Monday, 16 April 2012

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:

No comments: