Saturday, 29 July 2017
Is our mission unity of Ummah or independence of Jammu and Kashmir?
Dr Shabir Choudhry London 29 July 2017
The man was angry and was in no mood to listen to what I had to say. ‘How could you be a Muslim when what you are doing is helping the Kuffaar’, he said angrily.
I tried to reason with him, but how can you get anything logical across when the other person is engulfed with religious fervour, and is mentally conditioned that he could take life of anyone who dares to challenge his views or even disagree with him. I politely said:
Brother, Islam says there is no compulsion in religion. You can have your views and let me live my life according to what I think is correct. When you cool down and want to discuss this matter in a civilised manner, you can contact me again.
Before I disconnected the call, I heard a big abuse with the following words: ‘Are you saying I am not civilised. You are a friend of the Kaffirs, may you rot in hell with them’.
The caller said he was from Srinagar, and was disturbed by my views expressed on the TV and in my articles. The conversation started in a friendly manner. He said, he still admired my contribution for the Kashmir cause; and complained that why my priorities have changed over the past many years.
I said my priorities have not changed. I am still working for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir with liberal and secular society. However, my strategy has changed because of better understanding of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute; and geo political situation. Up till 1990s we were all inadvertently pursuing an agenda set out for us by the GHQ, which was designed to advance a Pakistani agenda.
Later on, we realised that Pakistan was not sincere with the cause of Jammu and Kashmir; and their aim was to divert attention away from areas of Jammu and Kashmir they have occupied. They wanted to bleed India and people of Jammu and Kashmir in name of Jihad; and hide their injustice and crimes.
He could not take anymore. He abruptly interrupted me, ‘Pakistan is our big brother and helps our struggle. Without Pakistan’s support, we cannot continue our struggle against Hindu India which is killing Muslims’.
That is not true, I interrupted him. They are killing those who are using guns and bombs given by Pakistan. When you use guns and bullets, do expect bullets in return. We must struggle peacefully; and against all countries which occupy us. Pakistan is also an occupier. They are not our friends. We are in this mess because of their wrong policies and their attack on Jammu and Kashmir on 22 October 1947, which forced Maharajah Hari Singh to seek help from India.
I could not continue, because he started shouting. He said, ‘Pakistan is a Muslim country; and our big brother. I don’t want to hear another word against Pakistan. Pakistan is a fort of Islam, only Muslim country with nuclear bombs to challenge the non - Muslims. Our mission is unity of Muslims. We want to unite Muslim Ummah. I want you to be part of our team; and use your talent and skills for the cause of Islam and not for non - Islamic system’.
Unity of Ummah? Which Ummah, I said scarcely. Muslims are bleeding since they murdered an innocent man called Hazrat Usman third Caliph, 1400 hundred years ago. That was an end of unity of Ummah. They have been fighting each other since that time. There are 57 Muslim countries in the world; and they all have variant and competing interests. Who is killing Muslims in Yemen? It is your Muslim Ummah. Who is killing Muslims in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and in Pakistan, again your Muslim countries. You are occupied yourself and do not have a country; and yet you are brainwashed to talk of problems and unity of this imaginary Ummah, and not care about your own problems.
This was, perhaps, too much for this man who appeared to be mentally conditioned by Pakistan and jihadi groups. In his view, what I said above was a language of the Kuffar; and that I was ‘a friend of the Kaffirs’.
It is sad to note that he was not a lone voice in Kashmir. There are growing number of youngsters who are expressing similar views. For example, Zakir Rashid Bhat, a successor of Burhan Wani once said:
"when we pick stones or guns, it should not be with the intention that we are fighting for Kashmir (as a nation). The sole motive should be for the supremacy of Islam, so that shariah is established here. He further clarified that ‘nationalism and democracy are not permitted in Islam".
There are many reasons why we people of Jammu and Kashmir State continue to suffer on both sides of the Line of Control, and there is no light at the end of tunnel; in fact, we cannot even see any tunnel yet. We are leaderless, confused, divided, and lack coherent and practical strategy for liberation of Jammu and Kashmir.
Even after 70 years of struggle and suffering, we, as a nation, are not sure what we want. The following questions should be given a careful consideration:
1. Do we want unification and independence; or we want to unite all Muslim countries of the world first?
2. Do we want accession to Pakistan because they are Muslims? If that is the case, do we also want division of Jammu and Kashmir on religious lines, because non–Muslims won’t want to join Pakistan.
3. If religion is to decide our future, then question arises which sect of Islam will decide?
4. What will happen to other sects who disagree with the majority sect? Are we going to kill them like it is happening in neighbouring Pakistan; and in some other Muslim countries?
5. What are we going to do with non - Muslims who live in Muslim majority areas?
6. Apart from that, what about those Muslims who don’t want to join Pakistan because they know what Pakistan offered to Muslims of East Pakistan; and what they are offering to Muslims of Balochistan, FATA, Swat and PATA, not to mention Muslims of so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Chairman South Asia Watch and Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Sunday, 23 July 2017
Speech of Dr Shabir Choudhry in a Seminar organised by Jammu Kashmir National Independence Alliance in Bradford on 23 July 2017.
Title: Status of Azad Kashmir Government and its role in achieving reunification and freedom of the entire State of Jammu Kashmir Gilgit Baltistan.
Mr Chairman, friends and colleagues
Institute of Kashmir Affairs arranged a seminar in Luton in 1993 to discuss Role of Azad Kashmir government in the Kashmiri struggle. In the conclusion of my presentation I wrote:
‘We have habit of calling areas under Pakistani control as Azad Kashmir, and areas under India as occupied, but in reality, there is not much difference as far as the legal and administrative structure is concerned. We have looked at the above points and it is very clear that AK is not Azad at all, therefore it has no role to play in the freedom movement, as it cannot function independently’.
It is interesting that after 70 years of forced division we are still discussing the role of so called Azad Kashmir; and how it can achieve unification of the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Perhaps we don’t understand or we don’t want to understand that slaves have no role to play. They have only one role, and that is to serve interests of their masters.
For your information, during early 1990s, when majority of us thought that azadi – independence was just around the corner, Prime Minister of POJK asked Islamabad that he wanted to visit areas of Gilgit Baltistan. They asked him why do you want to visit these areas. He replied that it looks IOK may get azadi and I want to visit Gilgit Baltistan to take these people in to confidence. He was bluntly told: You are Prime Minister of this area; and not of Gilgit Baltistan. You can visit any town of Azad Kashmir as you wish, but don’t bother visiting Gilgit Baltistan.
Please note, a Prime Minister which cannot even visit area of State which is occupied by Pakistan, and which is on this side of the Line of Control, what role can he play for the liberation of the area that is occupied by India.
Another interesting thing is that we want Jammu and Kashmir consisting of more than 84,000 SQ miles, which the Maharaja Gulab Singh created; and his family ruled; but we are not even prepared to speak about the Dogra achievements, or even give respect to the State flag which was a symbol of Jammu and Kashmir State.
Before we analyse the role of so called Azad Kashmir, we must introspect ourselves how sincere we are to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Also, we must sincerely analyse our roles. Why is that Jammu and Kashmir struggle is perceived as a Muslim struggle; and against Hindu India, when there are three occupiers?
If that is not the case, then why is that we have failed to win confidence of non-Muslims of the State? Is there something wrong with our strategy or are we inadvertently advancing agenda of our occupiers?
Those who occupy us they have a strategy in place. They have decided to keep what they have, and protect it, no matter what it takes. Also, they have worked out strategies to keep us divided on religious, tribal and ethnic lines.
However, those who are occupied, and oppressed are deeply divided, confused and clearly lack a coherent and feasible strategy in place to win unification and independence of Jammu and Kashmir. We have many layers of control in so called Azad Kashmir; but we erroneously think we are azad.
The country that violated the Standstill Agreement and launched an armed attack to capture Kashmir that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, rapes and kidnapping of women, established the so-called Azad Kashmir government. This unprovoked attack also resulted in Provisional accession to India, and forced division of Jammu and Kashmir.
This Pakistani appointed government also gave us a flag, which some of us wholeheartedly cherish; and proudly display it. In my opinion, when we display this Azad Kashmir flag, which no other region of Jammu and Kashmir accepts, we are unintentionally justifying the tribal attack and whatever else happened after that.
Mr Chairman, is it not time to revisit wisdom of our hitherto strategy and plan something new? I suggest the following:
· We must not own this Azad Kashmir flag; and display the flag which Maharajah Hari Singh used.
· Strengthen our ties with all regions of the State, and make special efforts to win confidence of non-Muslims of the State. Why is that no one from Dogra and Pundit communities is present here? Did we invite them? Don’t we need to win their confidence?
· Promote the slogan that religion is individual matter of people, but State belongs to all of us.
· While opposing all occupiers, promote this slogan: struggle against the country that occupies you; and stop playing in hands of occupiers by calling each other a traitor.
· The area of Jammu and Kashmir where I live, is occupied by Pakistan. But we are told that we should struggle against India. Those who are occupied by India, they should struggle against that occupation. We will support their peaceful struggle. Gun has only created problems for us. I can condemn human rights abuses taking place in Indian occupied Kashmir, but I cannot go there to liberate them. My struggle and struggle of people of POJK and Gilgit Baltistan is against Pakistani occupation.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Chairman South Asia Watch and Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:drshabirchoudhr