, that the world DOES NOT help those who become proxy of other countries and promote agenda of a neighbouring country.

N. Pakistan has very strong hold on media and all aspects of life in Pakistani Administered Kashmir, and majority of people tend to believe what is presented to them as they have no other source of information. Anti India feelings are embedded in minds of people right from child hood; and the establishment regularly devise policies to intimidate people and fear of being called an ‘India agent’ disciplines rebel members and people at large.

O. But then there are dedicated and equally stubborn people like me who damn care what label is attached with their names - they fight their corner when they know they are right whether they win or lose. My friends and I have been fighting establishment policies on Kashmir and their stooges since 1992. We sincerely worked hard to unite factions of the JKLF, and correct wrongs in the JKLF. I have no hesitation in acknowledging our failure.

P. In 1995 when Yasin Malik and Amanullah Khan had power struggle and the JKLF once again suffered split, we thought may be Yasin Malik will be little better than Amanulla Khan and supported him. We thought we will be able to correct wrongs of the JKLF and put the JKLF and its ideology back on track. Alas he proved worse. This is another topic and needs a lot of time.

Q. When we realised that the top leadership of JKLF groups have abandoned ideology of Maqbool Butt, and that they are incorrigible, we decided to say good bye to the JKLF and formed Kashmir National Party to advance the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan agencies rule POK

Pakistan agencies rule POK!/?ref=home

Video about economic situation in POK

Video about economic situation in POK!/?ref=home

Thursday, 12 August 2010

They are angry because I promote a pro Kashmir agenda

They are angry because I promote a pro Kashmir agenda
Dr Shabir Choudhry 12 August 2010

Agents of Pakistan and those who represent forces of extremism, communalism, violence and hatred have, once again, on instructions of their handlers and pay masters started a nefarious campaign against me after the Press TV Kashmir debate in which I also participated.

As they have different agenda to that of mine, they ought to be angry, frustrated and demoralised. They don’t want anyone to promote a Kashmiri agenda. They don’t want pro peace and pro people agenda. They don’t want environment of toleration and coexistence. Their business which is stained with blood of innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir can only flourish if the Kashmir pot keeps on boiling; and they can justify the Two Nations Theory and propagate communalism and hatred.

Key points I asserted in the debate were as follows, and the readers can draw their own conclusions, as to who is right and who is wrong; but one thing is for sure that I will not be intimidated by these extremists and agents of forces of communalism and hatred:

1. Clarified that the Kashmir dispute is not a domestic issue of India;
2. Emphasised that Kashmir is not legally part of India or Pakistan;
3. Clarified that Kashmir is not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan;
4. Asserted that Kashmir is not a religious dispute;
5. Emphasised that the Kashmir dispute concerns Kashmiri peoples unfettered right of self determination but;

6. A distinction has to be made between a right of accession and a right of self determination; our right of self determination was restricted and changed to right of accession on request of Pakistan in the second UNCIP Resolution of 5 January 1949;

7. Emphasised that India and Pakistan have no right to decide future of people of Jammu and Kashmir;

8. Emphasised that there is no military solution to the Kashmir dispute; and the dispute has to be resolved by a process of dialogue; and people of Jammu and Kashmir must be made part of that process;

9. Criticised and opposed human rights violations taking place on the Indian side, as no civilised society could accept that; but emphasised that Muslims are not the only Kashmiri community to suffer human rights abuses, and we must promote human rights for all;

10. However, emphasised that human rights abuse also take place on the Pakistani side of the LOC, and people on the Pakistani side of the LOC do not speak out against these abuses because of fear of repercussions. Also there was no media and no human rights organisations in that area;

11. Clarified that the proposed plebiscite could not take place because Pakistan refused to withdraw her forces from POK and Gilgit Baltistan, as demanded by the UNCIP resolution of 13 August 1948. India was only asked to withdraw ‘bulk’ of her forces after the withdrawal of Pakistani forces. Withdrawal of forces in this order was a prerequisite to the UN Plebiscite;

12. Clarified that the Soviet Russia vetoed a UN draft resolution on Kashmir in 1957; and Pakistan refused to withdraw her troops and irregulars in 1949/50, so there was no direct link between the two;

13. Explained that Pakistan virtually became ‘irrelevant’ in the Kashmir dispute as only 2% of the people of the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir expressed their desire to join Pakistan; and that exposed the Pakistani stand on Kashmir which claimed that the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to join Pakistan. Pakistan has made itself relevant once again by manoeuvring things in the Valley in which innocent people are being killed; and has made India defensive on the issue of Kashmir and human rights abuses;

14. Clarified that not all people of Kashmir were part of these protests, as people of Jammu, Ladakh, Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir were not part of this.

15. But emphasised that people of other regions must not only rely on the sacrifices of the people of the Valley and expect unification and independence; urged that people of other regions must struggle in their regions while coordinating their activities;

16. Explained that militancy and infiltration from the Pakistani side of the LOC is back in full swing, which is creating enormous problems for the people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the divide, especially people in the Neelam Valley were affected by this;

17. In a reply to another participant, explained that innocent local people in the Valley were being killed, but guns and money was sent by Pakistan.

Those who represent forces of extremism, violence and communalism got annoyed because they expected me to say that:

• It was a Muslim struggle;

• Right of self determination was same as right of accession;

• People of Jammu and Kashmir were too eager to join Pakistan;

• All the sacrifices given by the people were in name of Pakistan;

• Pakistan did not supply any guns and funds – perhaps guns and money grow on Kashmiri trees;

• Pakistan did not provide any training to militants;

• Pakistan did not help militants to cross over to the Indian side of Kashmir;

• People of Pakistani Administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan were living in a paradise and they were totally satisfied what Pakistan did to them.

As I could not speak these white lies, I deserved to be criticised, accused and maligned. There are millions of people who know these facts. A small minority, armed with foreign weapons and acting on behalf of non Kashmiris is determined to impose their will and their brand of religion on the people of Jammu and Kashmir. They have terminated many sane voices in the past for speaking truth; and they feel no shame or hesitance to silence other such voices which are deemed as impediment to their future programmes.

I detest that. I have expressed what I thought was in the best interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. I feel proud that I and my colleagues have courage, determination and intellectual ability to speak out against forces of communalism, extremism and hatred. This is our jihad against these people who are determined to intimidate and harass people of Jammu and Kashmir to promote a foreign agenda.

I know by saying the above I could become their next target. I could become victim of their wrath. Their aim is to unleash nefarious propaganda against me, make baseless accusations against me and alienate me. I know I will not be popular by criticising these forces which control media, which control the Kashmiri struggle, and which have assumed a responsibility of issuing religious edicts and call Muslims as Hindu, Sikh and Jew.

We might not win this crusade or this jihad against these powerful forces, but we don’t want to be among those who remained quiet when demand of time was to speak against these forces. We don’t want to become collaborators, as some have done in order to protect their skin and get rewards. We want to live with dignity and honour; and don’t want to be remembered as collaborators.

By grace of Allah Almighty, our message is getting to more and more people and they have started to understand the reality; and many have shown their support. I am grateful to my colleagues like Abbas Butt, Nazam Bhatti, Masoom Ansari, Zubair Ansari, Asim Mirza, Nawaz Majid and others for supporting me and standing with me shoulder to shoulder in this fight against these forces.
Writer is Director Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Kashmir survey was designed to achieve desired results

Kashmir survey was designed to achieve desired results
Dr Shabir Choudhry 11 August 2010

Dr Robert Bradnock’s survey, ‘Kashmir – Paths to Peace’ made headlines when it was made public in May 2010 in a seminar held at Chatham House, a prestigious British Think Tank. The survey was commissioned by Dr Saif al Islam al Qadhafi and designed by Dr Bradnock and Ipsos Mori.

Before analysing this important survey, first of its kind, it is important to point out that no survey could be absolutely accurate; and different people could reach different conclusions from the same data. It is also true that, at times, people administering or designing the survey want to confirm certain ideas or beliefs; and the data is used to support or negate those beliefs.

In my opinion, this survey was also conducted with certain pre conceived ideas and to confirm and negate certain things; and suggest a certain course of action for the Kashmir dispute. We people of Jammu and Kashmir must be fully aware of this; and must not fall in the trap of those forces which want to divide our motherland, be it in name of trade, culture, ethnicity or religion.

1. My first point against this survey is that it has given us a new map, a map which has taken away Gilgit Baltistan from us. Gilgit Baltistan was not included in the survey and it was not included in the map.

2. Other areas which were not included in the survey were included in the map, and it was shown that these were not included in the survey. Why this was not done with Gilgit Baltistan?

3. Does it mean the powers that be, have already decided that in future Gilgit Baltistan will not be included in any discussions which might take place to find a solution to the Kashmir dispute?

4. The survey reveals that 44% of the people from the Pakistani side of Kashmir wanted independence, but this figure could have surpassed 50% mark if Neelam Valley was included in the survey, because this area has suffered enormously because of the militancy and infiltration. These people have seen the Pakistani rule, they have seen what militancy has to offer to them; and majority of them want independence.

5. Perhaps those who designed and commissioned the survey didn’t want a clear verdict from the people of this region. It is because of this they chose to leave this area out of the survey that they could declare people of Kashmir are indecisive.

6. The survey, once again confirms that overwhelming majority of people of the Valley are in favour of an independent Kashmir. The vote in favour of independence was as high as 95% in some districts.

7. To bring this very high percentage of vote in favour of independence down to acceptable or desired level, important pro independence areas were deliberately left out of the survey; and all anti independence areas were included in the survey.

8. Without any survey one can tell that areas of Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Rajouri, Poonch, Kargil and Leh are not pro independence areas; yet all these areas were included in the survey and other militancy hit and pro independence areas like Doda, Pulwama and Kupwara were left out of the survey.

9. We know certain areas have pro India majority, but it is surprising, rather shocking that in places like Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur and Kathua not a single person supported an independent Kashmir. Some of these areas have sizable Muslim minority; and I am personally in touch with many of them, and they fully support an independent Kashmir. It is very likely that those who ‘administered’ the survey only approached non Muslims in the survey.

10. This strategy helped the designers of the survey and those who commissioned it to get the desired results; and assert that people of Jammu and Kashmir are divided and have not given a clear verdict in favour of any one option.

11. The survey wanted to establish that people opposed the status quo, but were overwhelmingly in favour of ‘Liberalised Line of Control’. What that means is no changes to boundaries by making ‘borders irrelevant’, as stated by Prime Minister of India, some officials of Pakistan including some Think Tanks and some influential leaders of the ‘International Community’.

12. ‘Liberalised Line of Control’ will allow people and goods across the LOC freely without many restrictions; and the borders of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will remain same - as they are now. This means on one side of the LOC, Indian supported administration and the Indian army; and on the other side of the LOC, Pakistan supported administration and the Pakistan army.

13. Some kind of technical cover will be provided to make Gilgit Baltistan ‘legally’ part of Pakistan. Of course Chinese will retain whatever area of the State they have, either conquered or ‘gifted’ to them, as was the case with Shaksam Valley which was gifted to China by Pakistan in 1963.

14. I don’t know what method was used, but the option of ‘Liberalised Line of Control’ attained amazing support in the survey. From Kargil the survey showed 100% support for this option, Leh 81%; Srinagar 83%, Baramulla 81%, Anantnag 81%, Badgam 74%; Kathua 93%, Jammu 79%, Udhampur 66%, Rajouri 99% and Poonch 99%.

15. In Pakistani Administered Kashmir the support for this option was as follows: Muzaffarabad 95%, Sudanhoti 97%, Bagh 81%, Bhimber 87%, Mirpur 87%, Poonch 97% and Kotli 98%.

16. It looks the powers that be want to push the Kashmir dispute in favour of this option, because they don’t want to annoy India and Pakistan, as services and cooperation of both countries are required to advance certain agenda.

17. It is also interesting to note that 77% of people of Indian side of Kashmir believe that ‘an end to all militant violence in Kashmir will help to end the conflict over Kashmir’. It is also interesting that the highest support in favour of ‘an end to all militant violence’ came from the Valley, with Baramulla showing 91% support, Badgam 92%, Srinagar 84% and Anantnag 98% respectively.

18. Some areas of Pakistani Administered Kashmir also showed high support for this, for example, Bagh had 75% support and Mirpur had 72 %. From this side of the LOC, Kotli showed the least support for this, 27%.

19. In Jammu province, Rajouri showed 0%, Poonch 3%, Jammu 64%, Udhampur 97% and Kathua 98% support. Kargil showed 81% and 87 % support for this.

20. Pakistan claims that people of Jammu and Kashmir are eager to join Pakistan; and for this purpose they are giving sacrifices. We, Kashmiri nationalists, have always challenged this claim of Pakistan; and asserted that Pakistani governments, their agencies and their agents are deliberately misleading people. In this regard some Kashmiri people also help Pakistan to promote this view point; and in return get appropriate rewards for their services.

21. We, people of Jammu and Kashmir State and people of Pakistan are also fed this propaganda that there is a widespread support for militancy and military solution among the people of Kashmir.

22. This survey has exposed both of these myths. It is has confirmed that only 2% people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to join Pakistan; and that made Pakistan ‘irrelevant’ in matters of Jammu and Kashmir despite being a ‘party’ to the dispute. It also showed that 77% of the people wanted militant violence to end.

This survey indicates how some interested parties want to resolve the Kashmir dispute. We people of Jammu and Kashmir have to get our act together and oppose division of the State. We must think as Kashmiris and must promote interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir State; and must not become tool of those who occupy us and exploit our resources.
Writer is Director Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Joota Khapay – shoe rule

Joota Khapay – shoe rule
Dr Shabir Choudhry 10 August 2010

After callous murder of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Banazir Bhutto, people of Pakistan in general, and people of Sindh in particular were extremely angry and they raised certain voices which indicated break up of Pakistan. It was at that time Asif Zardari, husband of the deceased requested people to calm down and coined the phrase, ‘Pakistan Khapay’ – which in Sindhi means continuation of Pakistan.

However it is interesting that ‘Khappay’ in Punjabi and Urdu means annihilation or devastate. Asif Zardari also speaks these languages; and his critics question if he meant a Punjabi meaning or a Sindhi meaning when he said ‘Pakistan Khappay’.

That aside, leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party, and particularly Asif Zardari take pride in this slogan and from time to time chant it in their public rallies, especially at the end. However, luck was not on his side in Birmingham, England where huge amount of money was ‘invested’ to show public support for him and his heir apparent – Bilawal Zardari.

First impediment was the strong opposition to his trip to France and Britain when his country faced the worst floods in the history; and almost half the country was under water with more than 15 million people uprooted and more than 2000 deaths. The criticism was more sharp and effective because of extravagant expenses when every penny was needed to feed the uprooted people.

As a result of this strong criticism he had to make changes to the planned ‘launch’ his son, Bilwal in politics. And to add salt to wounds, a Kashmiri from Sensah, Kotli (Pakistani Occupied Kashmir) hurled two shoes at Asif Zardari to express his anger against his trip and his Kashmir policy. The shoes did not hit him but the insult and anger it generated was so overwhelming that Asif Zardari had to finish his speech abruptly and without the chant of ‘Pakistan Khapay’ and ‘PPP Khapay’.

This incident attracted so much interest in the media that both Asif Zardari and shoe thrower, Sardar Shameem Khan, immediately became part of history, although Asif Zardari is already very controversial and historic figure, but loathed and hated at the same time. After this incident he has become historic for abandoning his people in trouble and for being in a same league with the former President Bush.

‘The News’ correspondent came out with an interesting headline: ‘Zardari joins the Shoe Club with Bush’. What happened inside the hall was supported by hundreds of people protesting outside the hall against the visit. According to ‘The News’ report, ‘Some demonstrators held up shoes to pictures of Zardari, while others held placards reading, “1000s dying, president is holidaying”, “Thousands killed, millions homeless, what president is laughing for?” and “Are the Zardaris enjoying England while Pakistan drowns?”

In line with the PPP tradition the party leaders have come out in force telling white lies and totally denying any knowledge of the incident of shoe throwing; although initially Qamar Zaman Qaira, Minister Information condemned the incident. He confirmed the incident took place. Hundreds of people which include dozens of journalists witnessed the incident; and yet PPP leaders have nerve to deny any knowledge of it.

Later on the shoe thrower was located by Geo TV in Coventry where he lives, and his live interview was broadcasted late at night. This time the government behaved like a totalitarian government and stopped transmission of the Geo TV and ARY Digital; and despite this clear evidence the PPP leaders were brave enough to tell white lies and still continued with the denial of shoe throwing incident.

Because of the political culture in Pakistan, people try to find a conspiracy behind every incident. Many think the incident was managed by the Pakistani agencies; and fingers are being pointed to the elite agency of Pakistan. The purpose of this plot, according to the conspiracy theory, was to defame the President Asif Zaradri and destabilise his government, as if Asif Zardari is famous and his government is stable.

Some critics think opposition parties were behind this conspiracy and that is why Baber Awan, Minister of Law threatened that PPP workers also wear two shoes, implying that in future they will also target opposition politicians with shoes.

Some allege that Lord Nazir Ahmed, because of his close contacts with the Pakistani agencies, was behind this shoe throwing incident and the demonstration outside. In view of these people, Lord Nazir Ahmed has a clear anti Asif Zardari stance and close working relationship with the agencies and he managed all this while keeping himself out of this

However in my considered opinion all the above views are wrong. The demonstration was arranged by different political parties which included Kashmiri nationalist parties; and the shoe throwing incident was an act of one individual, although some believe that there was a meeting in Midlands one night before the rally in which this thing was discussed.

The man behind the incident, Sardar Shameem Khan is a friend of Mohammed Nazam Bhatti, President of Kashmir National Party in Britain. Nazam Bhatti confirms that there was no one behind Sardar Shameem Khan. Opposition parties, Pakistani agencies and Lord Nazir Ahmed have no role in this incident. Nazam Bhatti is the one who arranged all the interviews of Shameem Khan, including exclusive interview with Murtaza Shah, of the Geo TV.

Some people point out that this incident should not have taken place because it has brought shame to Pakistan as well; after all, Asif Zardari was an elected President of Pakistan. But one could argue that the target was not the President of Pakistan but Co Chairman of PPP, who holds two posts, despite clear conflict of interest.

The PPP leaders always take a similar position. Whenever Asif Zardari makes a blunder in his speech; and people protest that as a President he should be neutral and must not make a partisan speech, his followers claim this speech was delivered as a PPP Co Chairman.

Anyway, Nazam Bhatti says Shameem Khan belonged to the PPP, but he was angry with Asif Zardari and his government, because of what they have done to Pakistan and for their wrong Kashmir policy.

He cautioned Azad Kashmiri leaders to ‘stop shoe licking of Pakistani leaders’ and work in interest of Kashmiri people, else they will not be allowed to hold any public meetings in Britain in future.

Shameem Khan thinks people should not tolerate this corruption and looting by those who hold public office, and they must be held accountable for their actions. He says best way forward is that public should take off their shoes and discipline these leaders who have looted the public funds. He says like the slogan, ‘Pakistan khapay’ we should say ‘Joota Khapay’; and this campaign against these leaders must continue until they change themselves and become servants of the people in real sense.

He says, until this transformation takes place, people should not give them any funds because these funds will never reach where they are needed; and these leaders and corrupt officials will misappropriate these funds, as they did at the time of earthquake and will become millionaires.

Shameem Khan says, until such time people should give funds to those who are tried and trusted in the field of welfare and service to the needy. He said people should give funds to Kashmir Awami Foundation and Edhi Foundation.
Writer is Director Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir

A letter to Prime Minister of India

Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India,
High Commission of India
India House

08 August 2010

Kashmir National Party
28 Brook Road
Newbury Park

Dear Sir,

Re: Human Rights situation in Kashmir

I am writing this letter on behalf of Kashmir National Party which is a pro peace, pro democracy and pro people party; and which believes that the State of Jammu and Kashmir is legally not part of any country and its future is yet to be determined by the people of the State.

Sir, I am sure you will agree that first responsibility of every civilised and democratic government is to protect life, liberty and property of the people. Under threat of the Tribal Invasion which was managed by officials of Pakistan, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir expressed his desire to accede to India - which was provisionally accepted by the then Governor General of India – that life, liberty and property of his people could be saved.

Sir, despite that pledge made by a democratic government of India, innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir are needlessly dying on streets of Kashmir. These lives could have been saved with some care and professionalism of those in uniform. We are seriously concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Kashmir and strongly protest against loss of life and violation of human rights.

No civilised society and democratic government could allow and justify killing of innocent protestors. It is a basic human right to protest. We see protests in Britain, a democratic and civilised society; and we also see stone throwing by some protestors, but law enforcing authorities here because of their professionalism and training control the demonstrators without shooting anyone.

Sir, those who have lost their lives cannot come back, but those who are still alive their lives could be saved; and it is the prime responsibility of the government to ensure that those in uniform exercise restraint and no more innocent people are killed.
The Indian para military forces also need to demonstrate their professional skills to control demonstrators without pulling gun triggers which only aggravate the situation.

Use of force and killing of innocent people is a scar on democratic ideals; and India is not winning minds and hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir when they see innocent young people bleeding on streets. The blood of innocent has provided fuel to the fire and has enormously strengthened hands of those who want to impose an extremist agenda on Kashmir.

The Kashmir dispute is a reality; and cannot be wished away. Jammu and Kashmir is disputed State, and requires an urgent attention. It requires a political solution. It requires peace and stability; and if immediate actions are not taken to redress the situation then forces of extremism, communalism and hatred will get stronger and destabilise the entire region.

I look forward to hearing from you, and hope that some actions will be taken to control the situation; and appropriate strategy will be put in place to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

Yours sincerely

Dr Shabir Choudhry
Director Diplomatic Committee,
Kashmir National Party.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Colonial designs on Kashmir

Colonial designs on Kashmir

Text of Dr Shabir Choudhry’s speech made in a seminar arranged by UKPNP on 02 August 2010.

Mr Chairman, friends and colleagues aslam o alaykam.

It is pleasure to be among friends once again - friends who have a similar agenda to ours, friends who believe in human values, friends who believe in democracy and fundamental human rights for all; friends, who, like us, strongly oppose forces of extremism, oppose forces of communalism and oppose forces of violence and hatred.

It is pleasure to share a platform with those who want to promote interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir; those who want to establish liberal, democratic and secular society in a united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.

You people are lucky that your Chairman has matured approach to politics, and have pro people agenda. He has a clear vision about united and independent Jammu and Kashmir; and because of his hard work and dedication to peace and human rights he was honoured with a prestigious Gandhi Pease Award. For this he faced criticism from certain quarters; but isn’t it the case that people who challenge the status quo and want to bring changes to the society are opposed by those who have vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Your Chairman has interest of his party and his mission close to his heart. He once, in Geneva during a Conference in UN Human Rights Commission, offered me and Abbas Butt to join PNP and take any posts in the party including the post of the Chairman. This shows, self promotion and the post of the Chairman is not that important to him; yet some Kashmiri leaders split their parties when their post of Chairman is under threat. The JKLF leaders, time and again, split their party in order to protect their post and eliminate any opposition to their rule.

Compared to us, you people are young and energetic. You have responsibilities on your shoulders to work hard for the liberation of our motherland, which is occupied by three countries and people of Jammu and Kashmir suffer as a result of this occupation. As long as we have clear conscience and pro people agenda, we should not worry about criticism, which is generally made by agents of those who want to keep us divided and subjugated.

There are those who still urge us to liberate Indian Administered Kashmir and totally ignore what goes on inside the Pakistani side of Kashmir; as that, in their view, diverts attention from the human rights abuses being committed on that side. Let me tell you these people either don’t understand the basic requirements of our struggle, or they are promoting an agenda of Islamabad and agenda of forces of extremism and vested interest.

I have no problem in condemning human rights abuses being committed on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir. No civilised person can justify killing of innocent people and young children. While people of the Valley are suffering and facing bullets and tear gas, people of other regions are ‘silent spectators’.

I wonder why? Do they think just making a speech in support of the people of the Valley is sufficient? Are they led to believe by some quarters that by supporting the struggle over there they will also get independence? Believe me; we will never get independence on the strength of sacrifices of the people of the Valley alone? If people of Jammu and Kashmir want unification and independence then they have to challenge the status quo in every region by the local people.

There are many Kashmiris who still live in illusion that Pak army – army of the pure, love people of Kashmir and they care for their welfare and well being. How innocent are these people? Before they reach any conclusion on this matter, they need to study events of 1970/71 in which the Pak army killed tens of thousands of innocent people of East Pakistan. They also need to study events of 1950s in Poonch (Pakistani Administered Kashmir) in which innocent Kashmiri people were killed and tortured for demanding political rights.

If that is in the distant past, then they need to study events of what Pak army is doing in parts of Pakistan, including in FATA. They also need to study role of Pakistani administration in parts of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan. They need to look how Pakistani rule has exploited us in Pakistani Administered Kashmir and in Gilgit Baltistan; and how they have kept us under developed and deprived us of fundamental human rights.

If you still have some false impression and wishful thinking then do what people of the Valley did – get training, get weapons and challenge the might of the forces of occupation, then see for yourself that the Pak army will not honour you will medals or welcome you with flowers. They will kill and destroy you as they are doing to people of Pakistan in various parts of Pakistan.

If that is a tall order and you don’t want to risk your lives and lives of your family and fellow citizens, then look what happened to people of Mirpur and Rawalakot who peacefully demonstrated against 15/16 hours long load shedding. People were killed; tear gassed and tortured for protesting against load shedding.

Mangla Dam was built on graves of people of Mirpur, and it produces 1000 megawatt electricity with Kashmiri water, and we don’t have access to that. Pakistani Administered Kashmir has potential to produce 15000 megawatt, and at present produces 1500 megawatt, and our requirement is only 313 megawatt; and we don’t even get that.

The Pakistani establishment has obsession to exploit our resources and make Jammu and Kashmir part of Pakistan. In name of ‘liberating Kashmir’ they have a particular agenda which helps them to accumulate power and wealth; and even keep people of Pakistan deprived of basic needs, democracy and fundamental human rights.

Even after 63 years of existence, people living in territory called Pakistan have not become Pakistanis yet. They are more divided than ever before; and with time their divisions are getting deeper. But they are on a mission to make us citizens of Islamic Republic of Pakistan – a country which is at a war with itself and not sure what kind of system they should have; a country which is killing its own people and torn apart by sectarian and religious violence.

Stick any label against my name, call me an Indian agent if that suits you, call me an Israeli agent if that promotes your agenda, call me an American agent if that makes you happy or call me a British agent if that satisfies your ego, but let me make it clear: I was not a Pakistani yesterday, I am not a Pakistani today and Inshallah I won't be a Pakistani tomorrow.

I was born a Kashmiri, I am a Kashmiri and I want to die as a Kashmiri, even if I don’t get independence and right to live with dignity and honour. I hope the struggle which we started and for which we have all suffered will be taken to its logical conclusion by our next generation.

However, we have to ensure that the struggle is passed on in its true perspective. This struggle has to be seen as a Kashmiri struggle – a struggle for unification of Jammu and Kashmir. It must not be seen as a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. It must no be seen as a struggle of one religion against other religions. It must not be seen as a struggle for accession.

I hope youths of Jammu and Kashmir learn from mistakes of the past, identify their enemies; and ensure that our forcibly divided State is united, in which democratic, liberal and tolerant culture is established. End
Writer is Director Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Indian lobby and Asif Zardari

Indian lobby and Asif Zardari
Dr Shabir Choudhry 01 August 2010

Pakistan is facing one of the worst floods of its history and more than one thousand people have died and more than half million people are uprooted from their homes. Some towns and hundreds of villages have submerged in water, and people are in desperate need of help and support, yet Asif Zardai has packed his bags and left for Paris and London.

Ordinary people and opposition leaders are angry over this trip. Even Ruling party’s allies are advising the President not to leave Pakistan during this critical period. They say rulers of other countries, in time of disasters, cut short their foreign visits and reach home to supervise help and support efforts, and show that they care for their people and are part of those people.

Apart from that people are angry because of what David Cameron, Prime Minister of United Kingdom said about Pakistan’s double role in war on terrorism and working relationship of ISI with Taliban who have made life very difficult for forces of occupation in Afghanistan. Exact words of David Cameron were: "We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world."

In protest against David Cameron’s statement made in India, ISI Director General Lt Gen Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, which is, of course, part of the Pakistan Army has cancelled their scheduled visit to Britain. But it is interesting that Supreme Head of the Pakistan Army, despite fierce opposition is determined to go ahead with his visit to London which is not even a State visit.

In response to opposition to Asif Zardari’s visit at this critical time, Law Minister of Pakistan and close associate of Asif Zardari, Babar Awan has said something which the Pakistani establishment normally say for those people who demand fundamental rights within Pakistan or for nationalist of Pakistani Administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

Learned and intellectual minded Babar Awan, whose PhD degree from America is subject of considerable controversy has stated: those who are opposing President’s visit are part of the Indian lobby.

A big thank you to Law Minister of Pakistan for bringing hundreds of political leaders including Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of opposition, and millions of ordinary Pakistanis in the fold of the Indian lobby. In the past, I and many other nationalist Kashmiris were labelled with this unfounded allegation that we were part of the Indian lobby because we demanded united and independent Kashmir. We oppose Pakistan’s rule in Gilgit Baltistan and in Pakistani Administered Kashmir and demand that both countries should give us independence.

In response to Babar Awan’s statement, a senior leader of Jamiat e Ulmai Islam (F) strongly opposed the Zardai visit and strongly criticised the statement of Babar Awan. He said: the Indian lobby is sitting inside the President’s House.

In Britain, we find politicians strongly opposing each other, but no one call each other an agent or a traitor. Same is the case in most other civilized countries. Politicians differ on policies, oppose each other, even fight with each other, but they still respect each other’s integrity and loyalty to nation. But in Pakistan who ever oppose the government is declared as traitor and an agent. In Pakistan, Presidents, army Generals, politicians, religious leaders, scholars, journalists - in short every one with a opposing view is accused of being an agent of someone. This explains volumes about the political culture of Pakistan.

As usual Asif Zardari’s team has come out in his defence; and their arrogance is very visible. In defence of their political master, PPP stalwarts at time make absurd statements, which only expose their immaturity and blind following. One PPP Senator in defence of his Political Master said: everything in the newspapers regarding President’s visit is fiction. Expenses of all those who have gone to Britain to make arrangements for the President’s visit will be paid by the President.
Whereas a spokesperson for Pakistani High Commission in Britain, when asked about huge expenses about the visit said: “This is an official visit and procedures for official visits are being followed”. Everyone knows when visit is declared official whether it is official or not bill is paid by government of Pakistan, in other words people of Pakistan.
For the interest of readers, while millions of people in Pakistan are homeless, and desperately in need of clean water, food, medicine and shelter, Asif Zardari and his entourage will enjoy their stay in Britain in a five star luxury hotel Hyatt Regency. According to ‘The News’ report, ‘nearly half of the ninth exclusive floor called Regency Club Level, which has 18 suites and 10 executive type luxury rooms, has been booked and blocked for any commoner to venture into on the grounds of security reasons’.
The suite in which Asif President Zardari will stay costs around £7,000 per night. The price does not include room service, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and drinks. I wonder why people were criticising his predecessor General Pervez Musharraf who was also found of staying in luxury and expensive hotels, when a party which takes pride in its slogan of food, clothes and shelter to win votes of the poor could indulge in this kind of luxury at a time when millions are homeless and waiting for their next meal.
Apart from that, ten luxury cars have been hired at the cost of £400 per vehicle, which will take the lucky visitors to London from one place to another. This caravan of ten luxury cars will show how rich is Pakistan and will surely enhance the status of the country.
Information Minister, Qamar Zaman Kaira has also come out fighting in defence of his leader. Why wouldn’t he, after all, he is also part of this entourage visiting England. Recent history of the PPP shows that they will defend their party leader even if he is caught hand in the till. Mr Qaira said, ''The President of Pakistan will explain and have a dialogue and good discussion and he will explain the facts to the new Government over here ... We hope that the new management – the new leadership – over here, when they get the exact picture, will agree with us.''

According to the available sources Asif Zardari’s meeting will David Cameron will be only for minutes, one can call it a photo session; and in this short meeting what can Asif Zardari tell about Pakistan’s role in the war on terrorism. One wonders what they have been telling the British government and their officials in the previous meetings by him, and by other dignitaries. Why didn’t they tell Pakistan’s position to the British Foreign Minister who recently visited Islamabad? And above all what is the role of the Pakistani High Commission, is it not their duty to defend interest of Pakistan.

The real purpose of this visit is not to safeguard interest of Pakistan or talk to David Cameron about his remarks about Pakistan’s support for the Taliban. The real aim is to provide a new leader and a future President to Pakistan. Bilawal Bhutto has passed his graduation from Oxford and he has also become 21 years old, legally a mature man now. If non graduate Asif Zardari, with name of PPP could elevate himself to the highest post in Pakistan, it will not be too difficult for Bilawal- a graduate from Oxford and with supervision and guidance of his father to rule this country.

To launch Bilawal in the field of politics, a grand public meeting has been arranged in International Convention Centre in Birmingham, which will cost around £40,000. The High Commission and PPP leaders are working very hard to fill this hall which would cost thousands of pounds in transport and food.

But to some all that is justified and money well spent, after all they will have a new leader who will lead Pakistan. Shouldn’t people of Pakistan forget their miseries and suffering and celebrate arrival of their new leader?

Writer is Director Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir