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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:


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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.

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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:


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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.

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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?"

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This is revealing as well as damning:



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Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 106 of 2019

1335hrs:


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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:



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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....

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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.




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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...

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 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.

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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?


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




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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.

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When back at my desk:

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



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Saturday, 6 April 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 96 of 2019

1459hrs:


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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.




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(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....

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




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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.

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

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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.

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




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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. ...