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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Sunday, June 14, 2015

“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.

Q 3: In the past you have thwarted the offers from ISI to support you. At present, it is highly speculated that separatist movement has a strong backing from ISI. How do you see ISI’s influence developing in the separatist agenda?
Ans: ISI sponsored armed insurgency in Kashmir in 1988. I rejected it because the purpose of the sponsors of armed insurgency was to demolish the secular structure of Kashmir. For ages people of different faiths lived in communal harmony in Kashmir. I am fiercely devoted to my motherland and the people of Kashmir. How could I work against the interests of my compatriots? I left the comfort and tranquillity of life in Europe and came back to my homeland. I have faced many hardships on my return. I had to spend one year in the jail. It is the fifteenth year of my case pending in a court of law in Kashmir. My plea that I cannot be tried again under double jeopardy clause has so far fallen on flat ears. I may tell you that there is a similar case of one Indian citizen Satnam Singh who had hijacked an Indian airplane to Pakistan where he was tried and punished. On his return to India in February 2000, the court of law dismissed a case against him under the clause of double jeopardy and he was set free. I fail to understand why Indian judiciary is applying different yard sticks in my case when it is identical to that of Satnam Singh. I cannot travel abroad without the permission of the court. No fewer than fourteen judges have changed ever since case against me was filed in a court of law here. Is this the freedom of judiciary? I often ask why the judiciary treats the offenders like this? Are Indian authorities indirectly supporting separatism? People say some of the separatists are on the payroll of Indian agencies.
Q 4: It is also believed that separatists do not want an actual stabilisation of Kashmir because it serves their private financial purpose and also the conflict has given them an identity which they might not have in the absence of it. How do you see that?
Ans: Separatists are active on the behest of an entity that has occupied part of Kashmir territory. The two occupying countries are engaged in a proxy war in Kashmir. Both have hired agents in Kashmir. Obviously the hired agents have no qualms of conscience and that is the reason why they are the most corrupt politicians one can imagine. They have no cause and no commitment. It is true that through their clandestine role, they have found their identity. Otherwise they are nondescript persons. Pakistan TV linked to vast network profiles them in larger than life size. How many of them are on the payroll of ISI is anybody’s guess? Therefore why should not Pakistan media give them wide publicity?
Q 5: How is the separatist movement going to benefit local Kashmiri with regard to developmental aspects?
Ans: Separatists have one-track agenda of forcing J&K State into a state of chaos and turmoil. They are wedded to the agenda of disruption in Kashmir. They are fighting Pakistan’s proxy war in Kashmir. All of their energy is focused on disruption of peace in Kashmir. Security forces and local rulers, when acting inconsiderately, give them the occasion to pursue their agenda of disruption through calls for hartals and protest rallies. If a policy with human face is pursued, as was done by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, it could make big difference. The separatists would be cut to their size.
Q 6: What is the vision for Jammu region as a part of independent Kashmir?
Ans: We nationalists in both parts of the State believe that Maharaja Gulab Singh is the father of the State extending from Lakhanpur to Damchok in Ladakh. We are for empowering the regions and sub-regions in a manner that they are themselves handling income and expenditure and planning and investment. We even want that power should descend down on local bodies. This is our interpretation of devolution of power in J&K State. I may tell you that in European countries even as important a document as passport is issued by the local body in the area where application is made. This is evidently the basis of secular democracy. In that sense Jammu region and its sub regions will enjoy full measure of autonomy. No region or sub-region will have any complaint of discrimination because the very cause of discrimination will be eliminated. Development of all the regions will be ensured on the basis of secular democracy. This is the conviction of JK Democratic Liberation Party that I am heading.
Q 7: How do you see Masarat Alam’s anti-India slogan and support for Pakistan administration? It clearly seems that separatists choose to ignore the ignominy that “Azad Kashmir” population has been subjected to by the Pak administration.
Ans: Masarat was unknown until 2010. He is released on the basis of Indian law. The Governor of the State had ordered his release. BJP and Indian media gave the incident extraordinary publicity. If Masarat had spent millions of dollars, he would not have got the media hype which he got through the Indian media. When Indian media projected him as an associate of Hafiz Saeed, euphoric youth in Kashmir felt impulsive to join his bandwagon. It is generally believed here that India wants a weaker leadership outside State Jamaat-i-Islami after Ali Shah Geelani’s exit. It is Pakistan that has staged the Masarat show. Why does not Pakistan speak about injustice done to me by the Indians and why only Masarat Alam?
Q 8: How do you see the new leadership of Kashmir BJP-PDP coalition? What is the JKDLP message to these two coalition partners with regard to Kashmir discourse?
Ans: Pakistan did not want coalition government to be formed in the State. They were for the alienation of Jammu. I published an article in those days arguing that if any coalition government other than that of PDP and BJP was formed, it would spell disaster for the State. It would serve as fuel to separatism. If BJP had made coalition with NC or Congress, that would be disastrous. The PDP-BJP coalition is helpful to strengthening of secularism and territorial integrity of the State. But they have the common minimum programme and if it fails to solve the problems of the people, the coalition cannot survive. 
Q9: Considering the growing terrorism and threat from Pakistan and China to the valley, what do you think is the alternative to AFSPA in dismantling the threat?
Ans: We know that China asked Pakistan not to encourage religious violence in her eastern province of Xinjiang. She demanded that Pakistan stop state or non-state actors involved in her Eastern province. However, Pakistan is fully involved in J&K --- not only in Kashmir but in all the three regions. We have regular infiltration in Kashmir.
AFSPA is a psychological issue for the people in the valley. Regrettably there are black sheep in the rank and file of security forces who break the law. We have seen killings in Ganderbal, Hawal, Bijbehara and we have also seen the loss of 127 lives in 2010. No law allows shooting at a stone pelting youth and that too above legs. People hate AFSPA. No country likes to curb terrorism by resorting to inhuman methods. It is a dangerous law. By withdrawing AFSPA and PSA, the government can considerably reduce the propaganda force of Pakistan.
Q 10: How do you see the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits and do you believe they have a say in the preservation of Kashmiriyat in the Valley as well?
Ans: Without Kashmiri Pandits, we the Kashmiri’s are incomplete. They have made glorious contribution in bringing education to the masses of people in Kashmir. My teachers were Kashmiri Pandits. In 1994, I published an article titled ‘The Tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits’. That was the peak of militancy. I rejected the assertion that Kashmiri Pandits left their homes on the behest of the then Governor Mr. Jagmohan. Two years ago, I published another article in Greater Kashmir (12 March 20121) under the title ‘Towards Communal Harmony. Both are on my blog (www.hashimqureshi-jkdlp.blogsport.in). It gives a formula for their return and rehabilitation on just, viable and humanitarian basis keeping communal harmony in the front.
However, let me say that Pandits, when back in the valley, cannot be comfortable in isolated townships. There will be many problems like security, socialization, inter-community interaction, and above all restoration of mutual confidence. Separate townships will be a temptation for the militants. Life lived under fear psychosis is no life. Separate township means keeping them in prisons. That is foolishness. Brisk interaction is needed to remove clouds of hatred.
Q 11: What do you think is a permanent solution to resolving Kashmir?
Ans: There would not be Kashmir question if India or Pakistan had captured entire territory of original J&K State in 1947. Responsibility lies with India, Pakistan and the world leadership. This is no unipolar world today. One cannot close eyes to Pakistan playing a role in Kashmir. India will not give and Pakistan cannot take. Thus Kashmir remains a flashpoint in the sub-continent. Let all stakeholders sit round a table and focus on making Kashmir a neutral zone like Switzerland. India, Pakistan and China, the three claimants to the territory must under the aegis of the UN guarantee neutrality of Jammu and Kashmir. This conflict has taken the entire region a hostage to many negative developments including wars, conspiracies and economic disabilities.
Link to interview: http://mayatoday.com/inner.php?id=5407