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 Affairs.Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com

www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com www.k4kashmir.com

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