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After Flood – Relief Work

”’ سیلاب ذدگان کی امداد اور ہماری سوچ؟”
”عوام کی خدمت  عوام  کے ساتھ محبت اور خلوض مند ہونے کا ثنوت ہیں”
   ‘Wo Hi Shama Jo Kaam Aaye Anjuman Ke Liye”
Wo Hi Zeest Jo Kurbaan Ho Jaaye Watan Ke Liye’
جے۔کے۔ڈی۔ایل۔پی اور منواؑ
[JKDLP / MNWA ( JK Democratic Liberation Party &
Maqbool National Welfare Association]
نے اپنی جدوجہد کی بنیاد  سےہی عوام کی خدمت کو اپنی سیاست
کی بنیاد ہی نہیں بنایا بلکہ اس کوعبادت قرار دیا اور آ ج تک
بےانتہا غلیظ پروپگنڈہ ہمارے خلاف کرنے کے باوجود ہم اسی اصول کے تحت سیاست
کو عبادت کے طور پر ہی اپنارہے ہیں اور انشااللہ آخیری سانس تک اپنے
ہم وطنوں کی بےلوث خدمت ہی ہماری جدوجہد کا مقصد ہوگا۔
Education Help, Sickness Help Marriage Help
کے تحت لوگوں کی مدد کی بلکہ ہم نے لڑکوں اور لڑکیوں کو اعلٰی تعلیم
بھی دلادی جس کی وجہ سے نہ صرف کچھ لوگ وکیل اور دیگر پروفیشنل
میدانوں میں آگے بڑھہ گیے بلکہ ہم نےآج تک ۱۵۰ سے ذیادہ غریب،یتیم اور
ملٹینسی میں شہید ھونے والوں کی یتیم بچیوں اور بہینوں کی شادیوں میں
مکمل یا مجموئ طور پر مدد کی۔ہم نے اس کے علاوہ قیدیوں سے وارثوں کی
ملاقاتوں پر دور دراذ قید خانوں پر پنچہنے تک میں مدد کی۔ہم نے کچھ ملزمان
کی قانونی جنگ لڑنے میں بھی مدد کی۔غرض ہم نے یہ سب کام خاموشی سے
کئے۔اگرچہ ہمارے پاس ان سب کاموں کا کمپو ٹر میں بھی ریکارڈ موجود ہیں لیکن
ہم نے لوگوں کی مدد کرکے ان کی فوٹو بنانے سے اجتناب کیا کہ کسی کی عزت نفس
مجروع نہ ھو؟
ہم نے ۲۰۰ سو بیگ چاول (۱۵ کلو ) اور چائے،چینی،صابن اور دیگرروز مرہ کی چیزیں بھی
تقسیم کرلی ۔اسکے علاوہ ہم نے انتہائ ضرورت کے تحت کچھ نقد رقم بھی تقسیم کرلی مگر ہم
نے یہ امداد بانٹتے وقت کوئ پریس ریلیز یا سوشل میڈیا پر فوٹو نہیں شائع کئے۔کیونکہ ہم نہیں
چاہئتے کہ  معمولی مدد کرکے لوگوں کی عزت نفس اور ان کی اَنا کو ٹھیس پہنچے۔
اسکے علاوہ ہم نے نشاط،شالیمار اور اشبر میں سیلاب کے دنوں میں جاری لنگروں کو
چلانے اور مرکز معاونت اشبر اور ان دنوں میڈیسن خریدنے کے لئے بھی معاونت کی۔ چیرمین سیلاب
کے دنوں میں خود مختلف دیہاتوں میں جاجاکر چاول خریدتے رہیں ( ایک بات عبرت حاصل کرنے کےلئے
درج کررہاھوں کہ اس تباہ کن سلاب کے دوران بھی بدبختوں نے چاول فی کونٹل ۳۲۰۰ سو روپیہ میں
فروخت کیا یعنئ مجبوری کا بھر پور فائدہ اٹھانے میں کمی نہیں کی)۔
آج بھی ہم کمبلوں کی تقسیم میں لوگوں کو بانٹنےکے وقت کی پبلسٹی نہیں کررہے ہیں البتہ
معاشرے میں کمزور طبقوں کی مدد کو دوسروں میں فروغ دینے کے جزبوں کو ابھارنے کی نیت
کومدنظر رکھ کر کمبل بانٹنے کے عمل کا اعلان کررہے ہیں۔
ہم نے مختلف علاقوں سے لسٹ منگواکر لسٹ بنانے والوں کے ذریعے ہی ان تک کمبل پنچہانے کے
اقدامات کئے ہیں۔اگر اس تقسیم کاری میں کوئ غلطی ھوگی تو ہم بحیثت پارٹی یا چیرمین یا پارٹی
کا عہدہ دار ذمہ دار نہیں ھوگا۔ البتہ انسانی غلطی ممکن ھوسکتی ہیں اس کے لئے پہلے ہی معافی
کے طلب گار ہیں۔ ]
[ بقلم خود چیرمین ہاشم قریشی جموں کشمیر ڈیموکرٹیک لبریشن پارٹی
[ومقبول نیشنل ویلفیر ایسوسشیشن
OUR MOTIVE OF POLITICS : SERVE THE PEOPLE !
         ” وہی شمع جو کام آئے انجمن کےلئے
            وہی ذندگی جو کام آئے وطن کے لئے”

 

Open Letter to the Indian Media

Silence by the Indian media over the recent mass uprising in Kashmir has surprised me. There was a continuous curfew for 9 days, civilians participating in peaceful protests were killed, there was a scarcity of essential needs, political activists were detained, local TV channels and local newspapers were banned, journalists were beaten up and wounded but the Indian media did not care.

The Supreme Court of India in 1986 in the case Indian Express v. Union of India held “that the press plays a very significant role in the democratic machinery and the court ruled that Freedom of press has three essential elements. 1) Freedom of access to all sources of information, 2) Freedom of publication and 3) Freedom of circulation.” In the case Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India the Supreme Court held “that the freedom of speech and expression (press freedom is part of this right) has no geographical limitation.” It seems as if these judgments do not apply on Kashmir? The media in Kashmir were subjected to restrictions but the Indian media did not use their tools and their freedom, which are guaranteed by the Supreme Court of India, efficiently to prove solidarity with the media in Kashmir. Was this just because this inalienable right was under suppression in Kashmir and not in Delhi or Mumbai? Was this just because the journalists who were injured belonged to ‘Greater Kashmir’, ‘Kashmir Images’ and Local News Papers’ not to ‘Hindustan Times’ or ‘Times of India’?

Many reports and TV programs are made in India which strives to make politics and government establishments more transparent and accessible for the common man. Innumerable corruption cases, accountability committees and investigation processes have been brought to light by the Indian media. But the Indian media has failed to make such reports or programs about Kashmir. Has the Indian media ever thought that violence only, could not be the sole cause of corruption, poverty and bad governance? The Indian media has never published reports investigating government’s expenses in Kashmir. The Indian media has never tried to investigate why the Dal Lake still is a drain whereas millions of Rupees have been spent on its clean-up. The Indian media has never tried to discover that almost every government’s job is either given to relatives of Ministers or sold for Lakhs in Kashmir. My humble question to the Indian media is the same as the Indian media and the inheritors of knowledge and truth should ask themselves: Why?

Section 167 of the CRPC grants the right to every person in custody to be released on bail if no charge sheet is filed against him/her within 90 days of custody. In Kashmir there are numerous detainees who are languishing in jail under the Public Safety Act which allows detention for up to two years without charge or trial on the purported presumption that the arrested may in the future commit acts harmful to the state. This law has its origin in the Defense of India Act (DIA) during Colonial British Rule. The DIA was described by Gandhiji as a draconian and black law. Why isn’t the India media reporting this abortion of Human Rights and thereby upholding Gandhiji’s values? Is Kashmir that hard to find, whereas Amnesty International and other international bodies are having no problem in locating Kashmir and have already published various reports condemning the PSA. Again my humble question to the protectors of freedom is: Why?

There are 6 Lakhs youngster in Kashmir who are suffering because of unemployment. Many of them have University and College degrees. Indian media has been quick to attribute this sky high unemployment rate to militancy. Has the Indian media ever tried to research whether the militancy could be attributed to the high unemployment rate? No report or article has ever tried to outline what the government is doing about this high unemployment rate. The Kashmiri youth is only interesting for the Indian media when their hands are cuffed by the suppressors. But they are not worthy of news when their hands hold a pen and a degree while their stomach is empty.

Noted columnists like Arundhati Roy, Vir Sanghvi and Swaminathan A. Aiyar have tried to bring the recent developments in Kashmir to the common man in India and made Kashmir’s secession a matter of common debate. They defied the mainstream mindset of the Indian media of neglecting the uprising and wrote on the basis of truth and morality. The approach of the mainstream Indian media has proved that the estimate of Reporters without borders, which ranks India 120th worldwide in Press Freedom Index, is close to reality.

Life comes to a standstill in India and live telecast is shown on all major channels whenever there is an encounter between militants and security forces. It is quite common that a grenade blast by militants captures the headlines for two days in every national Channel and newspaper. This time there were no grenades or Kalashnikovs involved. There were a million men, women and children on the streets demanding the right which was promised to them by Indian leaders like Mr. Pandit Nehru. Protestors were holding peaceful demonstrations and were still attacked by the security forces which used lathe-charge, teargas and even bullets to suppress and oppress the popular uprising. Even women and children were not spared. People were injured and killed by ‘Democracy’ and the heirs of ‘Democracy’ watched the dance of death as silent spectators. How humiliating for the Kashmiris and how hypocritical and shameless of the Indian media that these events were not good enough to capture the headlines in major newspapers and were not showed on news channels. Is the Indian media afraid that by showing these events in a truthful way it will trigger the same reaction from the Indian people as the reactions of American and French people during the excesses of their security forces in Algeria and Vietnam?

We Kashmiris are also human beings and entitled to some inalienable rights. The duty of the media is to report our wishes, grievances, problems and thoughts in order to provide citizens with information and trigger common debates. It is not the duty of the media to judge whether the wishes, grievances, problems and thoughts are right or wrong or in the national interest of India. The judgment should be left upon the people.

Hashim Qureshi
Chairman: JK Democratic Liberation Party.

Kashmir: India’s bilateral talk and China’s new stand

On international level as well as within India, there is sudden spurt in focusing on the solution of Kashmir problem. In this write-up I intend to reflect on two aspects, namely China’s new stand on Kashmir and the willingness of the Indian Home Minister and Prime Minister to pursue talks with the separatist groups.

Bilateral dialogue

These days much is said about bilateral talk. Indian leaders speak of dialogue with various groups in Kashmir. The Indian Home Minister has spoken of not making the content of the dialogue public. It is said that during his recent visit, the APHC (Umar Group) had a secret meeting with him. The Indian Prime Minister said during his visit to Thailand “That there existed some groups in the state that fell outside the mainstream politics and that he would like they were included in constructive dialogue.”

Analysing this statement, one is drawn to the conclusion that in talks with them, these groups are goaded into accepting a dialogue about accession to the Indian Union in the manner in which the mainstream parties profess. A vigorous propaganda is being made about developmental works undertaken in the State. India is providing billions of rupees in aid to these developmental enterprises. A general impression among the people is that one half of what India actually gives to Kashmir in the name of developmental works goes to the coffers of the mainstream politicians, workers and their kith and kin. From all sides we hear that general loot of funds is perpetrated in the name of development. Roads, bridges drainage and other constructions freshly undertaken do not last beyond six months. Engineers in public works departments are said to be amassing crores of rupees annually. Apart from them, those who sanction contracts and the ministers and their lackeys seek enormous kickbacks to give contracts to their close relatives and friends.

A baffling question is whether the works listed under developmental activities should be called by that name if these do not help provide employment opportunities to the deserving people. Are these to be called developmental activities if they do not bring income to the state through local resources? Despite the existence of thousands of pastures fields, the state imports meat worth 1300 crores annually from outside. Though Kashmir is the source of water for both the countries of the sub-continent, yet acute shortage of drinking water has forced people in different parts of Kashmir to take out protest rallies against government’s incompetence and corruption. The same is the case with the supply of electric power. What is the development actually in the light of what is found on the ground? The number of unemployed people has touched eight lacs. In such a state, it is ridiculous to call the construction of a patch of road or raising a building as developmental activity. Thousands of millions of rupees have been spent in the name of cleaning the Dal Lake. Yet the real task in Dal has not been touched on so far. Unless seven thousand families living in and around the lake are removed, nothing by the name of development is conceivable.

The point that we want to make is this: Does the Indian government want that without talking on the core issue of the right of self-determination for the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir it will consider the process of helping the separatists join the general loot in Kashmir and call it constructive politics?

The people are not critical of the administration only. The credibility of the judiciary is at the lowest in their eyes. If the courts issues orders for the release of detainees, these are not carried out. In the case of Shabir Shah, the High Court twice issued orders of his release. But instead of releasing him, he was re-arrested by indicting him in other fabricated cases. But when the Chief Minister ordered his release, he became a free man and was not indicted in any other case. This is not an isolated case. There are numerous examples in which the orders of are floundered. If a police or a civilian officer desires a certain detainee to be released, it is done without delay. If this is the credibility of the judiciary with the people, evidently they will have no trust in the administrative apparatus. When the people lose their faith in the judicial system, the fate of the state is self-explanatory.

Much blood has been shed in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In Pakistan and India also much blood has been spilt in the name of Jammu and Kashmir. These two countries remain hostages to Kashmir issue. There could be any mishap like the Mumbai attacks when the two countries, incidentally both of them atomic powers could become catalysts to destruction of the sub-continent on a very wide scale. In view of this during and after the talks are conducted, many questions remain to be answered.

1. Will the rulers of Indian bring about an amendment in the Constitution of India by virtue of which calling Jammu and Kashmir as inseparable part of India will be stopped?
2. In a resolution unanimously passed by 541 members of the Indian parliament, it was stated that Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir are part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir which is the integral part of the Indian Union. It demanded Pakistan to immediately vacate Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. Has the government sought the nullification of this resolution and has it sought a new mandate from the current parliament for talking about self- determination of the State of Jammu and Kashmir?
3. Will India be able to find a solution to the problem just by talking to the leaders of the state only while Pakistan remains one party to the issue?
4. No solution of the Kashmir issue is possible without the participation of the people of Azad Kashmir, Gilgat- Baltistan and Pakistan.
5. What is the meaning of holding talks without announcing the agenda for the dialogue?

Previously also there have been bilateral talks with various political groups in Jammu and Kashmir including the outstanding leader Sheikh Abdullah. There have been agreements as well. But all these exercises ended in smoke. History recalls that bilateral talks between Nehru and Liaqat Ali had also been conducted at one time. In Tashkent,

Ayub Khan and Lal Bahadur Shastri also met and talks between Indira Gandhi and Z.A. Bhutto were held in Shimla. Mian Nawaz Sharief and Atal Bihari Vajpayee met and talked in Lahore and in Agra Pervez Musharraf and Vajpayee had also met. The result of these bilateral talks is before us. These failed because the first party in the dispute and that is the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir were not included.

Now we hear that talks between the Indian authorities and some local Kashmiri political groups are on the cards. The parties have been meeting occasionally. We are aware of the results of these talks. A couple of years back, some exchanges took place between the Hurriyat (Umar Farooq group) and the representatives of the Union government. These also ended in a fiasco like earlier and other talks. Therefore keeping this reality and the truth in mind without drawing the agenda for talks and without converting it into trilateral talks no bilateral talks will be successful. Isn’t it just wasting the time?

The question is that of the separatist groups. When the agenda is not declared, one wonders what will have the participant groups to talk about in the course of their meeting. Except for a couple of groups who support independent views, all the rest being the affiliates of the two factions of the Hurriyat are in favour of accession to Pakistan. Their question is this: Is India prepared to speak to them on their political stand of accession to Pakistan and independent Kashmir? If Indians are not prepared for that, then these groups would leave aside the question of accession to Pakistan and independence but will talk on subjects like Indian army returning to barracks, withdrawing black laws like AFSPA, dismantling bunkers and releasing the prisoners. But then the PDP, too, has been making same demands.

Assuming that Indians accept these demands, the question is does the nature of Kashmir issue change anyway by the Union Government’s acceptance of these demands? There is another question. Will Kashmir issue be represented by pursuing Hurriyat (Omar Farooq) and a couple more political groups to participate in the talks? The other faction of Hurriyat led by Geelani and some militant organizations has declined to participate. Will the few groups be representing the people of the State? There may be some groups with identical thinking but they do not enjoy the status of being the representatives of the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

We would like to give sincere suggestions to the Indian rulers. They should not concentrate on the policy of marking time and avoiding direct dealing of core issues and avoiding the embarrassing situation. They need to demonstrate their sincerity in finding a solution to the Kashmir tangle. Present Indian Prime Minister did hold a round table meet on Kashmir. Looking in retrospect, that, too, was an exercise in futility. The reason is that the decisions taken in Round Table Conference on Kashmir have not been implemented till date.

It is to be remembered that the present Kashmir leadership is fed up with the present political scenario in Kashmir. The people do not want to pass on the burden of Kashmir baggage from their shoulders to that of their sons and progeny. Like people in the rest of the world, they too want their future generations live a happy, prosperous and peaceful life. This is the reason why the leadership here does occasionally adopt the path of dialogue. However, unfortunately, the Indian authorities, instead of showing respect to their sentiments try to put them to humiliation in front of their own people. This provides space to the extremists to assume the leadership of the people.

Recently the Libyan leader Muammar Qadafi said that Jammu and Kashmir should be made an independent and sovereign state. The Libyan leader has always supported the demand of Kashmiri people for their right of self-determination. This being the case, the question is how much weight does the Libyan perception carry on international plane. His statement has a background.

During the days of Z..A. Bhutto, late K.H. Khurshid made an effort and induced Col. Qadafi of Libya to make a proposal to Bhutto. The proposal was that the State of Jammu and Kashmir including Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan be made an independent sovereign state to be recognized by Pakistan, China and the Muslim countries. The independent and sovereign state would conclude defence agreement with China and Pakistan.

A proposal of this kind would have been the forerunner of the independence for the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir. In this situation, India would not have the opportunity to propagate on diplomatic level and within the country that Pakistan wants to grab the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In this scenario, the independent and sovereign state of Jammu and Kashmir could project its claim of legal, moral and social inheritance on international level.

But Pakistan, despite being in possession of 35,853 squire miles of the J&K territory, declined to let Gilgit and Baltistan be part of the contemplated independent and sovereign state of Jammu and Kashmir. The result of Pakistan’s rejection of integrating Gilgit and Baltistan into a proposed independent and sovereign State of Jammu and Kashmir was that the question of self-determination of the people, which in all probability, would have assumed international dimension, was reduced to a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan.

With regard to China, after long silence, it has counselled both the countries. At the same time China has played a new gimmick. Its embassy is issuing visa to Kashmiris on a separate paper thereby trying to tell them that China recognizes their separate identity.

It is surprising that we Kashmiris became euphoric on China’s changed stand without delving deep into their nuances. The tragedy is that our leadership has not trained the nation to assess things and situations on the basis of logic, pragmatism and the facts. Instead, it has let sentiments and personal aggrandisement become the supervening factors.

China’s main problem is Tibet and the Dalai Lama. This religious leader is immensely popular not only among his people but among vast sections of people within China also. He enjoys great respects and dignity in the whole world including India as a great religious leader. China does not feel comfortable with the Dalai Lama’s activities.

Apart from this, China is in illegal possession of eleven thousand square miles of the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. India is emerging as China’s biggest rival in trade and commerce not only in the Asian continent but in the whole world as well.

Therefore exploiting the weak points, China wants to settle her border dispute with India in Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet. If China and Pakistan were our selfless friends in our struggle for the right of self-determination instead of aspiring for our territory, they had only one way to drive India to wall. We mean to say that the way shown by late K.H. Khurshid. Gilgit, Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and the territories occupied by China needed to be consolidated and amalgamated to form the independent and sovereign state to be got recognised by the world powers.

The fact is that the territory of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by China and Pakistan is larger than the one occupied by India. Nearly 45024 squire miles in the occupation of the former and only 41342 squire miles are under the occupation of India. Had Pakistan agreed to this proposal, India would have found herself embarrassed by the international opinion which would have gone in favour of Kashmiris.

I would like to tell the rulers and intellectuals of India that the conditions in Pakistan will not remain the same what we find today. The people and the army in Pakistan will steer clear from present crisis. In the aftermath Pakistan-based militant organizations and the remnants of the Taliban will make Kashmir their target. Taliban are in making in many orphanages and seminaries in Kashmir. There are four hundred of these institutions in Srinagar district alone where inmates are not having even basic necessaries of life. Is it not the responsibility of the government to provide good education, good society and good future to these children? Unfortunately the caretakers of the State cannot have the farsightedness to think of future. The impression gone deep into the thinking of the local people is that a major portion of billions of rupees given by the Indian government in the name of development of the State is being siphoned off to the coffers of the rulers and authorities in this State. Indian leaders and its governing apparatus know it fully. But instead of creating an accountability mechanism to stem the rot, they are covertly allowing it to grow with the sole purpose that the mainstream political parities in the State lend their support to the stand of New Delhi. This is not today’s story but has been there for last six decades. By succumbing to the blackmail of so-called mainstream political parties, India gave enough reason to the people of Kashmir to suspect their intentions and thus got alienated.

Hashim Qureshi
Chairman JK Democratic Liberation Party

Speech in Two day conference in European Parliament.

Solution of Kashmir issue – Stimulus to peace

10 December 2008, Bruxelles

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank Baroness Emma Nicholson on behalf of the Kashmiri people for her commendable and eminent role in creating awareness about the Kashmir problem in Europe and especially among the establishment of the European Union. I would also like to make use of this stage to thank the European Parliament for the fact that it has shown a certain amount of interest in the sufferings of my people, which were unheard for most of the past 60 years.

As far as the recent political developments are concerned, I am of the opinion that the political situation in Kashmir is disastrous. This has formed the base of daily miseries and created a lack of peace. Kashmir can be best compared with a volcano, where an explosive eruption is inevitable. There was such an eruption in June of this year, when millions of Kashmiris came out on the streets to reiterate their demand of Self-Determination, only to be crushed brutally by the establishment. More than 60 peaceful demonstrators were killed and over a thousand were injured. Numerous arrests were carried out in order to prevent a revolution.

But Kashmiris have successfully showed the world that they are fed-up. Fed up by humiliation, fed up by the tortures, fed up by state terrorism, fed up by the violence, fed up by the discrimination and fed up by the continuous rape of their identity and cultural heritage. Whereas the Indian Government has trivialized this exhibition of dissatisfaction, many renowned and respected writers and intellectuals like Arundhati Roy, Vir Sanghvi and Swaminathan Aiyar have tried to bring the recent developments in Kashmir to the common man in India and made Kashmir’s secession a matter of common debate. Instead of extending that debate into a political spectrum, the Indian Government called for elections in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

I agree with the thought that elections are the base of a democratic setup, but elections on their own are not the only ingredient of democracy. The elections in Kashmir are being held simultaneously with imposed curfew. While in one district polling is conducted, other districts are paralyzed by indefinite curfew. Voting is a democratic right, which implies that not voting is also a democratic right. People advocating for a boycott of the elections on the basis of the recent atrocities committed by security forces in Kashmir are taken into custody and slapped with cases under draconian laws like the Public Safety Act.

Democracy is an institution based upon the majorities rule, but in this manner no minority is allowed to exist to keep the public opinion balanced. For the last 5 Fridays the Jamia Masjid has been closed for prayers, because the security forces have sealed the mosque and prohibit people from assembling. Heavily armed security personnel are seen at polling booths which bares witness to the fact that these elections are conducted in an atmosphere of turbulence. If the Kashmir problem could be solved by holding elections only, then 11 elections were held before the recent one and in one of them Sheikh Abdullah had even derived a heavy mandate when the total voter turnout was almost 80%. Still no solution could be considered, because of the fact that the elections in Kashmir are only a way to assemble governing bodies in order to govern the state. Political parties participating in the elections have over and over again propagated that elections are not the way to solve the Kashmir problem and that they are only participating in the election process to govern the state and provide people basic necessities.

Election manifestos in Europe and America contain topics like better roads, better tax policies, better and more jobs and better education. Whereas election manifestos in Kashmir are an assembly of points which promise roads, jobs, water, electricity and education. After 60 years of holding elections in Kashmir, political parties are not talking of bettering these basic needs like in Europe, they are talking about providing them. 60 years of elections in my country have failed to provide people the basic needs like water, electricity, jobs and education. As a result of this
almost 1 million youth, is unemployed in Kashmir.

Kashmir issue can only be solved by conducive talks between the three parties to the issue. India, Pakistan and Kashmiris should talk together and if one of these parties is left out, the issue will continue to boil. Peace and a solution to the Kashmir issue are necessary for South Asia to flourish and to prevent growing attacks of terrorism like the recent barbaric attack on helpless civilians in Mumbai. We must acknowledge that some radical and fundamental elements in South Asia will continue to justify their inhuman and diseased activities on the fact that Kashmir issue is not yet solved. In this way Kashmir will increase in becoming a reason for terrorism. The fact that people who have abandoned the path of violence are still tortured, humiliated and harassed by the security forces in Kashmir will only contribute to this phenomenon.

I, myself am a living example of this process. I have committed a violent act more than 35 years ago for which I have spent more than 12 years in jail, and I have been preaching peace for the last 25 years, but still I have a case pending against me in India of being a Pakistani agent. It is a cruel irony that I spent 10 years in Pakistani jails because they sentenced me according to their allegation that I am an Indian agent. Even with international constitutional rights like Double Jeopardy, my faith as a Kashmiri is that neither India nor Pakistan will sit still until they both have sentenced me for being an agent of the Kashmiri people. We all should encourage the youth who has left the path of violence instead of pushing them against the wall, so that they, in their frustration, are compelled to seek violence’s refuge again.

The fact that Kashmir problem could not be solved in the past 60 years has contributed towards the decline of our culture and its rich heritage. The political turmoil and violence in Kashmir has opened doors of corruption, malpractice and bad governance in recent years. This has resulted into the fact that our lakes are shrinking day by day and are now less than half of their original size. The Dal lake has shrunk from its original 58 sq km to 11 sq km. Wular lake, which once was Asia’ largest fresh water lake was 217 sq km in 1911, now it has been reduced to 86.71 sq km. all because of pollution and encroachment. Even the pillar of our culture, Kashmiriat, has fallen prey to the enemies of peace. Our centuries old custom of tolerance was destroyed when our Pandit brothers left Kashmir. Since that unfortunate event, no government has even tried to formulate a plan for bringing them back. A project of 4000 crores has been initiated to build flats for them in New Delhi. These flats could also be built in Kashmir, so that the Kashmiri Pandits could be given an honorable and dignified return to their motherland. It is my firm belief that the culture and its heritage cannot be preserved until and unless a political solution is achieved concerning the Kashmir issue. I can say that because the current situation has proved to be a money minting business for some in Kashmir who do not care about human lives, let alone the culture.

I would like to add here that although I appreciate the effort to hold this conference in the European Parliament about Kashmir’s Cultural Heritage, maybe a conference on the Human Rights Abuses, Disappearances, Unnamed Graves or the denial of freedom of speech or freedom of movement would have been a more appropriate subject during these times of political turmoil. Maybe a conference on such topics conducted in the European Parliament could diplomatically compel India and Pakistan to review their oppressive approach in Kashmir.

The use of war was indeed philosophically described by Aristotle when he said that war sometimes is necessary and that men make war, so that they can live in peace. The people of Kashmir are the victims of a proxy war for the last 60 years, yet there seems no peace at the end of the tunnel. The saying of Aristotle does not apply in Kashmir, India and Pakistan are not fighting a war, in order to live in peace. On the contrary, they are ready to continue their war and spent huge amounts of their budget on it just for the sake of so-called prestige. In the meantime they are neglecting the fact that Kashmir as well as their own innocent citizens are suffering from hunger, violence, financial instability, sickness and poverty.

The relation between peace and stability can be best compared to the stimulus-response model. Stability is impossible as long as there is no peace, but peace means more than just the absence of war. Peace means peace of mind and the right to make use of basic human rights without the fear of being prosecuted. Peace means the pursuit of happiness and a climate of freedom. The International community as well as India and Pakistan have made mistakes in the past by concluding that Kashmir is peaceful as soon as violence decreases, only to discover that that so-called peace is just silence before another storm.

I agree with the fact that two major wars in the world, the huge financial crisis and the threat of terrorism have created a sense of political and economical instability in the world. The rapidly spreading consequences of these events throughout the whole world bear witness to the fact that the world has become a small place and that we all are dependent on each other. Times have changed now, and the West cannot afford not to care about what is happening in the East and vice versa. The changing of the world into a Global Village has become more and more reason for us to safeguard stability throughout the world and not just in our own backyards.

I am of the opinion that terrorism is one of the biggest challenges humankind needs to win and in order to achieve that, we should change our approach. The world has recognized that South Asia is a region which is vulnerable to radicalization and fundamentalism, which eventually could be translated into terrorism. As mentioned above, the fact that Pakistan and India are spending huge amounts of their budget just to keep their hostility alive, creates elements in their own society who feel either dissatisfied, discriminated or left alone. These elements are an easy prey to radicalization and fundamentalism.

The pending Kashmir issue also contributes to this radicalization process, as there are many elements in India and Pakistan who for whatever reason, be it solidarity with the Muslim majority in Kashmir, be it rebellion against injustice in the state or be it just based on political survival, use the Kashmir issue as an excuse to justify terrorism. Therefore finding a solution to the Kashmir problem according to the wishes and aspirations of the majority of the people living in Jammu & Kashmir, which includes Pakistan Administrated Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan, Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir Valley, has become a necessity for a peaceful region as well as a peaceful world. Any solution which is thrust upon the Kashmiri people will eventually have a negative influence and could lead into violent eruptions again. I think that the President Elect of the USA, Mr. Obama, has rightfully observed that solution of the Kashmir issue is the key to peace in South Asia. Hopefully Mr. Obama will consider the wishes of the people of Kashmir when he talks of a solution, because otherwise the whole issue could backfire. The sooner the world recognizes the fact that Kashmir could be the reason for a nuclear conflict or even a third World War, the better it would be for all of us, especially the Kashmiri people.

Before concluding I would like to place a humble request before the European Parliament and its members. Whenever Kosovo, Bosnia and East-Timor are on the agenda, the European Parliament has taken the moral responsibility upon itself to think and act through the perspective of the occupied nations, but whenever Kashmir comes to discussion the international community has always trivialized the issue by saying it is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. This has resulted in deep anguish and dissatisfaction among the Kashmiri nation and they have feel neglected by the international community, because of this approach. The international community and especially the European Union should take the moral responsibility to mediate in the Kashmir issue through the perspective of the oppressed Kashmiris and assist them in settling this dispute by granting hem their right of Self-Determination, just like they did in Bosnia, Kosovo and East-Timor. Here I would like to quote a wise saying of Martin Luther King Jr. which should illuminate and inspire us all: ‘The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people’. We all are human beings and just like others, we Kashmiris are heirs to some inalienable rights. I would like to appeal to the safeguards of peace and prosperity to consider the genuine demand of my people and act and intervene accordingly.

In memory of late Dr. Farooq Haider

Dr. Farooq Haider passed away in Rawalpindi on October 16, 2009 after prolonged illness of two years. From God Almighty we come to God we return.

He had shifted with his family from Jammu in 1947, to settle down first to Sialkot, and then to Rawalpindi. His elder brother Aejaz Haider had attained martyrdom in 1947. His elder brother – in – law Allah Rakha Sagar was a prominent leader of Muslim Conference

Dr. Farooq Haider had obtained MBBS degree from Inter Medical College Multan and had began privet practice. In October 1969, I travelled from Peshawar to Rawalpindi in a rail car in the company of Maqbul Bhat the Martyr. We carried some big vegetable baskets with us. A family received us at Rawalpindi railway station. A curious thing of this event was that the receiving family took the vegetable baskets from us and stuffed these in their vehicle while we took a taxi and headed to the house of Dr. Farooq Haider on Peshawar Road.

I was introduced to Dr. Farooq Haider although it was he who had come to receive us at the railway station. Later on, I came to know that the huge baskets were actually filled with ammunition for NLF, which we carried all the way from Peshawar to Rawalpindi. I also introduced to Javed Sagar alias Koki, the son of Allah Rakha Sgar.

This was my first introduction to Dr. Farooq Haider. At that time I was aged 15 or 16. We halted at Dr. Farooq’s residence, which stood just opposite to his present house on Peshawar Road. Later on, I, together with Maqbul Bhat the Martyr, paid a couple of more visits to Dr. Farooq.

In 1970, I had for the first time crossed the border. I had instructions from Bhat Sahib that I should land at the house of Dr. Frooq Haider in Rawalpindi. Three days later, Bhat Sahib joined us in the house of Dr.Farooq. They took the decision of giving me arms training. One retired Subedar named Yar Muhammd was entrusted to provide training to me. During the period of training I put up in the house of Dr. Farooq Haider. I began my life there like a family member. Dr. Farooq and his family kept me like their youngster. I was very affectionately treated. Whenever they visited any family of their relatives or friends they took me with them. Dr. Farooq’s wife Madam Iffat always treated me like her son.

There I met with many leaders of Plebiscite Front and NFL like Amanullah Khan, late Mir Qaiyyum, Sardar Rashid Hasrat, G.M. Mir, Ghulam Mustafa Alavi, and Khaliq Ansari. Once we were assembled at breakfast table. Those present were Amanullah Khan, Javed Sagar, Dr. Farooq Haider, Maqbul Bhat the Martyr and I. Radio Pakistan broadcast the news of Eritrean commandos attacking Ethiopian ship. Reacting to it either Dr. Farooq Haider of Maqbul Bhat exclaimed that we too ought to undertake some such adventure so that Kashmir issue does not only come into focus on intentional level but is also exhumed from the graveyard of Tashkent. He said that the stigma inflicted by Pakistan on us the Kashmiris after Indo-Pak war of 1965 that Kashmiris had connived at getting the Pakistani mujahids arrested has to be washed off once forever.

This was the theme of the debate. It was decided that instead of launching an attack, an Indian airplane in imitation of the example of Palestinian heroin Leila Khalid. It has to be noted that till that day it was only this Palestinian heroin that had skyjacked an aircraft. Maqbul Bhat, the Martyr asked me if I would be willing to undertake that mission. I agreed without a second thought.

In this plan, Farooq Haider’s role was more prominent because his brother in relation namely Javed Manto had served in Pakistan Air Force and was now retired. I was introduced to him one day and he began to impart training to me. The course began first with paper work and long lectures. Twice or thrice he sent me along with Javed Sagar to Chaklala airport (now Military Air Force). A Fokker friendship aircraft was standing on the tarmac. In those days almost all airlines used to engage the Fokker Friendship, an aircraft manufactured by Dutch company. I was led to the cockpit of the aircraft and briefed about compass, wireless and other instruments. I was made to understand the procedure of the functionality of these instruments.

In the house of Dr.Farooq Haider I met a sincere and highly dedicated person, namely Nasir Ahmad Wani. For two months and a half, each day when Dr. Farooq Haider would leave for his clinic in the morning he would invariably ask me if I needed anything. During that period, Dr. Farooq Haider, Maqbul Bhat, Javed Sagar and I together visited Mirpur and stayed with Abdul Khaliq Ansari. Whenever we travelled to Muzaffarabad, Balakot and Faran Valley, it was Dr. Farooq Haider who drove the vehicle. Often Maqbul Bhat would ask him to sing him a song while driving; Dr. Farooq obliged. One much liked song was:

Apne liye jiye to kya jiye
Tu ji aye dil zamane ke lie.

The other song was:

Ay mere piyare wtan
Ay mere bichhrhe chaman
Tu hi meri arzu tu hi meri abru

Dr. Farooq used to sing in such a sonorous voice that even Bhat Sahib’s eyes would become wet.

The truth is that Dr. Farooq Haider spent his life in full conformity with the contents of these two songs. Although a staunch supporter of independent Kashmir, Dr. Farooq equally helped and befriended even those who were not supportive of the concept of independent Kashmir. His clinic was meant for the poor and destitute Kashmiris and he never demanded anything from anybody. Not only that, he would extend all possible help to the needy.

Dr. Farooq Haider was arrested in connection with Ganga skyjacking case along with hundreds of Plebiscite Front and NLF activists. He was brutally tortured and I reproduce below some extracts from his letters in this connection. On June 5, 1971, he wrote a letter for G.M. Mir and me from Shahi Fort were he remained interned. This letter was smuggled out from Shahi fort where I also remained imprisoned and G.M. Mir was detained in Dalai camp Muzaffarabad. This letter had come to the hands of a colleague of ours. Its extracts ran as this:

“ I have lost all hopes of survival. The Police has lashed me again and again and given me electric shocks. I lay unconscious for several weeks. Police wanted me to depose against Maqbul Sahib and Hashim Sahib. I was told that Javed Sagar had been shot dead by some unknown assailant…”

On 22 March 1972 he wrote another letter addressed to Abdul Khaliq Ansari. It was written from Kot Lakhpat jail. I give below some extracts from that long letter. He said:

“ Ansari Sahib, I have decided to name myself Indian Agent. There can be no better certificate than this allegation if we want to be faithful to this country (Pakistan). Human beings endure tyranny and oppression. I am also made of flesh and bones like anybody else. But there have been occasions for me in this prison when a man, deeply frustrated and disappointed seeks the angel of death who also fails him. Hanging by feet, lashing and giving electric shocks is the normal practice of torture in this prison. Have you heard of the cages of lions and snakes and spiders where sugar is rubbed on the legs of a man and then he is left to be eaten up by ants? The superintendent who hides under the table on haring the slightest voice of Javed Sagar becomes a Pharaoh when attended by his 20 subordinate policemen. I don’t know what have you placed in our souls so that the more the darkness deepens the brighter it shines. Once an electric shock given to me was longish one and it made me tremble with my head lurching backward. My tormentor said that Emperor Akbar had brought the wooden slippers placed on the roof from Kashmir. I told him that these bars had supported his prison house for centuries and now they propose to set them on fire. He said that Kashmiris were always agents and this was our profession. I told him that if the snow from the peaks of the mountains of my land stops to melt, your mothers’ breasts will dry up for milk. Ansari Sahib, there is a difference between others and me. My daughters had the good fortune that Bhat Sahib blessed them by putting his hand on their heads and my daughters and wife used to lay the table for Hashim Sahib. The sun of freedom had dawned from my house. Police was in possession of a letter of my sister to Hashim in which she had made a mention of arms in coded language…”

In the jail he wrote a poem titled “Jesus” (spy). It became popular. He had been addressing the military regime of General Yahya Khan. I can recollect some portion of it:

Tum piyale bharo to muhibb-e wtan
Ham apna lahu den to jasus hain
Tum Padma jalakar muhibb-e watan
Ham Ganga jalayen to jasus hain
The reference to filling the cups (piyale bharo) is to the drinking bouts of Pakistani military ruler General Yahya Khan. Padma in second verse refers to the river Padma in Bangladesh whose water was turned red by the blood of hundreds of thousands of Bengalis massacred by the Pakistani military under General Yahya.

I remember that in 1972, Dr. Farooq Haider’s wife Baji Iffat and his two daughters came to see me in Kot Lakhpat jail. Newborn Sultan, the infant was in her lap and he is today’s Dr. Sultan Haider. During my long imprisonment, the family of Dr. Farooq Haider kept visiting me in jails far away from Rawalpindi.

After my release from jail in 1980, some miscreants tried to create differences between Dr. Farooq Haider and me. In 1981, my mother came to see me in Pakistan after a long time of separation. Dr. Haider and his wife came to Peshawar to see her. It spoke for their large heartedness. The took me to Rawalpindi along with them

At that point of time Plebiscite Front had imposed ban on NLF and Maqbul Bhat was in Tihar jail. In 1982 Amanullah Khan came to Pakistan from London and talked about founding Liberation Front. A ban had been imposed on NLF. Plebiscite Front had fallen into inertia. Leaders like Advocate Manhas, Farooq Shaykh, Sayyid Nazir Gilani and I gathered at the residence of Dr.Farooq Haider. We laid the foundation of Liberation Front for Pakistan, Azad Kashmir and Occupied Kashmir. Dr. Farooq Haider was made member of central committee and the treasurer as usual. I was made the first chairman of the executive committee of the Liberation Front.

I was putting up in a rented house in the satellite town of Rawalpindi. When the matter of my marriage came up, I shifted to the house of Dr. Farooq Haider. He and his family members were full participants in my marriage ceremony. I was carried as bridegroom from his house to Peshawar. The marriage feast called walima was also hosted at the residence of Dr. Farooq Haider. Incidentally, the marriage party of Yasin Malik also departed from his house.

Dr. Farooq Haider’s relations with the people or with those going from here were not restricted to organizational sphere only. He was a patronizing father, a kind brother and a sincere friend. His wife performed the role of a kind and loving mother and sister. People called his house as Kashmir House. There is hardly a politician of Jammu and Kashmir who has not partaken food with Dr. Farooq Haider at his house. Most of the meetings of NLF and JKNLF were held at his residence. The credit of all this, first and foremost, goes to his wife Iffat Baji.

Dr. Farooq Haider’s clinic was destroyed in a powerful bomb blast in 1993-94 in which some people got killed and others wounded. Dr. Haider’s eldest son, Dr. Sultan Haider had a narrow escape. It was rumoured that this bomb blast was the handiwork of Indian agents.

Dr. Farooq Haider never coveted political power and status. He could have very easily become a member of Azad JK Assembly and a minister. He had the gift of convincing his counterpart in a serious debate. If he differed with any body it was on the basis of principles and never gave place to personal differences. On personal level, he had maintained god relations with a vast number of people. He made many financial and physical sacrifices for the freedom of Kashmir. Torture in the jail had not inflicted wounds on his body only but on his soul as well. His wife stood by him till the last moment. Whenever I imagine of Kashmir freedom movement and the house of Dr. Farooq Haider running without him, I shudder. In my last long telephonic talk with him, he reiterated his desire that all freedom fighting groups should unite under one banner. He talked to Yasin Malik also in this context. We shall be paying sincere homage to Dr. Farooq Haider only when we fulfil his wish. Only then shall his sincerity, dedication, struggle and sacrifices become immortal.

May God Almighty give him place in paradise? May God give patience and forbearance to his wife Baji Iffat, his son Dr. Sultan Haider, Shanu, Aeza and Maniza and all his friends and near ones to bear the loss (Amen)? Let me conclude this tribute with two verses which Dr. Farooq Haider had addressed to Maqbul Bhat on latter’s martyrdom:

Main jhut ke suraj se nahin laya hun kirnen
Main noor-e sadaqat ke liye khud hi jala hun

Source: Chattan 12 – 18 Oct. 2009

Depressing condition of the dependents of martyrs!

The proof of a nation’s moral existence lies in the quality and quantity of relief, which its leadership, its affluent sections and its masses provide to the next of kin of those martyrs who sacrificed their lives for a cause. The movement can be kept alive only when those at its helm take full care of the dependents of martyrs. I am reminded of an incident. A widow of a martyr was in tears and said that she had not a bowl of rice to make her children a meal. Leaders of the movement for freedom of Kashmir came to offer her condolences on the fourth day of the death of her martyred husband. They presented her a copy of the holy Qur’an and a profusion of pieces of advice to be patient with her destiny. No one from among the visiting leaders or their organizations asked her how she, with orphaned kids around her, was eking out her miserable existence.

This incident became the catalyst for me to write this piece. I just want to ask our leaders and our nation, and particularly those who assert that Kashmiris do not hesitate to make the sacrifice of their lives, what is the actual condition of the dependents, especially the womenfolk of our martyrs? This woman’s father, husband, brother and daughter all are martyrs. She is a destitute. I would ask all my detractors to stop castigating me for unveiling the facts and do some introspection. I hope none of my readers has lost his conscience, and that they will come forward voluntarily to help such critical cases.

The main reason for any movement to succeed in past or in future is the presence of a powerful political platform. This platform should have institutions of its own to tackle the issues that arise in the course of the movement’s march onwards. These institutions are the key to the success of the movement. We do not mean to hold any particular organization or leader or individual responsible for what our movement lacks. We only want to shed some light on the depressing condition of the kith and kin, widows, orphans, mothers and sisters of the martyrs. A few details that have come to our notice are stated below. This information has come to us through the kith and kin of the martyrs whom we provide modest succour at MANWA. We shall also say something about how those people are treated who bade farewell to the gun and took the path of non violence and peace. We need not mention the organizations with which these martyrs were associated. Their names speak for their organizations.

1. Ghulam Jeelani was martyred in Bemina. His four sisters and his father live in a miserable condition. The responsibility of marrying two sisters of Jeelani fell on the shoulders of his aged father and one of them was married in 2004. How the old man managed it is difficult to explain.
2. Muhammad Salim Sheikh of Astan Mohalla was martyred in Natipora. He was the only son of his mother who is now almost begging for her survival.
3. Bashir Ahmad Mir alias B2 son of Abdul Ghani of Ahan Ganderbal was martyred in 1996. His brother too was gunned down by security forces. For some reasons his third brother too was killed by unknown gunmen. His family comprising three widows and 20 children is looked after by his aged father and one brother. They are just dragging their lives.
4. Muhammad Ayyub Khan alias Amir Khan Son of Nasrullah Khan of Kond Gandbal was martyred in 1995. He is survived by his widow and five daughters. They either beg or do some manual labour to earn their two square meals.
5. Abdul Rashid Rishi alias Pasha of Nasal was martyred in 1997. His widow and four orphaned kids living separately are destitute.
6. Muhammad Maqbul Wagay was martyred in 1996. His widow and five orphaned children are living a miserable life.
7. Ghulam Hasan Khan hailed from Sonabrad in Islamabd. He was martyred on April 18, 2007. He is survived by three children, three brothers, his widow and aged father. His widow remarried entrusting the orphans to their grandfather. The misfortune dogged the family. Security forces killed all the three brothers, Aejaz Khan, Mukhtar Khan and Muhammad Abbas Khan. Ghulam Hasan Khan was associated with KLF, Ajaz with HM and Mukhtar Ahmad with Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen. The fourth brother Muhammad Abbas was killed for the sins of his brothers. Security forces demanded of him to surrender the arms of his deceased brothers. The house was blown up by security forces. Somebody gave the orphans the address of MANWA which has undertaken to provide expenses on the education of one girl child. (In this case I am obliged to name the organization to which these martyrs were affiliated).
8. Muhammad Ashraf Lone alias Tawsif son of late Salam Lone of Khandurah was martyred in 1992. His widowed mother sold her house to marry her grown up daughter. She has one more daughter of marriageable age. How she to manage her life is what we cannot imagine.
9. Muhammad Yusuf alias Basharat of Rawalpora was martyred in 1992. He is survived by three orphan children and a handicapped widow who does menial jobs to feed the kids.
10. Ghulam Muhammad alias Maqsud, son of Ghaffar Dar of Rawalpora was martyred in 1992. His widow is eking out a miserable living along with her three orphan children in her father’s house.
11. Muhammad Siddiq of Mirpora had been a senior commander of an organization. His six orphan children and widow are struggling for life. His house was also razed to ground. The organization to which her late husband was affiliated had promised to provide her succour but nobody even cast a glance at them till date.
12. Muhammd Ramazan Wani alias Musayyib of Anzpora, Beru the battalion commander of an organization was martyred in an inter-group shootout. He is survived by his widow and four orphaned daughters all of marriageable age. His widow sold the paddy machine in order to feed her children.
13.Rahul Sheikh alias Fla of Biruwah was martyred in 1995. He is survived by his widow, two orphan children and an aged mother. The humanitarian sense of the people of the village remains dead, and nobody has come forward to offer her some help
14.Bashir Ahmad alias Basharat of Wanigam Biruwah, Budgam, left behind six orphans and a widow who sold her shop to feed the family.
15.Nasirul Islam was the Amir of two organizations. He hailed from Budgam. His family is in such a depressed condition that it is neither alive nor dead.
16.Shamsul Haqq had done Molavi Fazil and double MA. He hailed from Sonurkali Pora in Biruwah. Twelve members of his family were martyred leaving behind 13 widows and children. They are living a miserable life.
17.Maqbul ilahi had done M.Sc and is wife is graduate. Our nation is insensitive to the extent that the son of this martyr is working as a semi-skilled labourer.
18.Anwar Islam was a Deputy Commander. He is survived by his widow and an orphan child passing days in penury.
19.Jameel Muhammd Bhat and Hamid Bhat were associated with two different organizations. They left behind their widowed mother and two sisters. The mother has been given pacemaker and the father suffered heart attack on hearing the news of his second son’s death. One of his sisters got married but she was divorced by her wicked husband within days. The husband of the second daughter has also been killed. The aged mother is carrying the burden of her daughters and their children.
20.Muhammd Yusuf alias Idris was martyred in an inter-group clash in Dargah while trying to protect the leader of his organization. He is survived by his widow and two orphan daughters, both now grown up. A trust has offered to take care of educational expenses for the two daughters. The widow has been taught stitching so as to help her stand on her legs. The widow of Shahid Idris Khan was turned out of her home by her in-laws along with her children soon after her husband’s martyrdom.
21.Muhammd Ashraf Dar belonged to Sonwarakali Pora. He was among the founders of an organization. His widow and four orphaned children are in a state of penury cursing the organization which brought disaster to the family.
22.Zahid Khan son of Abdur Rahman Khan of Mandir Bagh was martyred in 1990. He was the only son of his parents.
23.Rajeh, Mil and Pren three brothers of Fateh Kadal were martyred in 1993. Their mother and brother became mentally deranged. One bother feeds the entire family, and with great difficulty.
24.Muhammad Yusuf Waza left behind him a widow and three small children. The in-laws of the widow provided no succour to her. She remarried after some time and the family of the martyr suffers.
25.Fayaz Ahmad Sheikh son of Ghulam Hassan Sheikh was martyred in 2002. His house was burnt. He is survived by aged parents, widow, four orphaned children and two unmarried sisters. One of the girls was married under great financial constraints. The tragedy did not end at that. This girl’s husband was also martyred by security forces and this widowed girl is to be re-married. The family is under great financial stress.
26.Gulzar Ahmad Wani of Batmaloo left behind him his widow and two daughters and a crippled brother. His widow works as kitchen maid to sustain her children. Her in-laws turned her out of their house soon after the martyrdom of Gulzar Ahmad.
27.Ghulam Ahmad Bhat’s brother was a militant. In place of his brother, Ghulam Ahmad was martyred by the security forces. His wife and two children were turned out of their house by her in-laws leaving the family of the martyr in destitution.
28.Farooq Ahmad Mir was martyred in 2001 leaving behind his widow and two children. Nobody cared for them. They come from Kaner in Budgam and the widow is getting some small amount by way of support from Social Welfare. A welfare organization is bearing the expenses on the education of the two children. Life is extremely harsh for them.
29.Ghulam Hasan Thakur belonged to Kunzar, Chadura. He was martyred by his militant fraternity leaving behind four children. The widow and the children were turned out by in-laws for their house. She is working as house maid in people’s homes. It is so sad to know that three orphaned sons of the martyr were taken back by their grandfather through a court order but he left his granddaughter to the care of the martyr’s widow. She is now living with her parents.

This is the story of just a few out of 70 or 80 thousand martyrs. Although I have cited only 29 case but the truth is that 80 to 90 per cent of the families of martyrs are facing same situation. Society hesitates to have matrimonial alliance with the daughters or widows or sisters of these martyrs. The anti-people government harasses their kith and kin. They feel that they are neither with the militant groups nor with non-militant sections of society.

Young people who have given up the path of violence are humiliated by security agencies, army, and police by ordering them to report their attendance at one or the other police station or a camp. In camps they are made to do some chores.

Finding a bride for the released militants is a problem for them. They are not an earning hand. If any among them has a source of subsistence, he is required to report to the police station regularly. Thus they gradually lose this source of small income. On assuming power, PDP chief minister, Mufti Saeed made tall promises of rehabilitation of released youth. Alas, as usual, these were hollow promises. Youth already released can be called to the police station by any agency or police authority in the name of militancy. They are allowed to come out only after they or their relatives grease the palms of concerned authorities. Released youth are threatened and intimidated to become informers and if any of them refuses, he is put behind bars. With this policy is in force, can peace prevail…

These martyrs and their relatives have some questions for the leadership of this nation.

1. When our martyrs took up arms, the entire nation euphorically adored them. They were invited to feasts as very special guests: they were sought after for matrimonial alliance. But today their dependents beg for a morsel. Matrimonial alliance with them is considered almost a sin. Why is it so?
2. Why have those organizations and leaders with whom the martyrs were associated become impassive? These leaders spend millions of rupees on public rallies only to enhance their fame.
3. If the nation and all organizations cannot come together to support and sustain our (martyrs’) families, then what is the use of raising hollow slogans and dragging more youth to the brink of annihilation?
4. There are NGOs and organizations which have opened their shops in the name of our martyrs without providing an iota of succour to their families. Undoubtedly, one day the dependents of martyrs will call them to account.
5. A big question is raised about the insensitivity and brazenness of our society. Those who threw out the widows and orphans of the martyr from their homes are answerable to God for their treachery. Our religion emphatically tells us to care for the orphans. Those who sacrificed their precious lives did not do so for their person or family. They made sacrifices because the leaders of this land or their supporters in Pakistan or the people at the helm of affairs told them that sacrificing their lives meant either accession to Pakistan or obtaining freedom for Jammu and Kashmir. Do they intend to convey a new message to the dependents of these martyrs that in the eyes of leaders and the nation those objectives are dead? Should we, therefore, tell these dependents of martyrs that after witnessing their destitution, the sacrifice mad by the martyrs was a crime and they (dependents) have to pay a price for it? How aptly the poet says:

“Main kis ke hath par apna lahu talash karun
Sarey shahar ne pahne hue hain dastane”
(On whose hands should I look for the stains of my blood?
Entire city has worn hand gloves)

Why ‘Azad Kashmir’ be called POK? (written in 1998)

This article was written in 1998 and is part of my first English work “Kashmir: The Unveiling of Truth” (Order here)
 
‘Azad’ means free and freedom for the people means exercise of their right to self- determination, self-rule and sovereignty. The rulers ofPakistan controlled part of Kashmir call Azad Kashmir meaning “Free Kashmir”. Let us examine whether it is really free and thus entitled to be called Azad Kashmir?

“Azad Kashmir” comprises three region; Gilgit, Baltistan and the rest of the territory under the control of Pakistan. In regard to Gilgit and baltistan, one should not indulge in any wishful thinking. Had Pakistani rulers been sincere to Kashmiris,they would not have approached the Supreme Court on technical basis to annul the judgment of the Azad Kashmir (AK) High Court in regard to the status of these two areas.For fifty years,the people of Gilgit and Baltistan were sensitized to separation from Kashmir.Otherwise they would not been prompted to ask for representation in National Assembly of Pakistan. The deprived people of these areas do not have the right to appeal in the Supreme Court or the High Court of AK or Pakistan.Not even a criminal or civil case can be lodged with the High Court or the Supreme Court because Gilgit and Baltistan do not fall within the jurisdiction of the High Court or the supreme Court of AK or Pakistan.

All sincere nationalists call AK as Pakistan occupied Kashmir. If I call it so, I am only following the line of nationalist policy. To be precise, I advance the following arguments in support of the stand taken by the nationalists.

1) Despite Maharaja’s accession to India, we call it IHK just because India did not give Kashmiris the right of self determination. Despite a stand still agreement with Maharaja, Pakistanis engineered attack on Kashmirby tribals and their regulars (see Gen. Akbar Khan’s work Invaders of Kashmir). People in Gilgit and Baltistan liberated their areas without Pak assistance, but Pak ruled it trough a resident for 26 years under F.C.R as the British used to do. There is no High or Supreme Court in the area nor can the people there send their elected representatives to Assembly. Is this ‘Azaadi’?
2) Governments are made or broken en AK/POK at the behest of rulers in Islamabad. During Ayub regime, President late K.H. Khurshid was made to resign by an S.P. and later jailed in Palandari and Dalai Camp. He happened to be the private secretary of Mr. Jinnah at one time. In Z.A. Bhutto regime, another elected President, Sardar Qayyum was removed by a D.S.P of Federal Security Fores in Muzaffarabad holding him by his beard. During Gen. Zia’s regime, Brig. Hayat Khan was imposed on AK for seven years. When Zia was no more, PPP regime was installed in AK when the party came to power in Islamabad. PPP govt. was out and Abbasi, Minister for Kashmir Affairs told newsmen, ” I can send a policeman from Pakistan to arrest AK Prime Minister Rathore. ” It precisely happened and Rathore was brought to Islamabad in a chopper and made to sign letter of resignation.
Nawaz Sharif came to power and Sardar Qayyum became PM. Sharif’s statement during his first stint is on record. He said, “We shall give 12 mohajir seats in Pakistan to Sardar Qayyum as a gift”. Precisely he did it. Qayyum’s son Atiq belongs to Dherkot ( Gaziabad )pok, but was elected on a Kashmiri mohajir seat in Karachi. Thanks to dead bodies of Kashmiris dropping down in the valley owing to which Benazir did not oust Qayyum. However election brought in PPP regime. Everybody including Nawaz Sharif called it ‘selection’ not ‘election’.
3) High ranking officers like Chief Secretary, Finance Secretary, I.G.P etc for AK come from Islamabad. What is the difference between IHK and POK.
4) During Z.A. Bhutto regime, Azad Kashmir Rifles militia was disbanded by Pakistan government and amalgamated with Pak army only to lose its identity. This was to make AK totally dependent on Pakistan for security and maintenance of law and order. Does it speak about freedom and independence of Azad Kashmir.
5) No elections in AK can be fought without taking oath of allegiance to Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. In preceding elections nationalist formed national alliance to fight elections. Their all nomination applications were rejected for not filling accession to Pakistanoath document. Are these people free or enslaved ?
6) No Minister, Prime Minister or President in AK can assume office unless he takes the oath of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Is that President, PM and the ministers ‘Azaad’ to call their land Azad Kashmir?
7) Nobody in AK can be appointed on any government job unless he/she expresses loyalty to the concept of Kashmir’s accession toPakistan. This is only what the enslaved people have to do, not the free people.
8) AK does not get royalty of Mangla Dam or its share of foreign exchange earnings nor the share towards tax realizations and sales tax. A region and people providing energy resource to others without asking for its cost and allowing its own people to remain deprived. Looking another Side NWFP get royalty of Terbela Dam.
9) For the last 50 years, people in AK have been held hostage to “so-called freedom of Kashmir”. People finding no avenues of subsistence in their land, emigrate to Middle East, Europe and other lands to labor untiringly and keep themselves living. During past 8 years of turmoil in the valley very few people have emigrated to foreign countries, but in AK innumerable numbers have emigrated in search of livelihood. Thousands of AK youth do menial jobs in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore etc.
10) AK youth working hard in foreign country’s remit enormous foreign exchange to Pakistan. In 1977, the amount was computed to seven thousand million rupees. In1988 the Pak Finance Minster said in a statement that AK deposits in Pakistani banks was in the neighborhood of 24 hundred thousand million rupees. Despite this huge remittances, there are no industries in to employ the youth. With these enormous foreign remittances industries in Karachi, Lahore, Hasanabad and Faisalabad are run. My poor compatriot in AK has to rest content with a menial’s job, and nobody feel proud to call it ‘Azad’ meaning ‘Free’ Kashmir.
11) Azad Kashmir have no medical college or en engineering college or a polytechnic-institute or agricultural college or a forestry college in AK? None. A university for the sake of mere runs classes in four or five towns. On the other hand, in IHK whomsoever you meet is either a doctor, engineer, professor, technocrat or scientist etc.
12) From my freedom in 1980 till my exile in 1986, I was active in AK and Pakistan politics. Eight times I was banned to enter the district and four times I was arrested. I was the first Organizing Chairman of Liberation Front when it was intercepted in 1982. Our medical teams went from village to village to provide medicare to the needy. My entry in districts was banned or I was arrested because of my popularity with the masses. Being different from self-seeking leadership of AK, I dedicated myself to the service of the people, my compatriots in that part of Kashmir. I was clubbed by police for making AK a base camp. They inflicted head injuries on me. Let me not say about many others.
13) Whatever I said on current matters years ago has come out true. please keep in mind that I am a student of Maqbool Bhat, the martyr and a staunch nationalist. It will help find an answer on many questions. On Internet I said the very first day that there is no point in indulging in meaningless discussions. I have given the formula of the solution of Kashmir with two options. If the first option is not acceptable why should not the second option be implemented if Pakistan is sincere with Kashmiri people?

People in POK are aware, that “Azad Kashmir” is a part of land occupied by Pakistan. But there are some persons who have a large interests with Rulers, Agencies and political parties, they will never accepted truth whatsoever you do, even if GOD will speak by his own. I know some, they are on pay roles of agencies and they get expenses for big offices, travels, and for making noises. Sardar Qayyam Khan is alleged to have misappropriated 54 crores from the Kashmir Liberation Cell. Last week in the press-conference,the director of Liberation cell accused his secretary of embezzling 8 crores of rupees. There are also, some who are more dangerous because of little knowledge.

‘INTERIM CONSTITUTION OF AZAD KASHMIR ACT, 1974’ is enough proof to know why Azad Kashmir is called POK. For example:

1) Section 7.2; “No person or political party in Azad Jammu&Kashmir shall be permitted to propagate against, or take part in activities prejudicial or determential to, the ideology of the state’s accession to Pakistan”.
2) Section 21; Azad Jammu&Kashmir council –
– There shall be an Azad Jammu&Kashmir council consisting of:
a) the Prime Minister of Pakistan;
b) the President;(AJK)
c) five members to be nominated by the Prime Minister of Pakistan from time to time from amongst federal ministers and members of Parliament;
d) the Prime Minister of Azad Jammu&Kashmir or a person nominated by him; and
e) six members to be elected by the Assembly from amongst state Subjects in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
f) Prime Minister of Pakistan shall be the chairman of the council.
3) section 31.3; Neither the council nor the Assembly shall have the power to make any law concerning.-
b) the defense and security of Azad Jammu&Kashmir;
c) the current coin or the issue of any bills, notes or other paper currency;
d) the external affairs of Azad Jammu&Kashmir including foreign trade
and foreign aid.
4) Section 35; Authentication of bills past by the council shall not require the assent of the President ( AJK ) and shall, upon its authentication by the chairman of the council, become law and be called an act of the council.( Please remember, that the chairman ofthe council is the PM of Pakistan with five nominated cabinet and parliament members and the minister of Kashmir affairs. When there isno democratic government than the president of Pakistan or Martial Law Administrator are all in all about POK

Please note, that there are more than 55 matters, in which the President, prime Minister and whole Assembly of POK cannot interfere according to INTERIM CONSTITUTION ACT, paragraph, Third Schedule.

Some important matters from those 55 are;

1) Nationality, citizenship and naturalization, migration from or into Azad Jammu&Kashmir, admission into, and immigration and expulsion from AJK including in relation there to the regulation of the movements in AJK.
2) Post and telegraphs, including telephones, wireless Broadcasting and other like forms of Communications; Post Office Saving Bank.
3) Council public services and Council Public Service Commission.
4) Administrative courts for Council subjects.
5) Mineral resources necessary for the generation of nuclear energy.
6) Aircraft and air navigation; the provision of aerodromes; regulation and organization of air traffic and aerodromes.
7) Copyright, inventions, designs, trade marks and merchandise marks.
8) Banking, that is to say, the co-ordination with the Government of Pakistan of the conduct of banking business.
9) The law of insurance and the regulation of the conduct of insurance business.
10) Stock-exchange and future markets with objects and business not confined to Azad Jammu&Kashmir.
11) Planning for economic coordination, including planning and coordination of scientific and technological research.
12) Highways, continuing beyond the territory of Azad Jammu&Kashmir, excluding roads declared by the Government of Pakistan to be strategic importance.
13) Extension of the powers and jurisdiction of members of a police force belonging to Azad Jammu&Kashmir or any province of Pakistan to any area in such province or Azad Jammu&Kashmir, but not so as to enable the police of Azad Jammu&Kashmir or such province to exercise Powers and jurisdiction in such province or Azad Jammu&Kashmir.
14) Railways.
15) Mineral oil and natural gas; liquids and substances declared by law made by the Council to be dangerously inflammable.
16) Development of industries, where development under Council control is declared by law made by the Council to be expedient in the public interest.
17) Removal of prisoners and accused persons from Azad Jammu&Kashmir to Pakistan or from Pakistan to Azad Jammu&Kashmir.
18) Population planning and social welfare.
19) Electricity.
20) State Property.
21) Curriculum, syllabus, planning, policy, centers of excellence and standards of education.
22) Sanctioning of Cinematographic films for exhibition.
23) Tourism.
24) Duties of customs, including export duties.
25) Taxes on income other than agricultural income.
26) Taxes on corporations

Please note, that this INTERIM CONSTITUTION OF AZAD JAMMU & KASHMIR ACT 1974 is made by Ministry of law and Kashmir affairs of Pakistan at the time of Z.A. Bhutto’s regime.

1) Oath of office.
“That as a President of Azad Jammu&Kashmir I will remain loyal to the country and to the cause of accession of the state of Jammu&Kashmir to Pakistan”

2) Here is the oath from IHK for the head of state.
“……..That I will faithfully execute the office of Governor of Jammu&Kashmir and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the constitution and the law and that I will devote myself to the service and well being of the people of the state”.

I and every respected person will always condemned the brutality of Indian security forces against innocent people in Kashmir. I am struggling for more than 29 years for the independent and sovereign state of Jammu&Kashmir.Please note that every state in the world including western states who always are crying for Human Rights, (for western states Human Rights matter is a face saving issue) or response against armed struggle with brutal methods including India and Pakistan. What the Indian security forces are doing today in IHK against the people of Kashmir, Pakistani forces had done with Kasmiris in Poonch district including Mang in 1954. In 1971 Pakistani forces had killed thousands of Muslim brothers in East-Pakistan ( now Bangladesh ) they also raped Muslim women in figure of 200.000. But for Indian people,Security Forces brutality is against the principles of Great Gandhi called by Indian Nation as a “BAPU”.

PLEASE NOTE, WE ARE NOT ADVOCATING FOR BRUTALITY OR ANY KIND OF SUPRESSION FROM THE STATE POWER AGAINST THE PEOPLE, BUT WE WANT TO GIVE EVIDENCE FOR OUR AIMS AND OBJECTIVES. THAT IS ; INDIA AND PAKISTANARE BOTH AGGRESSORS AGAINST THE KASHMIRIS AND BOTH PARTS OF OCCUPIED KASHMIR MUST BE CALLED IOK AND POK.

Recently AJK High court made a decision on the status of AJK. This decision is also substantial proof, that Azad Kashmir must be called P.O.K.

AZAD-KASHMIR HIGH COURT DISMISSES PETITION ON ITS AUTONOMOUS STATUS.
Muzaffarabad; 23 February, 1998: The Azad-Kashmir high court has ruled that the area under Pakistani control is nothing more than a province of Pakistan and that its much acclaimed ‘autonomous status’ is only a myth and that its Interim Constitution as well as the position taken by the UN on Azad-Kashmir status does not make it an independent state. Justice Manzoor Gelani ruled that” the Articles 31-33 and 58 of the Azad-Kashmir Constitution-1974, surrendered Foreign, Communications, Defense and Trade powers to federal government of Pakistan and that Azad-Kashmir government was no more ‘powerful’ than any other Pakistani provincial government”. His ruling came in response to a legal petition entered by Mirpur based Amin Shipping Corporation which questioned the legitimacy of Foreign Imports Tax Duty charged to them by Pakistan Customs Offices.

The Azad-Kashmir region, which some perceive as a semi-autonomous country with its own prime minister and president, has effectively been ruled by Pakistan since 1947, and since 1974 most decision making powers have gone to the chair of the Kashmir Council – Prime Minister of Pakistan.
One question and answer from the Azad Kashmir assembly relating to our subject.

Muzaffarabad; 6th March: The Azad Kashmir government has admitted that it has no official record of billions worth of properties inPakistan which belong to the State of Jammu-Kashmir. In an answer to a question by Jamaat-Islami’s only MLA in the puppet state assembly the Speaker said that “only those questions which were in the jurisdiction of the state assembly could be asked in the House. we have no control over a single inch of Kashmir property in Pakistan and the position is the same in Gilgit/Baltistan area”, he added.

Azad Kashmir MLA’s and ministers have been unable to obtain the exact figures of income and expenditure from Kashmir properties located within Pakistan, which historical belonged to the Maharaja of Kashmir and provided a lucrative income for him.

Azad Kashmir would be really free if the sovereignty rested with her people; if it could chalk out its independent policies and courses of action; if its administration was run by its own sons and daughters; if its President was treated at par with any president of a foreign country. Where a President is made to stand in line to receive the Under Secretary from Islamabad. That land cannot claim to call it self ‘Azaad’. That is a misnomer.By calling it POK, I have not played in the hands of anybody, but I have only said what is literally
and factually true meaning that Pakistan has occupied (the part of) Kashmir called POK.

Lastly:
According to principles, the meaning of patriot is ‘someone who loves his country and feels very loyal towards it’. The people who want accession with any other country can not be called a patriot by the sons and daughters of soil.

Kashmiri nation: A triangular hostage? (written in August 1992)

This article was written in 1992 and is part of my first English work “Kashmir: The Unveiling of Truth”

A close study of Kashmir history reveals that for the last four centuries, this nation has been faced with many internal distresses difficult to bear. Owing to her rich natural resources, this land was also coveted by foreign intruders. The Mughals, the Afghans, the Sikhs and the Dogras, one after another carried incursion into the land subjecting the people to their rapacity. Kashmiris daring these invaders had to suffer the most inhuman punishment like getting skinned alive. The “civilized” British sold the land and its people in return for a few gold coins. While quitting the subcontinent, this imperialist country left behind the legacy of Kashmir problem which has not become the cause of suffering and privation of only the Kashmiris but owing to it hundreds of millions of people in India and Pakistan have become the victims of the ravages of three wars. This is precisely what the British imperialists wanted to do, meaning to keep the two emerging countries in constant acrimony, fighting between them and thus finding market for their arms. After the two get exhausted in fighting, they boss over them and perform the role of a mediator. In doing so, they control the economy of the subcontinent.

Anti-people rulers in both the countries helped the imperialists achieve their objectives by arraying their armies against each other. Thus both the countries lagged behind in the race for development and progress and now seem to be preparing for a fourth encounter. More than a thousand million people of the subcontinent locked a grim struggle for bare necessities pass their days under the looming clouds of life and death and in servitude of oppressive rulers. It is ultimately the poor of India, Pakistan or Kashmir, who are to bear the brunt.

Kashmir is caught between the devil and the deep sea. On the one hand, Indian security forces have unleashed a reign of terror on innocent people and on the other more than 150 armed groups have made their own compatriots hostages to the gun. They do not desist from assassinating one another. Yet from the third side, Pakistani rulers have taken Kashmiris on both sides as hostages to their accession to Pakistan. For this reason, this article bears the title given to it.

Entire Kashmir nation at the moment stands hostage to India, Pakistan and the armed group in the valley. All the three kidnappers want to bring the Kashmiri nation as also their own masses to the brink of a disastrous war. Clichés like freedom, integrity, security and religion are drummed up to drive the dumb millions of the subcontinent. For their mistakes, weaknesses and oppressive machinations, all the three anti-people parties are trying to pass the buck in to those who stand for a peaceful solution of the issue.

Let us now deal with each one of the three parties. First we examine the stand of India. As a nonaligned and the largest democratic country, India is generally shown regard by the comity of nations. (If any Pakistani feels angry on saying so, we can’t help it but the facts are facts). Even in Islamic countries, India commands some respect. In the veins of India’s economy, there is a thick stream from Middle East countries. But because of Kashmir question, India’s image as a nonaligned country and a big democracy could get tarnished. It appears that Indian rulers, bureaucracy and politicians do not want to or cannot learn a lesson from history. They want to suppress people’s uprising in Kashmir through imperialist policy of unleashing brute force, oppression and incarceration. The result is that the respect and dignity which India enjoyed owing to her neutrality and democracy has been eroded by the atrocious behaviour of her security forces leading to violation of human rights in Kashmir. Various human rights organizations are issuing reports detailing human rights violations perpetrated by the Indian security forces in Kashmir.

In 1992, Amnesty International issued a 195-page report under the title “India: Torture, Rape & Deaths in Custody.” The report covers the instances of violation of human rights by the Indian security forces like torture, custodial deaths and rapes all over India. In regard to Kashmir, the report says as this: ” Yesterday I discharged a patient, aged 18-20, who had been in this hospital for three months. Twenty per cent or more of his body had suffered deep burns from a hot iron press; these burns were so serious that I and other doctors had only just succeeded in saving his life. He had also been shot at with a bullet in the armpit. His torturing with the cloth-iron had all been done during interrogation by the regular army at Sopor”. This interview had been given in December 1990 in Srinagar hospital by a doctor. Further, on page 21 of the report, we find this: ” Mobina Ghani told one reporter: We were crying bitterly. I told them I had not yet seen my husband, but they did not listen. Four to six persons raped me, I think.” Under the title ‘Death in custody’, particulars of 27 persons have been given who died as a result of torture in the custody of security forces. This all is happening in Kashmir where the fighting continues. Even in Delhi, it was reported that 73 persons were killed while in police custody and 61 in Madhya Pradesh. Hence with these stories around, it is unrealistic to agree with the Indian authorities that nothing is happening in Kashmir. The stories of oppression against the Kashmiris by the Indian security forces and for which proofs are available on global level, are labeled as propaganda against the security forces by the authorities. This is not acceptable. In the Al Safa of September 18, one K.L. Koul issued an appeal from a refugee camp in Jammu which was signed by many respectable persons of Pandit community. (It is pertinent to note that these are the very Kashmiri Pandits who are displaced from their homes and land owing to Kashmir issue). The appeal said,” We join Shri Koul and strongly condemn the atrocities that are being unleashed on our brothers by the Indian occupation forces.”

Not only this, various human rights groups in India itself have protested against the violation of human rights by the Indian security forces. The reports of Justice Tarkunde and of the Civil Liberties Group are a scar on the forehead of Indian democracy. India’s identity as a country of non-violence as preached by Gandhi and Nehru is also getting tarnished in the world opinion. Gandhiji had gone on fast unto death in order to stop Hindu-Muslim riots in Calcutta. In regard to Kashmir, he had categorically said,:

“Kashmiris will have to be given their right according to their wishes. If it means shrinking of India in terms of territory, let it be. If her soul is pure and just, India can become the cradle of non-violence. If India cannot keep the Kashmiri people acetified, then her image will be distorted in the eyes of the world community”. (Quoted from Atesh-e-Chinar)

Would the Indian intellectuals, peace loving people and followers of Gandhiji, upholders of human rights and lovers of justice and freedom in India, like to ponder over the oppression of Kashmiri people by the Indian security forces keeping in mind what Gandhiji had said? Will they keep in mind the condemnation of these atrocities on international level and realize that the predictions made by Gandhiji is coming out true. Is not India’s peace-loving and democratic face getting distorted. India should not also forget the announcement of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in which he had upheld the right of self-determination of Kashmiris and said, “Kashmiri nation is not a herd of sheep who India or Pakistan would like to drive according to their wishes. Kashmiris are intelligent and brave people who have every right to remain free and self-determined “ the light of these realities, Indian politicians, sympathizers, intellectuals and rulers need to reconsider their policy on Kashmir and accept the right of Kashmiris to self-determination so that the face of Gandhiji’s India is not distorted.

Let us now take into consideration the position of the other party which has made Kashmiris hostages to its aspirations. Basically, the gun had been taken up in Kashmir for acquiring and protecting freedom, self determination and the human and other rights of Kashmiris. But gradually we found that the same gun instead of protecting and guaranteeing the freedom and the rights of people, became the source of their oppression and tyranny. No fewer than 154 organizations sprang up in Kashmir. Instead of becoming united, Kashmiri people got further divided into groups for petty differences. Instead of providing the masses any alternative programme of easing their problems, they were further made to carry the weight of strikes. Having received a few days training instead of intensive guerrilla training, some youthful mujahideen became emotional and fired at security forces while mingling up with crowds. In this way they made the civilian groups as targets of the bullets of security forces. Not only this, the rich library and science laboratory of Islamia College were set on fire apart from torching many other school and college buildings in the valley arguing that security forces camped in them. Indeed the security forces occupied the destroyed premises while schools and colleges which are precious gifts for the nation, were reduced to ashes. It was poverty of strategy and understanding which resulted in exchanging fire with the security forces from the library of Hazratbal shrine with the result that the magnificent library of the shrine was destroyed.

Let us also cast a glance on the social character of the movement. From the ranks of the movement launched to obtain the lofty objectives of freedom, activists began interfering in domestic and personal and mundane matters. They became parties in husband and wife conflicts. Previously what the Congress and National Conference goons used to do was replicated by the gun totting youth. Trees felled in forests were loaded in trucks and brought to towns by timber smugglers declaring that the truckloads are for such and such mujahid or militant organization. In this way forests, which are the property of the people and on which depends the life of future generations, were cleansed of trees. People began to be kidnapped at the point of gun in order to pay huge sums. The conviction of the mujahideen is also worth noting. Those who called themselves mujahids till the day of their arrest, became the veiled informers for the security forces just a day later and rode their vehicles for identifying their comrades in arms.

Towns were brought under severe economic pressures. Hundreds of people suffered for want of basic requirements forcing them to penury and deprivation. Many senior citizens were kidnapped which obviously deprived the movement from being considered for substantial support on international plane. By kidnapping and murdering intellectuals, doctors, professors, vice chancellor and civil servants, the bloody struggle failed to win international support as a national liberation movement. Only some human rights organizations speak about the violation of human rights. Then also ensued inter-gang kidnapping and killing of activists which caused a severe damage to the national liberation movement. Ninety-year old elderly Maulana Masoodi was done to death. Strangely enough, the leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Mr. Gilani offered ‘fateha’ at the grave of Maulana and condemned his killing. Not only that, the entire property of the disabled son of the Maulana was set on fire. Mir Waiz Maulana Muhammad Farooq also fell to their bullets. Mr. Mohammad Shaban Vakil, the editor of Al Safa was gunned down in his office for speaking and writing the truth. The blood of Mir Mustafa was spilled and a practicing doctor of the minority community, Mr. Koul was called from his house and gunned down along with his wife. Apart from this people were done to death for personal vendetta, family feuds or after labelling them as informers. A girl of the minority community named Rosy was raped and then she, her mother and her father all the three were gunned down. The people of Kashmir came out of their houses in protest on this brutal killing but they were silenced by telling them that the victims were “Indian agents”. Thus instead of meting out justice and fighting against tyranny and barbarism, the heinous crime and brutality was sought to be put under cover. But one should appreciate the courage of Kashmiri women who brought out a strong demonstration on the roads in protest of the killing of Rosy and her parents. Oppression is oppression whosoever does it.

Those who swear by justice and Islamic system should remember that during the caliphate of Hazrat Omar, the Governor of Egypt had ordered lashing of an innocent person. The caliph ordered that the victim should strike the lashes on the back of the Governor. In fact once Hazrat Omar had not hesitated to lash his own son who collapsed under the torture and died. But today in Kashmir, the so-called Islamists kidnap one another’s people and kill them calling it Islam. Akhtar Rasul and Mohammad Rashid were kidnapped and murdered. Both had obtained Ph.D degree in Arabic. What service was rendered to Islam by kidnaping and then killing the brother of Maulavi Javed?. Malik Maqbool of Operation Balakot was not only brutally killed but his eye was gouged out and his beard was burnt. This brutal act had evoked large scale public resentment. The secretary -general of Tahreek Hurriyat (Freedom Movement), Mr. Azam Inquilabi, resigned from his post saying that unless the assassins of Maulavi Farooq, Muhammad Shaban Vakil and Malik Maqbool were publicly hanged in Lal Chowk, they would continue to remain outside the Tehreek Hurriyat Union. The same Azam Inquilabi, who has dedicated his whole life to national interests, was in tears when he heard about the killing of Malik Maqbool. In this connection we would do well to bring to mind what the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has instructed, ” Do not desecrate dead bodies” or ” Do not kill like barbarians. The holy Quran also asks people to desist from shedding the blood of the innocent.

But in my Kashmir, armed groups have unleashed the tyranny and brutality of the days of Chengiz, all in the name of freedom of Kashmir. Malik Maqbool was kept in custody for eight days and finally made a target of terrorism. He was killed brutally and in most inhuman manner. Will the Kashmiri nation have the courage to ask the so-called mujahids of freedom whether Kashmir would win freedom by kidnapping one another and then killing them? The movement was initiated suddenly without any concrete planning and far- reaching strategy. Naturally anti-movement events could not be avoided to happen.

I wrote in 1990 that with the help of the gun we have established our bravado but now there was the need for civil disobedience greater than the gun so that we could register international support. One could clearly foresee that disorganized and undisciplined armed groups would succumb to personal and group interests instead of remaining steadfast to the objective of freedom, and in doing so, they would indulge in killing one another. This is precisely what they are doing. Even a more dangerous dimension of the situation is that evidence is being provided to show that Pakistan is involved in the affair. For example celebrating 14 August (the independence day of Pakistan), naming armed groups as Zia Tigers or Qaid-e-Azam Tigers etc Naturally India presents these acts to the world as proof that Pakistan is manoeuvring the movement in Kashmir and that the question is not of the freedom of Kashmiris. We must remember that if the Kashmiri nation continues the struggle in the name of accession and not in the name of freedom and self-determination, it will not meet with any success even if the struggle goes on for a century more.

One fails to understand why religious fanaticism should take precedence over religious tolerance when essentially this is a war for national freedom. What does it mean asking Mr. Narasimha Rao through the newspapers to convert to Islam? What do the Jamaat-I-Islami activists want to achieve by inviting mujahideen from Afghanistan and other countries to join the freedom war in Kashmir? Do they want to drag Pakistan into a war and thus contrive the destruction of both the countries? By involving such elements in the struggle as would create the impression that the struggle is not of Kashmiris but of some other agency, would only bring untold suffering and destruction of Kashmiris. The movement will not be able to find any support on international plane despite making so many sacrifices.

One reason for this debacle is the anti-freedom activities. Is not Jamaat-e-Islami satisfied with the genocide in Afghanistan so that she must now turn its guns on Kashmir.? Let us cast a glance at the record of past three years of the Jamaatis and other pro-Pak parties. It will show that these parties have been fighting less against the Indian forces and more against pro-freedom parties in Kashmir. Patriotic Kashmiris have not only been killed, but their eyes have been gouged out, beards burnt and their bodies blasted by bombs blasts.

In order to rescue the movement from this cauldron of disaster, there is the great need of patriotic and freedom loving nationalists on both sides to galvanize themselves into action. These nationalist forces want to see Kashmir free and sovereign and have also made valuable sacrifices for that purpose. Otherwise Kashmir will be divided in the name of religion becoming a slave either of one or the other. Is it not possible for the nationalist and pro-freedom Kashmiris to abandon their superficial differences and their egos and unite into a single force? These elements should have clear understanding of economic and social problems arising from this disorderly war. For example, our Pandit brothers and sisters, driven out or having come out as a result of fear, are living in camps in a state of utter helplessness. In terms of nationhood, Kashmiri Pandits are our brother and their womenfolk are our sisters and mothers. The Pandits born and brought up in Kashmir are as much the inheritors of Kashmir as those who are fighting her national liberation war.

Apart from this, there are other economic problems in the valley like labour, tourism and dependence on local productions for sustenance of life. There are serious problems of the labour class in Kashmir. The situation has now come close to starvation. The slaves of blind force have never cared to ponder on the problems of these destitute compatriots. Addressing these problems is not necessary only for the reason of enlisting public support for the movement but more so because India would not be able to bend the people. By overlooking these problems, the Indian rulers will weaken the spirit of Kashmiris and disfigure it . Furthermore by taking the people as hostages and denying them the right of expression of freedom, you would yourselves become the enemies of the freedom movement.

I make a humble appeal to you that by the methods you have adopted, freedom will not dawn upon us; we may leave behind some stories of ‘bravery’, some stories of heart-rending tortures, a saga of helplessness of widows and orphans, and nothing more. Therefore, not only I, but every sensible and conscientious Kashmiris thinks that not the gun but civil disobedience would ensure our freedom. Everybody knows that the gun has made Kashmiris its hostage and unless true mujahideen liberate the people from this hostage syndrome, the masses in Kashmir will not be able to attain freedom either from India or Pakistan. Before making final analysis, I would like to tell Kashmiri people something about the attitude and the policy of Pakistan, the third party which has made them its hostage. I would also like to present some facts about the economic condition of Pakistan which may, in all probability, cause some pain to some blind followers of Pakistan in Kashmir. Facts are as bright as the sun whether we accept them or not. The sun must cast its rays and if we call autumn by its proper name, it does not mean betrayal of the garden.

Common and committed Kashmiris are in a delusion that Pakistani rulers are in favour of the right of self-determination for the Kashmiris. This, in fact, is only propaganda and if we make its practical analysis, we will find that the attitude of Pakistani rulers towards Kashmiris is nothing different from that of the Indians. If in the Indian constitution of the Indian held Kashmir loyalty to accession with India and its inseparability from the Indian Union have been stipulated, In Azad Kashmir taking an oath in accordance with the interim constitution of 1974, particularly number 7 sub-section 2 which stipulates allegiance to state’s accession to Pakistan. No person or party in the state is permitted to work against the concept of its accession to Pakistan. In POK, nobody can fight election without signing the oath of states accession to Pakistan. In 1984, some of my friends suggested that I fight election from Murree on a mohajir seat, I declined it owing to the condition of signing the oath as mentioned above. After my refusal, Farooq Shah fought on that seat and won it. Furthermore, the President and Prime Minister of POK are also required to sign the oath document in accordance with pages 47 and 48 of the same interim constitution which stipulates loyalty to state’s accession to Pakistan and loyalty to Pakistan. In such a situation, no law anywhere in the world will accept the stand that a country supports the right of self-determination of a people but in the same breath considers its right of self-determination as accession with the same country. This attitude of Pakistani rulers can in no case be considered supportive of our freedom. All that one can say is that Pakistan wants to help us in making us her slave.

Kashmiris should also take into account the treatment of Pakistani rulers with the people of Gilgit and Baltistan in the context of POK. If they fail to realize what has been happening in these areas since 1947, then of course I should be excused in saying that the Kashmiris are not alive in their conscience. In mildest terms you deserve to be called followers of blind faith and in more reasonable terms you would be called an instrument of foreign countries in your own home. Pakistani rulers, first of all detached Gilgit and Baltistan from POK thus creating an ideological gulf between the people of the two regions. Relations of political fraternity between them were weakened. For nearly 25 years ( up to 1975) Pakistan imposed its rule over the area under Federal Crimes Regulation (FCR) by deputing an official of the rank of a secretary or deputy secretary as Resident. In true footprints of the British imperial colonial system, a secretary or deputy secretary level Resident in Northern Areas was combining in himself everything, the court, the law and the government. When the period of autocratic residency came to an end, the people of Gilgit and Baltistan continued to be denied their rights. All that happened was that the nomenclature Resident was replaced by Administrator who became the arbiter of the destiny of the people there. It may be a news to the people world over that nearly 1.5 million population of Gilgit and Baltistan still do not have the right to seek justice in the Supreme court of POK or Pakistan. In other words the doors of justice for the people of these areas are closed after the Sessions Court. Thereafter they are at the mercy of the Administrator.

On the economic front, the situation is that there is no industry or factory. Means of production are nonexistent. On the educational front , a university or medical college or engineering college is a dream. If any bright student wants to continue his further education, he is relegated to quota system which sends him to some far off nook of Pakistan to receive higher education, thousands of miles away from his native place. Then he gets cut off from his cultural environs of Gilgit and Baltistan invariably forgetting his path of return to his native place. In short Pakistani rulers have adopted the same policy and norms of treatment towards the people of Gilgit and Baltistan as had been adopted by the British towards their colonies including India. Pakistani rulers took the people of these areas as slaves inherited with transfer of power. The truth is that in 1947 the people of Gilgit and Baltistan staged an uprising against the rule of the Maharaja without assistance from anybody. They had liberated the entire area. But unfortunately they themselves invited the Pakistani rulers to send their representative to Gilgit and Baltistan with the result that the people in these areas are reaping the fruit of this Himalayan blunder to this day.

Let us have a look at Azad Kashmir. The Ministry of Kashmir Affairs has been created only to bring political jugglers to loggerheads thereby subjugating them to the will of the secretary of that ministry. Even an ordinary functionary of this ministry makes the ministers and advisers of Azad Kashmir to dance to his tune. The type of ‘fraternity’, ‘Islamic brotherhood’ and ‘ sympathy ‘ shown and demonstrated by the Pakistani rulers with Azad Kashmir is fully reflected in the statements of the Azad Kashmir politicians themselves.

(It has to be noted that no freedom -loving Kashmiri calls that part as Azad Kashmir but as Pakistan occupied Kashmir or POK). Here are a few examples of the statements of AK ministers.

The Dawn of Karachi, in its issue of August 21, 1991, published a statement of a former Prime Minister of AK in which he had demanded the royalty on Mangla Dam from Pakistan government. The amount computed at nearly 40 thousand million rupees. An interesting facet of this statement was the revelation that the government of Pakistan had not till date given its share to AK from central revenue tax fund though according to the Pakistani constitution each province of Pakistan and the territories of the federation are to receive from this fund their share according to the respective population proportion. This share of AK comes to nearly 32 thousand million rupees. The former AK Prime Minister also said that the property of AK in Pakistan’s possession valued at tens of millions of rupees. AK has not been paid the rent on this property till date. Again on August 23, Mumtaz Rathore, the then Prime Minister of AK demand in a press conference that Gilgit and Baltistan be merged into AK and Pakistan should withdraw her troops from that area. The Dawn of Karachi reported that Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan demanded in a public meeting that the ministry of Kashmir Affairs be dissolved because, as he put it, the ministry was working against the interests of Kashmiri people. The Jung of London reported in its issue of August 11, 1991 ” that Sardar Qayyum Khan said in Lahore that there was neither any literature on Kashmir available in Pakistani embassies abroad nor was the embassy staff interested in making available any concrete information on this issue”.

Thus such demands are being occasionally made by AK politicians. Recently as a result of persistent demand made by the people in NWFP, the province was paid an amount of four thousand million rupees as royalty on Tarbela dam. If the people of AK speak of payment of royalty to them on Mangla Dam, they are branded as traitors. Furthermore, after signing the Shimla Agreement, the regular army of AK was disbanded and amalgamated with Pakistan army. The personnel were then forced to sign the accession to Pakistan documents certainly against their free will. Having done that, the rulers in Pakistan did not provide a single medical or engineering college or a technical institute to the forty lakh people of Gilgit and Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. Radio and Television station are far off things. Even the namesake university is no better than an intermediate college. About industries in AK, there is not even a single industrial unit which could be called as employment generating unit.

But of course, in order to evade payment of taxes, a few Pakistani entrepreneurs have established a factory for assembling motor parts of Vespa scooter. There are a few units producing plastic bags. In AK, there was the scope of establishing sheep and cattle rearing farms which could supply milk products and mutton not only to Pakistan but also to the Middle East countries. This is being deliberately neglected to stay put economic enslavement of the people of AK. People of AK are generally seen taking up menial jobs like Chowkidars, Hotel bearers, Dish-washers etc. in Pakistani cities. Many of them are also forced to abandon their native place and proceed to foreign countries in search of a livelihood. Through the sweat of their brow, they earn some money and the foreign remittances come to Pakistan where Pakistani rulers swindle them thus killing two birds with one stone. The hardships borne by these self-exiled Kashmiris are innumerable. They are often overtaken by frustration and are unable to think about the freedom of their motherland. And if a small section among these émigrés does think about Kashmir, it is only about the freedom of the Indian part and the prevailing oppression there as propagated by Pakistani media. If some ‘recalcitrant’ fellow refuses to fall in this trap, he is sure to be branded as Indian agent, enemy of Islam and a communist.

In the name of freedom Indian occupied Kashmir, the people of AK, Gilgit and Baltistan have been subjugated to worst type of economic and political slavery. The unfortunate people, bereft of medicate and economic comforts have been made to indulge in infighting only to catapult this or that person to political leadership of AK and all this in the name of freedom for Indian part of Kashmir. Who is there that would not appreciate the art mastered by these ‘venerable’ politicians of AK?

Sometime in July 1983, I was arrested and brought to Rawalpindi. A ban on my entering AK was imposed and I was set free. I hid myself in a truck carrying cement bags and travelling by night arrived in Rawlakot. Addressing a public gathering I said, ” You people of Kashmir, you are spread out in Europe and the Middle East. You remit crores of dollars in foreign exchange which is more valuable than the very blood in the economic veins of Pakistan. But you are not given an industry in AK which could provide employment and means of subsistence for your future generations. You must not forget that when your earning in a foreign country comes to an end or when remittances are stopped, then you will have to sell your property, refrigerators. TVs and other household goods in the bazaars of Rawalpindi and you will have to borrow money to pay for the carriage. Think of your future generations who will have nothing to sell and they want and necessity will force them to become highway robbers and looters”. At the moment, a majority of people from AK is to be found in Europe, the Middle East and the US. They are passing through a difficult phase; they are rendering hard labour and saving each penny and are remitting billions of dollars by way of foreign exchange to Pakistani governments annually. But till date no such scheme of employment has been conceived and implemented which could provide assured means of subsistence to the future generations and save them from moving from pillar to post. Even today when a Kashmiri in the Middle East loses his job or gives it up, he cannot find an employment here despite the fact that he is very hard working and talented. He subsists on a chunk of money he has saved from his earnings abroad and then gradually begins to dispose off his wife’s ornaments, household goods etc. Then he begins paying regular visits to some recruiting agency. This practice has been continuing for last the 25 years and now even the second generation of émigrés is also faced with the same situation.

There does not exist any women’s hospital for the medical treatment of our sisters and mothers. In the town there is a small number of lady doctors who can be counted on finger tips. But in rural and mountainous areas, where people, young, old, children and women are afflicted with various diseases, have no medicate and left to their fate, the candle of their lives gets extinguished while their near and dear ones watch them in a helpless situation. Many of my friends living abroad occasionally pay a visit to their families. Generally during these visits, they have been seen accompanying their elderly parents or sisters and brothers to Rawalpindi to provide them medical treatment. Half the period of their holidays is spent on this exercise and soon they are forced to part company with their dear ones and carry back the sad reflections and pain of their suffering again to work and earn and send foreign exchange for the comfort of Pakistani rulers. Those who talk about the accession of the entire state to Pakistan despite distinctly perceiving how they remain enchained in economic fetters, in truth want to support further political and economic strangulation of my countrymen. And they want to legalize all this so that loot and plunder of Kashmiris becomes more rampant. Now you must consider whether such people would be called the sympathizers and well-wishers of Kashmiris?

Sometimes we hear some murmur about religious links with Pakistan being raised by those who have taken the Kashmiris as their hostage—the third party. Let us remember that Hekmatyar, Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Masud too are Musalmans and so are the people of Afghanistan. All of them have fought against Najib and Russia for twelve years. But today the mujahideen, surcharged with the sentiment of ‘jehad’ are mercilessly killing Afghan children, women and old people. Hekmatyar rained rockets on Kabul killing innocent Afghans and destroying thousands of houses. All this should be an eye-opener for Kashmiris. If the seeds of hatred on the basis of religion are sown in Kashmir, then Islam will, undoubtedly be used for superficial political ends only. This will not cause only permanent destruction of Kashmir dragging it into the vortex of communal strife, but it will also bring defamation to Islam throughout the world. When different groups of Muslims will be fighting among themselves and a non-Muslim will appeal to them to spare the hospitals so that the patients could be provided medical aid, then in such a situation no service will be done to the cause of Islam. (It will be recalled that when the Muslim commanders in Afghanistan were raining rockets on one another owing to their differences, the representative of Red Cross Mr. John Micheal Mono, appealed to them not to attack the hospitals).

Again we see that Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran are also Muslim countries. But in the Gulf War, first the Iraqis began destroying Kuwaitis and thereafter Kuwaitis and Saudis inviting the assistance of the US and other big powers in the west started the massacre of Iraqis. An Islamic state even gave a billion dollars dole to the super powers in order to perpetuate genocide in Iraq. Iran and Iraq also waged a bloody war for a decade which took a toll of about 1.2 million Musulmans.

For God’s sake do not bring defamation to a holy and humane religion of Islam which teaches goodwill for the entire humanity by using it for group interests and power politics and blind interests. Do not complicate the work and life of those who are rendering dispassionate service in the propagation of Islam. Do not make things difficult for the Muslims living in western countries. Owing to submission to group interests and sectarian proclivities leading to killing co-religionists, the Muslims all over the world are branded as terrorists and their religion as violent. This is a travesty of the truth. Islam is based on principles of humanism, tolerance and mutual respect. The holy Quran says that” shedding innocent blood is shedding the blood of entire humanity “. The holy Prophet (PBUH) had, in a battle, spread out his sheet for a prisoner woman. He forbade making women, children and elderly people as prisoners of war. But contrary to these teachings, a puritanical person like Malik Maqbool was kidnaped, tortured and finally butchered. His beard was burnt. Is this all permitted by the holy Quran or habit? Should not the Kashmiri nation put this question to those who claim to be the upholders of Islam?

The truth is that this is a dirty game of politicians, the game of one-upmanship and the politics of power. Generally common people are justice loving, honest and peace-loving. Political groups are not able to register support of the common man if they disclose the true nature of their intentions and schemes. As such, they take recourse sometimes to religion and sometimes to the rhetoric of economic development and sometimes in the name of nationalism fomenting antagonistic feelings in them and incite them to violence.

The most unfortunate part is that a common man becomes a victim because of his simplicity and honesty. He has golden dreams of the future and therefore falls a prey to group politics. The result is that such people do not only go astray from the right path but virtually take the path of murder, loot, oppression and atrocities. Naturally they have to pay the price of their dreams. This has been happening with the poor and ordinary people generation after generation. Who can say how long this exploitation may continue unless the poor and oppressed people become aware of their rights, their value and their consciousness which would enable them to call the exploiters to account. Then only can they identify them in whatever disguise they might appear.

Therefore nothing can be achieved by making Kashmir issue a religious issue and then dragging the entire subcontinent into the destructive flames of a war. By declaring jehad and by inviting the Afghans into Kashmir, all that the Kashmiris and the people of the entire subcontinent will face would be the destruction of war. They will sink further deep into economic backwardness. In this connection, it would be only relevant to reproduce from the August 1 diary of the elderly Pakistani journalist, Habibu’r-Rahman. He writes that” Pakistan has entered the worst phase of her economic crisis. She is virtually standing on the threshold of bankruptcy. Asian Development Bank has disclosed that Pakistan owes nearly 50 billion dollars by way of foreign debt, surely a whopping figure. In the previous year, Pakistan suffered nearly 230 thousand million dollars as trade deficit. Service charges on debts amounts to 150 thousand million dollars annually. The analyst writes that if this trend is not arrested , then it may be difficult to meet our defence requirements; there would be no foreign reserves to meet the expenditures on account of purchase of new weapons and spare parts for the existing weapons”. Mr. Habibu’-Rahman has also spoken about the religious frenzy raging supreme in Pakistan and has warned that like Iraq, Pakistan has come to the brink of disaster. Here we reproduce some interesting observations of this journalist.

“Our foolhardiness and lack of prudence have reached the limit that for last six months we have been repeatedly speaking about atomic weapons of Kazakhstan trying to make the people believe that in a situation of need, we could make use of these. As such, Pakistanis had to fear none. This is a massive self-delusion and misleading the simple folks of Pakistan through a conspiracy. In the past, nobody came to our help when we were faced with predicament and if there befalls any new misfortune, nobody will have the need to come to our rescue. There appears no logic in presuming that others would offer themselves to replace us. It is imperative that we adopt an attitude of self-comprehension and understanding if we want to ward off any calamity looming large on our head. There is hardly any sense of gloating over the victory in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has not won; she is destroyed, her economy is torn into shreds. The defence minister is asking for donations to pay the salary of his soldiers. Scarcity of food grains has created conditions of famine. If external aid does not reach Afghanistan, then the lives of thirty lakh Afghans would be threatened with starvation. According to a UN report, there are no funds available to defuse millions of land mines in Afghanistan. Even if the requisite funds are made available, it would take more than ten years to defuse these mines. All roads in that country are damaged and most of the bridges are broken. Despite this grave picture of all round destruction, civil war continues to be waged with all the fury. And look at us. We are bragging of bringing gas via Afghanistan or running trains to Central Asia via Afghanistan. This is all like building castles in the air. One purpose of these bragging could be to divert the attention of simple folks from economic issues like rising prices. This is also a device of not allowing the people to take up core issues “.

Some weeks ago, an educated lady was participating in a friendly talk on independent Kashmir. Referring to my articles, she put a question to me,” Do you want that we should forget Kashmir whose songs we have been singing in our childhood? By way of reply I asked her if she meant that in return of the songs she had sung for Kashmir, we should hand over Kashmir to her. She tried to change the wavelength. She said that once she had approached me in connection with her research on Pakistani nationals in Holland. In reply I said that I was not a Pakistani but a Kashmiri. I asked her if she wanted to speak in the context of myself being a Kashmiri, I would have no hesitation to respond. In short all that I brought home to her was that I was proud of being a Kashmiri and I make my identity known to all without any fear and hesitation.

What I mean to say is that this kind of thinking persists in Pakistan that we sang songs for you, hence you shift Kashmir to us or that letter ‘K’ is to be found in the name of our country and that Quaid-e-Azam had called Kashmir the lifeline of Pakistan, therefore we in Kashmir should accede to Pakistan even if Pakistan is not going to find support on international level for Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Even if the Pakistani nation is itself destroyed the pro-Pakistani Kashmiris will go on raising the slogan of accession to Pakistan. Evidently this type of thinking will bring the whole subcontinent to the brink of annihilation.

Therefore all the three parties, India, Pakistan and the armed groups in Kashmir shall have to make some introspection. It is of utmost necessity that a common front of all progressive elements, peace-lovers, poor masses, intellectuals, students, sincere politicians of the South Asian region should be formed who would fight against the warmongers and pressurize both India and Pakistan to withdraw their forces from Kashmir. They should be goaded into banishing war from the subcontinent. Indian citizens shall have to make strenuous effort to bring a halt to the violation of human rights in Kashmir and the oppression of the Kashmiris at the hands of the security forces shall have to be resisted. Bunkers made by security forces in the streets and lanes of Kashmir shall have to be removed. If bunkers are not there, armed groups would not attack those sites. All political prisoners shall have to be set free. The political process inside Kashmir, too, shall have to be liberated so that the masses get an opportunity of expressing themselves.

The people of Pakistan, too, shall have to stand up to religious fanaticism. They must protest against raising of the cries of jehad and against the decision of dispatching thirty thousand Afghan mujahideen into Kashmir so that Kashmir issue does not end up in a disastrous war between the two countries.

Solution of Kashmir through division has to be discouraged. Instead an assembly comprising peoples’ representatives from all the regions (Jammu, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan, valley and Azad Kashmir) should be empowered to take a decision about the future of the state. The issue has risen out of the division of the state, and the control by various countries of the parts of its territory. Owing to the existence of regional cultures, religions and local specificities, the entire question has become very complicated. Such complicated questions are not solved through wars and through acts of destruction but through patience and mutual understanding. On both the sides, resistance to the nefarious designs of warmongers and religious fanatics should be launched.

To the armed groups inside Kashmir, my humble submission to them would be to make some patient introspection. They should evaluate and analyze their past struggle. Those leaders who are today talking about civil disobedience, I most help them recollect that way back in 1990, I had advised the activists to launch a civil disobedience movement. The question that will be asked is what did you gain after shedding the blood of thousands of people during these three years?

However, instead of continue killings, kidnapping, and spoiling and arraying against one another, recourse should be taken to launching a peoples’ movement and expression of opinion for one’s rights. Kashmiris involved in accession movements should wriggle themselves out of these and stop singing to the tunes of other people. They must think for their own people and for the betterment and in the interests of their own country. By celebrating August 14 under certain impulse of emotion and allowing thirty precious lives to be destroyed may give a momentary emotional satisfaction but this is certainly going to leave behind negative impact on the freedom movement. On international level, this type of event reinforces India’s argument that this movement is being carried out at the behest of Pakistan. Have we ever tried to put this simple question to ourselves? Is not celebrating the independence day of others as one’s own Independence Day a kind of mental slavery?