Sunday, 18 December 2016

Denial of NADRA Card is blessing in disguise,

Denial of NADRA Card is blessing in disguise, Dr Shabir Choudhry
London    18 December 2016
I had a meeting with a Pakistani friend who promotes politics of the left in Pakistan. We knew each other by name but it was our first meeting. As soon as I was introduced to him, he paid special attention to me and said, ‘It is an honour to meet you. I have read a lot about you’.

I said feeling is mutual; but I hope you have also heard some good things about me, and not just the rumours spread by those who promote policies of hatred and intolerance.
He said don’t worry about negative propaganda. When agencies, their agents and their proxies start a negative campaign against someone it is acknowledgement that the person concerned is an important; and that they regard him as a threat. It is because of fear factor they activate their proxies to defame that person, otherwise no one has that much free time to waste.

He also inquired about my NADRA card. I told him that we are still waiting for them to furnish evidence against me in the High Court. He laughed and said don’t worry ‘those you have challenged are very good at fabricating evidence’.

He further said: ‘Doctor Saahib denial of the NADRA card is a blessing in disguise. The officer who has blocked your Card has done a favour to you. He must be your well wisher. Just imagine if your Card was renewed and you had gone to Pakistan. Anything could have happened to you. Do you know what happened to Saleem Shezad? He was picked up from a relatively safe town like Islamabad and from a residential area. His battered dead body was found more than 100 miles away from Islamabad. You live in a village. How difficult was it to abduct a man from a village in Azad Kashmir?’

It was interesting to hear this perspective. His reasoning had some merit. Many known and unknown people are abducted by secret agencies and only a few lucky ones may see the sunlight again or return home in one piece. I appreciated his analyses and acknowledged that many of us didn’t see things from thins angle.

He said, ‘Let me give you another angle, and this happens a lot in Pakistan. Your house or hotel where you stay could be raided, and later on police and secret agencies could claim that they discovered so many lakhs of dollars, Indian rupees, Pounds, whisky, blue movies, guns, secret documents etc. Their version will appear in print and electronic media again and again; and your version will never be made public. It is sad that people have habit of believing wrong things’.

He was persuasive; and I was perplexed. I didn’t know what to say. A Pakistani journalist who was listening to our conversation joined us and said: Once you had gone to Pakistan, you would be at their mercy. It is clear that they don’t like what you do to expose them. I have also seen some of your TV programmes; and I know Pakistani establishment is really perturbed because you are openly negating their stand on Kashmir and oppose militancy. In Pakistan they can teach you a lesson. They could arrange an accident or a robbery in which you resisted and the robbers shot you. Because of the law and order situation, people would believe this; and even the British authorities could not have done anything to help you as accidents and robberies do take place in Pakistan.

I said are you suggesting that I should not go to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir even if I get the NADRA card. The Pakistani politician replied:

It is entirely up to you to decide. The NADRA card they will have to renew as they have no legal grounds to block it; but they will delay it and drag you in courts as long as they can. You have limited funds and they have unlimited funds and resources. Their propaganda machinery will defame you, and they will spread rumours in circle of your friends and relatives to alienate you and to demoralise you.

He paused for a moment and said Doctor Sahib I am also a political activist, a reformist and a progressive man. I have also suffered a lot; and I don’t want others to suffer like I have suffered. I am only advising you as a well wisher. I know more about the Pakistani society and Pakistani politics than you do. I have experienced many incidents where perceived agents, rebels and radicals disappear from face of the earth. Their love ones do not have the privilege to even join their funerals or visit their graves because no one knows where they are buried.

He further said they can get rid of you in a fake encounter. They can make a story that Dr Shabir Choudhry was planning a terrorist activity in Pakistan. His hide out was raided on information of the secret agencies and in the encounter 5 terrorists and Dr Shabir Choudhry was killed. They will provide guns and photos of alleged terrorists as well.

He concluded by saying my advice is stay in England and be grateful to the man who blocked your card. He has saved your life. I may be wrong, but one way of analysing the situation is that someone is promoting you. How silly of them to say in the High Court that Dr Shabir Choudhry is derailing the CPEC project. Is Dr Shabir Choudhry so powerful and resourceful that he can derail a mega project like the CPEC which is protected by tens of thousands of Pakistani and Chinese army men?
His analyses provided a new perspective to all of us. However, people present there were more interested in other issues facing Pakistan rather than a problem of one Azad Kashmiri who was a victim of Pakistani secret agencies and his misguided countrymen.

People can have more than one view on this topic. The bitter fact of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is that whereas both India and Pakistan are occupiers, but only India is perceived as a villain on Kashmir because of human rights abuses; and Pakistan despite all the faults and human rights abuses has fooled people in name of Islam. Many people under the influence of the Pakistani propaganda detest the view that Pakistan is an occupier. Because of the religious card people of Jammu and Kashmir are bewildered; and only Indian abuse is taken as violation of rights, and Pakistani abuse is conveniently ignored.

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

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