Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 324 of 2018


When I'm just engaged in data organisation at home - like I was yesterday - other matters of public interest suffer. Everything seems to be a race against time.

Image of Sultan Raees from Google Search

Momentum is building over the arrest of Maulana Sultan Raees, leader of Awaami Action Committee Gilgit Baltistan (AAC-GB). He's also been unanimously nominated by various wings of civil society in AJK to be their declared representative in policy matters where AJK and GB converge.

In our opinion, he is being victimised by the Pakistani State for attending a seminar in AJK, in particular.

Here's a letter written by Quayyum Raja to the international community (global civil society):

We appeal to all democratic and justice-loving people to protest against the arrest of Maulana Sultan Raees, who chairs the people's Action Committee (AAC-GB-AJK) which comprises of several political and religious parties (and groups) from Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB). 

Both territories are being controlled by Pakistan that has discouraged and disrupted communication between the people of two territories (GB and AJK), which were both parts of the United States of Jammu Kashmir until 1947, when India and Pakistan clashed over this territory, thereby forcibly dividing it. 

The only crime of the arrested leader is that he attended a seminar held in Mirpur (district capital of AJK) by the Azad Jammu Kashmir Syllabus Action Committee, chaired by this writer. 

We have been campaigning for the inclusion of Jammu Kashmir history into our national curriculum here, which is also controlled by Islamabad.  

We believe that it is the right of Kashmiri children to study their history like all other nations. 

Quayyum Raja 
Burhaan House
Khuiratta (tehsil)
Kotli (district)

Contact Number: 0092 3448909960 




The update above was supposed to have been written yesterday. Events do move forward faster than one individual can possibly find the opportunity to write about.

In this inter-connected world, many activists simultaneously engage on addressing the authorities' cruelty, at home and abroad.

As a consequence, Maulana Sultan Raees was released on bail from Gilgit jail this afternoon, after 4 days in captivity.

Meanwhile, on a more shallow note, I've been able to blog daily for 68.2% of the year so far. Let's see if the percentage can increase by day 365 on December the 31st 2018.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 323 of 2018


Now, this is a serious bit of history which almost links my village to my State: Jammu & Kashmir. Apologies for keeping it from you since I received it in 2011, thanks to Yahoo and my co-citizens from across the LOC. 

Kalanger to Kotli

Autumn day after a monsoon in Kotli 2014

Khush Dev Maini - Also known as K.D. Maini

After the massive earthquake of 8th October 2005 on both the sides of LOC, a 45 kilometer long Mendhar-Kotli road across the LOC was opened for meeting of the divided families for the first time after 58 years on 17th Nov. 2005. The divided families on both the sides were allowed to visit the other side, to meet their kith and kin via Tata Pani Balnoi crossing point. 

However, later on when Poonch-Rawalakote road across the LOC was opened, Mendhar-Kotli road via Tata Pani was abandoned after 20th June 2006 and Kotli was linked with Poonch via Chakan-da-Bagh Zero point. Therefore, the old relations were revived and new contacts were established due to people to people meeting with the habitants of Kotli. 

In 1947, there were two routes leading towards Kotli from Poonch. First was a motorable road from Poonch via Mandole-Tatapani and the second was a bridal path connecting Kotli with Mendhar via Sona Gali Pass. At the time of partition in 1947, there were about 700 houses in Kotli town apart from a established Bazzar of an ancient time. Most of the houses were single storeyed buildings made of mud and boulders while some pacca houses were also existing in the town. 

Kotli was a tehsil headquarter of district Mirpur. There was also an old Baradari situated at the edge of Poonch river constructed with bricks and lime. There were three Hindu temples and a Dharamshala, two mosques and number of water mills. Kotli was a Mandi of food grain and wool products. The climate of the town was a bit hotter than Poonch town. The town was dominated by Hindu and Sikh families.

There were about 4000 Hindus in Kotli town at the time of partition. Mostly they were traders. There was a complete communal harmony between Hindu and Muslims in Kotli town. The habitants were participating in the religious and social functions of each other. However during the turmoil of 1947 the Hindu and Sikh population of Kotli town and surrounding villages was forced to migrated on this side of LOC and they never got opportunity to go back in their native areas. 

Presently the migrants of Kotli have been settled in Nowshera, Jhangar and Jammu area, but their sentiments are still with with Kotli. With the opening of Poonch-Rawalakote road, the migrants of Kotli have again started dreaming of visiting Kotli, the land of their dreams. 

Presently Kotli is a district headquarter in POK with three tehsils namely Sensa, Nakyal and Kotli. The district is located on the southern side of tehsil Mendhar of Poonch district. 55 kilometers LOC divides Kotli from Mendhar. 

As per Raj Tringani the original name of Kotli was Kalanger. Around 1120 AD Padma Vat was the Raja of the Kalanger principality.

When King Susal of Kashmir was defeated by Bakachar, he had taken refuge in Kotli. In this very period King Susal had married the daughter of Raja Padma Vat of Kotli and finally with the help of the Raja of Kotli, Susal invaded Kashmir, defeated Bakachar and became the King of Kashmir. 

Kotli remained governed by local Hindu Raja's upto 14th century AD. In 1339 AD, when Kashmir was taken over by Shah Mir, the influence of Islam started increasing in the princely states of Pir Panchal region including Kotli. 

In 1452 AD when Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin established an outer hill state comprising of Poonch-Nowshera district, Kotli principality was dissolved and merged with new principality. 

With the passage of time, majority of the habitants embraced Islam in this area. 

In 17th century AD a new principality of Muslim Mangral Rajput Raja's came into existence with headquarter at Kotli. As per Tarikh-e-Aquama-e-Poonch Part-II, in the ancient time Kotli was ruled by Mangral Hindu Rajput Raja's with the headquarter at Sensa. The Raja of the third dynasty was Sansar Chand who embraced Islam and shifted his headquarter from Sensa to Kotli. 

The Muslim Mangral Rajputs ruled Kotli upto 1819 AD. However, they were dominated by Chib Rajas of Chabal.

As per Tarikh-e-Rajgan-e-Jammu and Kashmir, in 1808 AD, Gulab Singh was a common man known as Gulabu. His father Kishora Singh borrowed some money from a trader Dulu Shah and purchased two horses for his sons - Gulab Singh and Dayan Singh. He directed them to join the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

However bessiged due to confrontation with Mian Mota, Gulab Singh and Dayan Singh could not meet Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore. Therefore, they decided not to join the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and moved back towards Jammu. When they reached Chabal area they joined the forces of Chib Raja Sultan Khan of Chabal. 

At that time Kotli was a Jagir of Mangral Rajas and a part of Chabal principality. Sultan Khan appointed Gulab Singh as a Qiladar of Kotli. Therefore Gulab Singh reached Kotli, took the possession of the fort and started collecting revenue on behalf of Raja Sultan Khan of Chabal. However Gulab Singh was not in good terms with the wife of Raja Sultan Khan whose name was Hayat Khatoon. One day when Gulab Singh was present in the court of Raja Sultan Khan his wife Hayat Khatoon abused Gulab Singh. 

At that very movement Gulab Singh left the services of Raja Sultan Khan and returned back to Jammu. Later on, Gulab Singh and Dayan Singh joined the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 

In 1814 AD during the first attack of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on Kashmir his forces were beseiged at around Poonch due to unexpected revolt of Raja Ru-Alla-Khan of Poonch. At this stage the Rai (Jagirdar) of Kotli helped the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 

There was disturbance and revolt in Kotli area after 1820 onward against the rule of Khalsa Darbar Lahore. To subside this revolt, the Kotli and Chabal area was given by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to his Prime Minister Raja Dayan Singh as a gift in 1827 AD. 

Dhayan Singh received a tough resistance from Mangral Rajputs of Kotli in between 1827-1846 AD. In this disturbance, most of the Mangral Rajputs of Kolti had left their native villages and migrated towards the remote areas of Pir Panchal range. 

In 1852 AD when Poonch-Chabal Jagir was divided into two parts, Kotli had become the part of Chabbal principality of Raja Jawahar Singh. But Raja Jawahar Singh had never came to Kotli-Chabal area and this principality was confesticated by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1856 AD. Kotli remained the part of J&K State from 1856-1947 AD. 

In 1947 Kotli was defended by a company of state forces. During the turmoil of 1947, the rebels with the help of Pakistan armed forces and tribesmen of NWFP revolted against state forces. The state forces could not hold the area and the scattered contingents retreated towards Kotli. The town was besieged by the rebels. In these circumstances Colonel Baldev Singh Pathania was appointed as guide to state forces for operation against the rebels under the overall commanded of Brigadier Chattar Singh who was stationed at Mirpur. 

The city was besieged from all the sides. About 5000 Hindus from the surrounding areas had also taken refuge in the town. There was acute shortage of ammunition and it was not possible for the state forces to hold the town. 

The Indian air force in the month of November, 1947 dropped some boxes of ammunition in and around Kotli town. Unfortunately these boxes of ammunition were captured by the rebels. However 17 boxes were snatched by the civil population. In the meantime Indian forces started operation from Jammu side and reached Jhangar under the command of Brigadier Pran Japi. 

On 12th November the advance towards Kotli was started by Brigadier Pran Japi from Jammu towards Akhnoor for the relief of Kotli town. On 13th November the advancing forces reached Akhnoor, on 16th November they crossed Bari Pattan Bridge and rushed towards Nowshera. On 19th of November Jhangar was captured. 

On 26th November Indian troops marched towards Kotli and entered the town at 2.20 PM after defeating the rebels in and around the town. Brigadier Pran Japi found that about two companies of state forces in Kotli were completely demoralized. 

There was severe scarcity of food grain, medicines and consumable items in the town. The habitants were drinking water from a filthy pond in the town. There was a demoralized civil population of about nine thousands. It was not possible for the forces of Pran Japi to hold the Kotli town because the town was 147 miles away from Jammu.

Therefore it was decided not to hold the town. 

In these circumstances Brigadier Pran Japi vacated Kotli town on 28th November 1947 along with nine thousand refugees. The caravan reached Jhangar on the same day and the ancient Kotli town was captured by the rebels.


This article was first published in the Sunday Magazine of the Daily Excelsior from Jammu on:
SUNDAY , March 13, 2011

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 322 of 2018


A mind with vast spaces of that still possible in this information cluttered world?


I had watched this video a few days ago and even though I have a dedicated blogger page for the study of Water I feel compelled to add this here too, as it is taking up more of my time gradually.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 321 of 2018


The Demand and Supply of Self-Determination for AJK

The will of the people has to have a demand/supply diagram.

It's not about what you're entitled to, it's about what you do to attain your title. 

Self-determination (SD) is a verb, like fighting or struggling.

The diagram would be what we're entitled to (demand) compared to what we're doing (supply) to attain it.

If there is a demand, then there must be a supply.

We are the ones doing the demanding, yet are short on supply.

Qila Karjai - Khuiratta AJK 2012


Meanwhile, the Shahid Afridi suggestion for India and Pakistan to militarily vacate the State of Jammu & Kashmir, was met with contempt and accusations of 'traitor' by some politicians of AJK. In other words, politicians who have been 'mandated' by the public of AJK to represent the public of AJK, are accusing a Pakistani citizen of mutinying against the Pakistani State. For what they perceive to be a betrayal of Pakistan's claim on the State of J & K.

Bizarre: The politicians of AJK are representing the aspirations of the Pakistani State while a Pakistani sportsman is being victimised for supporting the aspirations of the actual owners of the State of J & K.

In this Urdu news item, Quayyum Raja is advising the 'power hungry' to flock over to Islamabad and Delhi to sweep the floors there.


The 'authorities' in Gilgit Baltistan (GB) are upping the ante against 'construction of civil society links between AJK and GB'.

Maulana Sultan Raees, leader of Awami Action Committee (AAC) was arrested earlier today, while in court for a hearing on an 8 year old case and shifted to Central Jail, Gilgit.

Image borrowed from
Maulana Sultan Raees under arrest at Court in Gilgit


Friday, November 16, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 320 of 2018


Sustainability - Sequence - Synchronisation

All 3 terms are major attributes needed for a successful transition from subject to citizen in AJK. The opposite of all 3 are in abundance here and in the diaspora. It is no wonder that we can't counter external influence in what should be a dominant public narrative here.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 319 of 2018


Shahid Afridi didn't just upstage Raja Farooq Haider in the power corridors of London....his 'hit' comment gave the people of Jammu & Kashmir a seemingly unassailable lead in the subtle propaganda war over this territory.

Then, the infamous big-hitter on the cricket field was run out!

As clear a forced retraction as any I can think of.

Here's a link to the full clip and context of the question he was responding to:

Both India and Pakistan - in some shape or form - condemned Shahid Afridi's suggestion for Kashmir to be left alone as an independent country. Here's a good analysis - in Urdu - by our very own Shams Rehman:

Remember, Shams is the independent researcher who upstaged Lord Nazir in Ireland last month. On this occasion, Shahid Afridi upstaged the AJK prime minister Raja Farooq Haider. What the latter should've been lobbying to explain to one set of British parliamentarians, a Pakistani cricketer decided to do to a different set of British parliamentarians. 

The AJK politician seemed meek and almost unsure to his audience. The Pakistani sportsman was bold and clear to his.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 318 of 2018


Fast...slow........uphill...downhill......imagination and intellect.........right and wrong....future and history.......poverty and power.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 317 of 2018


Just in time and not for the first time!

Just back home from a wonderful evening. Our occupiers are in a fix at the moment. Their most potent weapon is propaganda but it is becoming toothless with the passage of time. It seems that they are busy searching for a way of countering the tide. I don't normally like speculating on what they are doing or not doing. I prefer to concentrate on what I'm doing and need to do, from day to day.

The afternoon was equally thoughtful. Not just because I was nominated as chief guest of today's book launch:

Although I only spoke for about 20 minutes, I have written an 11 page review of the book, which I aim to share here shortly.. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 316 of 2018


Realised at about 0002hrs that I was supposed to write an entry for Day 315. Absent-mindedness is dangerous.


We are discussing the following book tomorrow in Dadyaal:

For those of you unfamiliar with Urdu, the name of the book is 'Asal Tanaza Kashmir' which translates as 'The Actual Kashmir Dispute'. The event will take place at Aziz Marriage Hall in Dadyaal at 1400hrs (13/11/2018).

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 314 of 2018


As I continue to wade through the mounting TB (terabyte/s) of data in my possession, I am close to establishing a pattern of categories.

I am also spending some of my god-given time to approach 'fresh' members of the public, to acquaint them with my work (for them) and enquire on how they can possibly assist me. I am almost at the stage of being able to put up a monthly income/expenditure chart, which will provide further insights into what's missing in our rights struggle.

This is all in aid of improvising a solution for AJK's ambiguous status.

Meanwhile, let me take you back to a piece of writing written by Khalid Hasan, more than a decade ago. He may have spent a lot of his life working for Pakistani institutions but his sense of patriotism for J & K is visible in a sample of his writing below:

Mirpur, the vanished city

Khalid Hasan

The Mangla Dam was built because of the obligations that Pakistan accepted by signing the Indus Basin Waters Treaty. This monstrous manmade wall that played havoc with the topography and environment of the area was built on territory over which Pakistan had no legal or constitutional right since it was a part of the old state of Jammu and Kashmir, whose future, Pakistan otherwise maintains, remains to be decided in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of its people.

As was to be expected and as has consistently been the case, the people over whose land this giant dam was built were the very ones never consulted. Mum’s the word when it comes to determining the extent to which the construction of Mangla has affected Pakistan’s case on Kashmir. After the transfer of some territory to China in Kashmir’s northern regions, again without consultation with the people of the state, this was the second major assault on the state’s territory. However, the saving grace of this treaty is a clause that in the event of a change of status, the treaty would be renegotiated with the controlling entity. The Northern Areas are to this day administered from Islamabad and the so-called Northern Areas Council has no powers. But that is a tale for another day.

Recently, there has been talk of raising the Mangla Dam, a decision that only Barrister Sultan Mahmood, following in the footsteps of his father Chaudhri Noor Hussain, to his great credit opposed on the ground it would bring vast tracts of Mirpur lands under water, do violence to the environment and uproot the people who still have not forgotten or recovered from their forcible eviction from their homes so that the monstrosity called Mangla could be built. Forty years later, there remain many Mangla affectees, their claims for due compensation unresolved. Many were settled in areas far from their homes, such as Thal. Few of them stayed there but there was nothing to come back to because what were once their homes were now under water. What benefits Mangla has brought to Pakistan, it is for its government to list, but it has done little for Azad Kashmir or its people. The royalties that they should have been paid have always been in dispute and always in arrears. Unfortunately, there was no Arundhati Roy in Pakistan when Mangla was being built. I wonder if our own Arundhati Roy, the admirable Asma Jehangir, can be persuaded to join those who are opposing the raising of the dam.

The people of Mirpur are settled in large numbers in Britain and it is their innate hardiness and their Spartan spirit that has enabled them to become one of the most prosperous and organised communities of expatriates in the West. They also remain the sole torchbearers for the Kashmir cause in that land, which seems now all but lost, given the recent declaration from Islamabad that the problem can be resolved in “one day”. Very little has been written about Mirpur as it was before the Mangla deluge and even less about its pre-1947 days. In 1995, one Mirpuri, Syed Sultan Ali Shah, published a book about Mirpur, containing his reminiscences of the city as it was before the partition of India, its people and its vanished landmarks. He had plans to produce a revised edition covering post-1947 Mirpur but, sadly, he did not live long to complete that labour of love.

During the maharaja’s time, Mirpur was the headquarter of the district, which was known by the same name, and which included the three tehsils of Niabat, Bhimbar and Kotli. The administration was headed by a state official called Wazir-e-Wazarat and the magistracy was independent of the administration. Sardar Ibrahim Khan, who was a barrister-at-law from London, served as public prosecutor at Mirpur for a time, so did M Yusuf Buch as a young member of the Kashmir Civil Service. The valleys that lay between the hills had different settlements, some of them dating back to pre-Mughal times and peopled by different tribal and ethnic groups. There were 64 villages in Mirpur that were classified as jagirs and 336 others, both with Muslim majorities. There was an uprising against the Maharaja in 1931 in Mirpur and British troops had to be called in to restore order. This became a turning point in the struggle of the Muslims for their rights and the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference was founded a year later by Chaudhri Ghulam Abbas and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah (who formed his own party later – an event that marks the beginning of Muslim misfortunes in the state). The most revolutionary of young Mirpuris was Ilahi Bux who physically stopped the area’s police chief from disturbing a meeting inside the Jamia Masjid. He was overpowered ultimately and jailed, but the people of Mirpur from that day on only knew him as Ghazi Ilahi Bux.

My journalist friend from London, Habibur Rehman, a true Mirpuri if there was one, remembers the city where he grew up and went to school, a city now under water. No Mirpuri can visit the graves of his forefathers because every graveyard is now buried in a larger graveyard called the Mangla lake. One of the most revered saints of the area, Ghazi Shah Pir Qalandar, also rests in that watery grave. The people of Mirpur may have been poor but they were always defiant and never took things lying down. There was no electricity in Mirpur for several years after the establishment of Pakistan and Habibur Rehman remembers that as a child, he and his classmates would go and stand in the evening on a hillock to watch the lights of the city of Jhelum twinkling like glow-worms in the dark. One of the promises made to the people of Mirpur was that since Mangla had been built on their homes and hearths, they would be provided with free electricity when it started generating power. That turned out to be another unfulfilled promise. If the government of Pakistan would only pay what it truly owes in royalties, the face of that part of Azad Kashmir can be transformed.

One blessing of Mangla to have come the way of the Mirpuris was that they were encouraged to go abroad. In those days, it was extremely difficult to obtain a passport. However, to induce the people to leave, the government issued thousands of passports in the 1960s and since immigration restrictions, as we know them today, did not quite exist then, the Mirpuris travelled to England where there already was a scattered population of Mirpuris, most of them having jumped ship. One such man was the later Chaudhri Zaman Ali, Sitara-e-Khidmat, the elder statesman of the Mirpuri people in Britain. When a huge demonstration was organised in London’s Hyde Park to protest the execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Chaudhri Zaman, even though he was a very old man then, brought several busloads of people from the Midlands to join a huge crowd that included both Murtaza and Shahnawaz Bhutto. I recall Chaudhri Zaman Ali being lifted by the boys on top of a car from where he addressed the crowd. He always wore a turban with a Peshawari kullah and though he had lived in England for decades, he spoke no more than a couple of words of English. He was a great Mirpuri and was most helpful to early immigrants from his homeland.

Syed Sultan Shah never got over the destruction of his city. In his words: “With my own eyes, I have seen not the wrath of God but aggression committed by men erase what our ancestors had left behind to remind us of them. Our historical monuments, our mosques, our shrines, even our graveyards were obliterated. It was as if they never were. Our people were uprooted from their homes to wander the world. Many went into exile.” One can only hope that this sad history will not be repeated, although one fears that, once again, the last thing on the rulers’ agenda will be the people whose lands, no less than their lives, are to be inundated and consigned to oblivion.


Khalid Hasan died in 2009 and the archives of his prolific writing which were available previously at are no longer so. This is yet another aspect of the tragedy that is Jammu & Kashmir.