Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Kashmiri politics of balance, presentation made by Dr Shabir Choudhry in a Seminar in Geneva on 22 September 2015

Kashmiri politics of balance, presentation made by Dr Shabir Choudhry in a Seminar in Geneva on 22 September 2015
The seminar was arranged by African Development Association during the UN Human Rights 30th session in room 27 at 5pm.

In name of Almighty I begin.
Mr Chairman, friends and colleagues, aslamo alaikam and very good afternoon to all of you.

The former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir is forcibly occupied by three nuclear powers, namely India, Pakistan and China. Unlike India and Pakistan, China does not claim the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir; but has economic and strategic ambitions to occupy more of Kashmiri territories in Ladakh and in Gilgit Baltistan.

Some experts of the region think China Pakistan Economic Corridor is designed to massively increase the influence of China in South Asia; and especially on issues related to Kashmir dispute. If CPEC is completed as planned, then it will strengthen role of China, and they will have a strong foothold in Gilgit Baltistan making China the fourth party to the Kashmir dispute, which will further complicate the Kashmir dispute and will surely make any solution extremely difficult.

I know some people won’t like what I am going to say, but I believe I have to say what truth is, rather than say what is liked by people. I believe people of Jammu and Kashmir are a divided lot. They were divided when important decisions regarding future of Jammu and Kashmir were being discussed in 1947; and they are deeply divided now on religious, ethnic and regional lines.

I want to add that they are confused as well. They are good at shouting slogans and making allegations, but they still don’t know what they want. They are not sure if they want independence, preserve their own identity and culture, and be masters of their own homeland. It is disappointing to note that some are more loyal to Kashmir’s neighbours without realising that Our neighbours have imperial designs on our homeland.

Some Kashmiris are so confused or have misplaced loyalty that they wave flags of India or Pakistan, and express loyalty to them rather than expressing loyalty to their motherland. Some go further and wave flags of ISIS, a terrorist group which kill people in name of Islam. These unwise acts of people of Jammu and Kashmir give wrong signals to the international community and further complicate the Kashmir dispute.

Mr Chairman
Kashmiri politics of balance
As soon as one exposes wrong doings of Pakistan on Kashmir dispute, some Kashmiris get disturbed and they protest why don’t you balance your argument by stating what India is doing in ‘occupied Kashmir’? To them only that part of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied which is under Indian control; however, to true nationalists the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied, and people suffer on all side of the divided State.

When you tell them that Indian position on Kashmir dispute is known to the world; and human rights abuses are also very well documented by local media, human rights organisation, Indian media and Indian human rights organisation. Apart from that Pakistan has many political groups, human rights groups, propaganda groups and official departments to monitor and compile every wrong doing in Jammu and Kashmir, and broadcast it with their own spin. These pro Pakistan activists assert that still more needs to be done to expose India and make them defensive.

If you say we also need to expose Pakistani wrong doings in Gilgit Baltistan and in so called Azad Kashmir. They say, Pakistanis are Muslim brothers and we can resolve issues with Pakistan once we expel India from Jammu and Kashmir. To us Kashmir dispute is not a religious in nature. It is a political and dispute which requires a political solution. Use of gun and use of religion to resolve the Kashmir dispute will only exacerbate situation; and will result in more violence and extremism.

Aim of these pro Pakistan people and their sponsors is to divert attention away from wrong doings of Pakistan; and give the Kashmiri independence struggle a religious flavour to confuse the world community.

Even if the topic under discussion is upraising of the Mangla Dam, these people expect the speakers use foul language against India; and after some India bashing, apologetically complain about wrong doings of Pakistan.

Furthermore, if Syed Ali Gilani and other Valley based leaders only speak about the problems of the Valley of Kashmir, and totally ignore problems of Ladakh, Jammu, Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistan Administered Kashmir, they are promoted as patriotic leaders of Jammu and Kashmir State. If we talk about fundamental rights of all citizens of Jammu and Kashmir State, questions are asked about our loyalty and commitment. Why this double standard? Stop treating us like a second class Kashmiris. We are also citizens of State of Jammu and Kashmir with equal rights, and our own dignity and honour.

Mr Chairman
Now let me briefly balance by giving facts, as to which country has done what to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Yes, I agree India is also guilty of human violations in Kashmir. Where India is guilty, do criticise and oppose India and condemn human rights abuses; however, where Pakistan is wrong, don’t she away, be brave and sincere to your struggle and country, and oppose, criticise and condemn Pakistani wrong doings in State of Jammu and Kashmir.

After lapse of the British Paramountcy, the State of Jammu and Kashmir regained its independence on 15 August 1947. The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir concluded a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan. Pakistani love and care for the people of Jammu and Kashmir could be established from the following bitter facts:

1. Pakistan was the first country to violate a written agreement with Jammu and Kashmir;

2. Pakistan was the first country to attack Jammu and Kashmir on 22 October 1947 in name of Jihad, which continues to date;

3. Pakistanis were the first to kill innocent unarmed citizens of Jammu and Kashmir after their unprovoked aggression on Jammu and Kashmir on 22 October 1947;

4. Pakistanis were the first to rape innocent Kashmiri women after 22 October 1947;

5. Pakistanis were the first to kidnap innocent Kashmiri women and sell them in various cities of Pakistan;

6. India was the second country to send troops in Jammu and Kashmir, but only after the Provisional Accession. India had obligation to save Jammu and Kashmir, save lives of people and their liberty. It is sad to note that India failed on all three accounts;

7. Pakistan was the first country to take initiative to deprive people of Jammu and Kashmir of their inherent right to independence; and to make the Kashmir a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan;

8. After the forced division of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan was the first country to start the second phase of aggression against people of so called Azad Kashmir in Poonch in early 1950s, and which is known as the Poonch rebellion; and killed Azad Kashmiri people who opposed the Pakistani occupation;

9. Pakistan was the first country to forcibly separate people of so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan and ruled them with iron fist;

10. Pakistan was the first country to gift around 2000 square miles of Jammu and Kashmir territory from Gilgit Baltistan to China in 1963;

11. Pakistan was the first country to initiate another attack on Jammu and Kashmir in 1965 which resulted in death and destruction; and India Pakistan war;
12. Pakistan was the first country to start another round of Jihad in Jammu and Kashmir by sending fully trained militants in 1989, and which continues to date with disastrous results for the people of Jammu and Kashmir;

13. True, India reacted too harshly to combat this phase of imposed Jihad or a proxy war, and tens of thousands of innocent people lost their lives.

14. It is also true that many people were killed as a result of intra group fighting, cross firings, continued LOC shelling, fighting between extremist groups and secular groups and personal revenge.

15. Pakistan is the first country to arrest people of Jammu and Kashmir State with sedition charges, fully knowing that they are not Pakistanis; and article 257 of Constitution of Pakistan also recognises this fact.

I hope this ‘balance sheet’, using the accounts terminology, has explained which country has done what to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Also I hope that it will provide a different perspective on Kashmir dispute; and will help people to understand the real culprit on the Kashmir dispute.

Mr Chairman, if there are any questions from the audience I am willing to take them.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.

No comments: