Kashmir issue has become Damocles sword hanging on the heads of nearly 1.35 thousand million people of the subcontinent. Any dangerous event like that of hijacking of an Indian airliner in December 1999 can bring the two countries to the brink of a destructive atomic war. And if that happens, the people of the entire subcontinent will go a century backward. Apart from that, the future generations will have to bear the brunt of this catastrophe for many centuries to come. The people of the entire subcontinent will be afflicted with poverty, ignorance, hunger and disease. The cause of all this destruction will be the Kashmir issue.
On both sides, precious resources are diverted to stockpiling of arms and preparations for war machine. An ugly turn that this issue is likely to take is that of wrecking the communal harmony and the sentiment of peaceful coexistence of different religious entities in the subcontinent. If religious sentiments of the people of the subcontinent in general and in India in particular, are aroused, and the people are set to cut one another’s throat, the results will be only horrible. The world will write us off as human beings. We will be called semi-brutes and beasts and nothing less.
We must know it clearly that if we fight a war on the basis of religion against Indians in or outside Kashmir, then evidently we are doing nothing short of issuing a death warrant against 200 million Muslims of India. We will be playing with the lives, honour, dignity and future of these Muslims. The Kashmir’s must make an assessment of the happenings of last ten years. Our achievement during this period is nothing but death and destruction, mutilated bodies and decimated habitats, increasing number of widows and orphans, razing of school buildings to the ground and wrecking of institutions of public utility. Bombs and guns have rent our social structure as under.
In order to restore the dignity of Kashmiri nation, honour and respect of our mothers and daughters, and to restart our lives with a futuristic vision, we need peace and order enabling us to move ahead on the path of progress. We need to enter the new millennium along with other communities and societies. We need to get rid of bomb blasts, gun culture, destructive philosophy and negative approach. Intellectuals in both the countries and also those in Kashmir shall have to ponder over this situation in all seriousness. The question is did the people of India and Pakistan gain anything by prolonged animosity for last half a century? Do human problems get resolved by blasting bombs, firing guns and shedding innocent blood? A destructive war has ravaged a beautiful country like Afghanistan, and turned it into a heap of rubble. Nuclear bombs, too, have not been able to resolve the differences between the two countries. All that they could achieve through nuclearisation was to keep the pot of dissension simmering. The Kashmir’s, too, shall have to come out of a syndrome of sentimentalism and realize that without ideological and intellectual guidance it will be impossible to arrive at the destination. How long are we going to let our generations grope in darkness? We must ask ourselves a simple question: whether by just raising pro-communal slogans and shedding the blood of some innocent people in the name of religion, has any religion been eradicated from the surface of the earth lock, stock and barrelo? In Europe, many wars were fought. But ultimately they realized that there was no escape from peaceful coexistence among people of various faiths.
We the Kashmir’s have to take a decision whether we have to remain silent spectators of the ongoing fighting and thus, in the eyes of our future generations, become responsible for their destruction? What happened in Afghanistan? In the name of religion and sect, the Afghans turned their homeland into ruins. Should we expect that those with no qualms of conscience for turning their homeland into ruins will bring us freedom or have the ability of resolving our human problems? Support to this type of thinking will result only in the kind of bomb blasts that happened in Batmaloo in the first week of January 2000. In this bomb blast, along with some security force personnel, no less than 17 Kashmir’s were also killed. Imagine the condition of those parents whose dear ones were torn into pieces by this bomb blast. What will be the condition of the parents when they come to collect the severed limbs of the victims of blast. Therefore if we choose to become silent spectators today, then we are criminals in the eyes of our future generations.
Restoration of peace is of utmost importance in the subcontinent. A solution is needed that would satisfy all the three parties and ensure their honorable and secure life. Staking my thirty-year political career, I would like to make some proposals for bringing immediate peace and relief to the human beings in this strife torn land. I for one is prepared to sacrifice my life for the protection and welfare of the people of the subcontinent and of Kashmir in particular, in order to liberate them from slavery and oppression. I opt for resolution of the issue through peaceful negotiations. I have already been struggling against innumerable odds and have been suffering many humiliations and accusations besides the privation of thirty years of life in exile but reiterating at every stage and every point of time the inevitability of resolving the dispute through peaceful negotiations.
I make a fervent appeal to the intellectuals of India and Pakistan that they should muster courage, as I do, and react on the suggestions stated below after giving them due thought. It is their moral duty to impress upon the people holding authority in both the countries to turn away from confrontational postures and address themselves to the Herculean problems of poverty, disease, ignorance, backwardness and economic deprivation afflicting the hundreds of millions of people in the subcontinent.
1. Both India and Pakistan should formally declare their acceptance of freezing the Kashmir dispute for next 20 years beginning with the millennium.
2. Both the countries should send back their regulars and paramilitaries to the barracks in parts of Jammu and Kashmir under their respective control.
3. All armed and unarmed foreign nationals should leave Kashmir forthwith. In order to realize this objective, both the countries should evolve a joint mechanism.
4. Adequate and viable steps be taken to stop extremist religious groups on both sides from indulging in campaigns of communal hatred against one another.
5. People in both the countries should be provided with a very liberal and easy system of obtaining visa for visiting their relatives, friends and kith and kin on both sides.
6. Both India and Pakistan should re-start bilateral dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues. Once Kashmir dispute is frozen, it should not be difficult for them to come to some understanding on the resolution of other issues.
7. India and Pakistan should open bilateral trade as early as possible. It should be supported by exchange of cultural delegations. The two approaches will undoubtedly help overcome the climate of suspicion and hatred that has been prevailing for a long time.
8. Both countries should immediately stop carrying out all antagonistic propaganda against each other.
9. Both the countries should stop supporting terrorist activities on their soil. Additionally, they should take stringent measures to curb the activities of such organizations as are known to be promoting terrorism and violence.
10. Both sides should constitute high power committees comprising political and economic experts and renowned intellectuals who will work towards changing the 53-years long mindset of hatred and animosity on both sides and create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence.
Towards resolution of Kashmir dispute
1. Both India and Pakistan should agree to give maximum quantum of autonomy for twenty years in the first instance to the people in Jammu and Kashmir under their respective control. Only defence, currency, foreign and communication should remain with the two states and all the remaining powers should be delegated to the people in Kashmir. Gilgat and Baltistan and Azad Kashmir should be brought under the ambit of one constituting assembly.
2. All political prisoners in Indian jails should be set free. Both the governments should provide information to the relatives of the people whose whereabouts are not known. People implicated in acts of terrorism and murder, should be brought to the book.
3. A system of liberal and easy issuance of permits be evolved by both India and Pakistan enabling the people on either side of the line of control to cross over and meet their relatives and friends.
4. People who have been driven out of their homes on either side of the control line in the wake of the events and partition of 1947 should be resettled at their places of origin in the State. In particular, people of various faiths like Pandits, Sikhs and Muslims, forced out of their homes during past ten years of turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir, should be brought back to their respective places, rehabilitated and illegal occupation of their lands and properties be immediately vacated. The Muslims of the valley, particularly those in the towns, should form local committees who will visit their Pandit neighbors in Jammu camps and entreat them to return to their places of origin promising them the safety of their life and honour. This is a religious and moral duty.
5. Kashmir’s should be given the right of expressing their wishes freely under the guiding principle of non-violence.
6. Kashmir’s on both sides should be provided with full support to reconstruct their shattered economy and developmental programs. They should also be supported to rebuild modern educational institutions.
7. A high power commission comprising intellectuals, politicians, economists, technocrats and social experts from India, Pakistan and Kashmir be constituted. Its term of reference would be to prepare the people of all the three regions, psychologically and practically for a permanent solution of Kashmir tangle by inviting viable proposals. The Commission would be entrusted with the mandate of finding a peaceful and lasting solution to Kashmir problem. Endorsement of any permanent solution by the Indian and Pakistani parliaments and the Legislative Assemblies of the two parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir would be an important condition.
1. In the wake of freezing Kashmir issue, a situation of armed confrontation between India and Pakistan would come to an end. The apprehension of accidental war will recede. All armed activities linked to Kashmir dispute will come to an end, which, in turn, would eschew the accusation and counter accusation syndrome between India and Pakistan.
2. In the absence of looming cloud of Kashmir issue, India and Pakistan will be facilitated to resolve their other pending bilateral issues. Easy visa system will help people travel across the line of control without fear and with all freedom. This would gradually minimize and fully remove the atmosphere of mutual suspicion and hatred prevailing for a long time.
3. Entering into trade relations for a period of twenty years would develop a climate of commercial brotherhood. This leads to developing of common interests in each other’s welfare and stability. At no cost should such carefully constructed relations be allowed to break.
4. People in the entire region will be relieved of the hanging sword of a destructive war. By diverting huge funds from building military machine to developmental plans, hundreds of millions of people will be delivered from hunger, disease, ignorance and unemployment.
5. Pakistan will get an opportunity of reconstructing her economy and repaying foreign debts to the tune of 52 billion dollars. India stands to gain by saving the huge military expenditures of Kashmir operation.
6. Kashmir does also stand to gain by agreeing a twenty-year freeze on Kashmir issue. The present state of undeclared war and its disastrous consequences in all walks of life must come to an end. Otherwise it is going to fragment the Kashmiri society and rent its social fabric asunder.
7. In the event of a disastrous war between India and Pakistan, the onus of total destruction of the subcontinent will be brought to the doorsteps of Kashmir’s only. It is bound to inflict severe damage to her profile and everything else. We have been impatiently waiting for freedom of Kashmir not for only 53 years but actually for nearly four centuries in the past. Another twenty-year wait would not be asking too much particularly when such a wait is expected to bring convincing results in train. Allowing the situation to drift the way it is going, undoubtedly means that Kashmir is heading towards fragmentation and ultimate destruction.
8. Those who will be most seriously affected by the ongoing state of things in Kashmir will be none but the Kashmir’s. If after giving sacrifices of 40 to 50 thousand precious lives over a period of ten years no Islamic country came to the rescue of Kashmir’s nor did it hurt the rest of the world, what then is the purpose of continuing a disastrous struggle?
Kashmir’s have to ponder over this question and decide.
I hope all elements seriously and sincerely interested in calling a halt to the catastrophic situation in Kashmir, will consider these proposals seriously and without sentiment, and make their input in their implementation. This will be a historic service to the cause of promotion of human rights and of preserving and protecting peace in the region. Let us join hands in this noble task. I would like to tell the people of Kashmir once again that I was the first Kashmiri active nationalist who hijacked an Indian airliner way back in 1971. As a youthful Kashmiri, I was also infused with the burning spirit of freedom of my motherland. But that incident opened my eyes and taught me a lesson, which I would have never otherwise learnt. It made me shun violence once for all, and take the path of non-violence for realizing any goal. It made me a humanist and a human rights activist. We shall not achieve anything by taking up arms for a fratricidal war and engineering the destruction of our motherland. Let us turn away from the path of violence and seek peace, security and prosperity of our oppressed people.
JK DEMOCRATIC LIBRATION PARTY
(Note: G.M. Lone was made an accused in Ganga hijacking case. What I have given above are only the excerpts of his statement given in connection with the struggle for freedom which we conducted at great peril. Today there are many people claiming to be the carrying the cross of Kashmir freedom. I don’t contest that but I must say that it was people like G.M. Lone and others who were the pioneers of freedom struggle. I just want to tell my readers what untold and unbelievable suffering we the pioneers of the struggle had to undergo to infuse life and perpetuity to the struggle. I shall put G.M. Lone’s full statement on Face book in two parts. It is important because it exposes the entire conspiracy of Pakistani establishment hatched by the Pakistani military regime against the struggle for independence. Five out of six accused of Ganga hijacking have left this transient world and I am the lone survivor. Before I too follow them to the other world, I want to reveal to my nation the truth that has remained hidden from the sight of the people till date. Perhaps God gave me life to the present era so that through social media this message reaches my nation. While writing my biography, I feel as if I am again practically passing through the stark period of torture and tyranny. You can imagine the pain that visits me as recount those most horrific events. Hashim Qureshi)
G.M. Lone’s statement
The regime of Yayhya Khan has brought baseless and absurd charges against me and my colleagues. The ins and outs of this dirty game are getting exposed gradually. Lust for power, treachery and oppression let lose by Yahya Khan and his military junta are coming to light one after another. On 28th of April 1971, the regime came down with a heavy hand on NLF and Plebiscite Front activists. Their arrest and searches began on nation-wide scale. However, nothing incriminating was found against us, and with that Pakistani authorities were left with nothing but to frame us and charge us with various allegations that suited them.
I was arrested in Karachi and taken to CIA office. Besides me, others who were arrested included Mir Abdul Qayum, Mir Abdul Manan, Mir Hidyatullah, Khwajah Muhammad Siddiq Baba, Khwajah Ghulam Mohiud Din Banka, Muhammad Maqbul Nayak and Khwajah Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi and others. (Note: Yusuf Qureshi of my father’s age was a cousin brother of mine and a well to do trader). I was produced before Mr. Athar the DIG. I told him that if under international compulsion, it was necessary to defame India and find legitimacy for the arrest of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, this could have been done in a manner that the cause of Kashmir and Pakistan’s interests in Kashmir would not get hurt. I gave full assurance for this from my own self and from my group. In stead of seeing the rationale in what I said, my jailors kicked me and began my physical torture. I told Agha Afzal, the Chief Secretary of Punjab, that if they wanted to send back the Indian plane, he could tell Maqbul Bhat to issue a statement. To this SP Sultan told me not to mention the name of a big officer
One day I was brought before Athar who asked me how long is it that I had become a Qadiani. I said I am not a Qadiani as is alleged by some puritans . In return he hurled abuses on my spiritual guide. He did so because in his eyes my spiritual guide being a Kashmiri was a traitor and a corrupt person. Athar told me that on the basis of his relations with Khwaja Ghulam Nabi Gilkar, he had come to believe that I was a Qadiani. I told him that Ghulam Nabi Gilkar was a senior nationalist leader of Kashmir who had worked shoulder to shoulder with Sheri Kashmir and Chowdhury Ghulam Abbas. His honest and patriotism was recognized even by his opponents. He occupies a very special place in the history of Kashmir. He was the first President of Azad Kashmir government that came about on October 4, 1947. He had laid foundation of a parallel government against Maharaja in Muzaffarabad and was knon by the name of President Anwar. In reply to this Athar said as this: “ We arrested Ghulam Nabi Gilkar and then tortured him to death so that the microbes of independent Kashmir are eradicated from Pakistan. You must know that martial law has been imposed here and whatever the government wants to do it will do.” Later on I found that Athar had concocted this story for intimidating me. Gilkar was living his retired life comfortably. I told Athar that if a Qadiani interacted with a political group that did not mean that the group adhered to Qadiani ideology. Even the regime of Yahya can also be labeled as Qadiani because M.M. Ahmad happened to be an important person in General Yahya’s regime. This enraged Athar and he became violent and started kicking and boxing me violently.
I was asked who my ideal in political philosophy was. I said Hasrat Mohani. He is my ideal. On this, DSP Waheed said, oh I understand you are a communist and an anarchist. With that he began assaulting me physically. The torture done to me in Karachi CIA appeared to me of extreme nature but after going through the brutalities perpetrated on me by the blood thirsty tyrants of the Qila, I will say that my tormentors in CIA were angels. After detaining me for fifteen or sixteen days in CIA Karachi, I was brought in Class III of Pakistan Express to Lahore. My handcuffs were tied to the bench on which I sat. I had one rupee left in my pocket. That was also snatched from me during search. Not even a drop of water was given to me for the entire journey from Karachi to Lahore. I went to the latrine and quenched my thirst under its water tap. (Note: G.M. Lone was a big manufacturer of carpets with show rooms in many European countries besides in Pakistan. He was an affluent person with huge business establishment. He paid all the fees of the defence counsels after the case was closed. He was a saintly and sincere person and was much attracted by Sufism. eHe He was deeply attached to the freedom of Kashmir and a rabid supporter of freedom movement.)Continuing his statement, Lone said that “after arriving in Shahi Qila,. I was confined to a cell. With handcuffs on, my arms were lifted and tied upwards so much so that my feet could hardly touch the floor. A thick stick wrapped in cycle tube was put across my shoulders and I was asked to count. But instead of counting numbers I took the name of Allah and his Prophet. After a while two persons appeared there. One was DSP Mukhtiyar and the other was the brute of a man named Taj, the Line officer. I was reciting durood at that time. This Line Officer rebuked the policeman and called me names why I was not counting numbers. He asked me whether I was singing in Kashmiri or calling us names. I said in subdued voice that it is the prayer recited by Khwaja Mohiu’d-Din Chishti at Data Durbar. Qamar Alam SP ordered that I be stripped of clothing. They took off my clothes though in the struggle my shirt was torn and I was made naked. Asking me to sand up in that nudity and then asked SP Mukhtiyar to read out in loud voice my statement. Qamar Alam was making running commentary and intermittently went on spitting at my naked body. He said that they had head this narration (about the reciting of the prayer) many times but asked me to say something new which would suite them. He ordered his men to tear that statement into pieces and deposit it in my mouth. They did the same.
Qamar Alam ordered his goons numbering about ten or twelve and nicknamed as “Guerilla” to undertake operation. They pounced on me. One of them had something of the shape of a table tennis racket made of leather which they called chhatar. Other person had a long piece of tyre in his hand, and some one had a baton wrapped in cycle tube. One who had no instrument in his hand, caught hold of my head and pulled my hair on my head or chest and felt happy in doing so. I was tied to a charpoy in a manner that my wide-opened legs fell on both sides of the charpoy and my both of my feet were tied tight with my shirt. I was made to sit on the charpoy and asked to lie down with my back on charpoy. The wooden rod tied to my shoulders was removed and the ropes of the charpoy were gradually loosened. My hands were pulled backwards and tied together. It was so painful that I cried in desperation. They lit a candlestick and drdopped melted wax on sensitive spots of my naked body. Electric wire was tied to my private part, mouth and ears and electric shocks were given by turning a handle. This process would continue as long as I was in senses.
Next morning, when this process was resumed, Muhammad Khan, the Insp;ector, the most tyrannical, told me to do what the officer was telling and save yourself. I replied that I had told all the truth I knew and had nothing new to add. Muhammad Khan sat on my breast and brought his penis close to my mouth and said he was going to piss in my mouth. Owing to hot climate and torture, I often felt very thirsty. If I asked for water to drink, they kept a glass of water on the shelf in the wall and was asked to pick it up and drink. When I moved to pick the glass, a policemen moved forward and hit me with chhattar. If I moved to other side, another policeman would hit me again. In that state of nudity, I would recite rabi ini maghluba antasur Qamar Alam asked me what I was reciting in Kashmiri. When the words Ya Rasul Allah came out of my mouth., these butchers would say that I had committed a sin by taking the name of the Prophet when I was without any cloth on my body. Then they would start beating me with more intensity. Once Qamar Alam dressed in kameez and shalwar gave instructions to Inspector Durrani that he was was going to offer evening prayer and he would like that during his prayer he hears my cries of pain. As long as he did not return, I was undergoing torture and Qamar Alam was enjoying his prayer with my painful cries. This was the time I began to bring to my mind that those who had made the progeny of Muhammad go thirsty before killing them in Kerbala also had the names like those of Musalmans.
Once Qamar Alam asked me whether I knew the meaning of sadist. Yes I said it means a tormentor who enjoys tormenting others. He said that he was a sadist and unless he saw this drama once or twice a day, he would not feel at rest. At anther time Qamar Alam asked me to look out of the window in upper storey. I looked out and saw Mir Manan, absolutely nude, with a garland of Peshwari chapals round his neck, hands tied up and a waoden rod tied to his neck and made to run in scorching heat. More than fifty persons stood around him who were clapping their hands as Mir Manan was going through the ordeal. I gave a loud cry when I saw this and closed my eyes. Qamar Alam gave a loud laugh. I told Qamar Alam that if a person like Mir Manan, who is a fan of Allama Iqbal and rabid upholder of the Pan-Islamic philosophy of Jamalu’d-Din Afghani is a spy then who is there in the world whom one can calla patriot. I was submitted to physical assault on this remark.
One day Maqbul Bhat was brought to the torture cell. Pointing to a plethora of papers lying in front of Qamar Alam, he was asked if this statement was written by him? Bhat Sahib said yes that was his statement and with that he was sent back to his room. Then Qamar Alam read one sentence from the statement attributed to Maqbul Bhat. “Once I was called to the room of the jail Superintendent where some more policemen and officers were present. I was told that if I wanted to survive, then go to Pakistan and perform our task. Our men namely Lone, Manan and Qayum and Aman are there. “ (This was attributed to Maqbul Bhat with reference to Srinagar jail). I was convinced that our interrogators were trying to prove impress upon us individually that we were the spies of the Indian government. If Maqbul Bhat had talked this with anybody in Srinagar jail, he would have surely talked to someone among us about it. Neither I was a spy nor had Maqbul Bhat made any mention of this happening, therefore I understood the lie that the police was concocting.”
Lone Sahib had shed great light on many aspects of Kashmir politics in his statement. He had also stated that Pakistani jailors were invariably abusing Kashmiri leaders. Others among us also gave details of atrocities and tortures they suffered in jails for refusing to give false and baseless statements. This was stated by Lone Sahib as this: “During interrogation, I said that they (interrogators) may enquire from K.H. Khurshid and Sardar Qayum how I had tried to unite Kashmiri freedom fighting groups to working towards the freedom of Kashmir. At this they (interrogators) said very nasty bad name to K.H. Khurshid and added that all Kashmiris were traitors and all of them would be taken to task at proper time. When I told them about my meetings with Z. A Bhutto, they again used filthy words and said that they knew he was responsible for burning the airplane.’ (Note: G.M. Lone was 53 years old at that time. His torture at this age reflects the burning desire within the breast of Kashmiris to become free after remaining slaves for five long centuries). Lone Sahib was a rich man yet he made immortal sacrifices for the freedom of Kashmir. While writing his story, my eyes go wet and every breath of mine salutes his soul. Those who want to read the full story about these freedom fighters and their struggle are advised to read a book in Urdu titled Diwanon peh kya guzri authored by Muhammad Saeed As’ad of Mirpur, AK published by National Institute of Kashmir Studies, Mirpur in 2012. It can be procured in Srinagar also. If I record the statements of all of the accused persons, it will fill more than 200 pages.