Saturday, 16 April 2011

‘Liberate Muzaffarabad first and not Srinagar’

‘Liberate Muzaffarabad first and not Srinagar’
Dr Shabir Choudhry 16 April 2011

It is an offence to support Indian cricket team in Pakistani Occupied Kashmir; and those who supported the Indian team in the recent World Cricket Cup, especially when they played Pakistani team in the semi finals were arrested for this ‘crime’. Two stalwarts of National Awami Party from Dadyal, district Mirpur, namely Imran Shahzad and Naheem Iqbal Khawaja were arrested for supporting the Indian team.

Kashmiri nationalists are very angry over this, and people are expressing their anger against Pakistan and their oppressive policies. Secretary General of Kashmir National Party, Yasin Anjumm while commenting on this intolerable situation said: ‘Liberate Muzaffarabad first and not Srinagar’.

In the past some Kashmiri parties groomed and supported by Pakistani secret agencies gave this slogan and policy to the people of Pakistani side of Jammu and Kashmir that they should first liberate Srinagar. By implication it meant that only Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied (Pakistani side of Kashmir is free) and only that should be liberated.

This policy was not only illogical, but it was also given by those who occupy two regions of Jammu and Kashmir; and their aim was to divert attention away from their own crimes and use sentiments of people of Jammu and Kashmir to promote a proxy war. Net result of this erroneous and out of place policy was enormous damage to the Kashmiri struggle, and despite death of more than fifty thousands men, women and children, rapes, imprisonments, custodial deaths, misery and suffering of people we have not moved one inch forward.

Despite the above, Pakistani secret agencies and their agents in Pakistan and Kashmir still want to pursue the same redundant policy. They want to promote Kashmir as a religious dispute, and to them it could only be resolved by use of gun, even though its use has brought havoc to the people of Jammu and Kashmir; and nearly brought India and Pakistan to a full scale war.

Last week my first cousin Mohammed Iqbal Choudhry died in London. He was a successful businessman and a decent human being. His death is a big loss to us all. My other cousin who is a Public Prosecutor in London came to my house with her husband for condolences. Her husband, Choudhry Arshad Mehmood, is highly educated man with no interest in politics or the Kashmiri struggle. But before he left he gave me a big surprise by asking me: ‘brother when are we going to get independence from Pakistan?

I said to him before we reach that stage where a nation can get independence we need to understand true nature of the Kashmir dispute, and develop our consciousness of being enslaved and occupied on both sides of the Line of Control. However, it is encouraging to note that more and more educated people are now realising that the Kashmir dispute was created by Pakistan; and it is the Pakistani establishment which is the biggest obstacle in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

I further said people of Jammu and Kashmir need to understand the game plan of the Pakistani ruling elite; and they need to know that this selfish and egocentric people have no love for people of Jammu and Kashmir. They want to use the Kashmir dispute to advance their own agenda; and divide people in name of religion, ethnicity and region.

Both my cousin and her husband said they have developed consciousness of being Kashmiris because of the attitude and discrimination of some Pakistani people. Now we realise that we are Kashmiris and in the recent census (in Britain), for the first time, we crossed Pakistan in the ethnicity column and put our ethnicity as Kashmiri.

To me this was a step forward. If this trend continues and people of Jammu and Kashmir understand the real situation and real culprits who have back stabbed our movement then they will start their struggle against injustice, oppression and occupation.

In this context I remember Baba Jaan a leader from Gilgit Baltistan who said to KNP delegation to that region: ‘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.’

What Baba Jaan said makes a lot of sense. What India is doing on that side is wrong, of course, there is a large army and human rights abuses taking place, but people are resisting the Indian rule and they get support from people of Jammu and Kashmir on this side, from Pakistan, from OIC and many other sources. Above all we DO NOT stop them to fight the Indian rule there. We don’t urge them to stop fighting those who inflict pain and suffering there; but unfortunately we people on the Pakistani side of Kashmir DO NOT get the same right to resist those who occupy us and plunder our resources and do injustice to us.

When oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir living on the Pakistani side of the divide raise their voices against the Pakistani occupation and injustice, even people of the Indian side of Kashmir criticise us, as they think the resistance should be against India only; and they want everyone to concentrate on the problems which they face.

That strategy is wrong and out of step with reality. This policy or strategy was designed by secret agencies of Pakistan and passed on to some Kashmiri organisations; and it is sad that these Kashmiri organisations might forget to follow Quran and Hadees but they very faithfully follow policies of the secret agencies of Pakistan, hence complicating the Kashmir dispute even further.

Pakistani Occupied Kashmir, known as Azad Kashmir or free Kashmir is a slave of ruling elite of Pakistan which has mortgaged national pride and sovereignty of their country to the Americans and some other countries for the sake of some material and political gains. Pakistani ruling elite has worked very hard to bring Pakistan to its present situation where the country is in chaos and no one seems to be safe and future of Pakistan as a nation state is very bleak

Despite very serious economic and political problems, raging civil war in various parts and uncertain future, Pakistani establishment ensured that their grip on Gilgit Baltistan and POK remains firm. They have Kashmiri collaborators and opportunists to help and further fortify the Pakistani rule in these regions.

They should know whether people of Jammu and Kashmir get two options or three options to determine their future, under the UN Resolutions, which Pakistan likes to talk about give people the right to join India and propagate in favour of that as well. Some people of the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir openly speak in support of Pakistan, hoist Pakistani flag and burn the Indian flag and they are not arrested for that, however, they are severely punished for using violence to advance their agenda.

Corrupt and oppressive system which does not allow people to even support a cricket team could not be expected to let people have equality and right of expression in their colony. They have not learnt from their past mistakes. It was the wrong and oppressive policy of Pakistani ruling elite which resulted in fall of Dhaka, independence of Bangladesh and surrender of more than 90 thousand soldiers. It is wrong policy of the ruling elite which has forced people to pick up gun against them in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan.

Surely it is their wrong policy which has turned people of Jammu and Kashmir against Pakistan and their oppressive and unjust rule; and if there is a plebiscite in near future vast majority will vote in favour of United and independent Jammu and Kashmir. It is because of this reason the Pakistani ruling elite want to ensure that the Kashmir dispute is not resolved, as it has become a bread and butter for some.
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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