Friday, 27 April 2012

Why forces of occupation attacked KNP, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Why forces of occupation attacked KNP Dr Shabir Choudhry 27 April 2012 Every action has reaction, we are told; and it is a fact as well. I have pro active approach to politics; but at the same time, like others, I also react to events. In other words, one can say my politics is reactionary as well; and this article will show how actions generated different reactions. A few days ago a dedicated member of the JKLF contacted me and enquired about my research on Poonch rebellion. I was very frank with him said because of this smear campaign going on against me for the past four months; I have not been able to pay any attention to this. He laughed and said, but you declared on many internet forums that you would find facts about this and requested people for help and information. I said, yes I did, but I have been busy dealing with some parts of this smear campaign and could not do any new work on this topic. He laughed and said: ‘Choudhry Sahib that is what happens when you declare to do controversial and sensitive things in advance; and people who want to hide those facts would keep you busy in other matters. For the past four months I have seen you either defending one allegation or the other; and your reputation of being a sincere and dedicated soldier of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir has been tarnished.’ He said many other things as well; but it might not be appropriate to give details of that at this stage. However, his interjection not only gave me another perspective; but also provided me with an opportunity to explain why I am under attack and why Kashmir National Party suffered a split. I was first elected Secretary General of JKLF in 1985. This showed that I had my own standing and contribution to the struggle; and the JKLF delegates present in the Convention acknowledged that fact. The JKLF constitution of that time regarded Secretary General as a ‘Chief Executive’ of the party and the President, although a party head, had less executive powers. At that time JKLF in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan was in infancy; and there was no JKLF on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir. Afzal Jatalvi and I provided leadership to the JKLF during very difficult time, as we had to deal with matters with which we had no connection – kidnapping and killing of an Indian diplomat, which was done by Kashmir Liberation Army. To make matters worse for us Amanullah Khan was also arrested in 1985 and then deported to Pakistan in 1987. Anyhow, in order to continue with my research for PhD, I decided not to contest for any post in the convention of 1992. The elections produced results which Amanullah Khan did not like; and on advice of some people in Britain he disbanded the elected body of JKLF after three months of its election. It was an unconstitutional act; and there was a strong reaction against this. The JKLF was once again split in to two groups. Choudhry Qurban Hussain (now Lord Qurban Hussain) and Choudhry Sabir Hussain arranged a meeting of both groups and an agreement was reached to unite the JKLF. I don’t know on whose advice and without hearing the concerned people this agreement was rejected and Azmat Khan and Abid Hashmi were expelled from the JKLF. I challenged that decision, as it was totally unconstitutional and said to Amanullah Khan that JKLF is not your fiefdom that you take decisions as you like; and if you cannot give democratic rights to the JKLF members how can you give rights to the ordinary people. For this courageous and principled stand, Mohammed Younis and I was expelled from the JKLF, and we started working as a separate group; and I had to accept the post of Secretary General again in order to face new challenges. Anyhow, when our group of the JKLF was firmly established, I decided to leave my post. As Azmat Khan suffered a defeat in the previous election for the post Secretary General, it was decided that he should be given a chance to take over responsibilities of the Secretary General. However, senior people (kitchen cabinet) of the JKLF met in Hounslow and decided to correct the power imbalance in the posts of Secretary General and the President in favour of the President, because they thought Azmat Khan was politically too immature to digest powers of the Secretary General. That apart, my and Abbas Butt’s interaction with different Think Tanks, diplomats, NGOs and experts of the region, helped us to formulate policies that were more practical and appropriate to the Kashmiri struggle for independence; but they were clearly at variance with the JKLF headed by Amanullah Khan. By that time we believed there was no military solution to the Kashmir dispute; and that we need to promote democratic, secular and peaceful struggle to win support of other ethnic minorities of Jammu and Kashmir, people of India and the world at large. Also we strongly advocated a peace process involving all three parties to the dispute. Moreover, we thought we must struggle on the Pakistani side of the LOC. In other words those who are occupied by India, they should struggle there according to their requirements; and those who are occupied by Pakistan they should struggle on this side of the LOC. We firmly believed that it was wrong to put all eggs in the basket of the Valley of Kashmir and make that focus of all the attention; which proved to be detrimental to our national struggle as the international community thought it was only the Valley that was disputed because there was no real struggle or unrest in the remaining parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. We actively promoted the above policies; and activities of Kashmir National Party were noticed; and certain quarters felt uneasy because of what we did and what we promoted logically and effectively. Because of our concerted campaign and of course of other like minded people, Gilgit Baltistan emerged on the political radar and it became apparent that it was not part of Pakistan, but constitutional part of former State of Jammu and Kashmir. KNP leaders, as a political party arranged a Study Tour and visited Gilgit Baltistan, interviewed people and compiled a detailed report. They also conducted a survey in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan to ascertain views of the people on the current situation and on the future status of Jammu and Kashmir. The survey was launched in the British House of Lords with help of Baroness Emma Nicholson; and the full report of KNP Study Tour was released in a form of book in Geneva during session of the UN Human Rights Council. Also KNP was the first party to reveal presence of the Chinese Army in Gilgit Baltistan; and explained the hidden agenda of both Pakistan and China. Later on KNP provided photographic evidence to support all this. KNP also provided Urdu translation of this report and provided literature on various aspects of the Kashmiri struggle; and exposed some myths related to our struggle and independence. Furthermore, we exposed many people who were working as proxies and used the name of struggle to promote their personal, political and economic agenda. Those who wanted to make the Valley of Kashmir focus of attention and keep attention away from areas under Pakistan wanted all of us the hold Black Day on 27 October, a day when the Indian army landed in Kashmir on the request of the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. KNP, however, took lead in this matter and proved with evidence the real agenda of those who managed the Tribal Invasion and unprovoked attack on independence and sovereignty of our mother land on 22 October 1947; and asserted that the Black Day should be held on 22 October. Furthermore, KNP published materials related to the tribal attack, which was launched by violating the Standstill Agreement. We also gave details of atrocities committed by the tribesmen on innocent citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. While all this was appreciated by all members of the KNP at every level, and by other freedom loving people who were kept in dark because of murder of history, especially on the Pakistani side of the divide; those groups and powers that were exposed and hurt because of our work got anxious and decided to strike back. Perhaps to make matters worse for myself and the KNP I declared that I wanted to provide facts about the Poonch rebellion which was brutally crushed by the Pakistani authorities in mid 1950s. Of course my purpose was to give true account of the events and assert that we people of Jammu and Kashmir are occupied on both sides of the divide; and that all armies are trained to kill when ordered to do so. The powers and groups that were uncomfortable by all this quickly hatched a conspiracy to counter our work; and a malicious campaign to tarnish my work, honesty, sincerity and dedication to the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir was initiated. Proxies of these anti Kashmir groups propagated, as if in the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir problem was Dr Shabir Choudhry. In order to control what we planned to do and discredit what we did in the past, they first tried to persuade us that KNP should merge with JKLF headed by Yasin Malik and Amanullah Khan. They knew once we become part of the JKLF they would be able to control our activities; and discredit over struggle from platform of the KNP. In the meeting of KNP Supreme Council it was decided that we should not join the JKLF because of clear differences over ideology and strategies. Despite this decision, Masoom Ansari decided to resign from the KNP to join the JKLF; and sent his resignation to Abbas Butt, Party Chairman, and sent a copy to me. When this smear campaign against me was in full swing, some senior members tried to pressurise Abbas Butt to take some action against me. Abbas Butt knew that KNP policies are not formulated by one individual, and one individual could not be held responsible for any policy, because the KNP policies are discussed in meetings and after reaching consensus they are adopted; so there was no need to take any action against me. Some members from Birmingham requested Abbas Butt for a meeting, which was held on 25 March 2012. In that meeting Mohammed Nazam Bhatti and Mumtaz Mirza told Abbas Butt that they were leaving the KNP to join the JKLF headed by Yasin Malik and Amanullah Khan. Both sides decided to part like friends; and gentlemen’s promise was that no one will issue any statements. Later on some quarters with Machiavellian mind advised them not to join the JKLF as they won’t be able to teach lesson to Dr Shabir Choudhry and harm the KNP. They were urged to stay in the KNP and take action against Dr Shabir Choudhry, illegal and unconstitutional as it was. Those who planned this move knew that Abbas Butt, who had been, by and large, neutral in these matters would be forced to step in to clarify the legal situation that action taken by Mohammed Nazam Bhatti was totally unconstitutional. When Abbas Butt did that, Mohammed Nazam Bhatti also ‘expelled’ Abbas Butt from the KNP as well. Many people with understanding of parties and procedures regarding expulsion of members; and especially the Central Leaders and the Chairman are laughing at this, as they know a foot soldier cannot expel the army chief. However, it would be interesting for the KNP members and the JKLF members to know that in 1985, Mohammed Nazam Bhatti, as a President of JKLF Birmingham branch, expelled Amanullah Khan who was the Chairman of the JKLF. Anyone can understand that a branch President cannot expel a Chairman; but Mohammed Nazam Bhatti has his own rules. This time he expelled another Chairman of a Party- Abbas Butt. The joke is that the man who extended his resignation because he wanted to join the JKLF, I don’t know under what pressure or under what incentive accepted to become ‘Chairman’ of breakaway group of KNP. However, I want to conclude that people representing tribalism, extremism, violence, hatred and forces of occupation can only create temporary hurdles and create confusion; but they cannot hold back our struggle and hide facts. Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. View:

Monday, 23 April 2012

Tribal Invasion and Kashmir, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Tribal Invasion and Kashmir, Dr Shabir Choudhry 23 April 2012 Tribal attack on Kashmir was a major event in contemporary history of Jammu and Kashmir with far reaching consequences. The Tribal Attack not only ended Kashmir’s sovereignty, but it also resulted in division of the State between India and Pakistan; and to date, it remains divided and families are forcibly separated since 1947. Another sad part of this tragedy is that the brutal attack was launched in holy name of ‘jihad’ and liberation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The fact, however, is that those who planned this ferocious and unprovoked attack wanted to capture Kashmir; and majority of those who joined the attack did not do it because of any religious duty but for the purpose of looting. It is unfortunate that because of very strong propaganda of the Pakistani ruling elite who planned this attack; and then justified it in name of Islam, still majority of people believe that the tribal attack was arranged to liberate people of Jammu and Kashmir. Furthermore, they claim Kashmir was part of Pakistan and illegally occupied by India; therefore, this attack was necessary and justified. Before we discuss this, it is important that we explain the legal position of Jammu and Kashmir. The British Raj in India consisted of two units, namely British India and Princely India; whereas the former was directly ruled, the latter enjoyed semi autonomous status. The Rulers of the Princely States were allies of the British and under different treaties they accepted the British Paramountcy. Many Muslims of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir are manipulated that because Pakistan was created in name of religion; and because Jammu and Kashmir was a majority Muslim State, therefore, it should have become part of Pakistan. That is not true; as Two Nations Theory did not apply to the Princely States, including the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Two Nations theory, whatever its value after the fall of East Pakistan, and after the separatist trends within the present Pakistan, was only applicable to the British India. The Rulers of Princely States had a choice to accede to either India, accede to Pakistan or negotiate some new terms with India or Pakistan. Mohammed Ali Jinnah was a constitutional expert. He knew the Two Nations Theory did not apply to the Princely States; and that is why before the establishment of Pakistan he never asked Kashmir’s inclusion in Pakistan. When people asked him a question about future of Kashmir and other Princely States, he asserted: “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.” Mohammed Ali Jinnah demonstrated this policy by accepting accession of Junagarrh’s to Pakistan, even though this State had overwhelming non Muslim majority; and if the Two Nations Theory was applicable to the Princely States then this State would have automatically become part of India. Similarly, on question of Hyderabad, Mohammed Ali Jinnah supported Ruler of this State’s right to remain independent, even though this State also had overwhelming non Muslim majority; and if the Two Nations Theory was applicable to the Princely States then Hyderabad also should have automatically joined India. Apart from that Governor General of India Lord Louis Mountbatten in his address to a Special full meeting of the Chamber of Princes on July 25 1947, said: “Now, the Indian Independence Act releases the States from all their obligations to the Crown. The States will have complete freedom- technically and legally they become independent.” The above examples prove without any doubt that the Two Nations Theory was only related to the British India and was not applicable to the Princely States. The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir had no intention to join either India or Pakistan and lose his power and status. The Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir knew that the British Raj was going to end soon; and after the lapse of paramountcy, he wanted to become an independent Ruler of his State, so he decided to sign Standstill Agreements with India and Pakistan. Whereas, Pakistan signed the Standstill Agreement with the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir, India wanted to discuss this matter further. Those who justify this unprovoked and brutal aggression claim that the tribal attack was arranged to save Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir who were killed because of communal riots. It is interesting to note that the riots took place in Jammu, whereas the tribal attack was launched in the Valley of Kashmir where the Muslims had overwhelming majority; and hundreds of miles away from the trouble spot. The aim of this attack was to punish the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir for not acceding to Pakistan and to capture his summer capital and the political and economic hub. Jammu and Kashmir was important to Pakistan because of its great strategic location, natural resources and security it provided to Pakistan. If the entire Jammu and Kashmir had gone to India, and the Indian forces were deployed on Kashmir’s border with Pakistan, then that would have seriously endangered Pakistan’s main civil and military lines of communication between Rawalpindi and Lahore. If Pakistan was to safeguard this route properly then that would make cities of Lahore, Sialkot and Gujrat vulnerable to the Indian invasion. Apart from that Jammu and Kashmir was important to Pakistan’s economy, especially agriculture. So as far as Pakistani ruling elite were concerned they felt it was absolutely necessary to get Kashmir at all costs. With that in mind the Pakistani leaders and Pakistani officers of the Pakistan army (all senior officers were British at that time) started formulating a policy to capture Kashmir soon after the partition of India. Major General Akbar Khan, who was in charge of this military campaign, went to Murree, the hill station near the Kashmir border two weeks after the partition of India. This is where he met Sardar Ibrahim Khan (who was appointed President of Azad Kashmir by Khawaja Abdul Rahim Commissioner of Rawalpindi), and Mian Iftikhar Khan a leader of Pakistan Muslim League, Lahore; and who was on way to Srinagar to assess the situation there. Major General Akbar Khan, at that time was a serving officer of the Pakistan Army, and was Director of Weapons and equipment at the GHQ. In his book, ‘Raiders in Kashmir’, while referring to the meeting with Mian Iftikhar Khan, he wrote: ‘All he could tell me was that some money could be spent…he said that any action by us to be of an unofficial nature, and no Pakistani troops or officers were to take an active part in it. With this inadequate data in my possession, I spent the next day or so with Sardar Ibrahim and others and returned to Pinidi where I wrote out a plan’. 1 The whole plan needed a lot of assistance from the Pakistan army in the form of military plans, weapons, and supply of ammunition, communications, intelligence and able and committed manpower to implement that plan. The plan had to be kept secret not only from the Indians; but also from senior Pakistani army officers of the British origin. Major General Akbar Khan produced a plan to capture Kashmir with the title of: ‘Armed revolt inside Kashmir’. As the name suggests, the Pakistani plan was that it should look like a ‘revolt’ of the people of Jammu and Kashmir against its (non Muslim) Ruler. I know many people claim that it was a Kashmiri ‘revolt’ against a tyrant and non Muslim Ruler; and they give details of their sacrifices or sacrifices of their families. I will not deny the sacrifices made by the people. Also I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, however, as a researcher and a political analyst, I have to see what were the motives of those who planned this brutal and unprovoked attack that resulted in forced division of our motherland; and which was to be the main cause of animosity and wars between India and Pakistan. It would be a good analogy, if we look at the uprisings in Libya and Syria. One can say, people of these countries revolted against the rulers of these countries; and made great sacrifices. Yes, they have made great sacrifices and suffered immensely, but were these ‘revolts’ indigence or local with no help and support from outside? Those who plan revolts of this nature always ensure that the fighting people believe that they are fighting for their own cause; and to advance interest of their nation, tribe or faith. I agree people of the present Azad Kashmir, especially people of Poonch had resentments against the Maharajah; but is it not true that foreign countries always exploit local, regional or tribal grievances and religious sentiments to start a revolt. The man in charge of the campaign wrote: ‘As open interference or aggression by Pakistan was obviously undesirable, it was proposed that our efforts should be concentrated upon strengthening the Kashmiris themselves internally – and at the same time taking steps to prevent of arrival of armed civilians or military assistance from India into Kashmir.’ 2 To stop the Indian help reaching Kashmir he proposed 1,000 men to be stationed near Kathua and 200 men to be stationed near the Srinagar airport. Total army of the Maharajah, at that time, was 9,000 out of which only 2,000 were Muslims; and because of the communal situation in the entire region, he was reluctant to put too much faith to his Muslim units. His remaining 7,000 army was widely scattered, and could not defend the borders; and in view of what the Muslim units subsequently did in various parts of the State, his judgement was not wrong. Apart from Major General Akbar Khan other key protagonists were Mr Khurshid Anwar, Commander of the Muslim League National Guards, Mr Zaman Kiani, Commander of the former Indian National Army, Sardar Shaukat Ayat Khan a senior leader of Muslim League and a Minister in the Punjab government. All these met the Prime Minister of Pakistan in Lahore, in presence of Mr Ghulam Mohammed, Finance Minister and later Governor General of Pakistan and Mian Iftikhar Khan. In this meeting many important decisions with regard to the whole plan were discussed and finalised. 3 He claims that he also took some senior officers, like Brigadier Sher Khan, who was Director Intelligence at that time and based in the GHQ, in to confidence. Also he claims to have had support of Pakistan Air Force through Air commodore Janjua and others who helped them with winter clothing, ammunition and weapons etc. 4 I have always maintained that if there was no tribal attack then it was possible that we people of Jammu and Kashmir could have been still independent. We were attacked by the Tribesmen supported by Pakistani officials; and we lost our sovereignty as a direct result of this brutal and unprovoked aggression. Our suffering, deaths and destruction; and all that what has happened since October 1947, could be linked to that aggression. Even Major General Akbar Khan tends to support this view point that the Maharajah was forced to seek help from India because of this brutal attack. He even agrees that Sheikh Abdullah was not in favour of acceding to India; and this is the view point I have asserted with evidence many times. Major General Akbar Khan wrote: ‘But then, suddenly at this stage, the whole situation was radically altered by the entry of Frontier Tribesmen into Kashmir on 23 of October. This event was of such significance that it led to the accession of the State to India within four days.’ 5 When the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir realised that the Pakistani authorities have violated the Standstill Agreement and have managed a tribal attack which has resulted in killing of innocent men, women and children and rapes and kidnapping of women and young girls, he had no option but to seek help from the other neighbour – India. India was eagerly waiting for this invitation to intervene from the beleaguered Maharajah; in fact, in anticipation on 25 the October, they had alerted their Services Chiefs to prepare plans for sending troops in to Jammu and Kashmir. On the same day three senior officers flew to Srinagar to assess the situation and to advise the Maharajah to move to Jammu for safety. Those who planned and launched that disastrous tribal attack, or took part in it, their followers and those who represent forces of extremism, violence and hatred will sharpen their knives and attack me for writing the above. Already for the past four months a concerted and well coordinated smear campaign is going on against me for speaking truth and for exposing those who have made the Kashmiri struggle for independence their business. There is plenty of evidence to prove that both the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir and the most popular Kashmir leader, Sheikh Abdullah were not happy to join India; if anything, they wanted to maintain independence of Kashmir by having cordial relationship with both India and Pakistan. By having the Standstill Agreement with Pakistan, the Maharajah provided a foot hold to them in Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah on his part tried his very best to meet Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Governor General of Pakistan and reach some consensus; but alas, he was insulted and Mohammed Ali Jinnah refused to meet the tallest Kashmiri leader when the latter had secretly travelled to Lahore to meet him. In fact, Mohammed Ali Jinnah said: "I don't need to meet this man, Kashmir is in my pocket' Humiliated and disappointed Sheikh Abdullah returned to Srinagar. Although, he had was bitter and did not want to join Pakistan, but he did not close doors for some future dialogue; and his emissaries were still in Lahore waiting to see senior Pakistani officials to reach some agreement when the tribal aggression was launched. Thinking in some important circles in Pakistan was, why talk to these Kashmiri leaders when we can get Kashmir by force. However, by use of force, within five days they pushed bulk of Kashmir in to the Indian corner, where it remains since that time. It is sad that we people of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir are forcibly divided and oppressed on both sides of the divide. It is also sad that despite our sufferings and sacrifices we cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel; hence no end to our suffering, humiliation and miseries. But it is more disturbing that people who matter in Islamabad have not learnt anything from the past mistakes; and still that mindset prevails that they can get rest of Kashmir by use of gun. All those who speak truth and choose to travel on right path, ultimately suffer at the hands of those who either represent forces of the status quo, have personal or professional envy or they lack the ability to differentiate between good and bad. Whatever the real reason for their hate campaign, they need to understand that by smear campaign and by promotion of hate they cannot promote any cause, let alone winning independence for people of Jammu and Kashmir. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said: "Say what is true, although it may be bitter and displeasing to people", so as far as I am concerned, I will continue my jihad of speaking truth, no matter how bitter it is, and exposing those who are using sentiments of simple and innocent people to advance their personal and political agenda. Reference: 1. Major General Akbar Khan, ‘Raiders in Kashmir’, Pak Publishers Limited, Karachi, Pakistan, page 12 2. ibid, page 14 3. ibid, page 17 4. ibid, page 19 5. ibid, page 23 Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. View:

Sunday, 22 April 2012

From Mohammed Asim, Chief Organiser Kashmir National Party

From Mohammed Asim, Chief Organiser Kashmir National Party I don’t want to be involved on the Facebook quarrels, as we will not be able to liberateKASHMIRby arguing each other on the Facebook. If we are sincere with cause of KASHMIR, instead of blaming each other and taking the MICK and making a MOCKERY of each other. We should convince the people of India and Pakistan to make there government understand, rather then spending all large junk of their budget on Defence to keep up against each other, should be spend on the basic need of general Public. Aslam Mirza comments on Liberation Of Balawaristan Jammu Kashmir Ladakh Nazir Gilani Thread Re: Clarification. Aslam Mirza encouraged me to reply for his false statement. I thought he was a grown up adult, but the may he has manipulate our conversation. I can just simply say that none of the words in this statement are mine and is completely false. Four people came to my house along with Aslam Mirza to their condolences, and as usual we were taking about more interesting subject Freedom of Kashmir. First of all it is inappropriate to air people personal conversation on Public forms. The discussion was about a possibility of utilising Dr. Shabir Ch. time better, as he is of ill Health and busy on many fronts. The aim was to relieve Dr. Shabir Ch from some of his responsibilities from KNP, so he can delegate his time more appropriately and efficiently on his research, writing and other crucial responsibilities. Aslam Mirza had created his own fairly tale from the discussion. If you are so much interested in making statements on Quran, then you should ask your relative Masuam Ansari to do the same and confess that he did not resigned from KNP and what sort of conversation he had with the Chairman of KNP on the 28th March about the chairman of your JKLF. Dr. Shabir Ch. is a most valuable member of KNP and his services will be utilised where he can make more contribution.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Zardari’s new political initiative and Ajmair visit, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Zardari’s new political initiative and Ajmair visit Dr Shabir Choudhry 21 April 2012 President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari is best known for other things, and not for anything that links him with Islam or teachings of Islam. He is not a great admirer of saints or their shrines, as he idolises things that make his life in this world more charming and worth living. However, rumours are that he always takes help from Peers and fortune tellers before formulating his political strategies; and some even claim that he is often surrounded by them in Awan e Sadar and in Bilawal House. Despite the above short introduction, Asif Zardari surprised everyone when he declared he wanted to visit Ajmair Sharif for a pilgrimage. No disrespect to the Saint resting in Ajmair Sharif, but there are many famous and pious Saints resting inside Pakistan; and I don’t know how many of them had a visit from Asif Ali Zardari. Furthermore, question is, if the Pakistani cricket team was playing a cricket match in India, would Asif Ali Zardari still have gone to Ajmair Sharif or would he have activated the ‘cricket diplomacy’? The point I want to make is that he did not go to India only to pay respect to the Saint in Ajmair Sharif; but his main goal was to meet the most powerful man sitting in New Delhi – Chief Executive of India. I don’t believe for a minute, that Asif Ali Zardari got up one morning and decided to go to India for a ‘private visit’ in name of Ajmair pilgrimage. I strongly believe that a lot of work and back channel discussions had taken place; and certain points in principle were agreed before he pronounced his intention to visit India. Asif Ali Zardari’s critics claim he is not an educated man, and not suitable to play the role he is playing. However, he has proved that he is more than a match to those who are educated and have years of experience in politics, in army and in bureaucracy and in government. He has outmanoeuvred everyone; and survived all the attacks on him on his party and the government. Peoples Party government, despite record breaking corruption, disastrous governance, numerous scandals, Supreme Court cases and judgements, acts of violence and terrorism in the country, civil war, external attacks and above all serious stand off with the army establishment have survived; and seems to be winning every battle and that is just because of strong nerve and planning of Asif Ali Zardari. When every one was saying that he had fled the country in December 2011, I predicted in my article written on 11 December 2011, ‘Zardari will return in a style’, which stated: ‘In view of the above, in my opinion, Asif Zardari is out of danger and he will return to Pakistan in a style; and possibly with more power and influence. His return and increased power and influence will weather the political storm; and will help him to plan his second tenure as a President.’ After his return from Dubai, he was more confident and more assertive; and he carefully planned his future strategies. He has established that there is no rival to him in the Pakistani politics; but that alone is insufficient to win battles in future. He has to leave his mark on the international level as well. In the past few years he has shown some understanding of the international affairs; and has already made some impact by improving relations with Iran, China and Russia. But this will not bring him the glory he has in mind; and the situation he knows he might land himself in, in near future, so for this purpose a private visit to Delhi was must. This visit which was apparently made for the purpose of a ‘pilgrimage’ acquired a great political significance and was treated as a summit meeting; and summits are always held after considerable preparation from both sides. Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the talks; and the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was willing “to find practical and pragmatic solutions on all issues”. He also expressed his willingness to visit Islamabad; of course, he would only come when substantial progress is made on outstanding issues. He would visit as an invited guest of Pakistan and would not come under the disguise of visiting Sikh holy Shrines situated in Pakistan. Manmohan Singh’s statement that they will find ‘practical and pragmatic solution’ clearly suggests that principles and so called principled and official stands are no more relevant in current situation of bilateral contacts between the two countries. Asif Ali Zardari knew the challenges he faced at home. He knew what happened to Nawaz Sharif when he started his peace initiative with India, while the army command was not fully on board; so before leaving for India he also had a meeting with the Army Chief. It looks that he had a green signal from the power centre of Pakistan, and it suggests that there is a change of heart in senior army circles as well. Manmohan Singh, on the other hand, has his own problems with regard to peace with Pakistan because of the past bitter experience. However, it is a good sign that he had support of former Indian foreign minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, a party known to have an anti-Pakistan image. Some analysts think Manmohan Singh might have some problems from his own party; and they base this view on the fact that Sonia Gandhi was absent from the lunch hosted by the Prime Minister in honour of the Pakistani President. I would not go along with that view. Sonia Gandhi has played her political inning without accepting any official position in the government. She knows her son Rahul Gandhi is still in a process of finding his place in the Indian political system; and it was more important that he was present in the lunch to make his presence felt. In presence of Sonia Gandhi, young Rahul Gandhi would have been overshadowed; and caring and political minded mother had to think of his son’s political future. The lunch provided an opportunity to Rahul Gandhi to get desperately needed limelight, especially after dismal Congress performance in the provincial elections. He not only exchanged views with the political ace of Pakistan; but also built friendly ties with Bilawal Zardari, a man who is under training to play a role in politics of this region. Sonia Gandhi knew both young leaders will have to work together to play a crucial role in determining future of this region. President Zardari never regarded India as enemy of Pakistan. He wanted to shun politics of the past, and start a new era of peace that both countries could face challenges of the 21st century. Political situation at home did not allow him to proceed with his plans; and he had to fight lengthy and bitter fights with different power centres in Pakistan. In my view, because of internal and external factors he now has upper hand. This new attitude was reflected in the statement of General Kayani, when he was speaking to the media during his visit to the Gayari sector in Siachin, he said: “We in the army understand very well that there should be a very good balance between defence and development. You cannot be spending on defence alone and forgetting about development. Ultimately, the security of a country is not only that you secure boundaries and borders but it is when people that live in the country feel happy, their needs are being met. Only in that case will a country be truly safe… And therefore we would like to spend less on defence; definitely…..more focus should be on the welfare of the people.” 1 In my view, that is a remarkable change. In the past, army used to take lion’s share of resources. The above statement clearly indicates a change of heart; and that is a good omen for the peace, stability and prosperity of the region. Perhaps the ruling elite in Pakistan have understood that they could not continue with their past policies; and keep Pakistan as a nation state – a state which should be in peace with itself and its neighbours. President Zardari wants to make most of this change and, at least, reach agreement on certain disputes with India. Perhaps he can resolve disputes of Sir Creek and Siachin Glacier in near future (Siachin is situated in the State of Jammu and Kashmir; and decision on this alone might get some criticism). War over control of Siachin Glacier has consumed more than 8 thousands human lives from both sides and billions of rupees. Wise voices from both sides of the divide wanted some solution to this costly war which could not be won by any side. By resolving this dispute they could have utilized the resources to alleviate poverty, hunger, and provide clean water and medicine to millions of the people; alas, rulers of both countries had other priorities and peace and welfare of the ordinary people was not on top of their priority list. Gayari tragedy that happened on the Pakistani controlled Siachin Glacier, once, again put pressure on rulers of the both countries to resolve this dispute on priority bases. Good thing is that prominent leader and two times Prime Minister of Pakistan, during his visit to the tragedy spot courageously declared that the Siachin dispute must be resolved; and that Pakistan should take lead in this matter. President Zardari also has similar views on this topic and said: “Peaceful coexistence between the two neighbours is very important so that everybody can concentrate on the well-being of the people.” Despite these good intentions road to peace is full of mine fields. There are powerful groups which have ability to derail the peace process. Issues related of Hafiz Saeed and LeT and export of terrorism are also thorny issues and need to be handled with care and sincerity. Of course, there is a big and sentimental issue – a dispute about future status of former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir, which is forcibly divided between India and Pakistan. Not only India and Pakistan don’t know what to do with this dispute; unfortunately people of Jammu and Kashmir are also divided and are not sure what they want, as different regions have different aspirations. The State is multi religious and multi ethnic; and some regions have either majority of one religion or the other, and tolerance level has become very low. To some people it is a religious struggle, to others it is a political struggle. Some people want to join India, others wants to join Pakistan. Perhaps, some people are happy with the status quo, however, if there is an impartial plebiscite held in the entire state the majority will opt for an independent Jammu and Kashmir. This option of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir of the entire State may not suit New Delhi and Islamabad; so they have to come up with a plan that is suitable to both countries and the majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It is not an easy task; perhaps they agree to make some changes to the existing status and then leave it like this for a specified period, and then let the future leaders take the final decision. If President Zardari, who is famous for making deals, can make some deals with New Delhi over some of the disputes discussed above; and provide some relief to the anxious Pakistani people and flood the market with cheap Indian goods, he might pave the way for the next PPP victory, or at least next term for himself. However, I have a further question in my mind. Did President Zardari only go there to have some deal with the New Delhi on the issues discussed above or there was some other agenda as well. I have never met this astute man – a man who plans his strategy well and execute it with care and courage. He is the man with Machiavellian shrewdness, who has ability to plan things for years to come; and fight his corner bravely and cunningly. He knows what storms are gathering inside and around Pakistan. He also knows that situation in Pakistan is unpredictable, and no one knows exactly what will happen next. But he knew that he had a plan for the control of Punjab, either with the existing structure, or by dividing it; and that would have serious repercussions. President Zardari also knows that ruling Pakistan with the present structure is not an easy task; so he envisages some structural changes. I believe one important item on the agenda was the role of India viz a viz Pakistan, if the country is embroiled in some kind of war; or faces a situation similar to that of 1971. 1. Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2012. Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. View:

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Dubai meeting- other side of the story, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Dubai meeting- other side of the story
Dr Shabir Choudhry 18 April 2012

Dr Nazir Gilani needs to get out of this illusion that he is a brain box of the Kashmiri politics; and that he has monopoly over wisdom and use of pen, and that only he knows ‘jurisprudence’ of the Kashmir dispute. There are many who are much wiser than him and know better how to make use of the pen. However, they might not have army of fake ID’s at their command to ridicule others.

Like many others in Kashmiri politics I also make a deliberate effort to avoid confrontation with him, as I believe I can make positive contribution without pulling someone’s leg and without belittling anyone. Also matter which he was highlighting in his own name by telling half truths and by taking things out of context also concerned four other individuals and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front as an organisation, I thought someone will show him a mirror.

For reasons best known to the other four individuals, namely Raja Muzaffar, Barrister Majid Tramboo, Usman Rahim and Farooq Papa, have decided to remain quiet; and as the JKLF is still in more than one group and perhaps not sure what to say on the issue; I decided to tell other side of the story related to the Dubai meeting, which Dr Nazir Gilani has deliberately avoided.

After long time when he deliberately presented statement of JKLF Central Diplomatic Bureau related to the Dubai meeting in a negative way, I asked him to explain: who convened this meeting? What was its agenda? And above all who else participated in the meeting apart from the names he had given out.

He went quiet on this, as he knew that reply to those questions would not only expose him but many other things. However, after two weeks of silence he produced a press cutting of JKLF CDB statement published in Kashmir Times on 28 April 2002. In order to advance his agenda, he took things out of context and said: ‘It is relevant to point out that A.G. Lone was killed within a month on 21 May 2002 on his return to Srinagar’.

Few days after that he wrote a lengthy article titled ‘Time please’ which was published on 16 April in ‘Rising Kashmir’. He is making desperate efforts to implicate the JKLF statement with the callous murder of Abdul Ghani Lone. After reading that, despite my recent health problems, I said to myself that the man needs to be shown a mirror and set historical records straight.

After this introduction now let us analyse the events. Dr Nazir Gilani in his article mentioned above writes: ‘The first serious and transparent move to debate the various aspects of Kashmir situation began with the Dubai Meeting of mid April 2002. Khawaja Abdul Gani Lone, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (APHC), Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan, chairman National Kashmir Committee of Pakistan, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai (KAC), Mushtaq Jeelani (KCC) and Syed Nazir Gilani (JKCHR) met in Dubai to discuss the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir’.

He claims it was a ‘transparent move to debate the various aspects of Kashmir situation’, yet he is too afraid to tell who organised that meeting? What was its agenda? And above all who else was present? Why is he not speaking the whole truth? The fact is that those who arranged the meeting and paid for its expenses were also present in the meeting to tell them what should be done in name of Kashmir dispute inside the Valley of Kashmir and around the world.

Every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir know that Dr Nazir Gilani’s JKCHR doesn’t have a second member, similar is the case with KAC and KCC. All three organisations can fit in a Toyota saloon; and still there will be some space for another such organisation. So with that kind of power behind them who gave them the right to represent Kashmir?

Dr Nazir Gilani has worked hard over the past few years to establish that Dr Fai, Mirwaiz Umer Fraooq and APHC work for the Pakistani establishment to advance their agenda on Kashmir. The other participant, Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan openly says he works for Pakistan; and that he is ‘unpaid soldier’ of Pakistan. Dr Nazir Gilani, at that time, was also reported to be a senior stalwart of the Pakistani establishment; and he proudly claimed that before he landed in Islamabad his meetings with the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan was scheduled.

So one can safely guess who arranged the meeting and for what purpose. I can agree that people of the Valley have suffered immensely because of the militant struggle; and, from time to time, we all claimed that it is ‘our struggle’, fact however, is that we only suffered, struggle was in control of those who planned it and provided resources for it to ensure that the Kashmir pot keeps on boiling to suit their agenda.

Those who called the Dubai meeting and paid for its expenses, like always, came out with a list of demands – one can call it ‘do more’ list. This very senior officer of the Pakistani establishment after giving his briefing to mainly subservient audience promised them of new rewards and urged them to implement the agenda.

News filtered from the meeting was that Abdul Ghani Lone spoke out against this dictation. He reportedly said, enough is enough, we have lost a generation by following your instructions and we are no where near our destination. Your policies have only added to our problems and miseries; and from now on we will do what we think is in our interest. There was heated exchange of views between him and the big man from Islamabad.

Docile and subservient minds felt very uncomfortable with the courageous stand of Abdul Ghani Lone. They had no guts to oppose the boss, but didn’t want to fall out with Lone Sahib either. They tried to cool down the matter but Lone Sahib stood his ground. His view was that interest of Kashmir is paramount to the Pakistani interest; and the meeting ended with bitter taste in mouths, and some were subdued like frightened rabbits. Some felt that the bold stand might cost Abdul Ghani Lone his life; and he was advised not to go to Srinagar until dust settles down. Abdul Ghani Lone went to the United States and spent some time meeting the Americans and the Kashmiri Diaspora.

The news cutting which Dr Nazir Gilani has produced to implicate the JKLF reads:
‘JKLF joins Geelani in criticising Dubai conclave’. Title of the news clearly shows that before the JKLF statement, a senior Kashmiri leader Ali Shah Geelani also criticised the Dubai meeting; and the JKLF only joined those who criticised that conclave. So, why Dr Nazir Gilani’s gun is pointing towards the JKLF statement? Does he have some personal agenda or an axe to grind; is he advancing someone else’s agenda?

When Abdul Ghani Lone was shot dead in a public meeting held to commemorate death of Mirwaiz Mohlvee Farooq in Srinagar, his politician son, Sajad Lone, openly said that Pakistani ISI has killed his father. There were some who tried to shift blame to India, however, Professor Ghani Bhat another senior leader of APHC last year declared that it was wrong to accuse India for deaths of Mirwaiz Mohlvee Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone; they were killed by our own people.

So it is clear that the JKLF statement had no impact, what so ever, on life of Abdul Ghnai Lone; however, Kashmir watchers assert that what transpired in the Dubai meeting ultimately sealed the future of Abdul Ghani Lone. Perhaps some of the participants have guilty conscience over this issue; may be they have not, as tens of thousands of other innocent Kashmiris have also lost their lives and no one is prepared to acknowledge culpability over this. Alas, it has become a business for some.

It might be interesting for readers to know that one of the participants of the Dubai meeting was also having secret meetings with the Indians and passing on the information. Pakistani scoops may have formulated wrong policies, especially with regard to Kashmir dispute, but they are not fools. They soon found out the mole and sacked him from his post. The poor guy, out of favour from the Pakistani establishment has been running from pillar to post since that date to get his job back. During his last meeting with them he, once again, begged them for his old job, or any job with reduced perks, but alas, to date, no luck for the poor guy, hence his frustration and anger. May Allah put him on a right path?

Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. View:

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Story of Mangla dam

Story of Mangla dam

Thank you Psychopath

Thank you Psychopath

Since psychopath has started a campaign against me with help of his army of fake ID’s and some face book warriors, rating for my webpage – has dramatically increased. In February 2012, it recorded 132,212 hits, due to hate campaign it went up to 166,083 in March and, today, on 17th April my webpage has recorded 101,987. Apart from that, more and people are supporting me and cursing the psychopath with manufacturing fault. I wish him all the best and pray Allah gives him peace of mind and ability to use his skills in positive way.

Stop Shia Genocide in Pakistan and Gilgit, Senge Sering

Stop Shia Genocide in Pakistan and Gilgit, Senge Sering
Washington DC, DC Sunday, April 15, 2012,201240073.aspx

On April 14, 2012, hundreds of Shias from all over the United States gathered in front of the Embassy of Pakistan to protest Shia and minority killings in the country. Members and supporters of Gilgit Baltistan National Congress also joined the protesters.

Presence of Malika Baltistani, the chairperson of Gilgit-Baltistan National Alliance, was a shot in the arm for the members of GBNC. She delivered an inspiring speech about the rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and condemned Pakistani government for patronizing the terrorists. She lamented that even though Gilgit-Baltistan provides water, minerals and a safe route for Pakistan to China; yet, the native Shias are treated like captives. She said that Pakistan is pursuing the age-old Umayyad and Abbasid policy of Shia persecution. She said, "We are rebels and not traitors and Pakistani policies of alienation are responsible for this."

On the occasion, the president of Gilgit Baltistan National Congress, Imtiaz Hussain, issued a press release:

The United Nations universal declaration on human rights guarantees freedom of religious practice and expression as a birth right. However, the natives of Pakistan controlled Gilgit-Baltistan have failed to attain their basic rights in the last six decades. Gilgit-Baltistan is an UN-declared disputed area and remains outside the constitutional jurisdiction of Pakistan. Several resolutions passed by both UN Security Council and UN Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP) have asked Pakistan to guarantee genuine autonomy to the region which then ensures freedom of political, judicial and socio-economic rights. However, Islamabad's failures have caused an irreparable damage to the social fabric. Today, the urban parts of Gilgit-Baltistan present the picture of a war zone where natives live with fear and deprivation.

Gilgit-Baltistan is a Shia majority area with considerable populations of Ismailia, Nurbakhsia and Sunni Muslims. Akin to Parachinar, where native Shias have been converted into a minority in their homeland, people of Gilgit-Baltistan also face ethnic cleansing, as attacks on Shias have become a routine matter. In many cases, law enforcement personnel are found involved in attacks on the Shias. The Shia massacre of 1988, for instance, was sponsored by the regime of General Ziaul Haque. During the episode, which lasted for 16 days, military officials provided direct support to the Jihadi terrorists belonging to Waziristan, Mohmand, Kohistan, Bajor and Swat districts. The Mujahideen attacked fourteen villages and forced tens of thousands of Shias to flee. These IDPs have failed to return to their homes due to lack of governmental patronage.

Shia killings in Gilgit-Baltistan have a history that dates back to 1947, when Pakistani political agent, Sardar Alam Khan, engineered a series of sectarian conflicts to lengthen his autocratic rule. In 1972, the regime once again resorted to sectarianism to justify abrogation of State Subject Rule (SSR) which then culminated into arrival of thousands of illegal settlers in Gilgit-Baltistan. The move which was a violation of the UNO resolutions helped change local religious and ethnic demography and resulted into Shias becoming a minority in the capital city, Gilgit. Hundreds of Shias of Gilgit-Baltistan have lost their lives since then and the assailants remain at large under state protection.

In recent weeks, first on February 28 and then on April 3, terrorists attacked buses loaded with passengers of Gilgit-Baltistan and slaughtered more than 100 Shias. The unfortunate incidents occurred in broad daylight on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) which is dotted with police and military check posts. Eyewitnesses claim that police provided weapons to the assailants, who numbered in thousands. Following the Shia massacre, an indefinite curfew was imposed in Gilgit-Baltistan causing food and medicine shortages. As of now, the region is cut off from the rest of the world as traffic on KKH, the sole road linking Gilgit-Baltistan with Pakistan, remains unsafe and disrupted, and air travel is cost prohibitive for the vast majority.

Given that Gilgit-Baltistan is an UN-declared disputed area and that Pakistan lacks the constitutional capacity to ensure fundamental rights and protection to the natives of the region; we urge the UNO to make necessary arrangements to ensure safety of life, honor and property in Gilgit-Baltistan. At the same time, we urge the regime in Islamabad to implement the following on immediate basis

1. Respect UNO resolutions and reinstate State Subject Rule (SSR) to protect local ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural demography

2. Ensure protection to local languages and religions

3. Resume trade and travel over Astore-Srinagar, Chorbat-Nubra, Marol-Khaltse, Drass-Gultari and Olding-Kargil roads to ensure travel safety on alternate routes

4. Withdraw paramilitary from urban areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and strengthen local police

5. Remove all militant hide outs and launch pads from Gilgit-Baltistan

6. Arrest and prosecute the militants and military personnel who are involved in Shia killings

7. Return control over natural resources and trade routes to Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly

8. Abolish Gilgit-Baltistan Council and Ministry of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs (KGBA) to ensure genuine autonomy as recommended by the UNO

We once again urge the UNO to persuade Pakistan to comply with these just demands

Senge Sering
Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies
Washington DC, DC
202 689 0647

Article of Nazir Naji, Pakistan's famous writer and political analyst

Article of Nazir Naji, Pakistan's famous writer and political analyst
17 April 2012

He says: Our ruling elite always wanted an enemy in whose name they can continue their corruption and embezzlement; and demand more sacrifices from the people in name of independence and national pride and integrity. Read more

Manzoor Parwana to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki - moon

Manzoor Parwana to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki - moon
United Nations
New York, NY 10017 USA
Tel.: No.: +212 963-5012 fax: +212 963-7055

Respected Sir,

Subject: UNO should intervene to stop genocide and rights violation in Gilgit Baltistan

I intend to draw your attention to a vital human rights issue which affects the two million people of Gilgit Baltistan. The region, declared disputed between India and Pakistan in 1948, is sandwiched strategically between India, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. UNO allowed Pakistan to assume temporary control over Gilgit Baltistan and stationed officials representing the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan in both Gilgit and Skardu cities.

Till date, the natives of Gilgit Baltistan remain deprived of basic rights, the national identity and the right to self-governance as prescribed by the UN resolutions. On the other hand, gross level of human rights violations have continued to occur and in the aftermath of passenger’s massacre in Kohistan and Chilas, the right to free and safe travel has also been snatched away from the powerless residents. These incidents draw our attention towards involvement of militants and secret service personnel.

On February 28, 2012, militants wearing army uniform ambushed a bus in Kohistan and killed 18 Shia male passengers. Government has failed to arrest the assailants so far. The failure encouraged the terrorists who ambushed 34 buses near Chilas on April 3 2012 and killed dozens of Shia male passengers. The assailants numbering more than three thousand attacked the innocent passengers with stones, knives and automatic weapons. Eyewitness reports claim more than 50 deaths, scores injured and more than 100 abducted. The assailants torched 6 buses and pushed two in the Indus River.

The horrible incident occurred in front of police force and according to eyewitnesses; the police did not provide security to the passengers. Some local people of Chilas were later able to save the lives of 200 passengers.

Instead of arresting the miscreants of Gilgit Kohistan and Chilas, government resorted to imposing curfew in Gilgit city which has entered into 14th day. Under military control, life has crippled in the city and there is acute shortage of food and medicines. During the first ten days of curfew, there was a break of only 4 hours in which families arranged for food and water. The telecom system is completely blocked by the military and not news flows outside Gilgit. As majority of the workforce depend on daily wage labor for earnings, the curfew has forced them to remain shut in homes and lose the wages. Converting Gilgit Baltistan into a jail and denying basic food and medicine provisions is a gross violation of human rights. Military has arrested more than 100 youth from Gilgit.

Honorable Sir,

The disputed status of Gilgit Baltistan deprives us of political and judicial rights within Pakistani constitutional framework. The Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court has refused to take the case of recent killings owing to the disputed nature of Gilgit Baltistan. Therefore we request the UNO to make necessary arrangements to ensure safety for the natives of the region. We demand that UNO should intervene to stop genocide at the hands of government backed terrorists.

We would like to draw your attention to the following:

1- In the light of UN resolution of January 5, 1949, the UN Security Council must ensure genuine political, judicial, economic and cultural autonomy in Gilgit Baltistan

2- Given that Pakistan has failed to ensure security in Gilgit Baltistan, UNO must station its peace keeping troops in the disputed region

3- Pakistan must be asked to open traditional trade routes leading towards India and Tajikistan which can help sustain local economy and provide alternate safe routes to travel as currently, travel on the Karakoram Highway is life threatening.

4- Violating UN resolutions, Pakistan abolished State Subject Rule in Gilgit Baltistan in 1974 and subsequently settled tens of thousands of her nationals to change local demography. Today the people of Gilgit Baltistan are threatened with ethnic cleansing. UNO must ask Pakistan to respect UN resolutions and remove her citizens who have damaged the social fabric by spreading extremism.

5- UNO must ask Pakistan to remove fake sedition cases and release all political prisoners. A UN commission must be sent to Gilgit Baltistan to assess gross human rights violations, killings, detentions and torture of political workers.

6- Recently more than 120 soldiers of Pakistan controlled Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir died near the Siachen glacier after glacial melt and overflow damaged a village. UNO must ask India and Pakistan to remove forces from Siachen sector and convert the area into a peace park.

7- Pak must end curfew in Gilgit and ensure free and safe travel to all inhabitants on all routes.

In good faith,

Manzoor Parwana
Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement
Skardu, Baltistan

Date: 16/4/2012

Monday, 16 April 2012

Water Wars Why India and PakistanAre Squaring Off Over Their Rivers By NIHARIKA MANDHANA

Water Wars Why India and Pakistan Are Squaring Off Over Their Rivers By NIHARIKA MANDHANA,8599,2111601,00.html

India's Wular Lake, a popular picnic and tourist spot nestled in the Kashmir Valley, is an unlikely site for conflict. But India's plan to build a structure on the Jhelum River at the mouth of the lake that will allow it to release water during the river's lean winter months has outraged neighboring Pakistan, which believes the project will give India the power to control how much water flows downstream to its farmers. After two and a half decades of deadlock and 15 marathon rounds of bilateral talks — the most recent occurring in late March — the countries appear a long way from finding common ground.

The dispute isn't the first of its kind, nor will it be the last. The waters of the Indus River and tributaries like the Jhelum — and the dams built on them by India — have long been one of the main points of contention between the rival neighbors, along with the disputed region of Kashmir itself and cross-border terrorism. Pakistan, whose agriculture-dominated economy is heavily reliant on the Indus and its tributaries, fears upstream dams allow India to manipulate the flows of water as it sees fit. Many in Pakistan accuse New Delhi of wantonly exacerbating the country's dire water shortages, choking its agricultural production and ruining livelihoods.
(PHOTOS: India's Turning Points)
India dismisses these accusations as paranoid and without scientific backing. Its dams are run-of-the-river, it says, aimed at generating hydroelectricity, or in the case of the Tulbul navigation project on the Jhelum, meeting other development needs like facilitating year-round trade. India's Indus Water Commissioner G. Aranganathan says that after India fills its reservoirs in the initial stages of each project, it only uses the water it needs to run its turbines and doesn't prevent any from flowing into Pakistan. "There is absolutely no question of interrupting or reducing Pakistan's water supply," he tells TIME.
The countries' early leaders anticipated this fierce rivalry over the waters that straddle their volatile border. Following protracted and painstaking negotiations, they signed an accord in 1960 called the Indus Waters Treaty that determined exactly how the region's rivers are to be divided. In the treaty, control over the three "eastern" rivers — the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej — was given to India and the three "western" rivers — the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum — to Pakistan. More controversial, however, were the provisions on how the waters were to be shared. Since Pakistan's rivers flow through India first, the treaty allowed India to use them for irrigation, transport and power generation, while laying down precise do's and don'ts for Indian building projects along the way.
(PHOTOS: Holy Water: Controversy on the Ganges)
The treaty has been widely hailed as a success, having survived three post-independence wars between the hostile nuclear neighbors. But its resilience is increasingly being tested by challenges thrown up by the 21st century. For one, Pakistan is on the brink of water scarcity. Its once-lush agricultural fields, which employ half of all Pakistanis and account for a quarter of its GDP, are now frequently parched. This predicament, experts say, is attributable in large part to the country's haphazard water management policies, unproductive agricultural practices, dilapidated infrastructure and grossly inadequate water storage facilities. Climate change, too, has begun to have an impact. A recent Dutch study found that by 2050, shrinking glaciers are predicted to reduce the flows of the Indus by 8%. But in Pakistan, which is deeply distrustful of its larger and more powerful neighbor, the country's crippling water shortage is seen as a direct result of India's upstream dams and water projects.
Indeed, India has ramped up its hydroelectricity projects in recent years to try to boost its woefully inadequate power supplies. The government has a total of 45 projects either already completed or in the proposal stage on the western rivers, some as large as 1000 megawatt and many as small as 2 and 3 megawatt. This expansion has irked Islamabad. "India is putting more and more restrictions and constrictions on Pakistan's waters," Kamal Majidulla, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani's special assistant on water resources and agriculture, tells TIME.
A 2011 U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report said that studies show no single dam will affect Pakistan's access to water, but the cumulative effect of multiple hydroelectric projects could give India the ability to store enough water to limit Pakistan's supply at crucial moments in the growing season. India has never abused its water supplies in this way, the report adds, and New Delhi rejects the theory as an unsubstantiated hypothesis. But the report's observations serve as a suitable analogy for India and Pakistan's water conflicts overall. While no single legal or diplomatic tussle will rupture the fragile relations between the countries, the cumulative effect of a series of standoffs could cause tensions to boil over.
The countries have already been embroiled in two high-profile legal fights over water. In 2005, Pakistan challenged India's 450-megawatt Baglihar dam before a World Bank-appointed neutral expert and lost. And last year, the countries went head to head at the International Court of Arbitration over India's 330-megawatt Kishanganga project in Jammu and Kashmir. The court has ordered India to temporarily stop some constructions on the dam while assessments are being made. Pakistan is also considering arbitration to iron out differences over another dam — the Nimoo Bazgo — on the Indus.
(MORE: Will Anyone in Pakistan Cash in on America's $10 Million Terror-Suspect Bounty?)
"Unfortunately, we are going towards conflict and not conflict resolution," says Majidulla, who heads a body called the Pakistan Trans-border Water Organization, formed in September to monitor what he calls "increased activity" on the Indian side of the border. The countries' antagonistic political relationship has certainly not helped to ease their differences over water. "Given the mutual hostility between the two countries, it is not surprising that there is a tendency in Pakistan to believe that the scarcity it is experiencing or fearing is partly attributable to upper riparian actions," Ramaswamy Iyer, India's former secretary for water resources, wrote in an op-ed in the Hindu newspaper. At times, the rhetoric has even reached a fevered pitch, such as when Hafiz Saeed, head of the Pakistani militant group Jamaat-u-Dawa and alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, whipped up public sentiment against India's so-called "water terrorism" in 2010 by using slogans like "water flows or blood." Few believe India and Pakistan will actually go to war over the disputes, but one thing is for certain: water is making it harder for the long-time rivals to put their enmity behind them.

Read more:,8599,2111601,00.html#ixzz1sExbnxeE

Famous Pakistani writer, analyst and TV anchor Najam Sethi explains how Pakistan trained Sikh militants and Kashmiri militants

Famous Pakistani writer, analyst and TV anchor Najam Sethi explains how Pakistan trained Sikh militants and Kashmiri militants

Kashmiri politics and charitable work, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Kashmiri politics and charitable work
Dr Shabir Choudhry 15 April 2012

To work for poor and needy is obligatory on every Muslim and every good human being. Islam places so much emphasis on helping the poor, orphans and needy that there are many verses of Holy Qur’an and many sayings of the Holly Prophet Mohammed urging people to make every effort to help the poor.

Those who planned militancy in Kashmir did not care for its consequences. They only trained people to use a gun and throw a bomb; but did not train people to deal with inherent result of militancy - death and destruction, widows, orphans, disabled people, homeless people, so on and so forth. There was no system in place to deal with any of the obvious eventualities of militant struggle.

In Kashmir, there are no social benefits paid out to deserving people, as they are done in Europe or in other welfare states. Those who planned militancy; and those who executed it did not think twice who would feed the family if a bread winner loses his life, either because he was part of the militant struggle or he was unfortunate to be in wrong place at wrong time. Who would pay for school fees of orphans and who would provide shelter, pay for other needs and run the kitchen of the unfortunate family.

Whatever the motives of those who planned militancy, and those who executed the plan, the fact is that millions of ordinary people suffered in this militant struggle and continue to suffer. Although I had no part in planning the militant struggle or in its execution, however, the fact that I was one of the founders of JKLF that started the militant struggle made it obligatory that I should also try to help the suffering people.

With that in mind we set up a charity called Kashmir Foundation International, which was registered in Britain as a charity; and was governed by strict British laws related to collection and dispensing of the public funds. Also KFI was registered as a company and governed by Company Laws of Britain.

I was a Trustee and a Director of KFI. Barrister Abdul Majid Tramboo was the Chairman. Abbas Butt was a Trustee and a Treasurer and Mohammed Shoaib was also Trustee and a Director. In addition we had a Management Committee that helped us in various tasks related to the KFI. Mr Yasin Malik, Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front was KFI Patron.

We all worked hard, used our valuable time for the Charity work; and spent money out of our pockets. We did not even claim petrol money when travelling for meetings or going for other work related to the Charity. I live in Ilford (East London), and the Charity meetings were held in Hounslow (West London); and that is more than hundred miles return journey, at times taking more than three hours drive each time.

Most of the donors directly deposited money in to the Charity account or issued cheques in name of KFI. All collected money was deposited and proper accounts were maintained, as required by the Charity Commission. No individual could withdraw that money, as minimum of two people had to sign a cheque to release the money; and if I remember correctly one of the signatory had to be the Chairman. All the expenses were discussed and authorised in the meetings before they could be withdrawn. We had to discuss and justify each withdrawal in the meetings

In other words, the KFI - a registered charity (of which I was a Director and a Trustee) in England had a good system in place in Britain, and it was monitored by the Charity Commission. All the collected funds were transferred to JKLF senior leaders based in Srinagar that they could use that money to help widows, orphans and poor people there. How well they discharged their responsibilities, only they know and Almighty Allah knows. However, as far as KFI’s operations in Britain were concerned, no individual could have pocketed that money, as minimum of two signatories were required to release the money and all decisions in this regard were taken in meetings.

Despite that, a psychopath with a manufacturing fault has unleashed a campaign against me by activating his fake accounts that while I was associated with Kashmir Foundation International, a registered charity in England, I pocketed money from that charity. It was too absurd even to reply to this totally illogical allegation.

His campaign based on ridiculous allegations and cartoons continued and I remained quiet, hoping that common sense prevails and he feels shame; but once again he proved me wrong – he is shameless. I also hoped that other people with common sense and conversant with the British law or with little knowledge about charities might speak out and tell this man with manufacturing fault to stop this, as what he is saying doesn’t make sense. They decided to remain quiet, may be they were enjoying the cartoons and seeing their fellow Kashmiri being attacked by a man with mental illness; or may be they were afraid that the psychopath might turn his guns towards them.

I also hoped that people who were involved with Kashmir Foundation International might come out to defend the Charity, if not me, because the psychopath is not only accusing me, he is also saying that the KFI had no system in place; and money was pocketed.

Furthermore, all those who know me for many years and have worked with me and know that I am not dishonest or fraudulent, however, I could make political mistakes on bad advice or bad assessment; and that I help poor people out of my pocket could have come out to say few things, or at least say: man, if Shabir Choudhry is not retaliating, have some shame and stop this hate campaign. But all these people decided to remain quiet.

Another old colleague who is running another Kashmiri Charity must also be seeing this hate campaign and baseless allegations. He also decided to remain quiet even though he knows, in one year alone I gave his charity fifteen thousand British pounds; and those who give out to charities DO NOT pocket charity money. May be he was pleased that his charity is not under attack and it is the rival charity which is being pounded.

It looks this fear that the psychopath will activate his army of fake ID’s against any person who either supported me or the KFI, forced people to remain silent. Allah’s Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said: when you see wrong things happening, try to stop that with force, if you cannot do that, then speak against it; and if you cannot do that then at least say it is bad in you’re your heart- and that is the weakest point of your faith or Imaan.

Politics apart, it is clear that people of Jammu and Kashmir, and especially people of the Valley have immensely suffered since 1988; and desperately needed financial and other help. I don’t believe that any British registered charity has pocketed any money; however, it is possible that on its destination not all the money was used the way it was intended. If that had happened it means the system for distribution of funds over there was not good; and for that one Trustee out of four could not be accused and held responsible.

This psychopath has many targets to hit by this hate campaign. He wants to discourage people to give money to charities that innocent and suffering people in Kashmir could not be helped. He wants to defame all those who have either outmanoeuvred him politically or refused to join his hate campaign. One of my crimes is that I refused to write against Dr Fai and some other Kashmiris based in London and Brussels, hence his frustration and anger.

Currently, I am a Director and a Trustee of Crescent Relief (London) a registered charity in England and governed by strict British laws. We are all responsible people and discharge our duties very honestly and sincerely. We run an orphanage in Indonesia; we also have projects in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. In Bangladesh we have just completed a Watsan Project which includes construction of toilets, clean water supply and sewerage for those Pakistanis known as Biharis stranded there since 1971 war. Another big project in Bangladesh will start soon.

In Azad Kashmir and Pakistan we have various projects that include clean water supply and self reliance schemes, which enable them to earn their own living, for example, mini poultry farms and mini goat farms. Also we have built houses for earthquake victims and support many other projects there including a health project in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

It gives us immense pleasure and satisfaction that we are dedicating some of our time and energies to help the poor and needy. When we go to bed at night we think what else can we do to help other human beings; but when the psychopath goes to bed he revise his list of future targets. He can buy an expensive bed, but not peace of mind and sleep, which I get by helping the poor and the needy; and I thank Allah for everything he has granted me.

Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. View:

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Confined to bed again

Confined to bed again 14 April 2012
At 10.30am

Dear Abbas Butt sahib aslam o alaeykam, you know I am heart patient in my late 50s; and I should have taken care of my health. Instead, I worked long hours- working up to 15 hours a day, result of long hours of work and long travels for meetings is that I had severe angina attack last night.

Now strict medical and family advice is stay in bed for soma days. That means I won’t be bale to attend any of the meetings arranged for today. My suggestion is you go ahead with the 4pm meeting and 7pm meeting as scheduled. No matter what, we have to continue our mission and jihad against those who occupy us; and all the collaborators and agents of tribalism, extremism and hatred.

I rather go down fighting, and I know you also share this sentiment, rather than surrendering to thugs and to those who are surviving on the blood and miseries of our people of Jammu and Kashmir.

All the best with 4 meetings today, and continue your valuable struggle. Allah swt will help you. Whatever decision you take in the 4pm and 7pm meetings, I will go along with that; however if you feel like I can speak to your guest who is meeting you at 4pm.

Perhaps you can ask KNP President, Sarwar Hussain to travel by train.

Allah hafiz

Dr Shabir Choudhry

Friday, 13 April 2012


We are soldiers of Jammu and Kashmir, soldiers of peace, democracy, honesty, transparency, accountability and independent Jammu and Kashmir; and we proudly and sincerely oppose forces of extremism, violence and hatred, and inshallah we will defeat them. Dr Shabir Choudhry

Thursday, 12 April 2012

An Unfriendly Neighborhood, by Bakhtiar Qayyum

An Unfriendly Neighborhood, by Bakhtiar Qayyum

Pakistan is located at the nexus of the most volatile regions of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. It provides the most strategic route to the Central Asia through Khyber Pass and the legendary Silk Route. These passages were used from ancient times by migrants and invaders from Central Asia to reach the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Pakistan has a 1046 kilometer coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south which had always attracted adventurers from the land-locked regions in central and north Asia to explore the unknown lands in the south. On the land Pakistan is bounded by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the north-east. Tajikistan lies further north, separated by the Wakhan Strip, which is part of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the region had always been the epicenter of conflicts among regional stake holders and world powers. It is perhaps the fault of our foreign relations or the pundits devising these policies embeds these cracks on purpose. We will try to shed some light on these fault lines or motives behind them if any.
When the British left the sub-continent after the creation of Pakistan and India as independent sovereign states in August 1947, it was expected that the issue of conflict between the Hindus and Muslims has been sorted out for ever. But in fact it served as the beginning of a new era of disputes, aggression and war between the two. Since then the two countries fought four wars and have been involved in numerous skirmishes and military standoffs. The Kashmir dispute had been the main center-point of all these conflicts with the exception of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, which resulted in the secession of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Numerous attempts had since been made to improve the relations between the two countries but they all remained short of a permanent solution to core issue – the Kashmir dispute.
The non-resolving Kashmir issue is imbedded in the partition formula of 1947 given by the outgoing British rulers. At the time of partition the subcontinent also had 680 princely states, which were not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy. According to the British plan for the partition of British India, all the 680 princely states were allowed to decide which of the two countries to join. With the exception of a few, most of the Muslim-majority princely-states acceded to Pakistan while most of the Hindu-majority princely states joined India. However, the decisions of some of the princely-states were not taken according to this formula. One was Junagarh, which had a majority of Hindu population but ruled by a Muslim ruler Nawab Mohabat Khan. The Nawab, acceded the state to Pakistan but the Indian government did not accept it for the reason that the state had a majority of Hindu population and it was bounded on all sides by Indian territory. It was also against the tenet of two-nation theory, which was agitated by the Muslims of India in demanding a separate homeland for themselves. Another princely-state which was disputed at the time of partition was Kashmir, which had a majority of Muslim population but a Hindu ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh. When the new states emerged on 14/15 August 1947, the Maharaji wanted to join India but was hesitant because he thought that his Muslim subject would not accept it. Meanwhile, rumors spread in Pakistan that Hari Singh was trying to accede Kashmir to India. The Pakistani authorities’ got alarmed by this threat and dispatched a team of Pakistani forces into Kashmir. Kashmir's security forces were too weak and ill-equipped to fight against Pakistan. At this juncture the Maharaja asked for India's help but as Kashmir did not come under India’s jurisdiction the Constitution of India barred the Indian Armed Forces' to intervene into Kashmir. The Maharaja was too desperate to get India's help and get Kashmir back in his own control, so he signed the Instrument of Accession with India on 25 October 1947. The fighting continued at a low tier until Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, took the issue to UN Security Council, where a resolution was passed on 21 April 1948 after setting up the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNCIP). The resolution imposed an immediate cease-fire and called on Pakistan to withdraw all military from Kashmir. The resolution restrained Pakistan from interfering into Jammu and Kashmir politics and allowed India to retain a minimum military presence there. The final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir was to be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations. The ceasefire was enacted on 31 December 1948. The plebiscite was never held and both India and Pakistan had been accusing one another for creating hurdles in the way of a peaceful solution to the dispute.
The second Indo-Pakistan war over Kashmir was fought in 1965, when over 30000 soldiers of Pakistan army crossed over the line of control in the garb of locals to incite insurgent activities in Indian occupied Kashmir. They met with success in the beginning but when Indian troops also launched the offensive with the help of its Air Force, Pakistani troops were forced to retreat back to normal borders. The war ended after signing an agreement by both India and Pakistan to retreat to pre-August position. The agreement was reached through the good offices of United Stated and Soviet Union and signed at Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, the then Soviet territory, in the presence of Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin.
The 1971 war between India and Pakistan was sparked by the Bangladesh liberation war. It has been alleged that Pakistani troops present in East Pakistan in a bid to suppress the insurgency, particularly targeted the Hindu population, which led to approximately 10 million people fleeing to the neighboring Indian states. The influx placed an intolerable strain on Indian economy, leading to Indian troops entering East Pakistan. In retaliation Pakistani troops initiated an attack from West Pakistan. On 16 December 1971, Pakistani forces fighting in East Pakistan were forced to surrender to Indian Military Command. The Instrument of Surrender of Pakistani forces stationed in East Pakistan was signed by Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, Commander of Eastern Command of the Indian Army and Lieutenant General A. A. K. Niazi, Commander of Pakistani forces in East Pakistan. Approximately 90000 Pakistanis, including military and civilians present in East Pakistan were taken prisoner of war. East Pakistan was declared Bangladesh, General Yahya Khan Chief Martial Law Administrator of Pakistan stepped down after handing over the government to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto managed the release of prisoners of war after signing Shimla Pact with Indian Prime Minister Indra Gandhi in Simla, India on 2 July 1972.
Next was the Kargil war, which took place between May and July 1999. The cause of the war was said to be the crossing over into Indian administered territory of Kashmir by Pakistani troops in the garb of Kashmiri militants. Pakistan laid the sole responsibility of war onto Kashmiri insurgents but evidence coming from the left behind Pakistani casualties and the statements of Pakistani authorities showed involvement of Pakistani forces. At the start of the war Pakistani troops captured a number of abandoned Indian positions and inflicted heavy damages to the Indian forces but when they retaliated with the support of Air Force, they recaptured most of their positions. Later Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had to request the US for a cease fire and withdrawal of their forces to pre-escalation positions.
Apart from these full fledge armed conflicts and their variant causes; India accuses Pakistan of 2001 Indian Parliament attack, 2008 Mumbai attack, Sir Creek dispute in Rann of Kutch marshland and Line of Control (LOC) dispute on the Siachen Glacier in the north. Though confidence building measures were occasionally taken by different governments on both sides of the border to ease the tension but the gage of the Indo-Pak relations had always been a very sensitive domain of the Military Generals in Pakistan. They are the sole guardians of the national borders as well as its integrity and ideological ingenuity. Sometime they exercise this assumed responsibility to take the reins of governing the country into their own hands. But whoever is in the saddle, the India bashing is adopted as a national strategy on the whims of the generals. A few generals after years of retirement from active service, military or others, have admitted of being the initiators of all the military conflicts with India.
Relationship with Afghanistan, our neighbor on the north-west, with whom we share approximately 2640 kms long common border known as Durand Line, was never favorable. Despite close ties between the two based on historical, religious, cultural, linguistic, ethnic, trade and economic linkages the trust factor was always missing. Both states are Islamic Republics and part of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. But assertions made during the cold war era insisted Pakistani security apparatus to declare Afghanistan its ‘Strategic Depth’ to block the expansion of former Soviet Union towards the warm waters of the south. The notion was further elaborated when Soviet troops entered Afghanistan in December 1979. The US waged a proxy war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union using Pakistani territory. As a result of the war nearly 3 million Afghan Refugees took refuge in Pakistan thus putting extra burden on the Pakistani economy. Contingents from these refugees were given military training and pushed back into Afghanistan to fight the Soviet troops. Millions of tons of arms ammunition and latest weaponry were pumped into Afghanistan, which literally tore apart the length and breadth of the country. Ultimately, the Soviet Troops withdrew in February 1989 and cease fire truce was signed. During the same period, the breakup of the Soviet Union brought an end to the cold war, thus affecting the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan. The abrupt end to the war and absence of proper governing system in Afghanistan created a vacuum, leading to civil war and ultimately Taliban grabbing power in Kabul. The new paradigms of power in the war trodden country created safe adobes for criminal and terror groups from around the world. One of these groups, the AlQaida was held responsible for the 9/11 attack on the US. The US waged another series of warfare to eliminate the AlQaida and Pakistan once again became partner of the US in this new crusade targeting Afghanistan. Today Afghani people accuse Pakistan for ravaging their country.
Pakistan’s relations with Iran registered a change in 1979 after the Islamic revolution and the end of Pahlavi Dynasty. It was also the year of Soviet intervention into Afghanistan. The shift in the foreign policies of regional countries created new friends and foes. The end of US influence in Iran and the advance of Soviet Union into Afghanistan induced US to come closer to Pakistan. It was not taken as a good omen by Iran, hence the clash of interest between the two Islamic Republics started. The sectarian polarity came into play when General Ziaul Haq declared Islamic injunctions and Shariah based on Hanfi school of thought to be implemented in Pakistan and Imam Khamini imposed strict Islamic law based on Jaffria school of thought in Iran. Consequently Iran started supporting Sunni interests and criticizing the growing US and Arab influence in Pakistan. Iran also accused Pakistani government of giving refuge to Iranian fugitives. After the events of 9/11 the ingress of Sunni extremists in Iran and the alleged genocide of Shia Muslims in Pakistan through terrorist activities against them and their holy places incited the Shia regime of Iran to lodge strong protest with Pakistani authorities.
China, our fourth neighbor in the north with which we share a small common border of 520 kms, had always been a reliable friend through all thick and thin of history. The small strip, which connects the two countries provide the ancient silk route through legendry Khunjrab Pass, used since pre-historic time for trade between the north and the south opening a window for China’s silk to the rest of the world. Very recently that lifelong friendship between the two countries got a jolt when China lodged an official protest with Government of Pakistan that Islamic extremism was being exported to neighboring Chinese province of Xinjiang by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Initial probe into the two different bomb blasts in Kashgar had shown that the heads of the group involved in the bombing had learned skills of making explosives and firearms in overseas camps of the East Turkistani Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang to organize terrorist activities. The charges were later withdrawn after Pakistani government provided all cooperation to China against ETIM and Top leadership from Pakistan visited China to redress their concerns. However, the fact remains that the Pakistan-based ETIM has claimed involvement in a series of militant attacks in Xinjiang, including the one in Kashgar.
Every time when there was an armed encounter, a military standoff, counter strategy to a threat perception or simply an unintended violation on border, the posture adopted by the Pakistani side was to some extent proactive. Out of 65 years of independence, the country was ruled by military for almost 33 years and territorial security was adopted as a strategy to deal with the regional issues. So the Armed Forces became the face of Pakistan known to the outside world. Up-gradation of our Armed Forces and annual defense spending were taken as war hysteria. Better equipping our military was considered as intimidation to war. Our nuclear program was declared as a threat to regional peace. Islam was taken as a violent policy for expansion and we were accused of exporting violence to neighboring countries and regions. With India we had been in a constant state of war; in Afghanistan we interfered twice and bear the wrong of destroying that country; Iran accuse us of giving refuge to her fugitives and now China blame us of exporting Islamic radicalism. It is time that we review our foreign policy contours and make it more acceptable to our neighbors without compromising our security paradigms. It is said that our foreign policy is controlled and managed by our armed forces and national security is always our main concern. The generals are trained to fight and go to war so in all our foreign policy indictments war is always a not too distinct option. This option table needs to be changed. As the French statesman Georges Benjamin Clemenceau puts it “war is too important to be left to generals”; so should be the case with foreign policy; instead of generals it should be left to diplomats, who are trained to negotiate and find solution to issues without waging wars. The problems of humanity have taken huge dimensions and we need collective efforts to solve them without going to war.

My dream cannot be forsaken, Dr Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai

My dream cannot be forsaken, Dr Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai
It is in everyone’s interest to settle the Kashmir conflict peacefully without further delay.
At United Nations
The Kashmir question is one of the oldest unresolved international problems in the world. The experience of six decades has shown that it will not go away and that an effort is urgently required to resolve it on a durable basis. It is imperative, whatever be the rights and wrongs in the equation as far as arguments go, real populations with a pronounced sense of identity of their own, with their suffering and their aspirations rather than just legal title and merit are involved.
When the Kashmir dispute erupted in 1947-1948, the United States and Great Britain championed the stand that the future status of Kashmir must be determined by the will of the people of the territory and that their wishes must be ascertained through an impartial plebiscite under the supervision and control of the United Nations. US was a principle sponsor of the resolution 47 which was adopted by the Security Council on April 21, 1948 and which was based on that unchallenged principle. Both US and Great Britain sponsored all of the Security Council resolutions, which called for a plebiscite. These were not resolutions in the routine sense of the term. Their provisions were negotiated in detail with India and Pakistan and it was only after the consent of both Governments was explicitly obtained that they were endorsed by the United Nations. They thus constitute a binding and solemn international agreement about the settlement of the Kashmir dispute.
The commitment of the United States and Great Britain was indicated by a personal appeal made by America's President Harry Truman and Britain's Prime Minister Clement Atlee that differences over demilitarization be submitted to arbitration by the Plebiscite Administrator, a distinguished American war hero: Admiral Chester Nimitz. India rejected this appeal and, later on, objected to an American acting as the Plebiscite Administrator. India also created controversy only after India realized that she could not win the peoples vote in Kashmir.
More than 2,700 mass graves were discovered in Kashmir in August 2011 where tortured victims have been dumped, while "half-widows" are unable to officially bring closure to their lives since their husbands have disappeared. The abuses are so pervasive as to extend beyond those directly affected. The pattern of abuses reaches every man, woman and child in the Valley of Kashmir. The people live under the constant threat of the abuses. The prevalence of military personnel and bunkers serve as a constant reminder to Kashmiris of the potential for them to fall victim to such horrible occurrences.
The scale of the popular backing can be judged from the established fact that virtually all the citizenry of Srinagar (Capital city of Kashmir) - men, women and children - came out dozens of times on the streets to lodge a non-violent protest. The fact that they presented petitions at the office of the United Nations Military Observers Group shows the essentially peaceful nature of the aims of the uprising and its trust in justice under international law. At times the number of people in these peaceful processions exceeded 1 million. India has tried to portray the uprising as the work of terrorists or fanatics. Terrorists do not compose an entire population, including women and children; fanatics do not look to the United Nations to achieve pacific and rational settlement.
This popular and non violent resistance is a living proof that the people of Kashmir will not compromise, far less abandon, their demand for self-determination which is their birthright and for which they have paid a price in blood and suffering which has not been exacted from any other people of the South Asian subcontinent. Compared to the sacrifice Kashmir has had to endure, India and Pakistan themselves gained their freedom through a highly civilized process.
Therefore, the world powers must realize that there is only one solution to the problem we face and that is to bring Kashmiris to the table. It is only the people of Kashmir who can decide their own future, not by military means or by the use of violence, but through peaceful negotiations in which democratic process is available for people to freely decide for themselves whether they want to accede to India or Pakistan or want to remain independent. This is our answer, and it is the answer to the threat which now exists of nuclear annihilation throughout the whole region of South Asia – home to one-fifth of total human race.
Kashmir: My Story
While American youth grow up idolizing their favourite football stars or Hollywood heroes and yearning for the latest technological innovation, it is no surprise that by the time Kashmiri youth go to college their most driving passion is to exercise their right to self-determination.
My own passion for the plight of Kashmir is clearly nothing unique. As a child of Kashmir, born and raised in this environment myself, I am just one of the hundreds of thousands of youth who, through no fault or choice of their own, have become directly or indirectly involved and deeply and passionately motivated to do something positive for their country, however insignificant in the context of global affairs, to make a difference. A country can be destroyed but a nation cannot be defeated. Our hope is in our unity, in our love for one another as a people, as a nation, and as a divine spirit that pervades our history as a people with a unique cultural identity regardless of race, religion or creed, and our lasting belief that we cannot be denied our birth right to self-determination.
In 1980, an important event took place that touched my life in a very personal way. It has had the historic significance, not only in having an impact in a very real way upon my own survival and the personal vision I came to adopt for the rest of my life, but how it came to shape the very destiny of Kashmir itself.
I was in my early 30s then with a driving zeal, as is in every young man's heart in Kashmir. We all wanted to make a significant impact somewhere and somehow on life's stage. At this particular time, I had been placed in charge of the international section of a major conference being held in the capital of Kashmir, Srinagar. I was successful in inviting the Imam of Kaa’ba in Makkah whose presence became instrumental in energizing and internationalizing the issue of Kashmir on the right to self-determination.
The main conference was attended by tens of thousands of people who came to listen to the Imam. It was then that the greatest moment of my role in the conference was realized: to adopt a resolution calling for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions. The conference resolution was unanimously adopted by a show of hands. This was accomplished without a single window being broken, or a single stone being thrown but in an environment of peace and tranquillity, in the presence of thousands who were able to express on that day that the voice of the people of Kashmir was unified and firm in expressing their resolve for Kashmiri people's right to self-determination.
This was a momentous occasion in the history of Kashmir. To call for the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir is even now considered a crime by the government of India. Then, however, the presence of the Imam of Kaa’ba and his participation prevented officials from enforcing the law, at least through direct intervention. It was a day that would forever seal my fate in Kashmir as a man whose deep affection for his own country would become common knowledge and a man perhaps most loathed on that particular day by the government of India.
A few days later, after the Imam’s departure, the state administration discussed the impact of Imam’s visit on Kashmir where tens of thousands of people were able to listen to him in many cities and where the United Nations resolutions, which were considered seditious and illegal to even mention, were declared as legitimate. I was blamed for this evolutionary revolution in the consciousness of Kashmiris by raising the topic of the United Nations Security Council resolutions in every speech and the hope now more instilled that we would one day see freedom of Kashmir. The senior staff in the office of the chief minister wanted to have a word with me.
Next day, rather than meeting with the officials, I left India, knowing that I was for the foreseeable future to live in exile, honored by my countrymen, condemned to a fate that I must either embrace or die from the sheer weight of it. As it had then become clear to me, Kashmir was my friend, my lover, my country, my honor, and my dignity, and my only dream or hope of any future at all. I was not about to forsake it.
My Approach
In the time since I left Kashmir, I have always worked for its freedom, justice and right to self-determination. When I reached the United States in 1981-1982, I was extremely overjoyed to discover that its official policy conformed to the wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir. American presidents from the Truman Administration to the current Administration of President Obama have all been public and forthright about the need to resolve the Kashmir crisis according to the wishes of all parties involved, including the Kashmiri people themselves.
I was honored to receive a letter from President Bill Clinton on December 27, 1993 saying that “I share your belief that, in order to face the dilemmas of a post-Cold War global landscape, we all must look closely at our policies with regard to human rights. I am confident that we can bring about changes that are consistent with what the UN founders envisioned. I look forward to working with you and others to help bring peace in Kashmir and I appreciate your input.”
It was most gratifying for Kashmiri American community when President George W Bush said on February 22, 2006 that the United States supports a solution of Kashmir dispute acceptable not only to India and Pakistan but also to “citizens of Kashmir.”
It was equally satisfying for us when President Barack Obama said on October 30, 2008, “We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation with those militants.”
In 1990 the Kashmiri American community became active in the United States to urge the US Administration to help resolve the issue of Kashmir. Then in 1990, we joined together to establish the Kashmiri American Council (KAC) with the same purpose. Our program has included public events, academic conferences and a constant attempt to have all the parties to the conflict – India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership -- meet, discuss and plan strategy without any pre-condition from any side.
The eleven International Kashmir Conferences which I organized in Washington, DC were meant to create an atmosphere for dialogue among the participants with varied opinions from India, Pakistan and Kashmir. I tried to bridge gap in understanding while at the same time to promote harmony and peace between India and Kashmir.
I invited Dileep Padgaonkar, currently the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir interlocutor’s team appointed by Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. Upon his return to India, he wrote an article in the ‘The Times of India’ on March 12, 2005, "The talk inside and especially outside the conference hall focused on the need to adopt what Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director of KAC, called a 'pragmatic, realistic and tangible strategy' to resolve the vexed issue.”
Harinder Baweija, Editor ‘Tehelka’ Magazine in India, after attending our conference wrote an article on August 15, 2009, "Dr. Fai's opening remarks at the two-day conference in Washington were fairly innocuous and accurate: The meet, Fai said, was to achieve the Kashmiris' aims in the sprit of reconciliation not confrontation, through equality, not discrimination, and with hope not despair."
Another delegate from India, Sultan Shahin wrote in Hong Kong-based Asia Times on March 8, 2005, about the Kashmir conference, "The tone of realism and a sincere desire to explore options for Kashmir was set by the chief organizer of the conference, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai of the Kashmiri American Council, who stressed the following repeatedly at the very outset: Since we are concerned at this time with setting a stage for settlement rather than the shape the settlement will take, we believe that it is both untimely and harmful to indulge in, or encourage, controversies about the most desirable solution. Any attempt to do so at this point amounts to playing into the hands of those who would prefer to maintain a status quo that is intolerable to the people of Kashmir and also a continuing threat to peace in South Asia. We deprecate rising of quasi-legal or pseudo-legal questions during the preparatory phase about the final settlement. It only serves to befog the issue and to convey the wrong impression that the dispute is too complex to be resolved and that India and Pakistan hold equally inflexible positions. Such an impression does great injury to the cause.”
I have always tried to represent the sentiments of the people of Kashmir, irrespective of their religious background and cultural affiliations. Sometimes it meant to state the hard facts which people in the halls of power in New Delhi or Islamabad might not always find agreeable. This fact can be understood from an article which was published in ‘Washington Times’ on January 18, 2004, "Finding a solution to the stalemate over self-determination in Kashmir, however, is vastly more complex than articulating the problem. Some in India profit from Kashmir's tumults. They appeal to extreme Hindu nationalists who insist on Muslim inferiority and envision India as an expanding sun in the South Asian universe. Likewise, some in Pakistan gain by keeping Kashmir unresolved. It distracts attention from Pakistan's enormous domestic faults, and provides indigenous militants with an outlet unthreatening to [its own] government."
I also wrote an article in ‘Boston Globe’ on January 5, 2002, "There are suggestions in some quarters that the United Nations should broker a deal on Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Kashmiris wish to stress that their land is not real estate that can be parcelled out between two [non-resident] disputants but the home of nation with a history far more compact and coherent than India's and far longer than Pakistan's. No settlement of their status will hold unless it is explicitly based on the principles of self-determination and erases the so-called line of control, which is in reality the line of conflict. "
My approach has been consistent and there was absolutely no reason for me to do otherwise, and that is to inform the United States Administration that India and Pakistan by themselves are not able to resolve the issue of Kashmir. They have tried over decades but failed. It needs the engagement of the United States with both these neighboring countries.
Indian Intelligentsia
Of late, there have appeared positive signs of a change in Indian thinking on Kashmir. As a matter of fact, there have always existed saner elements in India which have questioned both the ethics and the practical advantage of India’s intransigence on Kashmir. As they have received little support from outside, they have remained mostly subdued. But the apparent failure of India’s policies, the tattered regime it maintains in Kashmir and the losses it has made to sustain in the Valley.
As early as in 1990’s, we realized that the most important constituency for Kashmiri Americans to address was the people of India themselves. The Indian public as a whole did not know the facts on the ground in Kashmir. A great deal of work was needed in this area to bring about any change in the attitudes of those who determine policy in New Delhi. It was then that I started exploring the possibility of opening the channels of communication with the policy makers from New Delhi.
I met with a three-man delegation in Washington, DC in December 1993 which was sent by then the prime minister of India, P V Narasimha Rao. The delegation was headed by former Cabinet Minister (Name withheld). During the two-days meeting a lot was discussed from militancy to the political leadership and the role of Kashmiri diaspora. And there was an understanding from both sides that this initiative could be pursued for the sake of peace in the region of South Asia.
In 1994, I met with former Interior Minister of India, (Name withheld) who was also sent by Prime Minister Rao to explore ways and means to bring peace to resolve the conflict of Kashmir. This meeting was in Washington, which lasted for 3 to 4 hours. The next meeting took place in New York City the following week which also lasted for four to five hours and was attended by Ambassador Yusuf Buch. Later, I submitted a written brief of these meetings to Ron Lorton, then the Director, South Asia Division at the United States, Department of State in the context of the United States Government’s concern over the conflict in Kashmir. The names of all members of the Indian delegation were mentioned in the brief.
I also had more than dozen meetings with the emissaries of the Government of India, including cabinet ministers, diplomats and politicians between 1994 to 2009, which were also attended either by Dr Ayub Thuker, London or Ambassador Yusuf Buch, New York.
In late 2009, a member of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Name withheld) called me on the telephone to meet at the Embassy of India. That was the first time that I have ever visited Embassy of India in Washington, DC. We discussed the issue of peace process between India and Pakistan; the Kashmiri leadership, the role of Kashmiri diaspora and many other issues of mutual concern.
I told the guest that I am hopeful for a constructive atmosphere for dialogue. I reminded him that it has been a characteristic of the Kashmir problem that, at one point in time, hopeful signs emerge of its being solved and, at the next point, these signs prove wholly deceptive. Therefore, our objective should be not to answer what is the correct or best solution of the Kashmir problem but how that solution can be arrived at. In other words, it should by itself neither promote nor preclude any rational settlement of the dispute, be it accession to India or Pakistan or independence.
Meeting with Indian officials was fundamental to my strategy to find the means by which we, as Kashmiri Americans could contribute to peace in that part of the world and in resolving the crisis of Kashmir. Therefore, during the past eleven years, I have met with four different officials at the Indian embassy who succeeded each other periodically and introduced me to the new incoming official before leaving for a new post. An interesting call and a voicemail from an Indian official (who shall remain anonymous) called me either on July 18 or July 19, 2011, the day I was arrested. He left a voicemail that we must meet, which I heard ten days later after my release. I intended to save that voicemail but for reasons unknown to me it was deleted.
The Principle of Right of Self-determination
I have always pleaded for an unrestricted right of self-determination which means that Kashmiris are to be given the right to accede to India or Pakistan or to choose independence.
I wrote in the Washington Post on July 7, 1990. "There is nothing in the United Nations plan that is incompatible with pluralism. We do not wish to foreclose any of the three possible options for the people: independence, accession to Pakistan or accession to India (despite all the atrocities committed by India). We refuse to believe that fairness is an impractical proposition."
I wrote in Washington Times, on April 2, 2000 "Kashmiris recognize that any solution must also answer the genuine national security and communal concerns of both India and Pakistan. Thus, if independent statehood is approved, the 13 million people of Kashmir would accept permanent neutrality like Austria in the 1955 State Treaty that ended foreign occupation."
I wrote in Washington Times on July 8, 2001, "The United States should also offer India tangible rewards for acceding to Kashmiri self-determination subject to safeguards to prevent Kashmiri independence from threatening India's national security interests: support for permanent Indian membership in the Security Council: grand fathered nuclear status under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty; the ending of sanctions for India's 1998 nuclear tests; and closer military ties that would strengthen India's hand in its border and companion quarrels with China."
I again wrote in Washington Times on October 21, 2001, “As was done in East Timor in 1999, the United Nations Security Council should organize and conduct a plebiscite on Kashmir's future and deploy a peacekeeping force to ensure a free and fair voting climate. The voter registration and campaigning should consume six to 12 months. India and Pakistan should be ordered to maintain a ceasefire and to thin their military presences. The plebiscite should offer three choices: accession to India, accession to Pakistan, or independence.”
I also wrote in 1993 that “the right of self-determination, by definition, is an unrestricted right. By entering into the agreement, India and Pakistan excluded, and rendered inadmissible, each other's claim to the State until that claim was accepted by the people through a vote taken under an impartial authority. They did not, as they could not, decide what options the people would wish to consider. No agreement between two parties can affect the rights of a third: this is an elementary principle of law and justice which no international agreement, if legitimate, can possibly flout. Therefore, India and Pakistan could not tell the people of Kashmir that they can choose independently but they cannot choose independence. It would make a mockery of democratic norms.”
Fallacious Proposals For The Solution Of Kashmir
An indication of the misplaced focus is the wrong-headed talk about the "sanctity" of the line of control in Kashmir. It is forgotten that this line continues to exist only because the international agreement which had been concluded between India and Pakistan, with the full support of the United States. This line was originally formalized by that agreement as a temporary ceasefire line pending the demilitarization of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the holding of a plebiscite to determine its future. As long as it will remain clamped down on the state, it will continue to impose a heavy toll of death on the people of the land. They have had no hand in creating a line which has cut through their homes, separated families and, what is worse, served as a protecting wall for massive violations of human rights. They are not resigned to its becoming some kind of a border.
Equally distressing has been the reported canvassing by some quarters of the idea of autonomy for Kashmir with the Indian Union. Kashmiri leadership has the support of mass opinion for its stand that this is totally unacceptable as:
(i) It would be liable to revision or repeal by the Indian legislature, with or without a change of Administration:
(ii) Most importantly, it would not be incorporated in an international treaty or agreement with the expressed support of all states neighboring Kashmir as well as the permanent members of the Security Council;
(iii) Kashmiris have had the experience of a limited autonomy, which was first practiced under a personal understanding between Nehru and Abdullah and later provided for by Section 370 of the Indian Constitution. It was eroded and eventually whittled away by the forces of circumstances.
One consideration becomes compelling clear that it is virtually impossible that a settlement, no matter how pleasing to the present leadership of India and Pakistan and even of certain interested foreign powers, will endure and carry a stamp of genuineness unless it has a rational framework, rests convincingly on principle and is transparently democratic.
Kashmir: A Way Forward
All that is needed for the settlement is going back --- yes, going back --- to the point of agreement which historically existed beyond doubt between India and Pakistan and jointly resolving to retrieve it with such modifications as are necessitated by the passage of time. The point of agreement was one of inescapable principle- -- that the future status of Kashmir shall be decided by the will of the people of the State as impartially ascertained in conditions free from coercion.
True, sixty-five years have passed since the resolutions were adopted but as many years have gone since the Charter of the United Nations was adopted. Lapse of time does not invalidate international agreements. However, India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri leadership must signify their willingness to consider any arrangement which conforms to the same principle as did the United Nations resolutions and may be more feasible in the changed circumstances of today.
I believe that the United Nations can, and should, lead the effort to achieve a fair and lasting settlement of the dispute – fair to the people most immediately involved and fair to its own commitments to democracy and human rights. By doing so, the United Nations can strengthen the principles of a just world order. It will also earn the gratitude of generations in Kashmir, in Pakistan and even in India itself.
The UN can play a more activist, mediatory role in regard to Kashmir by initiating a peace process. This can take the shape of a polygonal dialogue – US, China, India, Pakistan and Kashmir – or an appropriate use of the newly – developed procedures and mechanisms at the United Nations. The US by itself or through the UN would supply the catalyst that is needed for a settlement.
We urge the members of the United Nations Security Council to maintain, indeed to intensify, their watch over the situation in Kashmir and not to be lulled into the belief that the dialogue between India and Pakistan, in the form and at the level it appears to be contemplated at present, will soften the conflict or lessen the urgent need for mediatory initiatives. The policy that aims at merely defusing the situation, whatever that may mean, and not encouraging a credible settlement has not paid in the past. It is likely to do even less now.
What is desperately needed is an affirmation by the Indian and Pakistani leadership at the highest level of the necessity of taking new measures to effect the settlement of the dispute within a reasonable time frame. To that end, India and Pakistan must together prepare a plan for the demilitarization of the State with safeguards for security worked out together. Confidence that a real peace process is being launched would be inspired by the ending of repressive measures within the Indian-held area by both the federal and the state authorities. If sincerity is brought to the process in place of cheap trickery, the dawn of peace will glow as never before over the subcontinent.
The global initiatives in Kashmir will not only end the bloodshed and suffering in Kashmir, but also have a direct positive effect on international security by eliminating regional fighting, national tensions, and the risk of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. It is in everyone’s interest to settle the Kashmir conflict peacefully without further delay. We don’t want to see the horrific nightly scenes from Bosnia, Kosovo and Darfur replaced by an even greater catastrophe in Kashmir.
Views expressed are personal
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