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.



Monday, August 13, 2012

Will Kashmir tourist spots survive?

Why not, provded we have a will to do so!

Hundreds of thousands of tourists come to Kashmir every year. We have a Tourism Department with budgetary allocations to maintain the standard of tourism in Kashmir. But all is not rosy about Kashmir tourism. The ground situation of tourist spots and tourist culture as a whole in the State is depressing. Human contribution to the grand natural beauty of Kashmir is almost zero.

In Kashmir we lack basic philosophy of tourism: we consider the tourist a money bag only to be looted. We never pursue the idea of how to develop the industry for the benefit of our future generations. Let us proceed item by item.New tourist culture in our state should be called yatra-tourist culture. Home tourists come partly for visiting holy shrines and partly to enjoy themselves the beauty of Kashmir. We have two groups of yatris (a) to Swami Amarnath Cave in Kashmir, (b) to Mata Vaishnov Devi in Riasi.

Swami Amarnath yatra
The number of pilgrims to Amarnath Cave this year has been about 4 lac. The Yatra began on 25 June and will terminate on 2 August (incidentally today). Out of four lac yatris, 99 per cent come by road, some in their own vehicles and others hire local transport. The journey from Lakhanpur to Baltal--the beginning and the end points-- takes at least two days. Imagine the quantum of litter, refuse and garbage left behind by a crowd of 5 laky souls while moving on the wheels. The entire path of nearly 400 kilometers presents a look of desolation with refuse littered on both sides of the road.There are no urinals, toilets and bathrooms along this 400 kilometer length not even for women. Males and boys urinate or defecate wherever they like to and women go behind the dense bushes or trees to ease themselves. Imagine the pollution and dirt it causes. Is this tourism? Is this Yatra? Whole River Sindh is polluted from Baltal.Tourists who travel by their private vehicles would like to pass the night inside their vehicles in case accommodation is not available in hotels. But they need toilets, and in absence of these, they defecate or urinate in open. It is such an ugly and shameful scene.

Vaishno Devi
The influx of Yatris to Mata Vaishnov Devi shrine has crossed 1.1 crore annually. But because there are not adequate arrangements of accommodation, toilets and bathrooms for them, they respond to the call of nature on the roadside, in open space available, in parks and by the water bodies and forests. Thus from Lakhanpur up to the Vaishnov Devi shrine, the road on both sides is littered with garbage. There is no dustbin to deposit the used stuff in it. When visitors are in such a large number one can imagine how much pressure does it means on the environment and services. Most of the human refuse goes into water bodies and pollutes it.In absence of private or government accommodation for the pilgrims hundreds of thousands of yatris are forced to spend a night or two on verandas, in the forests or roadside. They are forced by non availability of adequate arrangement to spend the nights in open. There are no sarais or dormitories in which the yatris would spend the night. Common sense says that only such number of yatris should be allowed to enter as can be accommodated by this existing accommodation. Alternatively, for all incoming pilgrims-tourists adequate arrangements in essential services should be provided.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Understanding UN Resolutions on Kashmir

“The truth is what it is, not what should be: What should be is a dirty lie” (L. Bruce)

We are talking of UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir. What is their import?India lodged a complaint under Article 35 (Chapter VI) of the U.N Charter in the U.N Security Council on January 1, 1948, charging Pakistan with “aiding and abetting” tribal invasion of Jammu and Kashmir which it said had acceded to Indian Union through an instrument of accession signed by the then ruler.

In its first resolution of 17 January 1948, Security Council called upon India and Pakistan to exercise restraint. Three days later through another resolution (Resolution 39), it created the UN Commission for Indian and Pakistan (UNCIP) to investigate the dispute and mediate between the two countries.

In another resolution (Resolution 47) of April 21, 1948, SC called for cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of all Pakistani troops and tribesmen and bulk of Indian troops (except for a minimal number required for maintaining law and order), allowing return of refugees, release of political prisoners and holding of a U.N supervised Plebiscite in the princely State of Jammu and Kashmir under a plebiscite administrator to determine the aspirations of her people. It was supported by another resolution of June 3, 1948.

After deliberations with Indian and Pakistani leadership in July 1948, the UNCIP produced a proposal calling for an immediate ceasefire and a truce agreement between India and Pakistan, withdrawal from the J&K of all Pakistani tribesmen and nationals and the bulk of India's troops. India rejected it saying the Security Council failed to blame the aggressor in Kashmir. Pakistan also rejected the proposal saying that Sheikh Abdullah, Prime Minister designated on March 5, 1948 was an ally of India and by, implication, able to influence the plebiscite in India's favour. Pakistan had reservations also about she withdrawing all forces from Kashmir while Indian retaining some of her troops. She argued it could potentially lead to coercion or intimidation of voters by Indian forces jeopardizing the result of the proposed plebiscite.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The leadership crisis?

Have our leaders failed us and are we the victims of this crisis?

Peter Druker said, “Leadership doesn’t mean just delivering speeches that are liked. It is not evaluated by its characteristics but by its results”. Only sincere leadership and systematized organizations can bring better future, prosperity, development, peace and security to a community. How many sacrifices does the leadership and organizations demand from the community and how many sacrifices have a nation made cannot be construed as a proof of the sincerity of leadership. Leadership and organizations are evaluated along the criterion of the nation making minimum sacrifices and minimum losses in order to arrive at the destination. This is a universal principle. How does the world look at the leadership and the organization? That will speak of the sincerity and sacrifices of leadership.

Going through the history of national struggle in 20th and 21st century, we must speak about Russia and China. In Russia, Lenin as the leader of the Bolshevik Party united his nation against the tyrannical regime of the Czar and brought about Socialist revolution. Similarly, under Mao Tse Tung’s leadership, China ushered in a revolution that brought the country in line with the progressive nations of the world. This is the same nation that had been paralyzed by the British colonialists by making it addicted to opium.

A cursory look at Pakistan will show that the creation of that country owed more to the leadership of Quid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah than the efforts of the Muslim League. Of course, at the core of the creation of Pakistan was the factor of religion.

Vietnam’s freedom was the result of priceless sacrifices made by the people of that country and impeccable sincerity of its leadership. It was only then that a small country could stand up to a mighty power like the US and forced her to vacate their land in total disarray. At one time Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese leader was working as a menial on a French ship. Of course, Palestine’s struggle for freedom has not as yet been crowned with success. But notwithstanding that, Palestinian freedom struggle is recognized by the entire world and they are by and large supporting it. Some of their supporters are even sacrificing their precious lives for their freedom.

Friday, June 8, 2012

We’re also human beings

Our children are dying. Is anybody listening out there?
Many of my readers and friends will complain on my month long absence from the print media. During this interregnum many friends telephoned and prompted me to continue to write. For a couple of days I looked for a theme to write on. There is no dearth of themes but there are also some compulsions. I decided today I will not touch upon any political theme. We have innumerable problems here like health, power, education, drinking water and many more things. It is so sad to think that our generations to come are getting callously killed in hospitals. We understand the Chief Minister is not going to the hospital to treat the ailing kid nor will he be able to bring clean drinking water to every household. But we will remind him of the mandate given to him by the people. Accordingly it is the duty of the Chief Minister and his government that he will not only issue orders to solve the problems of the people and not only present the plans wrapped in plethora of papers but will also see on the ground what is happening. Are his orders and instructions and plans carried out faithfully or not?

More than three hundred seventy new born babies died in G.B. Pant Hospital owing to the carelessness of the doctors concerned or the corruption of selling medicines to private shopkeepers. The Superintendent of the hospital was candid in saying that a “drug mafia was running in the hospital.” Kashmir Uzma splashed on its front page pictures of heaps of filth and garbage in the precincts of the hospital which in no way speak that this could be a hospital. Parents admit children in hospitals in the hope they would recover but the attendants have to buy emergency medicines from the open market.

This is not true of G.B. Pant hospital only. The situation in other hospitals in Jammu, Doda, Poonch and Srinagar is nothing different. In whichever government hospital one goes, one has to cover ones nose and mouth with a kerchief. Such is the obnoxious stench. Litter fills rooms and corridors of the hospital. Beds are without mattresses and sheets. If there is a sheet it has accumulated dirt for years at end. Only glucose is given free to patients and for any other medicine from a pill for headache to emergency medicines the caretakers are given the prescription and asked to buy these from market. Many poor people coming from far off places have been seen holding the prescription in their hands and begging for money to procure prescribed medicines. A patient requiring surgery of heart or kidney holds a letter from the surgeon and while begging shows it to the donors to help him. These people begging for money to treat their patients are now to be seen frequenting the streets of Srinagar. Why should not the government order a check of all pharmaceutical shops located around the precincts of government hospitals, scrutinize the memos related to purchase of medicines and also their licenses. No medical shop should be allowed to function within a radius of one mile from the main hospital.

Hospital employees from a class IV upward perform their duty as if they are asked to carry heavy burden on their shoulders. Despite being government employees doctors are running lucrative private business at their clinics and are amassing wealth. The government seems helpless to stem the rot. These stone–hearted doctors put the patients to great financial burden by advising them to go for private pathological laboratory tests where they have to spend thousands of rupees and the doctors get commission out of it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I was born in Holland but Kashmir is my identity! Guest Post by Abrar Qureshi

It’s been 10 years now of my life in Kashmir. I was born in Holland and remained there till 2003. The time I was in Holland I always used to hear about Kashmir from my father, killing in Kashmir, militancy, freedom struggle, big names and Of course the beauty of Kashmir. For my summer vacations I used to visit Kashmir but in my childhood. My father moved to Kashmir and I came along with him. Those days I was a child and I was unaware about the situation in Kashmir.

I had joined a very popular school DPS and started studying there. The time I was in Kashmir I used to Miss Holland because I always used to think that Holland is my country, I’m born there so that's my country. But I was wrong, I didn’t knew that my land, my place, my people, my roots are in Kashmir and so that I’m a Kashmiri. Whatever I’m seeing since past 10 years In Kashmir has forced me to write an article.

I'm 19 years old and I have almost travelled every country in Europe. Holland is a very small country and not that beautiful in comparison to Kashmir but in Holland I’ve seen one thing, which is the love of the people for their country. In Holland no one will ever throw garbage on the streets or will start polluting their environment because they love their country. Whenever I visit Holland and come back to Kashmir after my vacations that time I feel very uncomfortable as I see the roads, garbage on the streets, polluted water bodies etc. Today whatever is happening in Kashmir, whether it’s the polluted Dal Lake, garbage, roads or the crisis in Kashmir, I think we Kashmiri’s are to be blamed for it. We don’t LOVE OUR KASHMIR otherwise the situation would not have gone so bad in Kashmir.

American Game plan, Hafiz Saeed and India’s wishful thinking

Born in Sargodha in 1950, Hafiz Saeed lost 36 members of his family while moving from Shimla to Lahore in the course of partition of India. General Ziau’l-Huq made him a member of the Islamic Ideological Council. He was also made professor in Islamic Studies in the Engineering College. In 1980, he went to Saudi Arabia for further studies in Islam. Reports are that in 1980, Usama bin Laden was his colleague in the educational institute in Saudi Arabia. Americans have the grouse that Hafiz Saeed maintained contacts with Osama till latter’s last day.

It is said that Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba was founded in 1990 with the support of some officers of ISI and it was designated to carry the jihad in Kashmir instead of Liberation Front and other militant groups. Hafiz Saeed has said,” There cannot be any peace while India remains intact. Cut them so much that they kneel before you and ask for mercy.”

Hafiz Saeed is no more connected to Lashkar-e-Taiyyeba; he is the chief of Jamaatu’d-Dawa. It has about 2500 offices and more than 11 seminaries (darsgah) where higher education is imparted. In an interview given to Geo-News Hafiz Saeed said that “there was no relation between LeT and JD. He also said that no person of LeT was a member of JD”.

In a verdict of 12 October 2009, Lahore High Court exonerated him of all charges. This was despite the fact that India had repeatedly brought pressure on Pakistan against him. New Delhi also supplicated before the UN to declare LeT and JD as terrorist organizations. These were declared terrorist organizations by India, USA, UK, European Union, Russian Federation and Australia. Interpol was approach to apprehend him as he was declared most wanted person.

Why do India and western powers consider Hafiz Saeed dreadful for them? We should remember the axiom that one man’s terrorist is another man’s hero. An organization believing in armed struggle is considered terrorist organization by the country against which it is active. Bhagat Singh was a terrorist in the eyes of the British colonialists. How do these people make their place in the minds of their people despite opposition by the whole world? There is a reason for that. Organizations that take up arms but keep in mind that they should maintain good relations with the masses of people and be partners in the pain and comfort of the people only those organizations survive the test of time. Mao-zi-Tung said that “an armed fighter is like a fish and the people are his water.” There have been numerous armed struggles in the world but only a few were successful in real sense of the term. Once in Kashmir we had 147 armed organizations. But today only LeT and HM are existent to some extent. LeT is working for the people in numerous aspects like construction of mosques and seminaries, internal and external affairs and educational foundations. It runs schools throughout Pakistan under JD. Higher education institutes are also functioning under its supervision where English, Mathematics, Urdu and Punjabi are taught. The geography of the sub-continent is an important subject of study in these schools and institutions. Students are made fully conversant with the geography of South Asia.JD headquarter is in Mureedke in Pakistan. The above information is available to every person and LeT and JD both get maximum funding from public donations. Shopkeepers, factory owners and contractors give them donations. Many people contribute a certain percentage of their salary to fund these organizations. It is said that crores of rupees come by way of donation from UK and Dubai.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ashraf Qureshi: My companion, Friend and Brother

Remember that this person is Ashraf – noblest - in letter and in spirit

I heard a voice. God Almighty was ordering angels,” Rise and prepare to receive a noble person. Take him to the same high segment of paradise where Maqbool Bhat the martyr stays. Remember that this person is Ashraf (noblest) in letter and in spirit. I see Maqbool Bhat and many more pure souls preparing to receive Ashraf Qureshi.” Suddenly I woke up and opened my eyes. I was perspiring, and the saga of my companionship with Ashraf Qureshi and the story of the days of our struggle rolled before my eyes.

On February 2, 2012, I received a telephone call from Pakistan saying that Ashraf Qureshi had breathed his last at 3 o’clock in the morning. I was preparing myself for last one year to receive this bad news yet the news when broken to me caused me deep anguish. I telephoned his wife and children in Pakistan. We talked in cries. However the redeeming factor was that his dead body was being buried in   Mirpur, Azad Kashmir. I had talked about this matter with late Ashraf Sahib and many more friends in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. I was convinced that Ashraf had himself expressed this desire in his will.

He was my childhood companion and friend. We lived in the same locality viz Saydpora in Nowhatta (Srinagar) distanced by just two buildings. They were seven brothers including Ashraf and two sisters. He was also my blood relation and he was elder to me by just a year and nine months.

He was what his name depicted; noble, silent, harmless, and extraordinarily courageous and with artistic bent of mind. After passing our days of childhood, we came to the stage of youthfulness and were gripped by the fever of Plebiscite Front. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was our icon. I was still a child when I developed fascination for Sheikh Abdullah. He once visited our house and took me in his lap. Ashraf was a fan of him. As a small boy he twice took me to Soura to come to the presence of Sheikh Abdullah at his residence. I think Ashraf was in communication with the Sheikh during latter’s internment in Kodikanal in Tamilnadu and also while he was in some other jail. It was Ashraf’s intense obsession for freedom that had brought him close to the tallest leader of the history of Kashmir freedom.

Towards Communal Harmony

We can cry and laugh together
The Greater Kashmir of March 5 carried a news item about the global meet of Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and its deliberations over various issues arising from their departure from the valley in 1990 owing to political turmoil. It is more than two decades that this community is living away from its home. Obviously, one living away from home has to face many hardships. Their urge to return to the valley is natural and should not be grudged.

In my writings on current affairs in Kashmir, I have, a couple of times reflected on the issue of Pandits, their unwanted departure from their homes and the prospect of their return and reintegration in Kashmiri milieu. I have, like many other political activists including dissenters, always held that Pandits are part and parcel of Kashmiri history and society and an important component of Kashmiriyat. This is the view of most of Kashmir’s. On personal level, interaction between the migrated community and their neighbours, friends and well-wishers back home never ceased. They maintained their cordial relations through communication and in many cases through personal visits on either side. This shows that on grassroots level goodwill exists in considerable measure.

People in the valley are mystified why the Pandits left in haste and recklessly in 1990. They should have opted to stay on and face the ordeal which their Muslim neighbours and friends had to go through. Communities have to learn to face the difficult times with fortitude. Those who stayed back and did not leave the valley continued to be treated sympathetically. Even in social aspects of life, they were the recipients of goodwill of the majority community.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Signals of shift: real of fake? Guest Post by K.N Pandita

Indo-Pak watchers speak of a shift of sorts in their current relations. Nobody is certain about the reason or the purpose of the shift if any. Nevertheless, the proposition merits analysis.

In some sections of press reports have appeared of India and Pakistan almost converging on an agreement of enforcing a ten-year moratorium on Kashmir issue to allow sentiments return to equilibrium and the dust and din settle down after which a new effort in changed circumstances would be made to forge a final settlement of the issue. In other words put Kashmir in cold store for ten years. If that is a proposal on which some sort of agreement could take place, then the possibility of Kashmir issue still remaining there with its present dimensions is unrealistic. We are living in a century of fast changes, like it or not.

A close look at the current situation in Pakistan strongly indicates change in ground situation. What can be her compulsions for accepting a ten-year moratorium on Kashmir issue? Is such thinking palatable to Pak Army? If yes, then the simple inference is that Army will be deviating from its six-decade long diehard Kashmir policy. It will be a rare thing for Pak Army to do.Souring relations between Pak Army and its buddies at the Pentagon and now also at the Capitol Hill on one hand and the deepening crisis between Pakistan Army and TTP on the other are driving Pak Army to the wall. Along with this double-pronged pressure, escalating insurgency in Baluchistan, which the GHQ is trying to crush as it has been doing in the past, has forced Islamabad rulers to do good deal of re-thinking about the integrity of the state in days to come. Baluch's' struggle for independence of Baluchistan has gradually attracted the attention of world community. Previously, it would take Pakistan on its face value and endorse the wrong notion that Baluch problem was that of robbers and miscreants trying to disrupt and defy Islamabad's rule. The recent reports of two important NGOs, namely Amnesty International and World Watch have pilloried Islamabad regime for blatant violation of human rights in Baluchistan by Pak security forces. General Kayani fumed and fretted that Pakistan security forces were not at all involved in any violation in Baluchistan. But he has no takers.Following the testimony of the two NGOs at the Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigation at the US Congress, the Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher introduced a House Concurrent Resolution in the US Congress seeking self-determination for the local Baluchs. Islamabad got knee-jerks and reached out to at least to ten channels to counter and contradict the report of the two NGOs made separately. Twice in one week did Islamabad summon its ambassador at Washington for consultations, and the government in Islamabad issued angry statements calling the NGOs as paid agents of the US working for furthering the interests of Pakistan. Readers would be reminded that these are the same NGOs that Islamabad trusted and quoted for so-called violations of human rights in Kashmir by the Indian security forces.

Monday, February 13, 2012



It was the winter of 1968; I was just 15. Nevertheless conscious that final decision of Jammu and Kashmir State was pending and freedom invariably meant Pakistan. I knew very little about Maqbool Bhat. Then suddenly in December 1968 we found large size posters carrying pictures of Maqbool Bhat, Yasin Sahib and Mir Ahmad displayed on the walls in Srinagar city. The caption said: “dangerous criminals who had fled from the central jail and anybody giving information about their whereabouts would be rewarded with ten thousand rupees.” I pulled down hundreds of these posters in Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas, taxi and bus stands, Dalgate area and its surrounding places and tore these to pieces. This was my first meeting in absentia with Maqbool Bhat.

Shaheed Maqbool Bhat with Hashim Qureshi
In 1969, passports were issued to my mother, grandmother, my maternal uncle and my younger brother and sister. In January of that year we crossed over to Pakistan via Ganda Singh, Ferozpore route. I had such fascination for Pakistan that no sooner did I cross the border and landed on Pakistani soil, than I not only bowed my head to show reverence to the land of Pakistan but also kissed the soil. A Pakistani soldier in uniform asked me what did it mean? I said that “Pakistan was no less than Mecca and Medina for us and that is why I kissed the earth.” I did not understand the deeper meaning of his retort at that time. He said,” Khoja go inside and see the Mecca and Medina”.

We headed for Peshawar, our destination. From my maternal uncle I came to know that Maqbool Bhat also happened to be in Peshawar at that time in Qissakhwani Bazaar. I was just thinking of arranging a meeting with him when Maqbool Bhat dropped in the house of my maternal uncle. This was my maiden meeting with him in person. When I recounted to him the story of my tearing the posters in Srinagar, his face lit bright. I never knew that my words would turn the brightness of Maqbool Bhat’s fair face as a beacon of light for me in my future life and that it would change the entire course of my life. He promised to meet us next time and left.He paid us another visit shortly and took me along with him to Khyber Café in Peshawar Sadder. The café was the hot bed of political discussions in those days. It was also the rendezvous of Wali Khan’s party and Pukhtoon Students Federation. People talked anything from local to international politics. It was in this café that Bhat Sahib had introduced me to many revolutionaries from the Frontier, included among those were Latif Afridi, advocate Sarfarz, Afrasiyab Khatak and many more progressive thinkers of the day. This was also the beginning of Maqbool Bhat’s role as my mentor and teacher.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are we victims of ideological Confusion? The Fai Case

Aristotle said that “He would walk the way shown by logic.” Thousands of people have sacrificed their precious lives for the sake of their ideology. Let us look around. We find Musaddeq in Iran, Hasan Nasir and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan, Bhagat Singh, Ashfaq and Sukhdev in India and Maqbul Bhat in our state who became martyrs for the cause they upheld. History tells us that rulers, exploitative elements and occupational forces have tried to change the ideology of revolutionaries through intimidation, oppression or persecution. Those who had accepted the truth of their ideologies did sacrifice their lives but did not change their course and struggle.

I would like to submit with humility that I am not against the ideology of any person, group or organization. Those differing with me on ideological basis continue to be my personal friends. I have fought against oppressive forces shoulder to shoulder with them. In the past, Altaf Husain Qureshi, Mujib-ur-Rahman Shami, Javed Hashmi and Mian Tufail Muhammad were all associated with Jamaat-e-Islami. But during my internship whenever excesses were done against them I stood by their side and took up cudgels with jail authorities on their behalf. Incidentally it was I who was the most victimized by torture in the jail. Let me come to the point.

Ghulam Nabi Fai is a personal friend of mine. I remember that it was in 1981-82 when he, Ayub Thukar and a third person whose name I no more remember came to see me in Peshawar. This marked the beginning of our friendship. There is no disputing the fact that Fai Sahib was connected to Jamaat-e-Islami and made its teaching the lodestar of his life. Most of our meetings were held in Rawalpindi, Holland and especially in Geneva. He is a model of gentleness, hospitality and caring for friends. But there are no tow opinions in his conformity with the thinking of Jamaat-i-Islami and Pakistan policy planners in regard to Kashmir issue. He considers Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir part of Pakistan. He considers it an article of faith to struggle for the integration of Indian-held part of Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan. He is a diehard supporter of J&K”s accession to Pakistan.In the light of this ideology, Pakistani establishment and rulers deputed Fai Sahib, late Ayub Thukar and Nazir Qureshi to different countries of the world to carry forward Pakistani perception and support its interests in regard to Kashmir. Fai Sahib was deputed to Washington and the ISI committed its fullest support to him for launching Kashmir American Council in Washington. Ayub Thukar incepted International Institute of Kashmir Studies in London. Its foundation was laid by Pir Husamu’d-Din. Nazir Qureshi opened his office in Jeddah under the banner of WAMY.