Monday, April 23, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 113 of 2018


Today was probably the most significant day of 2018 so far.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 112 of 2018


Sunday is sometimes a typical languid day, as tradition has determined for many a territory throughout the world. Preliminary talks between Mahmood Ahmed Musafir and the AJK administration yesterday, developed a thaw between the 2 adversaries to some extent.

Our people are wonderfully understanding and helpful when they want to be but terribly cruel and apathetic otherwise. Those who genuinely work in public interest and consistently prove their mettle over the years, do get their fair share of the limelight and praise. However, the standards that the public at large and fellow activists expect of them can be considered as harsh or super-human even. For example, someone who spends their own money in public interest is expected to refrain from mentioning it in public. In other words, crying and complaing are not allowed.

The other 'micro' aspect of our collective behaviour is that the public expects 'the' activist to refrain from centralising all attention around him (or her). Other members who undoubtedly play key roles in advancing public interest, rightly expect their contribution to be acknowledged and discussed. On my part, I hope I can address these weaknesses in my person, which will undoubtedly advance public interest even further...

Meanwhile, talks with the AJK State and representatives of Pakistan's federation will possibly take place tomorrow or the day after. We remain camped at the revolutionary 'base camp' on Bank Road - Muzaffarabad.   

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 111 of 2018


Its a bright day after almost 15 days of incessant rain. Mahmood Ahmed Musafir has also recovered his health to the extent of wanting to get back to his camp on Bank Road. We hope the public can become more pro-active in taking this effort to its logical conclusion.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 110 of 2018

And I missed the midnight deadline by seconds..mainly because I didn't realise till 5 minutes before and the speed here is so slow, that it could a few seconds more than 5 minutes to type the title and a couple of commas here before..........the clock changed date!

Time management is an elusive skill, at least in my case. The nature of public activity here usually has to conform to the erratic mind-set of the 'public' mind. It is difficult - even at the best of times to predict how one's day will be managed. When you haven't kept a single rupee in your pocket for days on end but still manage to travel wherever you want and almost always eat and drink what you want, you realise that whatever is happening is way beyond human control.

Heavenly bliss co-exists with blood, sweat, toil and sacrifice. That must never be forgotten. For every public engagement of a public activist, there is negligence of duty on a personal level. One's family suffers, is not able to exercise choice or variety in lifestyle in the manner that normal families do.

It should also be noted that the rich experience of public life one encounters every day accumulates as content for social science research amongst many other fields. How I am going to be able to formalise all of it for the academic record is a dilemma which increases in intensity with the passing of each day.

If only I could write a measured summary of each day's proceedings here on this blog, I would die a happy man.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 106 of 2018


We're in Arja where the weather has prevented us from proceeding forward towards Muzaffarabad.

Just in case you're not aware of who 'we' are or why 'we' are trying to proceed to Muzaffarabad, just imagine living in a territory which is not recognised by any institution or country in the world. Then imagine what kind of legal/administrative framework the people within that territory are living in.

'We' includes Mahmood Ahmed Musafir foremost, accompanied by yours truly, Sardar Shameem and his son Omar. 'We' are trying to peacefully and carefully address our 71 year old non-existence in the comity of nations. Otherwise, we describe our territory as the 'free' part of the State of Jammu & Kashmir or AJK (Azad Jammu & Kashmir).

We're particularly concerned at the use of the word 'Azad' (free) for a territory that doesn't give any meaningful space for freedom of expression, in any form.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 105 of 2018


I missed out on posting before the midnight deadline. Electricity load-shedding could be blamed without reserve.

Here are 2 facebook live videos (recorded) from this evening in Hajeera. A buzzing metropolis and by far the most active tehsil (subdivision) with respect to public interest in AJK.

This second facebook live video is an interview by Mohsin Mumtaz:

The following is commentary for those well versed in English

Friday, April 13, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 103 of 2018


Yes......another day in the field.

A creative activity:
The citizens of Kotli have performed a (symbolic) funeral prayer over the death of the State of #AJK in its current 71 year old incarnation.

What are we looking for in this 'second round' (Kotli to Muzaffarabad) while Mahmood Ahmed Musafir waits for his animals to be transported back to Kohalla?

1) For all citizens working for the State of AJK (local admin, judiciary and politicians) to make a conscious decision of whether they want to support public interest or the occupation.

2) For our citizens living throughout the United Kingdom to contact their MP in Britain and seek a written response to the letter addressed to their government. Furthermore, to seek their opinion on whether the contents of the letter can invoke a question/debate in the House of Commons.

3) That all citizens of AJK help us find volunteers to participate in this March to Muzaffarabad. We aim to mobilise at least 1,000 citizens on this journey before reaching Kohalla. These citizens should be willing to participate in a peaceful sit-in at Azaadi Chowk - Muzaffarabad, until the resolution of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir's 32 point public agenda.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 102 of 2018


I didn't actually get much sleep last night and I was up at 0800hrs........Yet another hectic day which hasn't finished yet.......

Here's a very frank explanation of how the 'occupying forces' control the public narrative in AJK:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 101 of 2018


Finally, some rest........

Here's an interview given yesterday afternoon to a journalist in City Thana - Muzaffarabad, after I was prevented from carrying out public interest activity at Azaadi Chowk.

Earlier, here's the first video of two from yesterday morning.....

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 100 of 2018


Edging closer to the moment......

Here's a programme dedicated to the impending and indefinite hunger strike till death or resolution, in Muzaffarabad:

Monday, April 9, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 99 of 2018


It was a Sunday some slack was was still intense at times......


Into the final stages of my preparation for a 'do or die' hunger strike in Muzaffarabad. This will be the banner describing my rationale.

In a territory which describes itself as a democracy and bases its existence on securing the right of its people to decide their future, there appears to be zero scope for peaceful activism which can lead to resolution of matters in public interest. Hence, a 'do or die' scenario emerges whereby one either commits the 'powers that be' to seriously engage or.............

And here is that letter for the international community:

The Territorial Enigma that is AJK

(AJK is ‘officially’ translated as the ‘free’ part of the State of Jammu & Kashmir)

This is a letter addressed in particular to the:

1)      United Kingdom (UK)
2)      United Nations (UN)

and the

3)      European Union (EU)

Subject: An indefinite hunger strike till death or resolution in Muzaffarabad - AJK

By: Tanveer Ahmed (An independent researcher/activist based in AJK, un-interrupted since 2005)

Date: 09/04/18

Dear All,

I’ll begin by quoting a UK citizen in recent correspondence:

“I concede, as someone very comfortable with a Pakistani identity but unhappy with Pakistan’s political culture, that AJK is a sham democracy. This is not in dispute, numerous Pakistani journalists have reported on the status of your State as not “free”. Numerous books and NGO reports exist to that effect.”

By 2018, the human race has evolved to an unprecedented level of sophistication in communications technology and consensual governance. Despite which, I am writing this letter to emphasise that the territory which I’ve inherited along with my co-citizens in 1947, remains amongst the most deeply regressive and enslaved, in conscience as well as in physical structure.

Having lived in the UK for about 28 of my 46 years, whatever I have been doing in terms of research and peaceful activism here for the past 13 years, is a consequence of my upbringing in a democratic environment; where diversity of origin and expression were considered to be the binding strengths of that society. Where multiple narratives invoked intellectual curiosity and institutions facilitated economic opportunity, provided free justice based on merit and protected our life, wealth and honour as equal citizens.

AJK is usually described as “Pakistani-administered Kashmir” by the international community at large. Without legal or constitutional basis, its governing system adheres to a de-facto imposed mono-narrative whereby Pakistan’s perceived ‘national interest’ is strictly adhered to. This system is no less fascistic than Hitler’s Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, only that it doesn’t advocate racial supremacy but rather a contorted ‘version’ of Islam, which assumes in its ultimate analysis that only Muslims have an exclusive right to govern and dominate the world.

Western civilisation made a concerted effort to address their dilemma through instruments such as the UN Charter. Britain and other European colonialists gave access to their former ‘subjects’ to enter the ‘mother’ country and participate in their economic prosperity post World War 2. However, what we are experiencing today in AJK is a direct legacy of the British Empire. What the UK enjoys in terms of a tolerant multi-religious society is exactly the opposite of what they left us with.

 Those of us who migrated bore fruit while those of us left behind inherited an inhumane structure, whose ill-effects are so deep that one sees no scope for a peaceful resolution, even after 13 years of consistent activism on the ground.

We also understand that the global structure of nation-states necessitates that other countries or global institutions – inadvertently in some cases perhaps – provide no recognised institutional framework for resolution of conflict. Contemporary frameworks only recognise nation-states - irrespective of their legitimacy or otherwise - and do not recognise people or nations occupied. Democracy is practiced in the developed world but not measured when assessing the role of transgressing nation-states in other territories.

We, as a disenfranchised people in AJK want to take control of our own public affairs - on a live and let live basis - not unlike Switzerland which has been neutral between much more powerful neighbours. We don’t want to be dragged deeper into a proxy war between our neighbours who are essentially fighting over control of our water resources, under the ideological guise of ‘Pakistani nationalist Islamism’ vs ‘Indian nationalist secularism’.

We reside in a physical space just below the highest mountain ranges of the world and lie central to not only most of the world’s population but between various civilisations. It is simply un-natural for us to abide by a mono-narrative whilst continuing to act as fodder to a conflict that can quite easily be resolved by water management technology; a field of knowledge that even the developed Western world has not paid sufficient attention to. Human evolution requires us to be pro-active to avert future conflict.       

Our narrative as described above is not merely an individual’s opinion but a summary of 13 years of accumulated collective wisdom, derived from each and every category of citizen residing throughout this territory. We are also proud to have conducted the most comprehensive citizen public opinion survey (in proportion to the population) ever conducted throughout the world, although I remain open to correction if warranted.

In 1947, the last autocratic ruler of this territory - Maharajah Hari Singh - wanted the whole of his inherited State to be a neutral country like Switzerland, where he would transfer all matters of governance to an elected assembly of political representatives while remaining a symbolic monarch, not too dissimilar to Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom. When the Maharajah wrote to the Governor General of India for military assistance to quell the tribal invasion from Pakistan, the response from Louis Mountbatten was pre-conditioned with a proviso that when peace is restored in the territory, then the question of the State’s future would be decided by its inhabitants. In 1948, when India made its opening argument in the UN in reference to its complaint against Pakistan, it specifically and category expressed its desire for the State’s future to be decided by its people: whether they wanted to accede to India or Pakistan or remain independent. 71 years later, the people’s will is yet to be considered as the exclusive arbiter of the State’s future.

From historical context to today’s letter - which in all probability could be the last letter that I ever write - recent events in our territory have forced my hand and I am left with no option but to adopt the tool of last resort for peaceful activism viz. a hunger strike till death or resolution. I don’t want to physically fight with my immediate occupier (Pakistan) and I have no bone to pick with the world. I want our political representatives, our judiciary and our administration to be free of external influence and exclusively accountable to the citizens of this territory, which constitutes barely 6% of the whole of the erstwhile Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir. I understand that there is no single member of the AJK Government who can successfully wrestle back our usurped rights. Any politician who tries is immediately or gradually marginalised. Indeed, the current ‘Prime Minister’ of AJK appears to be suffering from this very predicament.

Two recent events have shaken me and brought me to this juncture:

1)      Naeem Butt – Was a dedicated political worker representing JKLF. He was shot on the 16th of March by AJK police, for peacefully protesting against the mounting deaths of civilians caused by cross-LOC firing between India and Pakistan. He succumbed to his wounds on the 21st of March.

2)      Mahmood Ahmed Musafir – Is a seasoned activist since 1984 who annually conducts a ‘creative’ public event in favour of the basic rights of the citizens of this territory. On the 27th of February, he began a walk for 300 kilometres from one end of AJK (Bhimber) to the other (Muzaffarabad), armed with 32 demands in public interest and accompanied by 3 donkeys and a camel, in search of humans who may assist in creating genuine legislation in AJK. On the 5th of April, Mahmood was prevented from proceeding about 35 kilometres short of the capital Muzaffarabad. The police were directed to forcefully stall his efforts and return him and his animals to his home district of Kotli. He remains in hospital fighting death with life after the enormous amount of mental torture he was put under. As the AJK Government doesn’t possess the necessary legislative powers to consider his demands, they felt it expedient to brush him ‘under the carpet’.

This pattern of repression, consistent since 1947 motivated me to forego my journalistic career covering other global hotspots and settle in the territory of my birth. Activism in pursuit of public interest in this territory is the most difficult, dangerous, time-consuming and expensive (in terms of opportunity cost) activity to do here. Society as a whole is nurtured, engineered and structured to assist the imposed mono-narrative by only paying attention to issues from which private/individual monetary benefit can accrue. This applies to all walks of life and is precisely what sustains the occupation.              

We, the citizens of AJK are in search of humans to understand our plight....and recognition from the outside world that we are proactive in trying to create an appropriate forum to resolve our issues with our neighbours.

Best wishes

Tanveer Ahmed

Contact: 00 92 (0) 345 5044252
Twitter: @sahaafi


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 98 of 2018


The past few days are developing a certain time pattern. Today (rather yesterday) was hectic........

Just as I'm writing, I got a call....

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 97 of 2018


AJK is yet incapable of negotiating peaceful public protest and dialogue on public policy. A 300km journey on foot by Mahmood Ahmed Musafir, armed with 3 donkeys, a camel and cart with a list of 32 pending issues in public interest, is being disregarded by the governing structure here.

Here's the precise moment from yesterday, when the local police on verbal orders from the Deputy Commissioner of Muzaffarabad, forcibly bundled Mahmood Sb into a police wagon and took him to Ambor Hospital. This was despite the Commissioner of Muzaffarabad earlier agreeing to Mahmood Sb staging his sit-in at an appropriate public spot near Kohalla. Thus, a subordinate officer over-ruled the decision of a superior officer. This is just one example of how dysfunctional this State is.


Meanwhile, here's a report in Urdu from outside AIMS Hospital in Ambor - Muzaffarabad today.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 96 of 2018


Life whilst striving in public interest is hectic, engaging and tantalising. Particularly when it comes in direct contact with the 'State', as has been the case throughout Day 95. It was one of those days when I couldn't register a blog entry, purely on the grounds of an absence of net connectivity.

The dominance of the AJK narrative - in its purest possible sense - has been impossible to sustain because the Pakistani narrative has hitherto controlled all levers of power. Deliberately strangling net connectivity in AJK (and GB) in contrast to Pakistan (proper), has been just one of a range of tools at our neighbouring State's disposal.

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir and his Camel and Donkey's March from Bhimber to Muzaffarabad entered its 38th day where it resumed at around 11am from Numb Kohalla, just within the border of Poonch Division before it enters Gujjar Kohalla in Muzaffarabad Division. He was stalled an hour into his journey by the local administration of AJK, under the perceived directions of Deputy Commissioner (DC) Muzaffarabad at Kulyan Bridge. Later, at around 10pm, the latter took custody of the 3 donkeys and sole camel. While the animals remain at the local police post enroute to Muzaffarabad, Mahmood Ahmed Musafir refused to be transported in a government vehicle to the capital city. Instead, he chose to sit in a private vehicle and reached Muzaffarabad at around 1230am today. Talks with the 'State' will resume in some shape or form tomorrow.

What's my role in all of this?

Well I drove for 8 hours from Dadyaal to Numb Kohalla on rocky mountainous terrain in a rough vehicle the day before yesterday. Today, I've driven to and fro between Kohalla and Muzaffarabad twice, yet still missed out on the evening 'conflict' between the AJK administration and Mahmood Ahmed Musafir.

It's still relatively early in the morning today and I will try and get some sleep before another hectic day ahead.

Meanwhile, here's a video followed by some photo glances from yesterday:

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 94 of 2018


It must be said that life that is devoted to public interest should be lived as efficiently as possible, where public utility is maximised. I still feel that I am at least 30% short of being efficient. Most notable in deficiencies is that I am not accurately reflecting the extent of my daily activity in writing on this blog.

There is also a notable deficiency on the part of our public, particularly those that are in the diaspora (especially developed countries). In terms of governance, they enjoy everything we lack here:

1) Economic opportunities
2) Protection of life, wealth and honour
3) Justice on merit

Despite that, only a miniscule amount provide any sort of financial assistance for those working in the field here in AJK. Those who have claimed political assylum in the developed world and don't contribute here (to what they were ostensibly persecuted for) are particularly culpable.

After a few days rest,  I'm venturing out again towards Muzaffarabad. I have been using £100 of charity money sent from the UK a couple of weeks ago to momentarily finance current public interest activity. I hope I can retrieve it (£100) from the public and get that charity to those citizens who it was aimed for.

In summary, our external enemies cannot damage our work as much as our internal friends. This is what I've learned in 13 years.

Let's hope for the sake of this forsaken territory, that this scenario changes......

Monday, April 2, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 92 of 2018


The days ahead could become congested with public activity. It's almost time for that 'bridge' to be created between the shackled state of AJK and the increasingly alert public of the territory. The level of activism here has increased quite broadly and rapidly over the past couple of months.

Hajeera has been electric relative to other subdivisions for a few years now. Civil Society there was busy earlier today too...with a symbolic hunger strike over the local administration's misleading of the public over a sub-divisional rift between Hajeera and Abbaspur.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 91 of 2018


Today is a continuation from yesterday, in both sequence and form. This is 'downtime' in Mirpur, at a wedding which ends with the bridegroom's walima tomorrow.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 89 of 2018


This day transpired to be perhaps the most relaxing day of the month. A kind of lull before a possible storm....

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 88 of 2018


A lot of travelling in the past few days......touching base in Dadyaal at the moment....before resuming travel again tomorrow......

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 86 of 2018


Today was a painful but pulsating day for public interest in my home tehsil of Sehnsa. So much happens on a daily basis and is increasingly being captured in photo, audio, video and text. Not just by me but an increasing number of citizens throughout AJK. So much information/data/content/analysis is generated by us all that it becomes difficult to decide what to include when uploading to social networks on almost a daily basis.

Earlier today in the House of Commons, London UK (The very parliament that created India, Pakistan and the Jammu & Kashmir Issue in 1947)

An exchange between politicians on either side of the house:

Photo of Afzal KhanAfzal Khan Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration)

Last night I returned from Pakistan where I met the Prime Minister and the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Both shared their concern at the escalating violence at the line of control and at the killing of civilians. This is a nuclear flashpoint area. Does the Minister agree that we cannot leave it to Pakistan and India to resolve the Kashmir dispute, because the stakes are too high and the Kashmiri have suffered for 70 years?

Photo of Mark FieldMark Field Minister of State

I was at the Pakistani national day celebrations at the weekend as well. I think the hon. Gentleman will understand that there are good reasons why it is the UK Government’s position, and has been in the 70 years since Pakistan and India were formed, that the Kashmir issue should be determined by those two countries. There is not a role for Britain to interfere or intervene. Ultimately, peace will only come when those two communities themselves can find their way to work that out. Clearly, it has to be an issue for the Kashmiri people.

I like the last sentence. I think that closely reflects the 'help-yourself' attitude of our understanding of self-determination, here in AJK.

Having said that, there is a whole lot the UK Government can do while earning prestige and honour in the process. I've always thought modern day Britain's various urban centres resemble pre-partition India much more in spirit, than anywhere in India or Pakistan today.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 84 of 2018


Blogging after 4 days means that this has been the leanest spell (of not blogging), since I made a concerted effort to blog daily on the first of January this year.

However, this is not due to any particular sloth on my part but rather the fact that the LOC - apart from presenting a clear opportunity of becoming a victim of Indian and Pakistani 'target practice' - is also deliberately deprived of communication services. That is where I've spent most of the past 4 days.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 80 of 2018


We have our first martyr from a peaceful a while.....

Monday, March 19, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 78 of 2018


There is so much to write about.........most notable perhaps is that the theme of the #WhiteFlags received a turbo-boost yesterday.

Raja Farooq Haider used strong language against it. The Pakistani State narrative, which the AJK 'Prime Minister' represents and is on oath to defend: is alarmed and rattled by the 'White Flag March' on this side of the LOC.


Meanwhile, here's a little speech from the 16th of March....This date will be debated intelligently for a long time to come.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 77 of 2018


When I woke up today.....about an hour ago (after another marathon 48 hour visit to Bratla and then to Kotli and Phagwari before returning to Dadyaal), this was the first item in my inbox. I feel shattered from both sides, the Indians and Pakistanis are waging war in our territory - not against each other but against our civilians. This video could've been images and cries from any side of the LOC, we wouldn't be able to distinguish if we didn't have captions:

Friday, March 16, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 75 of 2018


A phenomenal day...........I was already committed to this date in the a seminar in Bratla (District Kotli) on 'The Treaty of Amritsar' which took place on this day 172 years ago.

Meanwhile, I missed out on this significant event below....

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 74 of 2018


AJK on a knife-edge - just like the timing of this blog..almost.

Peaceful assembly in Districts Kotli and Poonch in preparation for a #WhiteFlag March from Tattapani (Kotli) to Madarpur (Poonch) tomorrow along the LOC - organised by the leading #JKLF group in AJK - has put the Pakistani narrative into a spin.

The local district administration in Kotli was made to work hard today to try and disperse the converging activists from various parts of AJK and Pakistan.

A separate 'putsch' of sorts was attempted by the local administration in Nikyaal where a White Flag and Signature Campaign by local activists and affectees of Indian and Pakistani cross-firing; has been gathering pace over the past few weeks.

The stakes are probably higher than ever before given the interconnected world we live in. Peaceful initiatives by the citizens and inheritors of the territory (and the Indo-Pak conflict): when obstructed in 2018 take seconds to reach London, New York, Geneve and other capitals of the world.

The moral argument within the Pakistani narrative that the public in Pakistani-controlled parts of the State of Jammu & Kashmir are satisfied with Pakistan's steering of their future, whilst in Indian-controlled territory the public are in revolt, is no longer arguable.

The fact that India and Pakistan agree on far more than they disagree on, always becomes apparent whenever the public in any part of the un-divided Jammu & Kashmir take pro-active measures for peace.

The 16th of March does have a history....fiercely contested within internal public discourse in AJK but tomorrow could shed light on what shape the future of this region may take. 

Note: The dashed grey lines on the East side of both maps above indicate the LOC or Ceasefire Line as some continue to describe it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 73 of 2018


From an early start..............most of the rest of the day was spent in downtime.........I wanted to visit Kotli and Nikyaal today.

To investigate a threat by the Deputy Commissioner (DC Kotli) of 'harsh action' if a persistent #WhiteFlag and #SignatureForPeace campaign in Nikyaal, conducted by victims and co-citizens of the LOC were not to be abandoned.

"Pakistan's reputation in the 'international order' is at stake" is the carrot end of the stick as far as creative and peaceful protest anywhere in #AJK is concerned.

We - the persistent victims - are not allowed to create agency for resolving the very tragedy imposed on us..

This is akin to being prevented from mourning our dead. DC Kotli is only acting as a pliable messenger. Don't target him - as a citizen - he is a part of the solution, not the problem.

It all begins and ends with the dominant narrative in the public domain. If the Pakistani State's national narrative gets upset by peaceful messages to the international community - including India and Pakistan - from AJK, then the Pakistani State has no moral ground to impose its presence here.

A lot of us speak about de-militarisation as a first step towards a durable peace (and solution). Indeed, some of us even give 'brazen' speeches in public space throughout AJK from time to time, to this effect.

How many of us have methodically thought it through and weighed it against what is practically possible?

A data (collection) public agency has been through this thought process and utilised a measure-able amount of collective public wisdom to give practical shape to an Ownership-Building-Measure (OBM).

In order to proceed, this agency now only lacks two (2) steps before being able to carry out its first measure of de-militarisation in AJK:

1) A consensus amongst the 1,000 most influential citizens of AJK (proportional according to population of each tehsil and excluding serving MLA's), followed by a consensus amongst the 29 MLA's directly elected from constituencies in AJK.

2) The creation of a security agency (or merging into data agency) to secure the space vacated by de-militarisation.

I couldn't leave home today, never mind visit Kotli or Nikyaal. The reasons should be obvious to my co-citizens.

I shall abide by the principle: "Neki kar - Sila na Mang"

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 72 of 2018


I'm still awake. Trying to organise content in public interest. It's a slow process, not just in terms of net speed but also in terms of computing power. I could write a long list of technology and tools that I need but......

Here's the latest upload courtesy of Jammu Kashmir TV on Facebook:

This video relates to Mahmood Ahmed Musafir's Camel and Donkeys' March from Bhimber to Muzaffarabad on Day 12 (corresponding to Saturday the 10th of March or Day 69 of this blog). Here he proceeds beyond Mirpur District into Kotli District at Plaak:

I eventually fell asleep at 7am (0700hrs) and got up just before 11am (1100hrs).

Uploading videos continues on my Youtube channel:

This video was taken after 10pm (2200hrs) on the 8th of March:

The clips below were taken earlier in the evening that day (8th of March):

Reverting back to Jammu Kashmir TV on facebook for videos even earlier that day (8th of March)

Here's a scene from Hajeera Subdivision (Tehsil) Courts:

From the Courts we made our way towards the 'border' crossing-point in Poonch:

Monday, March 12, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 71 of 2018


A good deal of rest was due. Today's target was finding 2,050 PK Rupees (about £13.33 in British pounds) from the public to renew my monthly internet service. Task accomplished by about 9pm (2100hrs).

I also enjoyed a good walk today, which was necessary after over a day of rest. The pace will get more intense as Spring marches on.

Here are a couple of links to some of the many videos made in the past few days.

Courtesy: Jammu Kashmir TV on Facebook

This is step 3 of the White Flag March towards a ceasefire in Hajeera/Poonch Sector of the LOC on the 8th of March:

This was step 1 and 2 of the White Flag March towards a ceasefire in Khuiratta/Kotli Sector of the LOC earlier on the 6th of March:

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 69 of 2018


Almost 13 days of being out in the field from Bhimber to Hajeera and I'm exhausted.

There are so many questions in my mind...

What do I share on the internet? Text, Audio, Photo or Video? With who? On what platform? In what language? What is the right balance of information? 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 65 of 2018


LOC tension creates combustion in public interest from Hajeera to Khuiratta.

#Whiteheadsheets #Whiteflags in #AJK

Blood is spilled between the local administration and civil society in Hajeera while a war of attrition between civil society and the Pakistani Army resumes in Khuiratta to assert peace in AJK - in particular - and Jammu & Kashmir - in general.

All in a day. The busiest of 2018 yet.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 64 of 2018


The LOC makes me feel more alive than anywhere else in AJK. So much work ahead tomorrow.

Only problem apart from the blood soaked soil is the apalling net service.

Wrote this on Whatsapp a while ago:

Liason with civil society on LOC/LOB/CFL in Khuiratta Sector. Marvellous spirit despite confronting tragedy on a daily basis...a mature approach developing towards Indian and Pakistani cross-fire..will be making a public statement via local media tomorrow as our visit continues....

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 63 of 2018


Still leaving it late. No excuse but work has been awfully hectic of late. Transforming from homely slumber to hyper-active field work at age 45 is not as easy as it used to be. Paying attention to one's health while dealing with a schedule which can be even more unpredictable than the British weather, while co-ordinating various activities and recording events can reach atrocious levels at times.

Being an activist, a researcher and a juggler of time means processing a lot of information, communicating with a lot of people and constantly making choices. Inevitably, so much piles up that it would take an increasing amount of manpower and computer power to make all work visible and useful in public interest.

Meanwhile, here's a facebook embed to some photos clicked by our colleagues:

Friday, March 2, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 61 of 2018

2336hrs: (of Day 60)

I missed the midnight deadline by seconds, literally. Day 60's blog had to be amended to Day 61.

Yesterday, on day 2 of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir's Camel and Donkey's March from Bhimber to Muzaffarabad, he was halted at about 1600hrs (4pm), ostensibly by the district administration of AJK. Senior Minister in the AJK Government and local MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) Tariq Farooq expressed an intention to discuss the 32 public issues at hand. Mahmood was escorted to Mr Farooq's residence in Bhimber city, while members of the public tended to his animals at Jabbi where he had been stopped.

Meanwhile, I had initially intended to spend just the opening day on February the 27th with Mahmood Sahab. We camped at Chappran, about 15 kilometres north of Bhimber. On the morning of day 2, I bid farewell with an intention to join him once again for a day, when he would arrive at Chakswari.

Recently, I've been trying to focus on completing the 2nd version of Citizen Public Opinion Survey - AJK which would extend version 1 from 20 pages to 250. Thereupon, I would be keen to get this extended version published in an academic journal somewhere in the 'developed' world.

That is not possible at the moment as Mr. Musafir suggested that I return and engage in the aforementioned discussion with Senior Minister Tariq Farooq. At the end of an intense but incomplete debate, the minister suggested that we adjourn until the following day. We returned to Jabbi - located at the district border between Bhimber and Mirpur despite the AJK administration suggesting that they accomodate us in the State Resthouse.

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir spent Day 3 stationed at Jabbi while waiting for the Minister's call. It didn't happen.

I have suggested to Mahmood Sahab that we should proceed with the 'Camel and Donkey March' tomorrow morning and head towards Chechian. What is in the minds of the AJK Government and/or the shadows that monitor them is anybody's guess. Alibeg Police Station has had its staff stationed and camped alongside Mahmood and his animals since the initial encounter on Day 2. Today will be Day 4 of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir's journey from Bhimber to Muzaffarabad. 

Here are a series of photos as the evening progressed at Jabbi on Day 3 of Mahmood Sahab's march (which correspond to Day 60 of this year)

The following are photos of Day 4 of Mahmood Sahab's March (Day 61 of this year) as it progressed through the day, until its fabulous climax when Mahmood, his animals and dozens of citizens negotiated him beyond District Bhimber into District Mirpur in the evening.

Now, here are some video links embedded courtesy of Jammu Kashmir TV on Facebook:

Clip 1 of 4

Clip 2 of 4

Clip 3 of 4

Clip 4 of 4