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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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.

We must not forget that ex-President of Pakistan, dictator General Zia-ul-Haq initiated this and unfortunately the Pakistani military establishment and in particular its secret intelligence services have enhanced terrorism and converted it into a multi-billion dollar industry. Religious fundamentalism was purposely nourished and terrorism became a corner-stone of Pakistan’s defense strategy in order to provoke settlements to disputes in the region.

We Kashmiris have been the ultimate sufferers of this strategy, as terrorism was imposed on us. Terrorism in Kashmir, was masqueraded by cloaks of national freedom struggle and independence in order to deceive the innocent masses. It proved to be the base for our sufferings and cultural corruption. Whenever India and Pakistan exchange fire across their borders, irrespective of who is culpable of firing the first bullet, it is always the unfortunate Kashmiri who gets killed. It is always the unfortunate Kashmiris whose home, livelihood and property is bombed.

There are some who have linked terrorism with Islam. Needless to say that terrorism and terrorists do not belong to any religion. No religion teaches hate and murder. All religions dictate brotherhood, peace and humanity. The ones who want to make the world believe that Islam inspires terrorists, should remember that Islam considers all life forms as sacred. The sanctity of human life is accorded a special place. The first and the foremost basic right of a human being is the right to live peacefully. The Glorious Quran says: “If any one kills an innocent person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind. And if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole mankind.”

The world has moved to the 21st century and turned into a global village. In today’s world issues and conflicts are solved through peaceful ways. There is no place for terrorism in today’s world and the whole human civilization has recognized and acknowledged that the spread of this cancer needs to be stopped forthwith. It is pleasing to note that the people of Pakistan have come out to battle this terrorism as well, as they have realized that otherwise their country will be annihilated. This terrorism has already proven to annihilate brotherhood and friendship in the region.

It is said that men fight war to live in peace. Unfortunately, almost 70 years of ongoing proxy war in has not yet succeeded in achieving peace in South Asia. Hostility and distrust have compelled India and Pakistan to spend huge amounts of their annual budget on defense. Amounts which could be used to fight poverty, illiteracy and disease in their own respective countries. This conduct has only contributed to radicalization and fundamentalism which eventually enhances terrorism.

Unfortunately the US and the West have at times used terrorism for their national interests in the past. It has been proven beyond doubt that Osama bin Laden was a creation of the US and its intelligence agency. We must acknowledge that there are no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists. Anyone’s terrorist should be everyone’s terrorist as it is a threat to human civilizations. We cannot afford to differentiate.
I appeal to the world and its leaders to resolve regional territorial and other issues among each other through dialogue and peaceful means. The world must also unite to solve the Palestine issue according to the wishes of the Palestinians. Excesses against innocent people, committed by Isreeli’s forces in Palestine, could prove to become inspiration for radicals and misguided and brainwashed youth.  Although terrorism has no justification, at the same time state-sponsored terrorism does not have any  justification as well. We must also consider this aspect of terrorism which gives birth to only more hate, alienation and distrust.

35-40% of the people in South Asia live below the poverty line. It is high time that we contemplate where we are standing. In order to instill terror in the heart of terrorism, it is of the utmost importance that we murder poverty, illiteracy and religious extremism from our lives and start seeding seeds of peace, harmony and brotherhood.


(Speech of Hashim Qureshi, Chairman JKDLP at an International Conference organized by JKIPA in Vienna, Austria).