Sunday, 28 October 2012

JKLF in crises again -another split

 JKLF in crises again -another split
Dr Shabir Choudhry    28 October 2012

Many in the JKLF are not endowed by Almighty with wisdom and common sense; hence inability to analyse or understand the prevailing or fast changing political environment. Many of them cannot differentiate between good and bad; unity and disintegration; and people with common sense could not be held responsible for their lack wisdom.

Many of them will happily and sincerely saw the branch they are sitting on, may be with intention of doing some imagined good to Kashmir’s independent struggle. And when sensible passer - by tells them that you will fall down if you continue to cut the branch; they ridicule him and accuse him for diverting their attention from the orders of their ‘guru’, as they think he wants to damage the cause of the JKLF and freedom struggle. When eventually the branch, with their hard work comes down with them, they shout how this man knew that the branch will fall down. He must be part of this conspiracy against their great leader, their JKLF and their struggle. What struggle, one may ask? Is it to serve the interests of GHQ of Pakistan in name of Kashmiri nationalism? And the drama continues until next round of crises, which their guru creates without failure after every few years.

Yasar Arafat was the tallest Palestinian leader. Al – Fatah was one among many Palestinian organisations; and Yasar Arafat was head of Al –Fatah. By using his wisdom and skills he persuaded all parties to unite under one umbrella, and established PLO. He was elected Chairman of the PLO. Amanullah Khan thinks his status is above Yasar Arafat, or at least, equal to him, despite the fact, that unlike Yasar Arafat, he is only good at creating crises in his own party and splitting it every few years; rather than uniting the Kashmiri parties.

Those with common sense in the JKLF, sooner or later realise that the man has no plan for liberation of Jammu and Kashmir State, and is only fooling people in name of nationalism and independence. They also realise that he is sitting in the lap of the secret agencies – a fact he acknowledged in his book that he received help and military training and weapons from the ISI. How can you call it nationalism if you take help, money, arms and training from one occupier and use it against the other occupier? People with common sense and the international community call it a proxy war and not liberation struggle; and even some Pakistani thinkers and writers are acknowledging this fact now, and are criticising Pakistan’s Kashmir policy.

Some people after discovering this bitter fact that the top JKLF leadership has no programme for liberation of Jammu and Kashmir; and they are only promoting agenda of the Pakistani establishment under the garb of Kashmiri nationalism, decided to remain quiet because they know that they would be expelled from the party and accused of being an agent or a traitor. Others try to bring about reforms within the party, and then decide to remain quiet when they feel it is impossible to change anything or they give - in to some threats.

However, those who refuse to give - in to threats and challenge wrong policies get what I got; and what Sardar Saghir Khan is getting now. This is not to suggest that I and Saghir Khan are above criticism or have not made mistakes. We all make mistakes, as it is part of human nature. However, good people acknowledge their mistakes and try to rectify them, just like Prophet Adam did; and stubborn and bad people take pride in their mistakes and insist they were correct, just what Satan did.
I had serious doubts about sincerity of this so called JKLF unity pact. If intention was to unite JKLF Groups then all Groups should have been invited. It is unfortunate to note that Amanullah Khan, once again, lied that there was no prior discussion and Yasin Malik came to ask about his health and that is where it was decided to get united. Now Sardar Saghir Khan, Chairman of the JKLF at the time when Amanullah Khan made a pact with Yasin Malik without taking the Chairman or Central Committee in confidence, has revealed that both Amanullah Khan and Yasin Malik with help of ‘some others’ had secret meetings at Amanullah Khan’s residence in a posh area of Rawalpindi/Islamabad (Bahria Town) before making it public. When unity drama was being staged with directors of Aab Para working from behind the scenes, I wrote this on 10 October 2011:

‘It is also very unlikely that former leaders and members of the JKLF will rush to join this new JKLF when they know how these leaders damaged to the JKLF and its ideology by aligning themselves with the secret agencies. One former JKLF colleague said, ‘They are selling old wine in new bottle – old policies with a new wrapping, I am not interested. We know their old policy and old strategy which was formulated in offices of Aab Para (reference to ISI Head Quarters in Islamabad) unknowingly I also promoted that policy, but I don’t want to commit the same mistake again’.’

‘In view of all the above, it is difficult to predict accurately what will be the outcome of this unity pact. I still have my doubts if these people, who opposed each other for so long, criticised each other and accused each other for being anti movement and agents of secret agencies will be able to work as a team and effectively promote cause of an independent Jammu and Kashmir. It is possible that after working for some months together they might go different ways again; or a new group might emerge from here. No matter what is the outcome of this unity team, Amanullah Khan has emerged as a statesman, and to some extent his past mistakes might be camouflaged by this exercise. Yasin Malik, on the other hand, will be the fall guy, especially if he does not improve his administrative and public relations skills’.

Last week when, Amanullah Khan and his advisors decided to axe the JKLF again, one JKLF member said to me: ‘When everyone was talking of the JKLF unity and the boost it would provide to the party and the Independent Kashmir Movement, you predicted a split. Now Sardar Saghir Khan has rebelled. Do you know him well?’

I replied, I don’t know Sardar Saghir Khan, as we have never met; but I know Amanullah Khan and secret agencies of Pakistan and how they operate; and on bases of that I predicted a split. Amanullah Khan has to engineer a split in the JKLF every 3-4 years; and then cry out – conspiracy against me and the JKLF. I don’t know, since 1981, how many times he has done this. Each time he finds some innocent people or some fools to defend him, who would yell out that ‘agents and traitors’ have conspired against their great leader.

Readers can understand wisdom and blind following of the JKLF cadres from the following fact. Amanullah Khan presented Dr Farooq Haider as very loyal and dedicated soldier of the JKLF; and we all promoted him like that. In June 1990, Amanullah Khan, without consulting Dr Farooq Haider, Senior Vice Chairman and the Central Committee declared a Provisional Government of Kashmir. This was a bombshell. Dr Farooq Haider and rest of the senior Central Committee protested against this unwise decision and called a meeting of the Central Committee.

Amanullah Khan knew he would have to face some tough interrogation, so he chose not to attend the Central Committee meeting. The Central Committee with two third majority expelled Amanullah Khan from the JKLF. Amanullah Khan, in turn, expelled all those who were in that meeting; and propagated that it was ISI conspiracy against him, yet it was he who declared that government. Apart from few of us majority of Amanullah Khan’s followers believed in that, and started cursing Dr Farooq Haider; and called him ISI agent. At that time militancy was at its peak, and sincere people were seriously concerned about negative impact of this in - fighting. All efforts to unite the JKLF were subtly sabotaged by him. However, after few years of in - fighting Dr Farooq Haider came to Amanullah Khan’s office and decided to join Amanullah Khan’s JKLF, even though the splinter group of the JKLF was still operating and continue to do so.

Once Dr Farooq Haider accepted his defeat, and for the sake of unity, walked to Amanullah Khan, he, once again declared him a loyal stalwart of the JKLF and the independent movement. Nearly all members, without any hesitation, started their mantra that Dr Farooq Haider was a loyal man. I, however, wrote a lengthy letter to Amanullah Khan asking him which tonic he used to make Dr Farooq Haider from ISI agent to a loyal leader of the JKLF.

The point I want to prove is that many in the JKLF do not have what it takes to differentiate between good and bad. They think loyalty to Amanullah Khan will win them independence of Jammu and Kashmir, even though the man has very seriously damaged the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir. Amanullah Khan is not worried, as he knows some people will blindly follow him even if he sold the entire Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan.

Not long ago, Sardar Saghir Khan was Chairman of the JKLF and was hailed as a leader and true patriot by the JKLF people and heir apparent. Of course, he had full confidence of Amanullah Khan. How could anyone be a patriot without approval of Amanullah Khan? Mistake Sadar Saghir Khan made was that he thought Amanullah Khan was too old now; and the JKLF was effectively under his control. He even started speaking about Gilgit Baltistan; and crossed the line which the JKLF senior leaders were not allowed to do so.

The hand that feeds the JKLF was not happy with Sardar Saghir Khan. They thought if something happens to Amanullah Khan as he is an old man now, the Crown of the JKLF would go to Sardar Saghir Khan; and they did not want that. They wanted the Crown of the JKLF to pass on to their trusted man in Srinagar, hence the drama of JKLF Unity.

Sardar Saghir Khan is effectively out of the JKLF. A malicious campaign has started against him, same campaign that was started against me and many others in the past. It is test of Sardar Saghir Khan’s ability and wisdom. He has to decide his future action. Forming another JKLF group would not be a wise decision. He needs to understand that JKLF is a spent force (Chala howa Kartoos) which is only good as a decoration piece.

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

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Gilgit Baltistan may become a battleground for imperial powers

Gilgit Baltistan may become a battleground for imperial powers

Dr Shabir Choudhry    16 October 2012

While talking to students of Gilgit Baltistan Dr Shabir Choudhry said:

Gilgit Baltistan is legally and constitutionally part of State of Jammu and Kashmir; and those who deny this fact, are either naive about history of Jammu and Kashmir or are agents of forces of occupation. In my considered opinion, the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied. Regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are occupied by India and regions of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan are occupied by Pakistan.

I believe people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir are denied of fundamental human rights on both sides of the forced division; and those who are fighting forces of occupation and ate promoting rights of the people are commendable. Jammu and Kashmir, including Gilgit Baltistan is disputed and people of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir must be given a right to determine their future without any fear or restrictions.

It must be noted that when we say ‘Kashmir dispute’ we mean the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir as it existed on 15 August 1947. The Kashmir dispute is not religious or territorial in nature. The dispute is political and must be resolved by a process of dialogue by making true representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir part of this process.

In a reply to question of Aijad Ali, Dr Shabir Choudhry said, my struggle is for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir; and my strong wish is that Gilgit Baltistan is also part of this independent country. However, if people of Jammu and Kashmir, without any force and coercion, decide not to be part of our independent country, I will not oppose their united will; as this would be similar to policy of Pakistani officials who say they will support people of Jammu and Kashmir’s right to determine their future provided they join Pakistan.

Nevertheless, government of Pakistan has no right to annex Gilgit Baltistan by force or by some other ploy, as this region is legal and constitutional part of my country; and we will resist imperialist moves to annex Gilgit Baltistan. However, until the Kashmir dispute is resolved people of Gilgit Baltistan must not be deprived of their fundamental rights, including economic and political rights.

Those who signed the Karachi Pact and supported it by leaving people of Gilgit Baltistan at the mercy of the Pakistani agencies and establishment were agents of Pakistan. They gave away Kashmiri territory to our neighbour, who oppressed people and denied them of fundamental human rights. I can appreciate anger and frustration of the people of Gilgit Baltistan because they were left alone to suffer for many decades; but they should understand that ordinary people of Azad Kashmir and that of Jammu and Kashmir care for them even though because of occupation and oppression they could not practically help their fellow countrymen divided and separated by force.

In reply to another question Dr Shabir Choudhry said it is not for me to say who is right and wrong, as far as the problems Balawaristan National Front is concerned. Both Hamid Khan and Nawaz Naji are friends and are respectable. They both have struggled in their own way, and they continue to promote and fight for the rights of the people. I hope that people of Gilgit Baltistan will appreciate struggle of the nationalist leaders and work to expose designs of those who occupy us.

Kashmir National Party delegation visited Gilgit Baltistan in 2010 and met leaders belonging to Gilgit Baltistan which included Nawaz Naji and Baba Jan, and many local people and students. It was there we learnt that some local people have independence of Gilgit Baltistan as their first choice, and becoming part of united and impendent Jammu and Kashmir as their second choice.

Gilgit Baltistan is not only strategically important to many countries with imperialist aims; it is also full of natural resources which belong to us and people of Gilgit Baltistan. Exploitation of these resources by forces of occupation must stop and granting of different areas on lease to Chinese must end. All those areas which are already leased out, people of Gilgit Baltistan must have control over all matters related to that; and must benefit from local resources.

Imperialist powers always look for new markets and areas which have natural resources. Because Gilgit Baltistan is full of natural resources and strategically it is of immense importance, imperialists are jockeying for position in this region, hence a new chapter of the Great Game has ensued. I am deeply concerned that imperialist powers may make our region battleground for the new war in order to control this region and benefit from the strategic position and natural resources.

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

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Provisional Government of Jammu and Kashmir

Provisional Government of Jammu and Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry          10 October 2012

As expected I had some positive and some negative response for my article, ‘Issues related to Provisional Government of 4th October 1947’. Some people highly appreciated it and some disgruntled elements activated by forces of occupation and tribalism, like in the past, made personal attacks without providing any logical or historical facts to support their view point. However, some sensible people put forward their view point in support of the Provisional Government; and my reply is aimed at these people and not those who have malicious agenda of abusing and accusing others.

Also I want to point out that I am not against the Provisional Government because it was declared by a Qadiani – I have always opposed regionalism and sectarianism. My opposition is because it was not legal or constituted with welfare people of Jammu and Kashmir in mind; and later on it only created problems for people of the State.

 Those who support 4th October Provisional Government rest their case on three points:
1.      It was representative
2.      It was legal;
3.      Azad Kashmir Army

Was the Provisional Government ‘Representative’?
Unless they have different meaning of ‘legal’ and ‘representative’ than other people, there are no legal or historical facts which can support their contention. As far as 4th October Declaration is concerned, I do not deny about its existence. Furthermore, I agree on its contents as published in the paper. However, I challenge intentions of those who declared this Provisional Government and its legal and representative character.

When this Provisional Government was announced all leading leaders of the Muslim Conference (Pro Pakistan Kashmiri party and Ghulam Nabi Gilkar belonged to this party) were present in Rawalpindi, which included senior leaders like Acting President Chaudhry Hameedullah Khan, Sardar Ibrahim Khan, Mirwaiz Mohammed Yousaf Shah, Professor Mohammed Ishaque Qureshi, Syed Nazir Hussain and Maulana Ghulam Haider Janadalvi, question is why these senior leaders were not taken in to confidence. The biggest party of Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference and its undisputed leader Sheikh Abdullah and his senior colleagues were also not taken in confidence.

No one from Ladakh, Jammu, Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan was consulted on the issues of setting up of this ‘Provisional Government’. In reality this ‘Government’ was not even representative of the Muslim Conference, and one can only laugh at the claim that it was a ‘representative government’ of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. 1

Reality is that, a meeting was held in Lahore on 02 October 1947 at a residence of Mirza Bashir Ul Ahmad (Head of Qadiani Sect), in which, apart from Ghulam Nabi Gilkar few local Kashmiris were also present. It was in this meeting a decision was taken to set up a Provisional Government. 2. This story is also confirmed by another writer Zahir – Ud Din, who wrote: ‘...When the Government of India ousted Nawab of Junagarh, the Government of Pakistan approached Mirza Bashir ud Din Ahmad of Qadiyan and authorised him to take appropriate measures with regard to Kashmir. Mirza called Gilkar to Lahore...’3

The news of the Provisional Government was first broadcasted by Radio of Pakistan on 4th October; and published by many newspapers on 5 October. However, people generally make reference to the news published in ‘Civil and Military Gazette’ on 8th October 1947. Without influence and contacts of Mirza Bashir Ud Din Ahmed, there was no way Ghulam Nabi Gilkar or his ‘Cabinet members’ could have got this news broadcasted in Radio Pakistan or got it published in prestigious paper, Civil and Military Gazette. 4

Famous Kashmiri historian Justice Yusuf Saraf, who after doing extensive research on Modern history of Jammu and Kashmir wrote two volumes consisting of more than 1400 pages, comments on this ‘historic event’. Yusuf Saraf confirms that in response to a ‘Provisional Government’ of Junagarh set up on 1st of October with Samal Das Gandhi as the President, a meeting was convened by Mirza Bashir Ud Din in Lahore on 2nd October. It was in this meeting it was decided to set up a ‘Provisional Government of Jammu and Kashmir with Ghulam Nabi Gilkar as the President. 5

Justice Saraf, while commenting on the Rawalpindi meeting held in Paris Hotel asserted: ‘There is no evidence to support the further claim that the proclamation was discussed and debated at Rawalpindi in a restricted meeting attended also by Syed Nazir Hussain Shah Advocate who disclaims any such meeting ever taking place (to decide the Provisional Government). Even if a decision to appoint Mr Gilkar, well known in the State for his courageous and leading role in 1931 Movement, as Head was taken in Lahore meeting, it seems clear that he kept it to himself when he came to Rawalpindi and did not inform Syed Nazir Hussain Shah, Maulana Ghulam Haider Janadalvi or others about it, perhaps because of awareness that it would not be acceptable not only because he was an Ahmedi but also because a few municipal level workers had no business to take such a vital decision and expect to bind the High Command. 6

Justice Yusuf Saraf, while supporting the idea of the ‘Provisional Government’ said, ‘one cannot approve the fact of its having been taken at such a municipal and limited level, even without the knowledge of the Party’s top brass, some of whom like (Acting President) Chaudhry Hameedullah Khan, Sardar Ibrahim Khan, Mirwaiz Mohammed Yousaf Shah, Professor Mohammed Ishaque Qureshi, Syed Nazir Hussain and Maulana Ghulam Haider Janadalvi were already in Rawalpindi. The conclusion to be drawn is that individuals who were collected at Lahore had no right to take such an all important and far reaching decision though there is no evidence that they had any designs or ulterior motive. 7

The above evidence clearly exposes this myth that the ‘Provisional Government’ was representative; and that the decision was taken by senior leaders. Justice Yusuf Saraf calls them Municipal level workers. However, if it was a real ‘Government’ and ‘representative’ too, and Mr Gilkar was a ‘President’ of a real government, then why would he go to an area (Srinagar) still controlled by the man (Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir) whom he ‘deposed’, although without any powers or legal authority? Ghulam Nabi Gilkar on instructions of his religious guru or leader declared the ‘Provisional Government’, but both Mr Gilkar and Mirza Bashir Ud Din Ahmed knew that they could not make any progress without active support of most popular Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah. Ghulam Nabi Gilkar came to meet Sheikh Abdullah and had three hours long meeting with him to gain his support.

It is believed that Ghulam Nabi Gilkar was arrested on a tip off by Sunni political activists who thought it was a planning of the Qadiyanis to set up their government in Jammu and Kashmir. So ‘President’ of this Provisional Government’ remained in prison and was released in January 1949 in exchange for the release of Brigadier Gansara Singh, last Governor of Gilgit Baltistan, who was in the Pakistani custody. It must be noted that with help of the UN both India and Pakistan declared a cease – fire on 1 January 1949. 8

It is pertinent to point out that once the Provisional Government got importance, apart from Ghulam Nabi Gilkar two more people claimed that they used the fake name of ‘Anwar’ to announce the Provisional Government. The other two names were, Major Khurshid Anwar who led the Tribal Invasion; and the other person was Syed Anwar Shah of Hill Sarang. However, it is widely agreed that it was Ghulam Nabi Gilkar who used the fake name of Anwar and declared the Provisional Government. Prem Nath Bazaz and Qadianis official publication, Tarikh e Ahmediat, also confirms that Anwar was Ghulam Nabi Gilkar. 9

Was it legal?
Supporters of the ‘Provisional Government’ rest their case on this erroneous understanding that after the lapse of Paramountcy the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir’s right to rule his country also ended. This is not true. He was a recognised Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir; and there was no time limit on his rule. This legal position or fact is confirmed by even Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan. As there was some confusion in minds of some people over the principle of Two Nations Theory, whether it was applicable to the Princely States or not, some Kashmiris asked Mohammed Ali Jinnah about it. In a question to legal position of Princely States, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who was also a constitutional expert 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.” 10

Apart from that the last Governor General of undivided India and Crown Representative Lord Mountbatten in his speech to Rulers of Princely States asserted: 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...’ 11

After clear verdict of these two experts and statesmen there is no need of any more reference to prove that the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir’s right to rule his State did not end after end of the British Raj; and views of some individuals with no legal or administrative standing is of no consequence.

However, I want to add that if the ‘Provisional Government’ was ‘legal’, as claimed by some people, then obviously the government of the Maharaja Hari Singh was not legal because there could not be two legal governments in one country. Supporters of the Provisional Government claim that Ghulam Nabi Gilkar ‘deposed’ the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir; but they don’t explain that what authority he had to ‘depose’ a legal government which was recognised by the British, India and Pakistan, as they all interacted with him. Which institution or law (apart from order of his religious leader Mirza Bashir Ud Din Ahmed) authorised him to ‘depose’ the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir with whom Governments of India and Pakistan officially interacted even after the partition of India. Government of Pakistan officially exchanged telegrams on various issues with the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir up till 19th October 1947; and on 22 October 1947 they despatched tribesmen and other warriors to punish the Maharaja for not acceding to Pakistan.

What this proves is that even ‘mentors’ of this ‘Provisional Government’ regarded Government of Jammu and Kashmir headed by the Maharajah Hari Singh as legal. So in view of the above compelling evidence, what is the legal standing of the Provisional Government declared by Ghulam Nabi Gilkar? It proves that even his ‘mentors’ did not agree that Ghulam Nabi had ‘deposed’ the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.

After proving that the ‘Provisional Government’ was not ‘legal’ or ‘representative’; I want to add that this Provisional Government and its subsequent reorganisation coupled with other events supported by the same powers resulted in division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It is sad that instead of Kashmiri nationalists understanding those factors that led to forced division of our country they are not even prepared to come out of the propaganda spread by the forces of occupation.

They forget that the Pakistani Rulers did not question the Maharaja’s right to rule his State after the end the British Raj, as they hoped he would accede to Pakistan. However, when they realised that he might not accede to Pakistan, they started other measures to force him to join Pakistan, for example, insurgency in Poonch, Provisional Government and its reorganisation, blockage of essential supplies which Pakistan was obliged to supply under terms of the Standstill Agreement and the Tribal Invasion.

However, on behest of Pakistan on 24 October 1947, Provisional Government was reorganised by Commissioner Rawalpindi, Khawaja Abdul Rahim and Sardar Ibrahim was appointed President of Azad Kashmir Government. At that time Muslim Conference President Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas was in jail and Chaudhry Hameedullah Khan was Acting President of Muslim Conference and fully active. He was in Rawalpindi at that time. Question arises, why he was not appointed President of Azad Kashmir Government and why Sardar Ibrahim Khan was appointed President even though he only joined the Muslim Conference about a year ago.

While reorganising the Provisional Government, the Pakistani authorities did not consult Muslim Conference Acting President Chaudhary Hameedullah Khan or other senior leaders. He was clearly unhappy about this, as he was not appointed President and not even consulted. But Chaudhry Hameedullah Khan should know that the Pakistani authorities wanted a puppet who would advance a Pakistani agenda on Kashmir; whereas he had already expressed his desire to have an independent Jammu and Kashmir with the Maharaja as a constitutional Head. With that kind of thinking he could not have been the choice for the Pakistani authorities.

Azad Kashmir Army
Too much importance is given to Azad Kashmir Army- army which did not exist on 4th October 1947, at the time of Declaration of the Provisional government. Of course, there were thousands of former soldiers who served the British during the Second World War; and they were angry about the economic and political situation in their homeland and suffering of the people. I agree there was a strong resentment and struggle against very excessive taxes and maladministration in various parts of Poonch. People were up in arms against the Government; however, it was not a struggle to overthrow the Maharajah by force and get independence. At best, one can call it a ‘rights movement’ which turned violent because of the oppression of the authorities; and the Pakistani authorities exploited that situation and presented it as a rebellion of the people against the Jammu and Kashmir Government.

Some people claim that before the Tribal Invasion was launched by Pakistan on 22 October 1947, Azad Kashmir was ‘liberated’ and the Azad Kashmir Army was in control of most of the area now known as Azad Kashmir, and was planning to march towards Srinagar. I don’t know whether to laugh at this claim or just ignore it. Up till the Tribal Invasion on 22 October 1947, the Maharajah was in control of his territory; and only small pockets of Poonch district were not completely in his control.

Rawalakot is the main city of the Poonch district, and Justice Yusuf Saraf who did extensive research notes the situation of Rawalakot in the following words: ‘Upto 18th October (1947) there was no engagement as both sides were preparing for an showdown. On the 18th, a batch of Dogra soldiers attacked village Trar in the vicinity of the town and burnt down crops, fodder, houses as well as house hold goods....On 21st October another batch of Dogra soldiers attacked village Barmung and indulged in arson and loot....On 25th October at 4am, a sizeable Dogra force again attacked Trar and tried to molest women and manhandle the old and the infirm. Under the pressure from the freedom fighters, they were again compelled to retreat. Between 26th and the 30th October, there raged an almost continuing battle in the centre of the town resulting in considerable loss to both sides. On 31st, the Dogras received fresh reinforcement from Poonch. On 4th November (1947), the freedom fighters went quite close to the Dogra trenches and launched attack, but were repulsed with considerable losses. On 6th November, Muslims made another determined attack on the town, inflicting considerable losses. 12

This detailed account of fighting in Rawalakot clearly shows that up till 6th of November 1947, main city of Poonch district was still in control of the Maharaja. Similarly, towns of Mirpur, Bhimber, Kotli, Muzaffarabad etc were still in hands of the Maharajah before the Tribal attack. Important point is that no where Justice Saraf used the name of Azad Kashmir Army, because at that time it did not exist. That clearly shows that supporters of the Provisional Government who claim of the Azad Kashmir Army and its victories either before 4th October 1947 or before the Tribal attack on 22 October, are either totally naive and unaware of the historical facts or they are simply lying to advance the agenda of forces of occupation.

City of Muzaffarabad had its own importance, and it was in total control of the Maharajah up till the Tribal attack. Maharaja’s army had four companies posted to guard the city. ‘A Company’ was posted at Kohala, ‘B Company’ was posted at Barsala on the main road to the city, ‘C Company’ was posted at Barkot and ‘D Company’ was posted at Lohar - Gali. This shows that Muzaffarabad city was still in hands of the Maharaja, so no question of Azad Kashmir Army (which did not exist) marching towards Srinagar.

It is clear that Pakistani authorities were behind this ‘rebellion’ and Major General Akbar Khan was appointed a Commander of this operation. He produced a Military Plan for the Pakistani government known as ‘Armed Revolt Inside Kashmir’. As the name suggests, the Pakistani plan was that the Kashmiri rebellion should look like a ‘revolt’ of the people of Jammu and Kashmir against its (non-Muslim) Ruler. Major General Akbar Khan asserted:

‘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.’ 13

Anyhow, while discussing the preparation of the military operations in Jammu and Kashmir Justice Yusuf Saraf said: ‘Mr Kiani started his work in right earnest on 13th September (1947); by 23rd September, all Sector Headquarters as well as the Main Headquarters started functioning. The main Headquarter was set up at Gujrat (in Pakistan) whereas Sector Headquarters were at Rawalpindi and Sialkot (in Pakistan) to start with, and a little later, at Jhelum (in Pakistan) for the districts of Poonch, Jammu and Mirpur, respectively. 14

On 1 January 1948, government of India approached the Security Council for help on Kashmir dispute. As Pakistan was also a party to the dispute, they had to formulate policies in line with the international requirements. When the Maharaja, under compulsion of the tribal attack decided to accede to India, which was provisionally accepted, Pakistani authorities propagated that the Maharaja had no right to decide future of his State, as his right to rule his country ended after end of the British Raj. Also that he was deposed by Ghulam Nabi Gilkar, President of the Provisional Government.

I have exposed the myth of the Provisional Government. I have explained with undeniable evidence that it was not legal; and that it was not representative. Anyhow, if the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir had joined Pakistan, instead of India, then despite that ‘deposition’, his decision about future of Jammu and Kashmir, in eyes of the Pakistani rulers would have been legal.

Similarly, at the time of declaration of the ‘Provisional Government’ there was no such thing as Azad Kashmir Army. However, when the Kashmir dispute was internationalised, Pakistan felt it necessary to set up Azad Kashmir Army to satisfy the international community that they had no role in the Kashmiri ‘uprising’ or military operations in Jammu and Kashmir territory

In view of this strong evidence, if some people of Jammu and Kashmir still want to live in fantasy world, and claim that 4th October Declaration was legal and representative; and the Azad Kashmir Army existed before the Tribal attack, then no historian or writer can help them. I can only pray for them.
1.      Azad Kashmir – Eik Siasi Jaiza – 1947 to 1975, by Mirza Shafeeq Hussain, page 114
2.      Ibid, page 114
3.      ‘Ghulam Nabi Gilkar and Kashmir Freedom Movement’, by Zahir-ud-Din,, Oct. 8, 2009
4.      Azad Kashmir – Eik Siasi Jaiza, page 113
5.      Justice Yusuf Saraf, Kashmiris Fight Freedom, page 1286
6.      Ibid, Page 1287
7.      Ibid page 1287
8.      ‘Ghulam Nabi Gilkar and Kashmir Freedom Movement’
9.      Tarikh e Ahmediat, Vol V1, page 655
10.  Mohammed Ali Jinnah said this while talking to some Kashmiri leaders on 17th June 1947.
11.  Crown Representative Lord Louis Mountbatten’s Address to a special Full Meeting of the Chamber of  Princes on July 25, 1947
12.  Justice Saraf, page 869
13.  Raiders in Kashmir, Major General Akbar Khan, page 14
14.  Justice Saraf, page 884
Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir View: 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Krishna and Zardari speak on Kashmir, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Krishna and Zardari speak on Kashmir, Dr Shabir Choudhry
02 October 2012

Pakistan’s President Zardari and India’s Minister External Affairs Krishna spoke about Kashmir in the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Many Kashmiris and Pakistanis will claim that Pakistan has, once again, raised the Kashmir dispute in the UN. It must be pointed out that the Kashmir dispute was taken to the Security Council by India under Article 35 on 1 January 1948. Although both institutions are part of the United Nations both have different roles; and many regard the General Assembly as a debating forum where world leaders come and speak on various topics, just like at the Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, London.

Also the occasion provides the leaders an opportunity to meet and discuss issues of interest with leaders of other countries. Of course it is seen as a good opportunity to meet different American leaders and officials. So comments of President Zardari (India avoids mentioning of the Kashmir dispute at any international forum, and Krishna’s comments were in response to what Zardari had said) cannot be regarded as ‘raising the Kashmir dispute’ in the UN.

Pakistani leaders in the past even avoided mentioning Kashmir in the General Assembly; however, it was unavoidable this time because the UN theme for the occasion was “Adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means”. Anyhow, we people of Jammu and Kashmir claim that the Kashmir dispute is not a territorial in nature; and that it concerns our unfettered right of self determination. However, President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari in his speech said:
‘Our principled position on territorial disputes remains a bedrock of our foreign policy.

We will continue to support the right of the people of Jammu & Kashmir to peacefully choose their destiny in accordance with the UN Security Council's long-standing resolutions on this matter.’

People of Jammu and Kashmir can evaluate this statement and see if the President of Republic of Pakistan has advanced the cause of Kashmir by calling it a ‘territorial dispute’; or back stabbed it. Dr Nazir Gilani was the first Kashmir to express his opinion on this topic and credit must be given to him for this, he said:

‘However, it is untrue that Kashmir is a ‘territorial dispute’ and it is also untrue that it “remains a bedrock of our (Pakistan’s) foreign policy” since 19-23 June 1997 India Pakistan talks held at Islamabad. The talks on outstanding issues of concern, were held “in an integrated manner”. At this meeting Kashmir as a ‘core issue’ slipped from its traditional grace and became as one of the eight outstanding issues. It was decided that Peace and Security including CBMs (confidence building measures) and Jammu and Kashmir, will be dealt at the level of Foreign Secretaries who will co-ordinate and monitor the progress of work of all the working groups’.

Those who keep close eye on Kashmir dispute know that various governments of Pakistan have gradually shifted their stand on Kashmir, and have virtually made it a territorial dispute. However, despite so many shifts, Pakistani officials don’t forget to reiterate that they have a ‘principled stand’ on Kashmir. We know Pakistani stand on Kashmir is ‘principled’ to the extent that, like India, they also want to get Jammu and Kashmir and benefit from its resources and strategic location. And if they cannot get the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir they will be satisfied to ‘legalise’ their control over the Kashmiri territory they have; and they have taken certain steps in this regard. We people of Jammu and Kashmir must critically look at the intentions of New Delhi and Islamabad and should not be swayed by their statements.

Indian Minister External Affairs, SM Krishna, in his reply said: "An unwarranted reference has been made to Jammu and Kashmir from this podium. Our principled position on the issue has been consistent and is well known - the people of Jammu and Kashmir have chosen and reaffirmed their destiny repeatedly through India's well established democratic processes. We wish to make it abundantly clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India."

Mr Krishna acknowledged that he did not ‘expect that President Zardari would make a reference to Kashmir’; and once, for whatever reason, President Zardari talked of Kashmir, India had to reiterate their official stand, legally wrong as it is. He said, ‘nothing more needs to be read to the statements on the issue either from him or Zardari’.

What that means is that both governments have agreed on a road map on Kashmir, and understanding was that both governments would avoid talking about it at the international fora, and ‘resolve’ it bilaterally. In a reply to a question, Mr Krishna was quick to say: "We will continue our dialogue with Pakistan and the road map has been drawn and we will try to stick to the road map and let us see how it goes."
Mr Krishna needs to be reminded that a much bigger and popular leader than him, Prime Minister of India, Pundit Nehru in a report to the All-India Congress Committee, (6 July 1951, The Statesman, New Delhi,) said: “People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodity for sale or to be bartered. It has an individual existence and its people must be the final arbiters of their future.”

Apart from that, while talking to the Indian Parliament on 31 March 1955, Prime Minister Nehru said: “Kashmir is not a thing to be bandied about between India and Pakistan but it has a soul of its own and an individuality of its own. Nothing can be done without the goodwill and consent of the people of Kashmir.”

Both Krishna and Zardari need to be reminded that in view of genuine sons of Jammu and Kashmir State, the Kashmir dispute is not a territorial; as it concerns our unfettered right to self determination. To us, the entire State is disputed and no part of it is legally part of any country, so there is no question of it being ‘integral part’ of India or ‘jugular vein’ of Pakistan. You will be doing a disservice to people of Jammu and Kashmir and to peace and stability of the entire region, if you ignore wishes of the people Jammu and Kashmir and impose some decision on us.
Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir View:

Pak Russia relations -

Pak Russia relations
In Kashmir, Rahul Gandhi Talks Business, But Disappoints Students

Farooq Khan/European Pressphoto Agency
Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of Indian Kashmir, Rahul Gandhi, Congress General Secretary and Union minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah pose for a photograph after laying the foundation stone for a tunnel connecting Ladkh with Kashmir.
Rifat Mohidin, a journalism student, was disappointed after her first interaction with Rahul Gandhi, Congress Party’s general secretary, at Kashmir University on Friday. Ms. Mohidin, 19, wanted to ask Mr. Gandhi about providing security to Kashmiris when they traveled to other parts of India.

“But I was not allowed to ask any of my questions,” she said. “I went there with a lot of hope, but my hopes were shattered.” (Read Ms. Mohidin’s full opinion of the discussion here.)

Mr. Gandhi’s two-day visit to Kashmir this week reiterated his message made during a visit in September 2011: he said he wanted to understand the pain of violence-stricken Kashmiris, as well as connect the Kashmiri youth with economic opportunities.

Shreen Hamdani, a 21-year-old journalism student, said that the interaction was only an hour long because it started late, and teachers stopped students from asking any political questions.

“When people came out, they said it was a waste of time,” she said. “But once Rahul himself said instability was the cause of lack of investment here — I wish they had allowed the interaction to be more natural like that.” (Read Ms. Hamdani’s full opinion here.)

Much of Mr. Gandhi’s rhetoric these past two days has emotional underpinnings. On Thursday, the 42-year-old politician, accompanied by Omar Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir’s chief minister, laid the foundation of the Z-Morh Bridge between Kashmir and Ladakh. In his address to Kashmiris, the heir apparent of the Congress Party reminded them that his family also hailed from the valley.

Observers said he struck a shrewd chord by presenting himself as youth leader instead of a politician. Many people in Kashmir blame the Congress Party for denying the region autonomy after India’s independence, when Mr. Gandhi’s grandfather, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was leading the country.

“There has been too much political manipulation over the years by Congress,” said Gul Mohammed Wani, who teaches political science at Kashmir University. “It would be good if Rahul said that ‘our record in the past has not been good but I’m here for the youth and to listen to their concerns.’ ”

For Friday’s session with students, Mr. Gandhi invited Ratan Tata, Tata Group’s chairman; Kumar Mangalam Birla, Aditya Birla Group’s chairman; Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, and Deepak Parekh, HDFC chairman.

Students said these industrialists talked about offering internships in their companies as well as training programs on the college campus, but they did not mention any concrete plans to invest in the valley.

Some local business experts, however, said they thought the session was a futile exercise.

Nisar Ali, a prominent economist and director of J&K Bank, said that such promises had been made before but not fulfilled. Mr. Ali explained that big improvements would come not by recruiting a handful of Kashmiri youths in other states but through investing in Kashmir, especially in the manufacturing of consumer goods.

“The youths don’t have to be motivated. They are already so eager to take up any opportunity because there is so little here,” he said. “But investment will not happen unless the government can solve the huge power crisis we have here.”

While appealing for peace during violent protests in 2010, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised that his government would help Kashmiri youths find jobs in both the public and private sector. In March of this year, P. Chidambaram, then the home minister, created Udaan, a Web site that aims to connect Kashmir’s unemployed youth with corporations.

Currently, the number of unemployed youth in Jammu and Kashmir state is estimated to be 700,000, with 370,000 in the valley alone, which has a population of 7.2 million.

Kashmir students on Friday seemed divided between those who were willing to give Mr. Gandhi a chance, like Ms. Hamdani and Ms. Mohidin, and those who opposed his presence on campus.

In the morning, about 100 students held a small protest near the campus library, at a distance from the convention center. “Rahul, go back!” the crowd shouted. The protesters said that the presence of heavy security prevented any larger demonstrations.

But near 12:30 pm, the students moved closer the convention center where the session was being held. A college student, who said he did not want to be identified to avoid any attention from the government, said the group was shouting slogans praising Osama bin Laden and the Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar.

“By the time they reached the convocation hall, Rahul had left from the back,” the student said. “But I think Rahul may have heard the slogans because it was very loud.” The protestors also booed their classmates who attended the discussion.

Protesting students said they thought Mr. Gandhi’s visit was a sham because the university authorities handpicked the student audience, after carrying out background checks on their political leanings. “They doctored the questions, they coached students, they did not allow students with beards to go in, they controlled everything,” said Ahmed, a student protester who requested that his full name not be used to avoid being identified by government authorities.

Ahmed said he and other protesters were concerned that India’s central government was furthering its agenda of Kashmir’s integration under the guise of economic opportunities. “We are not against Ratan Tata, Aditya Birla or anyone so the university can invite them,” he said. “We are not antidevelopment, but why is the university bringing in Indian politicians again and again?”

Students said they were also angry that Kashmir’s University Students Union, or K.U.S.U., was banned from campus by university authorities, but political party-backed student groups, including the Congress Party’s National Students Union of India, or N.S.U.I., were allowed to operate.

“Allowing Rahul Gandhi and N.S.U.I. in the campus while the ban of K.U.S.U. continues is absolutely pathetic and smacks of obnoxious prejudice,” read a press release issued by Kashmir union.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Kashmir dispute and role of neighbours

Kashmir dispute and role of neighbours
Text of speech of Dr Shabir Choudhry delivered in a seminar arranged by Kashmir National Party in Watford on 29 July 2012.
Mr Chairman, friends and colleagues Aslamo alaikam
I congratulate the KNP leadership for arranging this seminar in holy month of Ramadan, when traditionally most Kashmiris take a break from political activities because of fasting. This shows the commitment of the KNP leaders and workers to the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.
Topic of the seminar is interesting, and surely it needs more than ten minutes to properly explain roles of our neighbours. There is an old saying that one can choose friends, but cannot choose neighbours. We are lucky to have a beautiful country which is situated in strategically very important region; but we are unfortunate to have bad neighbours.
Beauty of our country, its resources and its strategic location could have been our great strength if we were independent; but these three factors have proved to be our worst enemies, because our neighbours have imperial designs and they want to occupy us and exploit our resources.
Jammu and Kashmir is a landlocked State. Our neighbours are India, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan. We are surrounded by three nuclear states and we live in very unstable and volatile region. The unresolved Kashmir dispute is very serious threat to peace, security and stability of the entire region.
Out of these four neighbours Afghanistan government has not provided us any trouble since their rule was ended by the Sikhs in 19th century; however, some people from there joined the attack on Jammu and Kashmir arranged and supported by Pakistan in October 1947.

The other giant neighbour, China has, by and large, remained neutral for many years; however, they captured Aksai Chin in a war with India in 1962. From then onwards they showed more interest in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir; and in 1963 they signed a treaty with Pakistan and in name of border adjustment managed to obtain about 2200 square miles of our territory from Gilgit Baltistan. This gift of Pakistan to China helped Pakistan to win a friendship of China; and it provided China with access to outside world and it also helped China to link this territory with Aksai Chin.

On the international level China supported the Pakistani stand on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, wrong as it was; and they had little regard for the emancipation or wishes of the people who were forcibly divided by India and Pakistan. This support of China for the Pakistani stand on Kashmir had its ups and downs, but China remained a good friend of Pakistan; and helped them with various projects including construction of the Karakorum Highway which links both countries by road.

However, over the past decade China has taken very profound interest in affairs of Gilgit Baltistan, and in name of development projects and exploration have their strong civilian and military presence in this important region. It appears that government of Pakistan and some Kashmiri leaders are trying to cut out some role for China in the Kashmir dispute, which is unfortunate and could prove to be disastrous for Jammu and Kashmir and the region.
Mr Chairman

The third neighbour of Jammu and Kashmir is Pakistan, which had a Standstill Agreement with the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. The government of Pakistan violated the Standstill agreement and managed a tribal invasion of the State of Jammu and Kashmir which resulted in death of thousands of innocent people; and forced the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir to seek help from India, the fourth neighbour of Kashmir.

India provided help after gaining a ‘provisional accession’ from the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir; and the Indian forces landed in Kashmir on 27th October 1947. Both India and Pakistan wanted to make Jammu and Kashmir part of their country; and fought their first war over control of this state. No country could win the war and the war resulted in division of Jammu and Kashmir.

While the war was going on, India approached the UN Security Council for help under Article 35 of the UN Charter. The Security Council passed many Resolutions on Kashmir, some were passed before the UN Commission for India and Pakistan reached the region to investigate the matter, and some were passed afterwards; however, two Resolutions known as UNCIP Resolutions are fundamental to understanding of the Kashmir dispute, as they explain which country had to do what to resolve the Kashmir dispute. The UNCIP Resolution of 13 August 1948 stated and I quote:

(l) As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.

(2) The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistan nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting. Unquote
To date Pakistan has not vacated those areas as demanded by the Security Council Resolution; and of course no progress on the proposed UN plebiscite. Later on in mid 1950s, when Pakistan joined SEATO and CENTO military alliances against the Communist bloc, unfortunately Kashmir dispute became part of the ‘Cold war’; and after obtaining the Soviet backing India declared Kashmir to be its ‘integral part’.

India pursued to get Kashmir in name of democracy and on the bases of this provisional accession. Pakistan, on the other hand, tried to get Kashmir in name of religious affinity and brotherhood. India called Kashmir its ‘integral part’ and Pakistan called it ‘Sha Rag’ – meaning jugular vein. Both countries wanted more territory to advance their national and strategic interests; welfare of people of Jammu and Kashmir was not their priority.

There is a long list of blunders that have been committed in name of Kashmir with disastrous results for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, but time does not allow me to give details. During the early years of the dispute India talked about rights of people, but after mid 1950s India put its cards on table and declared Kashmir its ‘integral part’. Pakistan on the other hand continued to fool people of Jammu and Kashmir and people of Pakistan in name of Islam and brotherhood; and pursued their imperial agenda on Kashmir with disastrous consequences for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and which endangered peace and stability of the region.

In other words Pakistani governments disguised their agenda on Kashmir in name of Islam, and continue to do so; and it is unfortunate that many Kashmiris still do not understand their hidden agenda and imperial aims. In view of one Kashmiri nationalist, “India is our open enemy, and Pakistan is our hidden enemy. It is for people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide whether they want to use their time and resources to expose deeds of hidden enemy or the enemy that is already exposed”.

Furthermore, Pakistani governments went out of their way to ensure that Kashmir dispute is seen as a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan; and not as an issue of a nation seeking independence. They curtailed people of Jammu and Kashmir’s right to independence by limiting the choice to become either part of India or Pakistan.

Apart from that, Pakistan government agreed in article 6 of the Simla Agreement of 1972 that India and Pakistan will take the final decision on Kashmir dispute by bilateral talks, hence no role for the people of Jammu and Kashmir in this matter. Sad thing is that the Pakistani officials still fool us and people of Pakistan by giving this impression that the UN and its Resolutions have a role in determining the future of Jammu and Kashmir.

I conclude by urging the people of Jammu and Kashmir to understand policies of all three countries that occupy our territory; and not be fooled in name of religion. Imperialists have no religion. Their policy is to occupy, exploit and make profits; and that is what they are doing. We are occupied, forcibly divided, exploited; but sad thing is that instead of understanding the real situation and formulating appropriate policies to fight this occupation we are fighting each other, hence strengthening the hold of those who occupy us.
Mr Chairman thank you for your patience.