Thursday, 2 December 2010

A view from Kashmir, Farooq Ganderbali

A view from Kashmir, Farooq Ganderbali

Court Road Srinagar 190001

The Jammu and Kashmir Youth Development Forum (a major
youth organization of Kashmir Valley) submitted a memorandum to the
UNO and other world bodies (via email) regarding the dangerous
situation arising due to continuous violent protests in Kashmir. The
protests threatening life and property of common people are instigated
by secessionist elements backed actively by terrorism sponsoring
Pakistan. The memorandum was submitted after passing a unanimous
resolution at a one day seminar organized by Jammu and Kashmir Youth
Development Forum at Srinagar (summer capital of state Jammu and
Kashmir India).

The Seminar titled “Economic losses due to strikes” was
attended by traders, small scale industrialists, contractors,
shopkeepers, houseboat owners, restaurant, hotel owners and other
people affected directly by the strife. Earlier, a memorandum
addressed to the Hon’ble Secretary General United Nations , and
heads of other world bodies was submitted via e-mail by The Jammu and
Kashmiri Youth Development Forum. The memorandum was signed by Former
President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, Nadeem Ahmad, a young
entrepreneur who runs his unit in Khanmoh Industrial Estate Pulwama,
Mohammad Ashraf, a hotel owner from Bandipora district of north
Kashmir, Farooq Ahmad, a fabric dealer from downtown Srinagar, Imtiyaz
Sofi, a bakery owner from Eidgah Srinagar, Advocate Bilal Sultan, a B.
Ed college owner from Bandipora, President Traders Federation
Ganderbal, Ghulam Hassan, Owner of Arif Pharmaceuticals, Dr Zahoor
Ahmad, Mir Jeelani, a prominent businessman, Parvaiz Ahmad, a
shopkeeper in Lal Chowk, Dr G. A. Khan Former President Traders

Kashmir, G M Bavan, a hotel owner, Javed Ahmad, a bakery shop owner and

Chairman JKYDF.

For the last several months, Kashmir has been engulfed
in violent protests sponsored by the secessionist leaders. The
protests have thrown entire life into turmoil with business activities
coming to a standstill. Traders and businessmen have been deprived of
carrying their activities for the last more than 4-months. They have
been denied chance to open their business establishments as streets
have been turned into virtual battle zones, where killings and arson
has become a norm. More than 100 persons mostly youths have been
killed during this unrest period.

The financial loss suffered by the people of Kashmir
during the unrest of four or five months has dealt a huge blow to
regions already fragile economy. An estimated Rs 27000 crores have
been lost due to strikes. The two main columns of Kashmir’s economy–
trade and tourism – have been completely shattered. The tourism sector
has been worst hit as close to 60,000 people lost their jobs due to
the tension and unrest. The number of tourists visiting the state per
year had gone down from around 700,000 in the pre-terrorism days to a
few thousand in the following years. It is estimated that the state
lost 27 million tourists from 1989-2002 leading to tourism revenue
loss of $3.6 billion. However, it had showed some signs of improvement
during 2003-2007. Since then the number of tourists keeps on
increasing or decreasing depending on the level of violence at that
particular point of time. However, the number of tourists has never
come anywhere near the level of tourists that visited the state in the
pre-militancy period but the current phase of unrest has yet again
shattered the sector completely.

During the height of terrorism in Kashmir it was
observed that majority of the terrorists operating in Kashmir were
from lower socio-economic class making them ideal foot soldiers for

Expansion of business activities in Kashmir witnessed gradual decrease
in terrorism. With this trend continuing, entire menace of terrorism
would have been wiped out in a short period. This trend demoralized
the secessionist leaders and they see economic prosperity of Kashmiris
as a danger to them as it will deny them any more potential suicide
bombers or other terrorists. So to counter this trend they initiated a
new plan and initiated violent and incessant protests. The business
establishments were made main targets. Number shops were looted and
attacked, which forced the businessmen to shut down their

We at Jammu and Kashmir Youth Development Forum
sincerely believe in the good of offices of United Nations . We
request your goodself to kindly use the influence of your good offices
on Pakistan to desist from the evil practice of again inciting the
menace of terrorism in the name of violent protests. Going by the past
experiences if Pakistan again harps on using the terrorism as part of
its foreign policy, then it will bring disastrous results for not only
Jammu and Kashmir but also to entire world. The terrorism once started
at a place never remains specific to that place and it engulfs people
from all the nationalities.

With Regards

Chairman JKYDF

Farooq Ganderbali




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