Sunday, 28 August 2011

The LOC – Raising the people’s stake in their homeland, Story of Tanveer Ahmed’s arrest by Pakistani agencies

The LOC – Raising the people’s stake in their homeland, Story of Tanveer Ahmed’s arrest by Pakistani agencies

A factual account of a citizen’s unlawful arrest, humiliation, detention, kidnap, harassment, intimidation, and torture by the Pakistan army/ISI viz a viz the territory gloriously though highly disingenuously described as Azad (free) Jammu & Kashmir (AJK).

Tanveer Ahmed


Creating problems related to matters of international security are not as easy as some people may assume, solving them are mammoth in proportion however. It’s also amazing that most citizens of the globe do not fully grasp the concept of freedom and less so governments, especially the most powerful. Balancing as much as interpreting the relationship between freedom and security is a prominent challenge in today’s age. For those familiar with the adage that we are born free and should exist as free citizens in this world should easily identify with the persistent human tragedy infused by the LOC (Line of Control) tinderbox dividing Kashmir. A territory that is less a dispute between two infiltrating sovereign nations viz. India and Pakistan – and more a failure of the world to recognise that each and every citizen from all parts of the erstwhile Dogra State of Jammu & Kashmir has an inherent right to map out and determine their political future.


As an unfunded civil society activist committed by conviction to the resolution of our ‘national question’ and the formation of a democratic political structure that ensures ‘good governance’ in our part of the erstwhile territory, I embarked on an ’800km Citizenship Walk along the LOC’ on the 20th of August, aiming to interview citizens of AJK by way of a survey form comprising of 10 publicly significant questions, hitherto unexplored. This form is available for download at and is open to all citizens of AJK including it’s diaspora.


The idea is to walk from one end (south) of AJK to the other (north), interacting with civilians who lived close to the LOC but west of Pakistani army posts that manned it, thus avoiding land-mines as well as incorrect suspicion that I may be attempting to ‘infiltrate’ into Indian-controlled territory.

Dates and places visited

Day 1 – Saturday 20/08/11

I travelled from Rawalpindi to Sialkot with a view to beginning my journey along the international border (on public transport). Bearing in mind that Jammu is barely 18 kilometres – as the crow flies – from Sialkot, I wanted to give myself a sense of orientation of our State as a whole and the impact of ‘borders’ on our freedom to move. This took me via Chapraar and Saidpur to the Chenab River and Phagwaal before I entered our State at Manawar late in the evening. I put up for the night at a hotel in Mo-il. I had been questioned by the police as well as an army unit near the Chenab River without incident.

Day 2 – 21/08

I walked from Mo-il to Chamb and wanted to walk further to Manawar but some locals insisted that I travel with them via motorbike, I reluctantly agreed. When we returned to Chamb I was invited to a prominent local shrine known as Khairowal Durbar. It was an opportunity to interact with many people who had come from far and wide including my own district of Kotli. The spiritual head suggested that I spend the night there. I accepted his invitation. There was zero interaction with ‘authorities’ on this day.

Day 3 – 22/08

As I bade farewell to the Peer Sahaab in the morning, he instructed one of his disciples to drop me at Mo-il. This is where I begin my walk northwards aiming to reach Deva Batala. A solitary (local) soldier in plain clothes confronted me along the way, though he softened his tone once he understood what I’d set myself out to do. I had a couple of maps (one bought from a Pakistani army shop on Murree Road in 2005, the other was printed by the AJK tourism dept.), a tourist pamphlet (again courtesy of the AJK tourist department) and GPS on my mobile (which is almost useless as there is little or no network coverage). Thus, I developed a habit of asking each and every person I met along the way to confirm that I’d adopted the correct route. I come across the first army camp of my walk unwittingly and spend about 15 – 20 minutes there. After a series of polite questions and confirmation of my identity, I proceeded with my journey. Before the end of my day’s walk at Sariyaala Chapar, I encountered another army camp. Their conduct and approach was similar to the first, cordial though just slightly lengthier. I spent the rest of the day and night in nearby Kot Jamal, interviewing locals.

Day 4 – 23/08

I re-started my journey in the morning from Sariyaala Chapar and headed out to Patni. Learning from my experience of the previous day (of unwittingly coming across army camps) I decided to stick to the main road on whatever route I adopted from this point on, though remaining as close to the LOC and west of Pakistani army posts as physically possible. I encounter an army check-post about 5 kilometres before Thub, they questioned me extensively and checked my baggage thoroughly before escorting me (on public transport) to their camp at Thub. I remained in their custody before an army major decides to ring a number on one of my phones to confirm my identity. He is pleasant in manner and politely informs me that he did so without my permission. They allowed me to proceed to Patni. Though I was questioned extensively and repeatedly, matters remained cordial.

Day 5 – 24/08

Baghsar was my next destination. It was an uncomplicated though steep road with very little human habitation in between. It wasn’t until about 8 kilometres before Baghsar that I encountered my first army camp of the day. They questioned me briefly before escorting me towards their main camp at Baghsar. Incidentally, at each and every army camp/post that I came across, I made it a point of explaining that I had been questioned and cleared previously by their colleagues. I also requested on each occasion that they make a note of my ongoing route and kindly inform subsequent posts that I’m travelling with the aforementioned purpose (i.e. that of surveying the AJK public). I clearly clarified that just as the citizens of AJK who live in the cities have aspirations and grievances, similarly those who lived in what they (Pakistan army and it’s agencies) describe as ‘border areas’ deserve equal focus.

In any case – a few kilometres short of Baghsar – the soldiers escorting me meet up with a (pre-agreed) set of soldiers from the army base in Baghsar. At this point, I come across my first experience of humiliation, they tie-up my hands and despite my protestation, frog march me towards their base. As we walked through Baghsar bazaar, the sight of locals staring at me and imagining that I must be a criminal incensed me. I knew that if I was free, I would have interacted with these very people and discussed matters of our homeland. On approach to the army base, they humiliated me further by blindfolding me with a towel.

Once they sat me down in a chair, they began interrogating me with questions that I had repeatedly answered to numerous colleagues of theirs over the past few days. I made it very clear at the outset that under no circumstances was I going to answer a single question while blindfolded. My subsequent silence infuriated them and the young Pathan colonel doing the bulk of questioning threatened to shoot me. Realising that I wouldn’t relent, after about half an hour they changed their tone and manner of questioning. I didn’t respond until they removed the towel and untied my hands.

At this juncture, I re-emphasised my stance that politeness on their part will generate co-operation on my behalf and I will assist them in allaying whatever fears they may have about me. As they came across my laptop, the young colonel that threatened to shoot me asked for the password. I explained that it wasn’t possible for me to give it to him. I was after all – legally speaking – not a citizen of Pakistan and thus under no obligation to divulge personal information. However, with the aim of not giving them a reason to suspect that I had some sort of hidden agenda, I said I could co-operate to the extent of typing the password for them and allow them to look at whatever was in my laptop but in my presence. They reluctantly agreed but broke their pledge by taking it elsewhere after a while. They had to return to me when the power settings prompted re-entry of the password after a short period.

Detailed and repetitive questioning followed up until 11pm. In the meantime, they indicated that they would drive me to Bhimber before releasing me and assist in procuring some sort of ‘authority letter’ so that I wouldn’t encounter any more problems on my subsequent journey. That is not what happened. They shackled me with handcuffs and blindfolded me before embarking on a 3 hour 20 minute journey. At this juncture, I was shifted from one vehicle to another on what seemed a major highway (quite likely the GT road) and taken on another blind journey for a further 1 hour 40 minutes. I had managed to glimpse at the vehicle dashboard time on embarking as well as disembarking the first vehicle.

Day 6 – 25/08

It was just past 4:00 am when they removed my blindfold after sitting me down in a window-less room. In a similar manner to earlier in the previous day, I explained that I could not answer any questions with my hands cuffed and will not take kindly to being questioned in the manner of a suspect. Possibly taking the experience of their colleagues with me on board, they readily agreed. However, despite knowing that I had walked over 25 kilometres the previous day, been through many hours of repetitive questioning and a blind 5 hour journey, they considered it appropriate that they continue questioning me in this tired state. I put up with their antics for a while (again for the purpose of ensuring they understood me). I found it out of place that they wanted to know the names, addresses, profession and marital status of each and every member of my family. I found many other questions that they asked to be beyond their concern. I reminded them that I wasn’t a citizen of their country and was being questioned under duress. That I was too tired to answer tedious questions and would rather they be specific about what sort of information they were seeking. They even asked me about my relationship with Shafqat Ali Khan (Inqalabi) an activist of Gilgit Baltistan whom they have put on their exit-control list (ECL). Again, a matter with little connection to my ‘Citizenship Walk’.

A few questions later and yet more (repetitive) explanation that my laptop password wasn’t public property, left me mentally exhausted. They soon brought in a mattress to the hot stuffy window-less room and allowed me to lie-down and ‘rest’. Despite the exhaustion, the humidity as well as their repeated disturbance to ask me a query or two, forced me to quit trying to sleep any longer. After a couple of hours of enduring this ridiculous scenario, I stood up and said, “Right! Enough is enough. Either you explain the purpose behind what you’re doing to me, arrive at a solid conclusion or release me forthwith!” Going into a fake polite mode, they continued with their rhetoric about how lucky I was to be treated so cordially by them and the problems their country was going through etc. etc. The password issue crept up again and I felt like I was conversing with the dumbest thick-heads that had ever been born. I could not co-operate any further. If they were smart, they could crack the password themselves. Indeed, they stoutly mentioned that they could (of course, they couldn’t – yet another bluff on their part). I had given them ample opportunity to browse through the laptop but I could not do it repeatedly and indefinitely, especially as I knew that they themselves did not know what they were looking for. To sift through each and every item would take them at least a week. That’s not something I was willing to entertain.

They warned me that I would not be able to endure what they would put me through. In turn, I pointed out that I was made of far stronger stuff than they possibly imagined. I’ve worked selflessly for the enlightened progress of my people (the citizens of J & K) for the past 6 and a half years with a specific methodology and output in mind. From what I’ve gathered of them, they were part of a country that was characterised by deep divisions, widespread social injustice and deep confusion about their future. I worked in a transparent and accountable manner, they worked in a manner totally opposite. Everything I do of public interest is published on the web, I repeatedly emphasised that it was pointless interrogating me for information that was already available publicly. They used the sentiment of the noble religion of Islam to garner blind allegiance while promoting fake aims. I wanted to help solve the problems of the people of my territory by relying on our common humanity and adopting a consultative approach. Hence, my survey. Alas, they were too conditioned otherwise to understand.

They believed in muslim vs. muslim oppression for the purpose of ensuring the muslim masses continue to hate people of other religions. What I describe as follows is evidence of that.

They blindfolded (included a blind-fold as well as a black sack over my head – all subsequent blindfolds were in such manner) and hand-cuffed me once again before frog marching me to a cell hardly 4 metres by 6. Removing the blindfold, they ordered me to change into jail clothes which I wasn’t going to do. I was in no mood to take up residence, I would rather be tortured and die nobly. I began reciting passages of the Quran from memory quietly as I’d made up my mind to die rather than endure the stupidity of State interrogation. Beginning to realise that I meant everything I said, three of them entered the tiny cell, kept the gate open and forcibly removed my clothes. Now that I was in a naked state, albeit continuing to recite the Quran, they swore at me repeatedly and tried to intimidate me into donning jail cloth. As they had me pinned to the ground, one of them exclaimed that I wasn’t circumcised before stepping on my private parts with a view to inflicting pain without doing lasting damage. I continued with my Quranic recitation as they left soon after, further realising that I mean what I say. Leaving me in that naked state for what must have been at least an hour, they returned with my clothes and sheepishly suggested I put them on.

It wasn’t till the evening at about 6:15 pm that I was blind-folded and handcuffed once more, before being led out of the cell back to that original stuffy office. On this occasion, they had a Kashmiri who had some media experience to mediate between me and them. Gradually, we managed to obtain some sort of understanding and an agreement was struck at around 10:30 pm. I was to be released after sehri (roughly 24 hours after being brought there) but not before I had to sign and thumb-print a couple of papers that I hadn’t been tortured. Not true of course but I had to get out of that hell-hole. Absolving yourself of responsibility as a State cannot possibly be such a simple process.

Day 7 – 26/08

I remained blind-folded and hand-cuffed as we left in the morning. The blindfold was taken off at my request just before entering Azad Kashmir at Holaar after I complained of breathing problems, as the morning sun began to make it’s intensity felt. The handcuffs were removed just before we entered Sehnsa. I was released at the police station after some minor formalities at around 10:00 am.

Finally, what transpired was a waste of their time as well as mine. Ultimately, ignorance can be dangerous if not fatal and I still maintain a level a sympathy for those who sincerely believe in the Pakistani State. However, I will not tolerate a repetition of what happened to me in the past few days and will seek to take pre-emptive measures before I resume my ‘Citizenship Walk’ from the very place that I was originally hand-cuffed from. This requires identifying a genuine stake-holder in the Pakistani State with executive power and includes making the difference between Kashmiri and Pakistani citizens amply clear.


I wish to remind readers that the territory referred to as ‘AJK’ is de jure an independent entity, legal opinion further suggests that the UNCIP resolutions restricted Pakistan’s role to maintain the ‘sanctity’ of what was then the ceasefire line (LOC post Simla) and not what traditionally has been thought of as ‘fulfilling the responsibilities of good governance’. Subsequent Pakistani involvement dictated a gradual deepening de facto control of the territory, not least by repetitive marketing of the ‘Kashmiri liberation’ dream twinned with the supposed duty of ‘Islamic brotherhood’.

Date written: 27/11/2008

Author is a writer, broadcaster and activist working for civil society development in Pakistani administered Kashmir and can be mailed at




Group: Civil Society Forum – AJK


@ sahaafi

Debate: ISI's seminar circuit - 1

Debate: ISI's seminar circuit - 1

Kashmiri history from 1325 to 1947

Kashmiri history from 1325 to 1947

Kashmiri history from 1325 to 1947

Kashmir History
A video presentation of Ancient and Modern History of Kashmir (1325 - 1947) based on historical facts

Altaf Hussain letter to Tony Blair

Altaf Hussain letter to Tony Blair

’الطاف حسین کا خط، خدمات اور مطالبات‘

پاکستان کے صوبہ سندھ کے سابق سینیئر وزیر اور پیپلز پارٹی کے رہنما ذوالفقار مرزا نے کراچی میں منعقدہ ایک پریس کانفرنس میں جہاں ایم کیو ایم اور وزیرِ داخلہ کو شہر کے حالات کی خرابی کا ذمہ دار قرار دیا وہیں ایک ایسے خط کا ذکر بھی کیا جس میں مبینہ طور پر متحدہ قومی موومنٹ کے قائد الطاف حسین نے برطانوی وزیراعظم سے کہا تھا کہ پاکستان کی خفیہ ایجنسی آئی ایس آئی کا خاتمہ ضروری ہے ورنہ یہ ایجنسی اسامہ اور طالبان پیدا کرتی رہے گی۔

پیر کو یہ خط پاکستان کے نجی ٹی وی چینل اے آر وائی کے ایک ٹی وی مذاکرے میں پیش کیا گیا جس میں خود ذوالفقار مرزا بھی مدعو تھے۔

پیش کیا جانے والا خط مبینہ طور پر ستمبر گیارہ کے امریکہ پر حملوں کے بعد لکھا گیا تھا۔

تئیس ستمبر سنہ دو ہزار ایک کو تحریر کیے جانے والے اس خط میں ان خدمات کا ذکر ہے جو کہ ایم کیو ایم سرانجام دے سکتی ہے اور ان کے عوض ایم کیو ایم کو کیا چاہیے کا ذکر ہے۔

اس خط کے آغاز میں کہا گیا ہے کہ ایم کیو ایم ہر قسم کی دہشت گردی، مذہبی انتہا پسندی اور تشدد کے خلاف ہے اور حقیقی جمہوریت کے حق میں ہے جبکہ خط کے اختتام میں امید ظاہر کی گئی ہے کہ اگر برطانیہ اور عالمی برادری کے لیے پاکستان کی جغرافیائی اور تجارتی اہمیت باقی ہے تو اس خط پر سنجیدگی سے غور کیا جائے گا ۔

کیا خدمات پیش کی جا سکتی ہیں

اس خط کے مطابق اگر یہ معاہدہ طے پا جاتا ہے تو پانچ روز کے نوٹس پر پاکستان کے سب سے بڑے شہر کراچی میں دہشت گردی کے خلاف عالمی برادری کے حق میں مظاہرے کیے جاسکتے ہیں۔ ان مظاہروں میں لاکھوں افراد حصہ لیں گے بشرطیکہ حکومتِ پاکستان مظاہروں کی اجازت دے۔

خط میں مزید کہا گیا ہے کہ اس قسم کا پہلا مظاہرہ چھبیس ستمبر کو کراچی میں منعقد کی جائے گی۔ (ایم کیو ایم کی اپنی ویب سائیٹ کے مطابق دہشت گردی کے خلاف اس تاریخ کو ریلی نکالی گئی تھی جس سے الطاف حسین نے خطاب کیا تھا۔)

دوسرے نمبر پر کہا گیا ہے کہ ایم کیو ایم صوبہ سندھ کے دیہاتوں اور قصبوں اور کسی حد تک پنجاب میں انسانی انٹیلیجنس مہیا کرنے کے لیے لامحدود وسائل بروئے کار لائے گا۔ ایم کیو ایم انتہا پسندوں اور طالبان سے روابط رکھنے والی تنظیموں کے ساتھ ساتھ مدارس کی بھی نگرانی کرے گی۔

تیسرے نمبر پر اس خط میں کہا گیا ہے کہ امدادی کارکنوں کے بھیس میں مخصوص گروہوں کو افغانستان بھیجا جائے گا تاکہ مغربی انٹیلیجنس ایجنسیوں کو مدد فراہم کی جاسکے۔

ایم کیو ایم کے مطالبات

ایم کیو ایم کے سربراہ کی جانب سے مبینہ طور پر لکھے گئے خط میں کہا گیا ہے کہ خدمات کے عوض ایم کیو ایم یقین دہانی چاہتی ہے کہ مندرجہ ذیل مطالبات پورے کرائے جائیں گے۔ یہ مطالبات ہمارے لیے اور پاکستان کے لیے اہم ہیں۔

پہلا مطالبہ ہے کہ ایم کیو ایم کو صوبہ سندھ میں برابر کی شرکت داری چاہیے اور وفاقی سطح پر حقیقی پارٹنر بنایا جائے۔

دوسرا مطالبہ یہ ہے کہ ایم کیو ایم کو تعلیم، روزگار، فوج اور انتظامیہ سمیت تمام شعبہ زندگی میں برابری کا حصہ ملنا چاہیے۔

تیسرے نمبر پر کہا گیا ہے کہ مقامی سطح پر پولیس میں مہاجر اور سندھی بھرتی کیے جائیں۔

چوتھا مطالبہ ہے کہ صوبوں کو مکمل خودمختاری دی جائے اور وفاق کا کنٹرول صرف دفاع، خارجہ امور اور مالی پالیسی پر ہی ہو اور ان پالیسیوں میں ہر صوبے کی برابر کی نمائندگی ہو۔

اس خط کے مطابق پانچواں اور آخری مطالبہ یہ ہے کہ پاکستان کی خفیہ ایجنسی آئی ایس آئی کو تحلیل کر دینا ضروری ہے ورنہ یہ ادارہ اسامہ بن لادن اور طالبان پیدا کرتا رہے گا۔

Zulfqar Bhutto’s letter to Iskander Mirza

Zulfqar Bhutto’s letter to Iskander Mirza

KILLING OF LONE, MIRWAIZ’S FATHER Sajjad backs Bhat’s stand sajad Lone confirms who killed his father

Sajjad backs Bhat’s stand

New Delhi, January 10
Separatist leader Sajjad Lone today threw his weight behind former Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat for his stand that "our own men" killed Mirwaiz Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone", observing that time had come for people to decide whether they were with the "murderers or the murdered."

Sajjad, son of Lone, praised Bhat for speaking the truth on the killings of the two separatist leaders and for showing the way, and said it was never late to speak the “truth.”

Bhat, who once chaired the separatist amalgam All-Parties Hurriyat Conference, recently created a flutter by saying that the two separatist leaders and his own brother were killed by “our own people” and not the security forces.

Bhat had said time had come to speak the truth about the killers of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq, who was killed 21 years ago, Abdul Gani Lone, who was shot dead in 2002, and his own brother, Mohammad Sultan Bhat, who was murdered in 1995.

In a first-person account published in a local daily in Srinagar,Greater Kashmir, Lone recalled the events of the day when his father was killed on May 21, 2002.

He recalled that in the wee hours of May 22, 2002, when he was planning the funeral, his mother called him inside a room. "I found her behaviour strange. Her composure saddened.She asked me to retract a statement, in which I blamed the ISI for my father’s killing,which I made last night.”

Lone recalled that he had refused buckling under pressure. According to him, his mother then said she had lost her husband and did not want to lose him. “In retrospect, I don’t think I should have accused an institution of the killing. But Prof Bhat has shown the way, when he stated that it was our own people who killed Lone Sahib,” he wrote.

"Lone Sahib and Mirwaiz Sahib have left this world. We cannot bring them back. But if we do not learn any lessons from their killings, we will be doing a great disservice to the very nation whose aspirations we claim to espouse. There is nothing like a good murderer and a bad murderer..,” he wrote.

“The culture of unaccountability, impunity cultivated and nourished by a select group of intellectuals and thinkers has only emboldened the killers, who are aiming at disempowering the Kashmiri voice and coercing it into submission. It is time that the select band, decide whose side they are on--the murderer or the murdered,” he said. — PTI
We, not India, killed 'our own people': Hurriyat leader
PTI Jan 3, 2011, 04.51pm IST
SRINAGAR: A senior Hurriyat leader has created a flutter by saying that two separatist leaders and his brother were killed by "our own people" and not security agencies, prompting J&K government to term it as a "late admission" and a call for a probe to fix responsibility.

"No police was involved (in the killings).... It was our own people who killed them," former Hurriyat Conference chairman Abdul Gani Bhat said.

He said time had come to speak the truth about the killers of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone, who were shot dead in 2002, and his own brother Mohammad Sultan Bhat, who was murdered in 1995.

Dr Shabir Choudhry

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said: "Say what is true, although it may be bitter and displeasing to people."

Friday, 26 August 2011

Chinese mining companies moving in to control Gilgit Baltistan

Chinese mining companies moving in to control Gilgit Baltistan

Report Examines Chinese Mining Companies’ Inroads into Pakistan-Controlled Mineral-Rich Gilgit Baltistan Region, and Protests by Locals

“[In Gilgit Baltistan] More Than 100 Local Rights Defenders are Locked Up in Pakistani Jails And Face Sedition Charges for Denying Space to the Chinese and Pakistani Mining Companies”
“At a time when the distance between American and Pakistani priorities in the post-Osama period continues to grow, China is passionately vouching for Pakistan’s entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is seen as the upcoming Asian NATO. For some time now, China and Pakistan have aspired to create a regional alliance comprising the Arab countries, Central Asian Republics, Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkey, and SCO could most likely help that dream come true.
“But there is more to it than meets the eye. The lynchpin connecting these countries will be Gilgit Baltistan, a disputed region rivaling Serbia in area. Although constitutionally a part of India and bordering China’s Xinjiang province, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, Gilgit Baltistan remains in Pakistani control since 1947.
“The political uncertainty owing to India’s claim to the region is especially worrisome for China, which currently depends on her southern neighbor for two reasons. First, China uses transit routes of Gilgit Baltistan to reach Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and the ports along the coastline of the Arabian Sea; and second, Chinese mining companies control the region’s much valued mineral deposits of uranium, gold, copper, marble, and precious stones.
“However, the locals continue to resist China’s ambitions. In 2008, for instance, a local person was killed when the residents of uranium-rich Gindai valley in Ghizer district clashed with Chinese miners. A Pakistani company called Mohmand Minerals met the same fate in 2010 in Nasirabad valley of Hunza district where the infamous Babajan Hunzai of Progressive Youth Front spearheads the resistance against Pakistani and Chinese expansionism.
“Today, more than 100 local rights defenders are locked up in Pakistani jails and face sedition charges for denying space to the Chinese and Pakistani mining companies in their valleys.”
“Today, Chinese Miners and Their Affiliates are Everywhere in Gilgit Baltistan, Especially in the Hunza-Nagar District, Which is Rich in Uranium”
“But the person making the headlines in local newspapers for criticizing foreign miners is Advocate Shahbaz Khan, the chairperson of Metals, Minerals, and Gems Association of Gilgit Baltistan, who has recently accused some individuals of acquiring 35 tons of certain mineral deposits from uranium-rich Karkalti village of Ghizer district, and smuggling to China.
“Shahbaz is also critical of a uranium exploration company called Mohsin Industries, which has sought partnership with the locals as well as Chinese and Korean miners. Last year, Mohsin Industries was banned for attempting to smuggle uranium outside Pakistan. However, the company has recently been awarded exploration licenses in the uranium-rich areas of Sakwar, Minawar, Pari Bangla, and Bonji, as well as parts of Shigar district and Skardo.
“Locals accuse Mohsin Industries of bypassing standard procedures to obtain licenses. Mirza Hussain, a member of the Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) from Nagar, believes that the owner of the Mohsin Industries receives special treatment due to his close links with the director general of the Federal Mineral Development Agency and Syed Mehdi Shah, who is currently the chief minister of Gilgit Baltistan. Hussain also suspects that its owner has established links with members of pro-Taliban groups such as Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
“Today Chinese miners and their affiliates are everywhere in Gilgit Baltistan, especially in the Hunza-Nagar district, which is rich in uranium and certain minerals used in space technology. Some areas in upper Hunza, for instance, like the Chapursan valley have become no-go areas, where the Chinese continue their work on tunnel building and mineral exploration.”
“106 Mining Licenses were Issued to the Foreigners in 2010 Alone And Another 400 Licenses Remain Under Process; Locals are Also Barred from Establishing Mineral And Metal Processing, Up-gradation And Finishing Units”
“Chinese miners have also acquired lease in Astore district to extract high quality copper. Another company digging uranium and gold in Gilgit Baltistan and coordinating with the Chinese investors is Shahzad International, which is one of the largest lease-owning foreign contractors in the region. In Rondo and Shigar districts, however, the Chinese prefer to purchase minerals and gems directly from the local wholesalers. Reports have also come of military surveillance in certain uranium-rich areas of Nagar district.
“Shahbaz was quoted recently by the weekly Bang-e-Sehar stating that foreigners are getting preferential treatment to obtain licenses, while more than 200 applications submitted by the local companies remain in cold storage in Islamabad since 2001.
“His claims are substantiated by Babajan, who states that the international mining mafia controls more than 50,000 sq. km of land in Gilgit Baltistan. He elaborates that 106 mining licenses were issued to the foreigners in 2010 alone and another 400 licenses remain under process.
”He criticizes authorities for banning local companies trading gems and metals outside Gilgit Baltistan and reserving this right for the foreigners to help them exercise absolute monopoly in the local market. Further, locals are also barred from establishing mineral and metal processing, up-gradation and finishing units. The situation encourages smuggling and sale of raw material at substandard rates, and threatens jobs and businesses of more than 20,000 locals.”
“Islamabad-Based Federal Institution Called Gilgit Baltistan Council (GBC)… has Absolute Control over Legislative Matters Pertaining to Minerals, Forests, Water Reserves, Trade”
“Abdul Hamid Khan, the chairperson of Balawaristan National Front, believes that foreign companies, especially the Chinese, refuse to share revenue from resource exploitation with the locals. He states that foreign companies don’t pay tax to the Gilgit government either, since they owe their allegiance to Islamabad-based federal institution called Gilgit Baltistan Council (GBC), which has absolute control over legislative matters pertaining to minerals, forests, water reserves, trade and transit routes, and issues mining licenses to foreigners without consulting with the Gilgit-based GBLA.
“Khan further explains that while members of GBLA are elected by the local people and somehow answerable to them, members of GBC are handpicked by the Pakistani prime minister who expects them to protect Islamabad’s interests in the disputed region…
“The outcry of local activists has encouraged some members of GBLA [Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly] to come down heavily on the ruling party. Deedar Ali, a member from Gilgit city, now wants Islamabad to award royalty to the locals over their mineral assets, give preference to the local companies during the licensing process, grant business loans on easy terms to the local miners to enhance industrial growth, and establish mineral testing labs, polytechnic college and mineral display centers in the region. Nawaz Naji, a member from Ghizer, has asked Islamabad to abolish GBC and transfer legislative powers on natural resources and trade and transit to GBLA.
“Another member from district Diamer, Gulbar Khan, revealed that the authorities in Islamabad leased an entire mountain range in the Tangir valley to a Pakistani company and the locals remain in awe over how their pastures, forests, and glaciers became property of outsiders overnight. The regional finance minister, Mohammad Ali Akhtar, also joined the chorus and admitted to the opposition members of GBLA that the locals have failed to benefit monetarily from the leases issued to foreign companies in the last two decades.”
“[Regional Legislative Assembly GBLA] Passed a Resolution on June 9 Demanding a Ban on Mining in Gilgit Baltistan; GBLA… Can Only Pass Its Suggestions to GBC and Ministry of Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan Affairs in Islamabad”
“Succumbing to public pressure, GBLA finally passed a resolution on June 9 demanding a ban on mining in Gilgit Baltistan and termed the presence of international miners a threat to the rights of the natives over their land and resources. Ironically, the GBLA, created after the promulgation of so-called self-governance and empowerment ad-hoc ordinance of 2009, lacks the authority to ban mining in Gilgit Baltistan and can only pass its suggestions to GBC and Ministry of Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan Affairs in Islamabad, which hold actual authority to undertake such actions.
“Given the situation, Manzoor Hussain, who is chairperson of Gilgit Baltistan United Movement, doubts that the resolution passed by GBLA will help limit the role of foreign miners in the region and restore rights of the natives over their resources.
“On the contrary, he believes that the ban has been proposed to limit activities of local miners, and buy some time for GBC to formulate a mining policy favoring the foreigners. He believes that the licensing fee is already too high for the locals to afford and has forced them to either abandon mining or continue without Islamabad’s approval. Manzoor added that… more than two-thirds of the mineral-rich areas have been leased out to outsiders like the Chinese…
“Engineer Amanullah, the chairperson of Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance, agrees with his colleagues and calls GBLA and GBC the long arms of Islamabad to overcome such obstacles by providing legal cover and political leverage to the foreign miners. They all believe and very few in the region now doubt that Pakistani President Asif Zardari issued the so-called empowerment and self-governance ordinance of Gilgit Baltistan to provide a cover to Chinese imperialistic goals in Gilgit Baltistan…”

‘Banned militant groups recruiting in Pak’s Punjab to fight in Kashmir’

‘Banned militant groups recruiting in Pak’s Punjab to fight in Kashmir’

Lahore, August 26, 2011
First Published: 16:03 IST(26/8/2011)
Last Updated: 16:31 IST(26/8/2011)
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Banned militant organisations, including Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), have begun recruiting young men from Pakistan’s Punjab province to fight, particularly in the Kashmir region, intelligence agencies have said. According to agencies, these recruitments have begun following visits from militant leader Syed Salahuddin to different cities in Punjab.
Salahuddin heads Hizbul Mujahideen, the most prominent militant outfit in Kashmir, and terror alliance Muttahida Jihad Council, which supports Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan.
According to the agency’s report, these activities have been observed since the last week of July in many cities in central Punjab. Both Salahuddin and Hafiz Saeed have been delivering emphatic speeches at public gatherings and Iftar parties.
The JeM is in the process of regaining its traditional physical and financial strength, which had dissipated during the ten-year ban imposed by the then military ruler Pervez Musharraf, Jaish activists and intelligence officials told The Express Tribune.
The jihadi group is working on a plan to reach out to its activists who had abandoned the organisation after it came on the radar after being implicated in an attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, they added.
According to another report forwarded by the Punjab Home Department, banned militant outfit LeJ has also become active, particularly after the release of the group’s founder Malik Ishaq in July.
According to the report, some terrorists who have been released from Punjab’s prisons in the last six months have also regrouped.
These 51 alleged high-profile terrorists have been conducting meetings with their previous accomplices and are collaborating with the outfits that they used to belong to, says the report.

LeT indicts Javed Munshi for killing of MOULANA SHOWKAT KILLING

LeT indicts Javed Munshi for killing of MOULANA SHOWKAT KILLING
All Party Investigation Committee Releases Report


Srinagar, Aug 25: The All Party Investigation Committee, looking into the assassination of former Jamiat-e Ahle-Hadith chairman Moulana Showkat Ahmad Shah, today released the investigation report presented to it by militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba. In its in-depth investigation report, a copy of which is with Greater Kashmir, Lashkar-e-Toiba has charged Javed Munshi alias Bill Papa for the assassination.
In the past 24 years of conflict in Kashmir, it has been the first time any militant organisation has prepared and released an investigation report into the killing of a high profile person.
The LeT has claimed that they have conducted the inquiry into the killing from three angles. The report blames Javed Munshi as the main accused.
Police has already indicted Munshi into the killing. He is currently lodged in Srinagar’s Central Jail. The LeT report has also described Javed Munshi as “double cross.”

“After the Moulana was martyred, we had promised that we would unveil the killers and would chase them wherever they would be hiding. At first instance, we thought Indian agencies and troops have martyred him to weaken the movement. One thing we never thought was that they were our own people who killed Moulana,” the LeT report reads.

Laying down its investigations, the LeT report said a militant Muhammad Imran alias Abu Qital Bhai, a simple fighter with no knowledge even about the small political details, was released from jail in Kashmir last month. The report said Imran informed the LeT that the organisation was doing wrong by supporting the pro-freedom camp as ‘most of them were hand in glove with India.’

“The LeT inquired further from the fighter. On questioning Imran told us that Javed Munshi alias Bill Papa, who was presently in Srinagar Central Jail, has told him about all these things,” the report reads.
The report said Munshi told Imran that it was them who killed Moulana Showkat. “He also told the fighter that they would soon kill Muhammad Yasin Malik and other leaders.”

Munshi, the report said, told Imran that he should go to Pakistan and inform Hafiz Sayeed that all political leaders are wrong and he should not participate in their funeral prayers in absentia.
Hafiz Sayeed had condemned the killing of Moulana Showkat and offered his funeral prayers.
While discussing the second aspect of their investigation, the LeT report has absolved their field commander Abdullah Uni who is currently active in Sopore. The report said that Javed Munshi after being arrested by Police named Abdullah Uni and Dr Qasim Fakhtoo of being co-conspirators in the killing.

The report said that when Javed mentioned the idea of killing Moulana to Abdullah Uni, the LeT commander strongly rejected it out-rightly. “Brother Uni warned him. When commander Uni sought more explanation from Munshi for doing some suspicious activities, he ran away from him.”
The report said Uni told LeT that after he came to know about the inauspicious act committed by Munshi, they snapped all relations with him.
“In revenge, Munshi named Abdullah Uni as being involved in the heinous act,” the report reveals.

Apart from Munshi, police in its charge sheet has indicted seven people. Police has also indicted Lashkar-e-Toiba Commander Abdullah Uni, Nisar Ahmad, Fayaz Ahmad Dar alias Jameel-ur-Rehman of Tehreek Mujahideen. Nisar Ahmad is presently in Srinagar Jail. The report said Javed Munshi and Nisar were heading two groups of TuM and had contact with LeT commander Uni for nearly one year.

“Both Javed Munshi and Nisar Ahmad were introduced to Abdullah Uni by Abu Umair. Umair was right hand man of Sheikh Jameel-ul-Rehman of Tehreek Mujahideen (TM),” the report reads.
As they remained in constant contact with the LeT, they were provided with detonator, pistol, grenade and Rs 1 lakh for RDX.
“Munshi pretended to us the weapons and explosives supplied to them were seized by police,” the report said.

While describing Javed Munshi as a suspicious character who has been in and out of jail, the report said he has been arrested twice since he came in their contact. “And twice he was released. Even if he was arrested with components used to make the RDX, he was still released. We are sure the person is double cross,” the report reads.

Substantiating its claim, the LeT investigation report reads, “Once Javed Munshi came to meet LeT brothers in jungles of Kupwara and expressed wish to cross the border. He was told that he will be informed about it at right time. At that time he had taken video of LeT brothers,” the report said.

Later, the report reads out, when he was conveyed to meet them at particular point, he informed Army about presence of the LeT militants, who later died in an encounter with Army. The report further said, “If Nisar Ahmad, who has been arrested by police, is the same person who hails from Beeru Budgam, then Umair might have prior knowledge about the assassination of Moulana Showkat,” the report said. Umair is based in Muzafferabad. “There are chances that the directions for the killing might have come from Pakistan as Umair was perturbed after the arrest of Nisar and Javed Munshi.”

Moulana Showkat was assassinated in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast outside a Masjid at Maisuma on April 8. His killing evoked widespread condemnation across the valley. The separatist groups formed the All Party Investigation Committee (AIC) to probe the incident. Both the factions of Hurriyat Conference, JKLF, all religious organizations including Jamaat-e-Islami, Shia groups were part of the committee.

The LeT investigation report was released by AIC at a meeting held at Jamiat Manzil, Barbarshah. The Committee, with JAH president Ghulam Rasool Malik in chair, reviewed the progress in the investigation of the murder of Moulana Showkat Ahmad Shah and discussed at length the reports received from different quarters including militant organizations.

The meeting was attended by Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Moulana Muhammad Umar Farooq, Amir Jama’at-i-Islami Sheikh Muhammad Hassan, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Muhammad Yaseen Malik, chairman Islamic Study Circle Jammu Kashmir Dr Yousuf-ul-Umar, chief patron Jamiat Himayat-ul-Islam Jammu Kashmir Moulana Showkat Ahmad Keng, chief patron Itehad-ul-Muslimeen Moulana Abas Ansari, chief of the Anjuman-e-Sharie Shiyaan Jammu Kashmir Aga Syed Hassan Al-Moosvi Al-Sufvi, Nazim-e-Ala Jamiat-e-Ahlihadith Abdul Rehman Bhat, Jama’at Islami Jammu and Kashmir spokesman Advocate Zahid Ali Lone and Moulana Syed-ur-Rehman Shams, principal secretary of Mirwaiz. Due to personal engagements the Hurriyat Conference (G) representative could not attend the meeting.
The participants hailed the investigation report of LeT saying it would change the future course of things.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Our struggle is on Pakistani side of the divide, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Our struggle is on Pakistani side of the divide
Dr Shabir Choudhry 23 August 2011

Text of speech made by Dr Shabir Choudhry in an iftar party gathering arranged by Kashmir National Party in Luton – England.

Mr Chairman, friends and colleagues aslamo alaykam

‘No struggle can succeed without a clearly defined destination, appropriate strategy and meticulous planning. Militancy or ‘liberation struggle’ as people like to call, was started with help of a secret agency of one occupier; and without clear planning as to how to achieve the cherished goal of unification and independence, because there was no strategy in place to ‘liberate’ the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir’.

‘This kind of ‘liberation struggle’ suited the occupier whose secret agency was controlling and directing the militancy, as it helped to engage and bleed its arch enemy - India. However, this ‘struggle’ in which people of Jammu and Kashmir were used as a raw material was a non starter, because it was perceived as a “proxy war” and part of “Islamic fundamentalism” in which ethnic minorities of Jammu and Kashmir were deliberately targeted.’

‘Furthermore, when there was no movement or struggle of any kind in areas under direct and indirect control of Pakistan; and people of these areas were persuaded to liberate the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir by forgetting their own plight, it was clear to neutral scholars and writers that the struggle or movement lacked credentials of genuine liberation struggle. Despite huge sacrifices, death and destruction we are not any closer to achieving independence; and well planned Indian propaganda persuaded the world community that disgruntled Kashmiri youths were used in a proxy war against democratic India’

Mr Chairman

‘We people of Jammy and Kashmir are occupied on both sides of the Line of Control, and our struggle should be against both occupiers. It was wrong policy to liberate Jammu and Kashmir under India and turn a blind eye to the events in areas of Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistan. This policy was formulated by secret agencies of Pakistan which controlled the militancy and passed on to the people through senior leadership of JKLF’.

‘It is unfortunate that, by and large, still that policy is in operation; and anyone who speaks about some kind of strategy to liberate areas under Pakistan is immediately declared as an ‘Indian agent’ by secret agencies of Pakistan and their Kashmiri agents; and people fearing castigation avoid to cross the red line, hence no real struggle on the Pakistani side of the divide.’

‘I don’t care what label people stick against my name, I sincerely believe that our struggle is on this side of the Line of Control. Those who are occupied by India should struggle against India by whatever means they think appropriate; but I cannot go there to liberate them when I am occupied on this side by Pakistan. It was illogical and disastrous strategy; and it is sad that some Kashmiri leaders were used as a tool to promote this by secret agencies of Pakistan.’

‘I accept right of people of Jammu and Kashmir under India to fight occupation and oppression as they feel fit; and I expect to have same right to struggle against those who occupy territory of Jammu and Kashmir where I happened to live without being criticised and labelled as being “anti Movement” or “Pro India”. If people of Jammu and Kashmir under India are patriots because they are fighting those who occupy them; then why people under Pakistan are not patriot when they struggle against those who occupy them.’

In reply to one question Dr Shabir Choudhry said: ‘We have always supported unity of like minded people, but not unity for sake of unity. There should be clearly defined goals for any unity; and in this regard Abbas Butt, more than once, voluntarily gave up his position but we were let down by others. We are in talks with some like minded people to unite our parties that we can effectively work to promote our cause; and may be we will have some good news in September 2011.’

In a reply to another question Dr Shabir Choudhry said: ‘We cannot and will not join JKLF groups or their unity talks because we clearly have ideological differences with them. We cannot have unity with those who want to liberate Kashmir by sitting in lap of secret agencies of Pakistan; and we cannot have unity with those who only want to liberate the Valley. No doubt, the Valley is important, but borders of my Jammu and Kashmir go far beyond the boundary of the Valley; and every part of the State territory is important and sacred to us.’

Mr Chairman

‘I was contacted by someone from the Valley who urged me to arrange a rally in London because Muslims were under attack. I said, I agree Muslims are under attack but where to arrange the rally?

1. Muslims are under attack in Balochistan, FATA, Swat and they are being killed by army of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, do you want me to have a rally outside Pakistani High Commission in London;

2. Muslims are under attack in Pakistan by Drones, and these attacks are supported by the government and the army of Pakistan;

3. Muslims are under attack in Afghanistan by NATO, and Pakistani government is actively helping them;

4. Muslims are under attack in Bahrain and Pakistani army is helping the government there to kill Muslim brothers in the month of Ramadan;

5. Muslims are under attack in Yemen and Saudi Arabia is attacking them, and list goes on, please tell me where to arrange the rally?

He got annoyed with this, and said I meant Muslims are under attack in Gaza by Israelis, and you should arrange a rally outside Israeli Embassy in London. I replied, I know about these attacks, which started a few days ago, but other places I have mentioned are under attack for a long time, don’t you think they also deserve our support. He was quiet and could not find appropriate answer.

I further said, ‘Our struggle should be against injustice and oppression no matter who is the culprit. But your struggle seems to be against non Muslim culprits; and in my view Muslim oppressors and culprits deserve more opposition and condemnation, as they oppress and their kill their own people’.

Mr Chairman and friends

‘I am a practising Muslim, and strongly believe that Kashmir dispute is not a religious in nature; and those who promote it as a religious dispute and want to have an Islamic government in Jammu and Kashmir are intentionally or unintentionally promoting hatred and communalism and paving way for the division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

‘These people don’t understand that Jammu and Kashmir is multi religious and multi ethnic State and could not be kept united by a force of religion. In any case, Muslims are deeply divided on religious lines, because there are Sunni Muslims, Wahabi Muslims, Shia Muslims, Brelvi Muslims, Deo Bandi Muslims, Noor Bakhshi and Ismaeli Muslim; and no group accepts interpretation of Qur’an and Sunna of the other group and don’t even pray behind each other. ‘

In Jammu and Kashmir there are regions which are either dominated by one religious group or the other; so how can you promote Kashmir as a religious dispute and seek a religious solution, unless you want to divide the State of Jammu and Kashmir and spread extremism and hatred.

‘Despite all the odds and despite a powerful lobby against us, I want to assure you that I and other senior colleagues like Abbas Butt, Asim Mirza, Nawaz Majeed, Sarwar Hussain, Zubbair Ansari, Nazam Bhatti, Masoom Ansari, Mumtaz Mirza, Ehsan Ansari, Mahfooz tahir, Yasin Anjum, Raja Majid Afsar, Afzal Suleria and others will continue our struggle against division of the State and against forces of communalism, extremism, violence and terrorism. Our ultimate goal is to achieve united and independent Jammu and Kashmir where all citizens of the State can live in peace and harmony; and practise their faith according to their beliefs. We want to have a society where everyone is equal before the law, and everyone is accountable.

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

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Unity of JKLF groups and ISI

Unity of JKLF groups and ISI
Dr Shabir Choudhry 21 August 2011

It is believed that ISI, secret agency of Pakistan has fingers in many pies. It is regarded as very effective secret agency; but at times, it is credited or discredited with things that might not be their making. Generally all the wrong things are associated with them because of their reputation, especially when it comes to Kashmir dispute, India, Afghanistan and terrorism.

Having said that, it is true that the agency has messed up many things, including the Kashmir dispute; but at times, when there is a split in some Kashmiri party due to personality clash, division of funds, power, strategy, ideology or petty personal likes and dislikes people accuse their opponents for being ISI agents and accuse ISI for creating this split.

In the past ISI was accused for creating divisions and splitting parties, now they are ‘credited’ with forging a unity between two JKLF groups, namely Amanullah Khan Group and Yasin Malik Group. I have spoken to dozens of people on this topic, and dozens of people have asked me to comment on this new development.

Many people think it is a conspiracy of the ISI to give another twist to the complex dispute of Jammu and Kashmir; or present a new phase of the struggle by face - lifting it and by making it more acceptable to the international community. Rationale for this, according to these critics is that Ali Gilani type politics is only good to create chaos, and to communalise the society and divide it in name of religion; but it cannot provide any solution and cannot be acceptable to the leaders of the international community who might have some say in the final outcome of the Kashmir dispute.

According to these critics, first it was proxy militancy that was exposed; now it was revealed that ‘diplomacy’ was also run and controlled by able officers of the ISI. Dr Fai’s arrest in America has exposed many things and, in view of many, he has become redundant for them. Fate of other ISI ‘diplomats’ and ‘agents’ in London and Brussels is not known; but they are also fully exposed before the people that they were promoting and defending interests of Pakistan and not that of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

These critics think, in view of this changed scenario at the international level, and rather peace and normalcy in the Valley, able officers of the ISI felt that they need to do something to ‘support’ the struggle and ‘liberate’ Kashmir. One critic Dr Sajid, who is also a senior member of JKLF, expresses his apprehension by asking:

Q 1- ‘When this division happened was there any solid reason for that?
Q-2 Is that reason doesn’t exist any more?
Q-3 Is there any constitution with JKLF to solve such a situation?
Q-4 Does any constitution applies to Ammanullah Khan or being the founder of JKLF he has the sole discretion of making all sorts of decisions?
Q-5 Do the Chairman, Secretary General and Central Committee mean any thing for Ammanullah Khan?’
‘I am simply shocked by knowing that none of the above questions were addressed at all by Ammanullah Khan, who always maintained that Mr Yasin Malik is a traitor of JKLF, and told every one that Mr Malik made a deal with Indian Government to get himself out from jail, hence backstabbed the movement and now he is double agent and on ISI payroll. I remember, I spoke to Ammanullah Khan just couple of months ago, and in his opinion, Mr Yasin Malik was still working on someone’s agenda. I have no idea how things have changed so dramatically, because Yasin Malik did nothing different from what he was doing in the past.’

‘The most painful aspect of this drama is that Ammanullah Khan kept every body in dark till very last moment, including Chairman Sardar Saghir Khan, Secretary General and almost entire Central Committee. So this is not merger of JKLF factions but merger of Ammanullah Khan and Yasin Malik, probably on the directions of some invisible forces.’

Another political activist Sardar Ishaq Sharif said: ‘This is conspiracy against the JKLF, to destroy completely whatever are remaining worker in world, especially on Azad Kashmir side.’

According to the press release issued: “Following an in-depth consultation the top leadership of the segregated JKLF factions has finally agreed in principle to work together to take the ongoing peaceful democratic movement of Kashmiris to its logical end”. It should be noted that there are about five JKLF groups and if unity was desired and they were sincere in this then why did they not invite other groups?

One member of Rauf Kashmiri Group of JKLF said: This is ISI game plan. Not long ago they called each other agent of agencies. If they sincerely wanted to have unity in the JKLF then they should have invited all JKLF groups and not Heads of those groups which work with the ISI. We know Amanullah Khan works for ISI; and Yasin Malik works for agencies of both India and Pakistan.’

He further said, ‘Amanullah Khan, while commenting on the split of the JKLF associated with Yasin Malik, used to tell us that “my one arm was seriously affected with cancer and there was no cure for it, so I cut it off to save the JKLF”, people have right to ask what has he done to stitch back that cancer affected arm.’

Another senior JKLF leader, associated with Yasin Malik disagreed with this conspiracy theory and thinks ISI does not need to do anything as Kashmiris are so divided and involved in petty issues that no agency needs to do anything. He said:

I know mentality and tactics of Amanullah Khan very well. Amanullah Khan knows how to make head lines and stay in news, even at this age (80 years old) without doing anything positive. Yasin Malik was getting a lot of media attention in Pakistan, especially after arrest of Dr GN Fai. Amanullah Khan could not digest all that and wanted to show all concerned that he was the man who mattered and who was still in charge of the JKLF and the independent movement.

He further said: in his considered opinion nothing will come out of these unity talks, as there is no sincerity. Amanullah Khan wanted to assert himself and get some publicity for him and over shadow Yasin Malik; and he has done that, and show is over. Outcome of these unity talks will be same as the last time when they talked for some months and could not agree on power sharing.

As noted above, Amanullah Khan has taken this decision without taking any one in confidence in his JKLF Group. He is famous for taking big and disastrous decisions on his own, and when things go wrong he claims that he did this in the ‘best interest of the JKLF’ and the ‘independence movement’; and if you are ‘loyal to the JKLF and the Movement then accept my decision’.

His big decisions, taken without consulting anyone, and which went far beyond his constitutional powers, apparently in the ‘best interest’ of the JKLF and the ‘Movement’ caused splits in the past. Those who disagreed with his this logic and refused to accept his unconstitutional and dictatorial decision were expelled from the party on one of the following charges – he was anti JKLF, anti Movement, working for ISI or working for Indian intelligence. There is a very long list of such people, which include this author, who were expelled under one of the above charges; whereas reality was that these people were sincere, talented and only disagreed with his unconstitutional decisions. Of course, they posed some threat to his leadership too.

Only future will tell if the present JKLF unity initiative will lead to some kind of merger between the two JKLF factions; or it will lead to another split in the JKLF Amanullah Khan Group. In my opinion the present JKLF Amanullah Group Central Committee, Secretary General and Chairman do not have guts to openly oppose Amanullah Khan’s decision as they know they will be expelled by him even at this age and it will weaken the party. However, they have ability and skills to throw a spanner and stall the merger process.

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

Saturday, 20 August 2011

My new book - 'Are Kashmiris part of the Kashmir dispute' is published, Dr Shabir Choudhry

My new book - 'Are Kashmiris part of the Kashmir dispute' is published.
Dr Shabir Choudhry

Are Kashmiris part of the Kashmir Dispute?
Bilateral talks have failed, trilateral talks are must - people of Kashmir must be part of dialogue process
VDM Verlag Dr. Müller (2011-08-14)

ISBN-13: 978-3-639-37225-0
ISBN-10: 3639372255
EAN: 9783639372250
Book language:
Because of the position taken by both India and Pakistan, many people believe that Kashmir is a "territorial dispute" between the both countries. This is not true. Kashmir is not, I repeat, not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. The Kashmir issue is about the basic human rights of the Kashmiri people, including the right to determine their own future. The people of Kashmir do not want to be treated like cattle, that others can decide our future. We are not in a business of selecting masters. We want to be masters of our own destiny. That means we want to live like a nation. We want to be independent of both India and Pakistan. It must be made clear to both India and Pakistan that we are fighting for our independence and we will not accept any decision to be forced upon us. We cannot allow the bureaucrats of Islamabad and New Delhi to decide the future of Kashmir. If any such decision is taken, we will resist it. We cannot and will not accept the division of Jammu and Kashmir.
Publishing house: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller
By (author) : Dr Shabir Choudhry
Number of pages: 412
Published at: 2011-08-14
Category: Comparative and international political science
Price: 79.00 €
Kashmir Dispute, Right of self determination, India and Pakistan dispute, bilateral talks, Terrorism, freedom struggle and violence

Monday, 15 August 2011

Kashmiri nationalism has not matured yet, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Kashmiri nationalism has not matured yet
Dr Shabir Choudhry 15 August 2011

Today is 15 August, and people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially from the Valley and those who promote pro Pakistan agenda observe this day as a ‘Black Day’. Many towns of the Valley have shown their support for the call to observe this day as a ‘Black Day’.

With this shut – down or a strike, people of this region have shown their anger and resentment against New Delhi. Some may point out that this shut down only hurt economy of the Valley and has not hurt India; but the counter argument is that in struggle for independence people have to make sacrifices, as long as goal is clear and the leadership is sincere with that goal.

Let us look at the rationale of having a Black Day on 15 August. It was on this date the British Raj ended and India became independent - Pakistan achieved its independence on 14 August. People blinded with religious sentiments, propaganda of Pakistan or hatred of India forget that on this date – 15 August 2011, we people of Jammu and Kashmiri also became independent.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, as a President of Muslim League said in New Delhi on June 17, 1947: “Constitutionally and legally, the Indian States will be independent sovereign states on the termination of Paramountcy and they will be free to decide for themselves to adopt any course they like. It is open to them to join the Hindustan Constituent Assembly, the Pakistan Constituent Assembly, or decide to remain independent. In the last case, they enter into such arrangements or relationship with Hindustan or Pakistan as they may choose.”

So legally and constitutionally we became an independent country on 15 August 1947; and when we observe this day as a ‘Black Day’ what message are we giving? Are we saying that Kashmir should not have become an independent country and it was a ‘Black Day’; or it is a Black Day because India also got independence on the same day?

I must admit that my colleagues and I have also observed this day as a Black Day in the past, mainly because those were senior to us advocated that it was necessary. However, with political maturity, knowledge and research made us realise that it was a strategy of Pakistani agencies that we people of Jammu and Kashmir observe this day as a Black Day; and for this they generously rewarded people and over the years it has become a lucrative business for some.

I asked some people why they observe 15 August as a Black Day. First reply of all is that because India occupies Kashmir (parts of Jammu and Kashmir). Pakistan also occupies parts of Jammu and Kashmir, and has imperial and exploitative policy on Jammu and Kashmir, then shouldn’t there be a ‘Black Day’ on 14th August as well – one Black Day on day of Pakistan’s Independence Day and one on India’s Independence Day?

To this they say, well it won’t be appropriate, because Pakistan is a Muslim country; and this is the only country that helps us in our fight against India. What does this say? It means it is a religious struggle in view of these people. Who would benefit if the Kashmiri struggle is presented as a religious struggle? Won’t this divert attention from what Pakistan do in Gilgit Baltistan and so called Azad Kashmir; and won’t this provide justification for the division of India on religious lines and justification for the existence of the remaining Pakistan?

In reply to my points, one ‘freedom fighter’ expressed his agreement to these arguments but said, “Without Pakistan’s help and weapons, we cannot sustain this struggle against India, so we cannot annoy Pakistan”.

I said to him: “You people are presented as freedom fighters, mujahideen and patriots because you are getting help and weapons from one occupier – Pakistan- to use that against the other occupier – India; what if one day India supply weapons to people of Gilgit Baltistan and people of so called Azad Kashmir and they start militancy, will they be regarded as freedom fighter, mujahideen and loyal to the movement?”

He said, “No”. Then continued to say that he was a freedom fighter; and not a politician like me (Dr Shabir Choudhry), who can articulate different points eloquently and persuade other people. I said to him there is a fundamental problem with our struggle and strategy. As a nation – people of Jammu and Kashmir are divided and confused, despite all the sacrifices and decades of struggle which resulted in suffering and misery we still are not clear what we want; and worrying thing is that we are not prepared to learn from the past mistakes or even revise our strategy.

It is because of this misplaced loyalty and erroneous strategy that despite so many sacrifices we are not even perceived as a party to the Kashmir dispute; and India and Pakistan keep us away from the negotiation table. Furthermore, it is because of this wrong strategy that the international community, by and large, perceive the Kashmiri parties and alliances either ‘A team of ISI’ or ‘B team’.

In ‘A team’ are those parties and alliances which openly adhere their allegiance to Pakistan; and in ‘B team’ are those who claim to struggle for an independent Jammu and Kashmir, but deliberately choose not to struggle against occupation of Pakistan. They want to liberate the Indian side of the Jammu and Kashmir first, and have no policy in place to liberate the areas under Pakistan and where they live.

Some people I have spoken to or have interacted with over this point said: we observe Black Day because India has no respect for human rights, and a country that has no regards to human rights and independence of others have no right to celebrate independence.

Good point, but record of Pakistan on the issue of human rights is not that bright either, especially if we take in to consideration what happened in the former East Pakistan – now Bangladesh, and what is happening in Balochistan, FATA, Swat and other parts of Pakistan. Situation in Gilgit Baltistan and so called Azad Kashmir is not satisfactory to put it mildly; and the fact that there is no militancy going on in these areas DOE NOT mean that everything is rosy here.

Because Pakistani record on human rights is also bad, should have a ‘Black Day’ on every year on 14 August? How would Pakistani people, Pakistani government, their agencies and pro Pakistan Kashmiris perceive this activity?

Believe me I have no problem if people of Jammu and Kashmir and their supporters have Black Day on 15 August against India; but it is also my independence day. Jammu and Kashmir after lapse of the British paramountcy became an independent country on 15 August. We lost our independence when on 22 October 1947; we were attacked by Tribesmen sent by Pakistan because that forced the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir to seek help from India which was only provided after the 'Provisional accession'.

Don’t you think we should be observing a Black Day on 22 October when in clear violation of the Standstill Agreement, officials of the Pakistani government sent in hordes of tribesmen to capture Srinagar that resulted in partition of the State, hence our miseries since that date?

Perhaps this is too much to ask from Kashmiris because minds that are accustomed to listening to propaganda, lies, twisted facts and religious hatred for the past 64 years will not be receptive to this suggestion. Furthermore, Kashmiri nationalists will also not tread on this road because of fear of repercussions; and, in any case, my view is that Kashmiri nationalism and Kashmiri nationalists have not matured yet. To qualify to be a true nationalist they have to learn many things and study other nationalist movements and character of those who lead them.

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

Saturday, 13 August 2011

How and why Pakistan was made? A new book based on research of Jafar Hussain Zaidi

How and why Pakistan was made? A new book based on research of Jafar Hussain Zaidi

He claims history taught in schools should not be even called history as it is not based on facts.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Interesting TV programme on Partition of India and Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Was he secular? Did he want a secular State? Was he elected? Was the PM of Pak

Interesting TV programme on Partition of India and Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Was he secular? Did he want a secular State? Was he elected? Was the PM of Pakistan was elected?

Sunday, 7 August 2011

A reply to Pakistani agents

In reply to some Pakistani agents and confused Kashmiris i wrote the following. i hope it will help some with clear minds. Those who are already hooked they will not benefit from this.

A reply to Pakistani agents
Dr Shabir Choudhry 16 May 2010

1. First of all I don’t know who Shaban Bashir is. I have never met her. However I am grateful to her for posting some email for me. To me she is pro Kashmir and not anti Pakistan or pro India, but tragedy is anyone who is pro Kashmir, ISI agents and agents of Pakistani establishment harass them by labelling them as ‘pro India’ and anti Pakistan; because they want all Kashmiris to sing praises for Pakistan, despite what they have done to the Kashmir cause.

2. These fanatics and short sighted people got Pakistan in to such a mess that now all bad things are associated with the country. Situation is so bad in Pakistan that many Pakistanis don’t want to be part of Pakistan; yet these ‘Jihadi’s and agents want us to join Pakistan and would not allow us to even look for another viable option.

3. As soon as you express your intention to look for alternative to joining Pakistan or getting your own identity these agents and foot soldiers of ISI will harass you by calling you anti Pakistan and being pro this or pro that country. We people of Jammu and Kashmir, by and large are simple and peace loving people and don’t want any trouble so they easily give in to these blackmailers.

4. No one is saying that there are no problems on the Indian side of the LOC. But when you take gun given by ISI and fire at the Indians what do you expect in response; still we condemn human rights abuses no matter where they are committed and who is culprit. But these fanatics want to be selective even with human rights abuses: if human rights are committed by non Muslims they broadcast them and if they are committed by Muslims they either turn blind eyes or label these people being Hindus or non Muslims.

5. My fight is against this dishonesty, hypocrisy and injustice. My fight is for justice and against politics of intimidation. My fight is for our identity and our unfettered right of self determination, which unfortunately was changed to right of accession on the request of Pakistan – that Kashmiris can only become part of India or Pakistan.

6. For promoting the above (in no five) I expect opposition and accusations from those who deny us these rights. It is their duty to confuse people and fight for what they believe is Pakistani interest, and I have to fight my corner and defend and promote Kashmiri interests; and in doing so I will face difficulties.

7. Their concept of Pakistani interest change with time. To them it was a Pakistani interest to promote militancy in name of Jihad, train them and use them to promote their political agenda. Now their interest has changed and they are using F16 against Muslims and their own citizens in various parts of Pakistan. If anyone speaks against this barbarity in which innocent people die, he will be accused of being either Hindu, Indian agent or anti Pakistan.

8. We, as rational human beings, have some choices to make. Do we want to become part of this Pakistan where F16 and helicopter gun ships are in action against all those who seek their identity and ask for their fundamental rights? Do we want to promote undemocratic forces and religious extremism? Or we want o live in a liberal and democratic society:
Where Justice, Satisfaction and Happiness are the way of life; Where Obstacles and Misunderstandings are removed with Love and Compassion; Where Hatred and Anger are removed with Brotherhood, Calmness and Patience; Where Freedom leads to Dreams and Transforms them to Reality and Where Knowledge, Wisdom, Freedom and Peace are appreciated.

9. They want to impose their brand of Islam on people of Jammu and Kashmir who have history of tolerance and co existence. Kashmir is multi religious and multi ethnic state, and by forcing religion on them will only divide the State on religious lines, as various parts of the State or inhabited either by one religious group or the other. In any case which Islam are they going to impose on us: Sunni Islam, Deobandi Islam, Wahabi Islam, Shia Islam, Noor Bakshi Islam, Ismahili Islam etc. If we let these fanatics have their way they will divide us in to small groups that they can easily intimidate us and control the society.

10. We are repeatedly told that Pakistan is our brother and promotes Kashmiri peoples right of self determination. This is not true. They have always promoted their interest at the expense of Kashmiri interest Just look at some of these examples and decided for yourself:

11. Pakistan signed a Standstill Agreement with the government of Jammu and Kashmir in August 1947, because it was seen in their interest to have a foothold inside the State; and out manoeuvre India in political game of getting the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

12. But their interest changed and Pakistan violated this agreement and stopped even basic items like food, salt oil etc. In clear violation of this Treaty, they also managed a Tribal Invasion which started on 22 October 1947. Aim of this Tribal Invasion was to grab Kashmir and punish the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir who wanted to remain independent.

13. How could our Pakistani masters tolerate that Kashmiris could become independent; so Pakistan managed the Tribal attack in which thousands of innocent Kashmiri men and women were killed and women were raped. Our Kashmir was plundered and destroyed; and Kashmiri girls were kidnapped and taken to Peshawer and other parts of Pakistan.

14. Ask yourself, while managing this attack, did they want to promote a Kashmiri interest or they had imperialistic designs which failed, and which landed us in the present miseries – forced division and oppression on both sides of the LOC.

15. It was because of this attack that the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir panicked and requested help from India. If there was no Tribal attack we could have been independent state. In one sense, all our troubles and miseries are related to the Tribal invasion which ‘our well wishers and Muslim brothers – Pakistanis’ managed and financed.

16. Apart from that those of us who are old enough or have studied history of Azad Kashmir would know what Pakistani army did to us people of so called Azad Kashmir during the Poonch rebellion. This rebellion was not promoted by India or RAW, it was a protest against Pakistani attitude in Azad Kashmir. What people of Indian side of Kashmir are experiencing now we experienced that in late 1940s and mid 1950s.

17. You must have heard recent statements of some Pakistani leaders that they want Kashmir because of water resources. That means they want Jammu and Kashmir for resources and strategic reasons and not because they have love for us. They had no love for people of East Pakistan, no love for people of Balochistan who are facing fourth invasion, and no love for people of FATA and PATA. These are their own people – Pakistanis; don’t be fooled that they have love for us Kashmiris.

18. I have said very little about India and that is something which is always used against me. Indian role in Kashmir is known to all, and all violations are highlighted and sometimes exaggerated as some people now claim that India has killed more than one hundred and fifty thousand people in Kashmir.

19. If I also concentrate on promoting Indian wrongs then I am not adding anything new to the available knowledge on Kashmir and human rights abuses. All I am doing is repeating what has already been said by thousands of others; and I don’t waste my valuable time like that.

20. Moreover, in my view, it is more important to expose hypocrisy of a ‘friend’ a pretender, a ‘Muslim brother’ who has imperial designs but want to conceal that in name of religion; and wants us to focus Indian side of Kashmir that their own crimes could be hidden.

21. Apart from that on this side of the LOC, we are occupied by Pakistan. Same is the situation in Gilgit Baltistan which Pakistan has practically annexed. While supporting struggle of our brothers on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir, our struggle is on this side against those who occupy us.

22. All the above is true and could be proved with historic documents. It is my right and duty to promote what is in interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir; and for doing that if baseless allegations are made against me and a malicious campaign is started against me I don’t care, as Allah is with me. I have faced these fanatics and agents before and I am prepared to face them again. I know forces of occupation, forces of terror, forces of extremism and forces of hatred have their own agenda; and I will fight them back even when I am totally on my own.
Writer is Director Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Balochistan crises – ‘We can torture, kill, or keep you for years’ -Human Rights Watch.

Balochistan crises – ‘We can torture, kill, or keep you for years’ -Human Rights Watch.
Posted by K4Kashmir on August 7, 2011 in Pakistan | 0 Comment Edit
Excerpt By Human Rights Watch on July 28, 2011
Balochistan crisis
On July 28, Human Rights Watch released a report on enforced disappearances in Balochistan. The 132-page report titled, ‘We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years’: Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan, documents dozens of cases in which the authorities take people into custody and then deny all responsibility or knowledge of their fate or whereabouts. The following is an excerpt from the report.
‘We can torture, kill, or keep you for years’
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The problem of disappearances in Pakistan is widespread and is not limited to Balochistan province. This report, however, focuses specifically on “disappearances” in Balochistan, as they are a distinctive feature of the conflict there between government security forces and armed militants that has devastated the province over many years. The armed militants, particularly Baloch nationalist armed groups, have attacked security forces and military bases throughout the province. These groups have been responsible for many targeted killings, including the killing of numerous teachers and other educators. In recent years they have increasingly attacked non-Baloch civilians and their businesses, as well as major gas installations and infrastructure. Human Rights Watch documented abuses by militants in its 2010 report, “Their Future Is at Stake”: Attacks on Teachers and Schools in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province.

In a number of cases, police assisted by being present at the scene or securing an area while plainclothes intelligence officers abducted individuals who later “disappeared”

For this report, Human Rights Watch interviewed over 100 individuals in Pakistan, including family members of disappeared individuals, persons who had been held in unacknowledged detention and then released, local human rights activists, lawyers, and witnesses.

Abductions were carried out in broad daylight, often in busy public areas, and in the presence of multiple witnesses. Victims were taken away from shops and hotels, public buses, university campuses, homes, and places of work.

Witnesses frequently described the perpetrators as armed men in civilian clothes, usually arriving in one or more four-door pickup trucks. The witnesses typically referred to these assailants as representatives of the “agencies”, a term commonly used to describe the intelligence agencies, including the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI), and the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Other information obtained by Human Rights Watch in many cases corroborates these claims.

In 16 cases documented by Human Rights Watch, the abductions were carried out by, in the presence of, or with the assistance of uniformed personnel of the Frontier Corps (FC), an Interior Ministry paramilitary force. In a number of cases, police assisted by being present at the scene or securing an area while plainclothes intelligence officers abducted individuals who later “disappeared”.

In all the cases Human Rights Watch documented, even evident members of the security forces did not identify themselves, explain the basis for arrest or where they were taking those apprehended. Often instead they beat the victims and dragged them handcuffed and blindfolded into their vehicles.

Methods of torture included prolonged beatings, often with sticks or leather belts, hanging detainees upside down, and food and sleep deprivation

Many of the victims, especially senior political activists, have been “disappeared” more than once. They have been abducted, held in unacknowledged detention for weeks or even months, released, and then abducted again. And sometimes “disappearances” occur after the security forces have made several unsuccessful attempts at abducting a person before finally apprehending and disappearing the victim.

Information on the fate of persons subjected to enforced disappearances in Pakistan is scarce. Some of the alleged disappeared are being held in unacknowledged detention in facilities run by the Frontier Corps and the intelligence agencies, such as at the Kuli army cantonment, a military base in Quetta.

Those whom the security forces eventually release are frequently reluctant to talk about their experiences for fear of being disappeared again or facing other repercussions. Many have been threatened with retaliation if they discuss who abducted them or reveal that they were tortured in custody. Without exception in the cases Human Rights Watch investigated, released detainees and relatives who were able to obtain information about the disappeared person’s treatment in custody reported torture and ill-treatment. Methods of torture included prolonged beatings, often with sticks or leather belts, hanging detainees upside down, and food and sleep deprivation.

In seven cases documented by Human Rights Watch, Pakistani authorities attempted to legitimise disappearances by bringing criminal charges against the missing persons. In some cases, the detainees were then transferred into police custody and brought to trial. In other cases, such as that of Dr Din Mohammad Baloch, the families found out about the charges from the media, yet were still unable to locate or meet with their missing relative.

There is increasing evidence to substantiate the fears of many families that disappeared relatives who have been missing for months or years have been killed in custody. According to media reports, more than 70 bodies of previously disappeared persons have been discovered between July 2010 and February 2011.

While the problem is widespread, the exact number of enforced disappearances perpetrated in recent years by Pakistan’s security forces remains unknown. Anti-government Baloch nationalists claim thousands of cases. Official numbers of disappeared persons are wildly contradictory. In 2008, Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman Malik, admitted at least 1,100 victims. In January 2011 Balochistan’s home minister, Mir Zafrullah Zehri, told provincial legislators that only 55 persons were considered missing. The minister provided no explanation for these figures, which are inconsistent with those of credible sources.

Some of the disappeared have been traced by various institutions. The Balochistan home minister claimed in January 2011 that 32 people had been traced. According to separate investigations by the federal Interior Ministry and provincial Home Ministry, 23 victims of disappearances have been traced. The Commission of Inquiry for Missing Persons, established by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, has traced a total of 134 persons throughout Pakistan, of which 23 have so far been released. However, this list is not publicly available and it is not known if disappeared persons from Balochistan are on this list.

The government has not kept its promises to address the crisis of enforced disappearances in Balochistan. Those responsible for enforced disappearances in the cases documented in this report have not been held accountable. The security forces have continued to behave with the same impunity they enjoyed under the military government. This impunity seems to penetrate the system at all levels: police who refuse to register and investigate disappearance cases, courts that appear unwilling or unable to fully enforce the law against the security forces, intelligence agencies that continue to blatantly ignore court orders, and high-level government officials who talk of the need for accountability yet are unwilling or unable to rein in the security forces. The reality is that security forces controlled by the military, including intelligence agencies and the Frontier Corps, continue to act outside all formal mechanisms of civilian oversight.

The inability of law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system to tackle the problem of disappearances is exacerbated by the continuing failure of Pakistani authorities at the national and provincial level to exert the political will to address the issue of disappearances in Balochistan. The authorities have failed so far to send a strong message to the security forces and intelligence agencies and to implement a set of concrete measures that would put an end to the practice of enforced disappearances.

This failure remains one of the key factors contributing to the persistent cycle of abuse and impunity in the region, which takes a heavy toll on the Baloch community. It not only affects the victims whose lives are brutalised and lost, but also their families who live in the anguish that they may never learn the fate of their loved ones. It also deeply undermines the efforts of the Pakistani government to win the trust of the Baloch people and achieve reconciliation in the province.

Excerpted from We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years’: Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan, published by Human Rights Watch on July 28, 2011

British Army in India before 1857 revolt : 272,418 .

British Army in India before 1857 revolt : 272,418
* British Combat Troops 26,000
* British Non Combat 10,000
* Indian 236,418 (Zero Sikh because it was prohibited in their religion to work for British Government)
.* Punjabi Moslims 23,000
British India Army after 1857 revolt : 32,000*
* Punjabi Moslims 6,900 (remained faithful the rest went home)
* Other Indians ... Zero (all revolted or joined the Rebels)
After new Recruitment to quash the 1857 Revolt: 333,000*

New Recruits
* Punjabi Moslims 240,000
* Punjabi Sikh 60,000
1896 British Army : 652,000 Indians
* 50% Punjabi Moslims
* 9% Punjabi Sikhs
W.W. I British India Army that fought abroad : 350,000 Indians
* Punjabi Moslims 39%
* Punjabi Sikhs 9%
British India Army 1939 : 189,000
1.1.1940 British India Army : 617,353 Indians
* Punjabi Moslims 243,434
* Sikhs 70,922
British India Army 1945 : 1.44 million
* Punjabi Moslims : 61%
* Total Punjabi Moslims that served since start of British Army in India : Over 1 million.

742,871 1,436,840 1,240,730 648,000 455,249 383,805 373,570
1942 1945 1946 Jan 1947 April 194 June, 1947 July, 1947
Ref: 1. Maj Gen. Agha Humayun Amin. 2. Brigadier Noor A. Hussain. 3. '* ' British India Records.

From Dr Shabir Choudhry

From Dr Shabir Choudhry

1. A traveller which starts throwing stones at every barking dog never reaches his destination.

2. A wise traveller ignores barking dogs and continues with his journey.

3. It is possible that some dogs are let loose by your enemies to distract you from real purpose in life; and make you waste your energies on trivial and unproductive matters.

Dr Shabir Choudhry

7 August 2011

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Empower Azad Kashmir, Ershad Mahmud

Empower Azad Kashmir, Ershad Mahmud
Friday, August 05, 2011 The News, Islamabad

Like every government in Azad Kashmir, the new administration in Muzaffarabad led by Chaudhry Abdul Majeed of the Pakistan People’s Party, will have to deal with demands in the territory that the federal government redefine the relationship between Islamabad and Muzaffarabad. The demands have become more vocal after the 18 and 19th Amendments which have devolved more powers to the provinces and reduced the central government’s role in provinces.
In 1970, an interim constitution had made Azad Kashmir an autonomous entity. But when the Pakistan People’s Party came to power it drastically reduced the authority of the Azad Kashmir government. All important powers were taken back through the establishment of a new body, the Azad Kashmir Council. The elected government of Azad Kashmir has no jurisdiction over the council, which was given 52 subjects. The minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan affairs runs the entire show and all major policy decisions are routed through the Prime Minster’s Secretariat in Islamabad.

The prime minister, who is not bound by the advice of the elected Azad Kashmir government, is chairman of the council, whose members he or she does not need to consult.

It is the Prime Minster’s Secretariat which exercises control over Azad Kashmir’s administration, including its economic affairs. At the same time, it appoints all the judges of the Azad Kashmir High Court and Supreme Court, as well as the chief election commissioner.

The local administration is headed by officials sent from Islamabad, like the chief secretary, the inspector general of police, the finance secretary, the home secretary, the health secretary, the accountant-general, and usually also the additional chief secretary (development). Because these officials do not fall under the Azad Kashmir government’s service rules, this undermines the authority of the government in Muzaffarabad.

All major subjects where the Azad Kashmir government could have received revenues fall under the jurisdiction of the Kashmir Council, such as electricity and hydropower generation, tourism, banking, insurance, the stock exchange, telecommunication, planning for economic coordination, highways, oil and gas, and industrial development. Therefore, while the council does not assist in development work, the Azad Kashmir government is not allowed to have the means to carry it out.

The objective of the creation of the Kashmir Council was to enhance the status of Azad Kashmir and provide it a forum where its leadership could interact with the prime minister of Pakistan and other top officials in Islamabad. What this undemocratic institution does, instead, is to prevent Azad Kashmir’s elected governments from exercising their executive authority. The council’s budget is in the billions, but its elected members have no say in the budget-making process or in disbursement of money.

The prime minister of Pakistan, who heads the council, is not accountable to Azad Kashmir’s judiciary and parliament. The critical question is: on what basis can a person make major policy decisions on behalf of millions of people whom he or she does not represent?

Many political leaders of Azad Kashmir, including former prime minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan, are strong critics of the powers enjoyed by the federal government through the council. They believe that good governance there would remain a pipedream unless the executive powers of the council are taken away and transferred to the government of Azad Kashmir.

At present, the PPP has governments both in Islamabad and Muzaffarabad. It has already passed the 18 and 19th Amendments to devolve several ministries to the provinces to make them more autonomous. Earlier, the provinces had agreed on the National Finance Commission Award to share their resources equitably. But these developments have had no evident impact on Azad Kashmir, because of its peculiar political and constitutional status.

A civil society organisation in Azad Kashmir, the Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR), came up with sound recommendations for amendments to Azad Kashmir’s constitution to enable the creation of a more harmonious working relationship with Islamabad. The report, entitled “An Appraisal of Constitutional, Financial and Administrative Arrangements between the Governments of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir,” says that the Azad Kashmir Council should be retained and entrusted with powers of co-ordination between the two governments with respect to the responsibilities under the resolutions of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), such as defence and security, currency, foreign affairs, and foreign trade. It further says that all executive and legislative powers should revert to Azad Kashmir’s government and Assembly.

Election for the 12 seats for refugee settled in Pakistan has invariably been a contentions issue between Kashmiri stakeholders and the government in Islamabad, and in Punjab. The report suggests an alternative mechanism for minimisation of rigging in elections for these seats. It says that this system should be discarded, and representation to refugees from Indian-administered parts of Jammu and Kashmir should be given by elections through assembly members on the basis of proportional representation. Before elections, a list of candidates should be provided by political parties to the election commission. The proposed system could be introduced from the next elections, if the Pakistani government agreed.

The report also recommends significant changes in Azad Kashmir’s constitution in establishment of an independent judiciary and elections commission. Additionally, some concrete proposals are made to enhance the economic development of the region. The recently established PPP-led government in Muzaffarabad should take advantage of the conducive political environment for the constitutional amendments. So should the leading opposition party, the Muslim League-N, which has long been supporting constitutional reforms.

It is time a serious dialogue was started on this sensitive issue.

The writer is based in Islamabad.