Sunday, 31 July 2011

It is claimed that Pak Foreign Minister Hina Khar, during her official visit to India was wearing 1 cror worth of clothes, watch, handbag, jewelry etc

It is claimed that Pak Foreign Minister Hina Khar, during her official visit to India was wearing 1 cror worth of clothes, watch, handbag, jewelry etc ...view programme:

http://www.zemtv.com/2011/07/3​1/sawal-yeh-hai-with-dr-danish​-31st-july-2011/

Friday, 29 July 2011

India and Pakistan's surprisingly successful negotiations

India and Pakistan's surprisingly successful negotiations

BY LUV PURI, JULY 28, 2011 Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 3:03 PM

http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/07/28/india_and_pakistans_surprisingly_successful_negotiations


In 1963, residents of Delhi were witness to talks between Pakistan's then-foreign minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his Indian counterpart Swaran Singh, as the two met to discuss their countries' future -- in addition to dining in some of the city's premium restaurants.

The two leaders eventually held several round of fruitless talks, prompting a number of jokes about the purpose of the engagement. Since then, the Singh-Bhutto talks have become a metaphor to describe the pessimism over any high-level engagement between India and Pakistan.

The foreign ministers of two countries met again on July 27, and the passage of time has only increased the number of issues bedeviling relations between the two countries. This time, Pakistan was led by thirty-four-year-old foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, while India was represented by seventy-nine-year old SM Krishna. The talks are being held at a delicate juncture of South Asian politics. Aside from dealing with the regular gamut of bilateral differences - from Kashmir, to Siachen, to terrorism -- there are worries that American withdrawal from Afghanistan may result in a revival of the India-Pakistan rivalry making its way into Afghan territory.

Senior Pakistani politicians from the opposition questioned the ability of their young foreign minister to fully defend and articulate Pakistan's interests before the Indian political leadership. Indian commentators had their own reservations, describing Khar as a nominee of Pakistani military which is against any rapprochement with India.

Yet it seems at first blush that the naysayers have been proved wrong on both sides. The two ministers covered a fair bit ground in the bilateral relationship, discussing counter-terrorism measures, including progress in the Mumbai attacks trial in Pakistan, the disputed Siachen glacier, and made some real tangible progress on the contested issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Both sides announced some concrete confidence-building measures to promote interactions between the people of Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir. These measures formed the operative portion of the 21-point joint statement released after their meeting, though the rest of the statement was more focused on demonstrating good intent than engaging in substantive discussion of various other aspects of the relationship.

The slow but important movement on Kashmir shows that the two countries have not jettisoned theunsigned agreement between Indian president Manmohan Singh and former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf negotiated between 2004 and 2007, which was committed to taking a people-centric approach to the disputed region. The main idea was to infuse realism as well as humaneness into negotiations, and the agreement was premised on the idea that the people of the region, on either side of the Line of Control (LoC), should be the driving force behind the peace process. One concrete idea was to put "soft borders" into place, and another proposal would have created institutional mechanisms for political leaders from both countries to discuss common areas of interest. But due to the political instability in Pakistan, the agreement was not fully put into operation.

Yesterday's statement indicates an intention to strengthen LoC trade mechanisms between the two parts of the disputed region. Trade was started between the two sides on 22nd November, 2005, but the rules surrounding this trade have been archaic. At present, there is a barter system in place in the absence of an agreement on a common currency. The statement said the designated authorities will resolve operational issues concerning cross-LoC trade through "regular interaction." It is still not known whether the two designated authorities on either side of the LoC will have the say to decide on the common currency.

Another important step forward was on the decision to convene separate meetings of the Expert Groups on Nuclear and Conventional confidence-building measures in Islamabad in September of this year. This can be a possible first move in initiating a process to slow the nuclear arms race in South Asia.

The challenge before for political leaders in India and Pakistan will now be to create momentum in their own countries in support of the peace process. Yesterday, Khar reached out to India's opposition and Hindu-nationalist BJP party leader LK Advani, who was born in Karachi but immigrated to India after the 1947 partition of the subcontinent. There may be similar efforts by the Indian political leadership to reach out to the opposition in Pakistan.

Admittedly, other meetings Khar held did not go over so well; some in India objected, for instance, to her meeting with both factions of All Party Hurriyet Conference, Kashmiri political groups that advocate secession from India. Khar defended her position and stated that India, as a democratic entity, should not have any objections if "she meets anybody who is an important stakeholder in [the Kashmir] domain." The issue didn't gain much traction after the initial controversy, and many in India accepted was acceptance of the fact that the two countries had divergent views on the issue.

Even the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah stated that he was not worried about the meeting, but added Pakistani political leadership should also engage with the non-separatist leadership from the region. And during the 2004-2007 peace process, Musharrafstated that leaders of all shades of opinion from Jammu and Kashmir should be taken on board to settle the issue.

The relationship between India and Pakistan currently rests at a delicate equilibrium. Outside the mainstream political space, the forces bent on acting as spoilers remain active. In the past, prominent terrorist attacks have often coincided with moves to improve India-Pakistan relations. On November 24, 2008, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari declared that his country would not be the first to use nuclear weapons against India and would work towards opening trade with their eastern neighbor. Two days later, India witnessed the most gruesome attack in its history, as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) fighters held Mumbai hostage on live television for days, slaughtering and burning their way through India's financial capital and killing 164 people. Some of the recent reports in the Pakistani press indicate a resurgence in the activities of banned militant outfits in Punjab province, for instance.

But despite the many roadblocks and difficulties ahead, this most recent foreign ministers' meeting was certainly a small step forward in resolving one of the most complex and complicated relationships in international affairs today.

Luv Puri is a political analyst, who has written two books on South Asian political and security issues. His book Across the Line of Control, based on field work in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir will be co-published by C. HURST & CO. (PUBLISHERS) LTD in July 2011 and Columbia University Press in the fall of 2011.

Text of India-Pakistan joint statementFrom the Newspaper July 28, 2011

Text of India-Pakistan joint statementFrom the Newspaper July 28, 2011
(2 days ago)
Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, left, shakes hand with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar before talks in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, July 27, 2011. – AP Photo


NEW DELHI: Pakistan and India expressed satisfaction with the talks their foreign ministers held here on Wednesday, according to a joint statement.

The statement said the talks were held in a candid, cordial and constructive atmosphere.

The text follows:
Both the foreign ministers reviewed the status of bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction on the holding of meetings on the issues of counter-terrorism (including progress on the Mumbai trial) and narcotics control; humanitarian issues; commercial and economic cooperation; Wullar Barrage/Tulbul navigation project; Sir Creek; Siachen; peace and security including CBMs; Jammu & Kashmir; and promotion of friendly exchanges.

They affirmed the importance of carrying forward the dialogue process with a view to resolving peacefully all outstanding issues through constructive and result-oriented engagement, and to establish friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations between Pakistan and India.

The ministers underlined the need for sustained effort by both countries to build a relationship of trust and mutually beneficial cooperation in conformity with the determination of the people of both countries to see an end to terrorism and violence and to realise their aspirations for peace and development.

They agreed that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security and reiterated the firm and undiluted commitment of the two countries to fight and eliminate this scourge in all its forms and manifestations.

Both sides agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism, including among relevant departments as well as agencies to bring those responsible for terror crimes to justice.

They noted with satisfaction the fact that since the resumption of dialogue earlier this year, the process of release of prisoners and fishermen from both sides has continued. In this regard, the ministers agreed with the recommendations of the judicial committee on prisoners regarding early repatriation of the prisoners who have completed their sentences and whose travel documents are available; adoption of a humane approach in dealing with cases of fishermen, women, elderly, juvenile prisoners, prisoners terminally ill or suffering from serious illness or physical or mental disability and need to monitor the welfare of prisoners in order to ensure their humane treatment.

The ministers attached importance to promoting peace and security, including confidence-building measures, between India and Pakistan and agreed to convene separate meetings of the expert groups on nuclear and conventional CBMs, in Islamabad in Sept 2011.

They held discussions on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to the need for continued discussions, in a purposeful and forward-looking manner, with a view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences.

On cross-LoC trade and travel facilitation for Jammu & Kashmir the foreign ministers decided to take different steps that include list of 21 products of permissible items for cross-LoC trade will be respected by both sides.

The Working Group will review the trading list with a view to further specifying permissible items to facilitate intra-Jammu and Kashmir cross-LoC trade.

Both sides will provide adequate facilities at the trade facilitation centres on each side.

The number of trading days stand enhanced from two to four days per week. Truck movements shall take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, both on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot routes.

The designated authorities will resolve operational issues concerning cross-LoC trade through regular interaction.

Regular meetings between the chambers of commerce and traders of both sides will be facilitated.

Existing telephone communication facilities should be strengthened.

The meetings of the designated authorities will be held alternately at the terminal of the crossing points on both sides of the LoC every quarter or as and when deemed necessary.

Regarding cross-LoC travelling, the two countries agreed that this travel would be expanded on both sides of the LoC to include visits for tourism and religious pilgrimage. In this regard, the modalities will be worked out by both sides.

Facilities including waiting area, terminal and clearing procedures at the operational crossing points will be streamlined by both sides for smooth cross-LoC travel.

The cross-LoC bus service between Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot routes will henceforth run on every Monday.

Application forms and requisite documentation in respect of travel across LoC will be exchanged by email between designated authorities of both sides. Such email transfer of application forms will be backed up by hard copies.

Both sides will expedite the processing time for applications, which shall not be more than 45 days.

Six-month multiple entry cross-LoC travel permits will be allowed by the designated authorities after completion of the required formalities at an early date.

Coordination meetings between the designated authorities will be held at the terminals alternately on both sides of the LoC every quarter or as and when deemed necessary.It was agreed that the Joint Working Group will henceforth meet on a bi-annual basis to review existing arrangements and suggest additional measures for Cross-LoC travel and trade.

The two foreign ministers agreed that increase in trade and economic engagement between the two countries would be mutually beneficial.
In this context, they emphasised the importance of early establishment of a non-discriminatory trade regime between the two countries, including reduction/removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers.

They also emphasised the need for facilitating trade and redressing trade imbalance.

The ministers noted with satisfaction that during their meeting held in Islamabad in April 2011, the commerce secretaries of the two countries had decided on a number of important steps to realise the full potential of bilateral trade.

The two foreign ministers also agreed that discussions will continue on Siachen, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul navigation project and Sir Creek to find a mutually acceptable solution to these issues.

They reiterated their commitment to seeking early and amicable solutions to all these issues. They reaffirmed their commitment to the Indus Waters Treaty.

The ministers also agreed that people of the two countries are at the heart of the relationship and that issues of people-to-people contacts and humanitarian issues should be accorded priority and treated with sensitivity.

They noted with satisfaction the progress made towards finalisation of a revised visa agreement which would help liberalise the visa regime and facilitate people-to-people, business-to-business and sports contacts.

The ministers also emphasised promotion of cooperation in various fields including, facilitating visits to religious shrines, media exchanges, holding of sports tournaments and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other.

The ministers decided to resume the work of the India-Pakistan Joint Commission and agreed that the technical level working groups should hold their meetings to identify avenues of further cooperation in these fields.

They reaffirmed their commitment to the goals and objectives of Saarc and agreed to make joint efforts to promote cooperation for regional development in the Saarc framework.

It was also decided that the Foreign Ministers will meet again in Islamabad in the first half of 2012 to review progress in the dialogue process.

The ministers agreed to the continuation of the dialogue process and to the convening series of secretaries-level meetings on counter-terrorism (including progress on Mumbai trial) and narcotics control; humanitarian issues; commercial and economic cooperation; Wullar Barrage/Tulbul navigation project; Sir Creek (at the level of additional secretaries/surveyors general); Siachen; peace and security, including CBMs; Jammu & Kashmir; and promotion of friendly exchanges.

Dates of all these meetings will be decided through diplomatic channels and will be held prior to the next ministerial meeting.

They noted that Shri Anand Sharma, Minister for Commerce and Industry of India, has extended an invitation to his counterpart, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, to visit India at a mutually convenient date.—APP

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Hizb's Hindu commander was policeman's son

Hizb's Hindu commander was policeman's son

WEDNESDAY, 27 JULY 2011 20:03 SRINAGAR- IZHAR ALI/SUHAIL KHAN

Subash Kumar Shan, the top Hizbul Mujahideen Commander killed in a gun-battle yesterday, was the son of a policeman working with the Indian Reserve Police force, sources told Kashmir Dispatch on Wednesday.

A resident of Parmad, 35-year-old Shan was son of a police head constable Jain Lal and is the third Hindu militant killed during the insurgency in the state. Lal serves the IRP 15 Batallion, sources said.

His brother, sources said, is a police follower and is currently undergoing training at Talwara Training College Reasi.

His family today refused to take his body, as sources claimed, Shan had converted to Islam after joining Hizb in mid-June 2001.

“Police informed the parents of his death, but, they refused to attend his final rites,” sources said.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Kishtwar, Kulbeer Singh said the body of militant was handed over to the locals after completion of legal formalities.

Thousands of people took to streets in Marwah area of the district after Shan’s body was handed over to the locals by the police this morning.

According to eye-witnesses, mourners chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans while taking the procession through different areas of the locality.

Later, his funeral prayer (Nimaz-e-Jinaza) was offered at Astan Masjid. Imam-e-Hai led the prayers and he was laid to rest at a local graveyard in Marwah.

In 2005, Hizb appointed Shan as the Tehsil commander. He was appointed Deputy Divisional Commander of the outfit last year after remaining district commander for two years, sources said.

“He was a very good motivator. He convinced 5 boys to join the ranks. His area of operation spread across 60 km in the Kishtwar district,” Superintendent of Police Kishtwar was quoted by the police spokesperson on Tuesday.

__._,_.___

India, Pak agree on additional CBMs on Kashmir

India, Pak agree on additional CBMs on Kashmir


PTI External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar arrive for their joint statement following a meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday.
RELATED
PHOTOS

NEWS
Krishna, Rabbani begin talks in New Delhi
New Delhi, Islamabad finalise set of CBMs
TOPICS
diplomacy
India-Pakistan

The two foreign ministers agreed during talks, held on Wednesday, to work more closely in fighting terrorism in the region and to easing cross-border commerce and travel.
India and Pakistan on Wednesday announced additional Confidence Building Measures related to Kashmir, including increasing cross-LoC trading days and expanding travel to include tourism and religious aspects.

After the “satisfactory” talks between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, the two sides also decided to relax permit conditions for travel by people of Jammu and Kashmir to the other side of LoC by having a system of six-month multiple entry.

The two ministers discussed Jammu and Kashmir, counter-terrorism measures, including progress in the Mumbai attacks trial in Pakistan, humanitarian issues, commercial and economic cooperation, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, Sir Creek, Siachen, peace and security including CBMs and promotion of friendly exchanges.

On CBMs

They also agreed to convene separate meetings of the expert groups on nuclear and conventional CBMs, in Islamabad in September 2011.

“The Ministers held discussions on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to the need for continued discussions, in a purposeful and forward looking manner, with a view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences,” said a joint statement issued after the talks.

Mr. Krishna later said, “I must say that I am satisfied at the progress achieved in this round of the resumed dialogue.

The outcomes have been as per our expectations...While being fully cognisant of the challenges that lie ahead, I can confidently say that our relations are on the right track.”

On Jammu and Kashmir issue

On Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Krishna said they will continue discussions with a view to finding a peaceful solution by “narrowing divergences and building convergences“.

Expressing satisfaction at the outcome of talks, he said the two sides decided that the Foreign Ministers will meet again in Islamabad in the first half of 2012 to review progress in the dialogue process.

“We are listening carefully to each other and giving serious consideration to the ideas and proposals from both sides that are on the table. I am also confident about our future course of our relations, which has to be normalised for peace progress and prosperity of our two countries and the region,” the External Affairs Minister said.

“This is indeed a new era of bilateral cooperation between the two countries and it is our desire and I believe after having spoken to you (Krishna), that it is the desire and commitment of both the governments to make it an uninterrupted and an uninterpretable process,” Ms. Khar said.

Satisfaction on specific meetings

“We have expressed our satisfaction on holding of subject specific meetings during the last five months. We have agreed that the process should continue and in fact there is no alternative to dialogue and constructive engagement,” she said in a brief press stake-out after the meeting.

She said, “a new generation of India and Pakistan will see a relationship which is going to be much different then the one we experienced in the last few decades.”

Ms. Khar, the youngest and first woman Foreign Minister of Pakistan, said they should make every effort possible to narrowing down divergences and building convergences.

“It is important that a responsible state we take ownership of our own affairs. In the recent months we have seen an intensification of contacts at different levels between both the countries,” she said.

The joint statement said the ministers affirmed the importance of carrying forward the dialogue process with a “view to resolving peacefully all outstanding issues through constructive and result oriented engagement, and to establish friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations between Pakistan and India.”

They also underlined the need for sustained effort by both countries to build a relationship of trust and mutually beneficial cooperation in conformity with the determination of the people of both countries to see “an end to terrorism and violence and to realise their aspirations for peace and development.”

On terrorism issue

Mr. Krishna and Ms. Khar also agreed that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security and reiterated the firm and undiluted commitment of the two countries to fight and eliminate this scourge in all its forms and manifestations.

“Both sides agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism including among relevant departments as well as agencies to bring those responsible for terror crimes to justice,” the statement said.

They noted with satisfaction the fact that “since the resumption of dialogue earlier this year, the process of release of prisoners and fishermen from both sides has continued.”

On CBMs, the statement said the Working Group will review the trading list with a view to further specifying permissible items to facilitate intra-Jammu and Kashmir Cross-LoC trade.

“The number of trading days stand enhanced from 2 to 4 days per week. Truck movements shall take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, both on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot routes,” the statement said.

Cross-LoC trade

The statement said the designated authorities will resolve operational issues concerning cross-LoC trade through regular interaction.

The meetings of the designated authorities will be held alternately at the Terminal of the Crossing Points on both sides of the LoC every quarter or as and when deemed necessary.

On cross-LoC travel, the statement said it would be expanded on both sides of the LoC to include visits for tourism and religious pilgrimage and that modalities in this regard will be worked out by both sides.

“Facilities including waiting area, terminal and clearing procedures at the operational crossing points will be streamlined by both sides for smooth Cross-LoC travel,” the statement said.

Cross-LoC bus service

The cross-LoC bus service between Srinagar- Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot routes will henceforth run on every Monday.

“Application forms and requisite documentation in respect of travel across LoC will be exchanged by email between Designated Authorities of both sides. Such email transfer of application forms will be backed up by hard copies,” the statement said.

It said India and Pakistan will expedite the processing time for applications, which shall not be more than 45 days.

“Six month multiple entry cross-LoC travel permits will be allowed by the Designated Authorities after completion of the required formalities at an early date,” the statement said.

It was agreed that the Joint Working Group will henceforth meet on a biannual basis to review existing arrangements and suggest additional measures for Cross-LoC travel and trade.

Economic engagement

Mr. Krishna and Ms. Khar agreed that increase in trade and economic engagement between the two countries would be mutually beneficial.

“In this context, they emphasized the importance of early establishment of a non-discriminatory trade regime between the two countries, including reduction/removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers. They also emphasised the need for facilitating trade and redressing trade imbalance,” the statement said.

The ministers also noted with satisfaction that during their meeting held in Islamabad in April 2011, the Commerce Secretaries of the two countries had decided on a number of important steps to realize the full potential of bilateral trade.

“The Ministers agreed that discussions will continue on Siachen, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project and Sir Creek to find a mutually acceptable solution to these issues.

They reiterated their commitment to seeking early and amicable solutions to all these issues,” the statement said.

The two sides also reaffirmed their commitment to the Indus Waters Treaty.

They noted with “satisfaction” the progress made towards finalization of a revised Visa Agreement which would help liberalise the visa regime and facilitate people-to-people, business-to-business and sports contacts.

“The Ministers also emphasised promotion of cooperation in various fields including, facilitating visits to religious shrines, media exchanges, holding of sports tournaments and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other,” the statement said.

Technical Level Working Groups

India-Pakistan Joint Commission and agreed that the Technical Level Working Groups should hold their meetings to identify avenues of further cooperation in these fields.

“They reaffirmed their commitment to the goals and objectives of SAARC and agreed to make joint efforts to promote cooperation for regional development in the SAARC framework,” the statement said.

The Ministers noted that Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has extended an invitation to his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Amin Fahim to visit India at a mutually convenient date.

Hina Rabbani: 'More confident today than I was yesterday'

Hina Rabbani: ‘More confident today than I was yesterday’

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: July 27, 2011 14:53 IST

Planning to Visit India? – We Know What to See, Where to Go & when to Go. Ask for Best Quote Now

www.DestinationIndia.com/booking


Click to Expand & Play


New Delhi: Hina Rabbani Khar said after her meeting with India’s Foreign Minister today, “I am more confident today than I was when I arrived in Delhi yesterday…which is a good sign.”
The 34-year-old Pakistani Foreign Minister spent the morning with SM Krishna, who is 45 years older than her. Ms Khar is her country’s youngest Foreign Minister. Her trip to India is being measured carefully on both sides of the border. At a joint press conference this afternoon with Mr Krishna, she underscored the fact that she represents a younger Pakistan. This generation sees things differently, she said. (Pics: Hina Rabbani’s date with India)

Ms Khar’s decision to meet with Kashmiri separatists yesterday – before her formal interaction with the government began – has irked India as poor diplomatic move. Sources say Mr Krishna pointed this out during their morning meeting. (Read: Hina’s meeting with Hurriyat leaders irks India)

At the press conference that followed, however, both sides spoke warmly of each other. “I am satisfied at the progress achieved in this round of the resumed dialogue. Outcomes have been as per our expectations,” said Mr Krishna. He said a joint statement would be issued today and that it sees both countries agreeing that terrorism poses “a continuing threat to peace and security in the region.” Mr Krishna said that India and Pakistan “reiterated the undiluted commitment of the two countries to fight and eliminate this scourge in all its forms and manifestations.” Mr Krishna said that the Foreign Ministers will meet again in Islamabad in the early part of 2012. He said he could “comfortably say that relations (between the two countries) are on the right track…. (But) we have distances to travel”.

Ms Khar said that “I am more confident today than I was when I arrived…which is a good sign.” She said she believes “this is a new era of bilateral cooperation” and that she wants the Indo-Pak dialogue to become an “uninterrupted and uninterruptable process.”

The Pakistani minister said, “I am emboldened by the comment he made that in the Commonwealth Games, after the Indian team, the Pakistani team got the most cheers…that is very encouraging for us.”

Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/hina-rabbani-more-confident-today-than-i-was-yesterday-122389&cp


http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/hina-s-meeting-with-hurriyat-leaders-irks-india-122296?slider

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Restrictions on Freedom of Expression in Azad Kashmir - Human Rigths Watch

Restrictions on Freedom of Expression in Azad Kashmir - Human Rigths Watch

Contributed by Editor Sunday, 01 October 2006.

Tight controls on freedom of expression have been a hallmark of the Pakistani government’s policy in Azad Kashmir. This control is highly selective.

Militant organizations have had free rein—particularly between 1991 and 2001—to propagate their views and disseminate literature. However, those supportive of independence for a united Kashmir, or otherwise critical of the Pakistani government, have faced continual repression.

Loyalty oath

No person in Azad Kashmir can be appointed to any government job, including the judiciary, unless he or she expresses loyalty to the concept of Kashmir accession to Pakistan. The oath of office for the president, prime minister, speaker, member of the legislative assembly or the Azad Kashmir Council also incorporates the following statement: I will remain loyal to the country and the cause of accession of the state of Jammu & Kashmir to Pakistan.”49 (The consequences of not taking the oath for persons seeking political office are discussed below, in Chapter V.)

Print media and publishing

The Pakistani government has long limited dissemination of news in Azad Kashmir. There is no locally-based news agency. Azad Kashmir only has one daily newspaper and so people largely rely on local editions of Pakistani newspapers for news and information. The laws governing publications provide a partial explanation for this barren information landscape: in order to publish within the territory, newspapers and periodicals need to be granted permission by the Kashmir Council and the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs in Islamabad. These bodies are unlikely to grant permission to any proposed publication likely to be sympathetic to any discourse on Kashmir and its affairs other than that sanctioned by the Pakistani government. In any case, the publisher would have to sign the declaration of support to accession to Pakistan mentioned above.

Technically, the same rules apply to the publication of books.

Human Rights Watch spoke extensively to working journalists and writers in the major towns of Azad Kashmir. Members of the press complained of the intrusive and coercive policies of the Azad Kashmir government but particularly of the ISI and the Pakistani military. Almost every journalist interviewed described incidents of coercion, intimidation, threats and occasional violence against the media by the military, its intelligence agencies, and militant groups.

Consequently, self-censorship has been as endemic as coercion. It is indicative of the climate of fear that pervades Azad Kashmir that while journalists were forthcoming in describing incidents off-the-record, virtually all interviewed by Human Rights Watch requested not to be quoted, even anonymously. Their rationale was that Azad Kashmir was a relatively small territory and they would be easily identifiable through the specifics of the incident described. One journalist explained his reasons to Human Rights Watch in these words:

You will go away. We have to live and work here. Our families live here. The ISI is very powerful. It is also very unforgiving. The officer who presided over my beating is still serving. Even if he was not, he would inform his successor of the “disciplinary action taken against me and to keep an eye on me. If they dont want to be blamed themselves, they will instruct one of the jihadi groups to teach me a lesson. I know freedom of expression is important but not important enough to die for. At least not to me. Sometimes they just summon you for no reason at all.

On some flimsy excuse. Someone with a similar name writes something unrelated to Kashmir in some part of Pakistan but the army or the jihadis decide it is you. They also force you to create and kill news according to what suits them. Things are bad. You have heard how bad from many of us. Just dont mention my name, that’s all.50 Waheed Kiyani, a local journalist working for the Reuters news agency, was arbitrarily arrested by the ISI on July 10, 2003, as he was returning from the city of Rawalakot after covering a political meeting. For security reasons, Kiyani was unwilling to talk to Human Rights Watch. However, Human Rights Watch interviewed others including the organizers of the meeting who described what happened. Arif Shahid, chairman of the All Parties Nationalist Alliance (APNA, a conglomerate of nationalist Kashmiri parties) and JKLF secretary general, told us:

On July 10, 2003, we held a conference titled ‘Kashmir Unity Conference at khaigala where AJK and Gilgit Baltistan leadership was present. About three hundred delegates attended. We offered a form to all delegates. The form gave the options of independence, joining Pakistan or joining India. The answer was two for India, two for Pakistan and the rest for independence.

Only one international journalist was present—the Reuters correspondent Waheed Kiyani. As soon as he stepped out [of the meeting], he was followed by the ISI and he was arrested at Rawalakot. He told me that they kept him blindfolded and his camera/photos were confiscated and he was taken to the ISI headquarters and torture cell near Rawalakot. We went to Rawalpindi in Pakistan and informed Reuters. Kiyani was released two days later, on July 12. On the same day we attended a seminar in Muzaffarabad. Kiyani covered the event. He was called on stage by General Anwar, the AJK President who told him in full public view to ‘forget it and be grateful you are alive, and offer thanksgiving prayers. In this atmosphere of shameless open coercion, it is no surprise that Kiyani wants to put the incident behind him and is hesitant to talk about it now. This is the reality of press freedoms in AJK. And of course, the rest house where the delegates of the conference were staying was also raided on the same day, July 10. The owner ran away from the scene. The rest house was empty as we had finished and left according to schedule.

The Azad Kashmir government regularly bans books that it considers to be prejudicial to the ideology of the state accession to Pakistan.

This includes all books that propagate or discuss the Kashmiri nationalist discourse with its emphasis on independence for a united Kashmir. Arif Shahid, quoted above, is himself the author of four books banned by the authorities. Muhammad Saeed Asad, a self-described Kashmiri nationalist, is the author of numerous books on Kashmiri affairs, and is employed as a social welfare officer in the Azad Kashmir Ministry of Social Welfare and Women Development when he is not under suspension for writing books to which the government objects. In 2002, he was suspended for writing a book on the Mangla Dam (see above) that questioned Pakistan’s right to water sources originating in Kashmir. Pakistan has banned three books written by Saeed Asad for being anti-state and an attempt to promote nationalist feelings amongst Kashmiris.

These include Shaur-e-Farda, banned in 1996, which comprises letters written by Maqbool Butt to his friends and relatives over a span of two decades (Maqbool Butt, founder of the JKLF, is a
central figure in the Kashmiri nationalist movement.) Saeed Asad book on the Mangla Dam controversy was banned on November 21, 2002, and a book on the Northern Areas (in the grip of unrest due to lack of rights and, as noted above, claimed by Kashmiri nationalists and India as part of Kashmir), was banned in June 2004. He told Human Rights Watch:

Please use my name. We are ready to struggle, I am a man of words and so I will remain in the public domain. My books have been banned because they talk of Kashmiri rights and Kashmiri nationalism. I am a Kashmiri nationalist and why should I not be allowed to call myself such?

I was suspended from my government job for writing on the Mangla Dam issue. The ISI called me upon publication of the book. It was a major in the ISI. He verified that I had compiled the book and had not been forced into writing it. The book represented the views of Kashmiris on Mangla and indicates that Pakistan was exploiting Kashmir for its own gains.Two weeks after publication, I had a three-hour-long meeting with Pakistan Military Intelligence.They told me that this was a sensitive matter and I should not have written about it.The public does not know why you have brought this into the public domain, the officer said. I replied that people had a right to know what Mangla Dam was and who derived advantages from it. It was my national duty, as a Kashmiri, to bring this out. This is precisely your crime,’ the officer said. The meeting had majors from GHQ Rawalpindi and officers from Military Intelligence.You should avoid writing such books. We are placing you under surveillance one said. But, I made it clear to them that I would keep on writing and they could keep on banning my work.

They keep giving me trouble by stopping pay raises, suspending me from the job periodically and posting me from district to district in order to make life difficult. But, I am determined to keep on writing and to keep on working. The government of Pakistan is willing to fund books and propaganda to the tune of millions of dollars to propagate its own views and stance. Why cant we exert our individual efforts to disagree? They brook no dissent and want total and complete control. The Pakistan government just wants to suppress the Kashmiris. I have been repeatedly offered advancement if I support Pakistan. Endless youth in Kashmir who have masters and professional degrees are unemployed because the government knows they are pro independence.

This is how the Pakistanis, our so-called friends, treat us. We are at war with India so they persecute us. We are not at war here but they persecute us anyway. Would you like to have such friends? Would you want to live under such rule? No you would not. So why should we?

The October 8, 2005 earthquake resulted in a considerable weakening of the Pakistani government ability to curb freedom of expression and information in the territory. The influx of international and Pakistani media into the territory in the aftermath of the earthquake was unprecedented. However, for freedom of expression to take root in Azad Kashmir, the external media presence must be systematized into permanent structures such as news bureaus and regional offices.

Electronic media and telecommunications

As with the print media, prior to the earthquake the only radio station allowed to operate in the territory was the Azad Kashmir Radio, a subsidiary of the state-controlled Radio Pakistan. Typically, state-run radio and television news programs present news according to priorities of state protocol rather than newsworthiness that is, a news bulletin will begin with the engagements and observations of the president of Pakistan and make its way down the official pecking order to the local level. The influx of and consequent competition from satellite channels has, as yet, not resulted in a change in the news culture of state-controlled media. Subsequent to the earthquake, the government allowed a private FM radio station to broadcast in the territory as long as the broadcast is limited to entertainment.

(In November 2005, Pakistan government-run electronic media regulatory authority, PEMRA, stopped three local (Pakistani) partners of the BBC from broadcasting two daily thirty-minute earthquake specials” produced by the BBCUrdu service. PEMRA officials, accompanied by dozens of armed policemen, seized equipment from one of the local partners’ Karachi offices and ordered two satellite television partners to stop running news content from the BBC.

Pakistan information minister declined to comment on the incident when approached by the BBC. Though the “earthquake specials resumed after an outcry by international organizations, including Human Rights Watch, the government of Pakistan appears unwilling to tolerate critical reporting of events in Azad Kashmir not just in the territory, but across Pakistan.)

Before the earthquake, telephone landlines were limited and strictly monitored in Azad Kashmir and only a limited mobile telephone service was operational. All telecommunications stations were controlled by the Special Communications Organization (SCO), which is a functional unit of the Pakistani army. Subsequent to the earthquake, the Pakistani government allowed private Pakistani mobile phone companies to operate in Azad Kashmir but only after it was pointed out that the loss of life could have been lessened and the rescue effort made easier, particularly in the major cities, had victims buried under rubble been able to use mobile phones as they did in Islamabad and quake-affected areas in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.

58 Public protest Official repression of freedom of expression is not limited to controls and censorship specific to Kashmiri nationalists and journalists. Pakistani police used lahtis (canes) and rifle butts to break up a peaceful demonstration in Muzaffarabad on November 11, 2005, by approximately two hundred earthquake survivors protesting eviction from their makeshift camp. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that police arrived early at the Jalalabad Garden camp that day and told the quake victims that they had to leave by sunset. Several protestors, including children, were injured as a result of police efforts to break up the demonstration. A Muzaffarabad journalist told Human Rights Watch that when he asked a senior administration official to order the police to stop the violence, the official responded, What else do you expect the police to do? We can hardly tolerate this sort of behavior from these people. If they dont behave they will
get beaten of course.

The oath is based on Article7(2) of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution Act of 1974, and in addition to holding political office or being appointed to a government job, the submission of a signed declaration to the same effect is required in order to publish books or periodicals.

Human Rights Watch interview with local journalist, Azad Kashmir, July 29, 2005. interview with Arif Shahid, Rawalakot, July 28, 2005. Human Rights Watch interview with Kamila Hyat, Joint Director, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Lahore, September 14, 2006.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution Act 1974, art. 7(2).The letter of suspension to Saeed Asad is on file with Human Rights Watch. Maqbool Butt is considered a hero by Kashmiri nationalists and the founder of the movement for an independent Kashmir. He was disliked almost equally by India and Pakistan, and viewed as a terrorist by the former and a double agent by the latter. He was hanged on February 11, 1984, in Tihar Jail, New Delhi, age forty-five, and buried there. The complex history of the Northern Areas (NA) is intricately linked to the Kashmir dispute. Since 1947-48, the NA have been administered by Pakistan although they are not legally part of it as they find no mention in the constitution of Pakistan and are neither a province of Pakistan nor an autonomous territory having a constitutional status of its own like Azad Kashmir. Though Pakistan blames the constitutional limbo the NA is in on its unresolved dispute with India over Kashmir, it has chosen to separate the territory from Azad Kashmir. Both Kashmiri nationalists and India disagree with Pakistani policy in this regard.

Human Rights Watch interview with Saeed Asad, Rawalakot. July 30, 2005

Friday, 22 July 2011

UN Resolutions ask Pakistan to vacate Kashmir, Dr Shabir Choudhry

UN Resolutions ask Pakistan to vacate Kashmir, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Pakistan and pro Pakistan Kashmiris demand implementation of the UN Resolutions and demand that India should withdraw her forces from Kashmir. It is in this context the author responded to an article in a paper.

Many people think that the UN Resolutions on Kashmir ask India to withdraw her forces from Kashmir. This is not true. And more disturbing is the trend of distorting the facts. It is possible that some of these people have a little knowledge on Kashmir; and some of course, deliberately distort facts to please others.

Mr Farooq Kitchlew often expresses his opinion in newspapers, and he has every right to do that, but he must not fabricate the facts. In his letter, ‘Only one solution’ (The News, 1 March 1999), he wrote:

“Let the Kashmiris decide their own future through a fair and impartial plebiscite conducted by the United Nations. That is the only wise and sane solution of this most difficult and thorny problem. Let India withdraw her forces from Kashmir and face the verdict of the people of Kashmir”

Mr Kitchlew and many others who think that only India has to withdraw her forces from Kashmir should read little more on Kashmir. The UN Resolution of 13 August 1948 accepted by both India and Pakistan clearly asks Pakistan to withdraw her forces, and India is to withdraw only ‘bulk’ of her forces, not all of them as assumed by many. For the benefit of readers I quote from the UN Resolution, part 2, section A, paragraph 1:

“As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from the State.”

Paragraph 2: “The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistan nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting.”

Section B, paragraph 1: “When the Commission shall have notified the Government of India that the tribesmen and Pakistan nationals referred to in Part 2 A2 hereof have withdrawn, thereby terminating the situation which was represented by the Government of India to the Security Council as having occasioned the presence of Indian forces in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and further, that the Pakistan forces are being withdrawn from the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India agrees to begin to withdraw the bulk of their forces from that State in stages to be agreed upon with the Commission.”

One can see that it is Pakistan who has to withdraw all of her forces from the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and once that is completed, India has to withdraw ‘bulk’ of her forces in stages to be agreed with the Commission. We all know that Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan are parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and these areas are under the direct control of Pakistan.

This being the case how on earth can we ask India to withdraw all of her forces which people seem to be demanding all the time. By all means criticise India for her wrong doings and especially wide - scale human rights violations in Kashmir. But when we start distorting the historical facts it goes in India’s favour, they say other things like human rights violations are also distorted.

I hope people reading this take it as an attempt to correct the historical facts, not to criticise any individual. We should also learn to criticise Pakistan government and the Kashmiri leaders for their wrong doings.

By criticising India alone and raising slogans like “crush India” we are not helping the situation. We must learn to solve our differences through continued dialogue and live like good neighbours. People of the Indian Sub – Continent are among the poorest in the world and instead of spending huge amount of money on arms we need to channel these resources for the welfare of the poor people.

Mirwaiz rules out chances of Hurriyat re-unification

Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Mirwaiz rules out chances of Hurriyat re-unification
‘Willing to discuss everything with New Delhi apart from status quo’

http://www.knskashmir.com/index.php/interviews/929-mirwaiz-rules-out-chances-of-hurriyat-re-unification

Srinagar, June 29 (KNS): The Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Tuesday ruled out any chance of re-unification with Hurriyat Conference (G) led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, saying all efforts made by him proved futile.
In an exclusive interview with KNS Mirwaiz said, “We tried our level best for the re-unification, but alas… Now there is no scope for it.”
Asked whom would he blame for re-unification failure, he said, “I don’t want to go into the blame game. I personally went to (Syed Ali Shah) Geelani sahib and tried to convince him for reunification in the interests of the freedom movement. Last year during summer uprising, we tried to develop unified approach with Geelani sahib, but it also didn’t work.” “Now let bygones be bygones. We have to try to accommodate each others views now and that will be the best possible option. They have there own position we have our own, though goal of both is same,” he told KNS.
Asked to comment on senior Hurriyat (M) leader, Shabir Ahmad Shah’s allegations that ‘invisible hands’ were responsible for failure of Hurriyat re-unification process, he said, “He (Shah) will be in a better position to explain the invisible hands.”
The Hurriyat (M) chairman advocated for incremental approach for resolving Kashmir issue. “Solution of Kashmir issue has to be step-by-step process. We are willing to discuss everything with New Delhi apart from status quo.”
Asked whether his faction of Hurriyat was willing to enter into a dialogue with New Delhi, he said, “We aren’t against dialogue in any way. But dialogue shouldn’t be for sake of the dialogue. Neither New Delhi and Islamabad have been able to made any headway in dialogue in past nor they can reach in future without the inclusion of Kashmiris.”
To a question whether there was any contact between Hurriyat and New Delhi Mirwaiz said, “We are in touch with some people from civil society. But there is no contact at official level.”
However, Mirwaiz regretted that New Delhi was delay-dallying the process of resolution of Kashmir issue. “After last years massive uprising, there was a chance for Government of India to address the root cause of the problem. But unfortunately they still believe in delay-dally tactics and are happy with status quo,” he told KNS.
He said Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) can be basis for the solution. “But it (CBMs) can’t be final solution. CBMs can create conducive atmosphere for dialogue. Dialogue has to be either trilateral or tripartite, then only it can succeed,” Umar added.
On former Pakistan President, Parvez Musharaf’s 4-point Kashmir formula the Hurriyat (M) chairman said, “Any formula can be interim experiment but not the final solution.”
On last year’s summer unrest, Umar said, “We took things to crescendo first where from it was bound to come down as it was difficult to sustain the momentum.”
Asked whether Hurriyat had become irrelevant after last year’s ‘failed’ uprising, he said, “These are clich├ęs. Hurriyat or no Hurriyat, leader or no leader, sentiment is deep rooted in Kashmir. Ups and downs are part of any movement. Some times tempo is high and sometimes it’s low.”
“Kashmir issue is very much alive and new generation has taken over the sentiment. Ours is an indigenous movement and New Delhi should accept that. There is lack of political understanding in New Delhi,” he added. (KNS)

An Open Letter To Syed Ali Shah Geelani

An Open Letter To Syed Ali Shah Geelani September 11, 2010

Filed under: kashmir — admin @ 9:57 am
Tags: india, kashmir, KASHMIR BLOG, kashmir blogs, kashmiri muslims, kashmiri pamdits, open letter, pakistan, syed ali shah geelani
Website Link is below:
http://www.kashmirherald.com/featuredarticle/openlettertojeelani.html
Mr. Syed Ali Shah Geelani,
Now that Yasin Mallik has openly accused you of exploiting Islam, I feel vindicated. I along with lakhs of my fellow Kashmiri Pandits have always held that view. All the displaced Kashmiri Pandits hold the exploiters of Islam responsible for the loss of their moorings. I believe no religion including Islam will permit the barbaric persecution of a minority. I also believe in the inherent philosophy of love and brotherhood that was propagated by all messengers of God, whom Hindus call Avtars and Muslims call Prophet. I am not a great student of religion and, therefore, I cannot have an in-depth knowledge of the philosophies behind the great faiths, but I am sure no religion teaches hatred for fellow human beings. It is the hypocrites like you who have not only brought misery to their fellow beings but have also tarnished the name of their religion.
I don’t know you personally and except on one occasion, we have never crossed paths with each other. Whatever impression I have about you has been gathered through your writings, speeches and media interviews. And, of course, my very brief silent confrontation with you nearly a quarter century back has been responsible for my firming an opinion and image about you being a fundamentalist involved in exploiting the delicate religious feelings of the people for the furtherance of your political ideology. Though, you will not be able to recall that incident but I still nurture the vivid memories of that afternoon as it gave me the first hand impressions of dichotomy between your preaching and practice. One day, it would have been either 1980 or 1981, when as a fresh man out of the college and on the threshold of starting my career as a Medical Representative, I found myself stranded in the village of Doabgah on the Baramulla- Sopore road. My companion, that day, was another young man from Sopore who was also in the process of establishing his pharmaceutical business. While in the village, we found you addressing a small congregation in a nearby open space. It was a fiery speech full of political rhetoric and religious fire. As a young Pandit boy, I found your speech mortally scaring and intimidating. I desperately wanted to leave the village, though my companion, a great fan of yours, kept constantly reassuring me about your virtues of not differentiating between the people of different faiths. Nevertheless, a lone non-muslim amongst the sentimentally charged populace was proving to be beyond my comfort levels. Unfortunately, due to some blockade enroute, no buses were coming from the Baramulla side, which could have taken me away to Sopore on way to the security of my home in Srinagar. Meanwhile, we kept waiting for the busses that never came. Some time latter you finished your address and we were given to understand that you would be going back to Sopore in your vehicle. My friend, out of concern for my eagerness to reach home, volunteered to request you for giving me a lift up to Sopore. I was hesitant but on his assurance I allowed him to approach you with the request. Soon I saw him returning with his head down, cheeks red and the expression that told the whole story. As usual, the Almighty was both merciful as well as beneficent that day. Some time later a taxi screeched to stop besides me. It was my neighbour driving home after dropping somebody in another village. Many years latter I learnt at the very beginning of the Holy Quran, the first invocation reads, “In the name of GOD, the most Merciful and Beneficent.” And throughout the holy Quran, GOD’s name is thus invoked no less than 113 times. I also believe the Prophet is quoted as saying “O Ali, the best of qualities in this life and there after are the words of courtesy, generosity, and to forgive those who inflict injustice on you.” I know for sure, that taxi driver is an illiterate person and would not able to interpret the subtle niceties of religious scriptures, but that day he proved to be a true follower and practitioner of his faith. I wish I could speak the same about you the one who claims to lead his life according to divine commands and prophetic sayings.
At times, I also feel you are a confused person who isn’t clear about his objectives. On one hand you claim Iqaamat-e-Deen as your objective as Maulvi Abbas Ansari and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, according to you, are now drawing inspiration from “un-islamic ideologies like secularism, socialism, nationalism and even communism.” Yet, on the other hand you want Kashmir to become a part of Pakistan even though you also believe Pakistan rulers have not been able to live up to the moral standards which Islam demands.
You have been highly critical of some leaders whom you believe have not been acting in the true spirit of Islam and claim you invite people towards Islam and present its philosophy as a complete way of life. I have no objections towards any body living by the tenants of his faith. But, one can’t only practice what is politically convenient for him. How can you explain the exodus of an entire populace of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir? You are against secularism and pluralism, which in itself points towards your practice of exploiting the religion to suit your own agenda. I gather, when Prophet Mohammad took over the administration of Yathrib (Madina), its population consisted mostly of two large Arab (Aws) and three Jewish ( Khazraj) tribes. The Madinan Arabs wanted the Prophet to administer the strife torn city as an outsider with no vested interests in the local disputes. They also wanted this potential messiah to be part of their group and not the rival Jewish tribe. Upon arrival in Madina, the Prophet set about getting all parties together to sign a covenant, which would set standards for pluralism, tolerance and cooperation between various religious and ethnic communities. The covenant gave equality to all its citizens and accepted the coexistence of different religions in the community. The messiah’s inspiration was the Holy Quran, which makes it incumbent upon Muslims to accept and respect all the previous messengers without distinction.
“The Apostle believeth in what had been revealed to him from his Lord, as do men of faith. Each one of them believeth in God. His angels, His books and his Apostles. We make no distinction between any of his Apostles.” (Quran 2:285)
The Holy Quran states on more than one occasion that if people, Jews, Christians and Sabeans lived by their tenets they would have their just reward. ” Verily they who believe and they whom are Jews, Christains, Sabeans whoever believes in God and the Last Day, and does that which is right shall have their reward with their Lord. Fear shall not come upon then neither shall they grieve.” (Quran 2: 62)
Your assertion of only Nizam-e-Mustafa being the ultimate goal for your Tehreek-e- Hurriyat goes against not only the traditions laid down by Bul Bul Shah, Shahmir, Badshah, Nund Reshi etc, whom your co-religionists in Kashmir hold in very high esteem, but it is also against the teachings of the Quran. Nizam-e-Mustafa in a hundred percent Muslim society is understandable but in a society as diverse as Kashmir, it would amount to coercion. My small study has been able to find at least three references in the Holy Quran, which say, ” There is no compulsion in matters of faith.” (Quran 2.256, 10.99 and 18.99)
Many Muslim scholars and writers have described the propagation of Nizam-e- Mustafa as an exploitative tool employed by certain people to serve their purpose. These writers even claim, slogans like Nizam-e-Mustafa have been deliberately kept vague by its propagators to create confusion among the masses. These writers further claim since the concepts of “Aqamat-e-Deen”, (Establishment of Deen), “Hakoomat-e-Illahia”,(Government of Allah) or “Islamic Nizam” failed to cut much ice with the society earlier, a new term “Nizam-e-Mustafa” was invented. Further, concept attached to it varies form sect to sect. Different Islamic sects have even disagreement on the personality of Mustafa, let alone “Nizam-e- Mustafa”. It is pertinent to point out here that in 1951 twenty one Muslim religious scholars from different sects passed a unanimous resolution demanding all Government Laws in Pakistan be based on “The Book(Holy Quran) and Sunna”. Twenty years later, Maulana Madoodi, one of the main supporters of the resolution had to declare, ” It is impossible to make a set of public laws as per The Book and the Sunna which all Muslim sects will unanimously accept as Islamic”. In an article published by Idara Tolu-e-Islam, Lahore in 1977, the writer has made a significant observation, which says, ” The flag bearers of Nizam-e-Mustafa belonging to various Islamic sects have their own Fiqah (Jurisprudence). It is evident as all these sects considere their own Fiqah as unchallengeable Islamic law, no set of laws could be made which will be acceptable to all, their differences are so deep that each one of them have declared the other as Kafir , at one time or other.
You have also strange logic for justifying the militant activities of fidayeen by terms their violence as sacrifice. Nothing can amount to more blatant exploitation of religion then that. “….. and GOD calls to the home of peace.” (10:25). Kashmir press is now openly accusing you of playing your politics as a Pakistani stooge and interpreting the religion to suit your convenience.
You may have your reasons for playing the politics the way you do. The justification of that politics is a subject matter of a different debate, however, one needs to understand enough blood has been spilled over the beautiful vale of Kashmir. The madness needs to stop now. Otherwise, the history will not pardon the people who have prostituted Kashmir according to their own peculiar religious and political beliefs.
The author has drawn heavily from the following sources for writing this piece:
Teachings of Islam- Imam Shirazi.
On Islam and Jihad- Dr. Farida Khanum
Questions about Islam, Answers that every muslim should know- Dr. Jamal Badawi.
Islam and Pluralism- Javed Akhtar.
“Sirf Eik Sawal”- English translation by Ubedur Rahman Arain.
The Author of this article is Mr. Kamal Hak

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Details of case against Dr Fai

Details of case against Dr Fai

http://www.scribd.com/doc/60365905/Lobbying-Complaint

ISI-backed Kashmir lobby under probe in UK

ISI-backed Kashmir lobby under probe in UK

ISI-backed Kashmir lobby under probe in UK
Posted by K4Kashmir on July 21, 2011 in Kashmir | 0 Comment Edit
ISI-backed Kashmir lobby under probe in UK

LONDON/NEW DELHI: The Scotland Yard on Thursday initiated a probe into the activities and financing of London-based Kashmir lobby group, Justice Foundation, suspected to be a front of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence, according to a source in the agency.

The revelation comes a day after the Kashmiri American Council director in Washington DC, Ghulam Nabi Fai, was arrested by the FBI. Indiawill soon write to UK and Belgium to initiate similar action against “Kashmir Centres” in London andBrussels.

A Scotland Yard spokesman told TOI, “We can confirm we are liaising with US authorities.”

The British home ministry said it was probably not an offence under UK laws for lobbyists to be under-written by a foreign government or any of its agencies. “To the best of our knowledge, it is not,” said a spokesman. This means police and the Crown Prosecution Service will have to take recourse to some other legislation if they proceed against Justice Foundation.

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai (62) and Zaheer Khan (63), both US citizens, were charged with conspiring to act as agents of a foreign power in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of US.

In the US, it’s a crime to lobby by using money from an overseas regime.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Pakistan denies illegal lobbying charges

July 20, 2011 2:32 AM

Pakistan denies illegal lobbying charges

A photo from the Kashmiri American Council's website shows executive director Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai being interviewed at a United Nations event in Geneva. (CBS/KAC)
(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - For years, the Pakistani spy agency funneled millions of dollars to a Washington nonprofit group in a secret effort to influence Congress and the White House, the Justice Department said Tuesday in court documents that are certain to complicate already strained relations between the U.S. and Pakistan.
FBI agents arrested Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, the executive director of the Kashmiri American Council, on Tuesday and charged him with being an unregistered agent of a foreign government. Under the supervision of a senior member of Pakistan's spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, Fai donated money to political campaigns, wrote newspaper op-eds, organized congressional trips and met with White House and State Department officials.

"I believe that Fai has received approximately $500,000 to $700,000 per year from the government of Pakistan," FBI agent Sarah Webb Linden said in documents filed in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Officially, the Kashmiri American Council had a much smaller budget and told the U.S. government that it received no foreign grants, according to Internal Revenue Service documents. Pakistan was financing similar operations in London and Brussels, the Justice Department said.

The Pakistani Embassy quickly issued a statement saying the government had no knowledge of such an arrangement.

A second man, Zaheer Ahmad, also was charged. Prosecutors said he recruited people to act as straw donors who would give money to the Kashmiri American Council that really was coming from the Pakistani government. Ahmad is not under arrest and is in Pakistan, prosecutors said. Both men are U.S. citizens.

Prosecutors said the Kashmiri American Council was being run in secret by the Pakistani government. Fai coordinated his activities with his ISI handlers and often communicated in coded emails, the FBI said. Pakistani officials reviewed Fai's budget and told him what to do and with whom to meet.

"You are aware that we have been working together for the cause for over a decade now," Fai wrote in an email to a senior ISI official in 1995. "All these years, I have closely worked with you and others who came before you. It has taken us much time, energy, dedication, strategy and planning to achieve our common cause."

Fai, 62, appeared before a federal magistrate judge, who ordered him jailed until a detention hearing Thursday afternoon. Prosecutor Gordon Kromberg said Fai faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

A soft-spoken father of two, Fai is a leading voice in the debate over the future of Kashmir, the mountainous border area that India and Pakistan have fought over for years. He supports the pro-Pakistan viewpoint that Kashmiris should vote on whether to be part of Pakistan or India. India claims the territory as its own.

Though the charges are not related to espionage, the arrest adds another strain to the already difficult relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, which suffered after the U.S. found Osama bin Laden hiding inside Pakistan and killed him without telling the government there.

Officials tell CBS News' Farhan Bokhari that Fai's arrest will likely undermine efforts by U.S. and Pakistani diplomats to ease bilateral tensions in the wake of the Obama administration declaring a massive reduction in aid payments to Islamabad.

"The arrest of Mr. Fai at this time opens a new controversy," a Pakistani government official told Bokhari. "He has worked as an independent voice for Kashmir, without any backing from the Pakistani state," insisted the official, who asked not to be named.

"This controversy doesn't help the U.S. and Pakistan to begin removing their mistrust. In fact, it will add to the mistrust," added the official.

The official lamented the ongoing setbacks to the reconciliation process.

"Every time there is an attempt to improve relations, there is a new issue which comes up. The U.S. and Pakistan have to find ways of overcoming this mutual hostility," he told Bokhari.

The ISI has a complicated relationship with U.S. intelligence. The agency is a crucial ally against terrorists but also works against the U.S. at times, including running double agents against the CIA.

Pakistan blasts allegations ISI behind reporter's murder
Ex-militant: Pakistan supports terror groups
Cellphone shows possible bin Laden link to ISI

Fai is perhaps best known in Washington for organizing the annual Kashmir Peace Conference at the Congress. The event is billed as an independent forum for Indian and Pakistani voices, but the Justice Department said the Pakistani government approved the speakers and gave Fai talking points to highlight. Photo galleries on the group's website include images of him alongside Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Israr Mirza, the former president of the Pakistani Student Association at George Mason University, recalled hearing Fai speak at a February event his organization hosted on India-Pakistan relations.

"I don't see him as a spy or anything. He's an old gentleman," said Mirza, who has since graduated from George Mason. "He seemed like a very collected guy. He was speaking just to promote peace."

"Dr. Fai and the Kashmiri freedom movement have nothing to do with the ISI," said Nadim Malik, a close associate of Fai and the executive director of the advocacy group Kashmir Mission USA.

Fai has donated to congressional campaigns of both parties for years. His donations include $250 to President Barack Obama in 2008; a total of $4,500 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2004 and 2008; and $250 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2009. Prosecutors said none of the recipients knew the organization was a front for money from Pakistan.

Zahid Bukhari, the president of the Islamic Circle of North America who says he has known Fai for years and used to teach at Georgetown University, said he found the accusations stunning.

"It doesn't make any sense," Bukhari said. "He's dedicated his whole life on that cause."

My Meeting With an Alleged ISI Agent

My Meeting With an Alleged ISI Agent

Posted by JYOTI THOTTAM Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 6:14 am
Add a Comment • Related Topics: conflict, india, obama, pakistan, , barack obama, dan burton, isi, joe klein, kashmir, kashmiri american council, syed ghulam nabi fai

http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/07/20/my-meeting-with-an-alleged-isi-agent/
In June 2009, I traveled to Islamabad to do some research for a story about Kashmir. It was a routine reporting trip, in which I did the rounds of various think-tank experts, officials, politicians and other sources well known to any journalist writing about the region.

While I was there, I got a request: Ghulam Nabi Fai, head of the Fairfax, Virginia-based Kashmiri American Council happened to be in town and wanted to meet. Why not? I thought. It might be instructive to hear the views of U.S.-based Kashmiris. I met him in the restaurant of the Serena Hotel, where Fai was staying. Polished and friendly, he said he was in town to meet with every political party in Pakistan and every leader in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir in order to establish a "common minimum agenda" on Kashmir, a consensus view that could be used to get India to the negotiating table. He was sure that the dialogue between India and Pakistan, which had been derailed after the 2008 attack on Mumbai, would restart within weeks (in fact, it took almost two more years) and that peace would surely be possible if only Kashmiris were included in the process.

His unabashed optimism was familiar to me — I had seen it among other South Asian immigrants to the U.S. who take up political causes in their native places with an enthusiasm and idealism unknown to those back home, who live with the messier day-to-day reality of political compromise. What struck me, though, was his fixation on a few words uttered by Barack Obama in an interview with my colleague Joe Klein in October 2008, when he was still a candidate for President:

So, building a different relationship with the Pakistani government, the Pakistani military, the ISI. Working with Pakistan, this government to deliver for its people so it gains legitimacy, in all regions of the country. Working with Pakistan and India to try to resolve, and Kashmir, crisis in a serious way. Those are all critical tasks for the next administration. Kashmir in particular is an interesting situation where that is obviously a potential tar pit diplomatically. But, for us to devote serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in there, to figure out a plausible approach, and essentially make the argument to the Indians, you guys are on the brink of being an economic superpower, why do you want to keep on messing with this? To make the argument to the Pakistanis, look at India and what they are doing, why do you want to keep on being bogged down with this particularly at a time where the biggest threat now is coming from the Afghan border? I think there is a moment where potentially we could get their attention. It won't be easy, but it's important.

Fai was frustrated that Obama hadn't acted on the idea of a special envoy, but he was sure it was still possible. He told me: "There is urgency as long as President Obama is concerned. That's why there is a hope. He must appoint a special envoy on Kashmir. Make President Obama listen to Candidate Obama." I knew that a special envoy was a non-starter — outside intervention on Kashmir is anathema to India — so I didn't take Fai's views very seriously and didn't quote him in the story.

All this seems a lot more interesting in light of Fai's arrest yesterday for "participating in a long-term conspiracy to act as agents of the Pakistani government in the United States without disclosing their affiliation with the Pakistani government as required by law." Fai is not accused of being a spy — only of failing to register as an agent of Pakistan — but an FBI affidavit filed with the complaint alleges that Fai's organization, and two other Kashmir Centers in London and Brussels, are run by elements of the Pakistani government, including Pakistan's military intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI). Fai has denied having any relationship with anyone in the Pakistani government.

Even if Fai is acquitted of the charges, the political damage has been done. Obama floating the idea of a special envoy must have been the pinnacle of Fai's efforts as a lobbyist, and that work is now discredited. The New York Times notes that one of the main recipients of Fai's campaign contributions, Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana), "has been a champion for Kashmiri causes in Congress, appealing to Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama to get more involved in attempted to mediate a settlement between India and Pakistan over the border region." Burton released a statement saying he was “deeply shocked by Dr. Fai's arrest. I've known Dr. Fai for 20 years and in that time I had no inkling of his involvement with any foreign intelligence operation and had presumed our correspondence was legitimate."

Burton says he'll donate the contributions from Fai to the Boy Scouts of America. The other damage is much more difficult to undo. The conflict over Kashmir is, indeed, a cloud hanging over India and Pakistan, and this incident will only add to the suspicion and mistrust that pervades almost any effort to resolve it.



Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/07/20/my-meeting-with-an-alleged-isi-agent/#ixzz1Se6dkPKK

Gilgit-Baltistan becomes hell of military & intelligence games

July 18, 2011

Gilgit-Baltistan becomes hell of military & intelligence games

* Military-mindset infiltrates into academia, religions & everything
* I do not believe in the inference of Talibanization in Ismailism

By the Khan of Yasin


This is my personal opinion. I am educated enough not say 'a crap to an opinion' as other people have said in the comments section of: Cyber Age challenges & Ismaili Muslims.

I do not believe in the inference of Talibanization in Ismailism. But, look, you can take a person out of a military, but you cannot take a military out of a person.

Since, 85 percent of people in Gilgit-Baltistan is directly or indirectly associated with the Pakistan Army, you cannot reject the idea of military-mindset infiltration into academia, institutions, religions or anything else.

In a society where careers are built and broken, based on association, fake PhD could be possible too. Be honest, if in Gilgit-Baltistan someone has a good source in ISI, don't you see the cockiness and boldness in him? If yes, than ISI can mold, modify or alter things, even the gigantic ones.

So far as, the cross-cultural marriages are concerned, they need a conducive environment or pluralistic societies. You cannot talk about healthy cross-cultural marriages and trends of Talibanization at the same time as it would be just a fallacy of self-negation.

Obviously, Sunnis would not like their daughters go into westernized Ismaili families. Or Ismailis would not like their daughters go into Taliban sanctuaries and that would be a catalyst for honor-killings and other social evils.

But no matter how hard you try to ignore, Gilgit-Baltistan has become a hell of Military and Intelligence games. Few years back, hardly any one knew what is ISI in Ghizar or in Yasin. Now, you flip a pebble, the emboldened ISI agent would pop up. I do not know, why.

Related Articles

Gilgit-Baltistan – The Orphaned Land of Pakistan
Tribalism — Aga Khan's pluralism under threat in Gilgit-Baltistan
Hunza in crises
Gojal & Liu Xiaobo — China encroaching on Pakistani land ?
Tribalism — a wild wish to make Hunza utopia of the world!
I fear no one on earth, says ISI official
ISI involved in "honor-killing" incidents
I escaped death but she was killed
ISI scandalizes mental condition & female relatives of critics
--
Posted By Webmaster to THE TERRORLAND at 7/18/2011 05:45:00 AM
All rights reserved © 2010-2011 The Terrorland
http://theterrorland.blogspot.com

Pakistani spies 'operating in Britain'

Pakistani spies 'operating in Britain'

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8648589/Pakistani-spies-operating-in-Britain.html

Pakistani spies have been operating a front organisation in London to exert political pressure on the government, it was claimed on Tuesday.

Pakistan's army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, right, and Pakistan's intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha. Photo: AP
By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent8:25PM BST 19 Jul 2011
Details of the organisation emerged as two alleged spies were charged in the United States of failing to disclose their affiliation with the Pakistani government.
They are accused of secretly promoting Pakistani interests in the long-running conflict between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan over the disputed border region of Kashmir, using millions of dollars of covert funding.
Their arrest came as relations between the US and Pakistan continue to deteriorate in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, a US citizen from Fairfax, Virginia, and Zaheer Ahmad, 63, a US citizen who has been living in Pakistan, were charged with conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign power in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
According to an affidavit filed in the US, Fai serves as the director of the Kashmiri American Council, a non-governmental organisation in Washington that was founded in 1990.
RELATED ARTICLES
Pakistan Army 'encouraging Cameron protests' 01 Aug 2010
The centre describes itself in educational materials as a “not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising the level of knowledge in the United States about the struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination.”
But the affidavit alleges that the KAC is actually one of three “Kashmir Centers” that are run by “elements of the Pakistani government, including Pakistan’s military intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI).”
The two other “Kashmir Centers,” it said, are in London and Brussels. A Scotland Yard source said they were liasing with US authorities but had not made any arrests.
Neil MacBride, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said Mr Fai was accused of a “decades-long scheme with one purpose – to hide Pakistan’s involvement behind his efforts to influence the US government’s position on Kashmir.”
Mr MacBride added: “His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to U.S. elected officials, fund high-profile conferences, and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”
A Scotland Yard source said they were liaising with US authorities but had not made any arrests.
Fai and the KAC have received at least $4 million, from the Pakistani government since the mid-1990s through Ahmad and his funding network, according to the affidavit.
Fai was arrested but Ahmad remains at large and is believed to be in Pakistan. Both face a potential sentence of five years in prison if convicted.
According to a statement by the US Department of Justice, a confidential witness told investigators that he participated in a scheme to obscure the origin of money transferred by Pakistan’s ISI to Fai to use as a lobbyist for the KAC in furtherance of Pakistani government interests.
A second confidential witness told investigators that the ISI created the KAC to issue propaganda on behalf of the government of Pakistan with the goal of uniting Kashmir, half of which is in India.
This witness said the ISI’s sponsorship and control of KAC were secret and that ISI had been directing Fai’s activities for the past 25 years.
The affidavit alleges that four Pakistani government handlers have directed Fai’s US activities and that Fai has been in touch with his handlers more than 4,000 times since June 2008.
The statement said Fai asked for $100,000 from the Pakistani government in 2009 for contributions to members of Congress.
The US Department of Justice said there was no evidence that any elected official who received financial contributions was aware that the money originated from any part of the Pakistani government.
When questioned by the FBI in March 2007, Fai allegedly stated that he had never met anyone who identified himself as being affiliated with the ISI.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai arrested in America

Two Charged with Conspiring to Act as Unregistered Agents of Pakistani Government
U.S. Department of Justice
July 19, 2011

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 514-2007/ (202) 514-1888
WASHINGTON—Two individuals have been charged with participating in a long-term conspiracy to act as agents of the Pakistani government in the United States without disclosing their affiliation with the Pakistani government as required by law.

The charges were announced by Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and James McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office.

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, a U.S. citizen and resident of Fairfax, Va., and Zaheer Ahmad, 63, a U.S. citizen and resident of Pakistan, are charged in a one-count criminal complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia. The complaint alleges that the defendants have conspired to: 1) act as an agent of a foreign principal without registering with the Attorney General in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA); and 2) falsify, conceal, and cover up material facts they had a duty to disclose in matters within the jurisdiction of Executive Branch agencies of the U.S. government.

Fai was arrested this morning. Ahmad remains at large and is believed to be in Pakistan. Both face a potential sentence of five years in prison if convicted.

“FARA is designed to ensure that the U.S. government and American public know the underlying source of information and identity of persons attempting to influence U.S. policy and laws. The defendants are accused of thwarting this process by concealing the fact that a foreign government was funding and directing their lobbying and public relations efforts in America,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco.

“Mr. Fai is accused of a decades-long scheme with one purpose—to hide Pakistan’s involvement behind his efforts to influence the U.S. government’s position on Kashmir,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to U.S. elected officials, fund high-profile conferences, and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”

“Foreign governments who try to influence the United States by using unregistered agents threaten our national security,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “Mr. Fai’s alleged conduct illustrates the risk to our fair and open government. The charges underscore the dedication of special agents who enforce laws—like the FARA violations charged here—that are designed to detect and defeat those who attempt to surreptitiously exert foreign influence on our government by using agents who conceal their foreign affiliations.”

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Fai serves as the director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), a non-governmental organization located in Washington, D.C., that was founded in 1990 and also goes by the name “Kashmir Center.” The KAC describes itself in educational materials as a “not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of knowledge in the United States about the struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination.”

The affidavit alleges that, although the KAC held itself out to be a Kashmiri organization run by Kashmiris and financed by Americans, the KAC is one of three “Kashmir Centers” that are actually run by elements of the Pakistani government, including Pakistan’s military intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI). The two other Kashmir Centers are in London, England and Brussels, Belgium.

According to the affidavit, a confidential witness told investigators that he participated in a scheme to obscure the origin of money transferred by Pakistan’s ISI to Fai to use as a lobbyist for the KAC in furtherance of Pakistani government interests. The witness explained that the money was transferred to Fai through Ahmad, an American living in Pakistan. A second confidential witness told investigators that the ISI created the KAC to propagandize on behalf of the government of Pakistan with the goal of uniting Kashmir. This witness said ISI’s sponsorship and control of KAC were secret and that ISI had been directing Fai’s activities for the past 25 years.

When questioned by the FBI about these relationships in March 2007, Fai allegedly stated that he had never met anyone who identified himself as being affiliated with the ISI. In March 2010, the Justice Department sent Fai a letter notifying him of his possible obligation to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department. In his written response to the Justice Department, Fai asserted that neither he nor KAC had ever engaged in any activities for or provided any services to Pakistan or any foreign entity. In a March 2011 interview with the FBI, Fai again denied having any relationship with anyone in the Pakistani government.

The affidavit alleges that Fai has acted at the direction of and with the financial support of the Pakistani government for more than 20 years. The affidavit alleges that four Pakistani government handlers have directed Fai’s U.S. activities and that Fai has been in touch with his handlers more than 4,000 times since June 2008. Fai’s handlers have also allegedly communicated with Ahmad regularly.

For example, the affidavit alleges that Fai repeatedly submitted annual KAC strategy reports and budgetary requirements to his Pakistani government handlers for approval. One document entitled “Plan of Action of KAC/Kashmir Center for Fiscal Year 2009” laid out Fai’s intended strategy to secure U.S. Congressional support in order to encourage the Executive Branch to support self-determination in Kashmir; his strategy to build new alliances in the State Department, the National Security Council, the Congress and the Pentagon, and to expand KAC’s media efforts.

According to the affidavit, Fai also set forth KAC’s projected budgetary requirements from the Pakistani government for 2009, including $100,000 for contributions to members of Congress. There is no evidence that any elected official who received financial contributions from Fai or the KAC was aware that the money originated from any part of the Pakistani government.

According to the affidavit, Fai and the KAC have received at least $4 million, from the Pakistani government since the mid-1990s through Ahmad and his funding network. The money is allegedly routed to Fai through Ahmad and a network of other individuals connected to Ahmad. Ahmad allegedly arranges for his contacts in the United States to provide money to Fai in return for repayment of those amounts in Pakistan.

To date, neither Fai nor Ahmad nor the KAC has registered as an official agent of the Pakistani or Kashmiri governments with the Attorney General as required by FARA.

This investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gordon Kromberg and Daniel Grooms of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney John Gibbs of the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The public is reminded that an indictment and criminal complaint contain mere allegations and that defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Who is a Kashmiri patriot?

Who is a Kashmiri patriot?

Dr Shabir Choudhry 17 July 2011

Those who manage and support what goes on in Jammu and Kashmir established a political culture that suited their agenda; and one important characteristic of this imposed culture is that you must attack India if you want to be regarded as a patriotic Kashmiri. If on the other hand, you criticise Pakistan and expose selfish and expansionist policy of Pakistan, then all your previous sacrifices and work is forgotten and you would be branded as a traitor and an Indian agent.

This is the dilemma we nationalists of Jammu and Kashmir face, and have been facing for many decades. It is because of this fear some nationalists of Jammu and Kashmir tend to only criticise India and remain quiet on issues related to Pakistan.

Yasin Malik, Chairman of one faction of the JKLF visited Pakistan once again. He took part in a Kashmir debate on a Pakistani TV Duniya. During the entire debate he ensured that he did not say anything:

• About plight of people of Azad Kashmir, which is known as Pakistani Occupied Kashmir, where people have genuine problems resulting from the policies of Pakistan;

• About the plight of the people of Gilgit Baltistan, which has been annexed by Pakistan; and where situation in may ways is worse than that of Jammu and Kashmir;

Despite the fact that he did not speak a single word about our problems, he did not forget to complain that people of Azad Kashmir are less concerned about ‘occupied Kashmir’ (meaning Indian occupied – but to true nationalists entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied) now and more interested in elections in Azad Kashmir. This was said to make us feel guilty that we are not fulfilling our duty to speak for rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir; but what about their duty to speak about problems we face under Pakistani occupation?

He further ensured that he did not criticise Pakistan’s Kashmir policy; and those Pakistanis who were on the discussion panel were more critical of Pakistan’s Kashmir policy then a Kashmiri ‘nationalist leader’. This speaks volumes about the position of Kashmiri leaders and why they refrain from speaking their mind because they don’t want to be accused of being anti Pakistan and an Indian agent.

Now let us look at the situation. Jammu and Kashmir is occupied by India, Pakistan and China. Those who criticise India only and defend Pakistan they are promoted as loyal and patriots. But those who are not occupied by India and are under direct occupation of Pakistan, they are not allowed the same right to criticise the country that occupies them.

Those nationalists who live under Pakistani occupation, if they criticise Pakistan then they are called anti movement and Indian agents; and it is that fear of being called anti movement and an Indian agent that is forcing some to remain quiet on Pakistan’s Kashmir policy.

However, we nationalist of Pakistani Administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan reached this conclusion many years ago that those who are occupied by India let them fight India according to their needs and resources; and those who are occupied by Pakistan should concentrate exposing myths associated with Pakistan and holy cows who formulate, manage and dictate Kashmir policy to promote their agenda and do not care about interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
In this regard Baba Jaan, a nationalist leader from Gilgit Baltistan 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.’
How sad that when leaders from the Valley Syed Ali Gilani, Shabir Shah, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Yasin Malik and others only target wrong doings of India; and turn a blind eye to blunders and imperialist policy of Islamabad they are called patriots. And how sad, that even though these ‘patriots’ remain quiet about occupation of 33,000 sq miles of their territory, and plight of their fellow countrymen, some people with tunnel vision and misplaced loyalty follow them and promote them as leaders.

How sad that, Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat more than once said that Jammu and Kashmir should be divided, and he is still loyal and patriot; and some of those who attack me and other true nationalists remain quiet on issue of Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat. Is it because he is from the Valley and enjoys special status and can get away with these things; and we people are from an area of less importance and have to be punished for crimes we have not committed?

I am not addressing those who are on a pay role of secret agencies, as they cannot think and act independently. I am addressing those who think logically and who want to understand the situation and real issues. Why is it that:

• When Yasin Malik does not speak about problems of people under Pakistani occupation and does not criticise Pakistan, he is patriot;

• When Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Shabir Shah do not speak about our problems on the Pakistani side of the LOC and do not even speak about wrong policies of Pakistan they are still patriots;

• When Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat proposes a division of Jammu and Kashmir he is still a patriot?

On the other hand we have never said that:

• Kashmir belongs to India
• There are no human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir
• What India is doing is justified
• Accession to India is final or
• We want to be part of India

Despite that clear distinction that we speak for the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir, as we say the entire State is disputed and people of the State should decide its future, we are promoted as ‘anti movement’ and ‘pro India’. Is it not clear that those who helped to start this struggle set up rules for this too – they created a political culture and wanted people to follow those rules and work within the para meters set out by them.

They wanted everyone to focus on the situation of Indian side of the LOC only; and must not speak what goes on in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. Those of us who disobey this rule and say that we are occupied by Pakistan on this side of the LOC, and it is only logical that we struggle against the country that occupy us, we become target of our occupiers and their proxies.

Sincere people who believe that Jammu and Kashmir is one political entity and must not be divided; and those who agree that the Kashmir dispute is not religious in nature, as Jammu and Kashmir is multi religious, multi ethnic and multi cultural State should understand designs of those who want to occupy us and divide us in name of religion and sects.

They also need to understand why those people are targeted who are promoting cause of all people of Jammu and Kashmir, and who say the entire State is occupied and disputed. Under the terms of the UNCIP Resolution any Kashmiri can advocate accession to India, accession to Pakistan, and an independent Kashmir, then why is that those who oppose accession to Pakistan are characterized as ‘traitors’. Does it not show that policy makers of Pakistan and their agents are creating these divisions to advance their agenda?
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 Affairs.Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com
View my blog and web: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com
www.k4kashmir.com