Visitors

Monday, 22 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 112 of 2019

2220hrs:

Back in Dadyaal.

I'd been almost bombarded with cruelty over the past week but this evening I was hit with some kindness. 

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 111 of 2019

1558hrs:

We condemn all acts of terror wherever they may occur in the world and by whoever:


......

1930hrs:

Various parts of district Kotli are facing cuts of electricity anywhere between 0800hrs and 2000hrs for over a week now. We are informed - informally - that this is to re-set electricity cables in the wake of the ongoing 102 MW Gulpur (Braali) hydro-power project which we understand - like virtually all other such projects - is going to produce electricity (here in AJK( to directly deliver it (there to Pakistan).

The lower riparian climbs up with his military to warn us of another lower riparian killing our people because they are 'the other'. The 'warner' claims to be your genuine sympathiser, after-all he is your co-religionist. Sooner rather than later. both lower riparians decide to share the water between themselves without consulting the upper riparian. Who is conveniently divided between the two lower riparians using identical propaganda. One in the name of democratic secularism, the other in the name of militarised religion.   

This is just one of many hydro projects undertaken by the Pakistani State in AJK, all without due process, legality, environmental concerns, proprietary rights and many more questions within the framework of international law. Our Western neighbours are making the most of their de facto presence here. We now have to do without electricity throughout the working day for an unspecified period of time. This is load-shedding times six.

These imposed sacrifices are just heaping up, almost by the day.

 ....

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 110 of 2019

0220hrs:

Dabbling in a bit of poetry to express one's feelings is perhaps as old as human kind. We still have facebook today:


....

Finding the ways forward on Kashmir is an article by Nitasha Kaul (Associate Professor in Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster in London) published by the Centre on Constitutional Change in the UK.

My comment on the article:

This is probably the most lucid and compact commentary on present day Jammu & Kashmir. On the last sentence, I would suggest "credible nonpartisan internationally supported spaces" should be complimentary or even symmetrical to genuine activism on the ground within the territory.

.....

Friday, 19 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 109 of 2019

2250hrs:

At this mature stage of public interest activism on the ground, the most obvious barrier to change - that the majority of us aspire to - is how we think about public rights and our approach to obtaining them.

If we cannot convince our Pakistani neighbours to exploit us just a little less than they do, how on earth can we convince India or any major power in the world to give us political concessions?

In the last 72 years, we've grouped together with the Pakistanis - because they are nominally Muslim - and used the strength of our diaspora and devoted local resources to help Pakistan advocate on behalf of the Valley Kashmiris, on the perceived strength that they are majority Muslim too.  

So, we clearly have a majoritarian Muslim lobby advocating in non-Muslim Western capitals for political concessions at the expense of another non-Muslim country, which could soon become the 3rd largest economy in the world and which incidentally also has a size-able Muslim minority that is larger than the population of AJK, GB, the Valley of Kashmir and Pakistan combined.

We are willing to sacrifice all aspects of governance in AJK to continue pursuing this illogical, mob-like stance to somehow 'pressurise' the world into accepting our demands. 

Incredulously, we blame our absence of success thus far on an anti-Muslim bias in the West without as much as thinking twice about how we present 'our' case. 

Our diaspora in the UK which constitutes the largest community of our people outside AJK are particular culprits in this regard.

They enjoy the fruits of 'rule of law' and economic opportunities there only to dissuade activists in AJK from struggling for the very same.

"Don't waste your time here. It is pointless fighting for rights here. The big powers will decide this issue whenever it suits them." So said someone in my village who has enjoyed the best part of 6 decades in the UK.

If we have no value for our own environment and public space, how can we expect the world to take us seriously?

If we don't give due attention to what is in our own capability, why should anyone else use their capabilities for our benefit?

Geo-politics doesn't do free lunches.

If we can't agree on the need of a consensus for a political process that could ensure AJK controlling its own public affairs, how can we convince any major power to force India to surrender the Valley of Kashmir, that which we have foolishly surrendered to our Muslim neighbour?

     
  

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 108 of 2019

2030hrs:

Still in the village. Meeting villagers from morning till evening doesn't leave much time to oneself or the work that prevents me from returning to the UK, where I would be likely to meet even more villagers.

 

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 107 of 2019

1634hrs:

Got quite a bit done today. In fact, I've made progress on various tasks that have been pending for years. It does make one think: "Why didn't I give attention to this matter before?"

....

This is revealing as well as damning:



......


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 106 of 2019

1335hrs:


.....

The 'Save Rivers - Save Lives' Movement is also described as 'Save Rivers - Save Muzaffarabad'. Today, the movement entered its 23rd day of a sit-in protest in Muzaffarabad and it was well complimented by a protest outside the Pakistani embassy in London, by AJK Civil Society - UK.

Here's some footage from an awareness march by lawyers in Muzaffarabad:



.....

I liked the following news from Reuters:

Thwarting fraud: thousands to 'crowd-source' Indonesian election results

It starts with the following sentence:

JAKARTA (Reuters) - More than 10,000 people have volunteered to crowd-source election results posted at polling stations across Indonesia on Wednesday in a real-time bid to thwart attempts at fraud during the biggest single-day election in the world.

I liked it for a couple of reasons. The first relates to the existence of a conscientious citizenry which is what we're striving for here in AJK. So the news is inspirational in that sense. Secondly, the fact that its a majority Muslim country indicates that at least some such countries - Tunisia is another example - where Muslim society is actually coming to terms with the world they live in.

I hope this trend continues....

.......

Returning to the battle of 3 narratives in Jammu & Kashmir:

Here's a portion of a twitter conversation I want to exhibit to illustrate a point:


If we were to assume that AJK and GB were indeed a part of Pakistan, then why does Pakistan advocate a solution via a UN plebiscite?
Acting as an owner (without legal reference) and then claiming to advocate self-determination for the Valley Kashmiris is pure chicanery.




....

Monday, 15 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 105 of 2019

1455hrs:

We've been without electricity since 0900hrs. Nothing new here, this is merely a small cost for azaadi, albeit without zimidaari. That is freedom without responsibility. In the words of our previous prime minister Choudhary Majeed, "We wish to remain in darkness so that Pakistan can be illuminated."

The problem is: This type of foolish charity only makes the beneficiary even more cruel towards you. Such is human nature.

Today, the current AJK prime minister decided to visit the sit-in protest conducted by civil society in Muzaffarabad at Azaadi Chowk, now into its 22nd day.



Here's some notes (in Urdu) based on a conversation between AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider and Advocate Raja Amjad Ali Khan, spokesman for the 'Save Rivers - Save Lives' Movement.


Translated thus:

(note: words in brackets are my emphasis, for context)

Muzaffarabad:

Prime minister Azad Kashmir visits sit-in protest of 'Save Rivers - Save Lives' Movement

A dialogue between the prime minister and Raja Amjad Khan, spokesman for 'Save Rivers - Save Lives' Movement:

"Strengthen my hands and end this sit-in protest so that I can engage in meaningful talks (with Pakistan) on the rivers issue."

Prime minister Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider Khan

"If you can bring a copy of WAPDA's (Water and Power Development Authority - of Pakistan) agreement on its planning for electricity (in AJK), then we're ready to immediately end this sit-in protest."

"WAPDA is not taking our (public) affairs seriously and neither is it willing to make an agreement with us (AJK)."

Raja Amjad Khan

"The forthcoming (tomorrow - 16 April) protest in London (outside the Pakistani Embassy there) in favour of the sit-in protest (in Muzaffarabad) will be used by India as propaganda against Kashmiris."

Prime minister Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider Khan

"The sit-in protest (here) is into its 22nd day. Kashmiris also protested outside WAPDA House (their headquarters in Lahore) but the bureaucracy of WAPDA didn't even flinch."

"We don't want to create any administrative issues for you and neither is this sit-in protest against the Azad Kashmir government."

"This is a protest against those (forces) who are not willing to enter into an agreement with the Azad Kashmir government. By asking us to end this sit-in protest, you are favouring them."

Raja Amjad Khan

"A matter that can be settled amicably should not lead to rancor (hostility)."

Cautioned (the prime minister)

"I am a son of the soil. This is where I will (always) live."

Prime minister Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider Khan

"This is why we want to strengthen you, so that WAPDA is compelled to make an agreement with the Azad Kashmir government."

"If WAPDA doesn't want to fulfill the conditions for an NOC (No Objection Certificate) from (our) Environmental Protection Agency then it should invoke an independent international environmental study and follow its recommendations."

Raja Amjad Khan

"A file for creating water bodies on the dry bed of the river is on the desk of Imran Khan, prime minister of Pakistan."

"The prime minister of Pakistan has assured us that issues will be resolved."

Prime minister Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider Khan

"You had said (in the past) that we will not allow the River Jhelum to be diverted. (However) you have now supported the building of a tunnel there."

Raja Amjad Khan

"Some sacrifices have to be made (after all)."

Prime minister Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider Khan

......End of translation...

.....

 And the electricity in my region returns at 1830hrs, after 9 and a half hours.  

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 103 of 2019

2319hrs:

More than 24 hours of angst that I can't even write about, yet. I am way behind in terms of catching up with work. I can't even explain the subtleties to my co-citizens. They want me to do many things and be at more than one place at a time, yet don't examine my capacity studiously enough.

Conscientiousness is a rare art in AJK, too fine and refined to digest.

One does have to look at change as a serpentine marathon. 

Goodwill has to be dug out and is rarer than gold most of the time.

.....

As the democracies of India, Pakistan and the UK are not really paying enough attention to public opinion in Jammu & Kashmir, we may as well send a public interest message to an 'undemocratic' China. Some citizens of AJK in the UK are also preparing to demonstrate outside the Chinese Embassy in London. This could be globalisation as we've never witnessed before:



This photo was taken in Muzaffarabad yesterday, outside the sit-in protest at Azaadi Chowk, Muzaffarabad. The 'Save Our Rivers - Save Our Lives' movement is now into its 20th day (It began on the 24th of March). The same Azaadi Chowk where I was prevented from conducting a hunger strike last year, almost to the day (Day 100 of 2018). The police had forced me to accompany them to the police station within minutes of our banner being erected there.

It is important to understand all the dynamics at play here.  

Friday, 12 April 2019

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 100 of 2019

1426hrs:


His duty is to protect the colonial interests of the Pakistani State. Nothing less, nothing more.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 99 of 2019

2253hrs:

You have to live up to the challenges ahead of you. 

If you pull back, you'll be committing an injustice even worse than the injustices that you are fighting against.

The adrenaline will create its own opportunities....

Monday, 8 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 98 of 2019

0334hrs:

Now this is very political. I can't think of anything more so, at the minute. The conjunction of Kashmir and Palestine. Could this be dancing with the doves to gain parity with the hawks?


.....

So, we are constantly reminded that there is no rule of law in AJK and GB. Here's yet another example:




....

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 97 of 2019

2015hrs:

I'm still occupied with family matters and thus public interest work is suffering.

There's always an opportunity cost to everything and each indulgence has its own compulsions.

....

When back at my desk:

....

Having said that, we should have an idea of what we have in AJK:



....

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 96 of 2019

1459hrs:


.....

Friday, 5 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 95 of 2019

2132hrs:

So I missed yesterday's post after my most consistent spell of daily blogging ever. Just for the record, I blogged for 83 days - daily without fail - from Day 11 to Day 93.

Stats for 2019 so far: 87 daily posts out of a possible 95 = 91.6%

Have just arrived back from my village and have lots to catch up on.....

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 93 of 2019

0022hrs:

I have spent the better of yesterday evening and into this morning studying the information surrounding the eventual death of 28 year old Raja Waqar Turk in CMH (Civil & Military Hospital) Muzaffarabad at 9.25 pm (02/04/19).

He was allegedly brutalised by representatives of the Muzaffarabad police after an incident at around 11.15 pm on Thursday night (28 March) and had been on a life support machine since.

Here's a Facebook link to the news as it broke from sources at the hospital:



0829hrs:

Unfortunately, as I'm in a remote village I am unable to bring you the comprehensive report as wished, as yet. There has been a phenomenal amount of investigative work done by civil society, particularly in Muzaffarabad. I wish I could show you photo and video footage but I'm also without my toolkit, thus have limited functionality.

I haven't slept all night as I've been in almost constant interaction, both at home and abroad.

Here's a news summary by Shams Rehman for JKTV:

Waqar Turk death was an accident or Murder?

Who are the people in CCTV with sticks battens?

Is police involved in the death of Waqar ?

28 years old Waqar Turk died at 9.25pm in CMH Muzaffarabad reportedly following a fall from local building in Khawaja Bazar near Khalid Photo studio under highly suspicious conditions. According to some reports he was followed and tortured by police before the fall and police allegedly made him fall or even thrown him down. While, police claims that they never attended the place of incident, the eyewitnesses report that police was seen chasing and beating Waqar on the roof after 11pm on Thursday 28th March.

Right now protests are taking place in the capital city of Pakistani Administered 'azad' Kashmir. District Commissioner has arrived and is demanded by the relatives and protestors to register FIR against the police people recorded approaching the site of accident on the CCTV at the time of the incident.

Previously parents were assured by the DSP Riaz Mughal to carry out thorough investigation to reach to the bottom of the matter and bring any one responsible to the court of law.

End of Shams's summary.....

Shortly after, I forwarded the following update on various social media platforms:

Eye witness accounts corroborate CCTV evidence of alleged Muzaffarabad (City Thana) police involvement in brutality of now deceased Raja Waqar Turk. His post mortem also confirms torture marks before he allegedly 'fell' off a roof in the commercial hub of Khwaja Bazaar.



It should be pointed out in public interest, that I had explained in detail the proclivity towards violence of the current administration in AJK, a couple of months ago.

Day 31 of 2019

On the 7th of March last year I had also warned the administration of the likelihood of serious casualties if they tried to forcibly control public protests near the LOC in Poonch in future. This was a day after they had used strong-arm tactics to disperse a public rights agitation in Dwarandi, tehsil Hajeea. Barely a few kilometres from where Naeem Bhat was fatally shot 9 days later, on the 16th of March (2018).

They listen but don't act.

(Update): 1600hrs:

Our background research into Raja Waqar Turk's alleged police murder indicates that the public of Muzaffarabad has been increasingly incensed over the past few months, particular over the allegedly unlawful behaviour of Muzaffarabad police. Raiding people's houses without legal process and extorting benefits just like in Indian popular cinema, have almost become a norm. Two sub-inspectors, namely Zia ul Islam and Manzar Chugtai have become particularly notorious in the city for such aforementioned behaviour.




......



.....



....



....

(Update) 1500hrs on 10/04/19 (Day 100):

I have finally managed to slot in a detailed report on the alleged murder of Raja Waqar Turk by representatives of the Muzaffarabad police. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 92 of 2019

1435hrs:

Over the past few days I've been tinkering with the design of a favicon for this website.

This is what I'm using at the moment:


These following 2 were precursors to the above:

1 of 2

2 of 2

I will tinker further as the one in use is still not prominent enough. I may even have to do away with the map and just use the letters A, J and K in diagonal fashion. My co-citizens can let me know what they think....

....

Meanwhile, I'm glad someone is highlighting the following issue, which is more prevalent than commonly assumed:




....

Monday, 1 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 91 of 2019

1441hrs:

This is what I describe as the path to genuine introspection:

I wrote the following in my daily notes yesterday (most of which has yet to to published):

Conflict resolution cannot have a majoritarian approach....working through minorities is more constructive....

The tweet above essentially reminded me of that.

......

Now, this is strong and also contextual to the Valley:

....

1959hrs: LOC Update - Poonch Sector

The fire does not cease, especially in Spring.

Tithrinote, Battal, Mandhol, Serra, Darra Sher Khan, Tahi, Tattapani and Goi are all affected. Civilians have been witnessing heavy cross-fire since this morning.

......

Can we call this, "The boot on the other foot"?:




.....




Saturday, 30 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 89 of 2019

2338hrs:

The new year may have started almost 90 days ago but technology is not keeping up with me or I am not keeping up with it. The latter was abundantly obvious earlier today, as I had to scratch hard at my head while watching various programmes freeze when multitasking. 

I need more horsepower!


......

Putting pieces of the puzzle together bit by bit:

.....

Probing mission must not cease till victory:



......

Friday, 29 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 88 of 2019

1259hrs:

If humanity doesn't wake up, water conflict could one day escalate to being the most significant driver of global conflict. The internal narrative was stifled in Mirpur (ref. Mangla) in the 1960s but it might not be stifled in Muzaffarabad (Neelam-Jhelum) 50 years later:


Translated thus:

Entered into its 5th day has this sit-in protest in Muzaffarabad, against the water aggression of Pakistan and China. Close (stop / end) this water aggression!

End...

As you can read at the end of the tweet, they are beckoning Pakistani media to take notice.

Unfortunately, that country's media has traditionally been slow or even non-existent when it comes to coverage of issues that - by definition - question Pakistan's control of this territory.

This either indicates that Pakistani civil society is weak or that the State is unashamed of its hypocritical position: viz. advocate freedom for the Valley of Kashmir but suppress valid questions over your own presence in Jammu & Kashmir.

This internal contradiction is what I describe as the internal enemy of Pakistan. You cannot attract investment into your country or expect the world to trade with you if you advocate one thing and do another.

Pakistan is also concealing its poor utilisation of water as well as its inequitable distribution. Resources are controlled and used primarily for securing the State rather than enabling it to flourish.

There is little point in heavily protecting an empty shell.

With time, the neighbourhood as well as significant actors in the rest of the world will question Pakistan's mis-handling of the world's most precious resource.

A resource that others could demonstrably prove that they can utilise better.

I can't imagine a conflict worse than that.

In the digital age, it would be difficult to conceal inefficiency or pure lust and greed with Islamic metaphors.

The Pakistani State has many answers to give on its role in AJK and GB. By restricting its own media from honestly covering this territory, the Pakistani State is inflicting heavy injury on itself.



If you study the slogans chanted in this video, civil society in AJK targets the Pakistani institution WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) and not the Pakistani State when criticising what is essentially State policy. 

The intelligence agents who patrol public opinion in AJK don't work for WAPDA, they work for the security agencies of the Pakistani State. Hence, WAPDA is a soft target and one that civil society can mobilise against society wide and gain open support without the seedy controversy of riling the Pakistani State, which earns you the slur of being anti-Islam. This is so because you would be openly rebelling against the fortress of Islam viz. Pakistan.

So, the public rights narrative becomes stunted and then when negotiations do emerge to end the protests, personal interests are mobilised to muddy the narrative even further. The protestors become even more and more isolated over time and the cycle repeats itself periodically. 

From Mirpur in the 1960s to Muzaffarabad in the 2010s. 



Thursday, 28 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 87 of 2019

0411hrs:

Let's keep tabs on inspiring events around the globe too. Nation States cannot exist in isolation. 'Hard power' is far less effective compared to 'soft power' in the 21st century. So the digital age is proving it to be. 

New Zealand is ripe for isolation in a geographic sense, yet has generated a huge amount of soft power over the past couple of weeks. It is a successful country using any indicator of governance or public policy. It is most certainly not isolated. In fact, it almost seems as if it is at the centre of the world at the moment.


....

Jammu & Kashmir is more central in a geographic sense than most other territories in the world. However, its isolation in every other sense reminds one of 'The Law of Averages'. The sun inevitably makes its presence felt, no matter how many days of rain follow each other.

So, our aspiring citizens need to concentrate on soft power. Art, culture, heritage and all forms of expression of who and how we are. The world will take notice, especially if we are polite and refined about it.

....

Meanwhile, I'm trying to access the following link, not least for its piquancy but this is what I'm getting:

This site can’t be reached

indianexpress.com’s server IP address could not be found.

DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN





I have noticed this before. Certain Indian websites cannot be accessed from here:


.....


Well, this is going to get more interesting as human nature evolves in this region:




My immediate knee-jerk response to the above is that the opening of Sharda cannot be pre-conditioned by Pakistan. The Indian elections should not be a factor in this decision. If Muslims were barred from Makkah for 72 years, they wouldn't want to wait for a general election in a neighbouring territory to learn whether or not they could re-enter.

.....

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 86 of 2019

2257hrs:

An impulsive click by Commander Irfan Malik 

The Law of Averages:

We could write a treatise on this phrase but even without academic rigour or reference, there is a lot that we can discuss through the prism of every-day life.

Let's remain focussed on society in AJK.

The law of averages throughout the modern world in the context of mono narratives - in any given society - would suggest that they are not sustainable in the long run.

As we're talking about societies in nation-States (particularly contested ones) and since the Europeans are the architects of this structure, we have licence to use examples from there or in that vicinity.

Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy and Stalin's Russia employed a mono narrative. The Pakistanis have employed a mono narrative in AJK and Gilgit Baltistan (we will usually adopt GB for short in a similar manner to AJK for Azad Jammu & Kashmir).

The law of averages may dictate an inevitable failure.

There are 2 almost distinct narratives that exist in AJK and GB. I say almost because no prominent narrative can be monolithic. One is an internal narrative and the other is a Pakistani narrative.

Since Pakistan controls these 2 territories without legal reference, as being a respondent party of a non-enforceable forum (ref. UN chapter 6) doesn't provide a country de jure status. This dilemma compels Pakistan to base its control on certain assumptions that rely on the majority opinion of the internal inhabitants - the primary stakeholders in this conflict - to unconditionally support their stance. Hence it (Pakistan) considers it - as a matter of survival - to strictly control the public narrative here.

Control the narrative and you control the territory. De facto. As simple as a white flag.

Not recognising (or even acknowledging) the presence of other narratives is suicidal for a nation State.

What if the United Kingdom didn't recognise that a Scottish aspiration for independence exists? What if England and Wales did not recognise that there are citizens who don't want a Brexit? What if the Catholics of Ireland didn't acknowledge that their Protestant compatriots had a different view on national politics?

Closer to the Muslim world, what if Turkey didn't recognise that there are a significant amount of Turks who prefer to be part of a secular Europe rather than a rejuvenated Ottoman Empire?

All aspects of governance, public policy and conflict resolution (an oft cited term in the context of Jammu & Kashmir) follow the cue provided by the State (assuming charge of AJK and GB), based on the contrived perception that an all-encompassing dominant narrative exists, that unquestionably but conveniently favours the State's accession to Pakistan.

Even if we assume that Pakistan had entered AJK and GB in 1947 peacefully, by measuring the needs and opinions of the inhabitants beforehand and then legally sanctioned its presence, they would still have no right to impose a mono-narrative on these parts of the erstwhile princely State of Jammu & Kashmir.

Some would argue that Pakistan imposes its narrative in AJK and GB in the manner that it does, precisely because it could not and cannot sway majority opinion in its favour.

The average person who lives in this territory recognises that these 2 distinguishable narratives co-exist in real life. Everyday transactions between individuals in society reflect that average reality. They manage the 'occupation' (of course not everybody regards Pakistan as an occupier), hence society continues to function regardless. However, because it is militarised through external interference (primarily to protect that State's narrative), the territory has no internal control over governance and public policy and is compelled to abide by that Pakistani narrative, through social, economic, judicial and even at times extra-judicial means.

The system cannot grow organically - on its own resources - both human and natural. A mono narrative is by definition autocratic, anti-life, suppressive of human instinct and simply unsustainable.

There is little conviction in toppling one autocracy (the Dogra Empire) to become part of another autocracy. A Hindu autocracy, a Muslim autocracy or a Christian autocracy is by all means an autocracy. However, this current autocracy is hell-bent on extraction and expatriation. Dogra rule (1820s to 1947) can be rightly accused of many crimes but extraction and expatriation of resources is not one of them.

The citizen of such a territory: be they day labourers, judges, politicians, academics or anything else will remain camouflaged to survive and succeed.

If any internal entity or body peacefully challenges this imposed mono-narrative, they will immediately be accused of bias, working for the enemies of Pakistan and/or tabooed as a perfect candidate for being put in a mental asylum or at least deserving of some form of character assassination.

In a system of governance that pivots its existence on bias, it is a cruel irony that bias is the first allegation that is provoked in response to an alternative narrative. It is quite possible that the most instrumental enemies of Pakistan are a product of the internal contradictions of that society. That could be the case in AJK and GB too. Introspection can deliver answers in each case I suspect. It is also possible that the mental asylum candidate could be a genuine candidate for the Nobel peace prize.

In principle, there cannot be a difference between the nationalism of Balawaristan, Bengali nationalism, Indian nationalism, the nationalism(s) of Jammu & Kashmir or even Pakistani nationalism.

Each philosophically justify their 21st century nationalism according to the structure of Westphalian sovereignty introduced in the 17th century.

In an Islamic context, one nationalism cannot be halaal while another is haraam.

One nationalism cannot be legitimate at the cost of the other and that is the basic flaw of the Indian Independence Act, drafted and hurriedly but partially implemented by the soon-to-depart British Raj in 1947.

Let's return to the imposition of a mono-narrative in AJK and GB. With the internal inhabitant still struggling to cover the journey from a subject of the Dogra Empire pre 1947 to an aspiring citizen of AJK or GB, it has been established that our proclivity to resolve our 'national question' has been stunted in a targeted manner, where fear is a lifelong companion for most inhabitants.

It could be helpful to remember that the law of averages also dictates that many rainy days will inevitably be followed by a sunny day.

....

When I instinctively decided to review the Pakistani female writer Anam Zakaria's compelling book on AJK 'Between the Great Divide: A Journey into Pakistan-Administered Kashmir', I felt it almost equally compelling to write the above as a preliminary review, which I may as well title as 'The Law of Averages'.
              

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 85 of 2019

0524hrs:

Let's get back to earth for a bit:


......

This is intriguing...



.....

Upon enquiring on an elaboration of the word 'hawyaa', this is the response I got:


......

Monday, 25 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 84 of 2019

1036hrs:

Engineer Rashid MLA typically in the thick of the action - Source: Google
I don't agree with various aspects of this gentleman's politics but I consider him one of only two eligible politicians in the whole State of Jammu & Kashmir, to be described as a 21st century politician. His approach is very direct to the public and that's what is most attractive about him:


.....

I'm just finished reading a book written on AJK by a Pakistani writer. It would only be my duty to review it too:

.....

1729hrs:

I have received confirmation that both India and Pakistan have come to some preliminary agreement on opening Sharda to the Hindu community of J & K and quite possibly from elsewhere too.

The story was broken yesterday by a Kashmiri Pandit journalist in Delhi:

A whirlwind of attention has focussed on this issue, on both sides of the border between India and Pakistan, particularly today. It has kept me busy for most of the day too. I received further enquiries from various cities of what used to be an un-divided neighbourhood.

The following were quotes I gave on Sharda's re-opening for various Indo-Pak media that contacted me:

"It would be the most significant pro-life measure taken in this region since the end of the British Raj".

"It's positive implications for religious harmony, civilisational diversity, knowledge and wisdom accumulation will be felt globally".

"It could even become the pre-eminent symbol of 'soft power' in the world".

"Forgive the superlative laden description of Sharda but I feel it is warranted".

Here are some essential embeds which can trace the pursuit of Sharda by civil society across the divide in Jammu & Kashmir, in a chronological manner. These aren't the sum of the efforts of course, just an outline of some significant steps along the journey:

The pivotal role driving this whole process forward has been that of Save Sharda Committee Regd. and in particular, the untiring consistency of Shree Ravinder Pandita. Amongst other contributions we cannot forget, is Vinod Pandita's 15 day hunger strike in 2014.

02 July 2007

An academic from Indian-administered Kashmir visits Sharda:



......

25 Dec 2010

Building a bridge of peace and reconciliation:

.....

23 Mar 2011

Human rights and religion in Kashmir

.....

05 Sep 2012

Sharda Peeth - Hindu Heritage of Kashmir in Sharda - AJK:



.....

05 Sept 2012

Remains of Dogra Fort - Sharda AJK:



.....

01 Sep 2013

In Search of Sharda's Famed Mandir in AJK:



.....

01 Sep 2013

Exploring the Hindu Heritage of Ganesh Ghatti - Sharda - AJK:



.....

18 Mar 2017

Pakistani High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit answering question on Sharda:



.....

04 Sep 2017

A Message for the Kashmiri Pandit Community from Sunna ni Kassi - Sehrmandi - AJK:



.....

25 April 2018

Discussing Sharda at Muzaffarabad District Bar Association:

.....

22 Nov 2018

JKTV programme on Sharda, in wake of (news of) Kartaarpur Opening:

.....

01 Dec 2018

Pakistan's prime minister questioned by Indian journalist on Sharda:

.....

01 Dec 2018

After Kartarpur Corridor, A Clamour For Opening Route To Sharada Peeth Grows:



.....

05 Dec 2018

A well presented and concise article on Sharda:

.....

06 Dec 2018

Press conference in Jammu by Save Sharda Committee:



.....

08 Dec 2018

Speech at Sehnsa and an introduction to Sharda:

.....

10 Dec 2018

A must watch conversation on Sharda exploration:



.....

16 Dec 2018

Footage at Sharda:

.....

16 Dec 2018

Laying of flowers at Sharda Peeth by Civil Society:



.....

19 Dec 2018

Sharda in news.....Kashmir Times , oldest english newspaper of J & K state:



.....

22 Dec 2018

Excerpts from CNN News18 programme on Sharda issue:



.....

22 Dec 2018

Talking to AJK Media in Muzaffarabad about Sharda:

.....

24 Dec 2018

Letter from Indian government to Save Sharda Committee:

.....

25 Dec 2018

Civil Society Stance on Sharda in Muzaffarabad:



.....

29 Dec 2018

This short documentary has been prepared for Kumbh at Prayagraj (Allahabad in U.P) on Sharda Peeth exploration:



.....

29 Jan 2019

AJK prime minister visits old mandir in Muzaffarabad and orders repairs:



It should be pointed out that this is probably the first time in 72 years that a serving head of government in AJK (titled PM since 1975) has visited a non-Muslim place of worship.
.....

Now! We can fast forward to today and here's a prime time Indian TV programme on Sharda. I was able to participate for the last 20 minutes:



.....

There were also a few news items emanating from both sides of the international border. Here are some examples:

Pakistani foreign ministry submits proposal to PM Imran Khan to open Sharda temple for Indians






I'll finish off this exhausting entry with this upbeat fb post today by Ravinder Jee:



.....

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 83 of 2019

2125hrs:

Is the nation awake or asleep?

Is it aware or is it ignorant?

At times, it can be difficult to tell...

......

As this blogging space is my primary social media platform to organise, categorise and reference my work over the past 14 years, it may be apt that I log academic conversations that I'm a part of too:

This is on Academia.edu and the title of the article is: 'Kashmir Question - A Democratic and Inclusive Way Forward'

My response to Shams Rehman

I think this is a meaningful way to engage global civil society or even globally recognised institutions, with an aim to increase genuine democratic space in each region of the State of J & K. This strategy should be consistent and creative in the way it presents its case. For example, even art can be used to convey the message, especially at multi-lateral forums globally.

Having said that, this doesn't absolve Britain from its responsibilities in light of the Indian Independence Act. There is also much that can be done to make British MPs (especially those whose families originate from J & K) more committed to a democratic solution of this essentially British colonial legacy. As a large diaspora, we are most certainly not pulling our weight in accordance with our size and significance in the field of lobbying.

Nevertheless, most important of all is the conduct and commitment of our own people. How democratic, humane and just are we to each other? If we cannot derive a consensus on collective action amongst each other, there is little the rest of the world can or will do to help alleviate our misery.

End...

......


Saturday, 23 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 82 of 2019

1518hrs:

In the interest of global peace and a possible source of inspiration for public policy everywhere, I felt it absolutely necessary to copy the following notes from a Whatsapp group:

If any nation wants to learn how to treat a minority in times of need, please use New Zealand and its prime minister as a case study: 

‪50 Muslims were attacked and killed by an Australian born terrorist while they were praying at a masjid. 

‪How did NZ, a tiny island of only 4 million people respond? 

‪- The entire population mourned genuinely. 
‪- They called it a terrorist attack when the attacker was white. 
‪- They raised $9million‬ + for the families affected. 

- All funeral costs to be undertaken by the Government of New Zealand. 

- Any person caught spreading hate news, or the attack video to be jailed up to 14 years. 

- They banned guns within hours of the incident.

- A huge number of people gathered all over the country to lay flowers outside masaajid and showed their support within hours. 

- Kiwi people including the New Zealand police and even gang members of the country are patrolling outside masaajid while Muslims pray.

- The azaan was played publicly on national TV, radio and every masjid around New Zealand at yesterday’s friday prayers. 

- The NZ government fast tracked visas in 24 hours to allow families of the affected to enter New Zealand.

- Kiwi people opened their homes to provide free shelter, food and support to any Muslim.

- Non Muslim Kiwi girls wore the hijab to make Hijabi girls feel safer.

- The New Zealand media made sure they covered the Muslim voice in depth and detail, with full interviews with the families of those affected, front page headlines for days and still continuing.

- Prime minister Jacinda wore a hijab and personally visited the Muslim community on a daily basis to provide love, support & updates all while wearing a hijab. She hugged Muslims and genuinely cried with them 

- The New Zealand Parliament invited an imam to start a parliament session with an Islamic prayer (First time in History).
.
- Flags flew at half mast.

- The Kiwi people filled up parks and beaches with art work, flowers and candles to show that they stand with the Muslim community shoulder to shoulder. 

- Non Muslim Kiwis are actively staying around Muslims to make sure they feel welcome and at home. They are sitting, talking & eating with them. 

If this happened in another country, it’s likely the news wouldn’t have even made it to the second page of the News Paper.

Alhamdulillah, so proud to be a Kiwi Muslim. Thank you New Zealand. You have made a special place in the hearts of 1.8 billion people...forever. 

#Alhamdulilah #NewZealand #JacindaArden #Kiwis #ThisIsHowYouDoIt

....

The above helps reinforce my opinion that it is not necessary for Muslims ruling Muslims to be a more secure option for governance. It is quite possible for non-Muslims to provide a more secure environment to Muslims. The example of New Zealand could be a very significant lesson for the Indian sub-continent and its surroundings. In particular, for those who espouse the 2 nation theory.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 81 of 2019

2330hrs:

I love this age.

The following strand of thought from the Valley would have been difficult to emerge, if not for the digital age:

....

Meanwhile, on this side:




..... 

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 79 of 2019

2336hrs:

Boosting momentum prematurely could prove fatal. 

This isn't a T20 or a 50 over one dayer. It isn't even a 5 day test match. 

Hell! It's not even cricket.

This is a game that has been shedding the blood of the hosts for 72 years.

There is still no clear sign of it ending soon.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 78 of 2019

1601hrs:

JKNSF through their representative Faran Mushtaq send a strong message to the Pakistani occupiers of Jammu & Kashmir, in Rawalakot a while ago: 


Earlier today, some of the 30 captives of the Pakistani State were released. Some are still in unknown locations including their former president Sardar Talha Advocate, who it is reported was shifted from Waah Cantonment police station:

Now, take a note of this tweet:


Translated thus:

This is Imran Khan Sahaab in a JKNSF convention in Rawalakot in 2001. During his adddress he announced his support for an independent Kashmir.

(He further explained) that when PTI will come into government, justice will be done with you. No nation can be kept as slaves.

.....

Here's yet another example of how our children's education is neglected in AJK:


Translated thus:

Are these not our children? 

Almost buried in the lap of snow, a picture of helplessness are these children. Situated barely an hour and a half's drive away from Muzaffarabad, in the Union Council of Panjgraan is the village of Chamba where this government middle school is. Hereby is an appeal to everybody to help in constructing a building (for the school).   

....

Now this is an article published on Yale Global Online that is right down my street as a public policy activist:

Why Governments Count People

...

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 76 of 2019

2333hrs:

Confronting tragedy on a daily basis....

....

This is interesting...



After a gap of 30 years, gold coloured fish were seen today in 'Vimal Kund' Spring at Martand Temple in Anantnag, the Vale of Kashmir.

Such a sighting is considered a good omen according to Hindu mythology.

Could this possibly mean a new era of peace, prosperity and development in Jammu and Kashmir?

At least some elders of the Hindu community here are hopeful that the fragrance of brotherhood and love will spread amongst the different communities residing in the State.

....

We witnessed a good omen of our own today:




....

Friday, 15 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 74 of 2019

2105hrs:

Should there not be a distinction between pro life and an anti life approach to society?

In one corner of the world somebody engages on a killing spree of innocent humans in their places of worship and the world takes immediate notice.

In another corner, some people wake up determined to continue their struggle of building bridges between a society driven apart by a man made disaster decades ago. Not many people notice.

An anti-life approach in the context of AJK:

- 99% of society is corrupt.  
- You're wasting your time expecting them to respond to humanity.
- Our neighbouring State is a beacon of light for the world and we can't exist without them.

It takes years for pro life activities to gain traction here.....all that is achieved can be destroyed by a single anti-life activity.

.....

It has been reported that roughly 30 student political workers of JKNSF (Jammu Kashmir National Students Federation) along with their central president were arrested in Rawalpindi at around 1900hrs for holding a convention in the city. They are being detained in Raja Bazaar police station.

Earlier in the day, I had received reports that the Pakistani authorities had refused permission for the student organisation to hold their regional convention, on the grounds that they were "Anti-Pakistan".

It is understood that expressing the aspiration for an independent Kashmir more often than not, invokes allegations of treachery from the defenders of Pakistan's narrative on Kashmir. Various citizens in AJK consider these obstructions of peaceful expression to be an attempt to drive our youth towards violence. 

....

The traditionally lively citizens of Hajeera also took to the streets today to protest against the continuing internet blockade in their region. Just like the citizens of the Neelam Valley yesterday, they made it clear that their patience was wearing out. A deadline of two days was given to the AJK authorities (read Pakistani-administered authorities) to restore their connectivity.

During their procession and on approach to the Assistant Commissioner's office, they also demanded better medical facilities at the tehsil (subdivisional) hospital which lacked medicine, doctors and other medical staff. Students who rely on online facilities had to travel hours away to the larger cities of Rawalakot or Kotli to fulfil their educational needs. In addition, the public felt they were being economically strangulated by the conflict and its associated restrictions. 

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 112 of 2019

2220hrs: Back in Dadyaal. I'd been almost bombarded with cruelty over the past week but this evening I was hit with some kindness. ...