This Blog provides an insight on the Kashmir-issue, India and Pakistan. The articles on this Blog can be best described as thought-provoking. The articles thrive to trigger debate about the miseries enslaved Kashmiris are facing and discuss also possible solutions to this long standing conflict. It also aims to convince readers why Independent Kashmir is the best solution for all parties involved.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Thus Spake Nehru!

A case has been filed in a court of law against Arundhati Roy and Ali Shah Geelani in Delhi on their demand for freedom of Kashmiris. What is said here is not my statement but that of Arundhati Roy. With reference to it, she said, “If a case is to be filed against me then first of all a case should be filed against India ’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. But as he is no more in this world, and filing case against him is impossible, therefore a case should be filed against his Samadhi or resting place.”

Arundhati Roy is not a lady from Sopor or Kupwara or Shupian who would be beaten with batons, whose clothes would be torn or in certain cases subjected to rape, and then the culprits would be given promotion instead of punishing them. Arundhati Roy is a person known on international level whose articles are published in New York Times, Washington Post and in the newspapers appearing from London . Her demand for the freedom of Kashmir falls under the right of speech. Therefore filing a case against her is tantamount to giving wider publicity to the Kashmir issue on international platforms. Filing case against her and also Geelani Sahib is not in the interests of India ; it goes in the interests of the struggle of Kashmiris. She has also said that a case should be filed against Nehru because he had promised with Kashmiris that their opinion would be sought.

We would like to remind our readers of the statements of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Krishna Menon given by them at UNO from 26 October 1947 till 24 January 1959. Pandit Nehru had also stated about self-determination of Kashmiris from the time of accession of the state to the role of the assembly and of the United Nations. We have also given authentication of these statements. In the light of these statements we would like to ask if in the cases of youth and politicians of Kashmir , PSA and other black laws are invoked on their demand for freedom, then why are flowers offered on their Samadhi of those who had made solemn promises with Kashmiris which are violated. With their statements listed below, we need not to say anything more on Kashmir issue. Therefore we are enlisting here the statements of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru that can be useful for those who evince interest in the Indian nation and the movement of Kashmiris. Below are the statements of Pandit Nehru:

1)"We have received urgent appeal for assistance from Kashmir Government. We would be disposed to give favorable consideration to such request from any friendly State. Kashmir's Northern frontiers, as you are aware, run in common with those of three countries, Afghanistan , the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China. We are giving urgent consideration to question as to what assistance we can give to State to defend itself. I should like to make it clear that question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to accede to India . Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or state must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view, it is quite clear.
(Excerpts of telegram dated 26 October 1947 from Jawaharlal Nehru to the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee)

2)"I should like to make it clear that the question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the state to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or state must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view."
(Telegram 402 Primin-2227 dated 27th October, 1947 to PM of Pakistan repeating telegram addressed to PM of UK)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Guest Post: A law called EAO, by Syed Riyaz Khawar

ENEMY AGENTS ORDINANCE
It is time to wake up and get the EAO amended or repealed, suggests Senior J&K High Court Advocate Syed Riyaz Khawar.  


In 1947, India was partitioned and the independent state of Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India through a conditional instrument of accession executed by Maharaja Hari Singh and the then Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten. Meanwhile the tribesmen of Poonch and Muzaffarabad waged a war against the forces of Maharaja and the Indian forces in October 1947.

In this backdrop many draconian laws were enacted by the then Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir to curb the freedom sentiment and one of the infamous ordinances was promulgated which came to be known as the "Enemy Agents Ordinance”, 2005 which reads as under:- Preamble; Where as an emergency has arisen as a result of wanton attack by outside raiders and enemies of the state which makes it necessary to provide for trial and punishment of enemy agents and persons committing certain offences with intent to aid the enemy. And where as the present law on the subject (Ordinance XIX of 2004 (Bik)) requires to be amended in certain respects and it is proposed to issue the ordinance with necessary amendments in consolidated form; Now therefore in exercise of the powers reserved under section 5 of the Jammu & Kashmir Constitution Act, 1996 (Bik)., his Highness is pleased to make and issue the following Ordinance. 

Under Section 2 of the Ordinance, enemy ‘has been defined as any person directly or indirectly participating or assisting in the campaign recently undertaken by raiders from outside in subverting the Government, established by law in the state and enemy agent under definition means a person not operating as a member of enemy armed forces, who is employed by or works for, or acts on instructions received from the enemy.’ That as per section 5 of EAO Government has a power to appoint a special judge in consultation with the High Court to try the matters under enemy agents ordinance net and as per section 7, special judge can take cognizance of an offence without accused being committed to his court for trial.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reasons for Indo-Pak stand off!

Differences between India and Pakistan emerged with the partition of the subcontinent in 1947. Apparently these were about border dispute, water sharing, or Rann of Kutch. However the most complicated was Kashmir issue. Besides the wars of 1947 and 1965, the Kargil war of 1999 was also fought for the Kashmir issue. India did not only lend full-fledged help to the separatist movement in East Pakistan but also saw to it that East Pakistan was detached from West Pakistan in deference to the wishes of the Bengalis and for that she waged her war of 1971.

According to some observers if the armed struggle of Mukti Bahini against West Pakistan had protracted it would have extended to Indian state of West Bengal as well. It would have developed in to a movement for Greater Bengal and in the process West Bengal would have slipped out of the hands of India. Not only that even Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland states too would have been adversely affected. Thus India quickly intervened to separate East Pakistan and claim that it was given so-called freedom from West Pakistan. India placed an obligation on Bangladesh and also averted the separatist movement in some of her states for some decades to come.

Taking 90 thousand of Pakistani troops and defense personnel as war prisoners, keeping them in different military camps, meting out indecent treatment to them like broadcasting information of the welfare of captives to their families, all worked towards deepening of Pakistan ’s hatred for India. According to many commentators, India ’s armed intervention in East Pakistan was her biggest mistake. Pakistani politicians, military generals and the masses knew that East Pakistan would secede one day from West Pakistan. Out of six point-formula of Shiekh Mujihu’r- Rahman, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had already accepted five points. Agreement had stuck only on one point i.e. two currencies. The biggest civil disobedience movement of the century began in East Pakistan on 25 February 1971 had begun as reaction to the suspension of the new national assembly session by General Yahya Khan on 25 March in Dhaka. Mujidu’r-Rahman’s Awami League had won majority seats in the assembly

India’s attack on Eastern Pakistan helped Pakistani nation and especially her strong army to nurse deep hatred against her which became the basis for seeking revenge from India.

Kashmir question was there and hence it became the catalyst to the policy of encircling her. In the course of history, the Afghans began their war against the Russians in Afghan war. The US considered it a golden opportunity of avenging their debacle in Vietnam against Russia. By stating it war against infidels (kafirs), the US roped in all Islamic and European countries as well the European states for extending practical support to Afghans. Pakistan was made the base camp for operations against Russia. Thus war was begun in the name of Afghan jihad. Owing to her financial crunch, Russia had to withdraw from Afghanistan . Unfortunately, in the jihad against the Russians, no strong solidarity could be forged among the groups of Afghan jihadi. Therefore, even after the exit of the Russians from Afghanistan, the government of Najibullah Khan continued to be in place in Kabul.

Book review in 'Kashmir Times' by Mushtaq-Ul-Haq Ahmad Sikander

Book Review

Kashmir: The undeniable Truth. A Social and Political Analysis of Kashmir
Author: Hashim Qureshi
Publisher: Iqra Publications, Srinagar, J&K
Year of Publication: 2010
Price: Rs.350
Pages: 352+ 16 colored photographs


In Kashmir the sentiment of Azadi and resistance has always been an inseparable part of the people's struggle, but the forces of resistance have failed to evolve and articulate their own version of history, hence we either have a history which depicts a chain of events from the perspective of State or of those who are at the helm of affairs, and in the process the Peoples History of resistance dies down unsung in oblivion. Kashmiris may boast about the most ancient recorded history in the whole South Asia but they have failed to produce a historian of international repute who could pen down the political history of Kashmir since 1931. Regarding politicians who are the main players in the political debacle whether mainstream or separatist have failed to evolve any documented proof of their politics, with a few exceptions here and there. Very few politicians are there who write regularly on current issues, concerns and problems facing the common man. Hashmi Qureshi is one such soul whose articles keep appearing regularly in Urdu press on a wide range of issues from Culture to Civilization, Politics to Privatization, Education to Equality, Justice to Juvenile delinquency, Transport to Trees and Wazwan to Water. The present book under review is a collection of his translated Urdu articles which were written from time to time and deal with a wide range of issues.

In his foreword to the collection Maulana Ahmad Khazir, President Tanzeem e Ulama e Hind deplores the dilemma being faced by a Kashmiri, "Everyone is talking of solution and resolution of this vexed problem but it is truly difficult in Kashmir to call a spade a spade. If you dare to become honest and speak truth you will be labeled either Indian agent or Pakistani agent and you are no more Kashmiri? Resulting in the causality of truth and facts". The loyalty of Kashmiris is always suspect in the eyes of both India and Pakistan and even Sardar Qayyum of Muslim Conference, Azad Kashmir said "Maqbool Bhat was an agent of India. When India, did not need him, they executed him".(P-124). Hashim himself is a victim of this jeopardy and dichotomy which is replete in his book at various occasions.

Hashim in his long introduction to the collection takes cue on a variety of issues from the Muslim history to the present day current world scenario. Debating about the reason and faith in the Muslim world Hashim writes "Ghazali, the traditionalist wrote Tahafat Ul Filasafah in which he strongly underrated those who called logic the mother of all sciences. Thus from 12th century A.D onwards, feudalism and orthodoxy became complementary to each other establishing inseparability of religion and politics for the inheritors of Caliphate. This marked the beginning of the decline of the age of reason in Islamic societies, belief and tradition arched over the institutions of Islamic State". (P-13), but the Muslim world was so vibrant and intellectually rich that Ibn Rushd's wrote its critique as Tahafut -al- Tahafut. Plus it's not truth that Ghazali was responsible for the decline of reason in Muslim world, Hashim must read Dr Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi paper titled "Ghazzali & Revival of Islamic Sciences" to correct this orientalist myth.

Coming back to the same debate Hashim goes on "A major part of the struggle lies within the broad Islamic fold itself. It is the revival of the long drawn struggle between the istadlaliyun and muttakallimun of 12th century in its new avatar of "pure" and "counterfeit" Islam. Taliban and Al Qaeda is also the product of same thinking. They are spokesperson of orthodox Islam. Thus entire Islamic Polity has become a victim of dissensions, strife and differences". (P-14). Hashim unnecessarily drags the mutakallimun and istadlaliyun in the discussion as these haven't given rise to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, but the dragon seeds sown by Uncle Sam during the Cold War when USSR invaded Afghanistan. The violent, exclusivist staple diet of Islam which was fed to those cadres at the Madrasas was prepared in the University of Nebraska and now when they have served their purpose these yesterday's saviors have became today's terrorists.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tempest in a tea cup - The statement storm

Background of Omar Abdullah’s statement in the Assembly

In his speech in the assembly on J&K State situation, chief minister Omar Abdullah said that “our state scripted an agreement with the Indian Union for accession only and not for integration like other confederating units of the Indian Union.” On this statement, not only BJP but many others also tried to create a storm in a tea cup. The chief minister had also said “that he was not a henchman of New Delhi .”

The opposition in the State has shown two reactions on the statement. PDP called it “an attempt of re-establishing credibility with the masses of the people while BJP and Panthers Party called it a conspiracy against India.” The separatists considered it vindication of their stand. Thus we find that all stakeholders interpreted the statement in according with their respective ideology and perception. Many non-state actors, too, expressed their views and characterized it as anti-India. We shall make an effort to analyze the entire case.

Omar Abdullah’s political career starting from hotel service to the platform of National Conference was chartered away from the peculiar politics of his father trying to create the impression that he would like to walk on the footprints of his grandfather. That is why he adopted his name as Omar Abdullah and not Omar Farooq. He was conscious that there still lingered on much mystique with the name of Abdullah. He introduced himself among the masses of people as one who adopted principled politics and was concerned about the progress and welfare of the people of the state.

Nevertheless, he found projection in the BJP government as “show boy” in the position of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. In 2002 elections, he lost his traditional seat of Ganderbal to an ordinary candidate. During the coalition government of PDP and Congress, he failed to prove his mettle as the leader of opposition, and, after becoming MP, he remained out of the state for most of his time. Thus up to 2008, he did not have the opportunity of gaining experience in running the administration of the state. In other words, he was groomed in the traditional divisive political culture of National Conference.

Barring a portion of the period of NC rule under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah, this party has generally played anti-people politics in this state. The highlights of its antagonistic policy are implementation of PSA law, not revoking Maharaja Hari Singh’s Enemy Ordinance, an extremely tyrannical law scripted by the British rulers of India to suppress the Indian masses. (the Maharaja had imposed the law after the tribal raid) and establishing of Task Force. These all are the gifts of National Conference rule. Apart from this, the party indulged in unbridled nepotism, bribery, and exploitation.

During 2008 elections, NC and Omar Abdullah in person made tall promises with the masses of people. Among the promises were the withdrawal of AFSPA, discarding PSA, providing employment to one member in each family, releasing the interned people and solving the Kashmir issue. After the election results were declared, NC agreed to form a coalition government with Congress despite the fact that it had always been castigating Congress as dishonest party that had acted deceptively a number of times during the rule of the Sheikh and Farooq so much so that Sheikh Abdullah called them “the worm of a dirty drain.” Among the team of ministers selected by Omar Abdullah, there are many tainted with accusations of corruption.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Open letter to His Excellency President Barack Obama

Esteemed Sir,

As you are ready to embark on your journey to India, I would kindly like to draw your attention to the situation in Jammu & Kashmir. I firmly believe that a solution of this decades old problem should be part of the 'regional approach' which your Excellency has initiated. The Kashmir issue has lingered on far too long and both India and Pakistan have been unable to reach a consensus on this issue because of prestige and unwillingness, which has resulted in a spree of violence and uncertainty for all of South Asia.

Your Excellency, we Kashmiris have been victims of terrorism, human rights violations, curfews and have been deprived of a voice for more than six decades. We Kashmiris have been treated like colonial slaves and have been expropriated of our freedom and inalienable rights. Your Excellency has been a staunch advocate of democracy and freedom and we humbly hope that while on your peace-crusade, you will be able to facilitate a shift in the attitudes of both India and Pakistan towards this issue. Your statement during your election campaign, wherein you said that "the USA should try to help resolve the Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India" and your historic election victory has ignited a fire of hope among the people of Kashmir as you are regarded as the torch-bearer of change. Your Excellency, we hope that your promised change will be extended towards Jammu & Kashmir as well, so that our future generations can live in peace and harmony and share the world's progress into the computer-age instead of becoming victims of death and destruction.

Dear Excellency, in order to reach lasting peace in the region it is necessary that the two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, will improve their relations and diminish suspicion and hatred. Solution of the Kashmir issue is the key towards that harmony. Its dimensions and consequences stretch far wider than its borders and if addressed it could even prove to be a facilitating factor in stability and peace in the whole region, including Afghanistan. Besides Pakistan and India’s animosity, China’s recent involvement in this issue has now pitted three nuclear powers against each other. Dear Excellency, the Afghanistanization of Kashmir and possibility of a nuclear war can only be prevented if this issue is addressed forthwith.

Your Excellency, on behalf of the Kashmiri nation, I would like to request you to view this issue through the perspective of the oppressed Kashmiris instead of the oppressors. It is a cruel irony that for so many years the world has not turned their attention towards the humanitarian dimensions of the Kashmir issue, but has always viewed this issue through the perspectives of either India or Pakistan because of their economic and strategic strengths. Meanwhile, custodial deaths, curfews, arbitrary arrests, dividing Line of Control, handicapped courts of law, terrorism and discrimination have destroyed this heaven on earth and turned it into a hell. Bilateral initiatives between India and Pakistan as well as international endeavors have always failed, because the people of Kashmir and their aspirations have always been neglected. We Kashmiris require the freedom and space to form and define what our identity should be. Pakistan and India should apply a bounteous approach and assist us by creating a peaceful atmosphere instead of trying to define our identity for us.

Your Excellency, I request you to offer the best of your offices to initiate a peace process, which will include the people of Jammu & Kashmir, in order to reach a peaceful settlement which will be based on the incontestable principles of justice.


Kind regards,

M. Hashim Qureshi
Chairman JK Democratic Liberation Party

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sacrifices of Kashmiri nation and the duties of leadership?

For last three months Kashmiri nation is going through an ordeal. It is making sacrifices of life and property with great fortitude and patience. Very few nations in the world have braved such testing times and shown remarkable patience without murmur. Innocent children are killed mercilessly and women are humiliated in public. Window panes of private houses are shattered. In short, the authorities are using all instruments of oppression and suppression against our nation. But the government has not been able to break the morale of the people undergoing travails. By a rough estate the state has suffered a hefty financial loss to the tune of sixty five thousand crore rupees during the period of turmoil. More than a thousand women and youth are battling for life in hospitals. From February till date nearly 80-90 people have been killed of whom under-aged and youth outnumber the rest.

A few days back some young people playing carom in the Maisuma were fired at without any provocation. Seven of them were gravely wounded. Among them are the nephew and a cousin brother of Yasin Malik. In Anantnag, a 12-year boy was shot at and martyred. It appears that the state apparatus is adding fuel to fire. The conscience of Indian rulers has not awoken even then and they are still orchestrating the rhetoric of Kashmir an integral part of India. NC stooges are more loyal than the king. Ordinary people have regrets that NC leaders are concerned more about their seats of power than the loss of their thinking faculty.

The conscience of international community about Kashmir and Palestine is just hibernating for last six or seven decades. Kashmiris are at a loss to understand why the governments of more than sixty Muslim countries in the world are tongue tied on large scale massacre of Kashmiris. Yes, Muslim countries have trade relations with India. However, Pakistan was an exception but that country is fighting the battle of its survival right now. Nearly 25 per cent of the area of the country is inundated by flash floods and about 20 million people have been rendered homeless. Pakistan needs about five billion dollars to raise the infrastructure in the flood ravaged areas. It is rebuilding roads, hospitals, police stations, civil institutions and rehabilitating the uprooted population. Unfortunately despite the fury and wrath of nature and its resultant destruction, there are still some evil doers who are blasting bombs. Pakistan cannot do anything beyond lip service to us. She has not even been able to raise some noise on international platform on killings thrust on us.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why is conscientious Indian civil society silent over killings in Kashmir?!

Civil societies world over have listened to the voice of their conscience and saved humanity from bloodbath. They have risen against the tyranny and oppression perpetrated by cruel and oppressive rulers. The father of Indian nation, Gandhi ji waged struggle against oppression irrespective of religion, caste and ethnicity. It was struggle against oppression let loose against human beings. He came to be known as the founding father of the philosophy of no-violence. Indian rulers have always exploited the slogan that “Bharat follows the principles of Gandhi ji.” Unfortunately the Indian rulers have taken to the game of propaganda. They have rubbed Gandhi ji’s principles into dust at each step. He had clearly said:

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

Unfortunately, very small voices are raised against the treatment meted out by Indian rulers and their local agents to the people of Kashmir. We the people of Kashmir are at a loss why conscientious people of India are silent over the atrocities perpetrated on us. Is it India’s fake nationalism that prevents conscientious people from opening their mouth? Is it because of faith? Conscientious Indian civil society generally raises its voice against oppression anywhere in the world but not in Kashmir. Why is it so? Why is India bent on distorting her image in the eyes of the whole world? Is it because Kashmiri men, women and children have not guns in their hands? All that they have is one and only one slogan “What do we want? Freedom (azaadi)”. For raising this slogan, Indian security forces and police rain bullets on them. In no civilized country of the world bullets are rained on peaceful protesting mass rallies. Usually, mass rallies are peaceful but security forces baton charge them at every turn. They instigate the crowds to violence. Youth pick up stones in self-defence, in retaliation of which security forces shoot them in their heads and chests. It seems there is deliberate attempt to kill Kashmiri children and youth.

Mass protests are not exclusive to India. These take place from time to time in many countries. Security forces generally use water canons and tear gas shells to disperse mobs. But here bullets are rained even on womenfolk. Security forces come out on rampage almost every day shattering window and motor vehicle panes. Now people have begun covering the windowpanes with metallic sheets for protection.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Foreword 'Kashmir: The Undeniable Truth' by Ahmad Khazir, President Tanzeem-e-Ulemae Hind, Deoband

It is hard to face realities and speak truth. The history of mankind is full of perplexity and mystification. Success and failure, losing and wining is the law of nature but every one has reason and justification for triumph and trail. In every sphere of life we are involved in a race but unfortunately in Kashmir we are trudging an endless track .Most of Kashmiries blame India and Pakistan for the volatility and political instability in the state and feel alienated due to the bias attitude of diplomacy as well as politics. But what ever may be the reasons! The fact is that Kashmiri Leadership is responsible for the uproar and mayhem .The fundamental and flagrant contradictions that occur in the manifestos of all political groups and parties in Kashmir have pushed Kashmiries in such a situation where all the intellectuals, writers, think tanks and even political leaders are unable to think of a solution to Kashmir imbroglio. Every one is talking of solution and resolution of this vexed problem but it is truly difficult in Kashmir to call spade a spade .If you dare to become honest and speak truth you will be labeled either Indian agent or Pakistani agent and you are no more Kashmiri? Resulting in the causality of truth and facts.


Mr.Hashim Qureshi is also one of causalities of truth. He dares to speak truth and it is hard to swallow truth particularly in politics. However unjustified criticism, condemnation and denigration where unable to prevent Hashim from speaking truth. Every one has right to agree and disagree with his views and concept but It will be unjust to ignore Hashims straight forwardness and loyalty to his nation.


I have read few of his articles now in a complete book form; I sincerely believe that Mr.Hashim Qureshi’s vision and experience deserve recognition on both political and diplomatic front. Mr.Hashim Qureshi‘s experience and interaction both at national and international level should not be unnoticed and ignored .He has spent most of his time on working for different solution of Kashmir. His experience and encounter with truth, beyond any doubt needs support and applaud.


Moulana Ahmad Khazir
President
Tanzeem e Ulame Hind
Deoband (UP)

20/03/2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Open Letter to Ban Ki-Moon

His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General United Nations
New York, NY 10017
United States of America


Esteemed Sir,

I would like to draw your attention to the turbulent situation in Jammu & Kashmir. In reaction to unprovoked killings by Indian Security forces, the people in Kashmir, especially the youth have been staging demonstrations and protests for the past two months. During these peaceful demonstrations, the Indian Security forces have not abstained from using bullets to assassinate people's democratic rights. This has resulted in the fact that during the ongoing agitation part of the youth has been compelled to display their dissatisfaction and anger by stone pelting. But in response to their stone pelting the Indian Security forces have used bullets, which has resulted in the death of more than 30 people, including women and children. The use of extensive and disproportional force by the Indian Security forces has fueled the anger among the people and this turbulent situation seems to have become a vicious circle which will only result in more innocent deaths. The use of force by security forces has not been limited to demonstrations, but they even entered homes and embarked on ruthless rampages, which only deteriorates the situation. Zahid Farooq (17 years), Tufail Mattoo (17 years) and Inayat Khan (16 years) were not part of any demonstration or agitation, but were either playing cricket or on their way attending tuition, but they were killed ruthlessly by tear gas shells and bullets fired upon them by Indian Security forces, without any reason or provocation whatsoever. The brain of one of these kids was blown out by a tear gas canister. Even during these atrocities, I am proud to state that my Kashmiri people defied communalism and portrayed honesty and Kashmiriyat as they welcomed this year's Hindu pilgrimage and made sure that none of the pilgrims were hurt or refrained from performing their religious duties. On the other hand the Indian Security forces have forbidden the Kashmiri people from performing their religious duties, as the doors of the largest Mosque in Kashmir have remained closed for the last month amidst curfew.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The truth about the Ganga hijacking, by Khalid Hassan

It is thirty-two years since the Indian Airlines flight that had taken off from Srinagar on the morning of January 30 for Delhi was hijacked and brought to Lahore by two young Kashmiris cousins, Hashim and Ashraf Qureshi. The official Pakistani story has been that the Ganga hijacking was elaborately planned by Indian intelligence to be used as an excuse to ban Pakistani aircraft flying over India in order to keep its beleaguered garrison from being supplied. Hashim and Ashraf were denounced as Indian agents, although when they brought the plane to Lahore they were greeted as heroes and freedom fighters. On a popular level they continued to be seen like.

I was at the time a reporter working for The Pakistan Times and just happened to be at Lahore airport when the plane landed. In the first few days, there was no bar to us walking across the tarmac and talking to the two hijackers. Later, however, our access was blocked. I was also present when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto arrived from Dhaka. A crowd had gathered at the airport. And many among them had jumped over the railing to greet the PPP leader. I was already on the tarmac. They wanted Bhutto to go towards Ganga. Bhutto said to me, “Look, I don’t know what this is all about and who these people are, so I won’t say anything.” He was practically pushed towards the parked aircraft by the crowd. He exchanged a few words with the two young men.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits

Kashmir history is five thousand years old. In course of time, many invaders from outside led incursions into Kashmir. Recurrent turmoils within, too, have been part of her destiny. However, inter-community clashes did not show their ugly face as engrained culture. There is hardly any substantial historical evidence to prove that in a complex society people belonging to majority religious group compassed extirpation or decimation of a minority group.

Islam in Kashmir


Islam came to Kashmir in about A.D.1330 - 1339. Again there is no evidence to show that Islam was forcibly thrust on the people of Kashmir. Of course from the accounts given by Kalhana, and later on by Jonaraja, in Rajatarangini, one can find that Hindu society of those days was groaning under the burden of superficialities while the ruling class was engrossed in court conspiracies in order to keep itself saddled in the seat of power. The upper strata of society, intoxicated with power and identifying itself with the ruling class, had been isolated from the wider Kashmirian milieu. Tyrannical caste system had almost rent the social fabric into shreds. Continuous in-fighting and dissensions had sapped economic resources of the state.

In the background of this socio-political landscape of early mediaeval period, Islam was brought to Kashmir by the sufis like Bulbul Shah and Shah Hamadan. This opened the floodgates of revolt against oppressive caste system, revolution against social taboos and acceptance of a new faith based on social equality and fraternity. In his Rajatarangini, Jonaraja writes about Sultan Shahabu'd-Din Shahmiri as this:" the ancestors of Shahabu'd-Din came to Kashmir from the regions of Swat. They were the descendents of Pandavas and had converted to Islam."


A careful study of history reveals that one of the major reasons of not forcing conversion on people in Kashmir was that the ancestors of her rulers were themselves closely connected either with Hinduism or Buddhism. During his visit to Kashmir, the Mughal Emperor Jehangir was surprised to observe the coexistence and common life style of Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits) and Muslims. He writes in his memoirs, viz. Tuzak - Jehangiri," I do not understand what type of Musalmans are found in Kashmir because there appears no difference between them and Kashmiri Hindus. They share each others' customs and traditions to the extent that they celebrate feasts together."

At Nagabal spring in Anantnag, there is a temple of the Hindus, a gurudwara of the Sikhs and a mosque of the Muslims ( built by Dara Shikoh). What a glaring proof of religious toleranace. In far off villages in Ladakh region, we find members of one family adhering to different faiths at one and the same time. All of them live in peace and amity. If a couple is not of common faith, the son adopts his father's religion and the daughter that of her mother. This means that in Kashmir conversion from one religion to another never meant nursing hatred and ill will against any religion. Conversion took place, but surnames (zaat) remained the same. Among Muslim in the valley today we have Bhat, Koul, Raina, Teng, Munshi, Mahajan, Pandith and many more common zaat among Muslims and Hindus. In some cases slight variations have been affected such as Dhar becomes Dar, Rathore become Rather, Lavanya becomes Lone, etc. This shows that Kashmiri Pandits are our own flesh and blood. Centuries ago, our and their ancestors were brothers from the same blood. In terms of race, the same blood runs in our veins.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

O YOU GUN! BE DAMNED

1. The gun showed the Indian security forces the path into our homes.
2. The gun played with the modesty of our respectful womenfolk.
3. The gun authorised the Indian security forces to molest the walls and the veils of our homes.
4. The gun rendered our mother, sister and daughters widows, and it turned our Children into orphans.
5. The gun forced the widow’s orphan’s children to become baggers.
6. The gun banished sincerity, discretion and decency from our society.
7. The threat of the gun put an end to the tradition of speaking the truth, dealing with the truth and following the truth in Jammu Kashmir.
8. The gun turned the difference of opinion into the law of the jungle.
9. The gun facilitated the birth of the Ikhwanis and the Jihadis from the womb of destruction.
10. The gun has coined the terms like official gunman and the militant.
11. The gun has laid down the tradition of creating forced and unwilling matrimonial alliances.
12. The gun has promulgated amassing of illegal wealth through easy means.
13. The gun has found the rationale for killing persons after sticking to them the label of an enemy agent and a traitor.
14. The gun has wiped out age old communal harmony and replaces it by rank communalism.
15. The gun has deprived innocent children of paternal affection and their loving smiles.
16. The has hurled down human beings from the heights of humanism and made them beastly and barbaric.
17. The gun has taken away the warmth in blood and has benumbed the sense of relationship.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Proposed solution to the Kashmir conflict

Kashmir! 'Freezing To De-freeze'

Kashmir: the flash point

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.

Horrendous scenario

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.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The story of pain and prosecution

India is known to the world as a big democratic country. Great Indian leaders like Gandhi Ji and Nehru were respected because of India being a democracy. But when we come to the case of Kashmir, it is generally said that democracy and justice neither move beyond Lakhanpur nor are these two boons available to Kashmiris within Indian Union. Never did the people of Kashmir elect a true government after late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. All governments in the state were formed in accordance with the wishes of New Delhi. The more recent examples are the regimes of Mufti Muhammad Saeed and Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Today, I have taken up the theme of justice. I would be touching on the cases of those who are languishing in the jails for many years. I want my readers to be sensitive to the plight of these unfortunate human beings. Even if the J&K Courts finds them innocent and orders their release from the prison, the have to face the ire of the administration and are sent back to the jails. They are again subjected to Public Safety Act (PSA), and interned for two years. This process has continued for ten, twelve and even fifteen years. The Executive has thrown to winds the orders of the court not once or twice but innumerable times. No system and no structure raise its voice against this injustice. People are implicated in various fake cases as a result of political and administrative vendetta. These unfortunate victims have to shuttle between their residence and the courts of law, police stations and the jails a thousand times. The result is that they begin to nurse hatred against the system and those who run it. It also creates bad impression in their minds against Indian democracy and her system of public justice. They would seek revenge for putting them to a miserable condition. They lose no opportunity to give expression to the simmering hatred.

How have I been treated? It is an important question. I would like to recount something of injustice done to me. Whatever I put here in black and white is duly authenticated by substantial proof. On January 30 1971, an FIR was lodged against me in Sadar police station of Srinagar. It was registered under Act 3 of Enemy Agent Ordinance. Under this Act death or life imprisonment can be given. In addition, cases under Section 365, 120-B, 435 and 392 were filed in FIR No. 15. Before proceeding to state details of my prosecution under these provisions, let me take you into the history of the whole matter.

Introduction of Hashim Qureshi's latest book: 'Kashmir: The Undeniable Truth'.

Unprecedented changes have occurred in the world during past three decades. These are prominently visible in international relations, geo- political strategies and social configuration. Great leaps forward in technological and scientific advancement has abridged distances, shrunk time, and opened marvelous opportunities of economic progress; the quality of life is immensely improved. While developing countries had to re-fashion their socio-economic structures to accommodate and even absorb imperatives of rapid development, technologically advanced countries with strong economic thrust much faster innovative options on them. As a result, developing societies are feeling the pressure of transition to ultra-modernism. In such a prospect many irritants are likely to surface. In particular, there is growing demand for social justice and economic parity.

It is curious that economic progress and economic deprivation, though contradictory in essence, have both contributed to the activation of dormant as well as wakeful social aspirations among underprivileged segments of developing societies. Recognition of identity is an urge and an aspiration.

The most eloquent expression of this phenomenon is to be understood in the Islamic revolution of Iran under theocratic dispensation in 1979. Commentators are still debating why of all the countries Iran should have chosen to go theocratic when she had come so close to the fringe of modernism. We should not forget that Iran’s urge for recognition of her identity was articulated, albeit unsuccessfully, way back in 1950s. Did not that failure suggest that Iranian civil society recognized national identity not necessarily conditional to modernism? It was clear that Iran would look for new and effective options to realize her urge for identity? And the option was seized even if it came belatedly and perhaps erratically in a sense ---- after nearly four decades.

Soviet Union’s incursion of Afghanistan was a foolhardy act of a totalitarian regime undertaken at a very wrong time. As Iranian revolution progressed, Islamic world looked at it with a mixture of anxiety and an air of expectancy. In their thinking Islam was pitted against the greatest power on earth. Evidently, Soviet recklessness in Afghanistan could not have produced consequences other than what it did. It boosted Islamic orthodoxy and it facilitated casual camaraderie between extremist religious forces and powerful western democracy. The Soviet Union had to pay a heavy price; it broke.

The urge for recognition of identity among the Muslim world has become almost contagious. Some commentators try to dig into the history of western colonialism to look for the causes of Muslim resurgence. Today the US and her allies witness with anxiety the harsh consequences of a movement in whose resurgence they had a pivotal role. Those whom they once proudly called mujahedeen are now patently “terrorists” and “Theo-fascists”. People are divided, societies are divided and countries are divided on the basics of this phenomenon and the ways of tackling it.

Muslims and Islam are at the centre of this phenomenon. But notwithstanding Iran’s show of determination, the difference in the resurgence of Islam in Iran on the one hand and in Afghanistan-Pakistan on the other is vital. In Iran, popular Islam rose against theist American imperialism whereas in Afghanistan-Pakistan, political Islamic revival emerged out of opposition to atheist Russian imperialism. As we see, the Muslim world stands divided between supporters and opponents of western imperialism. To put it crudely, one may say that imperialism became an instrument of causing polarization of Islamic communities.

This divide has run into Muslim polity in another form --- revivalists and reformists. Curiously, the divide exists despite the proviso of ijtihad or re-interpretation of Qur’an and tradition. However, the divide is not of recent history; it has been there since the days of Caliphate. Exploiters count on this yawning chasm.

Statement of late K.H. Khurshid, Ex-President , Azad Kashmir before a Special Court in Pakistan (Ganga highjacking case 1971)

I was the Personal Secretary of the Quaid-e-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, from June 1944 to August 1947. Then I became the Personal Secretary of the Quaid-e-Azam in his official capacity as the Governor-General of Pakistan from 14th August 1947 till his death on the 11th September 1948. I took over as President of Azad Kashmir on the May 1, 1959 and I resigned on the 5th August 1964. My political party is known as the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation League. It was formed in 1962 and I hold office as the President of this party . In early 1971 when the Indian plane was hijacked to Lahore airport, I was in Lahore and had the occasion to meet the hijacker Hashim Qureshi.

On receiving a telephonic information on February 2, 1971 at about 7 P.M. that situation was tense at Lahore airport, I drove to the airport and was told that P.I.A had discontinued the food supplies to the hijackers on some technical ground. Sardar Abdul Vakil Khan, the S.S.P. of Lahore airport took me and Maqbul Bhat to the room where Hashim was sitting next to a table .Hashim told Maqbul Bhat that these officers had asked him to burn the plane. Maqbul Bhat suggested that burning the plane would not serve any purpose and instead it should be slightly damaged, glasses and windows may be broken. He thought this would get some publicity.

Engineers would consider it repairing and that could give time to the Government of India to consider releasing the arrested persons. While leaving the place after about ten minutes, Sardar Abdul Vakil Khan S.S.P. uttered in Urdu

"Khuda ke lie hamari jan chhorh do jahaz ko urha do" (for God's sake spare our lives and destroy the plane).

Statement of Maqbool Bhat before a special court in Pakistan

Call it a coincidence or tyranny of the conditions, I have to stand today in this special court under a special order to defend the charges which are baseless and false. More appropriately these charges are the creation of a mind that is enemy of the freedom of my country and a cruel joke with the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are fighting for liberation. History has given the verdict against those conditions and self-acclaimed rulers of Pakistan who have made me stand in this witness box. This verdict of history is so clear that no further explanation is needed. It has drawn a clear line between us and our hypocrite opponents. I take this proceeding as a compliment for myself and my comrades as future generations will have no confusion about our identity.

Thus this command of Quran has proven true about this group of hypocrites: "And when they meet Muslims they say we have become believers and when they are alone with their Satans then say no doubt we are with you. We are just taking the fun. Allah takes the fun of them and develops their imprudence. Fact is that they have no vision."

By the crime this group is committing against the oppressed people, it was inevitable that they should trap themselves in a situation where they are unable to escape.

I have neither prepared any conspiracy nor been a part of any such group. My role is clear all the way through. However it is true that I have rebelled against obscurantism, slavery, capitalism, exploitation, corruption, cruelty, and hypocricy. If the ruling class of Pakistan, which is a product of imperialist system and is represented by the civil and military bureaucracy, call it conspiracy then I have no hesitation to accept it.

Open Letter to the Indian Media

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

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

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

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

Bilateral dialogue

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

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

Friday, January 1, 2010

Speech in Two day conference in European Parliament.

Solution of Kashmir issue - Stimulus to peace

10 December 2008, Bruxelles

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

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

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

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

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