Sunday, January 21, 2018

What is the price of consensus in AJK this morning?

Indian and Pakistani are the operative IDs here in Azad Jammu & Kashmir #AJK .....used in all forms of public discourse since 1947.

We feel it on both sides of the LOC, not least when yet more of our civilians get killed by both Indians and Pakistanis, as happened last night. I don't want to count the numbers or even show you a picture of a dead toddler or a disfigured father. We were frozen a long time ago.

What used to be the state narrative pre 1947 could today be described as the emerging J & K Narrative. Except that now its the inheritors of the State viz. its people - and not the state itself which was negotiated over by the Muslim and National Conferences respectively - who are using alternative or social media to sharpen their knowledge and learn all about: what they were not taught in the education system or through media for over 70 years.

This J & K narrative has to be probing and prominent in AJK, even to establish a chance for the people of the territory to actually and meaningfully decide their future.

Mobile Telecommunications companies should give out public interest messages for AJK subscribers....Most if not all companies do enough of their own advertising by invading our mobile screen space and even phone with automated offers to catch you - to engage you 'needlessly' - in 99.9% of cases....Telenor have bombarded me with 3 such needless SMSs in the space of 1 hour and 17 minutes...They can and should give that space and service every day to public interest messages in AJK.

Maybe I should speak to their 'Head' in Pakistan?

After all, I have his business card and have spoken along similar lines to whoever held that position some years ago.

Even better and more fairer in public interest is if somebody - who is a citizen of AJK and a Telenor employee with access to higher management - should make a suggestion to them.

What do you think?

Blogging can and should be interactive.

Meanwhile, at 1454hrs as I write, there is no respite to the exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops on the LOC....yet more of our civilians have been injured by mortar shelling in Khuiratta (Bhensigaala) sector. Is there anybody in the world who can speak to #NewDelhi and #Islamabad simultaneously?...Can you please stop killing our civilians of #JandK in a war which so few of our co-citizens were ever consulted on? #XLOC #INDOPAK

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 20 of 2018

Down to my last 120 PK Rupees here (at home in AJK) and minus about £12 (abroad in the UK). This is the lowest balance I've had in the past 6 months or even longer. Expenditure of my family (a wife, a daughter and a son) is about 30,000 PK Rupees a month, which at the current exchange rate is just under £200 (UK Sterling) or about £50 a week.

Not only is my 'work' unusual and unconventional but the way it is financed has also been ad hoc at best. It goes with the territory and you never know when there will be a sudden dip or rise in funding, which since 2014 has almost exclusively come from the public of AJK (local or diaspora). From 2005 to around 2008, I got by with my own resources even though I had orginally come just for a month.

Why I came here

For the following 5 years (between 2008 and 2013), it was mainly my family which ensured that those whom I was responsible for and I, didn't die of starvation. Simultaneously, I also managed to carry out much public activity which was increasingly being funded - in bits and pieces - by the public at large. I should also add that while most of the previous few years have been utilised in conducting the Citizen Public Opinion Survey - AJK , my wife's family have played a significant role in maintaining the needs of my wife and 2 children.

Now, for the past few months after publishing the initial summary of the survey report, I have been trying to gradually accomodate the needs of my family from the public funding that I receive, as well as conducting a forum to discuss the findings of the report, in each tehsil (subdivision) of AJK.

13th August - Dadyaal
13th September - Khuiratta
13th October - Charoi
13th November - Barnaala
13th December - Bhimber

Having conducted 5 forums on the 13th of each month since August to December 2017, I have now taken a break to complete writing up the extended report, which I hope to have published by March (2018) at the latest. I will then conduct a forum in each of the remaining 27 subdivisions on a weekly basis, so that I can complete the 'round' with the final forum at Muzaffarabad; AJK's capital city in October 2018.

I also hope to have a well chiselled out 'Charter of Demands' or even a 'Citizen's Charter' - derived from a thoroughly consulted process of the most significant individuals in each subdivision - for subsequent discussion with the members of AJK's Legislative Assembly. 

As people who are already familiar with my work may testify, I have followed a very lengthy process of gathering public opinion in AJK and am now utilising that data to carve out a viable 'Charter of Demands' which could help shape a consensus between the public and politicians of AJK, on how to resolve our constitutional ambiguity.

We have spent over 70 years in trying to convince the rest of the world about our problems but have made little attempt to convince each other of a viable and agreeable plan of action to navigate ourselves out of the mess that we find ourselves in.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 18 of 2018

Bits and pieces of good movement ahead.

It takes all sorts of characters to develop a consensus.

Talking of small states (in land or population) usually doing better than many larger states on providing quality governance, I mentioned some in a comment on

Do visit the website. Until being led to it a few months ago, I didn't think it was possible for the AJK diaspora to develop such high quality content just yet. Not for another 10 years I had imagined. I was wrong.

I'm also preparing an article for that place on the cyber river which will try and make a logical case while touching on the touchy issues of Identity, Narratives, Security, Economy, Constitutionalism and Agency.

For those of you who pray, put in a word for me too if you think I am sincere in what I'm doing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 17 of 2018

I must admit - if I haven't yet - that my priorities and thus my timing is not yet correct. I've missed out on posting for 'Day 16' by an hour and 6 minutes....

Monday, January 15, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 15 of 2018

There are many people waiting for work, notes or other material that is pending for months. There are others who have genuine issues with the state which need addressing, some have been pending for years. If only I can develop the right daily routine. Much of what an individual can achieve or not is down to his or her conduct or lack of it. A half of one month has already elapsed into the new year.

Nothing can be as precious as time. I have no more to waste.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 14 of 2018

Conducted a 'pilot' tour of my next public activity. This time the strategy is slightly different and planned a few weeks in advance.

A regular daily timed routine is usually described as the most efficient way to make one most productive over the long run. Apparently the brain grooves into habits and I will discuss this topic further in due course. I should add that whatever I will write here, will usually revolve around how I interact with others who live in my society, which is almost hermetically sealed from the rest of the world. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 13 of 2018

Despite waking after 2pm today, I have begun to develop a groove which ensured that I remained productive until retiring right now at just before a quarter past 11pm. As we motor along this journey from 'subject to citizen' whilst trying to maximise our output in public interest with each passing 24 hours, the raison d'etre of this journey should become increasingly apparent.

Whilst the initial target of blogging daily in 2018 was to ensure at least a sentence or two is published each day (without fail - and I have failed on 3 of 13 occasions so far). Gradually, my next target is to ensure major experiences/events of the previous 24 hours are fully logged each evening. These will include income and expenditure too.

If a citizen who claims to be devoted to public interest can transparently record their daily activity, it will greatly enhance the possibility of developing a sound basis for state (re)formation, in the context of AJK in particular and J & K in general. I should reiterate at this stage that whatever sounds or reads as cryptic requires perseverence on the reader's part and patience on the writer's part. After all, there are many hundreds of thousands of words to write; in order to explain my existence here. It needs to be done literally bit by bit.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 12 of 2018

Getting close to the end of the first fortnight of 2018. In fact, almost 12 days have elapsed already with 9 daily entries to show for it. As some have only been as much as a sentence, it would be extremely difficult for the reader to imagine this blog playing its part as a centrifuge for change in AJK.

I've learned a lot of things that I couldn't possibly have learned if I had spent the last 13 years in some other part of the world. My thinking has evolved differently, my attitude has mutated and certain attributes that I never thought I was capable of possessing, have been acquired. Patience and learning to be on the right side of nature are 2 distinct virtues that come immediately to mind.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 8 of 2018

An even less productive day than yesterday. Work and duties - both on a public and personal level - are piling up. This is one of the leanest spells that I can remember. The winter in AJK can tempt one to hibernate but the responsibilities at hand give little room for seeking excuses.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 7 of 2018

Today was yet another generally un-accounted for day. That is, from a public output perspective. However, as I constantly aspire to the bright side of everything, today has proved a tad more efficient than yesterday. For example, I have begun to write these words today before the last quarter of an hour of the day.

Despite using the word 'I' so often, I do wish I can shed it as soon as possible. Converting it to a constant, workable and transparent 'we' has been the challenge ever since I began reading the (auto)biographies of prominent public political figures of this territory e.g. Sheikh Abdullah, Choudhary Ghulam Abbas, Sardar Ibrahim et al. I also vividly remember - some years ago - being admonished by a prominent ethnic Kashmiri jurist - living in the diaspora - who strongly advised me to convert my explanations of public activity in AJK from 'I' to 'we'. I'm still working on it and hope to succeed soon though some of the burden does lie on my constituency viz. the citizens of AJK (at home and abroad). More on that in due course.

Fearing criticism of grandeur, I would reluctantly describe my work as that of an aspiring public intellectual. Certainly, that's the impression I'm developing from watching the following video:

Dr. Naomi Wolf: “What is a Public Intellectual?” Workshop   

The least one can safely say is that, one of the most generous things to do is to share knowledge.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 6 of 2018

Not much improvement to write about. However, the fact that I've written something publicly for 4 of the past 6 days is a lot more than I've written for many weeks at a time in the past, should embolden me somewhat. The struggle continues.....

Friday, January 5, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 5 of 2018

So I missed out on writing - not even as much as a sentence - in the past couple of days. With less than 9 minutes to go to the end of the 5th day of 2018, I am still nowhere near the 'organised daily framework' that I've been aspiring to achieve for the past so many years. With so much data gathered since 2005 on this region and its surroundings, the lack of analytical tools is the least of my concerns at the moment. There are far more pressing issues at hand.

I will get there though, sooner rather than later. What may appear cryptic at the moment, will gradually unravel. The battle must now be fought in the public sphere, in its entirety.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 2 of 2018

I am writing this up at about the same time as yesterday - that is - in the last quarter of an hour of the day. A lot is experienced during the course of the day, even on days when there is little public activity to write about.

Each day brings new and sometimes repeated examples of trial and tribulation. Each day provides ample examples of the relative strengths and weaknesses of our society. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Daily Diary - Day 1 of 2018

Although I've been writing a daily diary for many years now, to date I just couldn't step up the stamina to put up an online version every day. With less than a quarter of an hour remaining before the end of the first day of 2018, I would like to make my intentions as well as my activity as clear as possible on a daily basis, through this medium.