Thursday, 23 September 2010

So called Azad Kashmir and security zone

So called Azad Kashmir and security zone
Presentation made by Abbas Butt on behalf of Kashmir National Party in a seminar arranged by NGO at the UN Human Rights Council Geneva on 22 September 2010.
Mr Chairman

Topic of my presentation is ‘So called Azad Kashmir and security zone’. This area of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied by Pakistan, and it is called Azad Kashmir, which means free or independent. Reality, however, is that this area is not free or independent. It is a colony of Pakistan and Pakistan exploits resources of this area, just like imperialist powers of the 18th and 19th century did with their colonies.

From among the Kashmiri collaborators, Pakistan selects those people who are best to serve their interests and keep control over the people. Pakistan and these puppets use name of religion to keep control over the people and spread extremism and hatred.
This area appears to have a Parliamentary democracy, but those who disagree with policies of Islamabad and promote united and independent Jammu and Kashmir are not allowed to contest elections. Pakistani politicians and Pakistani secret agencies decide who can contest and who will win the elections.

All those who become members of the Assembly are pro Pakistan and subservient of Pakistan, but Islamabad still does not trust them. They have set up Kashmir Council which is always chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister or Chief Executive when Islamabad is ruled by a dictator.

This Kashmir Council has majority of Pakistanis as its members, who are appointed by Prime Minister of Pakistan; and it is strictly controlled by Pakistani bureaucrats. Kashmir Council takes all the major decisions regarding Kashmir and Kashmir Assembly, its President or Prime Minister cannot challenge any of the decisions.

In reality four Pakistanis namely, Chief Secretary, IG Police, Finance Secretary and Accountant General control and manage all the affairs of this territory, which we like to call Pakistani Occupied Kashmir. Apart from that Military Chief based in Murree, known as GOC Murree, ISI, Intelligence Bureau and Military Intelligence have the last say in matters of this area; and political leaders, ministers, even President and Prime Minister of this territory have no say before them.

More than once Rulers of so called Azad Kashmir were dismissed by Islamabad, and when Azad Kashmir's Prime Minister, Mumtaz Rathore was arrested and dismissed in 1991, Benazir Bhutto commented:
“Pakistan had arrested the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir, rigged the state election, and alienated the Kashmiris to such an extent that they want an independent Kashmir.” Quoted in ‘Reclaiming the Past’, by Vernon Hewitt, page 119

Mr Chairman, this explains the real situation and independence of this area.
Furthermore, Lal Hussain, a liberal minded Pakistani wrote:

‘If the Indian army has the biggest concentration of military forces in Indian-Held Kashmir, then it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Azad Kashmir is a garrison and cantonment for the Pakistan army. There is hardly any aspect of life in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir where there is no interference of the army, whether overt or covert. Ministers and politicians in Azad Kashmir are often seen lining up outside the offices of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Muzaffarabad.’
There are powerful forces in Pakistan who want to spread extremism, violence and hatred in name of religion. They want constant state of tension and war between India and Pakistan to justify existence of Pakistan and out of date and illogical Two Nations Theory, which divided the Sub Continent of India in name of religion and caused death and destruction; and people continue to suffer because of that.

Lal Hussain claims:
‘The two-nation theory requires constant rivalry and hatred against the Indian adversary. It is Kashmir that provides the material for this conflict.’

Pakistani ruling elite want to destabilise the region through their policy of exporting jihad or a proxy war; and for this purpose they propagate jihad in Kashmir and use this slogan to recruit people to advance their agenda.

They have training camps in so called Azad Kashmir which are controlled and financed by the secret agencies of Pakistan. The jihadi groups cross the LOC to wage jihad on the other side of the LOC and as a result people of Jammu and Kashmir suffer on both sides of the LOC.

Because of the presence of the Jihadi groups, people of Azad Kashmir suffer. They are intimidated and harassed; and those who criticise very often lose their lives. Their activities are promoting extremism and violence and people of this area are seriously worried about this.

Lal Hussain further comments on this situation:
‘The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Azad Kashmir is not just because of the political vacuum or the objective situation, but because it has been promoted by the politics of expediency of the Pakistani rulers.’

Mr Chairman,
Azad Kashmir is not azad – free from foreign occupation, but surely it is free from responsibilities of education, trade, economic planning, health care, infrastructure, social and welfare of its people.

My request is NGOs and International community should take this matter seriously and take some action to prevent this matter getting out of control.
Thank you for your patience.

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