Saturday, 7 April 2012

Why we separated from JKLF Yasin Group, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Why we separated from JKLF Yasin Group
Dr Shabir Choudhry 07 April 2012

By and large, I have been ignoring allegations and campaign spearheaded by some TDH’s (Tome, Dick and Harry’s) who are fuelled by passions of tribalism and secret agencies. The main objective of these proxies is to create confusion and discredit me and my colleagues that we are distracted from our real work of presenting the Kashmir dispute in its right perspective; and show the world that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied and human rights abuses take place on both sides of the divide.

As a matter of policy I don’t confront the proxies and mercenaries; and although it is difficult and more challenging, but I like to directly take on those on whose behest these proxies operate. However, when neutral and some serious people ask why we separated from the JKLF Yasin Malik, it is only appropriate that I provide them the required information.

When Amanullah Khan and Yasin Malik accused each other of being Indian and Pakistani agents, at that time we were working as an independent group of JKLF and decided to support Yasin Malik. We knew what Amanullah Khan was and were fully aware of his contacts with forces that were using the people of Kashmir as a raw material to keep the Kashmir pot boiling; but because we didn’t know much about Yasin Malik and he was ‘released’ from Prison (later on we learnt that he was ‘released’ from a Farm House near New Delhi where his ‘new training’ took place), we thought he could be the right man.

When I was elected President of the JKLF, my colleagues and I actively asserted our plan in action, that although the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is disputed, but our struggle is on the Pakistani side of the divide. We also forcefully asserted that there was no military solution to the Kashmir dispute; and that the struggle was not religious in nature.

Our campaign was strongly opposed by the lobby that was behind the militancy; and was controlling and managing the ‘struggle’ against India, as they did not want attention to be diverted to the prevailing situation in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. They asked Yasin Malik to control the situation. They were more worried about my writings and they, through Yasin Malik imposed a restriction on me that I should not write anymore on Kashmir. I was allowed to write on every other topic, but not on Kashmir; and if I wanted to get something published on Kashmir I should get it checked from pro Yasin committee of three people which included a man who has only seen colleges and universities from outside.

This was insult to my intellect; knowledge and all the research I have done on Kashmir and Indo Pakistan relations, so I decided not to write anymore. I started writing again when Abdul Ghani Lone was brutally murdered, and I said to myself, to remain quiet on this anymore will be a criminal act; and I actively started exposing culprits and those who made the Kashmiri struggle a lucrative business.

Once they realised that they cannot control me and my colleagues, Yasin Malik and the lobby behind him tried to have a vote of no confidence against me; but they could not even get the required members of the Central Committee to propose a vote of no confidence.

When Abbas Butt succeeded me as the President, they tried to pressurise him to control me. They accused me for ‘damaging the Kashmiri struggle’. Under pressure from them and in order to satisfy them and to find out facts, Abbas Butt set up a Committee and appointed Zubair Ansari its Chairman. The Committee after a thorough research and after looking at my articles concluded that Dr Shabir Choudhry is a true nationalist and was actively promoting the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir; and that they could not find anything in these articles which is against the JKLF constitution or written ideology.

While all this was going on I made a speech in the UN Human Rights Commission against Mangla Dam upraising and exposed how Pakistan was exploiting our resources and drowning our towns, our villages, our history and graves of our love ones. Perhaps that was the final straw. The powers that be could not take anymore. We have evidence of very reliable authority that they bluntly told Yasin Malik to control the situation or else….?

Yasin Malik once again asked Abbas Butt to take some actions against me - Dr Shabir Choudhry. Abbas Butt and I have always worked as a team; and all the policies I pursue are discussed and jointly agreed; so he knew what I was doing was right in accordance with the JKLF constitution and ideology; and genuine requirements of Movement for united and Independent Jammu and Kashmir, so he could not find any reason to take any action against me.

Abbas Butt is a man with strong nerve, and he resisted all the pressure. Once Yasin Malik realised that he was not going to take any action, he sent Farooq Papa from Canada; and he announced that he was expelling Abbas Butt and Dr Shabir Choudhry from the JKLF. Farooq Papa or even Yasin Malik had no legal write to expel an elected President and a Central leader. In a telephone conversation with Abbas Butt, Yasin Malik later on confirmed that he was sunder pressure to either take this action or pick up dead bodies of his two senior colleagues in Srinagar. Sensible readers and Kashmir watchers can work out who could be pressurising Yasin Malik, as Mangla Dam is situated in Azad Kashmir and we were opposing its upraising.

However, this unconstitutional action was unanimously rejected by the JKLF Executive Council; and relevant sections of the Executive Council decision are produced below:

JKLF Executive Council fully supports Abbas Butt and Dr Shabir Choudhry.

17 April 2003 Birmingham

After split in JKLF ranks in Srinagar and subsequent news items that JKLF President Mr Abbas Butt and Chairman Diplomatic Committee Dr Shabir Choudhry were expelled by a man known as Farooq Papa, urgent meeting of the Executive Council was called in Birmingham, England.

The Executive Council meeting was presided by Mr Abbas Butt, who gave full back ground to the events, and what had happened at Geneva after our interventions; and how some people known as officials and 'mouth piece' of these officials approached us. The Executive Council examined the whole situation and after detailed discussion unanimously declared:

1. That it has full confidence in Mr Abbas Butt as the President and in Dr Shabir Choudhry as the Chairman Diplomatic Committee; and that both leaders would continue in their respective positions until there is an election in UK & Europe which could take place between July 2003 and July 2005.

2. That individual concerned, Farooq Papa, had no legal, constitutional or moral role in this matter. Members of JKLF UK and Europe could only be expelled either by the President or Executive Council; again after making a charge sheet against the person concerned and after giving him full right of defence.

2.A Every decision has to be taken legally and constitutionally, and not even the Chairman or any of his colleagues have this right to expel. If he has a valid complaint against a member, then he could ask the President or Central Committee to look in to the matter and take appropriate action according to the laws of the party. NO individual is above the law and no individual has a right to impose his will on the party and behave like a dictator. We have opposed illegal and unconstitutional measures which damaged the party and nationalist movement in the past and we would do it again.

2.B The Executive Council said that there is no such thing as a Revolutionary Supreme Command Council in the JKLF. This body ended when the JKLF declared to end militancy and concentrate on peaceful struggle. With end to militancy resulted in termination of all Commanders, their Chiefs, command and control. So it is amazing for us to hear of this obsolete body.

2.C The Executive Council reiterated its stand that the JKLF is a democratic organisation with its roots in the public, and democratic values embedded in history and tradition; and would not be a party to any undemocratic move in the party, be it related to passing the constitution or expulsion of any member.

3. That the expulsion of Majid Tramboo by Mr Abbas Butt was legal and constitutional, and the Executive Council upholds this decision as the person concerned was given many warnings in the past and had actively and consistently worked against JKLF ideology and party leadership. Furthermore the person concerned did not pay his monthly subscription and despite reminders refused to pay his membership fee.

Apart from the above, I am producing my speech made at the UN Human Rights Commission which infuriated relevant authorities in Pakistan and they ordered Yasin Malik to take action against us.

Mangla Dam and Pakistan, Dr Shabir Choudhry’s speech at the UN under agenda item 5
Prevention of discrimination and indigenous peoples.

It has become habit of us Kashmiris to criticise with full force whatever India does wrong in Kashmir; and turn blind eye when Pakistan does something wrong. It is partly due to this wrong policy of Kashmiris that we are still forcibly divided and continue to suffer.

We should learn to call spade a spade, and criticise both governments on their Kashmir policies and human rights abuses in their respective parts of Kashmir. By only criticising India and by ignoring wrong doings of Pakistan we have played in to hands of Pakistani agencies who wanted to give this message that it is only Indian side of Kashmir which is disputed and Kashmiris on Pakistani side of the divide are happy with Pakistan.

The government of Pakistan built a dam known as the Mangla Dam in a disputed territory of Azad Kashmir. The construction of the dam was fiercely opposed by the local people of Mirpur, but this opposition was ruthlessly put down by Punjab Constabulary and militia; and the projected was completed in 1967.

The dam uprooted more than 20,000 families, and people were forced to leave their homes and graves of their love ones. They were told that in order to meet water and energy need of Pakistan this dam has to be built; but they were promised that they will be compensated generously for this sacrifice.

Some of the things promised to them are as follows:

• Alternative residential plots
• Compensation for loss of business
• Alternative allotments for loss of irrigational land
• Free electricity
• Free Water supply
• A railway station and a railway line connecting Mirpur with national rail network of Pakistan
• 50% quota for employment
• Royalty for the dam to be paid to Azad Kashmir government

It is unfortunate to note that most of the promises were not honoured by Pakistan. To date not a single penny has been given as a royalty, electricity people of Mirpur get is of poor quality and expensive, there is no railway line or railway station in Mirpur or anywhere in Azad Kashmir, there is inadequate supply of drinking water and still there are more than 8,000 families who did not get their allotments.

And thousands of people who got allotments in various parts of Pakistan were unable to get possession of land; and because of intimidation and discriminatory treatment of the local people and local administration, were forced to return back to Mirpur.

Mr Chairman

The above scenario should be compared with the construction of the Tarbela Dam in Pakistan which was constructed after the Mangla dam. Of course construction of this dam also uprooted families and villages, but they were properly compensated and resettled. The government of North West Frontier had a written Agreement with the WAPDA (Water And Power Development Authority), and used its power and influence to implement in letter and spirit. Evidence of this could be seen by news release of the WAPDA issued on 27 June 2003, which reads, and I quote:

‘WAPDA, in spite of its financial limitations, discharged its full and final liability towards Net Hydel Profit to the North West Frontier Province, well ahead of the fiscal year closure date June 30, 2003….According to the details, Article 161(2) of the Constitution provides for payment of Net Hydel Profit to the provinces. The amount due to be paid to NWFP for the year 2002-03 as fixed by the Government of Pakistan comes to Rs. 6 billion.

WAPDA has been regularly paying Net Hydel Profit to the Government of NWFP in spite of its financial problems. It may be recalled that for the years 1991-92 to 2001-2002 the North West Frontier Province received an amount of Rs. 65.662 billion against the projected amount of Rs. 57.425 billion. In other words, the Province has received Rs. 8.237 billion in excess during the above mentioned period.’

Mr Chairman

WAPDA Chairman is boasting that they have paid 8.237 billion Rupees in excess to the provincial government of North West Frontier and that is a share of profit for the Tarbela dam. We have a dam in Mirpur for which not a single penny has been paid to the government of Azad Kashmir since 1967.

Income from the Mangla Dam is around 7 billion Rupees per annum, and the dam has been operational and making profit for the Pakistani authorities for past 36 years. And if we multiply then we get a figure of 252 billion, and that is what government of Pakistan owes to Azad Kashmir, but there is no hope of receiving that because Pakistani officials treat Azad Kashmiris differently and less favourably.

Mr Chairman

This situation is to be compared with the fact that planning for the Mangla dam and Kala Bagh dam started around same time in early 1950s. Both proposed constructions were opposed by the local people. Despite opposition of people of Mirpur a dam was completed in 1967; but for Kala Bagh dam despite millions spent in different studies and plans, as to date not a foundation brick is laid down due to fierce opposition from the local people and some powerful land lords.

Our opposition was put down by force; but their opposition was not put down by force but attempts have been made to offer them generous compensations. This shows how we the people of Azad Kashmir are treated differently and less favourably.

Mr Chairman

It looks that the British government of undivided India had more respect and care for the people of Kashmir. Upper Jhelum Canal was constructed in 1914; this canal before entering what is now Pakistani territory near Sarai Alamgir, runs through a Kashmiri territory.

The British Government of the time negotiated an agreement with the Maharaja government, and it had a number of benefits for the people of Kashmir, including payment of royalty of 1.7 million Rupees annually. Despite difficult times during the World Wars and recessions of 1930s, this amount was regularly paid by the Punjab government of the time to the Maharaja government every year.

After the partition of India these areas which are irrigated by the Upper Jhelum Canal became a part of Pakistan, and since that no money is being paid to the government of Azad Kashmir which Pakistan claims to be the legitimate government representing the whole of Kashmir.

Salient points of the agreement between the British Government and the Maharaja government are as follows:

1. For the Upper Jhelum Canal the Maharaja will give his land free, but it will be treated as a State territory and any land not used for the canal purposes will be returned to the State.
2. The government of Punjab will pay yearly compensation for the land affected, equal to revenue generated by this land.
3. The people of Kashmir will have right to use water free of any charge to irrigate their land.
4. The people of Kashmir will have right to construct mills or other grinding factories run by the use of water as a source of energy.
5. Government of Punjab will at their own expenses construct bridges along the rout of the canal that people of Kashmir can easily cross with their livestock and cattle carts.
6. If due to flood or other damage caused by the canal to property or crops in Kashmir, the government of Punjab will be responsible to pay compensation for that.
7. The government of Punjab will pay compensation for all buildings, property or wells affected by the canal construction.
8. Any material brought in for the construction of the canal from outside of the State, the government of Punjab will have to pay royalty on each item.
9. The State government allows the Punjab government to build different residential and other commercial buildings to facilitate the construction work, but they will have to pay for any land used for such purpose.
10. Before the start of the work a clear rout of the canal has to be finalised ensuring that place of worship of any religion is not affected.
11. And people working on the canal will respect local laws and customs, and will not bring any item for consumption which is not permitted in the State.

Mr Chairman

With passage of time all dams lose their ability to store water, but proper maintenance helps to overcome this problem. The Mangla dam had life of over

De -silting of the dams
Also Pakistani government owes millions of Rupee in rent which is due to government of Azad Kashmir for the State property situated in different parts of Pakistan. Before the Parturition of India, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir received annual rent for his properties from the then British Indian governments, and this only stopped after Pakistani government took over these properties.

Mr Chairman I thank you for your patience.

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