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
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