Protests erupt in Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir against Neo-Colonization and exploitation by Pakistan
17-08-2018Protests erupted last week across Muzaffarabad, the capital city of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir, over violation by Pakistan of the most basic of human rights of the people of the beleaguered region. Pakistan, through underground tunnels, is diverting the flow of the Neelum river away from Muzaffarabad and into the pampered Pakistani province of Punjab. This is being done as a part of the 969-megawatt (MW) Neelum-Jhelum power project constructed near Muzaffarabad that recently became fully operational. The project was conceived by the Pakistani government as a vital part of the solution to Pakistan’s acute water and electricity woes. It is, however, turning out to be a bane for the people of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir on whose territory it is located.
The Neelum river is the primary source of drinking water and irrigation for the people of Neelum valley and Muzaffarabad, and its diversion is leading to a drought-like situation there. Residents of Muzaffarabad have described the present state of the normally fast-flowing Neelum river as akin to a storm water drain filled with sewage waste and silt despite this being the peak of the monsoon season when the region gets most of its rainfall. Media reports quoted a protestor as saying: "It is important to launch a movement which can expose Pakistan to the world…. With the production of electricity from Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, the people of Pakistan will get all benefits. We want to ask the government of Pakistan that what we will get in return of Rs 50 billion they will be earning out of this project. Instead of providing free electricity to us, they have been charging four-times higher bills from us".
Ruthless exploitation of the people and resources of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir to benefit Pakistan has led to considerable resentment amongst the people of the region. This, combined with the near-total absence of tangible benefits to the region from the several hydro-electric and other Pakistani projects, has led to a feeling of being colonized. This has manifested itself in a long string of protests by the people of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir in recent months. In January this year, protests were held throughout Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir against exploitation of their water resources by Pakistan. The Awami Action Forum that spearheaded the agitation, political parties, and people of Muzaffarabad held protest demonstrations against the Kohala Hydropower project and blocked the Muzaffarabad-Rawalpindi highway while raising slogans against the Pakistan government. In the same month, traders under the banner of ‘Anjuman Tajiran’ (trade union) in Muzaffarabad blocked the Neelum Valley road and burnt tyres to express their indignation at the frequent and prolonged power-outages in the region that has led to the traders suffering huge losses in their businesses. This protest vividly illustrates the piquant and iniquitous situation that the people of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir find themselves in – their lands are the engine-room of Pakistan’s electrification drive and their water the fuel, but they themselves are unceremoniously deprived of this electricity that is reserved for quenching Pakistan’s thirst for power. Reports suggest that Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir already produces an estimated 1,500 MW of electricity through hydropower, almost all of which is transmitted to Pakistan. Several other large hydro-electric projects are additionally being constructed there by Pakistan without even consulting with or obtaining the consent of the people of the region. The Pakistan Government does not pay any royalty for these projects to Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir. And to top it all, the Pakistan government does not deem it justified or appropriate to at least fulfill Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir’s meager total requirement of 400 MW of electricity.
The construction by Pakistan of a large number of dams and hydropower projects in Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir is being done without any scientific study on their impact on the fragile ecology of the region or on the environment. Neither does it take into consideration the displacement of the indigenous population as had happened when the Mangla dam was constructed in the 1960s. Specific to the Neelum-Jhelum power project, the ecological impact is expected to be significant and long-term as the Neelum valley is home to unique flora and fauna, which experts believe will be severely affected by the project.
Recent protest demonstrations in Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir have not only targeted exploitation of the region’s resources but have also been directed against the atrocities being perpetrated by the Pakistan army and intelligence agencies on the people of the region. In March this year, massive protests broke out across the region against the brutality of the army and police on local residents. The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) along with local political parties organized a joint protest rally from Tetri Mor to Mazarpur. Similar protests were organized in other towns of the region. The police responded with baton charges and opening of fire on the protesters, killing two of them on 16 March. Mir Afzal Suleria, a nationalist leader of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir, revealed that Pakistan's intelligence agencies were using locals living near the Line of Control (LoC) as human shields by “using their homes to fire gunshots and mortar shells across the border. The return fire comes directly to these houses, resulting in heavy casualties….. For the past 70 years, the army claims to be here for our protection, but why are they using us as shields to carry out attacks. It shows that the government is deliberately wanting people to die so that they get a chance to promote their propaganda. We condemn it and nationalists in Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir are united in launching a protest against the Pakistan government".
Another massive protest against Pakistan's increased support and financing of terrorist activity in the region was organized by the people of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir in Rawalakot last month. Sardar Jagir Khan, a leader of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). described the plight of the residents of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir that had led to the protest: "We have repeatedly said that 'non-state actors' (terrorists), who are constantly being smuggled into Jammu & Kashmir by Pakistan's secret agencies, have sabotaged us. The world is now seeing it as an act of terrorism. Nobody has been listening to us..... When the international community put pressure on Pakistan to eliminate terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), they activated Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) led by Maulana Masood Azhar. Now, Jaish-e-Mohammed is getting shelter and being promoted in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir". In yet another protest demonstration in Tarar Khel region of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir last month, locals vented their ire against decades of occupation, discrimination and oppression by Pakistan. The protesters lamented that they were denied basic human rights and amenities for decades and were forced to live under constant threat.
Protests were also organized throughout Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir on 22 October 2017 to mark the ‘Black Day’. It was on this day, 22 October, in 1947 that the Pakistan Army, disguised as tribal raiders, invaded the undivided State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and forced its fragmentation. Protests were held in Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Kotli, Gilgit and Hajirah, amongst other places in Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir. Demands were made for Pakistan to withdraw from Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir and hold a plebiscite as per the UN Resolutions. Sardar Mahmood Kashmiri, Chairman of the Jammu Kashmir National Independence Alliance (JKNIA), stated: "We are protesting against the division of Jammu & Kashmir. On this day, in 1947, our beloved country was invaded, divided and captured by the Pakistan Army and they still continue to loot and harass the good people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, who are living in fear as they are constantly staring down the barrel of a gun".
Pakistan has been flagrantly attempting to position itself in the international arena as the champion of the cause of the people of Jammu & Kashmir on both sides of the LoC. Whether it possesses the moral justification to claim such an exalted and honorable title for itself is highly questionable in view of its contemptuous disregard for the rights – both human and to resources – of the people of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir that it illegally and forcibly occupies. This is amply borne out by the long and weighty lists of grievances being articulated at the near-incessant stream of protests taking place in Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir in recent months. It is only the heavy hand of the Pakistani security establishment that has thus far ensured that such protests are kept tightly under wraps, with coverage being blacked out of the local media.
Despite Pakistan’s de-facto treatment of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir as part of its territory, its legal status is that of a self-governing State that has its own President, Prime Minister and Legislative Assembly. Pakistan’s attitude towards Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir is apparent from the fact that it is the least developed among all the regions under Pakistan’s control. If Pakistan were genuinely interested in bettering the condition of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, it would draw up agreements with Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir that would ensure that the people of the region received equitable returns for the projects Pakistan is undertaking there for its own benefit. As per official estimates, Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir has the potential to generate 4,635 MW of electricity. Pakistan currently has a deficit of over 5,000 MW. These figures indicate that fair and conscientious handling of the situation by Pakistan could yield almost its entire requirement for electricity from Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir alone, while the royalty received by the latter would enable it to significantly bolster its socio-economic indices and ensure the betterment of its people. The crude fact of the matter is that the welfare of the people of Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir does not figure at all in Pakistan’s calculations. Any such consideration would actually be antithetical to Pakistan’s exploitative designs. Pakistan has chosen to treat Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir as a modern-day colony, exploiting its resources to the full while simultaneously silencing voices of dissent through violent force.
As for Pakistan’s credentials as a campaigner for the people across the LoC in the Indian administered state of Jammu & Kashmir, it cannot be denied that Pakistan does pay lip service at every opportunity that presents itself. Just as in Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir though, what Pakistan actually does on the ground and the impact such actions have on the people is what is really relevant. Pakistan breeds violence by sending in hordes of indoctrinated terrorists armed with modern lethal weapons. Among those killed and maimed by these Pakistan-dispatched terrorists are the people of Jammu & Kashmir, of whom Pakistan lays claim to being the self-appointed guardian. This violence begets more violence in the form of the response of the Indian State, as also the concomitant restrictions on rights and liberties.
Pakistan, the self-styled champion of the cause of the people of all parts of Jammu & Kashmir, is in reality undoubtedly the biggest violator of their rights. The sooner the people on both the sides of the LoC realize this, as they are increasingly doing, the earlier a solution to the vexed issue will come to fruition.
The European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS)
Peace Foundation, Jammu And Kashmir Students Association And Hope Youth Foundation express Grief at Death of Vajpayee
Chairman Peace Foundation Fayaz Ahmad Bhat expressed grief over demise of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Srinagar, 16 August: While paying rich tributes to Shri Atal Bihari, Fayaz Ahmad Bhat said Shri Atal ji was the dynamic leader of the people of India and an ideal for many people. He was the well-wisher of needy and poor people. Bhat said Vajpayee Ji's contribution to strengthen democracy and good governance has been stupendous. He successfully ran a coalition of 23 parties with his rare persuasive charm and competence. Bhat added Shri Atal ji emerged as a popular national leader who believed that power is a means of service and led a spotless political life without compromising on national interest and that’s why the people across political and social boundaries showered him with love and respect. He said Atalji was a rare politician, brilliant speaker, poet and patriot, his demise is a loss for the entire country. Bhat said Atalji was India's first prime minister to address a public meeting in Jammu and Kashmir since the voilence broke out in 1989 and He held out the 'hand of friendship' to Pakistan, significantly, from Kashmiri soil. He offered a dialogue between the Centre and different currents of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir, which was appreciable and can never be forgotten. He said Atal ji has many achievements to his credit, but one of them was starting the famous Delhi-Lahore bus service to foster better relationships between India and Pakistan, including allowing families that lived on either side of the border to meet each other which is itself a history and a commendable policy. Bhat said If Atalji's overture is followed up with wise and purposive moves, we could see some real progress in resolving one of the most troubled, complex and bloody disputes in the world i,e Kashmir. He said Insaniyat (Humanism), Jamhooriyat (Democracy) and Kashmiriyat (Kashmir's age-old legacy of Hindu-Muslim amity) ideology of Atal ji is the only way to resolve the Kashmir issue. Bhat also said that the mission of Atalji will be continued to take forward in order to maintain peace and prosperity in the country. He said he left us but his guidance, love, care, faithfulness can never be forgotten. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat prayed for his soul to rest in peace. Media Secretary JKPF, Fayaz Ahmad Bhat
Jammu And Kashmir Students Association And Hope Youth Foundation expresses deep greif and sorrow on the sad demise of Former Prime Minister and and a great leader Shir Atal Bihari Vajipaiee ji
Jammu and Kashmir Students Association Chairman Abrar Ahmad Bhat and Deputy Chairman Raqif Makhdoomi who's also the Founder of Hope Youth Foundation condoles the sad demise of Shir Atal Bihari Vajipaiee ji on the behalf of both the organizations. Chairman Abrar Ahmad Bhat while terming his death as most unfortunate said death like person like him is a big loss to society he/she belongs to. Abrar Ahmad Bhat said his approach towards people of jammu and Kashmir was very positive and his eagerness to solve jammu and Kashmir issue was the reason people loved the legendary leader. Deputy Chairman and Founder of Hope Youth Foundation Raqif makhdoomi said death of Shri Atal ji is end of an Era. We lost a person who wanted to get people of jammu and Kashmir out of political turbulence. Raqif makhdoomi said he multiple times tried to initiate dialogue between India Pakistan to resolve jammu and Kashmir issue so that people of j&k live a respectful life. He often faced many challenges while doing so. Chairman Abrar Ahmad Bhat said opening of Muzaffarabad road and making a bus to pass shows the leader wanted have good relationship with Pakistan. Shri Atal ji always used to b polite and cool minded person .We hope that the Bjp will follow the path of the great leader and will carry his mission forward. Raqif Makhdoomi
Team Red Foundation organised Indoor Games Championship in Srinagar
27-july-2018: Leading Non-governmental organisation Team Red Foundation organised Ist Indoor Games Champion. Games played in this event were Carrom and Table Tennis. In the event MLA Pahalgam Altaf Kuloo was the chief guest while Youth President JKNC Salman Ali sagar was Guest of Honour. Other prominent guests included, Mehraj Din Wadoo, Ahsan Pardesi, Gul mustafa dev and other olympic medalists from sports fraternity. The Team Red Foundation headed by Sadat Nasir Wani (Sogami) and other memebers of the foundation including Sarmad Nasir Wani, Basit Khan, Nisar ahmad, Salman bhatt, Mauzzam Mehraj were the organisers of the event. TeamRed Foundation assured the youth that the Organisation will continue to give platform to the potential players in the valley. Saadat Wani
Kashmir - The Serious Issue
by Shahid Rashid Rather, email@example.com
'Kashmir' conflict is multifaceted with historical , territorial, strategic , legal , ideological and many other complexities involved. Since its origin in 1947 as an interstate conflict between India and Pakistan , it is not only gradually got intensified , but also assumed an internal dimension which manifested itself in armed militancy and separatism in 1989.With the passage of time the two dimensions have got so intermingled that discussing the one without taking into consideration the other becomes almost impossible. That is the reason that the peace process initiated in 2003 sought to address both the dimensions simultaneously. The Kashmir problem is not only the political issue, indeed it is also humanitarian issue initially. With the growing time the outcomes of this issue can be seen .There is hardly a day without any bloodshed in Kashmir. The Youth are dying at their early age, in such an age when an individual keeps the concentration or focus only on the goal .The security forces are also victim of the same issue and it is fair enough to condemn the causalities on both the sides for obvious reasons .There is no concept of war, instead of it there should be reconcile approach that India and Pakistan has to keep, while solving this issue. There should be open dialogue with rest of the stakeholders .Talks should happen when there is conducive atmosphere among these two nations. The political leaders collectively of one the most oldest and prominent mainstream political party of Kashmir that is @Jknc do believe and advocate that internal autonomy to the entire state of J&K is a feasible and permanent solution. The point that we’ve to take note of here is that they are demanding something within the constitution of the India .If there is something which is not allowing prevailing of peace within the two Asian heavyweights namely India and Pakistan , it is none other than this Kashmir problem .It has two dimensions respectively one is internal and other is external. It is absolutely melancholic and heart rending to see the visuals that we see in the meantime in the Kashmir. Majority of respondents favoured a political solution rather than a military solution for the J&K problem. The respondents from the civil society, all of the three regions Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have different aspirations and problems which can be solved through political means only. They are of the view that for the last so many decades there have been all sorts of troubles in J&K.This has made the well_being of all the regions which can be resolved through political measures, dialogue process and through economic development of all the regions. The majority of respondents from the security forces also favoured the resolution of J&K problem through political means as political solutions are always permanent in nature and satisfy the wishes of the people. One thing is quite obvious that this problem cannot be solved through rupees and coins. of course! People of Kashmir want development , but before that there should be permanent solution to this issue .At the end of this I would like to convey one thing that is "If we don't act today our future generation will bear heavy burden of our indifferences".
Jammu and kashmir Students Association holds meeting on the drug de-addiction day
Srinagar: Jammu and kashmir Students Association holds meeting on the drug de-addiction day. Was attended by Hope Youth Foundation. Both the organizations laid stress on eradicating drugs from jammu and Kashmir. JkSA Chief Spokesperson Raqif makhdoomi said a meeting on drug de-addiction was held under the supervision of Honorable Chairman Abrar Ahmad Bhat which was attended by Hope Youth Foundation. Chairman Abrar Ahmad Bhat said drugs have effected us to an extent we can't imagine. He said we need to work together to uproot this evil from society as soon as possible otherwise it will prove dangerous for our young generation. Chief spokesperson said that Chairman Abrar said that it's very unfortunate to disclose that the age group of 12-16 is mainly involved in this evil.
Youth leader and activist Raqif makhdoomi appreciates DC Srinagar for his order banning begging on religious and public places
Srinagar: Youth leader and activist Raqif makhdoomi appreciates DC Srinagar for his order banning begging on religious and public places . He said that this move is in the public favor and people were awaiting this order for long time. Raqif said that banning begging will make the general public fear free as these people used to follow for a long distance which used to irritate and made it hectic to make it to the destination. He said that the way police has acted very soon on this is highly appreciated. Youth leader and activist Raqif makhdoomi said that these people used to be in large number present at religious places and used to irritate general public for money. Raqif makhdoomi while ending said that this step will ease the problem of general public. He said that this should continue until all those beggars who have made begging a profession are not left without being dealt under law.
SAAYA NGO distributes bags, books and stationary among needy students at Kupwara
Kupwara, 14-05-2018: In order to assist the needy children of Kupwara and its surrounding areas for accelerating their studies and in preparing for competitive examinations, SAAYA-a law student’s organisation distributed bags,books and stationary to the needy students of Kupwara. Speaking on the occasion, members of SAAYA laid emphasis on the importance of education and competitive spirit in the life of a human being and especially students. They encouraged the students to work hard with great zeal and dedication to achieve desired goals. Spokesperson of SAAYA said, “Our sole aim is to provide equal opportunities for quality education to deserving students. Those who want to study should never have to give it up because of lack of resources.” On the occasion, Mohd Ashraf Malik,Political Activist of the area said, “Kupwara is one of the most affected area of the state due to the ongoing turmoil and has most number of orphans. Children here are having talent to excel but need right direction and resources. Dr Mohd Iqbal, Chairman Youth Alliance who was also present said that students should use education to change their life, society, nation and the world. He thanked Saaya NGO for choosing Kupwara for distributing study material among students. Mr Hasnain Khawja FOUNDER OF SAAYA NGO said, “Education is not only a power of mental enlightenment, but also a gateway to better future. A good education will help in dispelling the darkness of ignorance from the children’s lives,’ Hasnain said. Mr. Wasiq Ali Khan Co-FOUNDER OF SAAYA also appealed to the people to work for the cause of education and spread the light of knowledge. Others who were present of the occasion were Mr Muhaib Farooq (Vice-President SAAYA NGO), Arbaaz Farooq (General Secretary SAAYA NGO), Junaid Rashid(executive member) , Mohd Amin, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani (Civil Society Members). Tajamul Islam (Coordinator Kupwara of Saaya NGO) conducted the proceeding of the event.
Inam inaugurates Kathi Junction at Islamabad
Islamabad, May 4 : Inam Un Nabi while appreciating the efforts of Kashmiri youth for setting up business ventures has said that he was pleased to see that educated youth are coming forward to defeat the problem of growing unemployment in the territory. Inam Un Nabi while inaugurating Kathi Junction at KP Road, Islamabad ( South Kashmir) set up by Huzaif Mushtaq said, “Islam also teaches us to earn our livelihood through halaal means and there is appreciation for those who stand-up on their own feet and earn their living in a clean manner.” Inam expressed his satisfaction over the growing sense of belonging among the Kashmir’s young educated lot who had decided to take on the issue of rising unemployment head on. He appreciated Huzaif Mushtaq for starting Kathi Junction, stating that he was glad to see youth deciding to defeat unemployment by not running after government jobs and wasting time in long queues outside government offices and instead taking a lead role in establishing good business ventures.
Tribute to a great visionary leader: speech delivered on the second death anniversary of Amanullah Khan, legendary leader of the freedom struggle in Kashmir
Friends and colleagues assalamo-alaikum.
As we remember our beloved leader and mentor Mr Amanullah Khan on his second death anniversary, our hearts are filled with sorrow at the loss of a fatherly figure. To each one of us he is, and he was an important and special person. We have many memories of Aman sahib, as we always referred to him, and we will cherish these memories as we would of a very close family member. Aman sahib's importance goes beyond his party members however, and runs deep into the lives of Kashmiris across our forcibly divided country. He struggled all his life for the right of his nation to be free. In the pursuit of this goal he was steadfast and tenacious to the very last breath. This side of his persona for the freedom of our country, is quite clearly a hall mark of a great leader, which he undoubtedly was. In this regard we must follow Aman sahib's tried and tested approach. His experiences of facing adversity, and how he would remain firmly wedded to his political beliefs, and party line, despite the challenges that he faced. Such an approach must be a guiding light for all of us, especially in the current political and diplomatic climate within Jammu Kashmir's neighbourhood and globally. We must always review our current and future activities based on our abilities and capacities, rather than our wishes and emotions. We have a much bigger overall responsibility than we usually realise, and much more pressing challenges than we usually care to appreciate. We often do and say things that can take us off our desired and required direction. Therefore we must remain focused on the overall objective guided by Aman sahib's approach of always being able, to find an alternative avenue to remain on course, for the ultimate goal of azadi. Aman sahib lived and died for his nation and his people. His contribution to the freedom struggle is incomparable. He has left a movement that has made an indelible mark in the liberation struggle across all sections of society in Jammu Kashmir, and has awaken the Kashmiris not only on either side of the ceasefire line in Jammu Kashmir, but within the Diaspora spread right across the world. Now that his physical presence is no longer with us, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to take the liberation struggle to its logical conclusion. It is also a test for the will of our party, and the leadership at all levels of the party structures, to remain focused on the final destination, and the challenges, both internal and external, that our party- the JKLF- is faced with in the struggle. Aman sahib was born in Astore in Gilgit, and at an early age was taken to the valley of Kashmir for educational and family reasons. He remained there until 1952 when he crossed over to Pakistan as a young man. He was already an activist when he arrived in Pakistan, and remained actively engaged in continuous struggle for freedom of his nation till he breathed his last on 26 April 2016 in Rawalpindi. In between he also spent ten years in the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1986 where he was invited and facilitated by the expatriates who were engaged in political activism with the Plebiscite Front. A year later in 1977 he founded the JKLF in which he was supported by these expatriates from Azad Kashmir. In 1986 Aman sahib was deported to Pakistan by the UK government under an administrative order on allegations concerning the abduction and killing of an Indian diplomat, and also because India considered him as an enemy. He was tried in a court of law and was exonerated by the Crown Court of all the charges that were alleged against him by the British government. Aman sahib however was implacably opposed to India's occupation, and stance on Kashmir. His activism was indeed a factor that gave the Indian government the excuse of the diplomat's killing, to have him removed from the United Kingdom. India did not like being exposed by him and the JKLF at the international level as a country, which completely reneged on her commitments given at the UN on Kashmiris' right to self-determination. Therefore the UK government caved in to intense pressure from India, which also threatened to shelve a deal to buy British Westland military helicopters, which in the end however, India purchased from France instead. Indian threat however, achieved its intended result of having the great freedom fighter removed from the international arena. Seven years later in 1993, having been invited to attend a conference at the European Parliament on Kashmir, Aman sahib was arrested under an Interpol warrant executed by the Belgium authorities on India's behalf. Aman sahib remained incarcerated in Brussels for nearly three months while a Belgian court addressed the 300 page dossier sent against him by the Indian government. I visited Aman sahib in prison on number of occasions, and also assisted the team of lawyers which included the renowned Pakistani jurist MS Zafar sahib, in preparation of his legal defence. Seven years earlier in his 1986 trial, I also performed similar duties as well as appearing as one of only two witnesses recommended by Aman sahib to appear for him, the other witness was British Parliamentarian Mr Terry Davis who supported our cause. Aman sahib was a selfless and single minded leader who dedicated, and devoted every second of his life, for the ultimate goal of freedom, and reunification of his divided country. Even in death this dedication, and devotion is clearly reflected in his wish to be buried in Gilgit, to symbolise the unity of Jammu Kashmir he so passionately advocated, and wanted to see as a free country. Symbolism of Gilgit as his final resting place therefore, is important. It is important because it reveals his wisdom and vision in view of Gilgit Baltistan's position since 1947. Especially since 1947 Pakistan has steadily sought to separate the region physically, psychologically and politically, from rest of Jammu Kashmir as whole. Less than three months before Aman sahib passed away, and despite in failing health, he went to Gilgit to mobilise pressure against Pakistan government's intentions to annex Gilgit Baltistan into its federation as a province. For over a month Aman sahib interacted with notables and opinion makers to create the desired momentum against Islamabad's decision. The momentum was reinforced later by Mr Yasin Malik when he wrote to Prime Minister of Pakistan calling his government's decision detrimental to the freedom struggle regarding integration of GB as a province of Pakistan. During this very intense few days in early January 2016 I was in contact with both Aman sahib and Yasin sahib, and witnessed closely the astute manner in which both leaders acted decisively, to avert a disastrous action by the Pakistan government. Aman sahib however, did say something specific regarding Pakistan, before he took the decision to visit Gilgit, about which I will not give any details for the time being. Suffice to say however, that although he was critical of Pakistan's Kashmir policy, he was of the considered opinion that Pakistan must extend unconditional political, and diplomatic support on the right of Kashmiris to independence, and unfeterred self-determination. And in this context saw Pakistan's place in the Kashmir imbroglio different from that of India. And here I am not stating anything that most of us do not know. In his life Aman sahib did not see Jammu Kashmir become an independent country. However in his life time he succeeded in creating a political movement that transcends the division of our country and the nation. The fact that the JKLF is led by a single leader, and the fact that the JKLF is the only political party spearheading the liberation movement since 1947 that operates on both sides of the ceasefire line, and among Kashmiris in the Diaspora. This not only reflects the unity of a divided country, but also it is a testimony of the achievement by a legendary a leader. The party has become an iconic political reality of Aman sahib's legacy for the nation, and indeed those who are committed to a reunified and sovereign political status for Jammu Kashmir, irrespective of their political, ideological, ethnic or religious background. The JKLF of Aman sahib therefore, by its existence guarantees, and ensures the fundamental right of each and every one of us throughout the geographically, fractured state of Jammu Kashmir, to be the real stakeholders on the future status of our country Aman sahib was a man of wisdom and vision. And as a visionary leader he gave the occupying powers, India and Pakistan an honourable way out that would satiate their respective egos over the Kashmir conflict, and strongly advocated that Jammu Kashmir should become a bridge of peace, and friendship, rather than a bone of contention and enmity between the neighbours. Aman sahib was intensely loyal towards his comrades in the party. He knew most party members by name, and always showed humility and respect to all. He was a courteous and kind person with enormous generosity of character, and would find the courage to forgive individuals who had wronged him. Aman sahib was spiritual person who was deeply influenced by the example of the Holy Prophet PBUH. Aman sahib's loyalty to comrades is quite well exemplified in the manner in which he ensured from the platform of the JKLF, the JKSLF, and indeed through his own written and spoken words, that the sacrifice and shahadat of his colleague and co- ideologue Shaheed-e- Kashmir Muhammad Maqbool Butt becomes, etched in the psyche of the nation. It is therefore, not incidental that Shaheed-e- Kashmir's martyrdom has become an epitome of a subjugated nation's struggle for azadi, for freedom, for liberation and indeed for the strong belief that people of Jammu Kashmir must become the masters of their own destiny in their own land. Aman sahib has rightfully ensured beyond any doubt, that Maqbool Butt's sacrifice merits, and deserves the recognition, the respect and the gratitude of the entire nation. Therefore, for his legacy to remain a potent force for independence, we must remain focused and determined about our overall strategy and policy objectives, especially when responding to situations and challenges that might arise from time to time, as indeed they do arise, whether in Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan or in Indian held Jammu Kashmir. Those of us who can remember the world as it was twenty years or so ago, can recall how relatively accommodating it was to talk about our cause in London, New York, in Washington or even in many European capitals including Brussels. Not so now and this raises some serious challenges which we as a party have to face up to in a politically mature and objective manner. Aman sahib's example reminds us that we have a solemn duty to be disciplined, and respect the others, not because we agree with them but because it is the right thing, for us to do. Aman sahib as a leader was a pragmatist and a democrat, who recognised the rights of those who disagreed with his party's ideology. He was an ardent advocate of consensus and actively espoused it. Even with the successive Azad Kashmir governments Aman sahib made every effort to encourage and espouse within a self-serving leadership, a commitment that would reflect a political and diplomatic relevance of the Azad Kashmir government to the freedom struggle in the name of nearly five million people of Azad Kashmir. The struggle to gain our people's freedom has moved on into a new phase, with new challenges, and new realities as I have alluded to above. We should take cognisance of these realities, especially in our neighbourhood. Our attitude to both India and Pakistan regarding their respective positions on the Kashmir issue, should reflect these realities. Aman sahib as the architect and ideologue of the struggle, has clearly laid this out for the movement. The overall national interests and objectives of the movement, must remain central to our political and diplomatic activism, irrespective of our feelings and emotions about each country. This objectivity should inform each and every step and action of our tactical and strategic policy formulations, and policy execution, without in any way compromising on our political ideology. There should be no confusion about where we are heading. Our destination is clear. Our struggle is for a reunified and independent Jammu Kashmir, whose people must exercise their unfettered right across both sides of the forcibly divided country. It is the people of Jammu Kashmir who must shape a dignified status of their nation, which is consistent with their fundamental rights, and which they exercise freely, and without external domination. We as a party must ensure through our struggle that our people gain the opportunity to exercise their right to decide- the right which is an inherent right, a right that is inalienable and cannot be denied to them by force. This is the clear party ideology, and this is what Aman sahib stood for, struggled for until his last breath. This is Aman sahib's legacy and this is what we have to preserve, and move on with objectivity, sincerity, determination and confidence. Aman sahib was a strong willed leader with a steely determination. He was a brave leader who took bold and calculated decisions. Aman sahib was a strong advocate of a political solution over the Jammu Kashmir issue. He lived a simple life and remained absolutely focused on the freedom struggle. This is exactly what Aman sahib expected from himself in his life time, and this is exactly how we should carry on his mission. On the second death anniversary of the great leader, let us pledge that we will remain focused and united in preserving Quaid-e- Tehrek's legacy. This would be the most appropriate tribute to his long struggle for a free and dignified future of twenty million people across forcibly divided Jammu Kashmir. Today we as a party, and our leadership is just as much committed, determined and politically prepared, as we ever were, to achieve these cherished goals of freedom with dignity, and peace with justice. This is what Aman sahib struggled for seventy long years of his life, and this is the steadfast position of our leader and Chairman Mr Yasin Malik today. And as Allah Subhanwa ta'ala is our witness, this is also our position behind him. Jazak-Allah Khair for listening to me.
Zafar Khan- April 29- 2018
Government must take serious note of primary schools
Srinagar April 30:- Government of Jammu and Kashmir is spending huge amount of money for the well being of poor students. Through government schools. But unfortunately due to some selfish people it all becomes useless. Primary schools was established for the students belonging to the poor family. But unfortunately no school is functioning properly or either the teachers are doing their job by heart. It has been observed that the students from poor section of the society are having their will to get educated. But they are not finding the suitable way in the government schools, there the infrastructure is very poor. The NGO "WE STAND WITH POOR" requests the Hon'ble Education Minster Syed Mohmmad Altaf Bukahri to kindly pay immediate attention towards the primary schools in the valley and make it sure that willingness students are admitted in the primary schools so that their willingness is encouraged. Sir, please examine the government primary schools and high schools so that they can compete with the private institutions in the valley. NGO "WE STAND WITH POOR" hopes that they will not get discouraged and their request will be looked sincerely and deeply.
WE STAND WITH POOR,CHIEF SPOKESPERSON, SYED SHAH SUHAIL. Raqif Makhdoomi
Inayatullah Khan Asghar: The Last of Allama Mashriqi's Freedom Fighter Sons Passes Away
by Nasim Yousaf
In the early hours of April 12, 2018, Allama Mashriqi and Wilayat Begum's son, Inayatullah Khan Asghar, died. He was 84 years old. He was the last of the unsung freedom fighters from Mashriqi's family; he was arrested at least twice during the independence movement of the Indian sub-continent (now Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh). During his lifetime, he crossed paths with all levels of society - from the working poor to the upper echelons.
Asghar was born on August 25, 1933 in Lahore. Since his birthday was the same as Mashriqi's, his parents named him after Mashriqi. In his youth, Asghar was part of his father's Khaksar Tehrik (founded on August 25, 1930), which fought British rule in the subcontinent until the nation obtained its independence. As a young boy (in the 1940s), Asghar was arrested for parading in Khaksar uniform and promoting his father's mission. He was sent to a Juvenile jail along with other boys. When the police brought him to court, the Magistrate told Asghar, "I have great respect for Allama Mashriqi and I am freeing you." Asghar replied, "I will not leave the jail until you release all the other arrested boys." The Magistrate was impressed at his courage and confidence. Knowing that the jailed boys were not criminals, he ordered their release. Thereafter, some other juveniles also used Mashriqi's name and sought their release. In 1947, Asghar was once again arrested. Jawaharlal Nehru came to know of Asghar's arrest and on October 09, 1947, wrote a letter to Vallabhbhai Patel. Below is an extract from Nehru's letter: "I am told that among the Khaksar prisoners there is Allama Mashriqui's son Asghar Inayatullah, aged eleven years. If this fact is correct, the boy need hardly be kept in prison. His sister is in the Jamia."
As an adult, Asghar emerged as a handsome and talented individual who was an outstanding communicator. In the 1950s, when he was in his early 20s, he was appointed as Deputy Director in the Government of Punjab in Pakistan. Six months later, he was promoted to Director. His rapid rise did not end there, as a few months later, he was offered an even higher position. Upon learning of this offer to Asghar, one of his colleagues jokingly remarked, "If you continue to be promoted like this, I am worried about Sikander Mirza [who was then in power], whom you could be replacing soon."
Asghar left government service for personal reasons and traveled to Europe. During his lifetime, he held various professions - ranging from Government servant to journalist to successful businessman. While in Europe, he launched an industrial magazine entitled Today and Tomorrow. It was published from Netherlands and Norway. The publication promoted joint ventures between Europe and Pakistan and was well admired in Pakistan and abroad. Asghar had a wide range of connections with European manufacturers, industrialists, and businessmen. From Europe, he moved to New York and bought a mansion in an affluent area of Westchester County, where he continued with his business ventures. He held exclusive distributorship rights for the United States and some other countries from prominent corporations in Pakistan.
I also have many personal memories of Asghar. Asghar admired Eastern culture and traditions and enjoyed going to festivals and meeting people at the grassroots level. When he visited from the USA, he used to stay with me (in Pakistan) and immerse himself in cultural activities. For example, we went to the famous Mela Chiragan at the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, where he tasted all kinds of street food - from chaat to seekh kebabs to dahi barras. Although Asghar lived abroad for years, his heart remained with his own people and land. Eventually, he moved back to Pakistan and lived in Lahore Cantonment and later in Defence Housing Society. He was blessed with caring children (four sons and two daughters) who visited him periodically. As a result of Asghar's advancing age, about five years ago, his eldest son moved to Pakistan to take care of him. His other children also remained actively involved. His caretaker, Zafar, also looked after him for over 30 years and became like family.
Overall, Inayatullah Khan Asghar lived a full live. His only regret was that Pakistan and India buried the memory and tremendous personal sacrifices and contributions of his father (Allama Mashriqi) to the struggle for freedom of the Indian sub-continent. He lamented that even leading and well-respected historians and media of the East and West did not do justice to his father's role or portrayed him negatively.
Asghar will be remembered as an incredibly friendly and kind-hearted person. On the night of his death, he was talking (per usual) with his son and daughters (who were visiting him from abroad). He went to bed late at night. At some point in the night, Asghar woke up his children and Zafar. After speaking with them for some time, he again went to sleep and passed away peacefully at about 5:40 am. On April 12, around 8:00 pm, he was laid to rest at the feet of his mother (per his desire) in Miani Sahib Graveyard, the same location where his other family members and the Khaksar martyrs of March 19, 1940 (who gave their lives in the fight for freedom) are buried. His passing was condoled by people from all walks of life. It is sad to think that historians missed the opportunity to document his firsthand accounts and experiences from the freedom movement. With his death, a chapter of South Asian history came to an end.
The author, Nasim Yousaf, is Allama Mashriqi's son and Inayatullah Khan Asghar's nephew. Mr. Yousaf has published a book entitled Allama Mashriqi's Sons & Daughters: British India's Young Freedom Fighters that includes a piece honoring Asghar's role in the freedom movement. Copyright © 2018 Nasim Yousaf
International experts examine growing extremism in South Asia and its repercussions for the West during the 37th Session of the UNHRC in Geneva.
Geneva, 13 March 2018: A very successful and well-attended Side-event was organized by the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) during the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The event was titled, 'Growing Extremism in South Asia; Repercussions for the West'. A panel of scholars and experts deliberated upon the growing phenomenon of extremism, radicalism and terrorism in South Asia, in particular in Afghanistan and Pakistan and what this means for the West. The event was moderated by Ms. Yoana Barakova (Research Analyst EFSAS) and was attended by diplomats, International human rights activists, NGO representatives and academicians.
Dr. Paul Stott, author of various books on Jihadism, lecturer at the University of Leicester and in the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS, University of London spoke on the history of Jihadism and the British and South Asian Nexus and explained the historical basis for the growth of radicalization and how both Britain and the Indian Subcontinent have been cross-fertilized by particular Islamist and Jihadist actors across various decades. He began his speech indicated that Terrorism in the modern era, despite popular belief, did not start with 9/11, but could be attributed to Mrs. Margaret Thatcher?s visit to Pakistan and her meeting with General Zia-ul-Haq in 1981, which was seen by both countries as an endorsement of Zia, while Pakistan was going through a process of ongoing Islamization and the consequences for UK became only visible with the impetus of the struggle in Afghanistan given to Sunni armed insurgent groups. He emphasized that it is not only about British nationals going out to the Indian Subcontinent and joining such groups, but about people from Pakistan, particularly clerics coming to the UK and recruiting for Jihad. In his speech, he further gave examples of the 1993 UK speaking tour of Masood Azhar of Harkat ul-Ansar, which got support from leading British Deobandis, where during over 40 talks the latter reiterated that young British Muslims should be seeking Jihad. The consequences of this Pakistan-UK Jihadist connection became visible quite quickly in 1994, Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British National became involved in kidnappings of British tourists in New Delhi, then afterwards in 1995, Hafiz Saeed held a speaking tour across UK mosques, Islamic centers and universities, inciting students to fight in Indian Administered Jammu & Kashmir and find salvation, and the Taliban regime from 1996 additionally presenting an image of ?actually existing Sharia? to young Britons, where Pakistan providing the bridge for those people to enter Afghanistan. He afterwards argued how the 9/11 era finally put events in that decade into perspective, which was the start of looking critically at Brits going out to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indian Administered Jammu & Kashmir, following the collapse of the Taliban. He further illuminated the violence that could be traced back to this cross-fertilization of Britain and South Asia in the face of numerous examples, such as the first British suicide bomber in Afghanistan, Khalid Shaheed, who was Birmingham born, the 2000 suicide attack at an Indian army base in Srinagar (Indian Adminsitered Jammu & Kashmir) by Mohammed Bilal from Birmingham, for Jaish-e-Muhammad, the 2002 kidnapping and murder in Karachi of Daniel Pearl and the Birmingham man of Kashmiri ancestry, Rashid Rauf who married into Masood Azhar?s family and joined JeM. He also gave a list of attacks and thwarted plots in the UK with connections to South Asia, namely the Operation Crevice case in 2003, the London Transport Bombings (7/7) in 2005, the Botched 21/7 bombings, the Liquid Bomb Plot in 2006, and the 2009 Manchester Arndale Centre plot. In a 2006 terrorism trial in the UK, Mohammed Ajmal Khan of Coventry was found to be a ?person of authority? in Lashkar-e-Taiba. Dr. Paul Stott?s extensive historical overview of the British-South Asian nexus laid bare the interconnectedness between growing Jihadism in the Indian subcontinent and the repercussions for Great Britain, in particular.
Mr. Serge Stroobants, the European Representative for the Institute for Economics and Peace, a serving Lt Col. of the Belgian Armed Forces, Professor at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels and a Senior Associate at the European Institute for Asian Studies in his speech on Terrorism, South Asia, NATO and the EU, spoke about NATO and EU?s role in the South Asian region, while arguing that it is very difficult to examine this approach, since the current focus of both organizations is on the periphery of Europe and the Euro-Atlantic Area and in addition, when comparing NATO and the EU, it is evident that both have a very different approach. NATO's toolbox is like a hammer considering the military intervention in Afghanistan, whereas the EU has a more softer approach and is more effective throughout the different phases of evolution of conflicts. When exploring escalations of violence, according to Lt. Col. Stroobants, NATO is a better manager of crisis whereas when it comes to prevention or stabilization, the EU is a more appropriate agent. The Global Terrorism Index data, which he discussed extensively showed a spread of the terrorism phenomenon to more countries, which have been affected by at least one terrorist attack. According to the Global Terrorism Index, overall 75% of all attacks occur in 5 countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria), which abide to the Muslim Ummah concept, and are perpetrated by 4 groups, which include Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS. 99.5% of all terrorist attacks take place in countries with armed conflicts or in situations where human right or political rights are neglected or ignored. These two causes were according to him, the key drivers for terrorism. He concluded by saying that when comparing South Asia and the West, there is a different perception about security, especially when examining the levels of vulnerability, which requires a more comprehensive approach.
Mr. Junaid Qureshi, a Kashmiri writer and Director of EFSAS discussed Pan-Islamism in Jammu & Kashmir and said that Pakistan funded and propagated radical- and militant Islam has made deep inroads into the Kashmir Valley while the unholy alliance of organized fundamental interpretations of religion and gun culture has led to structural changes at cultural levels of the society. He further stated that the violence in the Kashmir Valley is religious in character and not political anymore, while it is being dominated by group of militant leaders acting under a Pan-Islamic ideology. Mr. Qureshi also added that the earlier 'Azaadi' or Freedom slogan for autonomy and rectification of political grievances, has currently transformed into the expression of revulsion and rage against 'Hindu' India and anything that is non-Muslim. The Director of EFSAS referred to the recent video of Zakir Musa, a former Hizbul Mujahideen commander, who later on joined the terrorist outfit Al-Qaeda, in which he warned that people would be beheaded for referring to the Kashmir issue as a ?political? and not an Islamic struggle and in which he ordained the Kashmiri youth to reject concepts of democracy and nationalism and turn towards Islam while openly inciting youth to throw stones at security forces and pick up arms to wage a Jihad. Mr. Qureshi ended his speech by saying that the issue of Jammu & Kashmir requires a political solution, but first the people of Jammu & Kashmir, India and Pakistan are in urgent need of liberation from terrorism, violence, fear and uncertainty and that a political solution could only be found peace would prevail. Lastly, Mr. Qureshi made an appeal to the people of Jammu & Kashmir and urged them to comprehend that practices that have led to the destruction of social order, pluralism and inter-religious harmony in Kashmir, can never be divine.
Mr. Maarten P. Bolhuis, a Researcher and lecturer at the Criminal Law and Criminology department of the VU University in Amsterdam and fellow of the Center for International Criminal Justice held a presentation on South Asia and Europe and the nexus between asylum, immigration and Jihadism, in which he identified three risks which need to be acknowledged; First, the risk that Jihadists use asylum routes to enter Europe and also the asylum procedure, secondly, the risk that recruitment can and does take place among asylum seekers and thirdly, that people residing in asylum reception centers radicalize. However, he argued that it is difficult to assess those risks and tell how real they are, as there is very less data available on such issues. While focusing on what the European States have done in order to respond to those risks, he added that there is evidence that people who have committed terrorist attacks in Europe have indeed used routes and asylum procedures to enter Europe and got radicalized after entering Europe as asylum-seekers. One example which he gave was of a 17-year old asylum seeker from Afghanistan who on a train in Germany, attacked passengers and pledged allegiance to ISIS. Mr. Bolhuis added, that over the last years the attention for national security in the context of immigration has substantially increased, and this has resulted and translated into a much closer cooperation between immigration services, security services and law enforcement, which is visible through the establishment of various information exchange structures. He further elaborated that increasingly, frontline professionals, the people working with asylum-seekers are called upon to assist in the detection of national security threats. Yet he warned that using instructions or indicators or profiles may have side effects, such as over-reporting or stigmatization and therefore they might not necessarily be effective.
The event was followed by a vibrant Q&A Session in which the audience consisting of various nationalities and professional backgrounds actively took part. The audience was particularly interested in how South Asian countries and the West could cooperate in fighting global terrorism. There was a consensus among the speakers and the audience that opportunities to formalize intelligence sharing policies, counter-terrorism operations and training for law-enforcement personnel among the region, ought to be availed. It was further stated that the spread of extremist forces in addition to their interrelated networks and infrastructure should compel the nations in South Asia to overcome mistrust and stop using overt and covert policies which subdivide terrorists into 'good' and 'bad'. The speakers said that history has proven in the case of Afghanistan in the past, and more recently, in Pakistan, that using terrorism as a State policy with debatable aims of advancing strategic interests, will eventually backlash.
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF- condemns killing of civilians across the ceasefire Line
London, 5 February 2018: The JKLF has strongly condemned the ongoing firing and shelling across the ceasefire line between the Indian and Pakistani forces in Jammu Kashmir, and violent suppression of political dissent by Indian forces in Indian held part of the forcibly divided country. In a statement issued by the head of JKLF's Diplomatic Bureau from London today, the JKLF has called on the United Nations to ensure safety of civilians both inside Indian held Jammu Kashmir, and along both sides of the ceasefire line as a priority, through strengthening the role of its UNMOGIP contingent in the region. The JKLF has called on the UN to institute urgent measures to demilitarise the ceasefire line and demand assurances from the opposing armies for safety of civilians in the border areas. The statement also took a strong note of the continuing deaths of innocent civilians in Shopian and elsewhere in the Valley of Kashmir at the hands of the Indian army. And termed the current situation intolerable, and unbecoming of a civilised world when civilians are deliberately targeted by a professional army, whether in Shopian, Pulwama, Kupwara, Handwara, Bandipur in Indian held Jammu Kashmir, or in Jagalpar Kuiratta, Nykyal, Poonch, Neelam valley or indeed many parts of Pakistan administered Jammu Kashmir. The only result of such military actions is death and injury to innocent civilians of all ages. The international community has a moral and legal responsibility to censure those responsible for causing misery, death and desolation to innocent lives.
Zafar Khan: Head of Diplomatic Bureau, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front JKLF- London Secretariat: 119-123 (Basement North) Cannon Street Road, London E1 2LX, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commonwealth nations must play their role, for an equitable solution of the Jammu Kashmir issue
A letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May was also handed over to officials at 10 Downing Street, London. As United Kingdom will host the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April of 2018, the letter urged to set up a Mediation Panel comprising of commonwealth nations, which would engage with the concerned parties for a solution, that is consistent with the unfettered, and inalienable right of Kashmiris, to determine their political destiny. The letter was handed over by Zafar Khan, Mahmood Hussain, Sabir Gul and Tariq Sharif.
Rt. Hon'ble Mrs Theresa May MP,
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
10 Downing Street
Date: 23 January 2018
Dear Prime Minister,
Re: Commonwealth nations must play their role, for an equitable solution of the Jammu Kashmir issue.
As United Kingdom will host the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April of 2018, we take the opportunity to seek British support, on the unresolved political status of Jammu Kashmir, usually referred to as Kashmir. We believe Her Majesty's Government is in a uniquely privileged position on the occasion, to extend its support for a meaningful engagement towards a just, and equitable solution of the longstanding Kashmir issue.
Last month, on the crucially important issue of reunification and Kashmir's political status, we wrote to the Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt. Hon Baroness Scotland, and reminded her that the Commonwealth nations, needed to take constructive steps towards a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue at the 25th CHOGM in London this year. We asked the Secretary-General to set up a Mediation Panel which would engage with the concerned parties for a solution, that is consistent with the unfettered, and inalienable right of Kashmiris, to determine their political destiny. While Rt.Hon. Mr Boris Johnson MP, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs was sent a copy of the letter, on the important question of Kashmir's future political status however, we felt it particularly germane, to engage directly with you .
Prime Minister as you are aware, for seventy years now, India and Pakistan have utterly failed to address the all-important question of Kashmir's future status. Both have fought full scale wars, and continue to confront each other across the ceasefire line, that forcibly divides Kashmiris under their de-facto rule. The ceasefire line in Kashmir also represents de-facto rather than de-jure border. Separation of Kashmiri people in general, and hundreds of thousands of families in particular across the ceasefire line, is enforced by armies of both India and Pakistan. At least a dozen substantial resolutions of the UNSC were passed on the issue, which were supported, and in some cases sponsored by Her Majesty's past governments. Bilateral agreements, like the Tashkent and Shimla Accords, were signed and agreed upon by India and Pakistan. Thus far however, not even an iota of progress has been made towards a solution, while entrenched positions of both countries, add enormously to the suffering, misery, indignity of separation, and occupation for the Kashmiris.
Prime Minister India for her part has demonstrated an extreme intransigence over the years, and is fervently insistent that Kashmir is an internal affair of India. Despite staking claim to be given a permanent seat on the UNSC, India however, has completely reneged on all the commitments and solemn pledges, which she made at the United Nations. Today India's de-jure position in Kashmir therefore, is that of an occupier. With a growing economic position however, India invests an enormous amount of energy in aggressive diplomacy, to make Kashmir a non-issue at the international level. India's militarised violence over the years has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths of Kashmiris. India's military in Kashmir, acts with impunity under laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act-AFSPA. Thus a culture of impunity prevails in Kashmir, which makes India's huge military deployment in the territory, virtually unaccountable for its violations of human rights.
Since 2014 in particular, Indian government has shown an unprecedented military and political aggression in its policies against the Kashmiris, and their pro freedom leadership. Indian government has declared war on the people, especially the young of Kashmir. Hundreds have been blinded in an unbridled, and indiscriminate use of force with weapons such as the pellets guns. More than150 people have been killed, and more than fifteen thousand injured since July of 2016. Indian military even stoops, to the reprehensible level, of using innocent Kashmiris, as human shields. India imposed longest ever curfew in the history of Kashmir for two months, to tire Kashmiris into submission, and discredit their political leaders.
The Joint Resistance Leadership-JRL- comprising of Sayed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz-umar Farooq, and Mr Muhammad Yasin Malik, has been put under constant house arrests and incarcerated, as in Mr Malik's case, through a revolving door process of being incarcerated in police stations or in Srinagar Central Jail. The fundamental democratic rights of the leaders to free speech, free movement and engagement with the people, is denied to them. The harassment of leaders and activists, as part of an aggressive culture of impunity, and political victimisation, is rife. Many activists, and leaders like Shabir Shah for example, languish in Indian jails on politically motivated charges.
Furthermore the Indian government, quite insidiously prevents the JRL to interact, and engage with religious minorities. This is a deliberate attempt to engineer, not only a religious and communal cleavage within Kashmiri society, but to malign the political resistance, and its leaders as 'sponsored'. This is one of the reasons, why India confines political leaders either in their homes or in custody. The Indian government with its aggressively sharp political rhetoric, encourages communal extremism of its ideological bed fellows, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-RSS- in Kashmir. Equally as the progenitor of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the RSS exerts an incontrovertibly enormous grip, on the policies of the ruling BJP in India.
Even the mortal remains of leaders, whose executions can only be described as judicial murders, are not handed over to their families, despite repeated demands for their return by them. Mortal remains of both Muhammad Maqbool Butt, who was hanged in 1984, and Afzal Guru who was hanged in 2013, remain buried in the grounds of Indi's Tihar Jail. India shows immense pride in being the largest democracy in the world. In Kashmir however, India's democracy represents nothing other than intolerance, and betrayal of peoples' rights and aspirations.
Prime Minister India and Pakistan's presence, and their confrontation across the divide in Kashmir, is a constant threat to peace in the region. As nuclear powers, each of them has the capacity to destroy the entire sub-continent, and beyond. Their armies pose a mortal danger to Kashmiris, and a much greater one, to their own combined populations of one and a half billion people. Indo-Pakistan rivalry is also a fundamental reason for lack of social, economic, and infrastructure development on both sides of the divide in Kashmir. In the dispute over the status of their country, Indo- Pakistan confrontation, has quite painfully rendered Kashmiris invisible. Kashmiris' cries of anguish and betrayal are not heard, as a consequence of the deafening reality of status-quo, enforced by India and Pakistan in their divided country.
Of course Kashmiris recognise the importance of peace, stability, and economic development in their society. Forced geographic separation, and social dislocation during the past seventy years however, has deprived them of a unified country. Their democratic rights on both sides of the ceasefire line, have been ignored and subverted. They have endured violent oppression in the Indian held part of their country. And furthermore blatantly, and in a brazenly defiant manner, India has deprived them of the right to decide, a right which is inalienable, and God given.
Prime Minister, in 1982 an illustrious, and esteemed predecessor of yours, had to despatch thousands of young British soldiers to the South Atlantic, with the noble objective, to enforce, and assert, the fundamental human right of the Falkland Islanders to decide. Equally, as a genuine reflection of being the oldest democracy in the world, and without malice and recriminations, Her Majesty's Government in 2014 of which, you were a prominent member, acceded to the demand by the Scottish nationalists, for the democratic right to decide, on Scotland's union with the United Kingdom. It is quite ironic and sad therefore, that a country which boasts of being the biggest 'democracy' has allowed its military in Kashmir to kill, by all accounts around, a hundred thousand people, for making the same legitimate demand to decide. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, India also demands the privilege of being made a permanent member of the UN Security Council, despite openly defying and disregarding its numerous resolutions on Kashmir.
Prime Minister, Kashmiris wish both India and Pakistan well. Both countries have huge potential, despite facing the perennial challenges of social and economic inequalities. Both India and Pakistan have combined population of over a billion and a half, and growing fast. While this presents enormous challenges, it also provides them with an immense energy for innovation and economic and technological development in their societies. It is in this context that Kashmiris across the ceasefire line have welcomed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor-CPEC-.
As the mega CPEC project begins its journey to Pakistan's port city of Gwadar, it first enters into Pakistan controlled, Kashmir region of Gilgit Baltistan. Kashmiris therefore, expect CPEC to, primarily benefit Gilgit Baltistan region, as well as others parts of Pakistan administered Kashmir. However, due to lack of democracy, and unrepresentative political structures in Gilgit Baltistan, and the territory of Azad Jammu Kashmir, the extent of real benefits to these regions, of Pakistan controlled Kashmir from CPEC, are a cause for serious concern. As a consequence, this concern has accentuated the demand for tangible democratisation and merger of both regions, including setting up of a democratically elected Joint Council for the regions, free of control from Islamabad. Thus far however, Pakistan government is not responding to these people centric demands.
Prime Minister, seventy years of forced division has not dimmed the burning desire of Kashmiris, to reunite and live as a free people. However, as long as India and Pakistan are embroiled in, and control Kashmir, the desire remains but a distant dream. We therefore, urge you to use your deeply warm relations with both countries, and the Commonwealth, to extend British support for setting up of a Commonwealt's panel of mediators at the 25th CHOGM in London, that would engage with concerned parties, for a peaceful resolution of the conflict over Kashmir's political status.
In conclusion we urge you to engage with Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers directly, and persuade them to take the first step along with the Kashmiris, for a peaceful and lasting resolution. As Kashmiris, we desire a peaceful solution, but do not have partners in our quest for peace. Kashmiris wish to make their country a bridge of peace and friendship between India and Pakistan. Kashmiris wish for a peaceful and prosperous South Asia, and seek to see India and Pakistan develop neighbourly relationship similar to that, which exists, between the United States and Canada. But above all, Prime Minister, Kashmiris as a nation, must be allowed to decide. And for the sake of justice and democracy in Kashmir, India and Pakistan must be persuaded, to facilitate an unfettered decision by the Kashmiris- as this is the only way forward.
Zafar Khan,Head of Diplomatic Bureau, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF, London Secretariat, 119-123 Cannon Street Road, (Basement North), London, E1 2LX
Statement by Diplomatic Bureau of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF
London-14 January 2018: Meeting of the JKLF?s Diplomatic Bureau took place at its international secretariat in London, in which various aspects, and dimensions of the Kashmir issue were discussed, and decisions were made and appropriate actions were decided upon. A brief statement of some of the decisions taken, was issued here today, in which the participants strongly affirmed, and reiterated that the JKLF leadership, will not compromise on the unfettered, and inalienable right to self-determination of 20 million people, across both sides of the ceasefire line. The Bureau also affirmed its strong resolve to extend full diplomatic voice, to the ongoing political struggle of the resistance leadership in Jammu Kashmir. The statement declared, that the ongoing conflict between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, presents an existential threat to South Asia, as both countries are nuclear powers. The statement called on the international community, to engage with the concerned parties for a peaceful resolution, of the 70 year long conflict. The statement in particular, condemned India?s intransigence on the Kashmir issue, and its unprecedented aggression, and militarised violence against peaceful dissent. And called on the United Nations Human Rights Council-UNHRC-, and other humanitarian organisations, to demand an unhindered access to Jammu Kashmir, for an impartial investigation of violations, and excesses against civilians. In relation to death and destruction caused by exchanges of fire, across the ceasefire line between the Indian and Pakistani forces, the statement called on the UN, to strengthen the role of UNMOGIP across both sides of the ceasefire line, to protect civilian population. It was decided that the Bureau would apprise various organisations, and world leaders, including the UN Secretary General, on the gravity of the prevailing situation, both inside Indian held Kashmir, and across the ceasefire line. It was decided that in April of this year, the JKLF will organise public demonstration during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting-CHOGM- in London, and lobby for a meaningful role on the Kashmir issue, by the CHOGM. A conference and other diplomatic activities were proposed, and approved, to take place in Brussels, in The Hague and Geneva during the year, while similar, diplomatic and political activities, including a seminar, were proposed and approved, to take place in London during 2018. Zafar Khan, Head of Diplomatic Bureau, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF-119-123 Cannon St. Rd London E1 2LX