Tuesday, 13 December 2011

When will people of Kashmir learn? Dr Shabir Choudhry

When will people of Kashmir learn?

Dr Shabir Choudhry 13 December 2011

‘Myth’ is that people of Kashmir are very intelligent, freedom loving and tolerant. I know some people will get upset by my opening sentence; but no matter how many people get upset by this, I will call it a myth until it is proven to be true.

People who are intelligent and freedom loving do not remain occupied and oppressed for so long. People who are tolerant do not invite foreigners to attack their country and request new rulers from outside the boundaries of Kashmir; and do not become so intolerant that minorities feel unsafe in their homes and people feel frightened to express their views.

People with tunnel vision, twisted mind and loyalties outside the boundaries of Kashmir fabricate history and tell us that our slavery started with occupation of the Sikhs, as Sikhs were non Muslims and they ended Afghan (Muslim) rule in Kashmir. However, true sons of soil know, although Afghans and Mughals were Muslims, but they were also occupiers and they brutally oppressed people of Kashmir. Apart from that they did not go there to advance cause of Islam, as Kashmir was already a Muslim country; and perhaps better Muslims than Mughals who invaded Kashmir in 1586.

After the Sikh rule Maharaja Gulab Singh established State of Jammu and Kashmir which unlike other Princely States enjoyed greater autonomy - short of complete independence as the British were responsible for defence. After the end of the British Raj in India, the British Paramountcy or whatever pacts the Maharajah had with the British came to an end; and Jammu and Kashmir emerged as an independent State on 15 August 1947.

The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir concluded a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan and also offered India to have a Standstill Agreement. India wanted to discuss this matter further, but on 22 October 1947, in violation of the Standstill Agreement Pakistan launched a tribal attack on Jammu and Kashmir. This unprovoked and naked aggression resulted in death of thousands of innocent men women and children; and the Maharajah fearing fall of his summer capital Srinagar, asked India for help.

This help was only made available when the Maharajah signed an Instrument of Accession which was provisionally accepted and had to be ratified by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Indian army reached Srinagar on the morning of 27 October and started fighting the raiders. This resulted in the first Kashmir war between India and Pakistan, in which people of Jammu and Kashmir suffered immensely and the State was forcibly divided between the two countries; and once again we lost our independence.

Important point to note here is that we lost our independence in 1586 because our stronger Muslim neighbour of the time – Akbar the Great invaded our country. After centuries of slavery, exploitation and oppression we achieved our independence on 15 October 1947. This time again, we were attacked by a stronger Muslim country – Pakistan, which resulted in ‘Provisional accession’ with India and eventual forced division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

This is not to suggest that India did not want to make Kashmir part of India, however, fact remains it was Pakistan which violated the Standstill Agreement and attacked our country and trampled our integrity and independence. In other words entry of Pakistani troops in to Jammu and Kashmir territory was against the wishes of the Kashmiri Ruler; and entry of Indian troops was on the request of the Ruler. No doubt the Indian troops have gone far beyond the terms of the treaty and are responsible for human rights abuses; but we must not twist facts to justify the initial aggression, which is source of our miseries since 22 October 1947.

Instead of blaming the aggressor for heinous crimes committed against innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir, ‘intelligent’ people of Kashmir were persuaded in name of religion to glorify the aggressor. It is unfortunate that even now in 2012, ‘intelligent’ people of Jammu and Kashmir cannot differentiate between a friend and a foe. Despite enormous ‘sacrifices’, death and destruction they are not sure what they want, as some want accession to Pakistan, some want accession to India, some want independence; and some are happy with the status quo as this serves their interests.

If there was only one occupier then we could have achieved independence a long time ago. Similarly, if Jammu and Kashmir was not multi religion and multi ethnic then it would have been easy to decide our future. Those who advocate Islamic state forget that there are followers of other faiths in Kashmir; and even within Islam there are many sects negating each other, so we cannot have practically advance religious solution unless we want create more chaos and divide the State on religious lines.

Leaving out options of becoming independent and joining India, let us see what option of joining Pakistan has to offer people of Jammu and Kashmir. First it will divide the State on religious lines, as Buddhists of Ladakh and Hindus and Sikhs of Jammu province would not like to join Pakistan, as their interests would not be protected there; and plight of non Muslims in Pakistan is a big deterrent to them.

People of Jammu and Kashmir, especially Muslims, living on the Indian side of the divide need to think that Gilgit Baltistan is directly ruled by Pakistan since 1947; and if the Pakistani rule was anything near to be being good then people of that region would not say that they are occupied and ruled by draconian laws without rights to fundamental rights. Similarly people of so called Azad Kashmir are not happy with what Pakistani government and secret agencies do to exploit and oppress them.

Leaving that aside, now let us see what Pakistan is in view of Pakistani people: Col Riaz Jafri, who was the Principal Staff Officer to late Major General Rao Farman Ali Khan – in charge Martial Law (Civil Affairs), wrote in article, ‘Fall of Dacca’:

'Not only, that the Bengalis were treated as unequals, but it is also a fact that they were the major revenue earner for Pakistan....... The highest in authority were guilty of being too greedy, power hungry and selfish. Unfortunately we all treated East Pakistan as a colony and never granted them their justly deserved status of being the major human organ of Pakistan’s body – 54 percent of the population. As power barons of the Federal government mostly hailed from West Pakistan they never shared the power willingly or happily with their Bengali brethren.' Source - http://k4kashmir.com/?p=6294

Bakhtiar Qayyum, who served the Pakistani establishment at a senior level for 30 years, writes:

Pakistan is passing through a very critical stage of its existence. Voices are coming from all directions that this country is very soon going to collapse. Terrorism, Talibanisation, crumbling economy and the deteriorating law and order situation are just the few indicators telling of the bleak situation….Societies and countries built on hatred cannot sustain for long. Only those which have live and brotherhood in their foundations last for ever.’ Source: Liberty International, November 2011, page 8

MURTAZA RAZVI, staff member of famous English daily ‘Dawn’, writes: Given our internal rifts, political, religious, sectarian, government-military related heartburns, bad governance and with foreign policy in a shambles, Pakistan is becoming increasingly isolated from the rest of the world. Who needs external enemies when we have become self-sufficient in creating armies of enemies from within, most with a divine mission to wage jihad on one another, or running over our borders in utter desperation to raise a spectre of horror in our neighbourhood? Any news emanating from Islamabad on the global grid is expected to be bad news or ‘news of the weird’ at the very least. All this while we have a tireless ability to put out more and more of the same variety and then cry ourselves hoarse about our tumbling image abroad.’ Source: Dawn, 9 December 2011

Asian Human Right Commission writes: ‘During the year, in Karachi, capital of Sindh alone, 1800 persons were killed and political parties from ruling coalition were involved in ethnic target killings. The minister of interior says that during two years 3938 people were killed in Karachi city. In Balochistan during the year disappearances by the plain clothed persons continued and more than 100 persons were disappeared. Around 100 missing persons were extra judicially killed and the family members of the victims claim that these persons were abducted by law enforcement agencies.’ Source: http://www.humanrights.asia/resources/hrreport/2011/AHRC-SPR-008-2011/view.

These are only few examples of the situation, and I am sure some people can come up with similar things about India; but that is not the issue here. What we, as citizens of Jammu and Kashmir State, have to see is what is best for us. There are problems joining India and there are problems joining Pakistan. As intelligent human beings we should determine our priorities and care for our interests and not interests of our neighbours, be it in name of religion or democracy. We must not allow our neighbours and their agents to fool us anymore and opt for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.

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 Affairs.Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com View: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com www.k4kashmir.com

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