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.



            This year (1996) the governments of India and Pakistan both claimed that elections were free and fair. In Pakistan controlled Azad Kashmir, Baltistan and Gilgit areas were excluded from general elections. The ruling Muslim conference in that part of Kashmir met with a disastrous defeat by securing paltry eight out of a total of forty seats of the legislative assembly. Twenty-eight seats were bagged by (or made to go into the bag of the PPP) later on, also out 8 seats reserved for women, technocrats and religious divines, 7 seats were captured by the PPP leaving the remaining one seat for the Muslim Conference).

            Out of a total of 48 seats of AJK assembly 12 seats are reserved for Kashmir migrants (mohajirs) scattered all over Pakistan, from Peshawar to Karachi. There 12 seats are distributed equally for migrants from Kashmir and Jammu regions. Past experience shows that these 12 seats are invariably captured by the candidates of the party which is in power in Islamabad. For example as the Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif) was in power in Islamabad in 1991- 92, Nawaz Sharif publicy said that they had given 12 seats to the Muslim Conference “by way of a gift.”

            The situation is not without irony. Sardar Atiq-Ul- Rehman Khan, the son of the outgoing Prime Minister Sardar Qayyum Khan, was made to win the Jammu mohajir seat from Karachi. Atiq-Ul-Rehman was born at Dhirkot in Bagh district in AJK. Knowledgeable Kashmiri migrants consider the control of these 12 seats as an instrument of making the people of Azad Kashmir hostages in the hands of Pakistani bureaucracy and the Minister of Kashmir Affairs. The reason is simple, Members elected on these 12 seats do not reside in Azad Kashmir but in Pakistan. As such a law enacted in AK but detrimental to the interests of the people of AK, is not applicable to these members. It has been seen that these members are the foremost in making such harmful laws because they bow to the wishes of rulers in Islamabad.

            However, it may be recalled that K.H. Khurshid always fought the battle of the people on all available fronts. Whenever the masses in AK raise objections on the disposal of these twelve seats are very important. Materially these twelve seats have not brought any benefit to ordinary mohajirs. But of course, for Islamabad to be precise for Islamabad bureaucracy, they have got hold of a few people to arbitrarily enact some laws for AK. Evidently the people of AK have reason not to have any respect or fraternal sentiments for the migrants from Kashmir valley and Jammu. Pakistan- based Jammu and Kashmir migrants are not only entitled to all the privileges provided in Pakistan, but more often than not, they take a share of seats in medical and other professional colleges for their incompetent wards. It has to be reminded that Kashmiri migrants residing in Pakistan have been given the right of vote in elections to provincial assemblies and the national assembly. In this way Pakistani bureaucracy has not only created a privileged class among the J&K migrants whose member wins AJK assembly seat by a margin of 500 to 1000 votes, but has also made them become instrumental in sowing the seeds of hatred in the minds of the AK people against Kashmir migrants.

            Since in the recent elections, PPP happened to be in power in Islamabad, the two dozen seats in question fell to the lot of Muslim Conference candidates. Both the Muslim Conference and Sardar Qayyum Khan have accused PPP government of large scale irregularities in elections. Till date Sardar Qayoom Khan has not even taken the oath as assembly member. After the expiry of two months of stipulated time, extension of another month has been granted to Sardar Qayoom Khan by the Speaker of the assembly. Mian Nawaz Sharif made an amusing comment on these elections. He said,” After allowing so many serious irregularities in the elections, we have not only caused harm to the Kashmir cause but also become incapable of supporting the freedom of Kashmir.

            In any case, Chowdhury Sultan Mahmud, the one who belongs to Chowdhury fraternity of Mirpur and had come to PP after the breakup of Liberation League, was nominated prime minister by the people party. He had been elected the President of Azad Muslim Conference probably in 1984 in place of his father, Nur Hussain. After the death of K.H Khurshid, he amalgamated Azad Muslim Conference into Liberation League and became the president of the combined party. When the PPP came to power, he joined it towards the end of 1993. The biggest advantage enjoyed by Chowdhury Sultan Mahmud is his father`s close relations with sycophant journalist who always kept him in focus by projecting him in headlines. His second merit is that he is capable of collecting the labour force of emigrant Chowdhury community in New York and England for staging demonstrations which have now become the symbol of loyalty in the estimation of the ruling classes, bureaucrats and the establishment in Pakistan.

            I am reminded of news which appeared sometimes in 1989-90 in the headlines of London- based Jung. It said that a strong demonstration led Chowdhury Sultan Mahmud took place in front of the international Court at The Hague. The news was supplemented by a picture of some demonstration. Stationed in Holland as was I made some enquiries about the veracity of the news. A friend of Chowdhury clan, based in The Hague, advised me not to trust the news appearing in the newspapers. It may be mentioned that there are allegations against Nur Husain, the father of Chowdhury Sultan Mahmud of misappropriating six crores of rupees in a cooperative bank scandal. The money belonged to the poor people of AK. In this connection, I am reminded of an incident of 1984 which took place in Rawalpindi. I was sitting in the show room of the brother of Nasir Ali the student leader in Rawalpindi. Chowdhury Sultan Mahmud happened to drop in. at that time, he was a fresh entrant in politics and began speaking about political matters as Nasir, too sat there. I said to him, Chowdhury sahib, politics should be like praying to God. If you want to speak about politics, you should fist return six crore rupees of the people of Kashmir been embezzled by you in the name of Cooperative banks.” He was embarrassed to the extent that he immediately left the place. Our next encounter was in Geneva in 1993where a young Kashmiri invited the people (of POK) for dinner. Ghulam Nabi Fai of KAC was also present. Intending to exchange pleasantries with me, Chowdhury Sultan Mahmud said,

            “Hashim Sahib, you are a man of considerable experience. We know many if not all, of the ways of how an intelligence agency like ISI works, does the Indian intelligence agency RAW also work like ISI since you belong to the other side of the Kashmir (you should be knowing it ) “I retorted, “you say that you know the functioning of ISI. This means that instead of doing politics, you are working for an intelligence agency. I do not know anything about RAW because I have never worked with them. But of course, I have read a book entitled Inside RAW, which appeared to me more a fiction than anything based on facts. However, I think all agencies work almost the same way, then Chowdhury Shahbaz, a colleague of sultan told him something in his ear and then Chowdhury Sultan Mahmud maintained complete silence till the dinner parties disperse. Unfortunately this very Sultan has now been made the Prime Minister of AK. Immediately after assuming the office, he announced the formation of a ministerial committee with the agenda of conducting enquiry into the 56 crore rupees scam in Kashmir Liberation cell. The chairman of the cell was Sardar Qayoom Khan and his son Sardar Atiq Khan was its Executive Chairman. A cheque of 8 crore rupees was issued in the name of Sardar Atiq Khan from the Liberation cell.

            It needs to be remembered that in AK, elections area invariably won on the basis of community affiliations (biradari) but what makes the recent elections to be distinctly memorable is that most of the nationalist groups in AK formed an alliance and fielded their candidates under the same. While filing their nomination papers, these candidates refused to sign the oath document prescribing Kashmir`s accession to Pakistan and of loyalty to Pakistan. The nomination papers of all the 34 nationalist candidates who had refused to sign the oath document were, therefore, rejected. Thus they were denied the opportunity of taking part in fair and impartial, elections. On that day it became the main story for the international press. It said that while on the one hand Pakistan was raising a hue and cry for the freedom of Kashmiris, on the other hand she was denying the Kashmiri nationalists the right to take part in elections because they refuse to sign the oath document stipulating accession with Pakistan. Is it not duplicity, the paper wrote. We do not think that it is double speak because the truth is that in the eyes of the rulers of Pakistan, her bureaucracy, military junta and her political leadership, Kashmir`s accession to Pakistan means the independence of Kashmir.

            As far as the question of the state of AK prime minister is concerned we may venture to remind our readers that when he PP Prime Minister, Mumtaz Hussain Rathore, presented a guard of honour to the dismissed prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the government in Islamanad contemplated the dismissal of AK`s PP government Mumtaz Hussain Rathore was asked to submit his resignation. But when he refused to oblige Islamabad, the then Pakistan Minister for Kashmir Affairs, Mehtab Abbasi told the press reporters, A police constable of mine is enough to throw out the prime minister of AK namely Mumtaz hussain rathore.” And in truth a solider put him on board the helicopter and dropped him in Muzaffarabad. No sooner did he reach Rawalpindi than he was made to sign his letter of resignation after which he was put behind the bars in Idyala jail in Rawalpindi. Recently there was news from AK that 93 families from the Indian controlled Kashmir, who had migrated to AK, had gone back to their homes in Kashmir. The opposition in AK made a loud noise on this issue. They said that prime minister Sultan Mahmud drew a sum of 20 Lakh rupees from Kashmir Liberation cell for his European tour and spent it on splashing his photograph with Omar Farooq and on hosting lavish reception. But he could not take care of Kashmir mohajir families which had caused damaged to Kashmir movement. Whenever political leaders of AK proceed to tours of Europe or the US they usually justify these as necessary to strengthen Kashmir issue on international fora  and to keep it alive. In Europe they collect their prosperous compatriots of common fraternity and social groups on these receptions together with one or two MP`s and then take their photographs Back home, these photographs are enlarged to poster size cutouts and distributed widely in AK and Pakistan as a proof of keeping the Kashmir issue alive and the political gimmickry connected with it. This time Sultan Mahmud got himself photographed with Omar Farooq, the chairman of APHC. On his return this photograph was reproduced in a large number of Pakistani dailies including the Jung of London. Full size cutouts of this picture carried the banner line. Sultan Mahmud revives Kashmir question.” But the kashmiris would do well to ponder on the results of these hypocrisies. Despite wasting crores of rupees, Kashmir question has not been revived on any international platform in any way, neither at Geneva nor at the United Nations. Not only that the exercise has boomeranged and the issue has been struck off the agenda of Security Council.

            The bitter truth is that political outfit in AK managed their survival on these propagandists maneuvering making the poor people of AK hostages to Kashmir question for last 50 years. These politicians have been doing this business that the masses of people are denied their rights and freedom. Evidently, this drama will go until the people of AK. Gilgit and Baltistan hold them accountable for their action. The ouster of Benazir has gravely endangered the regime in AK. It is likely that this government will be dismissed through Sardar Ibrahim Khan the President of AK. This would be the vindication of Benazir`s refusal of making him the prime minister of AK in spite of Sardar Ibrahim Khan becoming the president of AKPP. Instead Prime Minister Ship was offered to Mumtaz Hussain Rathore.

            Indian part of J&K

            From AK let us turn to the Indian controlled Kashmir. After a gap of nine years, elections to state legislative assembly were held in September 1996 in four stages. Under the shadow of the gun of security forces, riding bullet proof cars with Z security arrangement, almost all candidates for the elections without reaching their prospective voters. A big democracy that India is also claimed to have conducted fair elections in its part of Kashmir. The regional party National Conference bagged 58 seats in a house of 87 thus winning absolute majority. Dr. Farooq Abdullah was made the leader of the parliamentary party and then the chief minister. Because these elections were being held after an interval of eight or nine years. Naturally they became the focus of attention for all political observers throughout the world. These elections were commented upon in and outside India by various quarters. A few dailies of London like Independent. Times and the Guardian wrote. “Either the voters were brought from their homes to the pooling booth under the threat from armed personnel and pressure of security forces or those fed up with militancy came out to cast their vote.” Other commented as this “Militancy has destroyed the economy of Kashmir and innumerable people are behind the bars. In Governor`s rule bureaucracy and officials imported from New Delhi had become the masters of daily lives of kashmiris. They therefore took part in the elections and saw to it that regional political party, namely National Conference, emerged victorious. They wanted that in order to mitigate problems of daily life arising out of nine years of past history, a civilian government run by local representatives is brought to the scene. It will be noted that the people of Kashmir did not vote any national level party to power. This achievement went to the regional party. It could also be taken as an expression of peoples desires to maintain their identity separate from India. The people made use of the limit of expression available to them if the election was for independence, India or Pakistan a majority would have voted in favour of independence.”

            However, powerful quarters were either silent on these elections or demonstrated a positive response. For example the British Foreign office sent this reply to Chowdhury Allah Ditta. Chairman all party Kashmir Coordination Committee, “Voting has taken place in a comparatively peaceful atmosphere and according to the foreign office, turn out has been about 53 %. A part from this a few Congressmen and MP`s stress upon a bilateral talk between the two countries after Kashmir elections had been concluded. According to a new item of London based Jung, it was alleged that the US under Secretary of state Robin Raphel had accused Pakistan of reluctance in agreeing to a dialogue with India on Kashmir question. In any case a positive aspect of these elections to the Kashmiri nationalists is that religious extremists had made a formidable propaganda campaign that the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh being non Muslim, would like to remain away from the valley. As such they thought that Jammu and  regions may be given to India and the valley of Kashmir be made free. But out of a total tally of 37 votes, NC and its allies got 22 seats in Jammu region and in grabbed 3 out of 4 seats. According to international press agencies and private sources more than 50 % votes were cast in Jammu and Ladakh region. In this way the people of both the regions expressed their desire of maintaining the territorial unity of Jammu and Kashmir besides showing solidarity with the valley of Kashmir. However the opposition has leveled charges of malpractices with regards to the assembly and parliamentary elections. They have given very amusing data of Lok Sabha elections which is as this: BJP was shown as having polled 40,000 votes from Anantnag, 35011 from Srinagar and 12261 from Baramullah districts. The reality is that BJP almost does not even exist in these areas.

            What can be the reason for no serious public reaction to the scenario of elections having  taken place and many sacrifices having been made. Reaction has to be understood in the sense that when a community sacrifices its youth for nine long years and without having achieved the objectives for which sacrifices were made, it is involved in elections which it allows to take place. If sentiments, prejudices, ego and jealousy are cast aside and dispassionate analysis is made keeping in view nothing but national interests, then that analysis should be something like what is stated below.

            It would be only proper to examine and evaluate these elections not only in the background of ongoing situation in Kashmir but also in the light of happenings in south Asia especially the deteriorating internal situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan`s military rulers and their contemporary Kashmir agents had promised to liberate Kashmir from India within six months and then integrated it into Pakistan. Militancy leadership and former politicians, ( I mean those politicians who were pro India before the rise of militancy and used to participate fully in elections in the state) also induced the people of Kashmir to indulge in the wishful thinking that world opinion could be built in return of sacrifices or by citing the example of Afghanistan and registering support from Pakistan and Muslim countries. The presence of nearly 18 crore Muslim in India was easily forgotten, and the movement was made exclusive to 30 lakh Muslims of Kashmir valley to hinge on religious fervor. Without adopting a well planned programme, the people of the valley of Kashmir were asked to make sacrifices far beyond the scope of their strength and perseverance. While sacrifice after sacrifice continued to be made by the Kashmir, neither the world opinion could be built in its favour nor did the Pakistani army comes to Kashmir to liberate the land. Neither did any Muslim country take any concrete and perceptible step towards extending support to Kashmir movement nor did they adopt a policy of mounting pressure on India. What is more, trade and commerce between India and Saudi Arabia went on increasing year after year, and in 1995-96 it touched 2.38 billion rials. The US and European countries also anchored their relations with India in bilateral trade.
            Kashmiri youth having received training for a few days get killed by the bullets of the India security forces. Pakistani and Kashmir politicians managed to take the entire community of kashmiris as hostages to their farcical exercise either at Geneva or with regard to OIC and by the resolutions of the United Nations. The kashmiris were made to lay sacrifice after sacrifice. The fact is that neither the leadership tried to analyses the problems of the community minute by minute in the light of changing situation of the world nor did they re adjust their tactics in the field of action taking into view of enemy`s strategies. Then shaped an amusing scene. The persons called mujahideen until yesterday were now seen joining the Indian security forces allowing the blood of Kashmiri youth to be shed by their own compatriots in the streets and lanes of Kashmir. But kashmiri leadership within the valley instead of taking into cognizance the prevailing conditions, and analyzing them carefully, charted the slogan for strike after strike. It spelt disaster for Kashmir`s economy. What were more the militants began hurling hand grenades on roads, lanes and other sites which made it very difficult for the civil life to discharge its function regularly. And whatever could escape the hands of the militants was destroyed by the Indian security forces as a measure of revenge. Thus without any concrete programme and without a disciplined movement, a heavy burden of sacrifices was placed on kashmiri people. No restriction could be imposed on unbridled militancy with the result that the gun went into the hands which used it for personal aggrandizement. We see kidnapping for ransom, personal vendetta, husband- wife confrontation and many other peripheral matters including ideological differences becoming the issues to which the gun- wielding youth began to address. For trivialities and insignificant matters, the gun became the arbiter. Gun- wielding criminals forcibly seized the property of minority community. Kashmir has been pushed into an era of darkness.

            On the other hand, Pakistani leaders and politicians, who incite sentiments of Kashmiri in the name of Islam and religion, continued their policy of pitting people against one another in the name of sects and groups in Karachi and elsewhere, and blood baths continued even by attacking the praying people in the mosques. Alike what Indian security forces are doing in Kashmir. Pakistani security forces arrested people in Karachi and then, as a result of custodial deaths, flung their dead bodies on the road side. ( it shall be reminded that after dismissing Benazir Bhutto, President  Leghari leveled the charge of extra judicial murders in Karachi against her regime). In Afghanistan, the Afghans themselves, acting in the name of Islam and religion converted their country into ruins.

            All these events took place within the sight of Kashmiris. A part from what they might have heard, today`s electronic media brings hour to hour news to all parts of the world. No succor was provided to the arrested youth languishing in jails just because there was no organized movement. The conditions have come to a pass where the parents or brothers and sisters of the detainees cannot pay them a visit in the jails because they are financially too weak to bear the expenses of travel. On the other hand as these events unfolded in Kashmir some militancy leaders raised magnificent private buildings. In the name of opening offices, they invested anything between 10 and 60 lakh rupees on these palatial mansions. The irony was that these leaders doing out sermons of unity to the people, themselves indulged in general loot. In order to escape criticism, they began mud-slinging on one another. Whenever militants gave a rough deal to the people or murdered respectable citizens and senior political figures, they brought the charge to the doorsteps of the security forces. This led to the unleashing of the militants and made them secure against accountability for their criminal acts.

            The situation, naturally threw up elections as the viable solution of the problems to suffering masses. No doubt at many places in districts of Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramullah complete strike was observed with hardly 7 % people casting their votes but in the rest of kashmi9r. People came out in large number to exercise their franchise so that the average was anything between 20 and 2 %. In Tangmarg the constituency of Dr. Mustafa Kamal he did not leave the place during last nine years and treated the patients. It needs to be emphasized that Kashmiri leadership made a Himalayan blunder by following the psychology of the masses. In a sense people everywhere across they have the same psychology. It makes them draw clear plan and programme for obtaining a definite purpose. If the masses of people feel attraction in this programme and are prepared to accept it conscientiously, then they would be prepared to make sacrifices for there realization of that specific programme. In return leadership make the people feel in their day to day life that their sacrifices are leading inch by inch towards the realization of their goal. Collectively people are always a conscious lot, and as such they have full understanding of success or failure of the efforts they make to achieve the goals.

            What happened in Kashmir is something like this. In the first place the people were never offered any unified programme under one party and one leader and one slogan. And then a number of outfits mushroom overnight. Even pro- accession organization were several in number and then the common man got nothing but strikes and deaths and destruction, internally those calming to be at the helm of leadership fell apart day in and day out. They began hurling allegations on one another. APHC came out with no fewer than 14 allegations against Hilal Baig to the extent of calling him an agent, we may have many differences with  Hilal Baig; we may have difference with his action model, even he too became a sacrificial goat to the phantasies and dreams. At last, at the hands of the Indian security forces, he was done to death and his body was thrown on the roadside. Thereafter Hurriyat people began organizing a condolence meeting on Idgah grounds. A close associated of APHC was gunned down by a Hizbul Mujahideen activist. Within three months the widow of the slain person came to our office (MNWA) with a request for assistance. This is the fate of those activists who are close to the organization. And about the common man, the less said the better.

            At the same time such international support as would have precipitated resolution of Kashmir tangle was not forth coming. Not only that Kashmir question was dropped from the agenda of the Security Council. With great effort the forum agreed to consider the case on year to year basis. The story of dropping Kashmir question from the agenda of the Security Council is amusing as well as instructive. In order to bring any issue on the agenda of the Security Council or to take out from it, much preliminary efforts needs to be done and many formalities need to be fulfilled. A notice is given in good advance on which thorough debate takes places. A decision is arrived at through casting of votes. Pakistani mission at the UN did not know anything about the exclusion of Kashmir from the agenda till the final decision was taken. On the third day, a Pakistani diplomat came to know through a press correspondent`s question that Kashmir issue had been dropped from the agenda. Then Pakistan was aroused from deep slumber. In an interview given to Jang forum Sardar Qayoom Khan said.” India has won a victory on Kashmir issue in the Security Council. She has de-internationalized it. Those who say that the question has been brought back are under self- delusion. It has come back with conditions. Now each year, we shall have to make an application.”

            Through their misdeeds the militants helped equate the actions of Indian Security forces with their own at the Human Rights Commission. Militant leadership could not make the minority, meaning Kashmiri Pandits agree to return to Kashmir. This too was a big setback to our movement. Apart from all this there is also Pakistan`s non- acceptance of the third Option, Pakistan rulers and politicians have reiterated a number of times on international for a that they are not in favour of the third option. Another factor which has which has disillusioned people about militancy is the burning of religious shrines, torching of school and college buildings, bridges and other structures which means destruction of such infrastructure serves public interests, One may try a thousand times to convince outsiders that the school building, bridges and college complexes were torched by the security forces but insiders who were physically involved in the struggle and from whom sacrifices were sought in return of golden dreams, they know it well as to who did what. Thus it is on the basis of action that  common people are prepared either to make further sacrifices or seek complete isolation from the struggle and become nothing more than disinterested spectators. In this process people become weary of continued struggle. The enemy employs the strategy of wearing out the adversary creating confusion in his rank and finally, out of sheer frustration, forcing him to ask for a compromise. A sagacious and far- sighted leadership feels the pulse of the masses with each passing hour. It has excellent comprehension of the psyche of the masses and demands sacrifices from them in a way which would be commensurate with the conditions prevailing at the moment. The people emphatically betrayed the symptoms of weariness. They did not make any palpable demonstration against the elections. Even in spite of a boycott call given by the APHC the people under the sentiment of crown or the cross came out of their houses. There certainly were sporadic incidents of boycott here or there but the truth is that people by and large became only spectators. On the other hand, Indian politicians, bureaucracy and Indian establishment, keeping in view large interests of their country helped National Conference to a definite success and pressed into service all possible means to that end. One political analysis that could made was that National Conference`s winning of two-third majority in the assembly had been pre- determined. Furthermore, in order to ensure integrity of Kashmir unit, MN`s success in Jammu and Ladakh region was meticulously engineered. The event of Dr. Karan Singh`s son joined National Conference has its own significance. For sixty years in the past, the two houses of Maharaja and the sheikh remained antagonistic to each other. Now with Dr. 

Karan Singh’s son joining NC the entire situation has taken a turn. Likewise, alliance of Maulavi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari with NC also lent further strength and consolidation to NC . it appears that these achievements were made as a result of some meticulous planning so that with the two- third strength in the assembly. NC could bring the legislation for autonomy of the state. Once the assembly passes it, the parliament will be obliged to pass it because in accordance with the constitution of the state, that is the legal position.

            AT the oath taking ceremony, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said in charged mode: “I shall shed the last drop of my blood for India.” This was not well received by the Kashmiris and many conscientious Indians. For nine years in the past, Kashmiri youth have been facing death and destruction; Kashmiri Pandits are destitute living in dismal conditions in the refugee camps; the dragon of destruction has spread its fangs in each Kashmiri Family, Dr. Farooq Abdullah should have shed a tear for all of them so that he could have created an impression of oneness with Kashmiris. Even serious sections of NC cadres too, have not shown any appreciation of Dr. Farooq Abdullah`s oath ceremony antics. what remains to be seen now is the relationship between the state and the centre in the sense whether it is going to instill hope in ordinary Kashmiris that there is definite change in ground realities after the elections to the assembly have been completed and new government sworn in. in simpler terms it would mean whether unemployed will find job opportunities; whether people will be secured against the oppression of armed militants and security forces; whether destroyed school and college buildings, bridges and other public buildings are repaired or rebuilt; whether the bureaucracy is working without fear to address the problems facing the people; whether National Conference not succumbing to chaos and corruption as in pre-militancy days, addressed the enormous task ahead, whether the autonomy committee presided over by Dr. Karan Singh can bring back pre- 1952 position; whether NC government orders release of jailed youth unconditionally, whether the government draws concrete plans to solve emotional and real problems of the alienated youth, whether he displaced Pandit minority is brought back and resettled in their homes? The real and major impression which the people would want the NC government to create is whether it is able to bring back at least pre-1953 position after so many sacrifices have been made. If NC government is able to make achievements in the shortest possible time, say within a period of two years, then the people will think that after nine long years of sweat and blood they have here an opportunity for a respite. Only after examining the positive and concrete programme of its leadership will the people feel inclined to put their mite into the realization of the objective which is complete independence.

            But inspite of all this, will real peace dawn upon the state? There are a number of reasons why Pakistani rulers its intelligence agencies and her politicians may never give up their claim to the valley. In order to sustain their claim, they will invest hundreds of millions of rupees in subversion and continued armed militancy. However, the question of the people in the valley giving logistic support to the armed militancy depends on solving or not solving the internal problems in Kashmir. It should be noted that now Kashmiris have begun to believe in Satyagraha, and civil disobedience instead of armed militancy. Secondly, POK politicians will strive every nerve to keep Kashmir issue alive because their politics, power and means of living, all area closely connected with this issue. Only by keeping this question alive can they go on exploiting the people of POK. By exuding Kashmir rhetoric and diatribes, these mandarins make sure that the youth of Gilgit, Baltistan and POK do not rise to demand solution to their serious problems of unemployment. Hunger and deprivation. Thirdly unless those people who left for POK in 1947 are allowed to return to the places of their origin with honour and dignity they would see to it that Kashmir pot is kept simmering. They will not have the slightest compunction if blasts take place in the valley day in and day out spilling the blood of innocent youth. In particular, assembly and National Conference member will be made the target of violence and attacks in order to spread fear and destabilization of normal life. They will very much like that the scenario of 198 9-90 is repeated forcing assembly members and NC workers to abandon their places and posts. Evidently, this situation will call for retaliation with the result that an atmosphere of oppression and tyranny is once again let loose. I personally know that people living outside Kashmir, with self aggrandizement, have been giving such instructions to the miscreants saying,” Keep alive blasts and militancy. Let the world smell blood each day.” They would see to it that nothing by the name of peace and security exists in Kashmir. When there is no peace, the problems will not be solved.

            This is the reason why have been time and again stressing upon the point that the only solution to Kashmir tangle is that free and fair elections under the supervision of impartial international body is held in the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir meaning on both sides of the cease- fire line, providing opportunity to the elected member on both the sides to sit together with Indian and Pakistani official representatives to find a permanent solution. As long as the question remains unsolved, India and Pakistan will be spending billions of rupees on their defense programmers’ and the resultant piling up of their serious internal problems. This could also, ultimately, lead to a big armed conflagration.

             In such a situation can anybody prevent sudden upsurge of religious extremism in South Asia. We are already witnessing the appearance of Taliban in Afghanistan, a country which has been reduced to ruins. What is very distressing about it is that Taliban are fixing the label of Islam upon their acts which are not permitted by Islam. Islam is a humanist religion caring for the welfare of mankind and peace on earth. Taliban have closed the doors of education upon women although the p\Prophet of Islam (PBUH) has directed the ummah to acquire knowledge there is no condition of sex in these instructions.

            The Londin based newspaper Jung graphically describing how Taliban brought destruction to their country, wrote in its issue of October 23 1996 under the caption Civil war. Afghanistan loses its past as well as this, Afghanistan has lost its past as well in the civil war. Historical monuments, buildings and magnificent places have become targets of guns. Even the national museum too, has become a heap of rubble. Valuable objects of national pride are destroyed or sold or looted.” The Times of London wrote that there are very few countries in the world which, like Afghanistan are looted by its own people. The national museum of Afghanistan had a collection of the rarest of artifacts which represented the cultural history of Iran, India, China, and Central Asia and other adjoining pars of the world. The Russians had shown respect to this cultural wealth but the mujahedeen, who enjoyed the support of the Americans, considered these rare artifacts as hard cash. They broke open the vaults and looted them and sold them to buyers from all over the world. Armed men filled bags with pre-historic terracotta finds as if it was chinaware. There were objects made of Indian jade of second century B.C. which had decorated the coffers of royalty, icons were carried all the way to Pakistan and sold at throw away price. To the north east of Kabul there was a rich find of forty thousand coins belonging to prehistoric times. This treasure has now disappeared. In this general loot of the richest cultural heritage, Afghan and Pakistani politicians were the prime actors. A magnificent mosque stood by the tomb of Babur. It is now in ruins.”

            These are the achievements of those who claim to have served Islam. Now the Afghans themselves say that Russians were far better for them. In earlier days Jamaat-e- Islami activists would eulogies Afghan revolution with great fervor. After the with drawl of the Russians, the Afghan revolution is no more a revolution but a civil war, if this is revolution in which all those things which are meant to provide comfort to the people mosques are targeted for gun fire and national heritage is looted without remorse then that revolution is not what we opt for. Those who are supporting Afghan and foreign mercenaries in Kashmir, only support the destruction of Kashmir. A people who can turn tier own country into ruins will have no qualms of conscience in destroying the cultural heritage of kashmiris. Mast Gul turned the shrine of Nund Rishi into ruins and thus laid the foundation of Afghan culture in Kashmir. It may be reminded that Taliban force comprises those people who have been receiving religious education in Pakistani seminaries from their early age. They are being trained to follow different theological school and sects. They are told that every other sect among the Muslims other than their own is of infidels and atheists. Therefore for these hardened fundamentalists, killing a brother Muslim is not any big sin rather a virtue. Taliban have been raised by Pakistani ISI and equipped with guns, tanks, aeroplanes and made to attack Afghanistan. A report was published in The Times of London of November 4 1996. This was based on an interview with those who while fighting with Taliban, were captured by Ahmad shah Masud`s men. They are Pakistan nationals. The paper reported that ISI had formed an organization by the name of Islamic Para Military Unit composed of Pakistani nationals and based at Kulty in Punjab. ahmed Shah Masood`s troops had captured 26 pakistanis fighting in alliance with Taliban belonging to this organization. It has also been reported that American intelligence agency CIA has been collaborating with ISI in Taliban affair because Taliban are vehemently opposed to Iran. Taliban victory in Afghanistan could be turned into a base against Iran in future. On the other hand some countries in the neighborhood of Afghanistan, are also trying to extend their sphere of influence by providing assistance to various groups among whom Ahmed Shah Masood and General Dostum top the list.

            Central Asian State is apprehensive of Taliban adventures as they think this could incite extremism in their respective countries. In any case Iran would  like that Taliban area contained in Afghanistan .before capturing Kabul, Taliban had done great harm to the pro-Iranian group namely Hizb-e- Wahdat and had killed its leader. Iranians understand that in case of Taliban succeeding in their mission in Afghanistan, the US would find an opportunity of creating another Iraq against them in the region. Thus Irranians are trying to respond to this move by strengthening contacts with the neighbouring countries so that the US is prevented from making deeper inroads into this part of the Asian continent. There is some talk of restoration of peace in Afghanistan. In the past these mujahedeen had taken an oath in the Mecca to work for peace. These promises were broken only after five days of their making. Return of peace to Afghanistan should not be expected for a long time to come. There is every possibility that in future Afghanistan will be fragmented among Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Pushtoons, although division along these ethnic lines does exist even today but that is not a formal situation as yet.

            The scenario can present a threat to Pakistan. If Afghanistan is divided into three parts, then the Pushtoons of NWFP and Balchistan in Pakistan area may likely to join Afghan Pushtoons and launch a struggle for Greater Pushtoonistan. However this danger can be real only when the Pushtoons base their struggle on national question. This may not be  totally impossible because such people in NWFP and Afghanistan as would struggle on the basis of Pushtoon nationality are poresent and strong. They hold Pakistan responsible for the present crisis in Afghanistan as also for the fratricidal war among the Pushtoons. It is surprising that while the US and some western countries are raising a hue and carry against extremism in Algeria or against even low profile activism in other parts of the world, they have chosen to remain silent in the case of Afghanistan. The fact is that a fairly large number of countries have interest in Afghanistan. They have adopted a policy of wait and see. Through their regional surrogates, they continue to provide assistance to the fighting groups in Afghanistan.
            However this being the tragic situation, all that we can do is to pray for the welfare of Afghan people as we pray for our own people as well. We also pray for the people of Pakistan, a country where after every two or three years, Prime Minister is sent packing. Muhammud Khan Jenejo had been in the office of Prime Minister for just three years when in May 1988 General Zia dismissed him on alleged charges of corruption and maladministration. Zia was killed in an air crash and Ghulam Ishaq Khan invited PPP leader Benazir Bhutto to form the government after her party had won majority vote in the elections. But allowing her to be in office for barely 20 months (October 1988 to December 1990) Ishaq Khan dismissed her government again on the alleged charges of corruption, misuse of power, nepotism and maladministration. Fresh elections were held and the government of Muslim League (N) led by Nawaz Sharif was installed. It may be reminded that in the elections of 1990`s a rumour was floated days before the actual polling took place that the PPP would get 54 to 55 seats. This was precisely what the result was.

            The strategy adopted by Nawaz Sharif to oust Benazir from power within 20 months was repeated by Benazir Bhutto and her party during the two and a half years  of Nawaz Sharif`s stint. She launched a protest campaign against Nawaz Sharif and joined hands with her none too sympathetic President Ishaq Khan. The charge brought against Nawaz Sharif were precisely the same as were leveled against her. Mr Moin AQureshi was imported from the US to grace the office of prime minister. In the fresh elections, PPP once again won a majority vote. Benazir Bhutto began her second stint in 1993. She chose a close associate and friend of her late father, a faithful member of PPP and a feudal lord of Punjab, Farooq Leghari, as the president of Pakistan. She had thought that president Leghari would not take recourse to the eight amendments to Pakistan constituation empowering the president to dismiss the popularly elected Prime Minister.

            But Pakistani President cannot do anything outside the parameters set forth by the generals. As such, he too, using the eight constitutional amendment instrument, dismissed Benazir from power slapping the patent charges of corruption, extrajudicial killing in Karachi etc. to allege that MQM workers were killed by the military authorities and Benazir in collaboration is perhaps a mechanism to add insult to injury as far as MQM is concerned; the purpose being that of reducing MQM`s resistance strength and bringing them back into the mainstream by bringing the onus of their alienation to the doorsteps of Benazir.

            State-sponsored terrorism has spread its tentacles so deep in Pakistan that even the brother of Benazir, Mir Murtaza Bhutto was gunned down by the police. The sub- inspector involved in this killing was also slain. Mir Murtaza Bhutto was an innocent person. He had made a long struggle to establish the sacrifices made by his late father and to popularize his own ideas. But unfortunately he fell a victim to the internal court intrigues and dissensions in Pakistan.

            In South Asia, the Taliban meting out un-Islamic treatment to Najibullah killed him in a brutal manner. He was showered with a volley of bullets and then his dead body was kept hanging for three days by the branch of a tree. This is how the dead body of a Musalman was dishonored. The question may asked according to which principles of Islam, according to which tradition the dead bodies of two Muslims were kept hanging from the tree without having responded to the norms of natural justice? In Algeria the Islamists forcibly entered the private houses and killed nearly 30 women and children. In the name of Islam, bestiality is being spread. These acts of barbarism have helped create a sense of hatred against the Muslims world over. Muslims will have to fight against such people as are supporting perpetration of barbarism and are demolishing such people as are supporting perpetration of barbarism and are demolishing Islam`s lofty value system failing which this deadly poison will claim casualties in each and every Muslim house. Along with South Asia, the entire world will fall a prey to hatred, prejudice and sectarianism. This will consume not only human being but humanism itself.

         This article is published in my book "Kashmir: The unveiling of truth", 1998