Saturday, 1 January 2011

‘We will fight against the enemy which has its big boot on our neck’

‘We will fight against the enemy which has its big boot on our neck’
Posted by K4Kashmir on December 29, 2010 in Kashmir,

During our Study Tour of Gilgit Baltistan and PAK, we met many people including, Baba Jaan from Hunza who came to meet us. We were grateful to him for finding some time for us and travelling from there to our hotel. He is a young and energetic man, and Chairman of Progressive Youth Front.

He was very angry about the role of the Pakistani agencies and what they do to innocent local people. He told us that, ‘Pakistani secret agencies raid at night time and harass and intimidate people. At times they take young men with them and torture them in secret places. Some of these people are either remain in their torture centres, killed and buried without knowledge of their love ones, or thrown in remote places after breaking their limbs.’

He further said, ‘We are not in a position to fight back with bullets. There are more than 150 people facing sedition charges. These people are dragged in these cases for 12-13 years, their life becomes hell, their family life and business, if any, is destroyed and the entire family suffers enormously’.

He said, ‘Young and angry men who don’t want to be part of Pakistan or who oppose the Pakistani rule and exploitation are picked up and charged for using unreasonable words for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. They are tortured for this crime of speaking against the oppressive rule of Pakistan; and at times their body muscles are crushed and damage their kidneys.’

He further said, ‘These people face this treatment for mere speaking or complaining against unreasonable and unjust rule of Pakistan, just imagine what would happen to them, if these people had committed some crime against the army or used a gun or violence against them.’

He said, ‘Months of August and September have been bad for us. During these months there have been massive arrests and human rights abuses. I agree if some people commit some crime they should be punished in accordance with law, but houses must not be raided without warrants and innocent people should not be arrested and punished.’

He gave us one example, where ‘Sadiq Ali was arrested by ISI in 2008. He was kept in hot water and tortured for many days; and when he died they brought him to the local police station and ordered the police to declare that this man was brought in for questioning and he died natural death’.

He said, ‘Pakistani agencies print and distribute controversial literature to spread hatred among different religious and political groups. They work hard to keep people divided that they cannot unite and work against Pakistani rule here. They also want to ensure that there is a big gulf between people of Gilgit Baltistan and people of Azad Kashmir and people of Jammu and Kashmir on the other side of the LOC.’

He said, ‘Pakistani sponsored Wahabi/ Sunni militants attacked our villages in 1988 and killed hundreds of innocent people. A commission under Justice Usman Ali was set up to investigate these incidents. The Commission completed its report, but it has never been published. We demand the publication of Justice Usman Ali Commission report that facts are known.’

Baba Jaan categorically said, ‘Kashmir dispute is not religious in nature. It was created by imperial powers to keep the South Asia and this region boiling that they could advance their interests by fanning the flames. The role of Pakistani rulers is that of a watchman of these imperial powers.’

He said, ‘Kashmir dispute was not complicated, but it was made complicated by use of religion and jihadi forces. It was because of these jihad warriors that India had an opportunity to move in to Kashmir in 1947; and in 1988 in name of azadi another round jihad was started and provided India with an excuse to kill and crush people.’

He said, ‘We are part of the Kashmir dispute, but all regions are occupied and we all have to struggle against those who occupy us. India is an occupier on that side and people are struggling against them. We have no problem from India on this side, so our struggle cannot be and should not be against India. Our struggle should be against the country which has its big boot on our neck. We don’t want any lessons from anyone that we support this or that struggle, or adopt this ideology or that ideology; our first priority is to remove that big boot from neck that we can breathe.

Baba Jaan further said, ‘We can have unity and coordination and support each other, but it is unrealistic to expect someone from Srinagar or Muzaffarabad to come here and fight on my behalf. Similarly we cannot go there and fight on their behalf. Those people or groups who promote this strategy that we should all liberate Kashmir occupied by India first are practically advancing Pakistani plan of diverting attention away from problems we face here and making the struggle more difficult.’

He said, ‘If we become independent then we can support the struggle in other parts, but how can we support others when we are ourselves occupied and oppressed? We have enough natural resources that we can feed both India and Pakistan’.

Those who were listening to views of Baba Jaan appreciated his stance and courageous statement; and agreed that first priority of people of Gilgit Baltistan is to remove that big boot from their necks which is suffocating them. People of this region have their own problems and they cannot be expected to ignore these urgent matters and put all their eggs in basket of the Valley provided by the ISI.

We were told of the Chinese presence in various parts of Hunza. Chinese are taking out uranium and mibranium (from Chupursan), which is used in the missile technology. There is a lot of local resentment against the Chinese presence; and in order to appease the local people China offered to supply them free electricity of 20 megawatt. At present authorities only provide 2 megawatt which is far less then the local requirement.

Although due to severe shortage of electricity, people suffer in every day life, but they rejected this offer of China, as they didn’t want to compromise national interest and future of this region for sake of electricity.

Local people also demanded that they should be linked with Azad Kashmir via Astore and Neelam Valley. People of this area used to trade with people of Muzaffarabad via this route before Pakistan took over and discouraged use of this road. Still this road could be used by jeeps, but with little effort from the Azad Kashmir government and Gilgit Baltistan they can build a road that people of these two regions can trade and interact with each other.

If this road is built then it will help people of two regions to strengthen their social, cultural, political and commercial ties; and imperialists in Islamabad would not like that, and they would not allow their puppets in Muzaffarabad and in Gilgit to construct this road. However some students and civilians with help of some experts are working on a feasibility report and see how they can raise funds to build this road.

Also local people demanded that old route to Ladakh should be opened that people can interact with each and trade with each other. If for some reason India and Pakistan cannot agree on that route, Pakistan cannot make any excuse regarding Neelam – Astore Road. If Pakistan is sincere about welfare and interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir, including people of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan then they should practically demonstrate that.

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

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