Friday, 28 November 2014

Supreme Head of ISI operations in Kashmir, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Supreme Head of ISI operations in Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry          28 November 2014

Private life and public life

I agree citizens should have a personal life or a private life. However, in Asian societies of South Asia the line between a private life and a public life is imprecise. What people do in a private life ultimately has an impact on a society and lives of other citizens. For example, if a man drinks at home and regularly beats his wife at home or abuse his children, can his acts be ignored as personal matter?

Furthermore, if that man has a public life, and he behaves as explained above, can people disregard his acts because it was carried out at home and it was to do with his family? If an ordinary man is standing at a street corner and drinking whisky, people will generally ignore it as a personal matter. However, if a politician is doing the same thing he will not be ignored.

Although people in a public life are also entitled to a private life, but society have certain expectations from those who chose to play some role in affairs of the society. In this regard, anyone who is a public figure, or who endeavours to play some role in a society and wants to influence views of people or how people behave has to be careful what he does. His life is personal only as long as what he does at home must not affect lives of other citizens.

Kashmiri nationalists
Some Kashmiri nationalists are a strange breed. They claim that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied, which means both India and Pakistan are occupiers. However, when one occupier – India does something wrong they will cry out by hurling all kinds of allegations and use of foul language; but when the other occupier -Pakistan does something wrong, either most nationalists will remain quiet, or make absurd efforts to justify similar kind of act. Anyone who dares to criticise wrong acts of Pakistan, or question their merits, these nationalists will turn their guns against that person. They behave as it is their sacred duty to defend wrong acts of Pakistan; and as if they are the first line of defence of Pakistan.

Either these Kashmiri nationalists do not know fundamentals of nationalism, or their services are hired by secret agencies of Pakistan; and they twist facts or ignore them to attack the Indian role and protect the Pakistani position under one pretext or the other. I have no problem if people attack India. Indians can decide if they want to defend them or remain quiet. It is not my duty to protect India; however, as a student of history, I feel it is my duty to put things in perspective and correct historical facts deliberately distorted by Pakistan (India) and their proxies.

As a matter of policy, I don’t talk about female members of any politician or anyone in public life. However, when that person has chosen to become a political activist then, like others, I also have right to ask questions and criticise merits of his/her role.

Amanullah Khan, for life Supreme Head of JKLF, apparently advocates an independent 
Jammu and Kashmir; however, many Kashmir watchers think he fooled people in name of independent Kashmir, and in reality; he subtly defended and protected the Pakistani agenda on Kashmir. More than once he acknowledged working with the ISI, Pakistani secret agency; and of course, they always help and support him whenever he is in trouble.

Whenever anyone criticise him or try to weaken him politically, a system is activated to support Amanullah Khan and malign those who challenge him as traitors and Indian agents, even ISI agents. When his son in law, Sajajd Lone contested elections for the Indian Parliament, people part of that system said Amanullah Khan has nothing to do with this. This is a personal matter of Sajjad Lone.

Here distinction has to be made. I believe people of Jammu and Kashmir forcibly divided should take part in elections for the Assemblies in Srinagar, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit, as that will help them to get their message across to the people. Also elections are held for the local issues and not to determine future of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Sajjad Lone contested for the Indian Parliament, based in New Delhi, and that is different to contesting an election for the Srinagar Assembly to resolve local issues. When one is contesting for the Indian Parliament, then practically that person is declaring that I am an Indian. I want to be part of the Indian system; and benefit from what that system offers to me. It is no longer an election to resolve the local issues.

Amanullah Khan’s daughter, Asma Khan Lone, is like my daughter. She is an educated and a daughter of wise parents. Her mother, who I regard as an elder sister is very decent human being. Asma is a political activist and a columnist. She has every right to play an active role in public life; and she has come out in public to support BJP in these elections. This decision of Asma has many ramifications; and it could turn out to be the turning point in the Kashmiri politics, especially on the Indian side of the divide.

I had a phone call from an old friend who wanted to discuss Asma’s decision to ‘promote BJP’s agenda in the Kashmiri elections’. I wasn’t feeling too well so I tried to avoid the discussion, but I was not successful. He said your niece has come out in support of BJP in elections. I asked him to elaborate this. He said you regard Asma Khan Lone as your daughter and a niece; she is supporting BJP in Kashmir. What have you got to say about this?

Due to ill health and problems with the internet connections at home, up till that point, I did not know about this news. I was also stunned. He said, ‘The system that protected Amanullah Khan and his politics throughout his life is, once again, activated, and this time they are saying it is a personal matter. Be honest, and tell me if this is a personal matter?’

I said I can’t comment until I read the news. But if she has come out to support BJP, then it is sad, but it is her decision. He said, ‘The system is still protecting the man who was, at one time, Supreme Head of ISI operations in Kashmir; and all those who are associated with him are also protected.’

He paused for a moment and said, ‘You have twice visited Pakistan this year, and despite all the criticism on Pakistan and ISI you have come back safely. I note there is some change in your style and presentation after you have come back, perhaps you have also become part of the system’. Before I could say anything he put the phone down.

I want to conclude by saying that I am not part of any system. I am a Kashmiri nationalist, and have always promoted and protected interests of people of Jammu and Kashmir. With regard to Asma Khan Lone’s decision to promote BJP’s election agenda in Kashmir, to me it is no different to an agenda of those who promote agenda of PPP and N League in Azad Kashmir.

What we got to look at is that people of Jammu and Kashmir, technically have three options or three positions to take: support Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India, support accession to Pakistan or support united and independent Jammu and Kashmir. If those who want to accede to Pakistan are deemed as patriots, then why Asma should be considered otherwise for supporting India, because both countries are occupiers. It is her choice and the UN Resolutions give her this right, and protect her position on this.

Furthermore, despite this support she will remain a daughter of Jammu and Kashmir, and will have one vote whenever future of Jammu and Kashmir is decided.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.

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