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.