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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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.

As for Europe and the US, history has taught me that they care all the time caring for their own security. They speak in support of any country or person only for self interests. The US and Europe ravaged Iraq for oil and have grabbed Afghanistan with an eye on the mineral wealth of Central Asia. Afghanistan is the transportation route to the Gulf. Conspiracy against Iran aims at controlling her rich oil resources. In these circumstances when none but God Almighty is there to help us, Kashmiri nation continues making supreme sacrifices. Our leadership has to have full realization that the nation made sacrifices for freedom and rights. The world has turned deaf ear to our cries; international institutions have closed their eyes to the destruction of an entire generation of our nation. We need to take full stock of our strength and our nation’s resources if we want to draw the contours of our struggle in future.

Duties of leadership
Despite many sacrifices there is disunity among the leaders though they often make a public pretence of unity. Actually they mislead the masses of people. Their plans and programmes are at variance with one another. In my interview of August 8, 2010, I had appealed to Geelani Sahib that unity was the cry of the day. I had raised the issue of education and training of our youth. It is heartening to know that after my effort, the chief of Jammat-e-Islami and Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, both have spoken in the same vein. The Mirwaiz has rightly said “ that the failure of the movement is the failure of our nation. When Sayyed Ali Shah Geelani started chalking out protest calendar, we thought we should favourably respond to it so that nobody thinks that there is a race for leadership. I strongly believed that Geelani Sahib would reach other leaders. But it did not happen. Now he has taken the initiative of constituting two committees to interact with all separatists for unity.” Mirwaiz has rightly said “That commercial losses can be withstood but in regard to the education of our youth, we shall have to make a new thinking.”

Let us remember that the first word taught by God to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was iqra, meaning “do read”. The Holy Prophet has exhorted the faithful to undertake long journeys for acquiring knowledge. Today appeals for unity are issued by all and sundry. The world knows that no nation or group has achieved the goal unless it fostered unity and cooperation on its people. We have two factions of Hurriyat Conference. In both of them there are members of the same group meaning Muslim League in Gillani group and Muslim League in Mirwaiz group. In each group there are 23 parties, which in fact are only on party. All of these have the agenda of accession to Pakistan. The fact is that the key to real unity between the two Hurriyats is in the hands of Geelani Sahib and Mirwaiz Sahib. If they ask the two groups of the same name to unite so that there is only one Hurriyat Conference, and then subsequently organizations standing for independent Kashmir join hands with them, then our journey becomes easier. If we want to carry the present movement to its logical conclusion then all such groups and people should be invited to join the movement as want freedom from India or both India and Pakistan. Geelani Sahib would be well advised that in case the movement fails not only will the nation get exhausted but also the full responsibility of the failure of the movement will be on his shoulders. People do become partners in victory but in failure they hold others responsible and absolve themselves.

Therefore unity shall have to be planned under “Minimum Programme” with thrust on following points:(a)J&K is a disputed State (b)A solution is found through tripartite talks. (c)A joint committee of Kashmiris be constituted that would represent Kashmiris (d)No organization will talk to India or Pakistan on its own. (e)The State means the entire territory as it existed under Maharaja Hari Singh in 1947. Any solution will be found in a democratic manner and through majority agreement. Each region will be guaranteed internal autonomy. This should become the basis of solution of Kashmir for which the movement has to be a procrastinated one. It is also important that we pay attention to our immediate demands. These are;

1.Withdraw AFSPA and black laws
2. Release all political detainees and withdraw court cases against political prisoners including false criminal cases.
3. All disappearances should be enlisted and their particulars passed on to the people.
4.Unidentified dead remaining buried in their graves to be identified.
5. All bunkers in cities, towns and villages be removed and the troops withdrawn to the barracks.
6. A commission is constituted in collaboration with the civil society to probe the circumstances leading to the martyring of the people in the course of the movement.
7. A probe should be conducted into the matter of promotions given to the police officers for killing militants during the militancy lest innocent people were martyred.

Conditions for dialogue

Geelani Sahib has put forth five conditions for initiating talks with the Union government. These are (a) India accept J&K a disputed region (b) India begin withdrawing her army (c) All black laws promulgated in the State including AFSPA be withdrawn (d) All political prisoners be released and cases filed against them in courts of law be withdrawn, and (e) All innocent killings done by security forces and police be probed into and culprits punished. None of these demands put forth by Geelani Sahib is irrelevant. These conditions actually reflect the sentiments and demands of the people based on righteousness. The question is this: Is India prepared to accept the first condition? In 1994, the Indian parliament adopted a unanimous resolution declaring Jammu and Kashmir an “integral part of Indian Union”. Additionally, the resolution claims re-integration of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Balatistan regions into Indian Union. Therefore no government in India can declare Jammu and Kashmir a disputed territory unless two-third majority of the members of Indian parliament, meaning 405 out of a total of 542 members agree to bring about an amendment in the Constitution of India. A look at the composition of the present Indian parliament will show that this is next to impossible. Even if the UPA government so wishes, it is helpless. In the same vein, withdrawal of the army, too, will be unacceptable to a majority of MPs who will bring forth the argument of India’s long border with China and Pakistan. However, a modification stipulating that the army vacates major towns and villages of the valley and goes back to the barracks seems a fair option and any government in New Delhi would be disposed to agree to it. If India wants to restore peace in Kashmir then she would need to react positively to the demands of the Kashmiri nation out of goodwill. That is how an atmosphere of mutual trust can be created. The first step is that security forces and police are withdrawn from streets and democratic rights of the people are conceded as laid down in the Indian Constitution. People should be allowed to bring out peaceful demonstrations so that they know they are entitled to enjoying the right to freedom. In this way confrontation with the security forces will be avoided and the police will not have the necessity of firing bullets in reply to stone pelting.



Duties of leadership


This is a stage at which the entire Kashmiri nation is giving sacrifices and each member is involved in it in one or the other way. I have said earlier that if in the background of this political landscape Geelani Sahib carries with him all small and big groups in the name of unity, his respect and prestige will enhance further. In doing so no party desirous of freedom will have any scope of thinking that it has been left out of the frame of the decisions of the movement. It is unavoidable to revise the schedule of strikes if the movement is to be carried forward for a long time and keep it alive. If that is not done, then mainstream parties will pose as well-wishers of the masses of people and take up the cause of cart vendors, petty shopkeepers, daily wagers, transporters and students only to mislead them. Therefore we shall have to think of all these segments of society now virtually drawn to the verge of hunger owing to long strikes. A suggestion was that for some days in a week,strike should be called off after 3 PM because the writ of the administration runs only up to 2 or 3 PM. All that is wanted is to undo the writ of the government.

Every Kashmiri has become over-sensitive about educational institutions because an entire educational term of one year of the students is at stake. Children have become prisoners in their homes. Parents have to pay the school fees of their wards despite the fact that schools remain closed. It would be advisable if the schedule for schools is changed from morning to 2 PM in the afternoon shift, it might minimize negative effects of strikes on the educational career of our students. That is what the Amir of Jamaat-e Islami had suggested. He had said,” If we have an assurance that Kashmir issue is going to be solved in a month or a year, then perhaps nobody will have any objection of resorting to total and continued strike. There is no definite time frame for the solution of this issue and we shall have to reschedule the strike call in the context of educational system”. Keeping in mind the sacrifices made by our nation we shall have to keep the movement clean and transparent. It is essential that the leadership enjoys complete control of the movement if it is not to become a victim of disappointment and anarchy... A close watch has to be kept on such elements in each locality, each area and each town. There might be attempts to give the movement communal, violence prone or anarchist colour. The government can resort to any possible mischief in order to remain glued to the seat of power. It will induct agents from our nation to do the dirty job. The Ikhwani card can also be played as is being rumoured. The most formidable weapons we possess are those of unity and solidarity. After the recent statement of Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, the ball of unity and solidarity is in the court of Geelani Sahib. On test are his farsightedness, spirit of freedom, large-heartedness and his qualities of leadership. The entire nation is eagerly waiting how he will inset the oppressed but courageous Kashmiri nation into the mosaic of unity. The propaganda set afoot here is “That Geelani Sahib and Jamat-e Islami usually seek dominance of their views and thinking”. This is in spite of the fact that Sheikh Ghulam Hassan, the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami has been making repeated appeals for unity. Those bent upon defeating the movement may use various methods to achieve their nefarious designs.

A major benefit of unity for the Kashmiri nation will be that all big and small groups will work together as components of one massive movement and nobody will be allowed to break the discipline. In the absence of consolidating unity any small spark of factionalism or communalism will wreck havoc to the movement. Mirwaiz has very rightly concluded that the “Failure of the movement is the failure of the nation”. The cry of the hour is. (i) Forge unity to make the movement a success. (ii) Arm the movement for long struggle. (iii)raise institutions for the martyrs, wounded and the weaker sections working for the movement, and (iv) formulate consensual policy for both immediate and long-range objectives of the struggle.

Hashim Qureshi
Chairman JK Democratic Liberation Party.