Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Gun culture and politics of intimidation must end in Kashmir
Gun culture and politics of intimidation must end in Kashmir
Speech of Dr Shabir Choudhry in the UKPNP Convention held in London
Mr Chairman, friends and colleagues aslamo alaikam
Let me start by expressing my unhappiness that many PNP speakers before me repeatedly addressed to Shaukat Kashmiri as a ‘former Chairman’ or ‘X Chairman’; it was sufficient to make that point once to explain the legal position. However, when each speaker repeat this more than once during his short speech then it becomes troublesome. No matter how you and few others regard Shaukat Kashmiri, in my view and view of Abbas But, Shaukat Kashmiri was Chairman yesterday, he is Chairman today and he will be Chairman in future. You people need to understand that Shaukat Kashmiri does not need UKPNP; but UKPNP needs leadership and guidance of Shaukat Kashmiri. I have no doubt that Shaukat Kashmiri and the new leadership elected today will be able to control the situation soon and promote the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.
Before focussing my attention on the topic of today’s function, I want to thank Ali Adalat for his kind words about my struggle and literary work. Ali Adalat is an old colleague- a man with versatile qualities. He is an author, a researcher and dedicated political and social analyst. He has done great work to promote local language which he calls A ‘Pahari’ and I call it Punjabi. Also he has done tremendous work on the issue of Kashmiri identity in Britain and Europe and I wish him all the best for his future projects.
Some speakers have spoken on various aspects of history of Jammu and Kashmir; and I will try not to repeat anything that has been said before me. I will focus my attention on the contemporary history, especially which deals with the events leading to forced division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Friends, we need to be careful when we use certain words and phrases, as these are formulated by those who occupy us and they give totally different meaning to historical facts. For example, they say, Kashmir is unfinished agenda of the Partition of India; because of Two Nations Theory, Kashmir should be part of Pakistan; Azad Kashmir and Occupied Kashmir, Base Camp, Black Day on 15 August and 27th Oct etc.
Let us look at these events in light of facts. True, the British India was divided in line with the Two Nations Theory, but it must be emphasised that this Theory was only applicable to the British India which was directly ruled by the British; and it was not applicable to the Princely States, including State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah founder of Pakistan not only acknowledged this fact, but practically demonstrated that the Two Nations Theory did not apply to the Princely States. On two different occasions he stated that Kashmir had right to join India, join Pakistan or remain independent. If the Two Nations Theory was applicable to the Princely States then it should have automatically become part of Pakistan; and there was no need for Mr Jinnah to say about other options available to Jammu and Kashmir.
Similarly when Ruler of Junagarr expressed his desire to join Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah accepted that accession, even though this State had nearly 80% non -Muslim majority; and under rules of the Two Nations Theory this state should have automatically become part of India. Also Mohammed Ali Jinnah supported State of Hyderabad’s right to become independent, even though that State also had more than 80% non - Muslim majority.
This clearly shows that the Two Nations Theory was not applicable to the Princely States, and all those who say Kashmir dispute is unfinished agenda of the Partition of India, try to make Kashmir a religious dispute and annex it by fooling people in name of religion. It must be remembered that State of Jammu and Kashmir is multi ethnic and multi religious state; and there is no danger to Islam there.
Pakistan came in to being on 14 August 1947, and when the British Raj ended on 15 August, India also became independent. However, people forget one fact that all those Princely States which did not join either India or Pakistan also became independent. That means Jammu and Kashmir also became independent on 15 August 1947; and when people of Jammu and Kashmir hold Black Day on 15th August, in reality, they hold a Black Day against their own independence.
Furthermore, if these people are true nationalists then they should hold Black Day on 14th August as well, because to us both countries are occupiers; and when we only observe Black Day against India, it shows that it is done on behest of Pakistan or to please them- which is known as proxy politics.
People need to know that government of Pakistan signed a Standstill Agreement with the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. When the Pakistani government realised that the Maharajah wanted to remain independent and had no desire to join Pakistan, they violated the Standstill Agreement and on 22 October 1947 launched a tribal attack to capture Kashmir.
The tribesmen butchered innocent Kashmiri people, looted their houses, kidnapped and raped girls and women and burnt houses and shops. The forces of Kashmir were unable to check this brutal attack, so in order to save his throne and people of Jammu and Kashmir the Maharaja asked India for help, which was only provided after he signed the ‘Provisional accession’.
Furthermore, people need to differentiate between the two events – entry of the Pakistani troops and the entry of the Indian troops. Pakistani troops entered the State territory illegally against the wish of the Ruler and by violating the Standstill Agreement; and the Indian troops entered Kashmir on request of the Ruler and under a treaty. Of course one could criticise the subsequent role of the Indian army.
However, we should observe 22 October as a Black Day, because it was on this day we were attacked; and what happened on 26/ 27 of October 1947 was the by-product of events of 22 October 1947. In other words, if there was no Pakistani sponsored attack on Kashmir, there would have been no accession and then we could have been independent. What that means is, our present miseries and forced division is directly related to that tribal attack, so we should rightly observe 22 October as a Black Day.
We are urged to call areas under Pakistan as Azad Kashmir and areas under India as occupied and disputed. Whereas, fact is that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is disputed; and no part of the State is azad or independent. Apart from that we are repeatedly told that this area known as Azad Kashmir is a base camp to liberate the Kashmir under India.
Again meaning of this term, ‘base camp’, is that areas under Pakistan are azad – free; and only areas under India are occupied; and this ‘base camp’ should be used to wage a war to liberate the remaining areas of Jammu and Kashmir. It is because of this false notion that people of this region are fooled to forget about their own miseries and let Pakistan use this area as a launching pad to continue militancy in areas of Jammu and Kashmir under India. The result of this policy is that we people of Jammu and Kashmir are forcibly divided and suffer on both sides of the divide.
It must be pointed that because of the wrong history which we have been taught for many decades by our occupiers, many people still regard the tribesmen who attacked us in October 1947 as Mujahideen. What these savage warriors did was a shameful act. They attacked our country, looted our houses and shops, burnt houses and religious places, killed innocent people, raped our women and girls and kidnapped them and sold them in cities of Pakistan. These people were terrorists and criminals. To call them Mujahideen is insult to name of Mujahideen.
So we need to be careful what we call those who attacked our country; and those local people who helped foreign warriors to invade our country and killed and raped our innocent citizens. To me the local people who collaborated with the tribal invaders were traitors of Jammu and Kashmir. It is sad that those who occupied us presented them as leaders and freedom fighters.
I agree because of militancy tens of thousands of people of Jammu and Kashmir have lost their lives, women raped and many are still uncounted for; and the suffering continues. However, sad thing is that despite all the suffering, destruction and loss of human life we are not even considered as a party to resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Because of our wrong policy, we are only there to suffer; and India and Pakistan negotiate on Kashmir dispute and discuss what is good for people of this former Princely State.
Pakistani governments continue to fool us that a solution will be found in accordance with the UN Resolutions on Kashmir; fact, however, is that all the talks between India and Pakistan since 1972 are held in accordance with the Simla agreement. It is clear that the UN Resolutions give right to people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide whether they want to join Pakistan or India; the Simla Agreement has taken away that right from the people and made the Kashmir dispute a bilateral issue which has to be resolved by the two governments.
First, on request of Pakistan, our right to independence was restricted in the UN Resolutions, then our right to decide was taken away; which means we cannot decide our future and we cannot become Kashmiris. We are Kashmiris and like to remain Kashmiris; but governments of India and Pakistan are not prepared to give us that right; now whether we will become Pakistanis or Indians even that will be decided by officials of India and Pakistan.
I hear people demand withdrawal of troops of both India and Pakistan. May be these people are sincere. However, question is under what mechanism these troops should be withdrawn. Available and agreed mechanism was in the UN Resolution of 13 August 1948; which clearly stated that Pakistan should withdraw all the troops from the territory of Jammu and Kashmir; and India should withdraw ‘bulk’ of the troops. We know Pakistan refused to vacate the areas of Jammu and Kashmir under their occupation, hence no progress on withdrawal or on the plebiscite.
I can’t envisage a situation where both India and Pakistan will agree to any mechanism to withdraw troops from the Jammu and Kashmir, if anything, both are entrenching their positions because of suspicions against each other and other security related issues.
In this regard, I suggest that all kinds of violence must stop to end culture of fear and intimidation. Like UKPNP, our party Kashmir National Party also believes in peaceful struggle and strongly oppose use of gun, because gun has only created problems for us. Both countries should continue with confidence building measure, and create friendly and peaceful environment in which people of Jammu and Kashmir could also be part of the dialogue to decide future of Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr Chairman, thank you for your patience.
Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.Email:firstname.lastname@example.org