Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Kashmiri struggle and Politics of Black Day, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Kashmiri struggle and Politics of Black Day
Dr Shabir Choudhry 28 January 2012

State of Jammu and Kashmir is forcibly divided and occupied by more than one country, yet majority of people only see one country as an ‘enemy’; and by and large, their struggle is against one country too. Not only people of Jammu and Kashmir are divided, but they are also deeply confused because hitherto they still don’t know who their enemy is and who their friend is.

They regard India as their enemy because India occupies a large part of Jammu and Kashmir; but majority have a soft corner for Pakistan even though Pakistan also occupies Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. Majority of them acknowledge that policies of both India and Pakistan are imperialist in nature; and that it was Pakistan which violated the Standstill Agreement and attacked State of Jammu and Kashmir, which resulted in provisional accession and our present miseries, but still they have different policy for Pakistan.

Call it confusion, lack of ideological clarity or hypocrisy, majority will happily defend policies of Pakistan under different pretexts; and encouraged and helped by Pakistani establishment will happily demonstrate their anger and hate against India, as if India alone is source of all problems related to Jammu and Kashmir.

On 26 January, it was India’s Republic Day; and some Kashmiri parties observed that as a Black Day. I was contacted by one Valley based Kashmiri who he asked me if I was making this day as a Black Day. I asked him why we should have this as a Black Day. He said because India occupies Kashmir. I said Pakistan also occupies some parts of Jammu and Kashmir State, do you observe 23 March as a Black Day. He had no reply, but after some hesitation he said, Pakistan is a Muslim country and helps us.

I asked him, so in your view it is a religious struggle. He said, no, it is not a religious struggle, it is nationalist struggle and we want independent Kashmir. I asked him, if it is a nationalist struggle; and Pakistan also occupies some parts of Kashmir then why don’t you observe 23 March as Black Day or 14 August as Black Day which is Pakistan’s Independence Day. He had no reply to this, apart from saying that Pakistan provides help to fight Indian occupation; and we cannot observe Pakistan’s Independence Day as a Black Day.

I said if you are a true Kashmiri nationalist then your struggle should be against both occupiers. If you observe Independence Day of one occupier as a Black Day; and refuse to do the same on the Independence Day of the other occupier because that country is a Muslim, then your struggle lacks credibility as being a true nationalist struggle. At best one can say that you are advancing your religious struggle under garb of nationalism; which is hypocrisy and religious parties stand better comparatively as they clearly say what they want to do.

Furthermore, I said, taking help from one occupier to start militant and political struggle against the other occupier, no matter how sincere you are and what sacrifices you have made, is not perceived as a nationalist struggle by the international community.

I said you get all the help you need from Pakistan, be it military, political, diplomatic or financial, and most of you only talk of problems of the valley; and yet you are presented as ‘Kashmiri patriots’ and ‘representatives of Kashmiris’. However, when those Kashmiris living on the Pakistani side of the divide expose Pakistani policy on the Kashmir dispute, and no matter how sincere they are and what sacrifices they have made they are immediately declared as ‘anti movement’ and ‘agents’ of India.

People of the Valley won’t accuse any political activist from the Valley as being ‘anti movement’ or ‘agent’ of someone even when they speak about division of Jammu and Kashmir; or acknowledge that they receive money from Pakistan and promote a Pakistani policy on Kashmir. However, they don’t hesitate for a minute to issue an edict against Azad Kashmiri political activist when they speak against the Pakistani occupation; and sad aspect if this is that some Azad Kashmir political activists jump on the bandwagon to advance the cause of Pakistani establishment and leaders of the Valley.

To take guns, training, bullets and money from one occupier and use that against the other occupier is called a ‘proxy war’ by the international community; but it is called ‘nationalism’ by some Kashmiri parties. This brand of ‘Kashmiri nationalism’ was prepared in GHQ of Pakistan and advanced by some Kashmiri groups under watchful supervision of ISI experts.

I have no problem if people of Jammu and Kashmir want to observe India’s Independence Day as a Black Day, but if they are true nationalists and are not advancing the cause of Pakistan then they should have courage to do the same on the Independence Day of the other occupier. Furthermore, they need to understand that 15 August is Independence Day of Kashmir as well, because after lapse of the British Paramountcy (on 15 August 1947) Jammu and Kashmir became an independent State; and we lost our independence as a result of Pakistani backed tribal invasion which started on 22 October 1947.

Some parties of Jammu and Kashmir observe Black Day against India on the following days: 26 January – India’s Republic Day; 11 February – the day when Maqbool Butt was hanged; 15 August – India’s Independence Day and 27 October – when Indian forces landed in Srinagar. There are other days when they observe strikes to express their anger against India.

I can suggest some days when true nationalists can observe Black Days against Pakistan: 22 October - when Pakistan violated Standstill Agreement and attacked Jammu and Kashmir; 24 October – when Pakistan in name of reorganisation dissolved Revolutionary Provisional Government of Jammu and Kashmir announced on 4 October 1947, and replaced it with their puppets; 5 January – when Pakistan strangulated Kashmiri peoples right of self determination and changed it to right of accession - meaning they cannot become independent and have to select between India and Pakistan; 28 April – when Karachi Pact was signed and Pakistan practically took over areas of Gilgit Baltistan, 9 September- when Pakistan in name of Gilgit Baltistan Self Empowerment Package made these areas practically a province of Pakistan.

Of course, Simla Agreement – which made the Kashmir dispute a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan; and Act 74 which practically made Azad Kashmir a colony of Pakistan can also be observed as Black Days.

Although some Azad Kashmiri parties after some hesitation have started observing 22 October as a Black Day; but I doubt if any Kashmiri nationalist party will dare to observe 14 August as a Black Day, as some parties do on India’s Independence Day. I end this by a quote from my article titled: ‘Kashmiri nationalism has not matured yet’:

‘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.

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.’

Why I am under attack again? Dr Shabir Choudhry

Why I am under attack again?
Dr Shabir Choudhry 25 January 2012

Once again I am under fire, not because I have done something against unification and independence of Jammu and Kashmir, but because I spoke truth about role of some JKLF leaders, which despite its track record of promoting agenda of secret agencies of Pakistan claims to be a ‘nationalist’ party. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said: "Say what is true, although it may be bitter and displeasing to people."


Some old colleagues of JKLF contacted me and asked: ‘in view of Dr Fai’s admission that he worked for ISI and received around 700,000 dollars annually to promote Pakistani interest on Kashmir, how do you see leaders of JKLF’s attempt to defend him and promote him as a Kashmiri patriot’?

As a person, I find Dr Fai a very decent human being; and despite his admission, I have never said anything on this issue, or said anything to belittle him. However, when more than one person requested my opinion on this I asked: ‘How do you view Dr Farooq Abdullah’? Reply was that he is an ‘Indian agent’ and ‘defends interest of India’.

I further asked: ‘What if Dr Farooq Abdullah gets in to trouble and some leaders come out to defend him and promote him as a patriot Kashmiri; and how would you see those leaders’. Instant reply was that ‘only Indian agents will defend him’. I said you have solved the problem. You know what Dr Fai did; and you also know who is defending him; and in view of that you can decide for yourself what is role of these people who defend him and promote him as a ‘patriot Kashmiri’.

I further said, with ISI training, money and guns JKLF introduced gun culture in Kashmir with disastrous results for the ordinary people. It provided Indian troops a reason to enter Kashmir homes and commit human rights violations, degrade women and inflict pain and suffering. Furthermore, Pakistani money and support created Kashmiri politicians and diplomats who promoted Islamabad’s vision of Kashmir inside the State of Jammu and Kashmir and on the international level.

I said, whereas militancy caused pain and suffering to the ordinary people, some people have become very rich as a result of this, as they regarded this as a business, and not a struggle for unification and independence of Jammu and Kashmir. Now, once again, Pakistani money will be used to defend and target people liked and disliked by Islamabad.

These people agreed with what I said, but felt that they have to remain quiet because of the party discipline, fear of reprisals and threat of expulsion and allegation of being an ‘agent’ and a ‘traitor’ is too much to put up with. I knew sooner or later, I would have to pay price for this honesty, as secret agencies and their touts don’t like to be exposed and criticised, hence the present wave of personal attacks and abuse against me with fake names and some of their blind followers and beneficiaries.

One critic, without going in to any background said ‘Yasin Malik kicked you out of JKLF’. JKLF has suffered many splits. More than four splits were caused by dictatorial and unconstitutional decisions of Amanullah Khan; and three by Yasin Malik. In each split opposing groups expel each other and then work separately with JKLF name. In 1995 when they clashed with each other both groups of JKLF (Yasin Malik Group and Amanullah Khan Group) accused each other for working for RAW and ISI. At that time we were working as Younis Group of JKLF and sided with Yasin Malik.

Amanullah Khan has been expelled from JKLF many times. Once he was expelled by two third majority of the Central Committee in 1990, and once he was expelled unanimously by JKLF Revolutionary Command Council in 1995, but he still operated with the name of JKLF, and with help of Pakistani establishment and some followers he managed to survive each time. So after expulsion no one is out of JKLF until that person decides to say good bye to JKLF.

When Pakistan started Mangla Dam upraising project to meet water and energy needs of Pakistan, which were to uproot tens of thousands of Azad Kashmiri people for the second time, Central Committee of JKLF (UK and Europe) decided to speak against this exploitation and injustice. Our argument was that Pakistan should construct dams inside Pakistani territory to meet their water and energy needs; and not uproot people of Mirpur.

In line with the Central Committee decision, Abbas Butt and I went to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and I spoke against Pakistani injustice and exploitation. This was bitterly opposed by Pakistani secret agencies and their touts; and their angered transpired in expulsion of both of us; and as this was totally unconstitutional act, JKLF Central Committee rejected this and in retaliation expelled Yasin Malik and some of his colleagues.

Outcome of this illogical and unconstitutional act of those who acted in name of Yasin Malik was that the JKLF got split again, and we worked as a separate group of JKLF until we dissolved it in May 2008. However, what does it speak of Yasin Malik? Was he there to safeguard interests of people of Jammu and Kashmir (Azad Kashmir is also part of Kashmir) or he was there to protect interest of ISI and Pakistan? He did that on clear instruction of the ISI; and after the event, in a telephone conversation with one senior colleague he said: ‘I was under pressure to take this action. Option was to take this action or get few of my senior colleagues killed in Srinagar. I chose the first option.’

Question is who pressurised him? It can’t be India, as it was Pakistan which was upraising the dam in Azad Kashmir and we spoke against that action of Pakistan. So what does this speak about so called nationalism of JKLF? One can use all the resources of any secret agency to project that ‘pigs can fly’, but that will not change the reality. Promoters of this idea can hold conferences and host dinners for this purpose, and people will come to such dinners, listen to this ‘brilliant logic’, eat food and laugh at them.

Another critic, who did not deny about JKLF and ISI collaboration, but criticised me, as to why it took me eighteen years to discover that JKLF worked with ISI. He further claimed that Shabir Choudhry was a ‘confused person’; and that he built ‘own mosque KNP - Kash Net Party headed by Abbas Butt, and I am 100% sure that after 10 years Choudhry Sahib will say Abbas Butt is with ISI’.

When we set up JKLF in England in 1977, this critic was probably in nappy at that time, or not even born; and he could be excused for his ignorance about history of JKLF and history of Kashmir. JKLF and ISI collaboration started in 1987 when Amanullah Khan was expelled from Britain for alleged terrorism related activities. I was in Britain and our role was political and diplomatic.

We could not have predicted that Amanullah Khan would make this secret pact with the ISI in future, no one could. In any case I was in Britain, and was not aware of this secret deal; and no member of JKLF in Britain was aware of this, as only small circle associated with militancy knew this at that time. When I visited Pakistan and Azad Kashmir in 1991, I came to know about ISI and JKLF collaboration. It was an open secret; and no one felt anything bad about it, if anything, some JKLF leaders took pride in the fact that they had contacts with senior ISI officers.

Despite the prevailing mind – set, I and Chaudhry Qurban Hussain (now Lord Qurban Hussain) and few others challenged this in Central Committee meeting in Rawalpindi in 1991. We were assured that a detailed reply would be given in the next meeting; and new meeting was not called during my stay there. However, my disagreements were visible. Some sincere and senior friends acknowledged mistakes, (JKLF had suffered another split in 1990 when Amanuulah Khan was expelled for the third time, and the other group of JKLF known as Dr Farooq Haider Group and now known as Rauf Kashmir Group was strong) and said this was not the time to create more problems for beleaguered Amanullah Khan, and that we will resolve these issues internally.

It was logical that differences are resolved internally without making them public. I and my colleagues did the same. This is a very lengthy topic and cannot be appropriately covered in one article; in any case, for a sensible reader the above information is sufficient to understand the situation, and that I and my colleagues challenged this policy and that we tried to resolve it internally.

This critic also claimed that Shabir Choudhry is a ‘confused man’. At one time his elder brother was also a ‘confused man’. He published a ‘white paper’ against Amanullah Khan and charged him with many crimes including collaboration with the ISI, damaging the movement and betraying the struggle and true ideology of JKLF. He also charged Yasin Malik as a double agent who received help from both India and Pakistan.

This critic’s brother was on the verge of leaving the JKLF and talked to other estranged colleagues to set up a new party. At that time we were also thinking of leaving the JKLF and setting up a new party. Our colleagues were in touch with JKLF people in different groups who were unhappy with ISI and JKLF collaboration; and the way some top JKLF leaders were fooling people in name of ‘nationalism’ and promoting their personal and commercial interests. His ‘nationalism’ was worth no more than a car and a monthly allowance and he decided to stay within the JKLF, and now he promotes Amanullah Khan and Yasin Malik as great leaders and JKLF as a ‘nationalist’ party.

After following this debate on face book, those who are neutral, mentally mature and have ability to differentiate between good and bad; and are not on a pay role of anyone say this about me. Elizabeth Simon wrote: ‘I don’t think Shabir Choudhry is a confused person. I think, he and the movement to which he belongs, both have clever and progressive ideas about Jammu and Kashmir’s future, but also very difficult to carry out in an area where the influence of religion is a latent on society.’

Qaiser Gill wrote:

Brother these people are in a dark night, and are not capable of facing the first ray of sun light but we got to go further because its our duty towards our weak, frightened people of the fatherland Jammu Kashmir, I had same problem all the times and that was the reason I started using fatherland word with a immense of hate for these outsiders so it have worked and it is working. We are making progress as one may notice but it is a long way to go yet. Please I need you for the smile of my nation and you must keep on working otherwise you will be just like Aman Ullah Bhai. Do not let come that, please. I am proud of you, and I am willing to take your bullet in my chest’.

These sentiments are priceless. I am grateful to all those who have supported me on net or via private messages. Some acknowledged that they are afraid to support me openly because followers and agents of forces of occupation will turn their guns against them; and they are not in position to face them. It was not possible to include all the posts, but my hat is off for them in respect; and for Qaiser Gill, I have no words to thank him.

I even say thank you to these people who have started this barrage of attack with some fake names and some teenagers, as this has provided me with an opportunity to narrate some historical facts to this group, and to wider readers and expose some faces.

Let us start India bashing again, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Let us start India bashing again
Dr Shabir Choudhry 21 February 2012

Subject of Politics is largely related to opinions and views of people; hence it is divisive and controversial. Despite that, some people insist that when I write on this topic I should avoid controversial things and forge unity. Is that possible? In my view it is not possible to be in politics and still avoid controversy. It is like claiming that someone had a shower, but his body was still dry.

One can, perhaps, avoid controversy by being hypocrite. Hazrat Ali (Radi Allah Tahla) said, ‘that person is a hypocrite who has no enemies, because he does not speak truth’. This reminds me of a story when America and the World economy was in deep recession in 1930s; and the then American President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced a new economic policy called New Deal.

Of course there were many against this policy; and one economic expert of the opposition came to see him and spoke against his policy. President Roosevelt listened to him carefully and said you are right. After he left another person belonging to his party came and praised his policy and courageous stand to get out of the recession. President Roosevelt smiled at him and said you are right. His wife was listening to both conversations; and when this visitor left she said both visitors had opposing views and you agreed with them both. Is this not hypocrisy? President Roosevelt smiled at his wife and said you are also right.

The present militant struggle supported by Pakistani agencies started in 1988/89. Like any other struggle it had ups and down; situation was so bad at one time that India almost lost control of the Valley of Kashmir. However, blunders committed by those who were controlling the militancy from across the LOC; and those in the field calling the shots, allowed India to gradually turn the tide. Situation became so desperate that those controlling the militancy and who claimed that they worked hard to ‘hook India’ in Kashmir quagmire had to bring jihadi warriors from other countries and they were called ‘guest militants’.

I and my colleagues started our struggle in 1970s. Most people at that time compromised with the status quo over the Kashmir dispute. However, when militancy started some people discovered Kashmir in 1990s, and while ordinary people suffered, for some it was a lucrative business. Those cyber warriors, charged with strong tribal sentiments and misplaced loyalties and who are spending all their time to defame me and my struggle for secular, democratic and independent Jammu and Kashmir were no where to be seen all these years.

However, two months ago, just like seasonal birds, known as ‘fasli bateray in Urdu’ they emerged from some where to target me and malign me without providing any evidence. They were fully charged with tribal loyalty, and some other factors also helped them to mount very blunt, aggressive and illogical attack against me.

Attack of these cyber warriors was so forceful that it unnerved some of my close friends and well wishers, even though the attack was primarily against me. It looked that if they can break down me (Dr Shabir Choudhry), their mission is accomplished; and their ‘Kashmir liberated’. However, those who are pulling strings from behind need to know that one can only cause nuisance with help of seasonal birds and foot soldiers, but cannot win any war.

Anyhow, in view of this fierce and uncivilised attack, my friends and well wishers suggested that even though our struggle is on the Pakistani side of the divide, but still you must not write anything to expose Pakistani policy on Kashmir; and only target India. Many close colleagues advised me not to write on controversial things in future to avoid criticism. When I questioned them does that mean:

• No more criticism on what Pakistan does in so called Azad Kashmir, what they do in Gilgit Baltistan and what they do to the Kashmir dispute and the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the other side of the LOC;

• No more criticism on Jihadi groups and religious groups who promote religious intolerance and create culture of fear and intimidation in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir;

• No more criticism on Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League (N) and other Pakistani political parties operating in Azad Kashmir and in Gilgit Baltistan to promote a Pakistani interest, exploit our resources and to teach us how to be good slaves of Pakistan;

• No more criticism on Muslim Conference and religious parties that promote Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan in name of religion; and some promote religious intolerance.

I said to them, should we abandon our struggle against injustice, extremism and hatred just because that will generate controversy and invite some criticism. If that is your motto then we might as well disband our party, buy a praying mate and beads; and find a mosque closer to our homes and close our eyes to every injustice and unfairness that goes in our society. After listening to what I had to say, most of them had no reply, however one of them said: ‘Sir we are not writers or scholars like you. We didn’t mean that. We were only concerned about you because you were being unfairly attacked from all sides; and some people were using degrading language against you.’

Perhaps these friends were sincere with their advice, as they did not want me to get in hot water because of what I write or say. As ‘India bashing’ is popular and gets praise and good rewards, they, as well - wishers wanted me to be rewarded and get a ‘loyalty certificate’. However, what they need to know is that I do this because I honestly and sincerely believe that it is in the best interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir – they need to be aware of hidden enemies; and I don’t do it for any praise or any rewards.

I appreciate their care and concern for me, but what they didn’t know is that I don’t write under pressure. I don’t write to please people or get a ‘loyalty tag’ from anyone. I don’t need a loyalty certificate, especially from the people whose own loyalty to State of Jammu and Kashmir and the people is highly questionable.

Furthermore, I started a nationalist struggle as a teenager in 1973; and don’t need any lessons on nationalism, especially from those who are promoting ‘nationalism’ prepared and nurtured in GHQ of Pakistan and carefully preached by their secret agencies. How could it be a ‘national struggle’ when that struggle is started against one occupier with active help and support of the other occupier? To rub salt in wounds of true nationalists, who ever oppose this secret treaty between some ‘nationalist leaders’ and secret agencies of Pakistan or expose them are labelled as ‘agents’; and those who follow the script are promoted as ‘patriots’ and ‘nationalist leaders’.

I will be the last person to say that India is not responsible for human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir; and I have said that many times. In fact, I have written two booklets on that topic; but some people want us to repeat those acts in a parrot like fashion, and totally ignore what goes on in Pakistani occupied Kashmir and in Gilgit Baltistan. Apart from that overwhelming majority of Kashmiri political activists, Pakistani agencies, Pakistani media and Pakistani political parties actively highlight Indian human rights abuses. They totally ignore plight of the people of Kashmir living on the Pakistani side of the divide, some one has to expose Pakistani policy on Kashmir as well to show that we are also occupied and that these areas are also disputed.

1. Now let us do some ‘India bashing’ in light of historical facts. Jammu and Kashmir had a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan. Pakistani government violated that Agreement and stopped essential supplies to Kashmir in second week of October 1947. Shall we condemn India because Pakistan violated this Agreement?

2. Pakistan once again violated that Agreement and on 22 October managed a military attack on Kashmir which resulted in death and destruction of thousands of innocent people. Thousands of Kashmiri women were kidnapped and sold in various parts of Pakistan. Shall we condemn India for this unprovoked attacked on Jammu and Kashmir carried out by Pakistan?

3. This unprovoked attack of Pakistan forced the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir to seek help from India, which resulted in a ‘Provisional accession’ with India; and we lost our newly acquired independence. Shall we condemn India because Pakistan attacked Kashmir and we lost our independence?

4. Some Kashmiri nationalists announced a ‘Provisional government’ of Kashmir on 4th October 1947 to pursue a cause of democratic and independent Jammu and Kashmir. On 24th October 1947, Pakistani government, in name of reorganisation took charge of this government and installed their puppets, who have loyally promoted a Pakistani interest to date. This was Pakistan’s first attempt to block Kashmir’s path to independence, shall we condemn India for this?

5. When the Kashmir dispute was taken to the UN, it was known as ‘Jammu and Kashmir problem’, obviously meaning a problem related to State of Jammu and Kashmir. It was changed to ‘India and Pakistan problem’ on request of Pakistan, making it a territorial issue between India and Pakistan. Shall we condemn India because Pakistan changed the name and made Kashmir a territorial dispute rather than an issue of right of self determination of a Kashmiri nation?

6. UNCIP Resolution of 13 August 1948 used the following words: ‘The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan reaffirm their wish that the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people’. As these words implied an independent Kashmir, Pakistan suggested the following: ‘The question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite;..’

This change was proposed by Pakistan and adopted in the next UNCIP Resolution passed on 5 January 1949; and it blocked the option of an independent Jammu and Kashmir. Shall we condemn India because Pakistan blocked an option of an independent Kashmir?

7. The UNCIP Resolution of 13 August 1948 stated: ‘As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.’ The Resolution asked India to withdraw ‘bulk’ of troops from Kashmir; and because Pakistan feared losing a plebiscite if held under those conditions so they refused to withdraw their troops, hence continuation of the dispute and our miseries. Shall we condemn India because Pakistan refused to withdraw their troops in line with the UNCIP Resolution?

8. Because of Pakistan’s refusal to withdraw her troops and military alliances with America, Soviet Russia sided with India; and after getting support of a Super Power with a Veto power in the Security Council, India changed its stand on Kashmir and called it an ‘integral part’ of India. Who do we blame for our miseries and for making Kashmir dispute part of the Cold War politics?

9. In early 1950s, and again in 1963, Pakistan agreed to partition the State of Jammu and Kashmir, provided they got the Valley or a big chunk of the territory from there, clearly showing that both countries were only interested in territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly both countries practically partitioned Jammu and Kashmir in the Simla Agreement of 1972; and the Cease Fire Line was changed to Line of Control. Both countries agreed that future of Jammu and Kashmir will be decided by Pakistan and India, clearly blocking any role for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and for any role for a third party; or even any role for the UN Security Council. Despite that Pakistani governments fool people in name of UN Resolutions. Shall we condemn India because Pakistan has camouflaged its territorial ambitions in name of religion and brotherhood?

My contention is criticise India where India is wrong; but also criticise Pakistan where they have stabbed the Kashmir cause because of their territorial greed. I have never supported India’s claim on Kashmir; I have never condoned human rights abuses in Kashmir; I have never said, I wanted to be part of India; my emphasis is that my struggle is on this side of the LOC and not in Srinagar. Those who are occupied by India they can spend all their time criticising India and struggling against India, it DOES NOT worry me; but why some Kashmiris and especially so called ‘nationalists’ get tummy pain when I speak against the country which occupies me.

Pakistani government and their agencies urge people of Jammu and Kashmir to focus all their energies to expose India; and many Kashmiris influenced by this policy also demand that we should only talk of India’s wrong doings. How much more can you expose India, there are many reports on human rights abuses compiled by some Indian and some international organisations. There is a vibrant local media and international media to high light all wrong doings. Apart from that India has put its cards on table by calling Kashmir its ‘integral’ part; in other words there appears to be no ambiguity on India’s Kashmir policy, wrong as it is. Should we not spend some time and resources to expose Pakistan – a country which is advancing its territorial interests and depriving people of Kashmir’s right to independence by using name of religion?

I sincerely believe that my struggle is on the Pakistani side of the divide; and those who are urging us to focus all our attention against India or go to the other side to liberate that side are directly or indirectly playing in hands of Pakistani agencies. Those who are occupied by India have every right to struggle against that occupation; what I request is, please give me the same right that I struggle against the country that occupies me.

I understand in view of powerful vested interest and massive propaganda, to pursue this policy is to invite wrath of powerful groups, but I am not going to abandon this struggle just because of harsh criticism and difficulties. I know there are many who like what I do, but they are not in a position to come out to support me because of serious reprisals; however, I hope there will be some in future to take the torch and continue with the journey.

Writer is a 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

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Kashmir and politics of fear and intimidation, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Kashmir and politics of fear and intimidation
Dr Shabir Choudhry 2 February 2012

Kashmir is not only known for its natural beauty; but was also famous for culture of tolerance, peace and co existence. All this was shattered when backed by Pakistani secret agencies culture of gun, violence, fear and intimidation was introduced in 1988/89. As if that was not enough non Kashmiris, totally alien to Kashmiri culture and ethos, were also sent in with gun that they can impose new culture and values on people of Jammu and Kashmir.

This culture of fear and intimidation was first introduced in to the Valley of Kashmir with disastrous consequences. Anyone who opposed this was silenced irrespective of his race or religion. Under that prevailing culture, ‘liberal minded’ Yasin Malik, Chairman of JKLF, also proved intolerant when highly respected journalist Tahir Mohiuldin criticised him in ‘Weekly ‘Chattan’, and a group of JKLF members stormed his office, broke his furniture and beat him up.

Later on, this alien culture of hate and intimidation was ‘exported’ to other parts of Jammu and Kashmir and where ever people of Jammu and Kashmir lived, whether it was London, New York or Toronto. Attempts were made to silence all voices which criticised those who introduced this monster of hate and advanced it for personal, ideological or material gains. I salute all those who stood their ground and spoke against this culture of violence, hatred, fear and intimidation.

Despite threats to my life, personal abuse and unfounded allegations to malign me, I have been doing my jihad against those who promoted violence, sectarianism, regionalism, tribalism and hate. For many years I have advanced a non violent struggle, equality for all and rule of law; and how sad that now I am accused of being ‘racist’ and playing the ‘tribal’ card. I DO NOT have a shred of racism and tribalism in me, even at that time when I was young and immature in many ways; I opposed regionalism and tribalism and always sided with the weak and poor.

I have criticised those who have harmed our struggle for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir, and continue to harm it under different slogans. And on my part no matter what people call me, I will continue with my jihad of writing against them and exposing them. This sponsored criticism of some misguided people who either don’t understand the situation or are touts of those who want us to remain occupied and forcibly divided is not going to intimidate me.

It was not the first time I was under attack by face book warriors; and it won’t be the last. What made difference this time was the unfortunate posts of someone using ID of ‘paki power’, whose agenda was to muddy the water, create confusion among Kashmiris and alienate me from my friends and colleagues. To a large extent he was successful, as some people thought I was using this ID. Allah Almighty knows best; however, once again I say that it is not my ID and I DID NOT use this ID. There is no need to. I am quite used to these smear campaigns against me; and know how to handle them, hence no need to use any fake ID. Allah has given me enough courage and strength of character to say spade a spade and face the consequences.

Unfortunately some of my colleagues and friends were also swayed by this; and they erroneously assumed that I have attacked their tribe by using this fake ID. Their loyalty to their tribe made them emotional and they forgot that in my articles and speeches I have highly praised contribution made by their tribe for the cause f an independent Jammu and Kashmir. Some of these colleagues have worked with me since 1977; and despite heated debates and disagreements they know I have never used a ‘racist card’ or a ‘tribal card’.

I set up a face book group called, ‘Views on Jammu and Kashmir’. It has 4613 members. Policy of this group is to ‘advance the cause of Jammu and Kashmir, and promote peace, tolerance and democratic values. We allow members to express their views as long as they do not spread hate, make personal attacks and insult any religion or abuse people or countries.’

I have been repeatedly attacked and abused by few members with real and fake ID’s. They have made unfounded allegations against me and they have not given any evidence to support their allegations; and yet I have not banned them, hoping that common sense will prevail and sensible members will understand what is going on and how politics of fear and intimidation is prevalent on face book as well.

Even at the height of this campaign there were about ten ID’s speaking against me and about the same number either speaking in my support or trying to provide alternative view point. My maths is not good, but 10 members out of 4613 is not significant, but their foul language and arrogance turned the tide in my favour, because after making few clarifications, most of time I did not reply and sensible members realised there was some agenda for this campaign.

Support came from those quarters from where it was not expected; and from it was expected they decided to sit on the fence – after all no one wants to come in the firing line, and become a ‘bad boy’. However, I have received more than 200 private messages and many telephone calls and they all ‘appreciated my work and urged me to continue my struggle against forces of occupation, extremism, communalism, regionalism and hatred. Most of them said you must be doing something right and hitting in the right place to deserve this much attention and opposition. If you were not having any significance then no one has time to waste and write against you.’

Some critics on face book called my articles ‘crap’, even though my articles are published in many publications and in more than one country; and are widely read and used by those interested in Kashmir dispute and India Pakistan relations. Out of many comments I have received, I am only producing some to show what my readers say.

In reference to my article, ‘Kashmiri struggle and politics of Black Day’ Dr Nazir Gilani wrote: ‘Well written article. K H Khurshid (Jammu Kashmir Liberation League), Khaliq Ansari (Plebiscite Front), Maqbool Bhat (PF) and all other nationalists were branded as Indian agents or anti Pakistan by Muslim Conference in AJK, for self serving political interests………You are right there has been a problem with our nationalists in understanding nationalism. Nationalists want to perform in reference to Pro Pakistan propaganda. Their conviction and ideological basis is shaky. Your article has consolidated a valuable comparison.’

Tahir Sayyed from Srinagar wrote: ‘Dr Shabir Choudhry Aslamu Alikum
I have read some of your arguments with great interest. Your articles are informative and have strong and logical arguments. You are doing good work with sincerity, keep it up; and don’t get intimidated by your critics.’

Elizabeth Simon del Sol wrote: Shabir Choudhry, a good summary about Pakistan’s reality. One should ask why religious extremism and intolerance have increased in Pakistan. It seems clear that the policy of this country is based on strengthening its military power. Perhaps the most immediate needs for this country were not security and defence; if not economic growth, the education, children schooling and exclusion and poverty…’

Syes Sadre Uddin Hussain wrote: This is a good article and worth reading. Religious extremism was promoted by General Zia, the great exploiter of Islam to fool the masses and gain support of the Mullahs to rule Pakistan till death. The solution lies in nationalising all Masajids and Madrassahs and banning all religious groups, Tehriks and parties which are exploiting Islam for their selfish ends and creating divisions in the society and promoting extremism sectarianism, killings, Maslak and Fiqah, differences etc, in the name of Islam instead of promoting unity…..’

On the issue of telling truth and facing pressure, Elizabeth Simon del Sol wrote:
‘Shabir Choudhry, you are not the only one who is suffering from abusive language. Anyone who tells the truth by shining words is heavily persecuted. When we are choosing a difficult way, we must be aware and mature enough to deal with its consequences. Truth produces large enemies and hard obstacles. Everything in life has a price. I do not expect anything from anyone from life itself. Just thank God every morning to be alive….’

In another message, Elizabeth Simon del Sol wrote: ‘Shabir Choudhry, you are seeing a truth or reality that others do not see or don’t want to see. You and your friends are being the witness of a chain of events that are beating you, while all others are mere actors or protagonists of these events. But unfortunately, life is a fight, and even though it seems like you’re going to get knocked out, you must keep on fighting. If you are not willing to fight and die for your own life you’re never going to be able to fully live. The whole situation so full of obstacles and enemies, reminds me the wise words of King Solomon: “This too shall pass. In life, nothing is certain and nothing is perfect. Just rise above the challenge.”

There are many more quotes which I could produce to show what sensible people say about my work; and I don’t care what people with myopic view and misplaced loyalty say. I assure all my readers, friends and colleagues that my struggle for independence of Jammu and Kashmir, equality, peace and rule of law will continue; and I will not be intimidated.
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