Saturday, 31 May 2008

Another feather in the cap

Another feather in the cap
Dr Shabir Choudhry 6 July 2007
General Musharaf has done it again. Since overthrowing an elected government in 1999, he had one remedy for all problems of Pakistan: resolve crises by creating new crises. Logic is simple - when one issue is getting out of hand create another and bigger issue and the first issue will be overshadowed, and people will forget about the first one.
By and large he has been successful in his endeavours to keep all parties sufficiently satisfied that they feel compelled to keep on supporting him. And in this list of supporters we find international figures like President Bush, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and other international dignitaries.
He always chooses his targets very carefully, plan them with the military precision and implement them. His military mind sometimes does not fully comprehend implications of his adventures in the field of politics, and gets in to problems, but he has many politicians and legal experts to bail him out of problems.
His record of military expeditions is not to be proud of, be it Kargil fiasco, Wazirstan or Balochistan (for that matter all expeditions taken up by the military rulers have proved to be counterproductive); but he can take some pride in political adventures. Critics say he has maligned the image of the army where they are killing their own Muslim brothers and their own Pakistani citizens; and has led Pakistan in to a kind of civil war where Pakistani troops are attacked in various parts of the country.
He found himself cornered after many blunders, especially after sacking and humiliation of Country’s Chief Justice. He tried to resolve this issue with the same medicine- create more crises, diversions, intimidation and oppression, but this time it did not work. Every move proved to be counter productive, and that resulted in frustration and resentment; and when one takes decisions with that mind set one is bound to make more mistakes.
Proceedings of Supreme Court were proving to be disastrous and source of embarrassment; and to make things worse floods came at wrong time for which the authorities were not ready as they had other priorities. Another problem was Nawaz Sharif’s All Parties Conference, in which he wanted to unite opposition and plan a campaign against the military ruler.
General Musharaf had successfully cultivated Benazir Bhutto and she decided to stay away from Nawaz Sharif Show. She did not want to strengthen her political foe; she knows how to fight back the military ruler. How to corner him, embarrass him or make a deal with him, but Nawaz Sharif’s strength will be at the cost of her weakness; and she is not a fool to strengthen him. I am sure she has got a good package for keeping away from this moot.
On his part the beleaguered General decided to play his trump card. It was time to invade Red Fort; sorry I mean Red Mosque, Pakistan army has plenty of experience in fighting their own people and invading their own territory. And in view of that rich experience Red Mosque was just a walk over for the Pakistan army. There was more than one way to end that and end it quickly, but if it ends too soon then it won’t achieve the desired results; so it was imperative that it drags on to overshadow events taking place in London and else where.
Events of Red Mosque have put every thing on the back burner. People are least interested in knowing who is travelling to London to take part in All Parties Conference. They are not even interested in what is going on the in Supreme Court and what is happening to the plight of the flood victims. Attention of the entire nation is focused around events of Red Mosque. People are concerned about the lives of innocent people.
Only winner in this scenario is the Pakistani ruler, General Musharaf. He has emerged as a tolerant but strong man who can take tough actions. He is the man who can root out extremism and support and perhaps help win the ‘war on terrorism’. His rating in the country and outside has increased; and in the words of famous writer, Ayaz Mir: ‘the government will milk this ‘triumph’ for all it is worth, portraying it as another victory against ‘extremism’.
Many will take it as another feather in his cap. It will help him to sell his future plans with regard to his uniform, general elections and his own election of president to his people, and more importantly to interested parties outside the country.
In view of one commentator this drama has to continue that proceedings of APC, the Supreme Court and plight of flood victims are over shadowed to provide cushion to the government. Benazir Bhutto by staying away from London moot has strengthen the hands of Musharaf, and weakened the opposition, so she has taken out much of the wind out of APC sails; and events of Red Mosque have successfully diverted the attention away from this moot.
Some of Nawaz Sharif’s advisors and leaders are already showing arrogance and behaving like party in office, yet they have long journey ahead of them before they even see buildings of the Parliament. They need to win support of people and other groups which help to win office that they can present their case properly, and become effective in this scenario; but they have to work hard and change their attitude and prove that Nawaz Sharif has leant since he was forced out of office in 1999.
Writer is Chairman Diplomatic Committee of JKLF, Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs and author of many books on Kashmir. He could be reached at:

Kashmir dispute and peace in south Asia

Kashmir dispute and peace in south Asia

Shabir Choudhry
1. A note from the publisher
2. Introduction
3. A Brief History
4. Kashmir after the British Raj
5. Kashmir at the United Nations
6. India's Pledges Regarding Kashmir
7. Two Nations Theory and Kashmir
8. Election or Plebiscite?
9. Present Situation
10. Conclusion
11. Appendix
Cover (title)
Inside cover: Maqbool Butt's photo and this
In a public meeting held in May 1974 in Mirpur, he said: ' we have taken oath to fight for independence of Kashmir, but important question is who are we going to fight this war of independence? We must know who has usurped our independence? Who has denied us our right of self-determination? We must know who is our enemy-until and unless we are clear on that we could not fight war of independence. Let me tell you our enemy are all those people, groups, army, police, individuals and bureaucrats who deny us right of self-determination and oppose it.'

'Be clear on this that our struggle is against those members of ruling class who oppose our right to national independence whether they are in Azad Kashmir or in the Indian occupied Kashmir. All those who create obstacles in our way are our enemies and enemies of the independence movement. Prepare yourself for jihad against those who are acting as agents of Pakistan on this side of the border and act as agents of India on the other side of the border. We will have to fight them on every stage be it political or military- if they come in our way remove them by force. Movements of National independence are fought at every level and all workers, peasants, merchants, businessmen have to play their due role in it.'

1. A note from the publisher (You should write something)

2. Introduction
Over the years the Kashmir dispute has come high up on the international agenda, and there is call from many quarters of the world that it must be resolved through a process of dialogue. But there are some who oppose the idea of dialogue and insist that Kashmir has to be conquered - India has to be defeated militarily in Kashmir, and then join Pakistan. Indian policy on the other hand is to crush the militants, and maintain the status quo.

People of Kashmir have paid great sacrifices for the cause of independence, but they are still forcibly divided and still suffering. Both India and Pakistan have their own agendas on Kashmir, both want Kashmir for territorial, economic and strategic reasons. Interest of the Kashmiri people is not their top priority. Whereas India is accused of gross human rights violations in Kashmir, Pakistan is also responsible for denying people of Kashmir their basic human rights. Purpose of this small booklet is not to give details of human rights violations, as there are dozens of booklets are available on the subject. It would be, however, appropriate to mention that there is no comparison between human violations committed by India which include indiscriminate killings, rapes, custodial deaths and destruction of property etc; and the denial of basic rights by Pakistan.

The present struggle in Kashmir started as a war of liberation and aim was unification and independence of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. This movement was later taken over by groups who wanted to wage 'Jihad' in Kashmir. Their aim was to liberate 'Muslim Kashmir', make it part of Pakistan; and then proceed to other areas for Jihad. These groups have upper hand in militancy but they have 'successfully' communalised the movement, and as a result of that the Kashmiri struggle is no longer perceived as a movement for independence.

The Kargil conflict in Summer of 1999 very nearly escalated into a full scale war between India and Pakistan. It is because of this and some other factors that there is a greater emphasis to resolve the Kashmir dispute. There could be no peace and stability in the region until and unless the Kashmir dispute is resolved; and if appropriate measures are not taken soon then there is a danger that the conflict could lead to another war between India and Pakistan. Before we look at any possible solution of the Kashmir dispute it is important that we have some understanding of the history and the legal status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

3. A Brief History

ion The State of Jammu and Kashmir, comprising an area of around 85,000 square miles,borders on India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. A small strip of Afghanterritory known as the Wakhan Corridor divides the state from CentralAsia. The State is divided in to four parts. One third of the State is underdirect and indirect control of Pakistan, while the bulk of the countryand its people have been under Indian occupation since 27th October 1947. Two portions of the Kashmiri land are under Chinese control. China took Aksai Chin from India in a war, and Pakistan ceded the other small area to China in a border adjustment in 1962.

(Print a map here showing these areas. I can provide you one or take from my book AK role)The Kashmiris have always striven to break the chains of oppression andforeign subjugation in their quest for national emancipation. The presentmilitancy in Indian occupied part of the country is thereforeneither accidental nor a flash in the pan. However it could be said that therecent changes and dismantling of oppressive regimes in Eastern Europe, and events in Iran and Afghanistan provided impetus for the intensification of the uprising, the roots ofdiscontent have been gathering strength ever since Indian Para - troopers weredropped in Kashmir to suppress a war of liberation against the autocraticand despotic Dogra Maharaja.

The mass uprising by the Kashmiris against Indian occupation is thus a manifestation of the Kashmiris' desire to secure the most basic and fundamental human right to determine their future with out any restriction imposed on them. In order that the situation may be clearly appreciated and understood in its proper context, a brief account of this unfortunate nation's glories, sorrows and oppression under foreign subjugation needs to be given.'The history of Kashmir is the history of a living people. From ancient times they have passed through days of joy and sorrow, of affluence and penury. But whether in sunlight or shade, the Kashmiris stuck fast to their humanistic principles, and did not fall a prey to religious intolerance and narrow-minded bigotry'.1 The history of Kashmir is traceable as far back as 5,000 years. Twenty-one dynasties of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians had ruled Kashmir until the 14th century AD when Muslims appeared on its political stage. Of these twenty-one dynasties, eighteen were native; under whom Kashmir enjoyed an independent status and comparatively high prosperity. During the period of Lalita Ditya, one of the most powerful kings of the pre-Muslim era, who ruled Kashmir from 715 to 752 AD, most of the present Punjab, part of Tibet and large area of Central Asia were under the Kingdom of Kashmir. Kashmir commanded high respect from all neighbouring states.Muslims ruled Kashmir for 479 years (1340 to 1819 AD) and this period included 240 years of independence. Kashmir attained the peak of her glory during the reign of Sultan Zainul Abedin (1420 to 1470 AD), popularly known as Budshah. He was one of the noblest sons of the soil, hence his title Budshah, meaning the great king. People called him Budshah out of love andaffection. Even today he is held in great respect. Kashmir during his rule was a model of economic prosperity, social justice and communal harmony in the whole region. As a great centre of learning and culture, Kashmir attracted students from India, Persia, Central Asia and the Middle East. All the neighbouring states held Kashmir in high esteem while trade and commerce were at their peak.Budshah's rule of 50 years is thus called the 'Golden Period' of Kashmir's history. Before Budshah, Sultan Shahabuddin, another illustrious son of Kashmir, had done a great deal to consolidate Kashmir's independence, making it possible for Budshah to create a true welfare state. With the death of Budshah began the gradual decline of the golden period. His Shamiri dynasty was later overthrown by Chacks, who ruled Kashmir for quite some time.

In 1586 AD the independence of Kashmir came to an end when Akbar, the great Mogul King of India, annexed Kashmir-but only after having suffered two defeats (and perhaps the only two during his reign) at the hands of the Kashmiris The Moguls ruled Kashmir for around two centuries. As lovers of beauty, they added to the loveliness of Kashmir, but did not much care toimprove the conditions of ordinary people. On the contrary they introduced the Kashmiris to a way of life, which gradually deprived them of their bravery and self-confidence.With the decline of Moghul power, the Afghans annexed Kashmir. Afghan rule over Kashmir, which lasted 67 years (1752 to 1819 AD), was one of cruelty and looting. Most Afghan rulers of Kashmir crushed the people ruthlessly. Their only aim was to extract money from the country, and they robbed Kashmiris on one pretext or another. But there was worse to come forthe peace loving Kashmiris. The state was conquered and colonised by Sikhs. Sikh rule lasted only 27 years but was far worse than that of Afghans.
Continuous slavery and ruthless suppression by alien rulers badly demoralised the Kashmiris, who could not put up a concerted resistance against them. The Kashmiris were further subjected to slavery when, in 1846, the British conquered Kashmir as a result of inflicting defeat on the Sikh ruler of the Punjab, with the help of the treacherous Gulab Singh, a minister of the Sikh court.For strategic and economic reasons the British sold Kashmir to Gulab Singh for a sum of 7.5 million rupees (less than £300,000) like a commercial commodity. This most ignominious andinhumane transaction took place under an agreement called the Treaty of Amritsar in 1846. Gulab Singh and his successors ruled Kashmir with an iron hand, known as the Dogras, these rulers subjected Kashmiri patriots to the most inhumane atrocities including some, especially in the Punch area, being flayed alive while others were drowned in the beautiful lakes of the Kashmir Valley. Those drowned only complained about the shortage of food, and as a result the full load of the boat was thrown into the lake.

This wave of oppression continued unabated until the Muslims of Kashmir realised that they would perish if they continued to let the ever-increasing oppression go unchecked. Thus they abruptly rose in revolt against the despotic ruler in 1931, and in a period of two years forced theMaharaja to concede to them a number of political, economic and social rights. It must be borne in mind that the Kashmir people never accepted alien rule, and their quest for independence continued despite these nominal concessions.4. Kashmir after the British RajIn 1946, a year before the British rule came to an end in India, the Kashmiris had risen in open revolt against the Dogra rule. The political movement, known as the 'Quit Kashmir Movement', was ruthlessly put down and its leaders were sentenced. So at the dawn of Indian independence from British rule (15 Aug 1947), the popular struggle for emancipation and human rights had taken a firm hold in Kashmir. The unsuspecting Kashmiris, whose popular movement for democratic rights took great encouragement from the anti-British struggle in pre-independent India, were to face the might of independent India's army.The Maharaja had his own strong reasons for not acceding to either the new Dominions, and despite all the pressure, he did not accede. On 15 August 1947, the British Raj ended in India, and with it ended the British paramountcy that released the State of Jammu and Kashmir from all its obligations to the British, hence Kashmir emerged as a fully independent country. After the lapse of paramountcy, the State of Jammu and Kashmir possessed all the attributes of a sovereign state, which were enshrined in the Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention held in 1933, to work out details about rights and duties of states.
In their struggle against the despotic ruler, the people of Kashmir declared on 4th October 1947 the Provisional Government of Kashmir.2 The Maharaja's government was on the verge of collapse, especially after the tribal attack his army was on the run, and the morale of government officials, including the Maharaja himself, at its lowest ebb.

It is widely believed and there is plenty of evidence to prove that Pakistani authorities masterminded the tribal invasion. But not all members of the Pakistani government were in favour of involvement of the Tribesmen. Some thought the support of tribesmen was crucial to win Kashmir without directly involving Pakistani troops. Others thought this policy could backfire and 'probably precipitate the whole State of Jammu and Kashmir into the arms of India, and persuade the Maharaja to sign instrument of accession to that Dominion'. 3

Anyhow anticipating the fall of his capital, Srinagar, the Maharaja fled to Jammu for the safety of his family. It was at this time, when he felt defeated and demoralised, and had virtually lost control, that he was approached by V.P. Mennon on behalf of the Indian Government, who asked for accession of the State to India. Defeated and panic-stricken, the Maharaja did not need any convincing to sign the document. And on 27th October 1947, the Indian forces landed in Kashmir, hence started a new phase of foreign rule in Kashmir.

The latest research by prominent writer Alaister Lamb shows that the Maharaja did not sign an Instrument of Accession, but there is no conclusive evidence to prove this. If this claim is true then India's position on Kashmir could be challenged. But since this claim, made in 1994, no one has taken an initiative to challenge India on the basis of fraud and illegal occupation of Kashmir.4 This so-called 'accession' was contrary to the publicly expressed will of Kashmir people, and the Indian government, including Mountbatten, the new Governor-General of an Independent India knew that. Mountbatten, as a Governor General of an independent India in response to the Maharaja's letter, made it clear that the so-called 'accession' was 'provisional'. He wrote:'Consistently with their policy that, in the case of any state where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the state, it is my Government's wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people.'5India, now, claims that the State of Jammu-Kashmir is an integral part of the Indian Union, because the Maharaja signed the 'Instrument of Accession', but they have forgotten that the 'accession' was provisional and subject to a plebiscite where people of Kashmir had to decide future of Kashmir. Perhaps it would be pertinent to quote a few sections of the 'Instrument' to check the Indian claim.Section 7: Nothing in this instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future constitution of India or to fetter my discretion to enter into arrangements with the Government of India under any such future constitution.Section 8: Nothing in this instrument affects the continuance of my sovereignty in and over this State, or, save as provided by or under this instrument, the exercise of any powers, authority and rights now enjoyed by me as ruler of this State or the validity of any law at present in force inthis State. 6The Government of Pakistan protested against this unconstitutional and invalid Act of 'Accession', and ordered its forces to attack Jammu. The idea was to cut the supply route of the Indian army to Kashmir. But unfortunately this order was later withdrawn under pressure from British Military chiefs in India. Pandit Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, realising the Pakistan Government's anger, wrote to the Pakistani Prime Minister on 27th October 1947, and gave this assurance:'I would like to make it clear that the question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or state must be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people and we adhere to this view.' 7This is, what Nehru said about the future of Kashmir. On the other hand, Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Governor-General of Pakistan, asserted that:
'The States were fully entitled to say that they would join neither of the Constituent Assemblies. Indian States were sovereign states for every purpose except insofar as they entered into treaties with the Crown. The Crown was under certain obligations to them and they to it, according to terms of treaties and agreements, which had been entered into.' Again, in a statement on 17 June 1947, Mr Jinnah declared that after 'the lapse of paramountcy the Indian States would be constitutionally and legally sovereign states free to adopt for themselves any course they wished. It is open to States to join the Hindustan Constituent Assembly or decide to remain independent.'8Mountbatten also explained the legal position of States: 'Now, the Indian Independence Act releases the States from all their obligations to the Crown. The States will have complete freedom-technically and legally they become independent.'9

5. .Kashmir at the United Nation
Despite Indian military intervention in Kashmir to deprive the freedom fighters of total victory over the tyrant Maharaja, the Kashmir people made important advances. The Indian Government after failing to achieve military success decided to bring Kashmir under international jurisdiction and sought the help of the United Nations. The Security Council of the UN looked into the Kashmir problem in great detail and set up a Commission to investigate the matter by visiting India, Pakistan and Kashmir. After detailed investigation the following resolution was passed by the Security Council on13 August 1948:'The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan reaffirm their wish that the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people and to that end, upon acceptance of the Truce Agreement, both governments agree to enter into consultations with the Commission to determine fair and equitable conditions whereby such free expression will be assured'. 10When the question of the future status of the State arises, it is believed that the State could have three possible options: accession to India; accession to Pakistan or complete independence.
It was the third option, which Maharaja had in mind, and this was why he refused to accede to any Dominion before the lapse of Paramountcy, despite enormous pressure from Mountbatten and the powerful Congress leadership.The Pakistan Government was not keen about complete independence of the State. The Pakistan Foreign Office wrote a letter to the UNCIP, and enquired if the 'future status' implied the independence of the state. UNICP replied that the State could also become independent if the people of Kashmir decided in favour of that. As this was not desired by the Pakistan Government, the Foreign Minister, Sir Zafarullah Khan, in a letter to General McNaughton, President of the Security Council, proposed that 'for the words future status of Jammu and Kashmir substitute the following: the question of the accession of the State of Jammu Kashmir to India or Pakistan.' 11The Pakistan Government's attitude indicated two things:

1. The Pakistan Government, in principle, could accept the whole State becoming part of India, if the people of Kashmir so desire, in a proposed plebiscite, but she was not prepared to accept the Kashmir people's verdict to stay independent. It must be remembered that the UN resolutions asked Pakistan to withdraw her forces from Kashmir whereas India was allowed to retain 'bulk' of her forces for maintaining peace and security. Part 2 and section 2 of the resolution reads like this:

' The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting'.12

If a plebiscite was to be held when Indian forces were present there and Sheikh Abdullah, most popular Kashmiri leader, at the helm of affairs, it was more than likely that the outcome would have been against Pakistan. Despite that Pakistan agreed with the resolution, it is however different thing that Pakistan was not very keen to vacate the Kashmiri territory under Pakistani control. Alastair Lamb, who is considered to be pro Pakistan in his approach, made the following observation:

'In the early days of dispute it is unlikely that a majority of the population of Kashmir and Jammu province would in fact, had they been given the chance to express their preference, have opted for union with Pakistan.'13

2. The Pakistan Government's support to the Kashmiris' right of self-determination is not purely in the name of 'Muslim brotherhood', humanity or sympathy, as was generally assumed. This is because the Pakistani Government's support was not extended to help the Kashmiris emerge as an independent nation; rather it was given in anticipation that Kashmir would become part of Pakistan. Of course, Pakistan had political, material and strategic interests in Kashmir, but these should not have been obtained at the price of the Kashmiri peoples right of self-determination.The result of the Pakistan Government's political and diplomatic endeavourswas the Second Resolution of UNICP, passed on 5 January 1949. Fearing the possibility of an independent Kashmir, The Pakistan Foreign Office, in a letter to the Security Council, enquired if the words 'future status' could mean an independent Kashmir. The reply was that the Kashmiri people could have an independent Kashmir if that was the majority decision. After receiving this reply, the Pakistan government decided to suggest an amendment to this resolution. It was unfortunate that the Pakistan government in its letter to General A. G. L. McNaughton, President of the Security Council, dated 28 December 1948, wrote to propose a change in this clause:

Paragraph 1 (A) reads,

For the words "the future status of State of Jammu and Kashmir" substitute the following:
"The question of the accession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to India and Pakistan. 14

As a result of this request the next resolution which was passed on 5 January 1949, read like this: 'The question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India and Pakistan, will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite'.15
The Pakistan Government inflicted serious damage to the Kashmiri freedom struggle by circumscribing the internationally accepted and practised concept of right of self-determination. And because of this, the Kashmir problem appeared to the outside world like a territorial dispute, rather than a struggle for the emancipation of oppressed people. It is obvious that other governments do not wish to be involved in territorial disputes, but they find it easy to take a stand on a principle of right of self - determination.6. India's Pledges Regarding KashmirWhen the Kashmir question was a major international issue debated in the UN, Indian Government officials made a number of solemn pledges, some of which are produced here:It is not for India or Pakistan, whatever our wishes, to decide the future of Kashmir. Kashmir and the people of Kashmir are not commodities for barter or for bargain. It is inherent right to determine their own future. It is this right we openly acknowledged long before Pakistan came into this picture. We are convinced that only the people of Kashmir could finally decide their own future and we stand by every assurance we have given to the UN in this behalf. 16On 15 January 1948, at the UN Security Council, the leader of India's delegation to the UN, on behalf of the Government of India, declared that '….whether she (Kashmir) should withdraw from her accession to India and either accede to Pakistan or remain independent with a right to claim admission of as a member of the UN. All this we have recognised to be a matter of unfettered decision by the people of Kashmir after normal is restored there.'In his broadcast on All-India Radio on 2 November 1947, the late Jawaral Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, announced 'We have decided that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. The pledge we haven given and the Maharaja (the ruler of Kashmir) has supported, it is not only to the people of Kashmir but the world as well. We will not and cannot back out of it.'In his telegram to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on 31 October 1947, Mr. Nehru said: 'Our assurance that we withdraw our troops from Kashmir as soon as peace and order have been restored and leave the decision regarding the future of the State to the people of the State, is not merely a pledge to your Government, but also to the people of Kashmir, but to the world as well.'
On 9 July 1951, Mr. Nehru, while submitting a report to the All-IndiaCongress Committee, said: 'Kashmir has been wrongly looked upon as a prizefor India or Pakistan. People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodityfor sale or to be bartered. It has an individual existence and its peoplemust be the final arbiters of their future.'
The above quotations clearly show that even the Indian government did not take the so-called 'accession' as final. And it was because of this the Government of India agreed in the United Nations Security Council to hold a plebiscite to determine the future of Kashmir. Otherwise no government can possibly agree to hold a referendum in a territory which it genuinely believes to be its own to determine its future. Furthermore successive Indian governments have held talks with Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir dispute, again confirming that the 'accession' was not final.

An Indian leader Jaya Prakash Narayan eloquently put this point, he said:

'I may be lacking in patriotism or other virtue, but it has always seemed to me to be a lie to say that the people of Kashmir had already decided to integrate themselves with India. They might do so, but have not done so yet. Apart from the quality of the elections… the future of the State of Jammu and Kashmir was never made an election issue at any of them…. Lastly, if we are so sure of the verdict of the people, why are we so opposed to giving them another opportunity to reiterate it.'17

7. Two Nations Theory and Kashmir

Pakistan was created as a result of Two Nations Theory and since the State of Jammu and Kashmir has a Muslim majority, by and large people of Pakistani believe that Kashmir should become part of Pakistan. Many Kashmiris share this view as well.

It is strange that People have forgotten the State of Junagarrh, a State which, according to the rules agreed by Muslim League and Congress at the time of Partition, acceded to Pakistan. They have even forgotten the loss of East Pakistan, now known as Bangla Desh, which at one time was a legal part of Pakistan. But when it comes to Kashmir people become very emotional.

Leaving emotions and rhetoric aside let us see the legal and constitutional position. The demand for a separate homeland for Muslims was put forward in a resolution in 1940, and it is known as a Pakistan Resolution. Let us see if this resolution demands the inclusion of Kashmir in this new country. The resolution reads:

"…That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North - Western and Easter zones of India, should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constitutional units shall be autonomous and sovereign".

It must be noted here that the British Raj in India consisted on two units, namely British India and Princely India; whereas the British directly ruled the former the latter was semi- autonomous. The Two Nations Theory was applicable only to the British India and those who passed (Muslim League and Mohammed Ali Jinnah) the "Pakistan Resolution" were aware of this legal position, and did not include Kashmir in their demand of a Muslim State.

This Resolution, as we all know, was passed in 1940, and Pakistan emerged as an independent State on 14 August 1947. No where between these two dates Mohammed Ali Jinnah, President of Muslim League or any other Muslim League leader demanded that Kashmir should be part of their demand for Pakistan. Between 1940 and August 1947, literally hundreds of speeches were made by different League leaders, and dozens of resolutions were passed by the Muslim League, and at no time they demanded that Kashmir should be part of their demand for Pakistan. Even at that time they knew Kashmir had Muslim majority and that it was adjacent to proposed Pakistan territory, with all its routes, but they did not demand for its inclusion in Pakistan. One wonders why? The answer is very simple. They all knew that it was the British India which was to be divided, and the Two Nations Theory was not applicable to the Princely States whether they had Muslim majority or not.

As the time for the partition of British India became near people genuinely got worried about the future of Kashmir. Some of them were not clear about the legal position of Kashmir, and others wanted Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. They went to Mohammed Ali Jinnah and asked him about the status of Kashmir, to which he replied:
"..After the lapse of Paramountcy the Princely States would be constitutionally and legally sovereign states, and free to adopt for themselves any course they wished. It is open to the States to join the Hindustan Constituent Assembly or decide to remain independent. In my opinion they are free to remain independent if they so desire".18

Mohammed Ali Jinnah made a similar statement on 11 July 1947 to the Kashmiris leaders Choudhry Hamidullah Khan and Professor Isaaq Qureshi. Apart from these statements Mohammed Ali Jinnah practically demonstrated that the Two Nations Theory was not applicable to the Princely States. When the case of Hyderabad came under discussion, Mr Jinnah was very forceful in his views. He said that the Nizam of Hyderabad had every right to become an independent ruler if he wished, but he could join either of the constituent assemblies as well. Similarly Mr Jinnah accepted the accession of State of Junnagarrh, and like Hyderabad it had clear non- Muslim majority. If the Two Nations Theory was applicable to the Princely States then both of these should have automatically become part of India as they both had non-Muslim majority. Since Mr Jinnah knew the legal and constitutional position he supported the Princely States right to either become independent or choose between the constituent assemblies.

Apart from the above formidable evidence I want to produce what Mountbatten had to say on the status of Princely States. In his speech to Princes in the Chamber of Princes on 25 July 1947, he said:

The Indian Independence Act releases the States from all their obligations to the Crown. The States will have complete freedom - technically and legally they become independent".18

Apart from these quotations I could produce many more statements made by various Pakistani leaders who clearly support the Kashmiri peoples right to independence. They say we would naturally like Kashmir to become part of Pakistan but it is for the Kashmiris to decide what they want to do. There is no need to discuss this any more as legal and constitutional position is established beyond any doubt.

As for wishes of people are concerned we can wish anything, and we know that not all wishes come true. Also wishes do not change the legal and constitutional position and ground realities. Millions of Kashmiris wish to live in peace and harmony in a united and independent Kashmir; millions of Pakistanis wish Pakistan to be stronger, prosperous and stable, but it is not happening. There are some Pakistanis who still wish if Bangladesh was East Pakistan, but the ground reality has changed, and we have to learn to live with these changes.

8. Election or Plebiscite?The former Indian Prime Minister, Rajieve Gandhi, claimed that in Kashmir (Indian-occupied) a number of elections had taken place in which people had used their democratic right to vote, and that there was no need to hold any kind of plebiscite. It is quite clear that elections are no substitute for a plebiscite. As a result of Rajieve Gandhi's remarks, the Kashmir people decided to boycott the General Election held in November 1989, and less than 3% of the people turned out to vote. This clearly shows that the people of Kashmir do not want to live with India.Apart from that, when such a plea was raised by India in the Security Council, the Council rejected it and adopted a resolution on 30 March 1951, in which it stated:
'that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed in the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations. The convening of a Constituent Assemblyrecommended by the General Council of the 'All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference' and any action that Assembly might attempt to take to determine the future shape and affiliation of the entire state or any part thereof would not constitute a disposition of the State in accordance with the above principle.' 19

It must be noted here that the State Legislature of Indian-occupied Kashmir, which ratified theso-called 'accession', had 75 members, and in the election, which Indiaclaimed to hold, 73 candidates were returned unopposed. In the previouselection, of 1951, all 75 candidates were so 'elected', unopposed. So onecould see, in the first place, the legality of the so-called 'accession''secondly, the legitimacy of the State Assembly's 'election' and subsequent'ratification'. India's claim is wholly based on this 'accession' which wasprovisionally accepted by Mountbatten and rejected by the United Nations;and the 'ratification' of this 'accession', which was also unacceptable tothe UN and the Kashmiri people. The Security Council of the UN, in itsResolution on 24 Jan1957, reaffirmed that:'the convening of a Constituent Assembly as recommended by the GeneralCouncil of All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and any action thatAssembly may have taken or might attempt to take to determine the futureState and affiliation of the entire State or any part thereof, or action bythe parties concerned does not constitute a disposition of the State inaccordance with the above principle'. 20The word 'principle' refers to the Resolution of the Security Council,where it was stated that the Kashmiri people must be allowed to expresstheir will in a democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite underthe auspices of the United Nations.
9. Present Situation

The armed struggle in the Indian occupied Kashmir has seen many twists and turns. It has seen loss of more than seventy thousand lives, rape of honourable Kashmiri women, destruction of property, business and imprisonment and torture of innocent civilians. The struggle has also seen two unilateral cease-fires and has moved high on the international agenda. It certainly has seen a lot more than what we Kashmiris expected -as we have seen massacres of innocent Kashmiris, Muslims and non-Muslims; and above all we have seen the Kargil fiasco which could well prove to be Waterloo for Kashmiris. And tragedy of the Kashmiri nation is that despite all these sacrifices, Kashmir still remains a bilateral dispute in the view of the international community, which has to be resolved by India and Pakistan.

Another sad aspect of the Kashmiri struggle is that the international community takes the Kashmir dispute as a problem that is mainly related to the Indian occupied Kashmir, and especially the Valley. Although the armed struggle is going on only in the Indian occupied Kashmir but it does not mean that only this part is disputed. The entire State of Jammu and Kashmir, namely Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan, Jammu, Valley and Ladakh, is disputed; and the future of all these areas is to be determined.
It would be completely wrong to assume that the people of these areas are satisfied with the present situation. Struggle for unification and independence is going on in all parts of Kashmir, the difference is in the nature of struggle as in some places it is armed and in other places it is political. It must also be noted that Kashmir is not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan that they can resolve it bilaterally. The Kashmiri people are the main party to the dispute and there could be no lasting solution without their agreement. Mr Yasin Malik, Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, makes this point eloquently in an interview with India Today. To a question, "Can you envisage J and K divided into three, obviously on religious lines?", he said:

"No. It is not a religious issue. We want a total reunification of the whole of Jammu and Kashmir. It is not a religious issue. We are not demanding the right of self -determination on the basis of religion. When we speak about the self-determination of the people of Kashmir we say that the right of self -determination must be given to 13 million people of the united Jammu and Kashmir"

To another question about the participation of Pakistan in talks, he said:

" I am not an advocate of Pakistan. When I talk about Pakistan my concern is that one part of Kashmir is under the occupation of Pakistan. Because when we talk about Kashmir we talk about the whole of Jammu and Kashmir- the part which is under the occupation of Pakistan and the part which is under occupation of India."21

This is coming from a chief of most popular and liberal political party in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. No party, group or individual should assume that the problem is only related to the Indian occupied Kashmir. Our struggle was, is and will remain for a united and independent Kashmir; and we are not going to abandon this until we achieve our objective.

The fact that there is no armed struggle going on in the areas of Kashmir under Pakistani occupation does not mean that these people are satisfied with the situation there. For some reason these people have assumed that we should only have political activity here and support the movement in the Indian occupied Kashmir, and the armed struggle there could also pave way for the liberation of the whole Kashmir. It is this belief together with some other factors that have kept peace here. It must be noted that people of so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan are also denied their basic rights. One only has to look at the following fact file on Gilgit and Baltistan to understand the situation:

10. Fact file on Gilgit and Baltistan

· Legally and constitutionally part of State of Jammu and Kashmir;
· On 26 March 1935, Gilgit was leased to the British by the Maharaja for 60 years;
· On 1 August 1947, these areas were returned to the State Government by the British;
· Maharaja Hari Singh appointed Brigadier Ghansara Singh Governor/Administer for Gilgit and Baltistan;
· Campaign against the Maharaja also spread to Gilgit and Baltistan, and on 1 November 1947, the Gilgit Scouts revolted and arrested the Governor;
· On 16 November 1947, the first Muslim Political Agent assumed administrative responsibilities;
· Area is much larger than Azad Kashmir - some 72,496 sq kms;
· It is divided into six districts called Hunza-Nager,Gilgit, Koh-e -Ghazer, Ghanchi, Diamer and Skardu;
· Diamer is a Sunni majority area, other districts have Shia majority;
· Total population is 1.5 million of which 50 % are Shia, 35% are followers of Agha Khan and 15 % Sunni
· UN resolution of 13 August 1948, (accepted by India and Pakistan) calls upon India and Pakistan that 'the future of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people…' This of course applied to the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan;

· On 28 April 1949, the Government of Pakistan, Azad Kashmir Government and Muslim Conference signed the Karachi Pact. This delegated powers to Pakistan to control Gilgit and Baltistan through a Political Agent. Also many other powers were delegated to Pakistan in relation to Kashmir issue, and Azad Kashmir government's role was considerably curtailed;

· It is claimed that on enforcement of the Jammu and Kashmir Government Act 1970, the Karachi Pact of 1949 lapsed;

· In 1963, Pakistan Government transferred a sizeable area of Gilgit and Baltistan to Republic of China in a 'border adjustment';

· On 16 March 1963, India protested to the UN that Pakistan has violated the UN resolution by giving away this area to China;

· Mr ZA Bhutto replied to the Security Council, "The Boundary Agreement (between Pakistan and China) does not affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir… It does not derogate one jot or title from the right of self-determination of the people".
· An Advisory Council for the Northern Areas was formed in 1971;

· Frontier Crime Regulation lifted in 1972 by ZA Bhutto;

· In 1982 Pakistan's military ruler General Zia Ul Haq proclaimed that Northern Areas belonged to Pakistan. Which was clearly against the UN resolutions on Kashmir and Pakistani stand on Kashmir;

· People of Northern Areas are deprived of basic human rights. Tariq Hussain in his article 'The Last Colony', published in a reputable Pakistani monthly magazine, 'Herald' of April 1990, wrote:

'The continuing sectarian violence, economic neglect and feelings of mistrust towards 'Pakistani administrators' in the Northern Areas constitute a strong case for giving it the right to self - rule and self-management in economic matters. Unless these rights are conceded at an early date, the situation could develop into a serious embarrassment for the federal government and Pakistan'.

He further wrote:

· 'While policy makers and ordinary Pakistanis watch and debate the developments in Kashmir, sectarian violence has once again raised its ugly head in the Northern Areas. As Pakistanis from all sides of the political spectrum proclaim Kashmir's right to self -determination, it is time to observe that this very right has yet to be given to the people of the Northern Areas'.

· Moeen Qureshi announced a reformed package in 1992, and appointed a Chief Executive based in Gilgit with the status of Federal Minister - this took away some of the powers previously exercised by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs;

· Benazir Bhutto revised the package of Moeen Qureshi in 1993. The Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Affairs to exercise all powers of Chief Executive. Post of Judicial Commissioner abolished and Chief Court established;

· In March 1993, Justice Majid Malik in his historic judgement declared that Northern Area is Kashmiri territory and directed the Azad Kashmir Government to take over administration of that area;

· In 1994 the first party based elections to the Northern Areas Council were held.

· In 1996, Major (retired) Hussain Shah organised Muttahida Qaumi Party. In an interview with reputable Pakistani daily 'The News' on 14 December 1997, he said:

" We don't want to break Pakistan. What we want is that our basic right to live freely in our own land is recognised…. What we want is AJK like government, our own assembly, our public commission, and right our resources…We have uranium, diamond, emerald, and other precious stones. With such resources, why do we live in so much poverty…While almost 3000 of our graduates are unemployed, the government is paying Rs 32 lakh to the Frontier Constabulary for maintaining law and order in our area, despite the fact that in the last ten years not even a single person of the Northern Area has been recruited in the FC…Two thirds of Pakistan's tourism revenue comes from the Northern Areas and people of the area say that just that will be enough to meet most of our needs".

11. Conclusion

India, Pakistan and the international community must understand that the Kashmir dispute could not be resolved bilaterally. The people of Kashmir are the main party to the dispute, and it is they who should decide the future of the State. For the peace, stability and prosperity of South Asia it is imperative that trilateral talks are held, preferably under supervision of the United Nations, that a mechanism could be worked out to determine the aspirations of the people.

History shows that territorial issues could be resolved bilaterally, but issues relating to peoples right to self-determination could only be resolved by giving them an opportunity to express their will. The approach to resolve the Kashmir dispute was and is wrong. Since Kashmir is not a territorial issue it could not be resolved by bilateralism. A new approach, "trilateralism" is needed urgently, and the international community must realise the danger Kashmir dispute pose to the peace and stability of South Asia.

President Clinton has rightly called Kashmir dispute a "core issue" between India and Pakistan, and he understands that in a nuclearised South Asia it is a flash point that can destroy the region. Apart from the USA and other countries of the world must understand that it is not prudent to leave this flash point as it is in highly charged and volatile region of the world. And if the international community is serious in resolving the Kashmir dispute then it should emphasise on trilateral talks, as this is the only way forward.

There are many in India and Pakistan who support of an idea of a limited war. But the question is could a war be contained? Wouldn't a country losing this 'limited war' on one side be tempted to expand it; or even think of using nuclear weapons? Anthony Davis in his article, 'No limits on a "limited war"' wrote:
'… Moreover, as Indian units battled their way toward training camps well inside the Pakistani-run part of Kashmir, divisions of Pakistan's 10th Corps would be counter-attacking in strength. The upshot is that second-echelon Indian forces would probably be pulled in. "The real danger is that it escalates outside the [intended] geographical bowl," says a Western military analyst. "It's naive to assume you can contain it." Escalation would almost certainly mean a spread of hostilities across the international border - and full-scale conventional war. After Indian shortcomings were highlighted at Kargil, some analysts believe the Pakistan army to be better trained and better led than their foes. But unless international pressure could impose a swift ceasefire, the sheer weight of Indian numbers and equipment would soon begin to tell against the Pakistanis, who geographically have no strategic depth to speak of. At that point, fear war-gamers, Pakistani planners would seriously consider a nuclear response.' 22

If the Kashmir dispute is not resolved then the scenario explained above could become a reality, and that would be a disaster not only for the people of Kashmir but also for all South Asia. We must all work together to avoid this tragedy taking place. It is in the best interest of the people of Kashmir, it is also in the interest of Pakistan, India and the rest of the world.

There is no military solution to the dispute - India despite huge army and all the oppression has failed to crush the militancy, Pakistan is not in a position to defeat India in Kashmir and liberate it; and militants could not be expected to drive out India from Kashmir. So the best way forward is a dialogue between all three parties to the dispute, and the USA could support this process as indicated by Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth:
"I believe it is possible for India and Pakistan to resolve this (Kashmir issue). I don’t think it is beyond the grasp of the two countries. With political will and courage, it could be addressed. US should do everything we can to support that process. There is an expression about the Kashmir issue that India cannot lose it, Pakistan cannot win it and the Kashmiris themselves cannot survive it. It must be addressed and I hope the United States can continue to play a useful role there", 23

1. 'Kashmir and Power Politics', PNK Bamzai

2. Ghulam Nabi Gilkaar declared this Provisional Government on 4 October, but another pro Pakistan government replaced this on 24 October 1947. Majority of people only remember the government announced on 24 October, and only Kashmiri nationalists make reference to the Provisional Government declared on 4 October.

3. 'Birth of a Tragedy Kashmir 1947', by Alastair Lamb, Roxford Books, 1994

4. ibid, page 79
5. A quotation from the letter written by Mountbatten on 27 October 1947, and produced on page 211 by Guru Raj Rao in his book, 'Legal Aspects of the Kashmir Problem'.

6. ibid page 213

7. White Paper on Kashmir, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan.

8. Statements of Mr Jinnah made on 17 June 1947 is produced on page 337 of 'Legal Aspects of the Kashmir Problem'.

9. Lord Mountbatten's address to a special meeting of the Chamber of Princes held in New Delhi on 25th July 1947, and produced on page 190 of 'Legal Aspects of the Kashmir Problem'.

10. Full text of the resolution could be seen in many books including authors book, Kashmiri struggle: role of Azad Kashmir Government.

11. Reports On Kashmir, Ministry of Kashmir Affairs, Government of Pakistan, page 7.

12. A quotation from the resolution of 13 August 1948. See full text in Kashmiri struggle: Role of Azad Kashmir Government.
13. Crises in Kashmir, Alastair Lamb, page 78

14. Reports on Kashmir Ministry of Kashmir Affairs Government of Pakistan, page 10

15. Resolution of 5 January 1949.

16. Prime Minister Nehru, in a telegram (No.PRIMIN 21602) to the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

17. 'The need to rethink' published in Hindustan Times on 14 May 1964

18. Press statement by Mohammed Ali Jinnah on 17 June 1947, produced in a book called "Qaaide Azam Ka Peghaam" Syed Mohammed Qasim, and published by Pakistan Academy
19. See text in appendix of ' Legal Aspects of the Kashmir Problem'.
20. ibid
21. Full text of the interview could be seen in 'India Today' dated 18 August 2000. Alternatively see it at:
23. Inderfurth said this in a panel discussion on the American university radio.
Kashmir Record & Research Council (KRRC)

AppendixAppendix 1
Resolution 47 (1948)On the India-Pakistan question submitted jointly by the Representatives forBelgium, Canada, China, Colombia, the United Kingdom and United Statesof America and adopted by the Security Council at its 286th meeting held on21 April, 1948.(Document No. 5/726, dated the 21st April, 1948). ------------------------------------------------------------------------THE SECURITY COUNCILHaving considered the complaint of the Government of India concerning the dispute over the State of Jammu and Kashmir, having heard the representative of India in support of that complaint and the reply and counter complaints of the representative of Pakistan. Beingstrongly of opinion that the early restoration of peace and order in Jammu and Kashmir is essential and that India and Pakistan should do their utmost to bring about cessation of all fighting. Noting withsatisfaction that both India and Pakistan desire that the question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite, Considering that the continuation of the dispute is likely to endanger international peace and security, Reaffirms its resolution 38 (1948) of 17 January 1948;Resolves that the membership of the Commission established by its resolution 39 (1948) of 20January 1948, shall be increased to five and shall include, in addition to the membership mentioned in that Resolution, representatives of... and ..., and that if the membership of the Commission has not been completed within ten days from the date the adoption of this resolutionthe President of the Council may designate such other Member or Members of the United Nations as are required to complete the membership of five;Instructs the Commission to proceed at once to the Indian subcontinent and there place its good offices and mediation at the disposal of the Governments of India and Pakistan with a view to facilitating the taking of the necessary measures, both with respect to the restoration of peace and order and to the holding of a plebiscite by the two (Governments, acting in co-operation with one another and with the Commission, and further instructs the Commission to keep the Council informed of the action taken under the resolution; and, to this end.Recommends to the Governments of India and Pakistan the following measures as those which in the opinion of the Council and appropriate to bring about a cessation of the lighting and to create proper conditions for a free and impartial plebiscite to decide whether the State of Jammu and Kashmir is to accede to India or Pakistan.A - RESTORATION OF PEACE AND ORDER1. The Government of Pakistan should undertake to use its best endeavours:(a) To secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen andPakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purposes of fighting, and to prevent any intrusion into the State of such elements and any furnishing ofmaterial aid to those fighting in the State;(b) To make known to all concerned that the measures indicated in this and the following paragraphs provide full freedom to all subjects of the State, regardless of creed, caste, or party, to express their views and to vote on the question of the accession of the State, and that therefore they should co-operate in the maintenance of peace and order.2. The Government of India should:(a) When it is established to the satisfaction of the Commission set up in accordance with theCouncil's Resolution 39 (1948) that the tribesmen are withdrawing and that arrangements for the cessation of the fighting have become effective, put into operation in consultation with theCommission a plan for withdrawing their own forces from Jammu and Kashmir and reducingthem progressively to the minimum strength required for the support of the civil power in themaintenance of law and order;(b) Make known that the withdrawal is taking place in stages and announce the completion of each stage; When the Indian forces shall have been reduced to the minimum strength mentioned in (a) above, arrange in consultation with the Commission for the stationing of the remaining forces to be carried out in accordance with the following principles:(i) That the presence of troops should not afford any intimidation or appearance of intimidation to the inhabitants of the State;(ii) That as small a number as possible should be retained in forward areas;(iii) That any reserve of troops which may be included in the total strength should be located within their present base area.3. The Government of India should agree that until such time as the plebiscite administration referred to below finds it necessary to exercise the powers of direction and supervision over the State forces and policy provided for in paragraph 8, they will be held in areas to be agreed upon with the Plebiscite Administrator.4. After the plan referred to in paragraph 2 (a) above has been put into operation, personnelrecruited locally in each district should so far as possible be utilised for the re-establishment andmaintenance of law and order with due regard to protection )t minorities, subject to such additional requirements as may be specified by the Plebiscite Administration referredto in paragraph 7.5. If these local forces should be found to be inadequate, the Commission, subject to the agreement of both the Government of India and the Government of Pakistan, should arrange for the use of such forces of either Dominion as it deems t(effective for the purpose of pacification.B - PLEBISCITE6. The Government of India should undertake to ensure that the Government of the State invite the major political groups to designate responsible representatives to share equitably and fully in the conduct of the administration at the ministerial level, while the plebiscite is being prepared and carried out.7. The Government of India should undertake that there will be established in Jammu and Kashmir a Plebiscite Administration to hold a Plebiscite as soon as possible On the question of the accession of the State to India or Pakistan.8. The Government of India should undertake that there will be delegated by the State to the Plebiscite Administration such powers as the latter considers necessary for holding a fair andimpartial plebiscite including, for that purpose only, the direction and supervision of the State forces and police.9. The Government of India should at the request of the Plebiscite Administration, make available from the Indian forces such assistance as the Plebiscite Administration mayrequire for the performance of its functions.10. (a) The Government of India should agree that a nominee of the Secretary-General of the United Nations will be appointed to be the Plebiscite Administrator. The Plebiscite Administrator, acting as an officer of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, should have authority tonominate the assistants and other subordinates and to draft regulations governing the Plebiscite. Such nominees should be formally appointed and such draft regulations should be formally promulgated by the State of Jammu and Kashmir.The Government of India should undertake that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir will appoint fully qualified persons nominated by the Plebiscite Administrator to act as special magistrates within the State judicial system to hear cases which in the opinion of the Plebiscite Administrator have a serious bearing on the preparation and the conduct of a free and impartialplebiscite. The terms of service of the Administrator should form the subject of a separatenegotiation between the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Government of India. The Administrator should fix the terms of service for his assistants and subordinates.The Administrator should have the right to communicate directly, with the Government of the State and with the Commission of the Security Council and, through the Commission, with the Security Council, with the Governments of India and Pakistan and with their representatives with the Commission. It would be his duty to bring to the notice of any or all of the foregoing (as he in his discretion may decide) any circumstances arising which may tend, in his opinion, to interfere with the freedom of the Plebiscite.11. The Government of India should undertake to prevent to give full support to the Administrator and his staff in preventing any threat, coercion or intimidation, bribery orother undue influence on the voters in the plebiscite, and the Government of India should publicly announce and should cause the Government of the State to announce this undertaking as an international obligation binding on all public authorities and officials in Jammu and Kashmir.12. The Government of India should themselves and through the Government of the State declare and make known that all subjects of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, regardless of creed, caste or party, will be safe and free in expressing their views and in voting on thequestion of the accession of the State and that there will be freedom of the Press, speech and assembly and freedom of travel in the State, including freedom of lawful entry and exit.13. The Government of India should use and should ensure that the Government of the State alsouse their best endeavour to effect the withdrawal from the State of all Indian nationals other than those who are normally resident therein or who on or since 15th August 1947 have entered it for a lawful purpose.14. The Government of India should ensure that the Government of the State releases all politicalprisoners and take all possible steps so that:(a) all citizens of the State who have left it on account of disturbances are invited and are freeto return to their homes and to exercise their rights as such citizens;(b) there is no victimisation; minorities in all parts of the State are accorded adequate protection.15. The Commission of the Security Council should at the end of the plebiscite certify to the Council whether the plebiscite has or has not been really free and impartial.C - GENERAL PROVISIONS16. The Governments of India and Pakistan should each be invited to nominate a representative to be attached to the Commission for such assistance as it may require in the performance of its task.17. The Commission should establish in Jammu and Kashmir such observers as it may require of any of the proceedings in pursuance of the measures indicated in the foregoing paragraphs.18. The Security Council Commission should carry out the tasks assigned to it herein.The Security Council voted on this Resolution on 21-41948 with the following result:In favour: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Syria, U.K. and U.S.A.Against: None
Abstaining: Belgium, Colombia, Ukrainian S.S.R. and U.S.S.R.

Appendix 2
24TH JANUARY, 1957

Having heard statements from representatives of the Governments of India and Pakistan concerning the dispute over the State of Jammu and Kashmir,
Reminding the Governments and authorities concerned of the principle embodied in its resolutions 47 (1948) of 21 April 1948, 51 (1948) of 3 June, 1948, 80 (1950) of 14 March 1950 and 91 (1951) of 30 March 1951, and the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan resolutions of 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949, that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations,
1. Reaffirms the affirmation in its resolution 91 (1951) and declares that the convening of a Constituent Assembly as recommended by the General Council of the "All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference" and any action that Assembly may have taken or might attempt to take to determine the future shape and affiliation of the entire State or any part thereof, or action by the parties concerned in support of any such action by the Assembly, would not constitute a disposition of the State in accordance with the above principle;
Decides to continue its consideration of the dispute.

*The Security Council voted on this Resolution on 24-1-1957 with the following results:-
Infavour: **Australia, China, **Columbia, **Cuba, France, **Iraq, **Philippines, **Sweden, U.K. and U.S.A .
Abstaining: U.S.S.R.
**Non-Permanent Members of the Security Council.
Appendix 2

The Simla Agreement
2 July 1972

The Government of Pakistan and the Government of India are resolved that the two countries put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations and work for the promotion of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of durable peace in the subcontinent, so that both countries may henceforth devote their resources to the pressing task of advancing the welfare of their peoples.
In order to achieve this objective, the Government of Pakistan and the government of India have agreed as follows:
(i) That the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the two countries;
(ii) That the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them. Pending the final settlement of any of the problems between the two countries, neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation and both shall prevent the organisation, assistance and encouragement of any acts detrimental to the maintenance of peaceful and harmonious relations;
(iii) That the pre-requisite for reconciliation, good neighbourliness and durable peace between them is a commitment by both the countries to peaceful co-existence, respect for each other's territorial integrity; and sovereignty and non-interference in each other internal affairs, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit;
(iv) That the basic issues and causes of conflict which have divided the relations between the two countries for the last 25 years shall be resolved by peaceful means;
(v) That they shall always respect each other's national unity, territorial integrity, political independence and sovereign equality;
(vi) That in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations they will refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of each other.
Both Governments will take all steps within their power to prevent hostile propaganda directed against each other. Both countries will encourage the dissemination of such information as would promote the development of friendly relations between them.
In order to progressively restore and normalise relations between the two countries step by step, it was agreed that:
(i) Steps shall be taken to resume communications postal, telegraphic, sea, land including border posts, and air links including overflights.
(ii) Appropriate steps shall be taken to promote travel facilities for the nationals of the other countries.
(iii) Trade and co-operation in economic and other agreed fields will be resumed as far as possible.
(iv) Exchange in the fields of science and culture will be promoted.
In this connection delegations from the two countries will meet from time to time to work out the necessary details.
In order to initiate the process of the establishment of durable peace, both Governments agree that:
(i) Pakistan and India shall be withdrawn to their side of international border.
(ii) In Jammu and Kashmir, the Line of Control resulting from the cease-fire of December 17, 1971 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognised position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations. Both sides further undertake to refrain from threat or the use of force in violation of this Line.
(iii) The withdrawals shall commence upon entry into force of this Agreement and shall be completed within a period of 30 days thereof.
This agreement will be subject to ratification by both countries in accordance with their respective constitutional procedures, and will come into force with effect from the date on which the Instrument of Ratification are exchanged.
Both Governments agree that their respective Heads will meet again at a mutually convenient time in the future and that, in the meanwhile, the representatives of the two sides will meet to discuss further the modalities and arrangements of the establishment of durable peace and normalisation of relations, including the question of repatriation of prisoners of war and civilians, resumption of diplomatic relations.

Zulfiqar Ali BhuttoPresidentIslamic Republic of Pakistan

Indira GandhiPrime MinisterRepublic of India

Life on Pakistani side of divide.

Life on Pakistani side of divide.
Dr Shabir Choudhry
First of all it is important to understand that areas of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan are also part of State of Jammu and Kashmir, generally known as Kashmir.

Ordinary people on both sides of the forced division suffer in many ways, and deprived of their basic human rights. Those who support Indian rule on one side of the divide are rewarded handsomenly, but those who oppose this and fight for independence face serious consequences.

The situation on the other side of the divide, areas under Pakistan, is not much better as those who support the Pakistani rule there are also rewarded, and those who oppose the social and political system imposed by Pakistan pay prices in different ways.

Those who are considered as genuine threat to the system imposed by Islamabad and Pakistani secret agencies are dealt with heavy hand – people are intimidated, harassed, implicated in false cases and imprisoned. They could be physically attacked, injured and looted, and the authorities will make it appear as an activity of bandits. In extreme cases people could be terminated, and this could again be in form of a staged accident, robbery or mugging which ended up in a death. Because there is no Kashmiri media or even an independent Pakistani media, most of these events go unnoticed, or they are seen as unfortunate accidents.

Two examples will help to understand the situation. A lecturer who is very well known for his pro independent views and who have suffered in the past because of frequent transfers in to various remote places away from family and his village, denied of due promotion, had some problems with one eye cartrate. Doctors suggested a simple operation.

Before he was taken to the operation theatre, and man walked in to room and takes the doctor away for a quick chat. The man is known in the area as a member of ISI Pakistan notorious secret agency, and before he left he said our Professor Sahib is important, please look after him. This simple operation resulted in loss of sight in that eye. Many believe that under fear or on instructions of that man the doctor did what he must not have done.

In another case a nationalist Kashmiri activist who opposed the Pakistani rule in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan had some problems with his kidney. His brother volunteered to donate his kidney that they both could live. But it was unfortunate that both brothers lost their lives, and it is widely believed that local agencies played their role and with help of doctor ‘terminated’ both nationalist Kashmiris.

These two events were told to me by local nationalist Kashmiris in Muzaffarabad during my highly publicised recent visit to Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. I was specifically advised not to get any treatment should I get ill in Azad Kashmir, otherwise my dead body will fly back to UK. Even if I get ill in Islamabad, I was advised to seek medical help very carefully from those I can trust, especially from a foreign medical institute.

While I was in Islamabad in February 2004, we heard burning of 4/5 schools in Gilgit and Baltistan. Why would someone burn a school? Those who control the region don’t want people to be educated, because education brings awareness and tell people what their rights are and how to fight for these rights. The best way to control is to ensure that people don’t get consciousness or knowledge that they could become aware of their rights.

I was also told by more than one person that during those as a result of some demonstrations fifteen people lost their lives. Did you or anyone else saw any news item on this? No, because there is no media there. In an Area of more than 28,0000 sq miles, there is no daily paper, no radio station, no TV no university no medical, college no engineering college and the list could go on and on.

After 9/11 Pakistani government and their agencies, are targeting the following kinds of people: (A) those who oppose Pakistani rule, (B) those who oppose the peace process, (C) those who oppose division of Kashmir what the Musharaf government is planning to do,(D) those who are considered as Islamic fundamentalists, they don’t have to prove that in any court of law, if you don’t like the guy, get rid off him in name of terrorism is the rule applied, (E) those who have personal scores to settle because of tribal rivalry, family feuds or out of favour with local aristocrats/ and war lords.

The following news items also support what I have said. 1.

Press Release 06 May 2004, Toronto,
United Kashmir Peoples National Party The arrest of Sardar Altaf Khan President of UKPNP District Sdhnuti along with Qari Niseer President of Transport union Trarkhel is an act of violation and harassment by the state authorities in order to please the Pakistani agencies those are real cause of their arrests.While police is still harassing other UKPNP leaders and their families in order to silence the protest they have launched for the economical and political rights of the Area. The arrests have been made purely on the behalf and direction of Pakistani intelligence agencies in order to harass the UKPNP leaders and carders and those who raise their voices for the political and economical rights of the people of Pakistan controlled Kashmir.Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmir Chairman UKPNP, and Mumtaz Khan chief Organizer have condemned the arrests and continuous harassment of political leaders and activists, and demanded immediate release of the detainees and to stop the harassment of other activists.They said in their joint statement that state authorities cannot stop people from raising their voice against the economical and political discrimination and injustice existing within the Pakistan controlled part. Pakistan government which misses no opportunity to raise the issue of human rights of Indian controlled Kashmir but denying the same rights and suppressing people voices in its controlled parts doesn't correspond to its claims about the Kashmiri's.They said there is no difference between India and Pakistan policies when question of Kashmiri's economical and political rights is raised.Pakistani rulers such practices are not only violation of fundamental rights but also fall beyond the mandate of UN resolutions to which its owes its presence, and forcing or suppressing the voices of common people exposes its real face and claims it makes regarding the aspiration of Kashmiri's.The inability of local authorities and government to protect the basic rights of the people of Pakistan controlled part deserve immediate attention of world human rights organization and media to end this act of suppress regarding that we have approached and enlightened them with the current situation and demanded to take an urgent action to seek release of the detained leaders.M.Mumtaz KhanChief Organizer United Kashmir peoples National Party
Palandri police has arrested more than two activists, Altaf Khan(UKPNP)and Qari Naseer (JKLF) and some others, they were protesting fordemands for Trarkhal and also formed an action committee in Trarkal , during this protest they have some hard and hot talks with administrationand a case of treason has been charged against them, Qari Naseer hasalready granted bale ,but when he appread in court he arrested and arguedthat there can not be bale of treason case.It should be noted that Qari Naseer is not only a political activist but also a social activist and always played active and front line role for demandsproblems of common people in Trarkhal . as well as Altaf Khan has been struggling for an independent Kashmir and played very active role from the platform of PNP since more than 18 years.and he always raised his voice against the brutal authorities of Pakistan in Kashmir.The arrest of such activists shows that how much is the freedom of expression in Pakistani occupied Kashmir ,while people are not allowed to even speak for their social rights and demands.It should also be noted here that they were damanding the upgradation of InterCollege Trarkhal and for the reconstruction of road from Trarkhal to Hajira ,but a case of treason has been filed against them.We should also keep in mind that the occupant forces of Pakistan in its held partof Kashmir do not want any one to raise any voice in the favour of human rights or for the problems of people.And if some one do so he will have to face explosive consequences as already happend in past.Raja Habib Secretary General Kashmir Thinker Forum ,Wajid Ali wajid UKPNPAzher Kasher JKLF, Basheer Mughal KLF Zareen Khan advocate, JKNAPand other activists of different organization have strongly denounced the arrestof Altaf Khan and Qari Naseer and demanded their release.Rasheed Khan. 3. Govt policies leading Azad Kashmir to civil war: JKLFSaturday May 01, 2004 (0420 PST) Toqueer GilaniRAWALPINDI, May 02 (Online): The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) has said the policies of Sikandar government are cropping up a civil war like situation in Azad Kashmir. In a joint statement issued here on Saturday, JKLF chairman Amanullah Khan, chairman of policy and planning division of the party Sardar Khadim Hussain and JKLF spokesman Dr. Tauqeer Gillani slammed the present government for arresting party leaders. They said the arrests of Qari Naseer and Sardar Altaf in Tarrarkhul is tantamount to state terrorism of Sikandar regime. They said the people are being forced to start violent protest against the arrests. The JKLF leaders said the present government had failed to provide any relief to the common man and now, it is not allowing people to peacefully protest against what they called public-crushing policies and for the addressal of their problems and grievances .They warned the government against dire consequences if it failed to release the detained leaders immediately. End.

I have explained the situation in brief, but should anyone requires more information, I am prepared to answer specific questions.
I want to conclude by saying that I have thorough knowledge of the Kashmiri struggle and its current situation. My Mhil and PhD thesis are on subject of Kashmir, and I am author of more than 15 books on Kashmir. Also I regularly write on current affairs. Some of my writings could be found by doing a google search of my name: Shabir Choudhry
Dr Shabir Choudhry
Writer is a Chairman of Diplomatic Committee of JKLF and author of many books and booklets. Also he is a Spokesman of International Kashmir Alliance. Email:

New role for Quake victims

New role for Quake victims
Dr Shabir Choudhry 20 October 2005

Earthquake which struck in Kashmir and Pakistan on 8th October 05 has brought untold destruction and misery to the people of these areas. Death toll, according to reports could rise to more than hundred thousand with a few hundred thousand injured and more than half million uprooted from their homes. Tragedy within this tragedy is that despite lofty claims of authorities thirteen days after the event still bodies are lying about and injured and starving people are crying for help and shelter.

Government officials, who were not quick to reach out to people, were quick to snub those who claimed that thousands have died; and portrayed this as a small earthquake. One can see their interest why they want to hide the true figure of fatalities, but truth of the matter is that death figures are far higher than what government officials are giving out.

Edhi is respectable name in the field of welfare in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, and according to their report which, was published in Pakistani papers a few days ago, stated that their volunteers have buried more than fifty thousand bodies in Azad Kashmir alone. Edhi is not the kind of NGO, which will spread rumours to frighten people, and if their claim is true than the government has no estimate about the true extent of the disaster.

It is interesting to note that after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision to sack his Commander in Chief, it took the Pakistan army only 35 minutes to topple the civilian government and take control of the country; and yet thirteen days after the disaster it has failed to reach out to twenty percent of the area according to their own figure. If the government says twenty percent then we all know that real figures could be much higher.

Pakistan is a nuclear state with seventh largest army, which makes big claims from to time about its professionalism and efficiency. Army in any country should be the potent force to carry out the rescue missions and maintain law and order, and it is supposed to have its own command and control system in place before it could implement other plans; and in Pakistan we have army running factories and other institutions of the civil society, hence a little time for other activities.

Commenting on governments efforts to help the victims, Imran Khan said, "The government effort has been non-existent….There is no direction to the effort. Ordinary citizens are stuffing their cars and coming here, but the government is nowhere".
Ayaz Mir, famous columnist of English Daily, Dawn, while criticising the response of the army, said, "What they like to say about it is that it is the only functioning institution in the state and when all else fails, it's the army that holds everything together. The one institution which failed above all is the army."

According to some analysts, army’s slow response and negligence, has now provided ‘an opening for hard-line Islamic political parties and their associated social welfare groups, which have quickly and prominently swung into action… As a result of the Pakistani government's failure to get aid to the most remote areas, Kashmiris living in towns such as Bagh have turned for help to the comparatively well-organised Islamic militant groups, officially banned by Musharraf.’ And this according to Western media reports could help ‘Pakistan-based Islamic militants, who spent the past decade fighting Indian rule in the region, have announced a "holy war" to help victims of the earthquake.’

While commenting on this situation, Hassan Rizvi, Political analyst said: "The militants are taking matters into their own hands and winning over members of the public on the ground. Their popularity will soar in these regions as a result and the government will appear directionless. It is a very dangerous situation."

According to foreign aid agencies, including UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Jan Egeland, government’s relief operation ‘is a logistical nightmare and in the first phase even the big cities could not be reached'. If people are to live there a few more days in rain and cold without appropriate food and shelter, and injured without any treatment, then fear is that death toll could go beyond anyone’s expectations.

Imtiaz Alam, famous columnist of the News, wrote: ‘What makes things even worse is that those on the helms continue to under-estimate the devastation and, resultantly, the tasks ahead. Why should the international community respond more than what we continue to understate? The administration, which still doesn't have the correct estimate of dead and missing under the rubble of Margalla Tower in Islamabad, continue to understate the casualties and the losses only God knows to what end.’

There is huge shortage of tents in all the affected areas, and all the relief providers and victims are crying out for tents. One wonders what has happened to all the tents. Apart from the civil government stocks, army also has large stocks of tents; of course they go on training schemes and at borders where tents are used. Also these religious parties have very larger gatherings in which up to million people take part and they all live in tents. What has happened to all these tents? Some of these religious parties provide temporary shelter to more than million people who go there for religious training, why can’t they use these tents to provide temporary shelter to victims of the disaster.

According to some reports tents are there, but selfish people with greed are selling them to people at much higher prices. A sad story told by daily Nation, London (Pakistani paper) is that some Pakistan army officers are also involved in money - making business, and they are selling tents that were designated for the victims. A colonel of Pakistan army named Asif, was caught red handed in Rawalpindi as he was selling each tent for five and half thousand rupees. He accepted that he has already sold 400 tents to desperate people trying to help the victims.

That is bad as it is, but what has surprised me is the statement made by General Musharaf. Earlier today he visited affected area of Balakot, where he addressed an audience, which apart from his security men had victims of the quake as well. Someone complained about activities of criminals and thugs looting people, to which General Sahib said: you people should catch the looters and hang them upside down with trees.

With all due respect general Sahib, I thought it was the job of government and police/ army to maintain law and order, and hang criminals if necessary. These traumatised, hungry and uprooted people who might not have had good meal for a number of days are hardly suitable to catch the criminals. Some of these people have lost their love ones and have seen death and destruction everywhere, they need help and need it desperately, please do not give them additional responsibilities to police the area.

Even if they apprehend someone, and hang him upside down with trees, they could be charged by police for taking law in to their hands. It is best that those who are paid to do the job of policing and maintaining law and order should do their job, and if possible help and support these victims of the disaster.

Writer is a Chairman of Diplomatic Committee of JKLF and author of many books and booklets. Also he is a Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:

Open letter to Tony Blair

Open letter to Tony Blair
09 November 2004

Right Honourable, Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Britain
10 Downing Street,

Dear Tony Blair

Re: Your aggression in Iraq

Before your illegal war on Iraq and indiscriminate bombing of heavily populated areas, which resulted in massive human rights abuse, killing of innocent people, we cautioned you in a letter dated 07 April 2003, ‘that by this aggression you will create chaos and instability and you will give birth to future ‘terrorists’ as people will take revenge for barbarism unleashed in name of ‘liberation’. That has proved correct, and you can see how instable Iraq has become.

We also said that your aim was to invade Iraq for other reasons and so called threat of weapons of mass destruction was only used as an excuse. We pointed out that if you sincerely wanted to control spread of weapons of mass destruction then your first target should have been Israel followed by North Korea. We said you will never dare to take any actions against these states because they do possess these weapons and have the ability to use them as well; and you and Americans only choose weak targets.

It was also pointed out to you in a letter dated 08 May 2004, that: ‘this theory that one can end terrorism with more terrorism has not worked in the past and it is doomed to fail in Iraq as well, even though manipulators like Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Bush, Powel and Rumsfeld are subscribing to it and actively following it.’

In heart of heart you know what you are doing in Iraq in name of ‘liberation’ and ‘democracy’ is totally wrong, aim of your aggression was to find and destroy WMD, not to change a government whose head has now refused to follow your and American line.

As long as he looked after American and British interests, he was a ‘good boy’ in your books and was given everything including chemical and biological weapons. When he was killing ‘his own people’ and was fighting your war against Iran causing destruction and killing of innocent people, your governments fully supported him.

Now Sadam Hussain is blamed for killing his ‘own people’ and imprisoning thousands of Iraqis. Of course he imprisoned and killed all those who opposed his rule in Iraq, and we don’t support him for that; please tell me what are you doing to those who oppose British and American occupation in Iraq?

One can say that only difference is that he did not use a sledge hammer to crack a nut, meaning that he did not use F 16 fighters, helicopter gun ships, dropped bombs weighting 2000 pounds and missiles in densely populated cities.

Despite being proved wrong on Iraq and a ‘champion’ of illegal and immoral war in which victims are innocent Iraqi people, I am surprised you have nerve to say that only ‘criminals, killers and terrorists’ are creating problem in Iraq.

If fighting forces of occupation and subjugation is a ‘criminal’ act and ‘terrorism’ then what name would you give to those British people who fought against German occupation; or those Afghanis who fought against the Russian occupation?

Tony Blair, it is still not too late, you can stop or at least reduce the suffering of the people of Iraq. You don’t have to follow the Americans in international affairs. You could be proud in your heart that you are a friend or an ally of a ‘super power, but remember, Allah is the greatest and no super power could even remotely match His powers. Many tyrants and leaders in the past who assumed themselves as head of ‘super governments’ were punished by Him and destroyed.

You need to ask yourself, are people of Iraq better off after this aggression? Is world more safer place now? Are British interests and British lives safer now than they were before the start of this aggression?

With military might you can crush resistance in Faluja and in other places but you will never win peace because your prescription for achieving peace and democracy is flawed. You DONOT plant democracy by occupying a country, by dropping bombs in civilian areas and by killing innocent people.

We are part of British society and want to see peace and prosperity here, but we fear that your policies are having adverse affect here, and Britain could be a target of retaliation.

I hope that you will do your best to win peace and stability in Iraq and withdraw your forces that innocent British and Iraqi lives could be saved.

Yours sincerely

Dr Shabir Choudhry

Sumeer Bhat Sahib Adab

Sumeer Bhat Sahib Adab

Thank you for your email, and I apologise for delay in responding.

You have raised very important questions. However they are not simple questions which could be answered by yes or no type of replies; and if I start answering them in detail, I will end up writing a book.

Anyhow short answers are as follows:

Was Maqbool Bhatt only concerned for so called Azadi?

Answer: Maqbool Butt Sahib was a sincere man who wanted independent and sovereign Jammu and Kashmir. His political philosophy was practical and offered a way out to both governments, but they both had their own designs on Kashmir, hence we find ourselves in this impasse.

However he was human being and every human is subject to mistakes and errors, but I cannot question his sincerity and loyalty to his cause, and I salute him.

How is it possible for Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Shah, Yasin and others to have unlimited resource financially. And how do they palatial bungalows?

Answer: Here you might be able to help me, as my knowledge of other side of LOC is somewhat limited. A reliable friend told me that special kind of trees were planted there by some people, which grow dollars and rupees. Where about of these trees are not known to everyone; and those who know where these trees are, for obvious reasons, won’t tell others.

If this is true then it solves the riddle. However you can look in to this.

Why doesn’t Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s children join the so- called freedom movement?

Answer: I don’t know the real reason, he might be making his contribution some other way; but you got to understand that we also need doctors and foreign educated young men who could help us to run this state once it gets its independence.

I am sure you wouldn’t like to be operated by a person who is not qualified and experienced. Also I hope that you wouldn’t like our society to be held back and ruled by illiterate people.

Who do you presume to be the genuine party in struggle for freedom?

Answer: There are many parties which are genuine, because of their constitution and (written) ideology, but problem is with their leaders who don’t care about constitution and ideology. Since you did not ask about the leaders so I am at liberty to leave it at that.

Has your group ever been involved in armed struggle? And do you have presence in Indian Kashmir?

Answer: Our group came in to being in 2002, and we have no role in militancy, in fact, we have been speaking against so called Jihad and militancy since mid 1990s. But you must understand that prior to this we were part of JKLF Yasin Group, which abandoned armed struggle in mid 1990s.

Also you need to note that in our group, apart from me, there are other eight founding members of the JKLF.

We don’t have official set up on Indian or Pakistani side of the divide, but we have hundreds of friends and sympathisers who urge us to set up official branches. Hitherto I have personally opposed this, hoping that leaders of other groups will realise that flirtation with ideology and agencies is damaging the cause.

Despite secular overcoat and hat, some are wearing a communal jacket, and that goes against the JKLF ideology; and our fight is to purify the ideology.

If we want we can have branches in Jammu, Valley, Azad Kashmir and in Gilgit and Baltistan where non Muslims will also join us, but in the fast changing politics of Sub Continent we are reviewing our policies and our strategies.

How much following do you have in Pakistan occupied Kashmir?

Answer: No nationalist party has a large following because of the situation there. If we announce a set up there, we are assured that many people from different groups will join us. I have partly answered this in no 5.

Is POK really Azaad?
Answer: I have written so much about it to explain what azadi Azad `Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan has. In nutshell, both of these areas are colonies of Pakistan.

Are you in control of your struggle?

Answer: By this if you mean struggle of our Group, then answer is a big yes, because we make our own decisions as they suit us and our ideology which was articulated in 1977, and our group is the only JKLF groups who adhere to it.

But if by struggle you mean the movement then answer is no; but those who manipulated, manoeuvred and initiated this, they are still in control; and way the things are they will remain in control for years to come because of compromises and subservient attitude of Kashmiri leaders.

What has changed since 9/11 in your struggle for so called Azaadi?

Answer: 9/11 not only changed character our struggle but also the world politics. I think it has clearly helped the point of view we have been promoting.

I still remember when I wrote an article in mid to late 1990s, criticising activities of Jihadi groups, I was declared as ‘anti movement’ ‘anti Islam’, ‘anti Pakistan’ ‘pro India’ and even ‘Hindu’. Many threats were given to me, and even close JKLF colleagues said that I had made a mistake to invite wrath of this powerful lobby.

Some said you step outside UK and you will be sorted out. I have been to Srinagar and many times to Islamabad and Azad`Kashmir since that. Despite opposition from some quarters I managed to survive and was elected unopposed President of JKLF in 1999, remember the split took place in 2002. As a President I continued with the policy of the JKLF, and a strong diehard group always supported me at every juncture.

Good thing is that some of those who were after my blood for writing against activities of Jihadies are now actively doing jihad against Jihadi groups.

The time it has taken me to write these answers I could have easily written two articles on topics which need my urgent attention, so please no more list of questions, I wouldn’t mind one or two questions or clarifications.

Once again thank you.

Dr Shabir Choudhry