Friday, October 14, 2011

MOHAMMAD Ali Jinnah visualised the state of Pakistan as “a homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent”. by Irfan Husain



Irfan Husain

MOHAMMAD Ali Jinnah visualised the state of Pakistan as “a homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent”. by Irfan Husain

Sadly, he did not specify precisely which sect of Muslims he had in mind. Although a Shia himself, he did not have a sectarian bone in his body.

Indeed, he was secular to the core, and this was the philosophy he bequeathed to the state he had created virtually single-handedly. This was a bequest we tore up even before he was laid to rest.

So as we witness the ongoing massacre of Hazara Shias in Balochistan, we need to take a hard look at the monsters Pakistan has spawned over the years. Management gurus teach us that before we can solve a problem, we must first analyse it to gain a full understanding of the underlying causes.

But given the deep state of denial we prefer to stay in, we shy away from making the logical connection between cause and effect. When elaborating on his ‘two-nation theory’, Mr Jinnah was of the view that Muslims could not live side by side with Hindus in a united India as we were a different nation in terms of values and cultural norms.

This notion led to the partition of India in 1947, and even though millions of Muslims did not — or could not — make their way to the new state, Pakistan was born in a cataclysm of blood and fire. Almost immediately, the hard-line vision of Islam, espoused by Maulana Maududi and his Jamaat-i-Islami, became the ideology of large numbers of right-wing intellectuals and clerics.

However, it wasn’t until Zia seized power in 1977 that this literal strand of Islam became the official ideology of the state.

Some of the hard-line Sunni groups like the Sipah-i-Sahaba came into being in Zia’s period, declaring Shias to be ‘wajib-ul qatal’, or deserving of death. Needless to say, these killers were permitted to thrive by Zia.

Step by step, the notion of separateness at the heart of Partition has fostered a feeling of ‘us against them’. Taken to its illogical extreme by hard-line ideologues and their brainwashed followers, this translates into the belief that those not following their particular school of Islamic thought become ‘wajib-ul qatal’.

Massacres and individual murders resulting from rabid intolerance bearing the spurious stamp of religious orthodoxy are too numerous to cite here. But the recent episodes of the cold-blooded slaughter of Hazara Shias in Balochistan should open the eyes of those wishing to negotiate with the terrorists responsible for these acts.

Another hard-line, anti-Shia group, the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, was quick to claim responsibility for these murders, and yet the state has done nothing to bring this organisation to book.

According to a Human Rights Watch press release, “In Balochistan, some Sunni extremist groups are widely viewed as allies of the Pakistani military, its intelligence agencies and the paramilitary Frontier Corps, which are responsible for security there.

Instead of perpetrating abuses in Balochistan against its political opponents, the military should be safeguarding the lives of members of vulnerable communities under attack from extremist groups”.

But it’s not just in Pakistan that Hazara Shias have been targeted: in Afghanistan, thousands have been killed by the Taliban.

Being a visible ethnic group, they are especially vulnerable to an increasingly vicious and violent Sunni majority. In a blog on this newspaper’s website, Murtaza Haider has cited a revealing doctoral thesis by Syed Ejaz Hussain. According to his research, 90 per cent of all those arrested for committing terrorist attacks in Pakistan between 1990 and 2009 were Sunni Deobandis.

And it’s not just Shias who are being targeted, or Christians, Hindus and Ahmedis: as we have seen time and again, suicide attacks against mosques and Sufi shrines have killed thousands of Sunnis as well. While there are a growing number of extremist groups, they are all united in their intolerance, and their contempt for democratic values and common decency.

Despite the evil these killers represent, there are growing voices in Pakistan demanding that the government negotiate with them. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban was quoted recently as saying his group would talk to the government provided it broke off its relationship with the United States and imposed Sharia law in the country.

For a criminal gang to make such demands is preposterous; but for sane, educated Pakistanis to advocate talks with such people is even worse. Instead of insisting that we lock up these terrorists and try them, we are being asked to treat them as a political entity with valid demands.

If we are to ever defeat the hydra-headed monster we have created, our defence establishment will have to acknowledge its huge error in thinking that it could use these killers to further its agenda in Afghanistan and Kashmir. This has provided them with legitimacy, support and impunity. Unless the Pakistani state repudiates all links with extremism in all its forms, outfits like the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi will continue to murder at will within Pakistan, while the Lashkar-e-Taiba creates mayhem in our neighbourhood.

Quite apart from the collapse of the writ of the state caused by the depredations of these groups, and the innocent lives sacrificed at the altar of misplaced expediency, Pakistan has become a pariah in the international community. Increasingly, the use of terrorism as an instrument of policy is making us a scary country with a powerful death wish.

But while we struggle to cope with the rising tide of extremism, we need to step back and examine how and why we arrived at this abyss.

Clearly, it did not happen overnight. Looking back, we can see that the demand for separate electorates for Muslims in British India over 100 years ago was a major historical fork in the road. By conceding to this demand from a group of Muslim aristocrats as part of their divide-and-rule policy, the British tried to ensure that the two major religious communities would not unite against them.

However, we do not have the luxury of blaming our predicament on past imperial policies. The British are long gone, and the barbarians are poised to capture the state. We still have a choice, but if we don’t act quickly, we risk joining the ranks of failed states like Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan.

irfan.husain@gmail.com

Eye on persecution: Ahmadiyya mosque creed desecrated, community threatened by police

Eye on persecution: Ahmadiyya mosque creed desecrated, community threatened by police

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2011

Eye on persecution: Ahmadiyya mosque creed desecrated, community threatened by police
The demand to erase the Kalima (Islamic creed) from the Ahmadiyya mosque was issued by the Islamist extremist clerics of the area and the local police personal answered the call to “avoid a law and order situation,”


Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: AMC Persecution report
By Imran Jattala | October 13, 2011

An “unfriendly visit of a government official” was paid to the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community on the outskirts of Vehari, a city in the Punjab, Pakistan.

The conditions for the members of the Ahmadiyya community have further deteriorated in the area where police personal are now in cahutes with the local Islamist extremists, Ahmadiyya Times has learned.

According to a report issued by the public affairs office of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Pakistan, the police personal took it upon themselves to deface an Ahmadiyya mosque in Chak 245/EB, a few weeks ago.

The demand to erase the Kalima (Islamic creed) from the Ahmadiyya mosque was issued by the Islamist extremist clerics of the area and the local police personal answered the call to “avoid a law and order situation,” it was claimed.


“These mullas are now planning the same for some other Ahmadiyya mosques in the district,” the Ahmadiyya community has learned.

According to the report, an ASI (Assistant Sub-Inspector) Police from the Special Branch visited Chak 363/EB recently.

The police official’s visit was a cause of intimidation and concern for the members of the Ahmadiyya community.

“He inquired as to when the Kalima and the verse were written in the mosque,” it was reported.

Ahmadis told the ASI that the contents were written long ago, when the mosque was first constructed.

The police officer warned Ahmadis that local clerics were holding meetings about the Kalima in their mosque and there is a fear of public uproar.

It is often the practice of the law enforcement agencies in the Punjab that instead of assuring protection and safety, the police official would warn the community to be ready for ‘anything’ as a result.


-- Eye on persecution: Ahmadiyya mosque desecrated, community threatened by police
-- By Imran Jattala
-- By Imran Jattala. Follow on Twitter: @IJattala

Pakistan: Intolerance in the curriculum

Pakistan: Intolerance in the curriculum

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2011

Pakistan: Intolerance in the curriculum
Just a few days ago, 10 Ahmadi children, seven of them girls, were expelled from a school in the Hafizabad area, simply on the basis of their religious identity. The incident took place soon after preachers promoting anti-Ahmadism had visited the town and lashed out with familiar vitriol against a religious group that has been thrust out of the mainstream and then subjected to years of vicious discrimination.


Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: The News | Pakistan
By Kamila Hyat | October 13, 2011

There have been several shocking incidents over the past week or so that go only to highlight the kind of intolerance we are facing in our society and the manner in which this is spreading. Worst of all the spirit of hatred has also seeped into classrooms, and is being used to poison the minds of children.

This process will of course lead to the emergence, even before our watching eyes, of yet another generation persuaded that it is acceptable to discriminate on the basis of beliefs or other factors, or that minority groups are inherently inferior to the majority – deserving no place in mainstream society.

Just a few days ago, 10 Ahmadi children, seven of them girls, were expelled from a school in the Hafizabad area, simply on the basis of their religious identity. The incident took place soon after preachers promoting anti-Ahmadism had visited the town and lashed out with familiar vitriol against a religious group that has been thrust out of the mainstream and then subjected to years of vicious discrimination.


The feeble plea by the principal of the private school, that he did not wish to turn away the children from the school doors but had no choice in the face of threats made by villagers, just goes to show how weak we have become.

No one has answered the question of the distraught father of three of the girls driven away from school who asks how his daughters will now receive an education. Beyond the representatives of the Ahmadi community in Rabwah and some human rights groups, no one has spoken out in their support.

The issue has not been discussed by furious media anchors, even though the Constitution of our land lays down in unequivocal terms that every citizen has a right to education and cannot be denied this under any circumstances.

Such silence is perhaps the most dangerous element of all. The streets and other public places have been left to bigots, such as those who have been on the streets demanding the immediate release of Mumtaz Qadri, the man sentenced to death for the murder of Salmaan Taseer.

Precisely the same silence prevailed after yet another horrendous incident at a school a few weeks ago when an eighth-grade Christian girl was turned out of a POF-run school in the town of Havelian after making a minor spelling mistake in an Urdu paper.

Her teacher interpreted the mistake as an act of blasphemy, publicised the matter – which essentially revolved around one dot in a paragraph about a ‘naat’ – and as clerics staged protests the powerful POF management chose not only to expel the girl, but also to transfer her mother, a nurse at a hospital.

Such incidents have occurred elsewhere too. Ahmadi children have been punished in schools, their faith ridiculed and admission denied simply on the basis of their religious beliefs. Amidst all this, we talk of ‘the silent majority’. But do we really know what people believe and think?

It is true that many, indeed most, do not agree with the rabid views of the extremists. We would like to believe this is true. But popular thinking has been warped over the years by all kinds of factors that began essentially with the deliberate and evil distortions initiated in the early 1980s when our society first began its most serious transformation into an uglier, nastier place.

Discrimination is not based on religious beliefs alone. At an elite Lahore private school, a child from a different ethnic background was mocked and subjected to continuous ridicule for his appearance. It seems that the school management didn’t do very much to check this behaviour or persuade the majority of students who had resorted to uncivilised conduct towards the student to correct their ways.

Racism and bigotry of course need to be stopped using some degree of force within an environment in which the two have spread quite far and grown deep roots. African students based in colleges in Lahore and other cities will no doubt testify to the kind of treatment they face, solely on the basis of their skin colour.

One question that we all need to ask is why the government sits by as a silent spectator while all this happens. It needs to play a far more proactive role. We stand where we are today as a result of carefully thought out behaviours and policies put in place in the past. They succeeded in twisting minds and creating an atmosphere in which hatred, distrust and intolerence could blossom.

The need now is to begin an immediate reversal of this process. In the first place, the relevant authorities need to take notice of the instances of expulsion from schools on the basis of open and undisguised discrimination; this would put in place a good example of what should be done and where right separates from wrong, like oil from water.

There is no time to lose. It is quite obvious that things are growing worse and worse virtually by the day. Our only hope for the future lies in nurturing a generation that is able to think more openly and adopt an approach which is different to the destructive one that has become a normal part of our society today.

The provision that all citizens are equal needs to be turned into reality and not just a clause in a document that fewer and fewer people seem to be very bothered about.

How do we begin this? Schools are a good place to start. Government schools are perhaps the best, given the number of children attending them and the control the administration should have over them. Through curriculums and training for teachers, both children and those entrusted with the delicate task of educating them need to learn to think differently.

This is not an easy task of course. But it has been done elsewhere; Ireland, where Protestants and Catholics were deeply divided in the north for so many years, is one example where attempts towards greater harmony through schools have met with some success.

There are other examples in the world. We need to emulate them and move towards building a place where people are ready to speak out for what is right and refuse to allow extremist elements – who attempt to validate their intolerant ways by citing a distorted version of religion – to dictate how we live and what we do.

The writer is a freelance columnist and former newspaper editor. Email: kamilahyat@hotmail.com


Read original post here: Pakistan: Intolerance in the curriculum

An Ahmadi Muslim's Plea: Be My Voice

An Ahmadi Muslim's Plea: Be My Voice

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2011

An Ahmadi Muslim's Plea: Be My Voice
Unlike the general blasphemy laws, however, the specific anti-Ahmadi Muslim laws of Pakistan have not found even this much of luck. They have been conveniently forced out of the discussion and few are aware of the existence and continuous abuse of these draconian laws.


Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Huffington Post
By Kashif N. Chaudhry | October 10, 2011

Religious freedom (or the lack thereof) in Pakistan cannot be emphasized enough. Due to the preposterous demeanor of Pakistan's self-righteous right-wing, many in the world today are aware of Pakistan's notorious blasphemy problem. Much frustration has been expressed on liberal Pakistani blogs and through international media outlets -- especially after the heartless murders of Governor Salmaan Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti -- on the abuse of these laws. Even though nothing is expected to change anytime soon, at least the first vital step toward that goal is being taken: raising awareness.

Unlike the general blasphemy laws, however, the specific anti-Ahmadi Muslim laws of Pakistan have not found even this much of luck. They have been conveniently forced out of the discussion and few are aware of the existence and continuous abuse of these draconian laws. The silence of the liberal Pakistani blogosphere and the international media in this regard is baffling.

So who are the Ahmadi Muslims and what are these laws?


The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), who claimed to be the long-awaited messiah. Ahmad single-handedly waged a struggle to bring about a renaissance of Islam. He declared that in this age the doctrine of violent jihad was against the teachings of Islam, a declaration met with edicts of heresy. Ahmad urged Muslims to emulate Prophet Muhammad's example. Accordingly, Ahmadi Muslims champion a complete separation of mosque and state, promote universal human rights and interfaith dialogue and practice nonviolence and non-retaliation amid brutal persecution in parts of the world. There are more than 600,000 Ahmadi Muslims living in Pakistan with tens of millions in 200 countries.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA -- the oldest Islamic-American organization -- has helped foster the Islamic ideals of peace and loyalty to nation through its Muslims for Peace and Muslims for Loyalty campaigns, respectively. It recently launched the nationwide Muslims for Life blood drive campaign to commemorate 9/11 and demonstrate Islam's emphasis on sanctity of life. The Community's charity organization, Humanity First, has been at the forefront of disaster relief both nationally and worldwide. Help, for instance, continues to be dispensed to the victims of Hurricane Katrina to date. Ahmadi Muslims have a central leadership, the Khalifa.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Muslim clerics perceived the rapid spread of the Community in its early days as a threat. Having failed to defeat them through reason and discourse, they took to sticks and stones -- literally.

After the formation of Pakistan, anti-Ahmadi Muslim groups organized to conspire and instigate massive nationwide riots. Friday sermons became an opportunity to spew venom against the Ahmadi Muslims. They were declared "apostates" and "worthy of being killed." Extremist right-wing influence ushered in violent street protests. The State succumbed to their pressure tactics and declared the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to be non-Muslim in 1974. In April of 1984, Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq issued Ordinance XX. Zia was a military dictator who had taken over the country after a coup d'état in 1977. To legitimize his autocracy, he assumed de facto leadership of Pakistan's extremist cause. Because the hatred and violence had failed to halt the progress of the Ahmadi Muslims, he decided to use force.

Under the new laws, Ahmadi Muslims were arrested for using Islamic terminology. For example, saying the Salaam (greeting of peace) meant imprisonment. Thousands of Ahmadi Muslims filled jails across the country. On one side of prison sat rapists and murderers and on the other sat those who invoked peace on a passerby. The right-wing went on to demand the death penalty. Zia conceded and introduced the death penalty for propagation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and distribution of Ahmadi Muslim literature.

These barbaric anti-Ahmadi Muslim laws exist to date. Hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims remain behind bars in Pakistan -- and hundreds have been killed.

These vicious laws are a threat to international religious freedom. They continue to embolden religious extremists in other countries like Bangladesh and Indonesia where similar demands to outlaw the peaceful Ahmadi Muslims have been put before the governments. In the case of the latter, these demands have been accepted in part, setting in a fresh wave of violence (caution: graphic). Because the hatred against the Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan was promoted and not checked by the State, it continues to be exported as far out as the U.K.

Pakistani and International media make no mention of this dangerous state-sanctioned violation of religious freedom and basic human rights. Despite the fact that Pakistan's anti-Ahmadi Muslim laws are a blatant breach of the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there has been no outcry from the United Nations either.

United States' foreign policy recognizes religious freedom worldwide as one of its goals. While the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims gained momentum under Zia, the United States -- a close ally -- was busy funding his government and supporting the Afghan revolution. The plight of the Ahmadi Muslims went unnoticed. Three decades later, it is very encouraging that the U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report 2010 on Pakistan takes serious exception to Pakistan's anti-Ahmadi Muslim laws. Much, however, needs to be done to effect a change on ground. I am hopeful that as a primary supporter of international religious freedom, the U.S. will continue to play a positive role to this end.

Meanwhile, please join me in doing the least we can do: take that first step toward change: raise awareness.


Follow Kashif N. Chaudhry on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KashifMD


Read original post here: An Ahmadi Muslim's Plea: Be My Voice

http://ahmadiyyatimes.blogspot.com/2011/10/pakistan-state-supported-anti-ahmadiyya.html

http://ahmadiyyatimes.blogspot.com/2011/10/pakistan-state-supported-anti-ahmadiyya.html

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2011

Pakistan: State-supported anti-Ahmadiyya agitation in Azad Jammu and Kashmir
Choudhry Abdul Majeed, the prime minister of AJ&K, recently visited a religious madrasa at Faizpur and made uncalled for remarks against the Ahmadiyya community, it was reported in the media.


Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: AMC Persecution report
Edited by Imran Jattala | October 12, 2011

AJ&K: Although a new government has taken over after the general elections, the sectarian and extremist elements have not only maintained their agitation against the Ahmadiyya community but also have raised its level to a threatening point.

The anti-Ahmadiyya agitations take place with the collusion of ruling politicians.

Choudhry Abdul Majeed, the prime minister of AJ&K, recently visited a religious madrasa at Faizpur and made inappropriate remarks against the Ahmadiyya community, the media reported.

"Qadianis’ activities will be watched in Azad Kashmir – Ch. Abdul Majeed," the headline read in the daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Rawalpindi, on September 9, 2011.


“Muslim children should never be taught by Qadiani teachers (in public schools)," said Mulla Atiq-ur-Rehman, a member of the legislative assembly (MLA), who runs the Islamic madrasa, it was reported on the same occasion..

"Qadianis can exist here only as a non Muslim minority. … They are not allowed to practice Islam. (etc),” Mulla Atiq-ur-Rehman further said according to the newspaper report.

The Director of Public Affairs in the Ahmadiyya head office at Rabwah, Mr. Saleem-ud Din, strongly condemed the incident and sent letters of complaint to the President of Pakistan and to the President of Azad Kashmir.

"For some time now there has been increase in organized anti-Ahmadiyya activities in Azad Kashmir," the complant letter stated.

"...these elements have been patronized by the government of Azad Kashmir," Mr. Mr. Saleem-ud Din said.

"Ch. Abdul Majeed the prime minister of AJ&K and Pir Atiq ur Rehman, member of the AJ&K Assembly and President of Jamiat Ulama Jammu and Kashmir are in the lead of such activities in public rallies," the complaint included.

Most Muslim clerics feel free in Pakistan to issue edicts declaring anyone Wajib-ul-Qatl (must be put to death).

There are no laws against such declarations and hate incitements and many Wajib-ul-Qatl edicts are often followed up by target killings.

While Ahmadis are the usual victims of this violent indiscretion, non-Ahmadis also are targeted.

Governor Salman Taseer was was one such victom in recent past.



-- Ahmadiyya Times
-- By Imran Jattala. Follow on twitter @IJattala

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mohammed Yusuf Saraf, Kashmir’s Fight for Freedom


 "Kashmir's Fight for Freedom" by Mohammed Yusuf Saraf, who rose to become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of "Azad" Jammu Kashmir (AJK).


“A large number of tribals, without wasting any time, arraigned themselves against the people of Baramulla and within a few hours many buildings were gutted. Houses built of pucca bricks were forcibly entered into and plundered, the inhabitants being held in thrall at the pain of death. Scores of houses on the left bank of Jhelum were burnt to ashes.”

“The Mother Superior of St. Joseph Hospital, three nuns and a British couple staying there were slain. Three of my Hindu neighbours – Shambhu Nath, Ved Lal and Arjan Nath – schoolteachers all, were murdered. As far as looting and arson went, no distinction was made between Hindus and Muslims.”

“For instance, when a tribal started to forcibly snatch away a blanket from a poor weaver called Ghani – the father of four daughters – he asked him, “Is it for this purpose that you have come to Kashmir?” Ghani was shot dead on the spot. The local cinema hall was turned into a veritable brothel. Exercising abundant caution, a well to do family sent all its women out of town. Due to some reason, one daughter-in-law of the house was unfortunately left behind. When a tribal spotted her, he ordered her to the camp. Displaying presence of mind, the girl sought permission to don new clothes and to carry her jewellery. The permission was granted. The girl entered a large room where fodder for horses was stored. She set the fodder on fire and herself jumped in. Not only the girl and her house, two hundred other houses of the mohalla were reduced to ashes.”

“A city dweller named Rasul, who owned an oil press, invited two hundred tribals for dinner. After having eaten, the ‘guests’ demanded women. Fortunately all women had been sent out earlier and there was just an old granny in the house. The tribal went away in thorough disgust.”

“The Kashmiri Pandit women wear a particular piece of jewellery in their ears which is never taken off during the lifetime of their husbands. The tribals, without giving them the opportunity to remove these themselves, tore at them mercilessly, leaving the ears of the women spouting blood.”

“While plundering houses, they did not stop only at cash and jewellery. Samovars and brass utensils were also looted, thinking them to be made of gold. Some tribals were seen wearing ferans that are the particular apparel of women.”

(Mohammed Yusuf Saraf, Kashmir’s Fight for Freedom, p.906-908) 

Baramullah's population of 14,000 before the invasion of October 22 1947 was reduced to 1,000 by the time the Indian Army freed it in the first week of November. The men had been killed. Something like 4,000-5,000 women of all communities had been transported back in lorries to be sold in markets in Peshawar, Rawalpindi etc. I have said this on the basis of my readings of the newspapers of the time etc but would much appreciate any further references.

Akbar Khan's *Raiders in Kashmir*- The Hurriyat's denial of it is therefore their central falsehood


Former President of Muslim League, Sardar Shoukat Hayat Khan, gave major details about the tribal invasion in an interview with Daily Jung, London in April 1995. Later his book ‘The Nation that Lost Its Soul’ and its Urdu translation ‘Gum Gashta Qaum’ were published and appeared in the market. Sample some excerpts from the book of Sardar Shoukat Hayat Khan:

“I was appointed supervisor of the Kashmir Operation. I requisitioned the services of Brigadier Sher Khan and Brigadier Akbar Khan. Both were from 6/13 Frontier Force (Puffers). We also requested that we be supplied with the guns of local make like the ones that were in the Lahore Fort. Apart from this we also included former INA general Kayani, Colonel Dara and Taj Khanzada in this expedition.”

(Gum Gashta Qaum, p.278)

“ Taj Khanzada was appointed Commander of Baramulla and General Kayani was entrusted with the job of breaching Kathua road, so that Akhnoor be taken over and the land link between India and Kashmir snapped.

“At this time Ghulam Mohammed, the Finance Minister of Pakistan, recommended the inclusion of a relative of his in the High Command. This was Major Khurshid Anwar, a reserve officer of the Railway Battalion who had – during the time of the referendum in NorthWest Frontier Province – played truant as the Commander of Muslim League National Guard. His sole qualification was that he and Ghulam Mohammed were cousins. I rejected this recommendation on the grounds that I could not entrust military command to a non-military person. But Ghulam Mohammed (Finance Minister) and Liaqat Ali Khan insisted that his inclusion be accepted to make the National Guard happy.

(ibid, p.218)

“We selected the tribes near the Black Mountains of Swat to occupy the frontier mountain ranges of Kashmir. We also decided to keep tribes of other areas out of this war to maintain the element of a surprise, sudden attack and the secrecy required for the same.”

“We had decided upon a date in September as the D-Day. It came to be known that Khurshid Anwar had gone missing. He had married a Muslim League woman worker in Peshawar and disappeared for his honeymoon.”

“I reached the Muzaffarabad border, beyond which I did no have permission to go lest a Pakistani Minister be arrested in Kashmir. This war had to be seen as a popular uprising.”

“At Baramulla, the tribals refused to take orders from Khurshid Anwar. The tribals started treating the three lakh rupees from the treasury as their own ….. during this time they started looting the locals. The lockets and collars of the nuns of Baramulla Convent were snatched. The tribals went on a looting spree in the market. Thus, precious time was lost.
We lost Kashmir due to our own follies.”

(ibid, p.280)

Sardar Shoukat Hayat Khan makes a surprising revelation in his book. Lord Mountbatten had come to Lahore for a meeting with Liaqat Ali Khan. After dinner Mountbatten told Liaqat Ali Khan that he was carrying the message from the Iron Man of India, Sardar Patel, that Pakistan should get out of Hyderabad and Junagarh since both were Hindu majority states and had no overland link with Pakistan. In return India would withdraw its forces from Kashmir which could then accede to Pakistan.
Shoukat Hayat says that after conveying this message, Mountbatten retired for the night to the Government House, while two or three of us colleagues stayed back. We went up to Liaqat Ali Khan and said to him that we may consider Patel’s proposal regarding the exchange of Hyderabad in lieu of Kashmir, since we did not have a just claim on Hyderabad in any case.
Turning to me, Liaqat Ali Khan replied: Sardar Sahib, do you think I have lost my mind to accept the proposal and give up Hyderabad, which is bigger than Punjab province, for a few mountains of Kashmir?

(ibid, p. 280, 281)

Stating the reasons for the tribal incursion into Kashmir, Sardar Shoukat Hayat Khan writes:
“India accepted the Security Council resolution as per which the decision about Kashmir had to be arrived at through a referendum. It kept on putting off this referendum on one or the other pretext. Even after assuring the United Nations on oath, it reneged on its decision to hold a plebiscite. We saw through the deceit of India and the Maharaja and decided to enter Kashmir.”

(ibid, p.278)

Subroto Roy Mr Kaul, thank you *very much* for this addition. Akbar Khan's *Raiders in Kashmir* needs to be uploaded onto the Internet for all too. The attack changed everything in Kashmir; it was because of the attack that Hari Singh and Sh Abdullah came together and allied themselves with one another and with India; it is because of the attack that the history and present of Kashmir has been what it is. The Hurriyat's denial of it is therefore their central falsehood, since that is the basis for India and Pakistan carving up by military contest the ownerless anarchic territory that Dogra J&K had become.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

US senator McCain arrives in Kashmir - Hindustan Times

US senator McCain arrives in Kashmir - Hindustan Times

US senator John McCain arrived in Kashmir on Tuesday just two days after visiting Pakistan and meeting its top political leadership, including Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari. McCain, who was a presidential candidate in the previous US polls, arrived in Srinagar in a special US plan

on Tuesday. The US senator's visit has come as a shot in the arm of the chief minister Omar Abdullah-led J-K government as the republican leader avoided meeting any separatist leaders, including moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
The Mirwaiz, who seeks the US intervention in the Kashmir problem, has been for years now harping on "use of US good offices to push India into a dialogue to resolve the problem". The Mirwaiz was unavailable for his comments.

McCain, at present a member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee and ardent opponent of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, met governor NN Vohra earlier in the day.

"During the wide ranging discussions lasting for about two hours, McCain and the state governor exchanged views on various important issues of mutual interest," said a Raj Bhawan spokesman without divulging details of the contents of the discussion.

Significantly, the meeting was attended by top army official, including Northern Army Commander Lt General K. T. Parnaik and Corps Commander, XV Corps Lt. General SA Hasnain.

The Republican leader, who went for sightseeing on the banks of Dal Lake, also met Abdullah in the afternoon at his residence. Both engaged in a discussion about the prevailing ground situation in Kashmir and the security scenario.

Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani downplayed the US senator's decision not meet separatists. "India is trying to use its influence over the US. The senator visiting Kashmir and not meeting freedom fighters is not bothering. Our struggle is just and for the basic right to self-determination, which has been snatched and suppressed at the gun point by India," said Geelani.

Geelani said "it's moral responsibility upon the US to support genuine people's movement and the majority sentiment of the people of Kashmir if it claims to be a democracy". "Whether the US support us or not, we will continue our struggle for justice and for right to self determination," said Geelani.

McCain is scheduled to visit a temple tomorrow in Srinagar and will leave thereafter.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How fair Is PDP a “mainstream party” posing to compete with NC’s Greater Autonomy in the name of Self Rule ? By *Daya Sagar


A Look Through the Mist
No one appears to be serious for immediate settlement of J&K turmoil
How fair Is PDP a “mainstream party” posing to compete with NC’s Greater Autonomy in the name of Self Rule ? By *Daya Sagar


In Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohd Sayeed has the first rival in National Conference. No
doubt so far NC has held firm to 1947 accession of J&K with India. No doubt NC has been expressing
reservations regarding the Center State relations. Mirza Afzal Baig had lead the Plebiscite Front that was
later disbanded after 1975 Indira Sheikh Accord. Confusions and anti India concepts did nurish more
further since even after 1990 no sincere efforts were made by New Delhi and local political cadres in
Kashmir valley to check the separatist ideologists. Governments have not been able to reverse the
1989/ 90 mass migration from Kashmir valley Due to this the local information bank of the people
left back in Kashmir valley has surely moved some distance from oneness with India. Rather it could
also be inferred that some so called mainstream elements too advocate separatist view points /
demands. National Conference had already passed a “Greater Autonomy Resolution in 1994’ . Later NC
lead government had got a resolution on similar lines passed by J&K Assembly in 2000. In simple words
the June 2000 Autonomy Resolution of JK Legislative Assembly is more understood by common man as
moving to pre 1953 constitutional position. Under the circumstances the separatists/ those who talked of
referendum or plebiscite did not have much opposition to face.
So Mufti Mohd Sayeed too found it saleable for coming up with “Self Rule promise”. Some people
named PDP Self Rule as replica of the formulae that Pak President Parvez Musharraf is said to have
suggested . Mufti Mohd Sayeed has not so far out rightly rejected such allegations.
Congress lead Government at New Delhi too did not distance from PDP and kept on sharing power
in JK with PDP till 200 8. It was here that PDP got encouraged and to out beat National Conference it
suggested that (i) the currencies of both India and Pakistan should be used in J&K and PAK ( POK) (ii)
there should be common control of Indian and Pakistan on certain subjects as would pertain to J&K and
PAK (POK). PDP even used the term Pakistan Administered Kashmir in place of Pakistan Occupied
Kashmir and New Delhi still “recognizes “ PDP as main stream political party. May be now need has
arisen to even rework the definition of a main stream political party.
In Kashmir Valley PDP did succeed in sentimentally exploiting the innocent Kashmiri masses in particular
and in 2008 assembly elections proved tough on Congress & NC. PDP did not dare to adopt openly
anti accession approach like JKLF / Hurriyat since that way it would lose chances of power rides. PDP did
not refute accession in plain words but it asked some thing like joint control of India & Pakistan
over J&K well knowing that it was not possible without out undoing 1947 accession with India.
After having established some roots in Kashmir, PDP leaders understood that to remain in the political
power race ( local) PDP has to make its stand on the 1947 Accession clear so that even the “blunt”
sword of New Delhi does not fall on its head. So it was after more than 5 years that Mehbooba Mufti
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tried to introduce PDP Self Rule with in the scope of 1947 Instrument of Accession and the
Constitution of India. But still to people of J&K ( Kashmir Valley in particular ) PDP has introduced
Self Rule more a personal rule of Kashmiries than the Greater autonomy of National Conference.
PDP has very cleverly taken to with 1947 Accession talk track after having sufficiently exploited the
sentiments / emotions of innocent Kashmiri around Pakistan/ Two Nation theory. PDP has even succeeded
in setting some working roots in Jammu region. Under the circumstances to compete with Mehbooba
Mufti politically now Omar Abdullah too is playing soft on the separatists and separatist
ideologies .
The Mehbooba Mufti and Mufti Mohd Sayeed have been wisely changing tracks to retain the
goodwill of the common Kashmiri masses as well as those at New Delhi. PDP leadership also wants
to remain at the international scene not much behind the separatists and hence occasionally also
advocates early settlement of Kashmir issue (dispute ).
It was on 9th July2009 that Peoples Democratic Party in a special meeting where Party Patron Mufti
Mohammad Sayeed, Party presidentMehbooba Mufti and Muzaffar Hussain Baig were present
expressed that PDP Self Rule flows through Article 370 and Instrument of Accession.

Introducing the Self Rule Muzaffar Hussain Baig said

 (i) “Self rule was provided to the State in Instrument of Accession but later on it was snatched and taken back from Jammu Kashmir by the Government of India, 
(ii) PDP now wants it to be back ,
 (iii) even the sovereignty of the State was maintained in Delhi agreement made
between Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and GOI (Jawahar Lal Nehru ) and
 (iv) it was agreed by GOI that
the controversial Article 356 of Indian Constitution won’t be applicable to JK by which New Delhi has the
powers to dismiss an elected State government”. As regards some constitutional roll backs demanded by
PDP ( Article 356, application of Article 357 by which New Delhi has powers to make legislation in place of State legislature, Article 249 of Indian Constitution (by which New-Delhi can legislate on JK, Constitutional Order 101 was promulgated by the President under Article 370 adding Clause 4 in Article 368 prohibiting JK from changing the powers or privileges of Governor , Article 312 dealing with ‘All India Services’ , deletion of words ‘temporary’ from Article 370, and like ) a legitimate debate could be allowed with out
any questions on the Accession 1947 and Nationality of Kashmiri being India. But the style of references
made to 1947 Accession , Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as Pak Administered Kashmir , use of both Indo Pak
currencies in only J&K and dual Indo Pak control on some local matters pertaining to J&K and Pak held
part of J&K no where qualify to be within the scope of 1947 Accession and article 370 of constitution of
India . Such demands and explanations for Self Rule surely push PDP out of the scope to qualify as
a mainstream political party of India ( While talking to newsmen M. H Baig had said “Self Rule addresses the problem of JK in four different dimensions, which includes New Delhi-State relations; relations between the two divided parts of JK, resource sharing including trade, transport and other issues; relations between Pakistan and PaK and Inter-regional and sub-regional issues” ) .

( PDP claims that in 1947 it was envisioned that the final decision regarding accession has to be reached by the State Constituent Assembly and later on Constituent Assembly ratified Instrument of Accession, so now there is no need to have the word ‘temporary’ along with Article 370 ).

.No doubt National Conference did ask for Greater Autonomy but never went for a mass agitation
movement. So , Kashmir today is disturbed not for implementation of autonomy resolution2000. Neither
NC did much of work to carry the message of greater autonomy to ground level masses , particularly in
Jammu and Ladakh Regions. The same has been the case with the Self Rule of PDP. Kashmiries are not
agitating and protesting demanding PDP Self Rule . PDP well knows that t its Self Rule Road map
for peace would not fit in the frame 1947 accession and Indian constitution. But surely with such
approach PDP has created some extra pressures on NC in Kashmir valley.

Now PDP has started comparing its Self Rule with Greater Autonomy of NC.. People in Kashmir valley
are too simple to understand the technicalities and rhetoric.

The separatist ideologies are being carried ( though mildly) by PDP vociferously indirectly taking
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support from slogans of Kashmiriat / erosion of autonomy, 1952 Delhi Agreement, 1975 Indira Sheikh
accord and 1987 Rajiv Farooq Accord. Kashmiries have also seen Farooq (Abdullah) &. ( 0mar ) Farooq accord.

Experiences have shown that some Kashmiri leaders will do their best to keep New Delhi under pressure
for money and power. Separatists too need some social survival and the pro separatist actions of
some ‘main stream” parties would surely allow them to defer violent protests/ approach. In case
PDP is so loyal to the cause of the people of J&K ( Kashmiries ) why does not it work for an “alloy” of
Greater Autonomy and Self Rule with in the provisions of only Indian Constitution? Any how Kashmiri
leaders will keep on saying that India and Pakistan should settle the Kashmir ( J&K) affairs with due
participation of Kashmiries including separatists. In principle they keep their priority only on Kashmir Valley centric requirements . No doubt they do pose looking for some solution for governance taking the people of all the regions of J&K in confidence. So ,on the face of it they do not appear to be serious for any immediate solution since to majority of Kashmiri leaders more benefit appears in continuing confusions / uncertainty and not in settlement of any doubts /
confusions. 

*( Daya Sagar is social activist and leading scribe on Kashmir affairs)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Giving away Kashmir – Part 3 BY DR. AJAY CHRUNGOO


Giving away Kashmir – Part 3 BY DR. AJAY CHRUNGOO
BY CT – MARCH 1, 2010
POSTED IN: POLITICS
This is the last post of a three-part series on how successive recent Indian governments have plotted to give away Kashmir. It is written by Dr. Ajay Chrungoo, Chairman of the Panun Kashmir, a frontline organization of Kashmiri Pandits. Dr. Chrungoo is a guest writer with Canary Trap.

http://canarytrap.in/2010/03/01/giving-away-kashmir-part-3/

BY DR. AJAY CHRUNGOO

The Working Group on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) never discussed anti-terrorism measures as an important confidence building measure for the return of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir. It did not at all debate the relevance of anti-terrorism laws in the state in the light of the ongoing terrorist campaign. It did not even cursorily address the human rights violation in the state due to terrorism. The Working Group focused primarily on the state specific aspects of human rights violations just as Amnesty International and Asia Watch used to do in 1990’s.

The mindset employed can be understood by the written admission of the Working Group on CBMs while dealing with the question of internally displaced Kashmiri Hindus, “the Working Group concerns itself with the rehabilitation and improvement of conditions of the militancy victims and did not go deeper into the causes or the genesis of the militancy in the state.” The Working Groups followed a clear cut direction to ignore all issues which would bring into focus the issues of ideologically motivated violence in the state and bring the ugly side of armed Muslim separatism in the state to light. Their recommendations were meticulously in line with the separatist demands.

The Working Group on CBMs recommended abrogation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), relief not only to the victims of terrorism but the families of the killed terrorists, create conditions for the return of persons to Jammu and Kashmir who had gone to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Pakistan for training and organizing support for armed separatism etc. Only lip service was rendered to all other issues, including the problems faced by refugees, who had come from West Pakistan, while the PoK refugees of 1947 were not even mentioned in the report. The political motivation at work from behind can also be clearly understood by reading some recommendations of the same Working Group. The recommendations state, “To start unconditional dialogue process with militant groups for finding sustainable solutions to the problems of militancy….To examine the role of media in generating an image of the people of the state so as to lessen the indignity and suspicion that the people face outside the state”. The group on strengthening Relations across LoC never even considered the issue of illegal economy in the state and impact on it by cross LoC trade. It never discussed the issue of Middle East based business mafia seeking to suck up Jammu and Kashmir into its lap even when the leaders of the business committee in Kashmir have been openly canvassing with their fraternity that cross LoC trade would integrate Kashmir Valley with the economy of Middle East, not Pakistan.

Using the separatists

The Working Group recommendations strengthened the processes already unleashed to bring about economic and political integration of the Muslim majority areas of Jammu with the overwhelmingly Muslim Kashmir valley. Construction of Mughal Road (connecting Poonch-Rajouri with Kashmir through Shopian-Pulwama), and Sinthan Top Road (connecting mountainous Kishtwar district with Anantnag) were given further impetus. The handing over of the national power projects to J&K government assumed new stridency during the RTCs and WG meetings and the subsequent recommendations have already created an agenda for developing the infrastructure (economic, legal and political) for the Greater Muslim Kashmir.

During the deliberations of the third RTC, the Muslim representatives from Kargil vehemently opposed the concept of demilitarization and brought to light the humane role played by Indian security establishment for the people living in Kargil, Drass and other remote areas. The entire exposition eventually was ignored and never allowed to be known in the rest of the country primarily because GoI had already embarked upon the process of demilitarization. In the same RTC, the then MLA from Bandipore addressed the PM and said, “Sir, why was the All Party Hurriyat Conference Chief Syed Ali Shah Gilani released from jail before this conference. What was the assessment of Govt of India? If he was released why was he allowed to address a public rally at the airport itself? What was the assessment of GoI about this? Do you know Sir that Lashkar-e-Taiba flags were flaunted in this rally? Do you know Sir what were the slogans raised in the rally? Sir, they raised the slogans – Lashkar Aayi, Lashkar Aayi, Manmohan ki Maut Aayi, Azad ki maut Aayi.” The release of the radical pro-Pakistan Hurriyat leader retrospectively seems to have a purpose. Gilani was perhaps released to raise the din of radical demands outside so that the proposals of Self Rule, Greater Autonomy raised by Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference within RTC appear to be moderate options and could be endorsed.

The attitude of Government of India to Jamaat, Ali Shah Gilani and Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) appears to have a purpose when we see that it is the GoI which is investing in pushing through the Kathwari/Dixon plan as a solution. While all other separatist leaders have lost their credibility and potential to mobilize public, it is only Syed Ali Shah Gilani, DeM and Jamaat-e-Islami which can keep the pot boiling in the public and provide the required pressure and momentum to the Indian government for giving concessions. It is well known that whenever the government acted firmly on the ground, the Intifada never took off. And it assumed the proportions of an uprising when the Indian government publicly declared retraction of its authority from the ground. Omar Abdullah asked the Prime Minister in one of the RTCs as to why has been Government of India always befriending and encouraging such elements in J&K who have a manifest anti-India stand on Kashmir.

Giving away of Kashmir is basically a process of recasting the concepts of sovereignty of Indian Nation, its frontiers and its secular vision. The Self Rule document of PDP, which many believe has been prepared by Government of India, openly talks about redefining the concepts of nation, sovereignty, ethnicity, regions etc. When the Indian government talks about porous borders, rendering borders irrelevant, settlement between stakeholders, it is talking about a fundamental ideological shift in the nation building vision. To qualify them as tactical interventions or strategic imperatives, right or wrong, will be a gross misjudgment.

Bogey of US pressure

To those who pose serious questions about the gradual process of capitulation in Jammu and Kashmir conducted and calibrated by sections of the State, the argument put forward to silence them in the back channels is the intense international pressure brought about by USA and China on India. It is not incidental that one of the first public expressions of a ‘Two Front’ situation for India has been given by none other than Brijesh Mishra, the National Security Advisor to Vajpayee Government and one of the brains which set the peace process with Pakistan rolling. Prodded and patronized by the State, a voluntary censorship seems to be in vogue not to discuss the content and quality of this pressure. It is true that even after 9/11 the United States has not given any indication that it has changed its policy on Kashmir or Pakistan vis-a-vis India. But it is also true that at a time when it is being parroted from within India that GoI has been forced to enter into a dialogue with Pakistan under US pressure, American government has publicly released the information about terrorists arrested in the US which link the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai directly to serving officers in Pakistani Army. The statement of Robert Gates that India may loose its reserves of restrain in case of one more terrorist attack on Indian soil was less a prodding in favour of a dialogue and concession to separatists and more a warning to Pakistan.

This is not to say that the US is not seeking such cooperation from India which addresses its concern more than Indian concerns. The fact is that the US has a lesser leverage to exert pressures on India than it had before 9/11. Before the terror attacks on twin towers in New York, US government had its relations intact with Pakistan and rest of the radical Muslim countries around the Middle East. It had not entered Iraq and was exploring a relationship with Taliban. Now the situation is different. The US, by the admission of its own experts, is over stretched and needs India more in an atmosphere of global recession than any time in history. Why is Government of India more than willing to accommodate American view now than it has been ever before? Not only that, why are propaganda campaigns like the suspension of aid to Jammu and Kashmir by World Bank (because it has suddenly woken up to recognize Jammu and Kashmir as a dispute) left uncontested? That too when the representative of the bank has clarified that they are continuing to finance many projects in India including Jammu and Kashmir.

The bogey of increasing international pressure is being crafted from within to target Indian public opinion at a time when dialogue with separatists is going on and Pakistan is unraveling from within. A section from within the government and the political establishment wants to present a compromise in Jammu and Kashmir as a deliverance to the nation from a perpetual confrontation, even if it means abandoning its frontiers, its people in the state, its civilisational responsibility, central features of its eco-heritage, secularism and everything which India stands for.

I participated in the first SAFMA conference in New Delhi immediately after a group of Pakistani Journalists had for the first time visited Jammu and Kashmir. During the lunch session of the conference I overheard a conversation between the visiting Pakistani journalist and an official of the Pakistani embassy in India. The journalist was telling the official in Urdu that Indians, while talking about settlement of Kashmir issue, always say that they cannot allow second Partition of India. The Pakistani official retorted back that Gandhi and Nehru also used to say like this before the partition. (Concluded)

Giving away Kashmir – Part 2 BY DR. AJAY CHRUNGOO



Giving away Kashmir – Part 2 BY DR. AJAY CHRUNGOO

BY CT – FEBRUARY 28, 2010
POSTED IN: POLITICS
This is the second post of a three-part series on how successive recent Indian governments have plotted to give away Kashmir. It is written by Dr. Ajay Chrungoo, Chairman of the Panun Kashmir, a frontline organization of Kashmiri Pandits. Dr. Chrungoo is a guest writer with Canary Trap.

http://canarytrap.in/2010/02/28/giving-away-kashmir-part-2/

BY DR. AJAY CHRUNGOO

When Kathwari was invited to India along with his proposals ‘Kashmir: A Way Forward’, it marked a major change in the strategic perspectives of Indian State. Kathwari’s plan was a rechristened Dixon Formula. It envisaged a quasi-independent or eventually independent Greater Muslim Kashmir. To Dixon, doing this was completing the ‘unfinished agenda’ of Partition of India.

Nehru from the inception was opposed to an Independent Kashmir. He had outrightly communicated to Muslim leaders of Kashmir that, “he would prefer to hand over the State to Pakistan on a platter rather than support its independence and allow it to be turned into a centre of international intrigue and danger to both India and Pakistan.” It is not to say that Nehru and his successors till Vajpayee considered independence or quasi-independence for Jammu and Kashmir as a political blasphemy. There is a lot of evidence available to suggest that Nehru and his successors in Congress flirted with these options but predominantly from a tactical perspective. For strategic planners in India, counterpoising independence or autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir to counter pro-Pak sentiment in the State has always been a very attractive option. They always believed that keeping these options alive, and also nourishing them would provide India leverage to wrong foot Pakistan. Bereft of the profound understanding of the issues involved and oblivious of the implications they flaunted this maneuver more often than less as a strategic necessity. By accepting independence or quasi-independence options as possible concepts for clinching a deal with Pakistan, India has virtually checkmated itself. Pakistanis now publicly claim that they are actually agreeing to India’s position and so there should be no delay in a final settlement.

The formulation that two-nation theory can be countered only by a three-nation theory is turning out to be a fatal self goal. Both theories are ideologically one and the same. Cutting the two-nation politics into regional or ethnic denominators does not resolve its basic incompatibility with a state based on recognition of plural diversity on the principle of equality. Breaking away of Bangladesh from Pakistan only solved the problem of power sharing within the frame work of the bigger Pakistan. It did not resolve the conflict with an inclusive secular nation because it defined its separation from India on the same principle of two-nation theory.

The symbiotic relation which Pakistan evolved between pro-Pak and pro-independence/autonomy politics in Jammu and Kashmir could not be properly comprehended within the framework of the strategic perspective of India. This perspective visualized harnessing of Muslim identity politics and constitutionally fortifying Muslim sub-nationalism in the State as not only an antidote to Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir but also an effective device to mobilize Muslim vote bank in rest of India. It considered Muslim communalism in India as merely a reaction to the tyranny of Hindu majority. The entire approach over the years has become not only a device to circumvent the issue of Muslim communalism in India but to protect and nourish it.

Despite all this, till Kathwari’s visit, Indian State had not totally closed its eyes to the incompatibility of an autonomous sphere of Muslim interests in Jammu and Kashmir with the secular nation building. That explains why over the years the process of erosion of article 370 remained alive. Extension of jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India, CAG, fundamental rights and many other central laws was an expression to dissolve this incompatibility. A dominant section of Indian State and the political establishment never agreed to elevate Article 370 from a transitory provision to a permanent feature of Indian constitution. The strategic paradigm of fortifying Muslim identity politics in Jammu and Kashmir and rest of India to negate the appeal of two-nation theory has lead to the creation of broadly two sections within Indian State and the political establishment.

One such section has been that always had a subversive motivation and visualized recognition to Muslim Sub-nationalism in Jammu and Kashmir as a space to build a Greater Muslim Kashmir and use this to impair the indivisible unity of Indian Republic from within. This section always wanted Muslim identity politics in Jammu and Kashmir to be alive and kicking to use it as a cardinal insult to balkanize India along its sub-national diversity.

The second segment constitutes of those who gave more credence to the tactical value of harnessing Muslim sub-nationalism, but only to weaken the appeal of Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. While keeping the affront to Muslim identity politics to the minimum this section however did try to neutralize the disruptive potential of special status of Jammu and Kashmir to the unity of India. This group nourished a misplaced wish that eventually Indian democracy will prove to be a stronger force and Muslim identity politics in the state will loose its relevance. This group has premised their approach on the line that Muslim communalism has not to be contested; it has to be given minimum affront and the best choice is to circumvent it.

Over the years there has been a ping pong battle between these two mindsets; one seeking to delegitimise the religious identity politics, the other doing everything to consolidate Greater Muslim Kashmir. When Muslim majority Doda was carved out of the Hindu majority Jammu province in 1948, followed by carving out of Shia Muslim majority Kargil out of Buddhist majority Ladakh, we were witnessing the counter responses to the process of fuller integration of Jammu and Kashmir unleashed not from Pakistan but from within. Nehruvian strategic paradigm kept this internal conflict in the nation building process alive.

The promotion of Kathwari plan by Vajpayee government marked the demise of this strategic perspective. The new paradigm recognizes the three nation proposals of independence or semi-independence of Kashmir as a solution to Indo-Pak conflict rather than a tactical antidote to the two-nation vision. Recognizing Pakistan as a partner in settling the future of the only Muslim majority state of India has not only made the settlement on Jammu and Kashmir as the unfinished agenda of partition but opened afresh the Muslim question in India. The support extended by eminent Muslims like AG Noorani or Shabana Azmi or Wajahat Habibullah to the separatist cause in Kashmir have the sinister forebodings of the new confidence of a section of Indian Muslim elite to question the very unity of the nation. Vajpayee’s strategic vision underlined that the frontline Muslim state of Pakistan can live in harmony with a secular and Hindu majority India. This shift in India’s strategic perspective is of the nature of a mutation. From visualizing the creation of an Independent Greater Muslim Kashmir as more dangerous than its secession to Pakistan and a potential hot bed of international intrigue, the new perspective seems to view the creation of the same as a bridge of peace between Pakistan (a confessional ideological State) and India (a secular state).

Giving away Kashmir

Manmohan Singh’s tenure has carried the strategic shift further away from the Nehru-Gandhi era.  The peace with Pakistan at any price seems to be getting internalized in a way that it has become more than a strategic necessity — an ideological imperative. The subversive entrenchment within, emboldened by its increasing reach and sway, is gradually succeeding in harnessing the might and wherewithal of the State itself to mount a concerted attack on the Nation.

The three Round Table Conferences and the meetings of the various Working Groups and the conclusions thereof are manifest examples of how Indian State is made to invest in creating a Greater Muslim Kashmir.

A section of pro-India participants, invited to the first Round Table Conference (RTC), did debate the wisdom of participating in it. They had legitimate apprehensions that the conduct of such a conference was in fact an exercise to accord democratic legitimacy to certain concessions that Government of India was ready to make to Pakistan and the separatists in the Valley. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had already had series of very high profile meetings with a section of separatist leadership. These meetings, lasting for hours, along with the top most officers of Government of India had catapulted the separatist leadership into the national and international limelight once again at a time when their credibility on the ground was at the lowest. The Chenab Solution, which had prominently come to the public realm after Vajpayee invited Kathwari and sent his special emissary Sh. R K Mishra to start a dialogue process with Pakistan, had  attained the stature of a possible solution considered more by the Government of India than by Pakistan. Was the participation of pro-India leadership in Jammu and Kashmir in the Round Table Conference along with the separatist leadership sought to give an impression of involving everyone so that the compromise already worked out could be presented as a fate accompli to the wider national opinion? Retrospectively, this apprehension seems to have been well founded. At that time however the opinion that Round Table Conference accorded legitimacy to the diversity of political opinion in the State and presented an opportunity to show the separatists their position in over all political environment of the state clinched the argument against dissociating from the RTC.

Through the three RTC’s and the Working Groups, GOI pushed through all such proposals, which have critically strengthened the processes for the creation of Greater Muslim Kashmir. A process of reconciliation with separatism on their terms has by now been firmly grounded through a series of administrative, quasi-legal and political maneuvers. These measures are such that they do not need a legislative sanction of the Indian Parliament and as such are not dependent upon the political consensus.

The deliberations in RTC’s and Working Groups amply reflect a deliberation in implementing an agenda which had already been unleashed. The very architecture of the RTC’s was developed in a way were Government of India was placed as a neutral arbitrator between pro-India opinion and those who wanted to change the status quo of the relation between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union of India. Many times Government of India seemed to facilitate the separatist agenda by maintaining stoic silence even when the Muslim leadership of the valley put forward misplaced constitutional arguments or historically unfounded and false propositions undermining the very accession of the state with India and attacking its sovereignty. When none other than Omar Abdullah said in the very first RTC that, “we have signed only instrument of accession and not instrument of merger,” the statement had profound implications needing a proper response from the highest in the Government of India. In the same meeting the leader of PDP and then Cabinet Minister in the state government, Sh Muzaffar Beigh said, “Article 370 had a treaty status”. He opined that this treaty had developed after an understanding between Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir and Constituent Assembly of India, both of which as per him were sovereign bodies. This blatant falsehood and sinister twist was never contested by Government of India.

A section of Indian State and political establishment seem to be allowing blatant falsehoods aimed at wrecking the sovereignty of the nation in Jammu and Kashmir in such a way so that public at large, not only in J&K but in rest of India as well as internationally, is convinced that India has no case in J&K. The deliberations in the Working Groups were also conducted in a manner to undermine all legitimate imperatives of national interests. Government of India is mirroring the attitudes which the British Government adopted in the build up to the partition of India.

Giving away Kashmir – Part 1 BY DR. AJAY CHRUNGOO


Giving away Kashmir – Part 1 BY DR. AJAY CHRUNGOO

BY CT – FEBRUARY 27, 2010
This is a three-part series on how successive recent Indian governments have plotted to give away Kashmir. It is written by Dr. Ajay Chrungoo, Chairman of the Panun Kashmir, a frontline organization of Kashmiri Pandits. Dr. Chrungoo is a guest writer with Canary Trap.

BY DR. AJAY CHRUNGOO

For so many years we have concerned ourselves primarily with how Pakistan seeks to take away Jammu and Kashmir. We are perhaps getting too late to intensely involve ourselves with how a section of Indian State and the political class have been, over the years, crafting the giving away of Jammu and Kashmir. The unilateral submission of the report of the Working Group on Centre-State Relations by its Chairman Justice Sagir Ahmad to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir is only a reflection on the relentless campaign to keep the Muslim Question in India alive and transform the vision of secularism into an albatross around the neck of Indian nation, fixing its limbs into inaction, so that the Muslim Power continues to inch eastwards through successive partitions of India.

A sinister course correction

The report, submitted by Justice Sagir in the name of Working Group on Centre-State Relations, was done without completing the agenda of the Working Group; without taking most of the members of the Working Group into confidence; without seeking the opinion of the members on the draft of the report; and last but not the least, without formally winding up the proceedings of the Working Group. It seems that the entire exercise is aimed at some sort of a course correction crafted by those who have prefixed the direction and the outcome of the internal dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir. There are pertinent reasons to think so.

The delay in submission of the report by Justice Sagir was certainly causing worry which found expression once in a while in the public sphere. On March 10, 2008 a prominent local daily in Jammu and Kashmir reported National Conference (NC) patron Dr Farooq Abdullah blaming New Delhi for not being serious towards the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and quoted him making direct and almost indicatory references about the Working Group on Centre-State Relations. He said, “appointment of a Muslim Judge to give report on the contentious issue of centre state relations reflects their whimsical approach…. The report could have catastrophic consequences for Justice Sagir.” As per the report of Kashmir Times, Dr Abdullah maintained that reluctance of Justice Sagir in convening another round of meeting of the Working Group reflects his understanding of “how the contents of the report could impact his career prospects.”  The newspaper further quotes Dr Abdullah as having said, “…in a country where the minorities are under suspicion all the time, expecting Justice Sagir to give a report which could maintain his image of being a nationalist would be a little irrational.” In his expressions, Dr Abdullah referred to the population dynamics in the country, “If the centre would have been serious, Justice Sachar would have been the best choice”. He openly confessed about his resentment on the appointment of Justice Sagir at the time when the heads of the working groups were being chosen and frankly said, “I resisted his name, since I knew the repercussions of (his) heading this crucial Working Group on centre-state relationships…”

The statement clearly brings out that a person of the stature of Dr Farooq Abdullah had a clear-cut expectation from the Working Group on Centre-State Relations and an apprehension whether the person like Justice Sagir would be able to deliver the same.

It is relevant to quote what Prof Amitabh Mattoo was saying months before Justice Sagir submitted his report given the fact that he has been one of the more visible backchannel actors in the engagement between Pakistan, India, separatists and the so called moderates in Kashmir. He wrote in early October: “An important working group of the Prime Minister on J&K dealt with centre state relations but it was unable to arrive at a breakthrough. This doesn’t mean that we have a cul-de-sac. There are many proposals on the table including those on autonomy, self rule, self governance and achievable nationhood….These internal discussions must flow into the backchannel which can then attempt to work out a non-territorial India-Pakistan settlement on J&K based on providing a similar political architecture on both sides of the line of control working towards converting the LoC into Line of Peace, that allows free movement of people, goods, services and ideas.”

The way Justice Sagir submitted his report has some resonance in the way National Conference submitted the Greater and Regional Autonomy Reports. Like the constitution of Working Group on Centre and State Relations the Dr Abdullah government constituted the Committees on Greater Autonomy and Regional Autonomy after coming to power in 1996; giving an impression of adopting a non-partisan and inclusive process. He made Dr Karan Singh the Chairman of the Greater Autonomy Committee and made another non-Muslim — Balraj Puri — to function as Working Chairman of the Regional Autonomy Committee. Sooner than later Dr Karan Singh resigned and Balraj Puri was forced out. The reports of the State Autonomy Committee was suddenly finalized, submitted to the government and then pushed into the State assembly for adoption.

The Regional Autonomy report of NC envisaged the division of the state along the same lines as former Pakistan President Pervez Musharaff did later on. It put the division of Jammu province into Muslim and Hindu majority domains firmly on the agenda for the settlement of the Kashmir issue. Balraj Puri later wrote about the proposed breaking of the existing regions in the State: “Though re-demarcation or creation of a region or a district was not included in the terms of reference of the committee, I still sought a clarification from the chief minister who categorically ruled out consideration of any such demand….. I sent my report to all members and the chief minister in all humility for favour of their kind consideration, scrutiny and comments. Despite a reminder, I did not receive any comment……. I received a letter from the Chief Secretary on 21 January 1999 that my term had expired on 31 December 1998. Through another order dated 4 March1999, the term of the Committee minus me was extended in a similar retrospective way w.e.f 31 December 1998 till 31 March….It seems an alternate 28 page report was hastily got drafted and signed by three out of six original members which was tabled in the legislative assembly when it was about to adjourn sine die on 16 April.”  What made the then Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah to suddenly abandon the pretensions of accommodation and legitimate consultation, and like Justice Sagir did recently, push through the reports having a bearing on the future of the state?

Pre-fixed destination

The entire peace engagement, internal as well as external, has a pre-fixed objective for a well entrenched lobby and every process employed by the Government of India is being judged on the yardstick of this objective. When PDP released its Self Rule document, not in front of the Working Group on Centre-State relations, but in Pakistan, NC President Omar Abdullah openly blamed the Indian High Commission in Pakistan of having facilitated the entire process. The Indian foreign ministry chose not to contradict the allegation. There are many Kashmiri analysts who privately believe that the Self Rule document is the creation of some section of PMO. In the recent past, we have many instances where the Indian government acted almost in tandem with the Muslim leadership of the Kashmir Valley (mainstream and the separatist).

During former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime, a USA based Kashmiri secessionist leader, lobbyist and fund-raiser, Farooq Kathwari, arrived in India. He came with the full knowledge of the Indian government in March 1999, carrying a series of proposals for the creation of an independent Kashmiri State. At that time, both USA and the Indian government underplayed his jihadi connections. His son had died in Chechnya while fighting the Russians. He met very important persons belonging to Indian intelligence service and the ruling BJP. On March 8, Kathwari had a closed door meeting with Dr Farooq Abdullah and a group of his top Cabinet colleagues on the premises of Secretariat in Jammu. This meeting induced the urgency into the Dr Abdullah Government to come out with its reports on greater and regional autonomy in the state. During his visit, Kathwari seemed ‘encouraged enough to push ahead with a new version of his blue print for the solution of Kashmir’. The blue print — Kashmir: A Way Forward — later became commonly known as Kathwari Proposals. The National Conference reports had ‘striking similarities’ with Kathwari proposals as the later had with Dixon’s proposals. Noted columnist Praveen Swami, while commenting about this convergence wrote, “As significant, Abdullah’s maximalist demands for autonomy dovetail with the KSG’s (Kashmir Study Group) formulations of a quasi Sovereign State.”

It was not a coincidence that almost simultaneously the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers would meet in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo in March 1999 and reach an agreement envisaging ‘plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir on regional/district basis’, ‘maximum possible autonomy to Kashmir and its adjoining areas’, division of Jammu province along the Chenab River and so on. Significantly, the BJP-lead NDA was in power at that time.

The Regional Autonomy report of NC advocated dividing the State into its Muslim and non-Muslim domains, exactly the same way Kathwari envisaged. Pushing Balraj Puri, the Working Chairman of the regional Autonomy Committee, out of the decision-making loop was a course correction applied to see the endorsement of the Greater Muslim Kashmir to which he probably would not have agreed.

It is highly improbable to conceive that Dr Farooq Abdullah, who was also the Chief Minister, was not adequately briefed by Government of India about the purpose of Kathwari’s visit to India. Even if he was not, it is more improbable to think that Americans didn’t educate him. Kathwari’s closeness to the US State Department and his presence in India with his “way forward’ proposals on Jammu and Kashmir was more than a hint for NC to move fast enough to finalize the reports of his government on greater and regional autonomy and push it through the state assembly where NC had a two third majority.

To be fair to Justice Sagir, he refused to take into consideration definite signals from the interested quarters in the Government of India to fall in line and took his time. He in fact took undue time, in the view of those, who are in a haste to strike a deal with the separatists and Pakistan. In the very first meeting of the Working Group, to the clarification of a query posed by this author as to whether decisions will be taken in the Working Group by a majority vote or total consensus, Justice Sagir had assured that report of the WG will be finalized only if there was a total consensus. During the deliberations of the Working Group, this author, while making his expositions on the  Greater Autonomy report of NC attracted the intense attention of the Chairman while making the following comment, “Sir, While coming to participate in this Working Group I was acutely conscious of the fact that I have the responsibility of the very survival of my community on my shoulders, during the deliberations which have taken place here I have come to realize that I have the responsibility of the minorities of the State on my shoulders. After listening to the expositions of NC, PDP and even Congress I feel I have the responsibility of the minorities of the entire country on my shoulders. Sir I am sure that you will agree with me that you also have the responsibility of the minorities of this nation on your shoulders while conducting this Working Group.”

Justice Sagir could not have submitted the report, which he eventually did, if he would have followed the due process of first completing the remaining agenda of the Working Group, then submitting the draft report for acceptance by the members, seeking a total consensus on it as he had promised and then duly winding up the proceedings of the Working Group. When he changed midway the agenda for the fourth meeting of the Working Group and incorporated the presentation of Wajahat Habibullah, he left no one in doubt about his helplessness by offering no answers when the members asked him the reasons for doing so. He looked with embarrassment towards his secretary in the Group, Sh. Ajit Kumar, perhaps telling us that someone else had taken this decision. Justice Sagir could not have submitted the report if he would have listened to his conscience, which he did for sometime. He eventually neither disappointed Dr Farooq Abdullah nor that section in Government of India for whom the unfinished work of the Working Group was becoming a major hurdle. Submission of a report, which at least will not come in the way of the pre-fixed objectives of the so called search for peace with Pakistan, had perhaps become an imperative necessity.

Jammu Kashmir & Laddakh

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