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Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 134 of 2019

2000hrs:

This is the cost of AJK's ambiguity:
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The following is a letter written by Quayyum Raja to the judiciary in AJK, which has recently claimed that it operates at a world class standard:
Quayyum Raja
WHO WINS THE HEARTS AND MINDS?

We all perform some sort of responsibility, but an extra mile taken to help others in difficulties is what counts most. Here is an example:

A fellow Kashmiri Muhammad Riaz and I were tried by a British Crown Court in 1984 in Mhatre Murder case, an Indian diplomat captured by fellow Kashmiris to prevent India from hanging the father of Kashmiri Movement Muhammad Maqbool Butt. The killer escaped and the two of us were charged and sentenced secretly. The British Home Secretary said he would inform us of the final decision, but years went by and he did not.

We were held in top security and refused access to legal representatives. I had no choice but to smuggle a letter to the then British Lord Chief Justice, asking him why we were tried by a court but sentenced by politicians. The Lord Chief Justice in his response, asked me to write a summary of my case and if he saw legal weight in it, he would reopen my case. 

The London High Court quashed our extra-judicial sentences in 1994 but the British Home Minister still refused to release us. I wrote to Chief Justice Lord Bingham on this occasion and he replied to me too, just like his predecessor.

Our case went to the European Court of Human Rights, which ordered our release in August 2004 but because I wanted to return home to AJK via Pakistan, the British and Pakistani governments delayed the administrative process. I was told that the judges were on summer holidays and there was no judge to sign my release until autumn 2005. I was shocked and wrote to the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf. Lord Woolf loved by most ordinary people in the UK, immediately cancelled the holiday of a judge and ordered him to finalise the process.

I was brought to Pakistan by a team of special security from Britain. While there was some provocation at the gate by prison security staff just to see my last reaction, a lady doctor approached me and said, “I know you are going to be very busy with your family and friends and may not have time to buy your medications. This pack of medications is for six weeks and I hope your doctor in Pakistan would arrange for you by then.” 

I had left my home territory (via Pakistan) at the age of 18 and was returning at the age of 46, with little idea of what awaited me here in AJK. Ever since my release, I have been working on human rights while trying to help both individuals as well as reforming our national institutions.

I have recently set up a Human Rights Commission and made some recommendations for education, health, judiciary and democracy. However, it is unfortunate that institutions are neither responsive nor responsible. The main reason is that they are not the right people for the right job. We hardly find officials including judges on their seats, let alone replying to personal letters the way the top British judges replied to me.

I filed a petition in the AJK High Court to include Kashmir studies into the curriculum. One year on, the government has not as yet responded to the court notice, partly because judges are often absent.

This is not just one person’s job. We all have to play our role to improve the system.

Quayyum Raja
President Human Rights Commission AJK-GB
Contact: 03448909960
Email: aqraja75@gmail.com

End of letter....
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