Wednesday, 25 September 2013

KNP wants to promote peace and tolerance, Abbas Butt

KNP wants to promote peace and tolerance, Abbas Butt
London        25 September 2013

‘We are peace loving people who want to promote peace and tolerance in the region, especially in the State of Jammu and Kashmir where peace and stability is shattered by the activities of extremists and terrorists’, declared Abbas Butt, Chairman of Kashmir National Party.

‘Our aim is to oppose forces of occupation and those who promote religious intolerance and violence; and advance the cause of peace and create a society where all citizens of the divided State of Jammu and Kashmir can live in peace and harmony’, added Mr Abbas Butt who was speaking to the party colleagues after receiving update from the Neelam Valley where the KNP is planning to hold a Peace Rally and a Peace Conference to oppose activities of the armed militants who want to sabotage the peace of the region.

Abbas Butt further said, ‘Kashmir National Party actively promotes unification and independence of the entire former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir; and strongly believes that use of gun is not the way forward. Gun and its use has only brought death, destruction and misery to the people on both sides of the line of Control; and all peace loving people must oppose those who spread extremism, violence and hatred’.

KNP president for Azad Kashmir and Pakistan, Afzal Suleria is actively working with the local people in the Neelam Valley to hold a Peace Rally and a Peace Conference in Athmaqaam, in the Neelam Valley. He has gained full support of the Anjuman e Tajraan, which represents to business people of the area. Also he has gained support of the local journalists, Press Club in Athmaqaam and the local political activists. Afzal Suleria has set up peace committees in various parts of the Neelam Valley who will help the KNP to organise the event which will take place on 30th September 2013.

Abbas Butt said, ‘This event is to promote peace and tolerance, and we hope that the authorities and secret agencies will not create any hurdles or try to intimidate us. Also we hope that all peace loving people of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan and India will support our endeavour and peaceful struggle’.

Issued by Dr Shabir Choudhry

. Watch TV debate: Role of Azad Kashmiri people in the Kashmiri struggle, part 1&2, 23/9/13

1.       Watch TV debate: Role of Azad Kashmiri people in the Kashmiri struggle, part 1&2, 23/9/13
Part 1
Part 2

Is it struggle for independence, terrorism or a proxy war?

Is it struggle for independence, terrorism or a proxy war?
Dr Shabir Choudhry  Dec 2008

One person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist, we were told. There is very thin line between a freedom fighter and a terrorist, yet we used to support Kashmiri armed struggle as we sincerely thought it was a genuine struggle for freedom of our homeland. As we got more information and established our independent sources of information about what was going on in name of Kashmiri ‘freedom struggle’ or ‘Jihad’ we started opposing it, and that was 5/6 years before the tragic events of 9/11 which changed many things including any distinction between armed struggle and freedom fight.

Kashmiri struggle in a view of ‘nationalist Kashmiris’ is a struggle to get national independence for the State of Jammu and Kashmir, but this should not be done in name of any religion as Kashmir dispute is not a religious in nature. Furthermore, in view of nationalist Kashmiris religion is a personal matter of citizens in which state has no role to play. State of Jammu and Kashmir is a multi national, multi religious and multi culture and we all must have same rights and privileges as citizens of Jammu and Kashmiris.

It must be pointed out here that when the term of ‘Kashmiri struggle’ is used it signifies the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir and struggle of all people who were part of the State on 15th August 1947. I understand recently people of other regions, especially Jammu and Gilgit and Baltistan are expressing their strong resentment against this and don’t want to be called Kashmiris; although they agree that they are part of the State, hence still part of the dispute.

Is it Jihad?

Jihad is a very noble concept of Islam and it has two possible definitions. Jihad could be defined as a fight or struggle for one’s rights, which can involve use of arms, especially if the struggle is against a foreign occupier. But this kind of jihad is of less significance, as Prophet Mohammed PBUH, while returning from a battle field declared that: "We have returned from the lesser jihad (battle) to the greater jihad (jihad of the soul)." (BBC - Religion & Ethics - Jihad: The internal Jihad". Retrieved on 2007-01-09).  

This ‘greater jihad’ is an inner struggle of each man against vice, passion and ignorance, and takes a form of spiritual struggle. This Jihad is directed against satan’s inducements. Jihad is a struggle for any cause for the betterment of the humanity whether it is violent or not, religious or non religious. A Pakistani scholar and Professor Fazlur Rehman Malik defines the term to describe the struggle to establish "just, moral and social order", which could be to fight for rights of minorities or to struggle for economic development in a country.

There are four major categories of jihad: Jihad against one's own self (Jihad al-Nafs), Jihad of the tongue (Jihad al-lisan), Jihad of the hand (Jihad al-yad), and Jihad of the sword (Jihad as-sayf). Firestone, Rueven (1999). Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 019-5125800.  pg. 17.

The ‘lesser jihad’ is defined as a holy war against infidels and infidel countries, aiming at spreading Islam. This kind of jihad is described in both the Qur’an and in the hadiths; and there is a clear guidance on this kind of Jihad and why it was made obligatory. This Jihad could be offensive or defensive and is a duty for every Muslim community, but not necessarily for every individual. The one who dies in the battle against the infidels or against forces of occupation, becomes a martyr, a shaheed, and is guaranteed a place in Paradise as well as certain privileges there.
Some of directions or guidance for this kind of Jihad was permitted when the Muslims were persecuted and oppressed by the rulers of Makka. Even after the migration of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH to Madina, there were still some Muslims there who were still oppressed because of their faith, and Surah 4, verse 75 is referring to this fact:
‘And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help’! (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)
Islamic jurisprudence has clearly regulated terms and conditions of this kind of jihad. According to this surah 2, verse 190 was revealed:
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. 
Such rules include not killing women, children and non-combatants, as well as not damaging cultivated or residential areas. Some scholars stress that this Jihad is essentially a defensive warfare aimed at protecting Muslims and Islam. ‘Jihad of the sword’ will always include weapons, but  the aim must be to protect people whether Muslims or non Muslims from persecution and oppression.
Some people wrongly associate Jihad with violence and killings or threat to peace and security. Jihad is not a war or violence. For wars and killings holy Qur’an use the term Qital. Allah says: “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall.”

This means that Jihad has much broader application and encompasses many aspects of human life; and ‘qital’ is the final stage in that struggle. But one has to satisfy certain pre-requisites before embarking on this phase of the struggle; and some people call this jihad offensive in nature. But this kind of Jihad must be declared by the state and no group is entitled to declare this jihad, as it is a serious matter and could result in death of many people, animals, crops, trees and destruction of property and assets. Such a serious matter could not be left to adventurism or romanticism of some ideologues or fanatics as it could lead to war, civil war and unrest.
It was because of this defintion and problems associated with individual groups declaring jihad that Maulana Abu Ala Mohdoodi, founder of Jamat e Islami and famous scholar declared jihad in Kashmir as ‘illegitimate’ and wrong. Jamat e Islami after him had changed its stance and has become more like a commerical and mercenary organisation willing to take on different tasks provided they are appropriately rewarded for them.
 In view of the above definition and explaination one has to see what is going on in name of Jihad or freedom struggle on the Indian side of the Jammu and Kashmir. First of all this jihad is declared by individual groups, and some of them have transformed the Kashmiri struggle in to a commercial enterprise. That declaration of Jihad is similar to Jihad being carried out in FATA and various parts of Pakistan, which is strongly opposed and contested by the government of Pakistan and many scholars in Pakistan and elsewhere.
Islamic Jurisprudence of offensive or defensive jihad clearly state that no innocent or civilian should be killed. It is very clearly explained that not even trees and crops should be destrroyed, and what we witness in Jammu and Kashmir is clearly against the teaching of Islam. In Jammu and Kashmir we have witnessed time and again that the so called Jihadi groups and Mujahideen have delibeerately targetted civilians, women, children and old. They have killed and tortured members of minority groups in name of Jihad and Islam which is to defame Islam and change fundamental character of the Kashmiri struggle.
To us Kashmiri nationalists, it was a struggle for our right of self determination, and aim was to establish a democratic and non religious state in united and independent Jammu and Kashmir. To these Jihadi groups which converged from various parts of the world to carry out Jihad, it was an Islamic mission to establish Islam in Jammu and Kashmir; and after accomplishing this mission proceed to New Delhi and else where. In other words there is no end to their struggle or Jihad and it continues until there are no none Muslims on the planet of earth. Of course these jihadis were handsomely rewarded for their services in form of priviledges, power and money.

Is it Terrorism?

There is no agreed definition of terrorism but the term is used to describe violence or other harmful acts committed (or threatened) against civilians by groups or persons for political or ideological goals. The majority of definitions in use are written or proposed by government agencies who deal with various kinds of violence and terrorism, and that ultimately result in bias to exclude governments from such definitions. Furthermore certain actions are termed as ‘terrorism’ even though it does not not result in violence or casualties, for example, the Terrorism Act 2000 include the disruption of a computer system but no violence is intended or results.

Some definitions legitimate use of violence by civilians against an invader or forces of occupation; but other definitions call all kinds of violent resistance as terrorism. Mosst people define terrorism which involves the use or threat of violence with the aim of creating fear to the intended victims and others in the community. This application of ‘fear’ distinguishes terrorism from both conventional and guerrilla warfare. Terrorism aims to achieve political or other goals, when direct military victory is not possible. This has resulted in some social scientists referring to guerrilla warfare as the "weapon of the weak" and terrorism as the "weapon of the weakest".

The Oxford English Dictionary defines terrorism as "a policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorising or condition of being terrorised."

Webster's New International Dictionary defines terrorism as the "act of terrorizing, or state of being terrorized; specif.: a/ The system of the Reign of Terror. b/ A mode of governing, or of opposing government, by intimidation. c/ Any policy of intimidation. The definition of the term in the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (2nd edition) begins:

The Council of the European Union adopted a framework on combating terrorism on 13 June 2002 (2002/475/JHA), reads:
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Union,                           
and in particular Article 29, Article 31(e) and Article 34(2)(b)
Having regard to the proposal from the Commission (1),
Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament (2),
(1) ‘The European Union is founded on the universal values of human dignity, liberty, equality and solidarity, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is based on the principle of democracy and the principle of the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States.
(2) Terrorism constitutes one of the most serious violations of those principles. The La Gomera Declaration adopted at the informal Council meeting on 14 October 1995 affirmed that terrorism constitutes a threat to democracy, to the free exercise of human rights and to economic and social development.’

In an interview to Bret Stephens for Wall Street Journal, Asif Zardari, President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has given new definition to the on going militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. The previous incumbent of the President House in Pakistan despite his opposition to terrorism and his participation in war against terrorism would only went as far as calling people fighting against India as ‘militants’. Asif Zaedari has made a big leap and has called them ‘terrorists.’ Apart from that he has called APHC leaders, who were hailed as freedom fighters, beacons of the Kashmiri struggle and as ‘heroes’ by previous government officials, ‘terrorists’ as well. This is a big change.

Apart from the few, non of these leaders have actually taken part in any form of militancy, and perhaps he has called them ‘terrorists’ because they either don’t denounce militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, or one way or the other are supporting it or have supported it in the past. It is normal practise of Pakistani politicians that when they are in hot water due to something they have said they generally say they were ‘mis quoted’; and it is quite possible that Asif Zaedari might do the same.

Also he has very boldly claimed that "India has never been a threat to Pakistan". This view has been recently expressed by some Pakistani writers that it is always Pakistan who has picked up fights with India resulting in catastrophic wars and defeats for Pakistan, even its dismemberment in 1971. Asif Zardari’s statement is perceived as an indirect support for this claim.

Proxy war - a war instigated by a major power that does not itself participate. It is a war that results when two powers use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly.

In its fight against terrorism the USA has declared its emphasis on a policy which stands on two pillars: first, “promoting freedom, justice, and human dignity—working to end tyranny, to promote effective democracies, and to extend prosperity through free and fair trade.” The second is “confronting the challenges of our time by leading a growing community of democracies,”
The USA's Department of Defence issued a directive in 1996 and provided a new definition of terrorism in order to bring under its ambit acts directed against civilians as well as security forces:" Unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property, with the intention of coercing or intimidating governments or societies, often for political or ideological purposes."
International (or Transnational ) Terrorism.  Terrorism has become a ‘ trade ’ for some and it is no longer confined to boundaries of any one country. Terrorists have complex international network and terrorism transcends national boundaries.  Its planning can take in one country and its execution could be in other countries thousands of miles away. This kind of terrorism attracts wider publicity and help terrorists to promote their demands and cause.

In order to combat this kind of terrorism a sincere and concerted international effort is required.  Terrorism experts define the following kinds of terrorism:
Non-State Supported Terrorism.   Terrorist groups which are highly organised with their own finance and logistics; and good command and control system. They, by and large, operate autonomously without receiving any significant support from any Government.
State-Directed Terrorism. This class of terrorist groups operate as agents of a Government, act as a proxy to a government to advance interest or cause of that government or a cause which is mutually beneficial. They receive substantial intelligence, logistical, and operational support from the sponsoring Government.
State-Supported Terrorism.  This class of terrorist groups have somewhat independent existence with their own resources and their own agenda; but at times they receive help, support and guidance from one or more Governments.
It is widely believed that ‘terrorist organizations do not exist in a vacuum’ - they heavily rely on states who provide them all the necessary support, and in fight against terrorism it is imperative that these states could be pressurised to stop their support for terrorists.

Fight against terrorists is not easy, because it is not possible to win or defeat those fanatics who are willing to die for their cause, whether that cause is justified or not. Phenomenon of Suicide bombers is not new, as they have been around in many cultures and religions for ages. It is believed that these fanatics burning with revenge or ideological fervour could not be influenced through reasoning or incentives.
Indian claim is that Pakistan launched the proxy war in the name of "Operation Topac". The entire scheme was formulated by former military dictator of Pakistan, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq. According to well-known journalist and author, Altaf Gowhar, Pakistan's proxy war is amended version of "Operation Gibralter" and is based on the suggestions of Chou-En-Lai and has been named as "Operation Topac". The "Operation Topac" type prolonged campaign used to be carried out during the hey-day of imperialism. The Soviet Union too had adopted a similar plan.
The Indian officials claim that the Operation Topac had four main aims:
1.    Giving training to Kashmiri youths in the handling of sophisticated weapons.
2.    To destabilize and discourage the state administration.
3.    To make the Kashmir Valley a Hinduless Muslim area.
4.     To prepare Kashmiri Muslims for "Jehad".
This strategy aimed to ensure that:

·         A large number of Indian forces (more than half million) are kept bogged down in Kashmir;
·         It will result in fatigue, resentment, causalities among civilians and men in uniform;
·          In other words ‘keep India bleeding’, economically and militarily;
·          It also ensures that the Indian forces will take causalities and in frustration react to kill and torture militants, suspected militants and their supporters;
·         It will surely result in human rights violations which will result in more alienation and anger against India;
·         It will keep fanatics engaged in Jammu and Kashmir, and probably get them killed, hence keep them away from cities and towns of Pakistani and Pakistani Administer Kashmir;
·         It will provide Pakistan and Kashmiris with a propaganda stick to beat India at national and international level.
·         It will motivate other extremists both Hindu and Muslims to organise in groups and clash with each other, creating further tension and chaos.
And this tension, frustration and alienation of Muslims in India will help to create divisions inside the Indian society; hence provide justification for the Two Nations Theory and Partition of India in 1947. I am sure one can add more things to this list.
Many critics believe that with the above objectives Pakistan wanted to promote national interest; certainly this is how government India view these objectives. By and large majority of Kashmiris at the beginning believed that they were fighting to liberate their country; and many still think that they are fighting war of liberation. And they think their target should be India and not Pakistan, even though they acknowledge that Pakistan is also controlling or occupying some parts of the State. This includes pro Pakistan Kashmiris and some so called nationalists who speak of an independent Kashmir but their policies are designed to promote Pakistani national interest.
Because of the topic and the explanation it required the preface has already become too long; but I cannot end this without expressing my deep gratitude to most respected Baroness Emma Nicholson, who has honoured me by writing an introduction to this book.

Baroness Emma Nicholson has championed cause of democracy, fundamental rights for all and rule of law; and has done a great service to people of State of Jammu and Kashmir by authoring highly valuable and comprehensive report, ‘Kashmir: present situation and future prospects’, which was adopted by the European Parliament in May 2007.

In the report Baroness Emma Nicholson made an important distinction between right of self determination and right of accession. What Pakistani governments have been promoting over the past decades was not a right of self determination but a right of accession, giving people of Jammu and Kashmir a choice to accede to either India or Pakistan

Baroness Emma Nicholson has kindly commended my efforts to advance the cause of Kashmir in the following words:Dr Choudry has worked tirelessly for nearly thirty years promoting peace, stability, human rights and democracy in the region.  He has become a leading authority on the Kashmiri struggle’…

To get this compliment from a person of her stature is like receiving a medal in recognition of my work on Kashmir; and I am grateful to her for kindness.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:

To view other articles see my blog:

Monday, 23 September 2013

Watch TV programme: Problems of overseas Kashmiris

Watch TV programme: Problems of overseas Kashmiris
Part 1
Part 2

Future Jihadi nurseries are being set up near LOC, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Future Jihadi nurseries are being set up near LOC
Dr Shabir Choudhry   23 September 2013

My contacts have revealed that Jamat Ul Dawa, a parent organisation of Lashkar e Taiba, which is best known for its new brand of Islam and terrorist activities committed in name of Islam and Jihad are setting up new Masjids (Mosques) and Madrassas (religious schools) in various localities near the Line of Control.

Once a Masjid is built, whether it is small or a big or whether it teaches true Islam or violence and hatred in name of Islam could not be destroyed, especially in rural areas, unless a bigger one is built in its place.

It is alarming to learn that the groups that promote violence and terrorism in name of Islam; and who have been very active in sending jihadi warriors across the LOC to commit acts of violence are setting up masjids and madrassas in the Neelam Valley and other areas near the LOC.  
Incentive for the local people are:

·         They don’t have to pay for the cost of construction;
·         Pay for the Imam and other teachers;
·         Pay the maintenance costs;
·         Children get free education and free meals.

Danger, however, is that with a network of Masjids and Madrassas the Jihadi groups will have access to all areas. They will have support from the local people, which previously they did not enjoy. Resentment against these jihadi groups was so strong in the past that the local people even the women came out in protests against them.

All this will change if the Jihadi groups have their way. The danger is that they will have a strong hold in the region which is used as a launching pad to send armed militants across the LOC. Above all they will have local boys, trained and groomed as a new breed of jihadi warriors to promote a new jihadi or a terrorist agenda and create havoc in the region.

The Jihadi nurseries that were set up during the Zia Ul Haq era were for a specific agenda; and to meet the requirements of that time. These Jihadi nurseries flourished with an official patronage, help and guidance. Wise people cautioned about consequences of this policy, but a big majority remained quiet, as it was projected as a war to save Pakistan and Islam.

The same policy continued even after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Pakistani policy makers wanted a ‘strategic depth’; and they also found a new theatre for the Jihadi warriors in Kashmir. The Pakistani policy of promoting and exporting Jihad has come to haunt them; and now no one feels safe in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

However, sad thing is despite the fact that these Jihadi groups are now challenging the writ of the Pakistani government and seriously damaging the fabrics of the Pakistani society, the policy of grooming and supporting the militant groups has not changed. Still within the Pakistani establishment and political circles there is no will to eliminate these groups or seriously challenge them. As a result of wrong policies and bewilderment the entire region is suffering; and even our future generations will pay price for our negligence and complacency.

After 9-11 the situation changed dramatically, and the jihadi warriors faced enormous pressure; and encountered many challenges. With some official support and guidance, they withstood that pressure and formulated new strategies and fiercely fought back. After many years of struggle and suffering, they seem to be having an upper hand. They are calling shots at will in Pakistan, and in view of some commentators, they are virtually dictating the terms and establishing their writ in various parts of Pakistan.

It is sad that tens of thousands of innocent people have perished in Pakistan due to violence and terrorism. Hindus, Christians and even Muslims are not safe in a country that was created in name of Islam and for Muslims. Political leaders, religious scholars, and now even army Generals are becoming victims of the jihadi warriors who take pride in killing innocent people in name of Jihad. Despite all that, sad thing is that those who matter and have ability to control and eliminate this menace do not look ready to take up the challenge.

Impartial analysts wonder why the strong Pakistan army – seventh strongest army in the world is not crushing a few thousand jihadi warriors? Is it because these jihadi outfits are still perceived as ‘strategic assets’ or there are some other reasons? For the sake of peace and stability of Pakistan and the region, Pakistan has to take a firm decision and crush them with full military might.

I have confirmed reports that Jihadis are setting up Masjids and Madrassas in various parts of LOC, again people are quiet and complacent that they are teaching religion. However, after 15-20 years a new breed of Jihadi warriors will be available from this region to make our lives hell in the name of Maslik and jihad.

Those groomed and trained as the Jihadi warriors during the Zia era had a different and, to some extent, a limited agenda. The agenda of new jihadi warriors is different this time; and if they are not nailed down they will cause a blood bath in the region. After accomplishing the act ‘cleansing’ Pakistan of non- Muslims they will kill us Muslims by calling us ‘Mushriks’. This fitna – menace supported and promoted with petro dollars must be confronted for the sake of peace and stability and for the sake of future generations.

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

Saudi Arabia's jihad against Muslims

Saudi Arabia's jihad against Muslims

Saturday, 21 September 2013

KNP to hold Peace Conference and Peace Rally in Neelam Valley

KNP to hold Peace Conference and Peace Rally in Neelam Valley
London        21 September 2013

Kashmir National Party is to hold a Peace Rally and a Peace Conference in the Neelam Valley to protest against growing presence of armed militants in the area. The Neelam Valley is also used as a launching pad to send armed militants across the Line of Control to commit acts of violence and terrorism.

The presence of armed militants in the area are causing enormous problems for the local people; and many times in the past local people, even the women who do not normally take part in such activities came out to protest against their presence in the Neelam Valley.

While talking to Dr Shabir Choudhry, Afzal Suleria, President of Kashmir National Party Azad Kashmir chapter said, ‘These armed militants are a big source of our problems in the region. They harass and intimidate local people. This area is used as a launching pad to send armed militants across the Line of Control that they can commit acts of violence there. Normal practise is before the armed militants are sent across, army start shelling and in response the Indian army also retaliate and people of Jammu and Kashmir suffer on both sides of the divide.’

He said, ‘The local people enjoyed some peace and stability after the cease fire was announced some years ago; but peace does not suit some people who have interest in promotion of violence, terrorism and hatred.’

KNP President said, ‘Because of peace and improved relationship between India and Pakistan, this summer we had a record number of tourists in the area which greatly helped the local economy; but this is disliked by those who run affairs of this region, including militant outfits who commit acts of violence for financial and ideological reasons.’

The KNP President further said, ‘We want to protest against the presence of the armed militants in the region and for this purpose we will hold a Peace Rally and a Peace Conference in the Neelam Valley on 30th September 2013. We will invite all those Kashmiris and Pakistanis who believe in peace and harmony; and who oppose violence, terrorism and hatred. All those people who want resolution of all disputes by a process of dialogue are welcomed to participate in this Peace Rally and Peace Conference.’

Afzal Suleria requested members of the civil society and media to send their representatives to support this event and provide appropriate media coverage to send a powerful message to those who promote violence and hatred.
All those interested can contact Afzal Suleria on: 0092 300 955 4155
Issued by Dr Shabir Choudhry. 0044 7790 942 471

Friday, 20 September 2013

Gilgit Baltistan leader opposed Pakistan’s deal to hand over Gilgit Baltistan to China.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gilgit Baltistan leader opposed Pakistan’s deal to hand over Gilgit Baltistan to China.

Gilgit Baltistan leader opposed Pakistan’s deal to hand over Gilgit Baltistan to China.

Gilgit: 20th September, 2013

“Engineer Manzoor Parwana Chairman Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement (GBUM) demands that Nawaz regime must instantly unveil information about Chinese activities in Gilgit Baltistan, as well as the details of the projects and bi-lateral agreements which have enabledChina to exploit natural resources of the region without the consent of the natives of disputed territory”.

He also demanded from Pakistan to disclose the details of Sino-Pak border agreement of 1963 by which Pakistan hand over 19,360 square kilometers of Gilgit Baltistan to China. He said, “Pakistan gifted to China large tracks of Aghil, Shimshal, Raskam and Shaksgam valleys of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The press conference was called to discuss the visit of the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to china and signed multiple projects agreement with his counterpart. The Pakistani government did not take Gilgit Baltistan on board to inter in an agreement with Chinawhich is caused to create political uncertainty and fear among the natives”. The immediate  and hurried visit of Pakistani Premier to China after the massacre of foreign tourists at Nanaga Parbat  remind us of the great game, which the Chinese ,Pakistanis ,USA and British Empires are playing  in the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains to gain global supremacy. Any new effort by Pakistan to hand over Gilgit Baltistan to China will be dealt with great opposition.”

He said, “It may be true that strategic location of Gilgit Baltistan is attracting attention of global powers, however, the interests and rights of the natives can not be sacrificed to accommodate such aspirations. Pakistan and China’s unwarranted activities in Gilgit-Baltistan are causing instability and may as well threaten the wellbeing of the natives in the long run. If the terrorist’s attacks on passenger’s buses and foreign tourists in the premises of KKH are a conspiracy against the friendship of China and Pakistan then it will be a constant threat to Gilgit Baltistan.”

Parwana requested the citizens of Gilgit-Baltistan to unify to achieve liberty, without becoming a pawn, which serve the interests of neighboring countries. 

Issued by
 Engineer Manzoor Hussain Parwana
Gilgit Baltistan United Movement
Skardu Baltistan

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Tribute to Arif Shahid

Tribute to Arif Shahid
Dr Shabir Choudhry      12 September 2013

Friends and colleagues, today we are gathered here to pay tribute to our friend, a nationalist Kashmiri leader and a freedom fighter, Sardar Arif Shahid who is no longer with us. Arif Shahid was callously killed outside his house in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on 13 May 2013. May Allah bless his soul?

Arif Shahid was a man with vision. A man with a mission, and his mission was to promote democratic values and fundamental human rights for all citizens of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. His view was that religion was a personal matter of individuals; and that religion must be kept out of politics. He promoted peace and strongly advocated equality for non – Muslims and other ethnic groups.

Arif Shahid bravely opposed religious extremists and forces that groomed terrorists. He openly challenged those powers that promoted violence and terrorism. He opposed those groups and parties that promoted religious intolerance and hatred.

Martyred Arif Shahid had become a symbol of resistance against Pakistani forces of occupation and secret agencies in Gilgit Baltistan and so called Azad Kashmir. He wanted to have united and independent Jammu and Kashmir with liberal, democratic and secular ideals.

He crossed the red line many times. He was cautioned to stop his activities; but he was persistent and dedicated man. He refused to surrender. Despite threats to his life from those who promoted violence and terrorism, he continued with his mission. On the evening of 13 May 2013, those who did not like what he did silenced him for ever. Two bullets were shot on his neck. Kashmiri nationalist believe it was a target killing; and we condemn it.

He is no longer with us, but his struggle for the oppressed and victimised people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir would continue. We are determined to expose Pakistani government’s hypocritical stand on the Kashmir dispute and tell people that they have imperialist designs on Jammu and Kashmir.

It is feared that Arif Shahid won’t be the last person to be eliminated because reliable sources reveal that the Pakistani secret agencies have decided to crush our peaceful struggle against the Pakistani occupation in so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. For this purpose, they have prepared a list of more than two dozen key leaders and political activists, which include those living abroad.

We share this view of other Kashmiri parties that he was eliminated because of his nationalist struggle; and those forces which did not like his struggle, finally eliminated him to send the message that they will not tolerate true Kashmiri nationalist struggle on this side of the Line of Control.

  • Kashmiri nationalists demand that the Pakistani authorities:
  • Should constitute a judicial inquiry into the murder of Arif Shahid Shaheed; 
  • Arrest and punish all those involved with the conspiracy and murder of Arif Shahid;
  • Immediately stop policy of harassment and intimidation in Pakistani Administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan;
  • Allow people of Pakistani Administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan to enjoy their fundamental human rights.

I pray Almighty to grant him a place in Heaven.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Mangla Dam and Barbari Masjid

Mangla Dam and Barbari Masjid
Speech of Dr Shabir Choudhry, Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs at a Seminar arranged by CIRAC (NGO with Special Consultative Status with the UN (ECOSOC), during 24th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council  on Wednesday 11th of March  2013 in Room XXI 21, Palais des Nations, Geneva.

Mr Chairman
Despite great efforts of the UN Human Rights Council and efforts of hundreds of other human rights organisations, human rights violations around the world are getting worse, especially in the conflict zones, be it forcibly divided State of Jammu and Kashmir, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt just to name the few.

It is unfortunate to note that many human rights organisations are selective on the issue of human rights. At times, because of economic, political and strategic interests some states decide to remain quiet and turn a blind eye to the plight of the suffering people in certain regions.

Oppressed people of State of Jammu and Kashmir also face similar predicament. They are forcibly divided, oppressed and denied their fundamental rights, including unfettered right of self determination yet majority of the countries find it expedient to remain quiet.

Mr Chairman
I want to draw your attention to the plight of people of Mirpur in the Pakistani Administered Kashmir. But before that I want to give an example of the Babari Masjid that was destroyed by extremists in India. Pakistani establishment and media exploited this act of extremists and dispensed so much fuel on the communal fire that sentiments of Hindus and Muslims were blazed and subsequent communal riots killed hundreds of people and destroyed millions of pounds worth property. India was presented as a villain even though it was not an official policy of the government. In retaliation to the Babari Masjid destruction, many Hindu temples were also destroyed in Pakistan.

What extremists did was condemned by many, and I condemn it too, however, fact remains that the Babari Masjid was closed for many years due to controversy related to Ram Temple. There were no religious activities going on- no five times prayers, no Juma and no religious teaching, yet the action was condemned. During Musharraf era, six masjids were destroyed in Islamabad which were used for all religious activities. Not many people complained against destructions of these masjids because it was a decision of the government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan; and those who complained and demanded rebuilding of those masjids and implementation of Islamic laws were later on rounded up and killed in Lal Masjid and Jamia Hifsa. This incident not only killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children but also burnt and destroyed thousands of Qura’ns and other Islamic books.

Pakistan illegally and forcefully built Mangla Dam in 1967 to provide water to Pakistani land owners and electricity to the Pakistani industrialists. People of Mirpur lost their city, history, masjids, shrines, graveyards and fertile land. In total 485 Villages, 65000 Acres of fertile land submerged in the water. The dam uprooted more than 20,000 families, and people were forced to leave their homes and livelihood.

Generally each village has a masjid and there would be many shrines and graveyards in the area. So one can see how many masjids, shrines and graveyards went under the Mangla Dam water. But not many people protested against this injustice and oppression. No one in Pakistan complained or criticised the Government action which resulted in drowning of masjids and shrines where people prayed 5 times and where children learnt Quran and attended religious functions.

Unlike now, India had a proactive policy on Jammu and Kashmir and challenged the Pakistani designs in Mirpur and wrote to the UN Security Council about this. Since the Simla Agreement of 1972, both India and Pakistan have decided to settle for what they have and regard the Cease Fire Line as the de-facto border. This is a big change in the respective claims of the two countries.

Anyhow, those affected from the Mangla Dam were not appropriately compensated and rehabilitated. According to WAPDA records 7707 families were not compensated. Other promises made to the people of Mirpur were also not honoured. Some of the things promised to them were as follows:
  1. Alternative residential plots
  2. Compensation for loss of business
  3. Alternative allotments for loss of irrigational land
  4. Free electricity
  5. Free Water supply
  6. A railway station and a railway line connecting Mirpur with national
    rail network of Pakistan
  7.  50% quota for employment
  8. Royalty for the dam to be paid to Azad Kashmir government
 Most of the above promises were just promises, but despite this betrayal, injustice and oppression, and exploitation of our resources, Pakistan once again, and without consent of the local people decided to upraise the Mangla Dam. Once again people of Mirpur became victims of the Pakistani greed and imperialist designs.

The Dam upraising created new problems for the people of Mirpur district. The Dam height is increased from 1210 feet to 1270 feet. The water level in the last weeks has gone up to 1240 feet resulting in devastation and uprooting of thousands of local people who were not paid compensation and rehabilitated.

Most of the uprooted people have not been compensated. All they have is a piece of paper telling them where their land plot is. Irony is that plots in the area are not demarcated; and the so called new settlements are not ready for habitation, as there is no infrastructure, sewerage, water, gas connections etc. Those people who managed to get some compensation is not even half of the market price.

For example, if a house was built for the sum of 40 Lakh Rupees ten years ago; and the owner receives 15 Lakh Rupees for that house. First problem is he has no place to build a new house. Secondly, to build a same size house he needs at least 80 Lakh Rupees because of the inflation and devaluation of the Pakistani Rupee; not to mention the trouble he will have to endure to build a house.

Apart from that, in that past few weeks more than 20 Masjids, 6 shrines and many graveyards have submerged in the Mangla Dam Lake. These masjids were daily used for religious activities, but those who occupy us do not care about sentiments of the local people because to them economic considerations were more important.

A sad thing in this ordeal is that apart from some people of Mirpur, and Pakistani Administered Kashmir no one has raised voice in support of suffering people of Mirpur. Not a single voice from the Valley to express solidarity or to criticise Pakistani injustice and oppression; yet all the time they expect us to raise our voice in their support. Many times we have had demonstrations and observed hunger strikes to support the struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir under India; and opposed human rights abuses there

However, they refuse to give people of Jammu and Kashmir living under Pakistani control the same right to protest against the country which denies them of fundamental rights. They never talk about problems of Gilgit Baltistan, or even care to visit these areas because they know Islamabad and their agencies won’t like it.

In case of the Barbari Masjid there was a determined state to propagate the issue and exploit the situation to make India defensive. However, on the issue of the Mangla Dam there is no one to support the helpless people; not even the puppet government of so called Azad Kashmir which claims to rule in our name. The fact is that the ruling elite in so called Azad Kashmir is there to look after the interests of Islamabad; and keep control over these people that interests of their political masters are not endangered.

Mr Chairman

The entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is disputed. People could not remain divided, oppressed and subjugated for ever. I hope that the world community and the UN Human Rights Council will pay some attention to the plight of citizens of this divided former Princely State.

I thank you for your patience.