Sunday, 4 September 2016

Who is Shaheed - Martyr and who is a Traitor, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Who is Shaheed - Martyr and who is a Traitor, Dr Shabir Choudhry   04 September 2016

If Maqbool Butt had been hanged or killed by Pakistan for some alleged crime, he would have been perceived as a traitor. He served in Pakistani jails and faced torture and allegations of being an ‘Indian agent’, even though he always picked up a gun against India, and not against Pakistan. Despite his hanging by India in 1984, still some in Pakistan regard him as an ‘Indian agent’ because of his involvement with the Ganga hijacking case of 1970, which Pakistanis allege was carried out on instructions of India to provide India an excuse to stop Pakistani flights using Indian air space.

In order to discipline Kashmiri writers and political activists Pakistani establishment systematically level allegations against them that so and so is an Indian agent, and anti Pakistan. We are so obsessed or perturbed with these allegations made to defame us that we spend rest of our lives giving explanations about these unfounded allegations. Bitter fact is that there will always be some who would believe what Pakistan says without any evidence.

Despite suffering torture and humiliation in Pakistani jails for allegedly being an ‘Indian agent’, Maqbool Butt still crossed over to the Indian occupied Kashmir for the second time to liberate that Kashmir; and did not dare to pick up a gun to liberate areas of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by Pakistan, or even preach it. His political party Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front told him not to go across the LOC again. He defied these instructions and crossed the LOC. He is reportedly have said ‘I am going to Kashmir despite the death sentence against me to clear my name tainted by these allegations.’

 This sums up the bitter reality. A Kashmiri political activist, big or small, doesn’t want to live with the allegation of being an ‘Indian agent’. Ironically, many take pride of being a ‘Pakistani agent’ as that is regarded as a mark of respect for some as they are given protocol in Pakistan, in so called Azad Kashmir and abroad.

Whether we like it or not, bitter fact is, when it comes to Kashmir, agenda is set by Islamabad; and sadly many of us happily advance it either for ideological reasons or for some material gains. Islamabad decides who is a patriot and who is a traitor; and who is Shaheed (martyr) and who is not.

When Sheikh Abdullah challenged Maharaja Hari Singh, of course before the creation of Pakistan, Muslim League leaders promoted him as a hero – Shair e Kashmir – a Lion of Kashmir. However, Pakistan called the same Lion of Kashmir a ‘traitor’ and an ‘Indian agent’ when he refused to accede to Pakistan in 1947.

It is sad that many of us, especially on the Pakistani side of the divide and those who see everything throw the prism of Islamabad agreed with that. When Sheikh Abdullah was jailed by India in 1953, he was again elevated to the status of a ‘Lion of Kashmir’. Anyhow, after the Delhi Accord with Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1975, he was, once again declared a ‘traitor’ and an Indian ‘agent’.

No one dared to challenge dictates of Pakistan, or even ask them how many times you are going to declare a man, a ‘hero’ and how many times you are going to call him a ‘traitor’. They did not ask for the fear of being declared a ‘traitor’ by Islamabad and their foot soldiers.

Why is it that those struggling against the Indian occupation are promoted as patriots; and those who even seek fundamental rights in areas occupied by Pakistan are perceived as ‘traitors’? Why those who want to join Pakistan are promoted as ‘patriots’ and those who want unification and independence of the divided Jammu and Kashmir, and give their motherland a lost glory and identity are propagated as ‘traitors’?

Why is it that those Kashmiris who are killed by Indian bullets are martyrs; and those who are killed by Pakistani bullets are ‘traitors’? Why Burhan Wani, twenty years old militant, killed by India is a martyr; and why Arif Shahid, Chairman of All Parties National Alliance, killed by Pakistani bullet is not a martyr?

This hypocrisy has to stop. Arif Shahid is also a martyr. He stood against Pakistani occupation and oppression. He is a victim of Pakistani oppression. He rebelled against Pakistani occupation and became a symbol of resistance against Pakistan and Pakistani secret agencies.

We should not allow Islamabad or New Delhi to decide what is good for us; and who is our leader. Who is a martyr and who is not. All those who lose their lives while opposing and fighting forces of occupation, oppression and injustice are martyrs; and no one can take away this title from them, not even so called ‘fort of Islam’ and their foot soldiers.

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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