Saturday, 5 October 2013
Kashmiri nationalists or Muslim nationalists? Dr Shabir Choudhry
Kashmiri nationalists or Muslim nationalists?
Dr Shabir Choudhry 06 October 2013
UNCIP Resolution of 13 August 1948, implicitly give people of Jammu and Kashmir three options - namely accession to India, accession to Pakistan and an independent Jammu and Kashmir. The option of an independent Jammu and Kashmir was truncated on request of Pakistan, and in the next UNCIP Resolution passed on 5 January 1949 people were given a right of accession and not a right of self-determination, as people were only allowed to either accede to India or Pakistan. This UCIP Resolution reads:
‘The question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite’.
So one can see, our right to independence was eliminated in the UN and both India and Pakistan agreed to that. However, fact remains that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were allowed to either become part of India or part of Pakistan. Then questions arises why is that those Kashmiris who want to join India are castigated as ‘traitors’ and ‘agents’? And why those Kashmiri who want to join Pakistan are hailed as patriots.
Many people of Jammu and Kashmir criticise India and Pakistan for not implementing the UN Resolutions. The UN Resolutions also demanded that the people of Jammu and Kashmir must be bestowed their fundamental human rights; and the Kashmiri governments had to ensure that ‘all human and political rights will be guaranteed’.
People of Jammu and Kashmir who want to join India, or those who want to become independent but genuinely criticise Pakistani policies on Jammu and Kashmir are systematically victimised and constantly rebuked not only by Pakistani officials and Pakistani people in general, but they are also castigated by citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. Is this not a clear violation of the UN Resolutions on Kashmir and fundamental human rights?
Apart from that nearly all nationalist Kashmiri parties clearly state in their constitutions that people of Jammu and Kashmir must be given three choices – a right to join India, a right to join Pakistan and a right to become independent. Then why is it that those who feel India is a better choice out of the three choices; or out of the two choices if the UN Resolution are enforced then why these people are taunted as ‘traitors’?
Furthermore, why is that true Kashmiri nationalists who believe that both India and Pakistan are occupiers; and that those who are occupied by India should struggle there and those who are occupied by Pakistan should struggle against the Pakistani occupation are called ‘traitors’ and taunted as unpatriotic?
In the last TV debate on Speakers Corner aired on 30 September 2013, I asked this question from my guests, Professor Sajad Raja and Wahid Kashir. They both agreed that some of the slogans were embedded by forces of occupation to keep us divided and confused. Professor Sajad Raja asserted that all citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir State have equal right either to support accession to India, accession to Pakistan or support an independent Jammu and Kashmir; and all these people are patriotic.
However, those who promote unification and independence of Jammu and Kashmir and want to re-establish Kashmir’s sovereignty and national identity are true Kashmiris. One can, however, have an adverse opinion about those who are more loyal to Kashmir’s neighbour than their own motherland. Both of my guests asserted that people of Jammu and Kashmir have been manipulated by our occupiers, and that it was only logical and practical that we struggle against the country that occupied us and people who live on the other side of the LOC should struggle against the country that occupies them.
After the programme some people who belong to a party that claims to be a ‘nationalist’, although many thinking Kashmiris regard them as ‘B team’ of the Pakistani establishment, expressed their reaction which practically meant continuation of the past policy: ‘liberate Indian occupied Kashmir and only pay lip service about the independence of areas occupied by Pakistan’.
With that mind - set prevailing, I cannot see much hope for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as despite all the suffering and traumas they still cannot differentiate between an enemy and a friend. They still don’t know what they want- independence or ghulami (slavery) in the name of accession. They are not clear if they want a democratic and tolerant society or a society where Islamic laws are imposed, despite differences over what constitutes Sharia.
Many Kashmir nationalists have misplaced loyalty; and they could even be called a confused lot. They seem to be more concerned about problems of a Muslim occupier, rather than the problems we people of Jammu and Kashmir face as the result of forced division. Most of their energies are utilized against Indian occupation – a non- Muslim country; and they try to support and defend all the wrongs done by a Muslim occupier – Pakistan. As the result of this, one can say some Kashmiri nationalists are not true nationalists; at best, they could be called ‘Muslim nationalists’.
As long as Kashmiris are more loyal to their neighbours than to their motherland; and as long as they remain Muslim nationalists, the State of Jammu and Kashmir will remain forcibly divided and innocent people will continue to suffer and die on both sides of the Line of Control.
Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir.