Wednesday, 7 January 2015

I wonder why Lord Nazir Ahmed is under attack. Dr Shabir Choudhry

I wonder why Lord Nazir Ahmed is under attack.
Dr Shabir Choudhry     7 January 2015

It is difficult to keep Lord Nazir Ahmed out of news. The man knows how to make headlines. Although we belong to same tribe and have friendly relations; but we strongly differ with each other politically and religiously.

In November 2011 he had a bitter disagreement with Prime Minister of Pakistani Administered Kashmir Choudhry Abdul Majeed who also belongs to the same tribe. PAK Prime Minister was so angry with Lord Nazir Ahmed that he got the Cabinet to pass a resolution against him. The Azad Kashmiri Cabinet passed a resolution stating that: ‘Lord Nazir Ahmed is “a despicable person” and the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has the right to take legal action against him, the AJK cabinet declared in a unanimous resolution when it met in Muzaffarabad late on Thursday.’ 1

He also called him ‘anti Kashmir’ and ‘anti movement’; and threatened him to revoke his Kashmiri identity. And in order to intimidate Lord Nazir Ahmed he called him a ‘quomi mujram’ – national criminal; and threatened to confiscate his property in Azad Kashmir.
Although at that time Lord Nazir Ahmed and I did not see eye to eye with each other on many issues, I felt obliged to come out to support him on a matter of principle; and to protect rights of others who may become victims of the Azad Kashmir government in future. I wrote a lengthy article, titled: Lord Nazir Ahmed and issue of Kashmiri nationality. I wrote:

Despite our different views and different political paths we are both Kashmiris and we have one vote each. Whether it is vote in local elections in Pakistani Administered Kashmir or vote in future plebiscite to decide future status of Jammu and Kashmir, my vote will be just as good as his vote.

Both Lord Nazir Ahmed and I hold dual nationality – we are British and citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. Whereas the British citizenship can be revoked in certain cases by the British Sovereign, or by the British government on behalf of the sovereign; but the Kashmiri citizenship cannot be revoked by any government, be it Jammu and Kashmir government or Azad Kashmir government. 2

Furthermore, Kashmiri citizenship was not granted to Lord Nazir Ahmed by any puppet government. He is a Kashmiri by birth, and no one can take that away from him. Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir did us a great service by defining the State Subject laws. State Subject Definition Notification dated the 20th April, 1927, states:

‘That all emigrants from the Jammu and Kashmir State to foreign territories shall be considered State Subjects and also the descendants of these emigrants born abroad for two generations. Provided that, these nationals of the Jammu and Kashmir State shall not be entitled to claim the internal rights granted to subjects of this State by the laws, unless they fulfil the conditions laid down by those laws and rules for the specific purposes mentioned therein.’

Lord Nazir Ahmed is under attack in social media for past many days; and people have used very abusive words against him and have also called him a ‘traitor’ of Kashmir and that he is like a Mir Jafar, a man who committed treachery in war of Plasy by supporting the British. People are angry because he has allegedly stated that if Jammu and Kashmir becomes an independent country he will buy a two bedrooms house in Pakistan and stay there.

I wonder what is wrong with this statement. Why Kashmiri nationalists are angry with this statement. Millions of Kashmiri people live in Pakistan, and majority of them don’t want to move from there and want to remain part of Pakistan. Why are they not traitors?

My emotional countrymen forget that most nationalist parties advocate that people of Jammu and Kashmir State have three options, namely to become part of Pakistan, become part of India or become independent. The UN Resolution of 13 August 1948 also implied these three options. The Resolutions of 5 January 1949, limited our choice between India and Pakistan.

You have called Lord Nazir Ahmed a ‘traitor’ and used other abusive language because he expressed his opinion of joining Pakistan. By adopting this attitude are we not saying that we don’t want anyone to exercise his or her free will? Is that the kind of democracy you people want to exercise in an independent Jammu and Kashmir? In other words you want to exercise your right to choose, but don’t want other people who disagree with your view point to exercise their democratic right.

If Lord Nazir Ahmed is a ‘traitor’ because he feels Jammu and Kashmir should become part of Pakistan; then what would you call those who want to join India? Remember there are around 35% non Muslims who may opt for India; and many Muslims under Indian Administered Kashmir may also opt for India. So are we going to label all these people as traitors?

In a liberal and democratic society right of expression is a fundamental human right; and you cannot deny this right to people. We need to be careful when we issue edicts that so and so is a ‘Kaffir’ or a ‘traitor’. This attitude will further divide the people of Jammu and Kashmir; and may lead to more extremism and permanent division of the former Jammu and Kashmir State.

It is because of this ambiguity, we (Kashmir National Party) say our struggle is for restoration of our sovereignty which we lost after the tribal invasion and provisional accession. We don’t want to be part of India, and we don’t want to be part of Pakistan; however, we cannot stop other people expressing their opinion if they want to join India or Pakistan. We can try to persuade them, tell them what they will lose by becoming part of India or Pakistan, but we must not intimidate them, harass them and abuse them.
3/ The State Subject Notification was issued by the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir on 20 April 1927, and according to this Notification all citizens of Jammu and Kashmir State (people of present Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan, Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu) are lawful citizens of Kashmir.

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

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