Monday, 18 March 2019

UKPNP and observation of 16 March as a National Day, Dr Shabir Choudhry

UKPNP and observation of 16 March as a National Day

Dr Shabir Choudhry    18 March 2019

United Kashmir People's National Party, known as UKPNP, has never been in good books of the Pakistani establishment, because of its unequivocal political stand and struggle for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir with liberal and secular society.

The establishment doesn’t mind people talking about an independent Jammu and Kashmir, as long as they have secret understanding with them; and comply with their directions.

Many organisations wear a ‘nationalist hat’ to fool people, and divide the nationalist parties. If their actions are analysed impartially, then one can see, in reality, they are B team of the establishment.

Furthermore, if you scratch the surface, their true colour is exposed. Their politics is dominated by their religious and cultural beliefs. They are not Kashmiri nationalists, they are Muslim nationalists. In essence, they are Mujahids of novels of Nasim Ejazi, and followers of Mohammed Bin Qasim.

UKPNP, on the other hand is a true nationalist party, with a strong and dynamic leadership of Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, who does not believe in making ideological compromises. UKPNP is a forward looking and progressive party which wants to correct historical records, something which runs counter to the policy of secret agencies of Pakistan.

Pakistani establishment and some Muslim writers have worked hard to distort true history of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistani establishment and Pakistani writers have brutally murdered their own history, hence the book of a Pakistani writer: ‘Murder of history in Pakistan’.

Their mission is to distort history to suit their agenda of justifying partition of the British India in name of religion. The separation of East Pakistan shattered the myth built around the Two Nations Theory; and the Pakistani thinkers and writers had to work hard to defend the un – defendable. They now assert that separation of East Pakistan strengthened the Two Nations Theory. What a joke?
Their narrative was that anyone who disagree with their version of history is anti-Pakistan, traitor and an Indian agent. Many citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan openly defied this dictation, and they presented facts. These writers and thinkers were castigated by the establishment. Sadly, many people influenced by the propaganda of the establishment regard them as anti-Pakistan, traitor and Indian agents.

I have written dozens of books to correct the historical facts, hence all the labels I carry with my name. Shaukat Kashmir has also committed the same crime of correcting the historical facts, and he is also castigated by the establishment, which not only control Pakistani politics, they also control what goes on in all parts of the divided Jammu and Kashmir State.

I joined UKPNP in March 2018. After consulting the Party Chairman, I issued a statement on 23 March 2018, that, ‘UKPNP will observe 16 March as a National Day.’ I said:

‘16 March was the date when foundations of Jammu and Kashmir State were laid down; and all freedom loving and true Kashmiri nationalists should observe this day as a National Day.’

Salient parts are of the statement are produced below to show that it was our well thought out policy to correct the historical facts, and honour those who established the State of Jammu and Kashmir and preserved it till we were attacked by a Muslim brother on 22 October 1947:

‘Religious and regional sentiments aside, bitter fact is that Kashmir was part of the Sikh Kingdom; and before that Kashmir was occupied by Afghans and the Mughals. Had situation remained as it was prior to 1846, then we would have been part of Punjab, and would have been forced to merge with either India or Pakistan. In worst case scenario, our State which had a special status could have been divided on communal lines, hence loss of our identity and historical and cultural heritage.’

I further said, ‘no matter, what enemies of our independence say or claim, Maharaja Gulab Singh was the founder of Jammu and Kashmir State; and our demand is to attain the State that existed on 15 August 1947. We are not hypocrites that we demand unification and independence of the State, which was established and preserved by the Dogra dynasty; and refuse to honour their contribution in conserving our status and identity.’   

When we formulated this policy, we knew those who are against people of Jammu and Kashmir and their fundamental rights, will view observation of the 16 March as a National Day as a direct challenge to the Two Nations Theory. We knew they will unleash nefarious propaganda through their official channels, and through their proxies, some of them with a hat of nationalism on their heads.

On behalf of the UKPNP, I want to assert that our loyalty lies with Jammu and Kashmir State, and our people. No matter what our critics and enemies say, we cannot and will not be loyal to those who occupy us.

It is shameful that in order discredit Maharaja Gulab Singh, some so called nationalists judge his rule on human rights with the standards of 21st century. They forget what was going on in that era in South Asia, and in other parts of the world. They even forget how our fellow citizens have been treated since 1947, in Gilgit Baltistan and in Pakistani Administered Kashmir.

Anyhow, we have put our cards on the table, but there are some cards we are still holding close to our chests. Let enemies of our independence expose themselves further, by running around like a headless chicken, and by taking harsh measures against us. This will prove they are doing in 2019, what Maharaja Gulab Singh did after 1846.

The establishment is sending armed proxies across the LOC to create disorder and commit terrorism. In Gilgit Baltistan and so called Azad Kashmir, they are using men in uniform, and proxies belonging to proscribed organisations to attack us and intimidate us. We will not surrender.

Writer is a renowned writer and author of many books. He is also President Foreign Affairs Committee of UKPNP; and Chairman South Asia Watch, London.
Email:       Twitter:  @Drshabir

Friday, 15 March 2019

Human Right situation in Pakistani Administered Jammu and Kashmir. Presentation of Dr Shabir Choudhry in a Seminar held during UN Human Rights Council 40th Regular Session on 13 March 2019.

Human Right situation in Pakistani  Administered Jammu and Kashmir.
Presentation of Dr Shabir Choudhry in a Seminar held during UN Human Rights Council 40th Regular Session on 13 March 2019, Palais des Nations, Geneva.

Mr Chairman, Friends and colleague, peace and blessings on all of you.

Situation of human rights in Pakistani Administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan has got from bad to worse. Whereas, Pakistan has banned extremist and terrorist groups in Pakistan, but sadly these proscribed groups are allowed to roam free, and intimidate people of Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir.

Government of Pakistan under section 11-B of Anti - Terrorism Act has a right to declare any organisation as a Proscribed Organisation, if it believes that the concerned organisation is involved in promotion of terrorism.

The National Counter Terrorism Authority in its notification of 05 March 2019, added Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation in the proscribed list.

To surprise of many, on 26 Feb 2019, Balawaristan National Front (Abdul Hameed Khan Group) was also added to this list.

So far, Pakistan has declared 70 organisations as Proscribed organisations. It is interesting that many of these organisations change their names and continue with their work until such time that under international pressure Pakistan ban them again.

For example, Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation was added to the proscribed organisations list on 05 March 2019; and on 06 March 2019, after one day, its leaders established a new organisation with a new name – Al Anfaal Trust.

In other words, international community and people are fooled with the imposition of the ban, but in reality, almost all the leaders, aims and objectives, constitution, infrastructure stays the same. The old name is replaced with the new name, and the new organisation continues the job where its predecessor left it.

Aljazeera in its report on politics of Pakistani Administered Kashmir said, and I quote:
‘Political parties seeking independence for the entire disputed territory of Kashmir from both Indian and Pakistani control are facing a fresh round of intimidation and legal action in the Pakistan-administered portion of the region.’  1 Unquote
A bitter reality is that electoral politics in so called Azad Kashmir is now dominated by Pakistani political parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
This means local political parties have lost political space. The nationalist parties are deeply divided, and do not have electoral support because of various reasons, however, politically they are relevant and dominate the political scene in Pakistani Administered Kashmir.
Pakistan apparently is very interested in fundamental rights of people  of Kashmir Valley living under the Indian administration; however, they seem to have a little interest about fundamental rights of people of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistani Administered Kashmir.
Afzal Sulehria, President of Kashmir National Party was sent to jail three times and faced court cases for the last 16 years for having advocated for an independent Jammu and Kashmir, he said, and I quote:
"We are citizens of this state, we have lived here for thousands of years, generations of our family have lived here, but the resources of this land, they are apparently not for us. We are not citizens of Pakistan, as per the Pakistani constitution, as per the United Nations resolution and as per our own laws. But despite this, we have been arrested for treason and rebellion [against Pakistan]." 2 Unquote
Afzal Sulehria and other political activists of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan are charged with "treason" or "sedition". Crime of these political activists is that they love their motherland and want to see it free of occupiers and oppressors.
Tariq Farooq, a senior minister in the Pakistan Administered Kashmir government said:
"Anybody can do anything, claim anything, discuss anything in this area. In our government, everybody has full fundamental rights to speak anything which is related with human rights", he told Al Jazeera.
When he was asked if this right of freedom extended to parties advocating for Pakistani forces to leave Kashmir, Tariq Farooq said: "They can't say that". 3
Reality is that political parties are allowed to hold rallies, but authorities threaten people to keep away to ensure that the attendance is low.
Waqar Hussain Kazmi, Chief Organiser for the United Kashmir Peoples National Party, said Pakistan's treatment of pro-freedom activists mirrored that of neighbouring India. He further said:
"We are the sons of this soil, but over here, we are accused of being [Indian intelligence] agents. And on their side, we are accused of being [Pakistani intelligence] agents."
One Azad Kashmiri journalist and political activist hit the nail on its head, and said: Only freedom we have in Azad Kashmir is that we can praise Pakistan; and use foul language against India and ridicule them.
Mr Chairman, I thank you.
Writer is a renowned writer and author of many books. He is also President Foreign Affairs Committee of UKPNP; and Chairman South Asia Watch, London.
Email:       Twitter:  @Drshabir

2.   Ibid
3.   Ibid