Thursday, 31 January 2013

see how Azad Kashmiri resources are looted:

see how Azad Kashmiri resources are looted:

Kargil operation discussed and exposed on Capital Talk:

Kargil operation discussed and exposed on Capital Talk:

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Kashmir dispute and right to travel

Kashmir dispute and right to travel
Dr Shabir Choudhry              19 January 2013
It was sad to note that respectable citizens of State of Jammu and Kashmir, Vijay Abrol and Darvinder Singh Behal were arrested and harassed by Pakistan’s secret agency, ISI that is known as ‘state within state’ and that has no respect for human rights. It is unfortunate that citizens of Jammu and Kashmir are forcibly divided by India and Pakistan and we have to obtain a visa for either India or Pakistan if we wish to visit the other part of the State. Both Vijay Abrol and Darvinder Singh Behal reside in Jammu, and entered Pakistan on a valid visit visa; and yet they were arrested because the Pakistani establishment and their puppets have little respect for human rights and legal documents.
Right to assemble and right to movement (travel) are fundamental human rights. By illegally arresting these guests of people of Azad Kashmir, authorities have violated: Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the UNCIP Resolutions, Pakistani Law, International Law and Islamic Law. It won’t be possible to give details of all laws mentioned above; however, I will quote relevant sections of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 13 of which states:
1)      ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.’

2)      The authorities are also in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 2, which states:

‘Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.’
Those who arrested these guests and respectable citizens of Jammu and Kashmir demonstrated that their action was also discriminatory and communal in nature. In the past, especially after July 1988, Muslim Kashmiris came in thousands by crossing the LOC without any documents, and authorities and the secret agencies of Pakistan welcomed them with open arms just because they wanted to get arms, training and funds that they can go back to fight Indian army in Kashmir.

Darvinder Singh Behal and Vijay Abrol, on the other hand were non Muslims and came here with a message of peace. They represented Jammu and Kashmir Peace Forum and wanted to promote peace, good will and better understanding among the forcibly divided people. The local people welcomed them and held various functions in their honour. Their message was very encouraging and advanced the cause of peace and unity. Darvinder Singh Behal said:

‘We people of Jammu and Kashmir are one nation; and we want to be united and live as a nation. We are one and must remain one.’

He further said: ‘Attempts are being made to divide people of Jammu and Kashmir in name of religion. The Kashmir dispute is not religious in nature. It is a political issue and must be resolved peacefully. The use of force will not help us to resolve this issue.’

On issue of All Parties Hurriyet Conference which is promoted by Pakistan as a representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Darvinder Singh Behal said:

‘Hurriyet Conference does not represent people of Jammu and Kashmir. They don’t represent people of Jammu, people of Ladakh, people of Gilgit Baltistan and people of Azad Kashmir. One can say, at best, they represent people of the Valley of Kashmir’.

Those who arrested Darvinder Singh Behal and Vijay Abrol did not appreciate the agenda they were promoting. However, their message was very well received by all peace loving people here. Azad Kashmiri civil society, political parties and newspapers arranged various functions to promote this message of peace and co existence; and those who advanced communalism and hatred were alarmed by this. They did not like their presence and their message, as they thought this message of peace, love and coexistence was a serious threat to their agenda.

Furthermore, they thought the kind of welcome these people had in Azad Kashmir would encourage other people from there to visit this region, and that could strengthen the bond among the divided people. Interaction between the divided people would surely result in better understanding and boost the Kashmiri nationalism. The prospect of an independent Jammu and Kashmir, peace and harmony is against their interests; so despite the valid documents they arrested them. They also arrested Arif Shahid, President of Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Council, who was taking them from Mirpur.

The secret agencies thought this harassment and intimidation would send a clear signal that they don’t want anyone coming from there with a message of peace and coexistence; and they don’t want anyone from Azad Kashmir to accommodate them and promote this kind of message. Furthermore, they don’t want anyone to criticise their sponsored Hurriyet Conference and expose them.

This strategy proved to be counter productive, as civil society of Azad Kashmir, political parties and ordinary members of the society strongly opposed this; and demanded their immediate release. Demonstrations were held in various towns of Azad Kashmir condemning the arrests and demanding their immediate release. This show of strength and strong resentment forced the authorities to release the visitors. However, Arif Shahid was released a day after, may be just to make him realise that his crime of providing a lift to these guests was very serious.

The arrests were made on flimsy charges that their visas were only for Pakistan. If this claim has any merit then one may ask, why Muslims who crossed over the LOC to obtain weapons and training were not arrested; and why they were welcomed, accommodated and dignified. Furthermore, Hurriyet Conference or other Muslim leaders when they visit Pakistan, why they are allowed to visit Azad Kashmir and provided with full protocol?

In a case reported as Ayub Azeez Khan V Jammu and Kashmir Council (PLD 1995 Azad J&K1), citizens of Jammu and Kashmir from the Indian control Kashmir entered Pakistan on Indian passports and then shifted to Azad Kashmir. They sought directions from the High Court that they should not be pushed ‘back to Indian held Kashmir’, and should be allowed to reside in Azad Kashmir permanently. The High Court observed that they had ‘valid right to reside in any part of the Azad Kashmir, and thus, they could not be forcibly deported to Indian held Kashmir’. It was further observed that ‘the mode of travelling on passports could not place embargo on the vested rights of the State Subjects to reside permanently in Azad Kashmir’.
So one can see from the above that the secret agencies of Pakistan had ulterior motives in arresting these people; and that it was clearly human rights violation aimed at inflicting fear and intimidation. I urge both India and Pakistan to ease visa restrictions and open all traditional routes linking the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir that people of the divided State could interact and trade with each other. This process will help to promote peace and stability and find amicable solution of the Kashmir dispute.

Also I urge people of Jammu and Kashmir to continue their struggle for fundamental rights, including unfettered right to determine their future that we can live as a nation and protect our history, culture and identity. I further request them to visit the regions divided by the LOC and build bridges of understanding to promote peace, stability and unification of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

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

Sunday, 13 January 2013

5 years after Kashmir girl's rape-murder, family waits for justice

5 years after Kashmir girl's rape-murder, family waits for justice

SrinagarSince July 2007, Abdul Gani Shah has been juggling a pile of legal documents, horrifying eye-witness statements and painful memories as he fights to get the men who allegedly gang-raped and murdered his 14-year-old daughter punished. More than five years later, he says is nowhere close to getting justice.

The body of Mr Shah's daughter - an eighth standard girl - was found in Langate area of north Kashmir. The family says even fast-tracking the case has not helped. 

"Four men abducted her on way from school and raped her. They slit her throat and dumped her body," says Iqbal Ahmad, the girl's brother.
"The case was initially heard thrice a week and we had hoped it would be completed very soon. In the second year, the hearings were twice a week and later once in 15 days. Five years have passed like this," he says.

The case, like the 23-year-old medical student's gang-rape in Delhi last month, had evoked massive protests in Kashmir. The four suspects were arrested. Bite marks of the girl on them helped the police establish their crime. 

The Jammu and Kashmir government, then led by Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, instituted a bravery award for children in the girl's name. It even promised the family a quick trial and compensation - assurances that have turned out to be empty.

Mr Shah says he doesn't want compensation anymore. "My only demand is that the rapists should be hanged," he says.

His family and relatives are fighting another legal battle. At least 20 people who took part in the protests against the gang-rape-murder are still facing police cases.
"We were only demanding justice, but have been blamed for disturbing law and order," says Masood Ahmad, the girl's other brother.


Saturday, 12 January 2013

KNP demand immediate release of guest Kashmiri leader from Jammu.

KNP demand immediate release of guest Kashmiri leader from Jammu.
 London       12 January 2013

Pakistan’s secret agency, ISI known for its gross human rights violations has arrested Darvindar Sing Behal while he was entering Pakistan from Mirpur on the Mangla Bridge. Darvindar Sing Behal entered Pakistan on a valid visit visa, but who cares about valid visa in POK and in land of pure. Another Kashmiri leader Arif Shahid was also taken by the ISI.

Vijay Abrol and Darvinder Singh Behal are peace loving people from Jammu and wanted to promote good will and better understanding among the forcibly divided people. They entered Pakistan on a valid visit visa and attended various functions arranged by the local people in their honour.

The message Darvinder Singh Behal and his colleague gave was very encouraging and advanced the cause of peace and unity. Darvinder Singh Behal said, ‘We people of Jammu and Kashmir are one nation; and we want to be united and live as a nation.’ He said, ‘Attempts are being made to divide us in name of religion. We are one and must remain one.’

‘Hurriyet Conference does not represent people of Jammu and Kashmir, at best they represent people of the Valley of Kashmir,’ he added.

Ifzal Suleria, Zonal President of Kashmir National Party, while talking to Dr Shabir Choudhry said: ‘Darvinder Singh Behal’s message was very well received by all peace loving people here; but those who promoted communalism and hatred did not like this message. ISI did not like their presence and their message and wanted to punish them and deter others to visit POK’.

Ifzal Suleria further said, during Darvinder Singh Behal’s stay in Muzaffarabad  he had a number of phone calls from secret agencies and their tone was intimidating. KNP with help of other parties held a peaceful protest in Muzaffarabad and demanded immediate release of Darvinder Singh Behal and Arif Shahid.

Darvinder Singh Behal was our guest and what ISI has done is against Islamic laws and the UN Resolutions which grant us a right of travel. It is also against international law; and even against Pakistan’s own laws; but does the ISI care for any laws?

All freedom loving people, human rights activists and human rights organisation must act now to save lives of these people.

KNP leaders, Abbas Butt, Zubair Ansari, Sarwar Hussain, Basharat Khan, Asim Mirza, Nawaz Majid, Yasin Anjum, Ishtiaq Hussain, Abdul Ghaffar Shapal, Sabir Hussain and others strongly condemn this act and demand immediate release of Darvinder Singh Behal and Arif Shahid.
Dr Shabir Choudhry           Tel.      0044 7790 942471

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Dr Qadari on Jihad in Kashmir

This gives me immense satisfaction

This gives me immense satisfaction

People with vested interest and their foot soldiers attack me, abuse me and ridicule me from time to time. Their aim is to deter me from the valuable work I am doing to promote the cause of Kashmir. I acknowledge sometimes their barrage of unwarranted criticism also affects me, as I am also human being with feeling. However, many students around the globe who benefit from my research and work make my day. I received the following email from a non Kashmiri student from University of Coloumbia who is doing some research on the Kashmir conflict.

Dear Dr. Shabir Choudhry,

I have no words to thank you for extending your support to write my thesis on Kashmir conflict. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for your kindness!

I'm reading the articles you send me and I find them very useful. Now I can understand the crisis even better.

Hope that this year you will be able to achieve your goals in life and I also wish for a peaceful solution to Kashmir very soon!

Wish you a Happy new Year!
-Best Regards-
Dilini Gunasekera

Kashmiri struggle in 2013

Kashmiri struggle in 2013
Dr Shabir Choudhry               08 January 2013

It was in 1988, a Pakistani sponsored militancy started in the Valley of Kashmir, apparently to ‘liberate Kashmir’. However, later events and evidence proved that those who sponsored the militancy had other agenda and ‘liberation of Kashmir’ was only used as a ploy to woo Kashmiri youths to pick up guns against India. In this militant struggle tens of thousands of Kashmiri people have lost their lives, women have lost their dignity and honour; and thousands of people are still unaccounted for. Sad thing is that despite so much destruction and human suffering we are nowhere near the goal of independence; if anything, people are more divided, leaderless and frustrated.

Some Kashmiri people have understood that they were used to protect and promote sovereign interests of Pakistan; and people of Jammu and Kashmir were used as a raw material in the competing interests of India and Pakistan. However, there are many Kashmiris who are mentally not prepared to acknowledge this bitter truth, mainly because of their political and commercial interests; and it is these people who are major hurdle in the path of our independence. Designs of the Pakistani establishment were in an article by Pakistan’s famous journalist Hamid Mir like this:

‘Pakistan introduced militancy in this movement; but contained the militancy to certain areas. When militants protested against this, they were bluntly told by ISI senior officer, Major General Iftikhar Hussain Shah that we don’t want freedom of Kashmir, we only wanted to wound India....From Kargil adventure of 1999 to division of Hurriyat Conference in 2002, there is a long list of betrayal of Pakistan’s political and military leadership to the people of Kashmir. A request to this leadership is, please stop now, if you cannot do anything good for the people of Kashmir then, at least stop dividing them and making them fight each other.’ 1

Pakistani sponsored militancy has not only brought havoc to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and divided them on communal, regional and ethnic lines; but it also brought India and Pakistan to the brink of a nuclear clash. Over the decades, the militancy and Pakistani establishment’s selfish attitude and blunders have transformed fundamental character of the Kashmiri struggle for right of self determination. 

India gradually got upper hand and militancy showed signs of decline; and it was at that time ‘guest militants’ (Jihadis from other countries) were introduced by those who were calling shots in the Kashmiri struggle. The Pakistani establishment continued to support militancy but after 9/11 and ‘War on Terrorism’ it was no longer possible to overtly support the militants; and they ditched Kashmiris just like they ditched the Afghans.
Many experts on Indo Pakistan assert that the Pakistani policy was to bleed India with many wounds, and bring its foe to knees. Reality is that India, despite these ‘wounds’, has made tremendous advancement in many fields; and it is Pakistan that seems to be in serious trouble as a nation state. Pakistani academic and thinker Dr Pervaiz Hoodbhoy, while analysing the Pakistani policy asserted: 
‘Pakistan bleeds from a thousand cuts. If things had gone according to plan it is India that should have been hurting now, not Pakistan. The army’s 25 years-old low-cost, high-impact strategy of covert warfare would have liberated Kashmir and secured Afghanistan from Indian influence. Instead, a fierce blowback has led to a daily pileup of shaheeds, the casualties of a plan that went awry. The morale of a fine fighting force plummets still further when its soldiers are ordered to fight those coreligionists who claim to be fighting for Islam. The reported refusal of some military units to confront the Taliban during last year’s South Waziristan operation is said to have shocked senior officers and severely limited their battle options in North Waziristan.’ 2

However, anger against India is still strong, especially in the Valley because of human rights abuses, humiliation and suffering; but militancy has considerably declined. People of Jammu and Kashmir are increasingly realising that they were used as a raw material to protect and advance Pakistani interests. With militancy considerably under control, some kind of normalcy is returning to the Valley; and that does not suit people with vested interests, and those who have made the ‘struggle’ in to a lucrative business.   

Normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and peace between India and Pakistan does not suit some powerful forces, as their interests only flourish when there is instability, violence and hatred. In view of this, my fear is that these powerful forces will ensure that the Kashmir pot boils again. People with vested interest could be secretly planning their next move which could again engulf the Valley in the coming months and destabilise the peace process and the entire region. I feel once again they will use religious card to generate hatred and start a new phase of the struggle.

It must be noted that there are millions of young men in Pakistan who have ‘graduated’ from religious schools and there are no employment opportunities there for them other than to promote ‘jihad’, their brand of Islam and religious hatred. Furthermore, after withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan tens of thousands of young men will become ‘jobless’; and they would need a new war theatre to pursue their ambitions to promote jihad and pursuit of Heaven and Hoors (Heavenly virgin women). ‘Jihad in Kashmir’ is still an attractive slogan, and will attract many jihadi warriors; but it will surely add to suffering and miseries of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Over the year Pakistani establishment’s resolve to interfere in matters of Jammu and Kashmir have weakened; and they with help of their Kashmiri supporters are trying to make China part of the Kashmir dispute. China was never part of the Kashmir dispute even though there is considerable area of the State of Jammu and Kashmir under their illegal occupation. This move is not designed to help the Kashmir cause or the people of Jammu and Kashmir; but to further complicate the Kashmir dispute. In view of loyal sons of soil this move is very dangerous and detrimental to unification and independence of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, it is good to note that majority of Kashmiri parties now believe that the struggle for independence should be peaceful one; and that militancy is not the way forward. However, it must be pointed out that my colleagues and I advocated peaceful struggle more than a decade ago. I wrote a number of articles in support of political and diplomatic struggle; and sad thing is at that time I was accused of being, ‘anti jihad’, ‘anti Islam’ and ‘anti movement’. I wish those in position of power had listened to this at that time then we could have saved many valuable lives.

With the above background we enter the New Year 2013, which will be very important for politics of South Asia. Pakistan is getting deeper in to their internal problems and there are very serious threats to body politics of the country. It is an established tradition of the Pakistani rulers that when they find it difficult to control internal troubles they like to divert attention by starting some external adventures. I hope that they don’t start another direct or indirect adventure in Kashmir or in India – Mumbai 2, as it would get Pakistan deeper in the mud.

APHC is still in two factions and both factions claim to represent people of Jammu and Kashmir; and are more ‘loyal’ to Pakistan than to State of Jammu and Kashmir. Their opposition to each other and point scoring does not help the Kashmir cause or help to relieve miseries of the suffering people. Other pro freedom parties are also in tatters. The much talked unity of two groups of JKLF (Amanullah Khan Group and Yasin Malik Group) still leave many JKLF groups working independently; and as predicted, even this ‘unity’ has produced a split in the form of Sardar Saghir Khan and his colleagues. Sardar Saghir Khan, former Chairman of JKLF openly defied this ‘unity’ and called it handiwork of Pakistani secret agencies.

Without going in to details who caused these splits, fact is that all nationalist Kashmiri parties have suffered splits and their meagre resources, time and talent is utilised either fighting each other or proving that so and so are agents of forces of occupation. This is not to suggest that there are no agents of forces of occupation among the nationalists. Reality is that senior leaders of some nationalist groups are there only to protect and promote interests of either India or Pakistan; and their role is to confuse nationalists in name of religion or by spreading communalism, regionalism and hatred.

True nationalists need to acknowledge this bitter fact that hold of India and Pakistan on both side of the divide is firmer than ever before. It is also fact that pro Pakistan and pro Indian parties in their respective parts of Jammu and Kashmir are stronger than ever before. In view of this prevailing situation, we must formulate our policies and alliances otherwise both India and Pakistan will enforce some kind of solution to divide the State of Jammu and Kashmir. And if they do that, are we in a position to resist it?

In conclusion, year 2013 is going to be very important, not only for people of Jammu and Kashmir, but also for the entire region of South Asia. However, we people of Jammu and Kashmir need to keep our eyes and ears open that, once again, we don’t become tools and victims of our neighbours quest for resources and territory.
3.     Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir 
4.     View:    

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Road from Kotli to Rajori - now divided by LOC:

Road from Kotli to Rajori - now divided by LOC:

This is a recording of KNP function held in Luton, England. We thank Talat Butt for his help and support in this regard.

This is a recording of KNP function held in Luton, England. We thank Talat Butt for his help and support in this regard.