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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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Interview: Kashmiri Ex-Separatist Qureshi Denounces ‘Self-Appointed Leaders’


Interview of Hashim Qureshi, Chairman JK Democratic Liberation Party with Aditi Bhaduri (Award winning journalist and researcher in India) for ‘The Quint’.

When you see him it’s difficult to believe that this grey-haired polite man has had a checkered, turbulent past. Kashmiri separatist leader Hashim Qureshi has been in and out of Pakistan since he was 16 years-old when he first went to receive arms training to ‘liberate Kashmir’.

“I was part of the J&K National Liberation Front and I got my first training in arms in Pakistan in 1969,” he recalls. That’s when he met Maqbool Butt whom he came to admire deeply. 

“After undergoing training for a few months, I crossed back to the Indian side. Then again I crossed over into Pakistan in 1970, received training in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) territory – Balakot, Batakundi, Neelam Valley Ted.” 


Indian Airlines Flight Hijack 

Armed, trained, financed, in 1971, at the age of 18, Qureshi, together with accomplice Ashraf Qureshi, hijacked an Indian Airlines flight from Srinagar and diverted it to Lahore where he was initially fettled by the Bhutto government. The hijacking led India to ban Pakistani flights over its airspace, crippling Pakistan’s military efforts to tackle the emerging crisis in East Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Qureshi recalls, he made it clear to the authorities that “our demand was liberation for all of Kashmir, even the part under Pakistani control. So we were soon branded as ‘Indian agents’ and thrown into jail.” 

Qureshi was incarcerated for nine years in Pakistani jails. Thereafter, he spent several years in PoK till he went into self-imposed exile in the Netherlands. He returned to Srinagar in 2000, where he now lives.

 Life in PoK 

So what was life like in PoK, which Pakistan calls ‘Azad Kashmir’? Qureshi grimaces. I thought of the video that had recently surfaced, revealing the brutality anti-Pakistani activists face.

Are our youth destined to get killed?


Local people in Pattan peripheries stumbled on the bodies of three murdered youth in an orchard. The brutal murder disgraces humanism; nay humanism hangs its head in shame in Kashmir. This has become a recurring phenomenon in the State. Amusingly, State establishment has given a new name to the perpetrators of these brutalities, viz. “unidentified gun men”. Taking death as inevitable reality, we shamelessly accept any kind of death without demur.  During past two decades and half, parents have carried on their shoulders innumerable dead bodies of their kids. How tragic! Regrettably, for last twenty-five years our reaction to these tragedies was either to give a call for strike or take out two or three protest rallies and then leave the matter there? It is ostrich-like reaction. Our other reaction is to raise the finger of accusations towards the security forces without ascertaining the truth?
 
We made wild accusations on the murder of many prominent personalities like Mirwaiz Maulana Muhammad Farooq, Maulana Masudi, Dr. Guru, Qazi Nisar, Dr. Ghulam Qadir, Abdul Ghani and many more. These false accusations are leveled despite knowing for certain whom the assailants were and in what brutal way they murdered. This has caused two grave losses to our community

Firstly, whosoever wanted to commit murder for ideological differences or satisfaction of personal ego did so but brought the onus to the doorsteps of the security forces or described the perpetrators as “unidentified gun men”. This suited the black sheep among the security forces to call the killers as unknown gun men or blind killers. They played it up against Kashmiri youth. By appending the sobriquet of ‘unknown gun men’ there is no inquiry, no court case and punishment and no demand for blood money.

Secondly, the grave damage was that we exempted the entire struggle from accountability. Murderers and their mentors both escape scot free from being brought to book and made accountable to the law. After committing one murder and facing no accountability, they prepare for another act of brutality. 

A few months ago, in attacks on mobile towers in Sopor, some youth of Jamaat-i- Islami and Hizb were gunned down. Geelani and Salahud Din immediately brought allegation against the police. They condemned attacks on towers. Within days reports came that this was the result of in-fighting in the Hizb and somebody by the name of Qayyum Najjar was behind these murders. Salahud-Din named him before the pressmen. But by that time we had already gone on strike and staged demonstrations.

Whether these protestations and strikes do us any good or not, the point is that institutions of the State, New Delhi and the world at large pay no heed to our cries and loud slogans. They have turned blind and deaf. However, we need to ascertain that the enemy may be within our fold taking advantage of our lack of planning, our disunity and our ideological confusion.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

First national of independent Kashmir!

The Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered my release from jail on 7 May 1980. In its verdict, “the court said that Hashim Qureshi is originally a Kashmiri. Under Pakistan’s Citizenship Act of 1951, he can live in Pakistan like other Kashmiris living in Pakistan.” On the basis of this verdict, I lived in Pakistan from 1980 to 1986. I took part in politics. Pakistan government issued an identity card and passport in my favour. With that passport in hand, I travelled to London and returned to Pakistan. 

Towards the closing days of 1984 and the beginning of 1985, I declined to compromise with ISI. In 1985, I approached Pakistani authorities for the registration of my two children, Junaid and Sana, as Pakistani citizens, I received a letter from the Director General of Registration of the Pakistani Ministry of Interior (No. 3/2/78-79 of July 10, 1985: copy attached) saying that I was an Indian national, and as such, under National Registration Act of 1973, my children could not be registered. Sometimes later, I received another letter from this office (I have misplaced the original but am looking for it) telling me that an identity card and passport were issued to me through a mistake and these have to be withdrawn.

I filed a writ petition against this order in Lahore High Court at Rawalpindi. Late Yusuf Saraf was the defence counsel. He obtained stay order from the court till the writ petition was decided and status quo was maintained. In the second or third hearing of the case, Yusuf Saraf told me that he had fears Pakistani government would arrest me. He told me that no doubt the Pakistan Supreme Court had set me free and that I had been living in Pakistan, have a Pakistani passport and identity card, but notwithstanding all this, there are institutions in Pakistan much above the law and the constitution. They are the parliament and the constitution all rolled in one. He candidly advised me to leave Pakistan if I wanted the safety of my person. On asking wherefrom had he got this information, he said that he was not in a position to reveal many things that he knew. The judge who was hearing my case was under pressures. I could gather who were behind this conspiracy. I had rejected ISI’s plan of giving Kashmiri youth to wanton killing. But some people wanted to adopt the plan on the bidding of Amanullah Khan in London. 

Exploitation in the name of fundamental problems: how long?

After its formation the new government announced it would pull people out problems and change the basic structure of state administration. Governments in the past also made tall promised of providing water, electric power, good roads and good education. They did not fulfill the promises. Still our womenfolk carry pitchers of clean water on their head over a distance of two or three kilometers because clean drinking water is not available to them at hand. During the regime of Omar Abdullah, Zero Bridge of Srinagar could not be repaired. It remains in that state. We are not aware what the priorities of the new government are. However, we would like to enlist main problems so that authorities know what the people think.

State Employees:

Average ratio of employees in any Indian State is 450/600//800 per lakh of population. In J&K the ratio is 3500 per one lakh. These functionaries and pensioners are always to be see bringing out protest rallies on roads and parks for non payment of salaries, pension, dearness allowances and other perks. Looking at their performance, we find them usually short of performing their duty. They are not punctual either for beginning of their day in the office or leaving the office. Discipline of being punctual has to be enforced and the delivery in office needs to be monitored at every stage.

Education:

People avoid sending their wards to government schools. Either there is no building or there are dilapidated structures that are perennial threat to the safety of life of the children. In some schools students outnumber the ratio of teachers and in other teachers outnumber the ratio of students. I know of a school in the city which has one principal and one teacher. They bring in the children of labourers working outside the school so that they are not displaced. I know of schools where there are only 16 students but 22 teachers. At the same time I know of schools with 100 students on roll but only 4 staff members. In Samba a government school with 200 students has been provided with two teachers.  Isn’t this a ploy to keep the children of the state illiterate? This is the reason that private schools are mushrooming everywhere. They are fleecing the people through fees, bus fares and other clandestine means. There is no deterrence. If our children grow in these circumstances what will be the impact on our future generations. The government should constitute a commission to propose reformation in our educational system along modern lines. The history of the State should be included in the school curriculum. We have a solution for this problem. Wards of ministers, bureaucrats and administrative officers should be admitted only in government schools. This will force people to improve the system in government schools. These higher status people will also understand to what depths our school education has sunk. How shameful that in violation of the instructions of the government, private schools charged fees from students for the months of September and October when floods raged at full fury in the city.

Everybody wears false clothing.....

,,کا غذی ہے پیر ہین ہر پیکر تصویر کا؛

“Causes of Violence: wealth without work, happiness without conscience, knowledge without character, business without morals, science without humanism, prayers without sacrifices and politics without principles”, said Gandhiji

Government formed after a slew of conspiracies

On March 1, PDP-BJP coalition government took oath of office at a formal function in the winter capital of Jammu. Under the leadership of Mufti Muhammad Sayed, seventeen cabinet rank ministers and eight ministers of state were administered oath of office for a period of six years.  The council of ministers comprises ten ministers of PDP and six ministers of BJP including Sajjad Lone whose inclusion was fiercely debated and BJP put its foot down and offered him a berth from its ministerial quota.

BJP insisted on Sajjad’s inclusion purporting to send a message that Indian system does not only forgive a law-breaker, it also confers largess on him on change of heart. Sajjad is the son of late Abdul Ghani Lone, and the son-in-law of Amanullah Khan. Including him in the council of ministers from BJP quota is to showcase Indian democracy’s liberalism not only in the sub-continent but in the entire world as well.

Will coalition survive?

A veteran politician that he is, Mufti Sayeed called the coalition bringing together of North Pole and South Pole. Anything is possible in politics. PDP-BJP coalition is almost a miracle. Apart from within the BJP circles, even RSS, too, had reservations on it.Congress and NC cried foul over the coalition. Congress may have justification for opposing the coalition, but NC’s opposition makes little sense. It was opposition for the sake of opposition. Was it not the partner of previous BJP government at the centre?

Interestingly, it was during the rule of Congress that Afzal Guru listed 28th convict, was picked up and hanged. His dead body was not handed over to his kith. However, when Congressman Ghulam Nabi Azad needed a vote to win Rajya Sabha seat, he cajoled Engineer Rashid, an independent member in the Legislative Assembly. Congress issued a statement of acknowledging error in ordering execution of Afzal Guru. Whether Afzal Guru’s soul found some peace or not, at least Engineer Rashid found legitimacy to help Azad obtain Rajya Sabha seat. He made for himself a seat among the martyrs. What service is rendered to late Afzal Guru by voting a person of the same party that ordered Guru’s execution?

“SEPARATISTS ARE ACTIVE ON THE BEHEST OF AN ENTITY THAT HAS OCCUPIED PART OF KASHMIR TERRITORY.”

Interview of Chairman JKDLP, Hashim Qureshi in 'Maya Today". 
Hashim Qureshi, infamous for his Indian airplane Ganga hijack in 1971, is a forward looking independent separatist fighting politically for the cause for independent Kashmir. He is still being tried for the hijack under the Indian legal system. In this interview with Aditya Rangroo, he discusses how Kashmir has played out in the hands of India and Pakistan and how present separatists have no minds of their own but are mere power hungry stooges. 
Q 1:  What inspires you to strive for an independent Jammu & Kashmir and what is the ideology of your organization Jammu Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party (JKDLP)?
Ans: Our party’s concept of independence of the original State of Jammu and Kashmir is not based either on hatred or on antagonism against India or Pakistan. Sixty-seven years of estrangement between the two, interspersed with three wars and now the raging proxy war, all rooted in Kashmir dispute, has impoverished the people of the sub-continent in general and of the State in particular. In addition, the two countries spend trillions of dollars in stockpiling weapons at the cost of two hundred crore people of the region.
In the past, the two countries have had public and private talks and also concluded through third party interventions but have arrived on no solution. Neither of the two is prepared to scale down respective standpoint.

Independent Kashmir will not only eliminate hatred and animosity between the two neighbouring countries, it will not only eschew arms race, but, more importantly, it will also liberate two hundred crore people from economic and social strangulation.We are strong advocates of secular democracy and equitable progress and development of all the regions, sub-regions and remaining entities of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. We are concerned that any flare up between the two countries will mean disaster for the whole region.

Our party does not recognize UN SC Resolutions on J&K as valid. The reason is that the contracting parties made Kashmir a bilateral issue; it does not take the people of the State on board. Moreover, the resolutions give no third option to the people of the State. It is a deal foisted by the UN on two warring countries.

Q 2: You have been in the separatist movement for more than 4 decades. Do you believe the current “mainstream” separatists are heading toward the desired direction or vision that separatists erstwhile had envisioned?

Ans: Separatist movement began in J&K in 1953 and remained in place till 1974. During this period, it was spearheaded by Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. After assuming power for the second time in 1975, he said that he (meaning his party) had wasted 22 years. Evidently, he was craving for political power and concluded Accord with Indira Gandhi, the PM of India on latter’s terms. While out of power, he was boycotting participation in elections but people like Abdul Ghani Lone and Ali Shah Geelani were fighting elections and winning. They were not leading any separatist movement.

In 1987, Congress and NC rigged elections. Now separatists are fighting against India on behest of ISI, which had already drawn the blueprint of Operation Topic. NC and Congress due to rigging in 1987 gave rise to the sidelined politicians in the assembly election in the form of separatists.
In 1985-86, I was the Chairman of JKLF in POK and Pakistan. ISI tried to convince me about armed insurgency in Kashmir. I refused to become the angel of death for the innocent and poor Kashmiri youth in whose hands ISI planned to give arms, and had to run away for my life and seek asylum in Holland

After the death of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in 1982, there appeared a vacuum of sorts in Kashmir politics. Every minion of a politician in Kashmir began to think he was another Sheikh Abdullah. Separatists in Kashmir are fighting the battle of ISI and not their own. Actually ISI entered Kashmir through the ideology of JKLF but when it found its foot was firm on Kashmir soil, it did not hesitate to liquidate some of the JKLF activists who had honestly believed in ISI supporting them for independent Kashmir.

Geelani& Co are not fighting a national liberation war; they are fighting Pakistan’s battle in Kashmir. Their politics is event-oriented, meaning that they are looking for an event here or there, particularly related to police, security forces or Indian army, and then instigate the people over these accidents and thus remain in public gaze. They have no comprehensive plan of how to secede from India and join Pakistan or how to build institutions for independent state of Jammu and Kashmir. Incidentally corrupt rulers of J&K give them indirect support.

Friday, June 12, 2015

“Exclusive Interview of Hashim Qureshi by Rameez Bhat of Kashmir Glacier”


“Kashmir the nation who has lost everything, in the name of Azadi (Freedom). Independent J&K is the only solution for our struggle. Make a voice to make itan Independent nation. It is true that we have suffered, are confused and worried, we are speechless, knowledgeable are helpless and been left to drown in a river of sorrow, but we must not forget that our brotherhood and our hope are still alive. We will rebuild our Kashmir and till then we are not to cry. Nothing is over, we will rise again. We have a history, a history with victory.” Hashim Qureshi

Question: Tell us something about your childhood retention?

Answer: I was born in a local area of Srinagar- Nowhatta. I got my education at Islamia Model School Srinagar. I belong to a noble and middle-class family. My father was affiliated with Political Conference. The head of the party was Mohi-Ud-Din Karra at that time. And the motive of the respective Political Conference was “Kashmir Banega Pakistan”. I was a small child at that time, I used to play with my other childhood friends and meanwhile we used to publish the posters of respective political party on walls.

Question: When did you start your political career?

Answer: My father was a political activist, I was arrested at the age of 11, near Nigeen-police station. I met Maqbool Bhat at that time I was just a sixteen years old that was the turning point of my life to become a political activist.

Question: Tell us something about Maqbool Bhat?

Answer: Actually I went to Pakistan to attend my sister’s wedding. And there I met Maqbool Bhat, who was the real founder of JKNLF (Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Front). We and Maqbool Bhat were firstly praised as heroes and freedom fighters after the hijacking in 1971, but when Pakistan learned that we demanded an independent and sovereign Jammu and Kashmir, which included Pakistan Administered Kashmir as well, Maqbool Bhat, Ashraf Qureshi, I and hundreds of other members of JKNLF were arrested and interrogated in ShahiQila, Lahore and Dolayee Camp, Muzaffarabad.

Question: After a long exile you have returned to Kashmir?

Answer: Almost everybody told me not to come here as Nationalist political struggle is almost non-existent here. Some blame me that I came here to stand for election & to become a chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. This was simply propaganda against me and my struggle. I came here to see my Jammu and Kashmir and its people as a nationalist nation. At that time I was just 16 years old when Maqbool Bhat said to me that we should contend for a nation as a nationalist not as a religious sect.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"Anyone’s Terrorist should be everyone’s Terrorist!"

Distinguished guests, 

I am highly obliged to the organizers of this event for conducting this seminar on this important subject. It is an honor to be present here and share my views regarding terrorism and instability from a Kashmiri perspective.

Today’s topic is terrorism and its impact on the region. This is undoubtedly a vast topic which has been discussed numerous times over the recent years and has also been the subject of various books. I consider ourselves very unfortunate that we not only are reading about terrorism in books, but are actually facing it, fighting it and perhaps even part of it. Terrorism in this era has taken various shapes and we have been suffering from this phenomenon continuously in the form of wars, subjugation and oppression.

I, myself have seen terrorism from very close. At seventeen years old, my aim and objective was national freedom for Kashmir and its oppressed people based on armed struggle. While some may disagree, I do not consider that my intentions nor my actions would classify as terrorism. However, I am thankful to time which taught me through literature and experience what terrorism actually is. Terrorism ruins dreams, futures, cultures, civilizations and eventually corrupts humanity and human values.

I fail to find a bigger sin than a suicide attack. A suicide attack which murders humanity while it tears apart the bodies of children, women and the elderly. What happened recently in Peshawar when more than 145 people including 135 innocent children became the victims of terrorists is beyond all comprehension. Words fell short to condemn such a heinous crime and condemnation made way for anger and hate against the perpetrators. For a second people lost faith in the Almighty and his creations. Religion, morality, principles and human relations and human values based on the tenets of humanity lost all meaning. History has taught us that even the most barbaric people have been merciful regarding children. The terrorists responsible for the massacre in Peshawar proved history wrong and it is a shame for all of us that we have allowed such a thing to happen. We must all stand up, condemn and fight these evil demons.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015