Saturday, 18 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 138 of 2019


A writer should never play the fool with idleness.......

Therefore, let's retrace our steps once again and try to work out what went wrong in 1947:

Note: That is Kathua district South of Jammu in J & K.

98 year old Muhammad Siddique narrates his understanding of the events of 1947, when he was 26 years old. His family eventually had no choice but to flee across the border to the newly created Pakistan. He still resides in the city of Faisalabad, Pakistan.

I have noted 3 main parts of the conversation that need attention today:

1) @ 12:27

We heard Pakistan was being made but the Maharajah Hari Singh wanted to keep his population intact - That is, for Hindus and Muslims to continue co-existing where they were and refrain from migration. He even took forceful measures to maintain this policy.

2) @ 21:08

Sheikh Abdullah (as head of emergency administration) also insisted that Hindus and Muslims of Jammu should not separate. Further, he (the Sheikh) clarified that we are neither going to become a part of India or a part of Pakistan. We would remain a separate (political) entity. The Maharajah and Sheikh Abdullah seemed to have some mutual understanding on this point.

3) @ 26:48

Not a day passes when Muhammad Siddique does not remember his hometown (Beeru Chak in J & K). He remembers it as a fabulous country where everybody would care for each other and that included Hindus. He doesn't understand what suddenly happened that destroyed everything.

Now, if you read the white Urdu text with a blue background in the top left-hand corner of the embedded video, it translates as:

Migration from district Kathua Jammu Kashmir to Pakistan
An eye-witness account of Hari Singh's false pretensions and oppression of Muslims

There are always at least two ways of interpreting historical narratives. One way is to re-emphasise the difference and hatred of the 'other'. So, in this case a conclusion can be drawn that a Hindu ruler oppressed his Muslim subjects and this video is evidence of that. Hence, making Pakistan was a great idea because it provided a safe haven for Muslims.

The other way of interpreting this video is to try and learn what went wrong so we can avoid separating large populations of people, just because they belong to a different religion from the majority. Why did such events happen so suddenly and spontaneously?

I think the answer lies in the divide and rule policies of the British empire and unfortunately most writers tend to gloss over this aspect by taking an overt 'Muslim' or 'Hindu' stance, thereby blaming each other through vicious propaganda for decades on end. Meanwhile, the British obtained safe passage from the fire they created and have subsequently enjoyed immunity from all responsibility thereafter.

Hence, my pursuit of trying to understand the British attitude to an emerging neutral sovereign State of Jammu & Kashmir in the 1940's.

What steps did they take to forestall it?

Why did they drag the aspirations of both the autocrat and his subjects under the bus named India and Pakistan?     


Friday, 17 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 137 of 2019


Once you're in the not relent.....adopt the killer instinct......finish the job.......there is much else in life.....and death.




Thursday, 16 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 136 of 2019


Writing everyday is a heavy responsibility.....


This video is thoroughly compelling and revealing of the Pakistani State's approach to governance:

Dr. Hassan Abbas's invigorating lecture can perhaps be summarised in one phrase:

"We are individually smart but collectively stupid", is how he describes Pakistani society.

To contextualise the above with respect to hydro-projects for electricity generation, the powers-that-be in Pakistan (and by forced extension AJK) make a lot of intelligent decisions in self-interest but have no sense or conscience of the collective consequences of their individual decisions.

There is little thought or intelligence mobilised for public interest in Pakistan. We suffer in AJK too because of the Pakistani State's expansionist designs.

In a land where solar power would be cheaper and provide an immediate return on investment, the Pakistani State is hell-bent on building dams to produce relatively expensive hydro-electricity projects, which have no guarantee of breaking even - let alone making a profit - with all their technical, financial, social and environmental costs borne by others. Thus, it is a means of corruption for the powers-that-be cloaked in national interest. 


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 135 of 2019


Rest is as important as work.....


We lost yet another poor young soul on the LOC today. India and Pakistan can count their casualties for whatever they are worth. However, they are collectively nowhere near the figure we lose as civilians (or innocent bystanders to be more precise).

Today's statistic:

Umar Subhani s/o Tahir Subhani - aged 20 of Danna - Smaahni was killed by incoming Indian fire.

The Indians will no doubt claim they were responding to Pakistani fire or an 'infiltration' attempt. The Pakistanis will no doubt describe it as unprovoked and indiscriminate fire from the Indians.

The Pakistanis will try and get us to rally behind them in condemning India. The Indians would do something similar with our citizens on the other side of the divide.

Both countries rely on our respective support to demonise the 'other'. We seem hell bent on collaborating with both enemies to prolong our tragedy. Meanwhile, they seem intent on collaborating with each other to maintain control.

What is Indo-Pak bilateralism if not collaboration?  

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 134 of 2019


This is the cost of AJK's ambiguity:

The following is a letter written by Quayyum Raja to the judiciary in AJK, which has recently claimed that it operates at a world class standard:
Quayyum Raja

We all perform some sort of responsibility, but an extra mile taken to help others in difficulties is what counts most. Here is an example:

A fellow Kashmiri Muhammad Riaz and I were tried by a British Crown Court in 1984 in Mhatre Murder case, an Indian diplomat captured by fellow Kashmiris to prevent India from hanging the father of Kashmiri Movement Muhammad Maqbool Butt. The killer escaped and the two of us were charged and sentenced secretly. The British Home Secretary said he would inform us of the final decision, but years went by and he did not.

We were held in top security and refused access to legal representatives. I had no choice but to smuggle a letter to the then British Lord Chief Justice, asking him why we were tried by a court but sentenced by politicians. The Lord Chief Justice in his response, asked me to write a summary of my case and if he saw legal weight in it, he would reopen my case. 

The London High Court quashed our extra-judicial sentences in 1994 but the British Home Minister still refused to release us. I wrote to Chief Justice Lord Bingham on this occasion and he replied to me too, just like his predecessor.

Our case went to the European Court of Human Rights, which ordered our release in August 2004 but because I wanted to return home to AJK via Pakistan, the British and Pakistani governments delayed the administrative process. I was told that the judges were on summer holidays and there was no judge to sign my release until autumn 2005. I was shocked and wrote to the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf. Lord Woolf loved by most ordinary people in the UK, immediately cancelled the holiday of a judge and ordered him to finalise the process.

I was brought to Pakistan by a team of special security from Britain. While there was some provocation at the gate by prison security staff just to see my last reaction, a lady doctor approached me and said, “I know you are going to be very busy with your family and friends and may not have time to buy your medications. This pack of medications is for six weeks and I hope your doctor in Pakistan would arrange for you by then.” 

I had left my home territory (via Pakistan) at the age of 18 and was returning at the age of 46, with little idea of what awaited me here in AJK. Ever since my release, I have been working on human rights while trying to help both individuals as well as reforming our national institutions.

I have recently set up a Human Rights Commission and made some recommendations for education, health, judiciary and democracy. However, it is unfortunate that institutions are neither responsive nor responsible. The main reason is that they are not the right people for the right job. We hardly find officials including judges on their seats, let alone replying to personal letters the way the top British judges replied to me.

I filed a petition in the AJK High Court to include Kashmir studies into the curriculum. One year on, the government has not as yet responded to the court notice, partly because judges are often absent.

This is not just one person’s job. We all have to play our role to improve the system.

Quayyum Raja
President Human Rights Commission AJK-GB
Contact: 03448909960

End of letter....

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 138 of 2019

2158hrs: A writer should never play the fool with idleness....... Therefore, let's retrace our steps once again and try to work...