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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 31 of 2018

2328hrs:

A day of rest.................I'm sure there will be a lot less of these in the next 10 months...

Once again, I must apologise to all those people who are waiting for data.........

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 30 of 2018

2357hrs:

Despite being the busiest day of 2018 yet......but I almost missed the midnight deadline.....


Monday, January 29, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 29 of 2018

2300hrs:

Continuity is a powerful asset.


This banner retains most of the text of the banner that was first created at Kotli in January 2016.

I have been trying to create a table that would attempt to measure the annual income of AJK (both GDP and GNP as latter significant). I should have created it by yesterday but am still at least six hours away from completing the first draft. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 28 of 2018

2348hrs:

So, 23 out of 28 is not bad for a start. It could have been a lot worse. Keeping track of daily activity and thoughts is so essential. Could be time-consuming too if one is not organised. Too may 'grey' hours of unproductive time is ill-affordable, particularly at this mature stage of working in AJK.

This blog will also measure my productivity in some shape or form. I need to be more conscious of that.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 27 of 2018

0229hrs:

I'd been meaning to upload the following for almost a week now, ever since I promised the citizen below when he visited me here in Dadyaal.

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir of Kotli city
Has over 32 years experience of fighting for public rights in AJK, in his own inimitable style 

In a similar manner to last year, Mahmood will be conducting another 'Public Rights March' this year, with yet more animals in tow on the 27th of February (2018), this time from Bhimber to Muzaffarabad.

Last year, his talks with the AJK Government ended with them agreeing to prepare an action plan to address the demands brought forward by Mahmood Ahmed Musafir, within one year. The deadline expired on the 19th of Juanuary 2018 with no response from the AJK Government whatsoever.




His demands are framed within a twin vision of a bright and prosperous Kashmir along with a bright and prosperous Pakistan.

His use of animals to accompany him has a multi-layered rationale behind it. Just one reason should suffice as an introduction: That is, in the absence of willing humans peacefully agitating for their fundamental rights, the use of animals to highlight the rights of humans is a logical outcome to the prevailing scenario in AJK.

He's currently engaged in encouraging the public to:
help him procure as many she-camels, male donkeys and any other animals as possible. Ideally, at least one from each of the 10 districts of AJK.

Route:
(Beginning on the 27th of February)
Bhimber > Jaatlan >
Mirpur > Kaakra Town > Islamgarh > Chakswari > Plaak >
Jarai > Raajhdhaani > Naar > Gulpur > Kotli > Thathapani >
Battal > Dharamsaal > Hajeera > Kaigalla > Rawalakot > Paaniola >
Arja > Jihaala > Dheerkot >
Kohaala > Muzaffarabad

He Demands: (An end to:)

1) Electricity load-shedding - Expensive electricity - General Sales Tax (GST)

2) Expensive education - An incoherent syllabus - Schools without roofs, walls and bathrooms.

3) Cruel hospital fees

4) Cruel road accident/death policies

5) The mockery of natural disaster affectees

6) Different laws for the rich and poor

7) Repeated delaying of municipality-level elections

8) Destruction of our forests and Mangla Dam

9) Ignoring of meritocracy - Ambiguous and constantly changing status of many government employees from ad hoc to permanent to unclassified.

10) Many decades old and rusty public water pipes through which unsafe water flows, resulting in hepatitis and other water related diseases.

11) The mockery of freedom of expression

12) Denying many citizens the right to solicit votes and thus making a mockery of the public in the name of democracy

13) Pakistani troops having to operate in darkness while Indian troops enjoy ample lighting facilities

14) Burdening the public with un-utilised government departments

15) Continuous delay in student union elections

16) Inadequate public transport/buses for students, especially females.

17) The growing list of incomplete sports stadiums throughout AJK

18) Making a mockery of declaring the River Poonch as a national park

19) Making a mockery of our citizens via the Kashmir Council.

20) Making a mockery of Kashmir's history and culture

21) Conducting X-LOC trade on the one hand and exchanging fire on the other - a mockery of the people/affectees living in or near the line of fire - there is often an absence of ambulances to bring the injured for treatment, while empty announcements are repeatedly made by the 'powers that be' to address such calamities.

22) Making a mockery of the poor in our society in the name of Zakat

23) The unjust distribution of benefits related to the CPEC project

24) Making many members of the police force work 24 hours a day

25) Delaying a judicial enquiry into the firing of live ammunition at peaceful protesters, who were agitating against electricity load-shedding in Kotli on the 29th of May 2012.

26) Denying control of numerous hydro-electric dams/projects being built in this territory to the AJK Government

27) Denying the investment of 3 crore PK rupees (c. $270,000 US) for wind and mechanical power (alternative clean energy), to each of the 29 political constituencies in AJK.

28) Denying the increased need for sanitation workers in urban areas in proportion to the increase in population

29) The dispute over the name 'Karote Dam' (for a project utilising the bulk of its resources from AJK viz. Holaar)

30) Denying the just allotment of land for the homeless

31) Denying the citizens of AJK from taking advantage of employment generation schemes, as are available in Pakistan.

32) A cruel banking system

At the end of his pamphlet in Urdu (image below) he has a sharp word or two for what he describes as an unbridled bureaucracy - or at least 98% of it - which he thinks acts effectively as a pampered organ of the government, akin to a favoured son-in-law!


Finally, Mahmood Ahmed Musafir also happens to be a member of the central committee of JK Mahaaz e Rai Shumaari (JK Plebiscite Front) and a spokesperson for United Action Committee - AJK.

If anyone wishes to learn more about his public activity or even wishes to assist him in his search for animals to include in this impending march, you can do so by directly contacting him using any of the details below:

Mobile:
0306-5838206
0341-5935557
 
Social Media:
facebook.com/mahmoodahmed.musafir  

Friday, January 26, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 26 of 2018

2306hrs:

Didn't get up early as needed. I actually got up at 1430hrs! Did try and make up for lost time though.

Despite that, there is so much pending (to do) in an environment where the nature of my work necessitates that I remain ahead, by ensuring all data and activity captured hitherto is organised and archived in an easily retrievable manner. Admittedly, that is not the case and the pile of 'to do' tasks gets higher every day.

A certain elusive balance in all aspects of life is strained for and when matters are not in sync, certain aspects of your work lag behind and ultimately the public suffers. Working in public interest is difficult as it is and if one is not able to successfully make efficient use of time at their disposal, a tragedy can emerge.

There are always positives to build on though. The daily posting of this blog is a much anticipated activity that had been in the pipeline for years. 26 days into 2018 and it is almost certainly a permanent feature of my typical day. My life will revolve around it gradually and an Audio version in Urdu of the blog will also be a daily reality very soon. Since, most of our people seldom read English - at least not in a serious sense - not many more read Urdu but a considerable portion of my co-citizens are more likely listen to an audio clip in Urdu (or even Pahaari). Perhaps that is one of the reasons why most of us are described as 'Sunni' Muslims here. There may be more than a joke in that!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 25 of 2018

2337hrs:

Hardly any forwad movement today. Structure is totally out of shape. Need to sleep on it and start afresh early tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 24 of 2018

2330hrs:
Giving shape to an algorithm in relation to AJK when there is much tension on Algorithm Governance.....shouldn't mean a consensus in AJK cannot be arrived at by using an algorithm. As a society we are deficient in many respects and there has to be a process of sequential activity involving the public to make matters in public convert to de jure status.

Since 1947, being de facto; ambiguous and therefore shadowy necessitated a mono-narrative and a less publicised 'terms of agreement' with India for Pakistan to cement its presence in AJK, unchallenged.

There is no formal procedure to bring them to any court of repute.

This is the dilemma for a purely peaceful struggle here.

That procedure has to be created.   

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 23 of 2018





2200hrs:

Its difficult to imagine how much one can write in a day.

In this day and age there is so much to write about. There is more news available today than perhaps ever before in history. Talking of history, there is a lot of that available too, at the touch of a button.

Today has been a productive day at the laptop, helped by an overcast sky which kept me grounded. Only worth going out if the sun is around.

I haven't given enough attention to acquiring a 'peer review' of sorts for the survey.

I'm still trying to work out who my peers are?

I will return to this question later.

Meanwhile, I want to share what I picked up earlier today on a student's blog in Europe, then connect it to a migrant worker's Whatsapp story from the same continent and how they both relate to AJK, in what the LKY School of Public Policy might describe as 'curating collisions in context':

The student wrote, "in my research I chose the definition of nationalism from Benedict Anderson’s perspective, in which nationhoods are ‘imagined communities’ and media plays a key role in this imagining process. In this viewpoint, nationalism is an imagined construct, that started with the print revolution when people were able to share myths and stories, and vernacular languages spread over continents".

I will also return to the Whatsapp story for that other context.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 22 of 2018

2210hrs:
The following is the text of a message I uploaded to a facebook group namely
Civil Society Forum - AJK >
about an hour ago:


Creating a Consensus in AJK

Rationale:

1) Enduring National Question / Constitutional ambiguity / Our public affairs being governed under an adopted and interim constitutional arrangement.


2) Democratically elected MLAs in AJK not being able to effectively legislate on most matters discussed by the public at large.

3) Difficulty in developing an internal narrative and pursuing it with locally generated public resources.

Almost each and every adult citizen in AJK has their own unique set of demands in public interest.

Every political party, social welfare organisation and other pressure groups/lobbies have their own strategy.

How can we identify the right number to put to our public representatives?

Who are our public representatives?

What should be included or not in the demands?

Who should represent the public in putting those demands to them?

In 2018, which of the following methods would be most effective in convincing AJK's Legislative Assembly to agree to a set of measures in public interest - to be carried out by a locally created institution:

1) March/demonstrate in public

2) Read, listen, watch, discuss and then sign a Citizen's Charter

3) Create a business plan, engage those involved institutionally and then create a lobby for making demands in public.

end......

Now, in a society such as AJK (and there is perhaps no other society quite like it) the term 'ignorance if measured can be cured' is still quite a distant concept. The mono narrative that exists in the public domain is one that only sees AJK as an extension of Pakistan's security-state apparatus. "Its a disputed territory according to international law and the status quo has to prevail until the people of the territory decide to accede with either India or Pakistan under a United Nations conflict resolution framework". This is the closest I can get to paraphrasing as accurately as possible the creative boundaries within which any citizen of AJK - politician or layman - has to operate within. 

So, getting the citizens of AJK to engage in a consensus building programme is probably the most difficult activity to conduct in AJK in 2018.

The 10,000 sample Citizen Public Opinion Survey - AJK was no less difficult but it was completed and I would argue that it provides far more meaningful data for governance than all the Assembly elections that have been conducted in AJK so far.

What Consensus - AJK wants to achieve (and within the next 10 months) cannot be done without the public understanding its value as a tool for resolving our 70 year old 'national question' and modern governance.

What transpired as a need during the public opinion survey was the need for a dedicated software programme that can update its findings in real time and ensure the representative character of those being questioned. This need is being felt more intensely as the days tick away. 
   

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 21 of 2018

What is the price of consensus in AJK this morning?

1000hrs:
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.

1420hrs:
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 Portmir.org.uk

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.

..............