Wednesday, 27 July 2016
A Request for Suspension of the Process to elect Members on the 8 Reserved Seats in the AJK Legislative Assembly
The Chief Election Commissioner
Kothi No.1 - AJK Assembly Secretariat Grounds
Muzaffarabad - AJK
Fax No: 05822 921695
Given the need for merit, transparency and inclusion in matters of public policy in AJK, as intimated by the president of the winning party in the recent polls, namely Raja Farooq Haider: I wish to request your intervention in suspending the process of ‘electing’ of the 8 reserved seats in the Legislative Assembly, on account of these 3 aforementioned values not being apparent in the process so far.
It has been confirmed to me by key newly elected members of the Assembly, as well as key figures in civil society that, the role of technocrat in AJK's Legislative Assembly as well as the other 7 seats have already been decided - as part of political (and financial) compulsions of the winning party. This ridicules the process of taking applications from the public at large and charging each application 10,000 rupees for doing so. It also presents an impression that the ‘winner takes all’, thereby narrowing the concept of public interest and subjecting it to the whims of the winning party.
Having spent 11 years and over 3 months in researching all matters of public significance in AJK - without interruption or diversion as I’ve neither been an employee or an employer during this period - furthermore, that all public interest research that I conduct is almost wholly paid by the public at large, puts me in a historically unprecedented position of initiating a public debate on constitutional reform. The fact that Act 74 and Article 370 of the Indian Constitution are in essence temporary and remain so after 69 years, is clear indication that the initiative to resolve constitutional ambiguity rests with the citizens of the territory in question viz. The State of Jammu & Kashmir. The specific area which has always described itself as ‘base camp’, ultimately needs to give attention to this matter.
This cannot be done by following the deep-rooted tradition of hidden deals (highest bidder) and selection of undeserving citizens to public office without giving a clear, transparent and meritocratic opportunity to skilled citizens of the territory to participate in governance and legislation, thereby proving that we have an inclusive process.
How do we expect the world to give attention to our plight and perhaps more specifically, our co-citizens across the LOC in the Valley of Kashmir, who given the current status of geo-politics are waiting for us to clarify our constitutional status?
In societies where public interest and public policy merge is where beautiful events occur and drive society forward. If we don’t strive for such an ideal, we are wasting all our precious time, energy and resources in deepening the paralysis that our society suffers from.
On a personal level, I could (and will) make constitutional reform a public debate in due course, irrespective of whether or not I obtain the technocrat’s seat in AJK’s legislative assembly. However, if this initiative is taken from within the assembly rather than without, it will be a less hazardous process and the credit will go to the legislators at large. Conversely, if the debate takes place on the streets, it will further expose the frailties of the Assembly.
Meanwhile, as part of the application procedure for the technocrat’s seat, I had sought nomination from Raja Farooq Haider, who happens to be the one member whom I've spent most time with and - who in turn - is most familiar (amongst members), with my public interest research work. However, Mr. Haider's energy and time is being consumed in deflecting efforts to convince him to abdicate from the prospective prime minister's role. I have visited him on the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th of this month. I cannot put my application for the role of technocrat in front of him when he is in this frame of mind.
My humble but publicly concerted suggestion is to suspend the process of election for the 8 reserved seats, until a clear, transparent procedure where any and every citizen who feels that they meet the criteria, can participate in the nomination process.
Yours in earnest
An independent researcher on public policy in AJK
Secretary Legislative Assembly AJK – Muzaffarabad - AJK
Fax No. 05822 921390
In light of sustained evidence that the process of ‘electing’ members to the 8 reserved seats in the AJK Legislative Assembly do not meet the standards of transparency, merit and inclusion as expected by the public of AJK: in my capacity as an independent researcher of public policy in AJK for the past 11 years and 3 months, I hereby make an application for a copy of the full work record file of the previous incumbent in the technocrat’s role during the term 2011-2016.
I am hopeful that taking account of public interest needs and working for an institution that represents the public via the ballot box, you will make this file available for the public record. Not least, so that we can improve the standards of public service in AJK and take initiatives to resolve the constitutional ambiguity that has limited our output since 1947.
Yours in earnest
Independent researcher and 1st class subject (citizen) of the ‘free’ part of the State of Jammu & Kashmir
Thursday, 21 July 2016
Date of Application: 21 July 2016
Name: Tanveer Ahmed s/o Khan Muhammad Rafique
of Moza - Gurutta, P.O. Box - Hajiabad, Tehsil - Sehnsa, District - Kotli, AJK
State Subject Number: 2758/12 - Issued on 23/04/2012 by District Magistrate - Kotli AJK
Venue: AJK Prime Minister's Secretariat and Assembly Secretariat - Muzaffarabad
Copies for: Prime Minister of AJK and Opposition Leader (Term 2016 – 2021)
In 1919, according to Wikipedia, an American engineer by the name of William Henry Smith, usually takes credit for inventing the word ‘technocracy’ to describe, “The rule of the people made effective through the agency of their servants.
As a voluntary public servant of AJK (in particular and the State of J & K in general) since April 2005 - utilising my professional background in international journalism and British parliamentary correspondence - I have been consistently conducting public interest research on J & K’s outstanding ‘national question’ and public policy, on my own initiative and initially at my own expense, whereby I am now almost wholly funded by the public at large. I adhere to the basic characteristic of technocracy as using technical expertise to solve problems of society, not least by engaging in active citizenship.
This application is being made in this specific manner, precisely because there is no formal (transparent) procedure for acquiring this position. Previous incumbents have allegedly been given this seemingly passive role motivated by partisan political, economic or social considerations. I contend that the past 11 years and 3 months as a citizen journalist and independent researcher in this 5,134 sq. miles of territory, qualifies me on multiple counts as a citizen, ground-researched public policy expert, joint stakeholder, affectee and joint heir to the Title: The State of Jammu & Kashmir. Indeed, the geographical territory of AJK is a constituent part of the land bearing that title. I maintain the same rights and arguably a more diverse and globally relevant repertoire compared to all previous incumbents.
A major motivation for making this public application is to ensure that our public understand that hard labour, dedicated focus, consistent public activity to create and collect relevant public data (in statistical form) in a sincere manner; provides dividends which the public can measure and monitor.
Additionally, in order to formally liaise with the International Community (for conflict resolution and international trade) in a publicly documented manner, it is imperative that as part of a public-wide consensus building exercise for constitutional reform, the relevant citizen(s) are equipped with the necessary protocol to actively engage.
It should be noted that soon after the inception of AJK on the 24th of October 1947, an application for international recognition was made by our revolutionary government (War Council as it formally described itself) on the 3rd of November 1947. Britain, USA, the Soviet Union (now Russia) and China were canvassed for recognition of AJK as an international entity via the Secretary General of the UN. However, this attempt to assert our legality was ignored and our constitutional status remains ambiguous to this day. Reference: Page 89 of Victoria Schofield’s ‘Kashmir in Conflict – India, Pakistan and the Unending War’ (I.B. Tauris - London & New York - 2000 & 2003).
Subject to a sustainable institutional mechanism being created by the Government of AJK, the necessary criteria to make a stronger bid during this 5 year tenure can be fulfilled. Indeed, the institution otherwise described as the AJK Legislative Assembly can genuinely evolve. Where public interest is quantified by the public and qualitatively translated by the representative legislators in the AJK Assembly. The latter having failed to legislate on our resources - amongst most other aspects of governance - to date.
Finally, as this ‘citizen’ has managed to navigate around all those societal compulsions which force individuals (and likewise politicians) to forsake public interest for family or personal aspirations, he is ideally equipped to tackle the dilemma of corresponding our abundant resources with appropriate management and control, by practically progressing with the OBM (Ownership-Building-Measures) concept that he introduced in 2011. This was referenced by a notable British academic and expert on South Asia at a Kashmir Conference hosted at the House of Lords in Britain.
I am willing to engage in a public signature campaign here in AJK, lobbying our expatriate community throughout the world including British parliamentarians who originate from AJK as well as seeking a majority vote in the AJK Legislative Assembly.
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