Monday, 22 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 203 of 2019


We are embarking on a trek that will take us above 15,000 feet and hope to deliver you exclusive footage on return. Let's hope the weather remains in our favour. 

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 202 of 2019


Spending quality time in Sharda.....


Meanwhile, barely a few dozen kilometres away in a northerly direction:


And South of us in Muzaffarabad:


Saturday, 20 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 201 of 2019


Hot on the heels is AJK civil society in the diaspora:

So, despite three separate protests followed by handing over a memorandum on each occasion to the Pakistani embassy in London - without any response whatsoever - the AJK diaspora has decided to write to their respective MPs in the UK as well as political representatives in other democratic countries, on the looming environmental disaster in AJK. This MP (in letter above) responded within 24 hours.


Take this as a reminder for what's happening later today in my old university:

I hope to join you in some shape or form.....


Squashing the distance between London and Sharda:


At the event:


Thursday, 18 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 199 of 2019


In the afternoon I was avoiding the sun. In the evening and 50 kilometres later, I'm searching for a cloak to keep me warm.

Such is my motherland.


My motherland would not be so hotly contested if it wasn't for:


Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 198 of 2019


From one end of AJK to the and us a unique insight into where our public stands...or to translate an Urdu proverb, 'How much water they're in'.

Here's a view of Sharda village on approach from the South:

On approach to Sharda 

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 197 of 2019


A lot of attention has been focused on what happened in Neelam yesterday. The dead and missing count is rising too....


Here's our second clip of 2 series of public opinion on Sharda. This was taken from the business community in all 16 major hubs throughout the valley and district. Here are the names of the hubs in sequence from South to North:

1) Chelhana
2) Baarian
3) Jura
4) Kundal Shahi
5) Athmaqam (district capital)
6) Keran
7) Nagdar
8) Lawaat
9) Diwaarian
10) Chaangan
11) Dudhnial
12) Tejian
13) Dosut
14) Khwaja Seri
15) Sharda
16) Kel


Meanwhile, on AJK's diplomatic front we have this to report from Mashad in Iran:

Photo 1 of 2

Chairman Human Rights Commission AJK-GB and columnist Quayyum Raja attended a peace meeting in Iran's spiritual capital Mashad. 

The meeting was held by Attaq Fikar Farhang Sullah and Doosti Tuesday morning in which the founder of the Iran-based Peace Initiative, Dr. Shah Rukh Arab briefed the meeting on peace efforts. He said that cause of conflict in the Muslim world and its solution must be found and everyone should play their role to restore the image of Islam; which is a religion of peace, love and equality. 

Quayyum Raja said he briefly described the cause of conflict in the Indian sub-continent and suffering of the people but delayed going into details till the next meeting. 

Photo 2 of 2

Khanum Sus Nake, Khanum Masooma Mahmoodi, Afghanistan representative Syeda Tahmeena, Tajik representative Dr. Huma and Dr. Abadullah also described their peace efforts and pledged to continue their work for the noble cause. 

End of report...


Monday, 15 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 196 of 2019


A natural tragedy to add to the man-made structural tragedies in Neelam Valley:


Sunday, 14 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 195 of 2019


71 for 3 are England (my team) chasing 242 for victory against New Zealand to win their first ever Cricket World Cup.

It's not easy at all given New Zealand's superb use of the conditions. They are also seeking their first ever world cup trophy (in one-day cricket).

On a personal level, my loyalties have transformed by 180 degrees since that day in 1992 when I was rooting for Pakistan against England in that final.

This is tense......England made a valiant effort but lost chasing 250 that day. New Zealand are bowling better than Pakistan were then, as they defend 241.

(Update 16/07/19):

I wonder if any of you can recognise the AJK diaspora contingent in this photo. Of course, it was a team effort but the hordes of our co-citizens supporting Pakistan is puzzling in a sense and not just because Norman Tebbit said so! No player from AJK or its diaspora has ever been allowed to play for Pakistan and neither is AJK allowed to field a team for Pakistan's domestic PSL.

Meanwhile, the game of cricket described as above, ended up being the closest match ever, tied after 50 overs and then tied again in the super over. Rules for the competition dictated that the team with more boundaries would be declared victors. England may have won the game and lifted the cup for the first time but New Zealand won most hearts and were gracious in defeat, if indeed the word "defeat" is applicable at all.

Source: facebook

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 194 of 2019


Dadyaal can be intensely hot in the summer but we were welcomed early this morning by a healthy burst of rain, just as we completed a family holiday which ultimately took us between Kel in the upper regions of the Neelam Valley and Dadyaal tehsil in district Mirpur. A journey which began in the afternoon of the 17th of June (Day 168 of 2019) whereby our first stop was Devi Gali in Poonch and ended in the initial hours of the 13th of July (Day 194 of 2019). That is where we are today. 

Our water springs sprouting out of the multitude of mountains on our journey kept us fresh throughout. Hospitality throughout was as special as it was spontaneous, as always.   

Check out how Pakistan centric this map is compared to the internal 'Riyasati' journey we've always adopted since that event in 2011:

The internal journey amounts to less than 300 kilometres

An essential part of the missing narrative on Kargil 1999:


Remaining in the Northern province of Gilgit Ladakh in the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir, here's an open letter from Shafqat Inqalabi to his co-citizens in AJK, the Valley of Kashmir and Jammu:

An Open Letter from Gilgit Baltistan to the Leadership of the Freedom Seeking Parties/Organisations of Jammu & Kashmir

1) Mr. Liaqat Hayat - President - JKNAP 
(Jammu Kashmir National Awaami Party)
2) Mr. Zulfiqar Ahmed - Chairman - JKPNP 
(Jammu Kashmir People's National Party)
3) Mr. Sagheer Khan - Head (of faction) - JKLF 
(Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front)   
4) Mr. Toqeer Gilani - President (of faction) - JKLF 
(Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front)
5) Mr. Yasir Younis - President (of faction) - JKNSF 
(Jammu Kashmir National Student's Federation)
6) Mr. Abbas Butt - President - KNP 
(Kashmir National Party)
7) Mr. Shaukat Ali Kashmiri - Chairman - UKPNP 
(United Kashmir People's National Party) 
8) Mr. Mahmood Kashmiri - Chairman - JKNIA
(Jammu Kashmir National Independence Alliance)
9) Dr. Nazir Gilani - JKCHR
(Jammu Kashmir Council for Human Rights)  
10) Mr. Hashim Qureshi - JKDLP Srinagar
(Jammu Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party)
11) Mr. President - Sarworajya Revolutionary Party 
12) Dr. Karan Singh - Descendant of the State's Inheritor Hari Singh - currently residing in Delhi.
13) Professor Bhim Singh - Jammu Kashmir Panther's Party
14) Professor Nazir ul Haq Nazish - UK
15) Dr. Shabir Choudhary - UK
16) Professor Sajjad Raja - UK
17) Mr. Shaukat Maqbool Bhat - UK
18) Professor Zafar Khan - UK
19) Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza - Tehreek Ittefaq e Rai
20) Mr. Sabir Kashmiri Advocate - Chairman (of faction) 
JKLF - Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front
21) Mr. President - Supreme Court Bar Association - AJK
22) Mr. President - High Court Bar Association - AJK
23) Mr. President - District Bar Associations - AJK
24) Retired Justice Majeed Malik - Mirpur
25) Mr. Azeem Dutt Advocate - Mahaaz e Rai Shumari
26) Mr. Nasir Ansari Advocate


I hope to find you all in good health. My dear noble friends, I wish to bring to your attention a very important matter related to Gilgit Baltistan (GB) through this open letter. I am hopeful that you will provide serious attention to the written requests contained in this letter and fulfill your national obligations. 

This matter is not confined to (the territory of) GB but is in fact directly connected to the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir and its (assumed) disputed status. On account of the natural routes of the territory of Jammu & Kashmir being deliberately restricted, it is difficult to transmit news of events occurring in one part of the (erstwhile State) to other parts (of the State).

Now, I wish to turn your attention towards an issue of utmost importance. In 1947, when the State of Jammu & Kashmir was divided into 3 (parts), whereupon after the ceasefire and UN (United Nations) involvement, the 3rd Northern province of Gilgit Ladakh was split in 2, of which an area of c.28,000 square miles was separated from Muzaffarabad and Srinagar upon coming under the control of Pakistan. 

Be it UN resolutions, the Karachi Agreement (28/04/1949), the constitution of Pakistan, the judgements of Pakistan's apex courts or the freedom seeking organisations of Jammu & Kashmir and even according to the viewpoint of those political parties (in AJK) committed to accession with Pakistan; the current (territory) of Gilgit Baltistan is a compelling part of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan's status here is that of a (an assumed) supervisor and it has no right to change the borders (of this territory).

In contrast to Pakistani and Indian controlled Jammu & Kashmir, (the territory of) Gilgit Baltistan has endured various changes (in its geographic structure). C. 2,000 square miles of the territory was given - in the interim - to China (as part of the Sino-Pakistan Agreement in 1963). The State Subject Rule of Jammu & Kashmir (20/04/1927) has (practically) been laid dormant. 

What has happened has happened.

Yet another dangerous game has been played. This game involves the adjacent borders (of GB) with KPK (Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa - a province in Pakistan) which meet the State (of Jammu & Kashmir)'s borders at various geographic points. For the past 71 years, KPK has been subtly encroaching into our State.

At the first instance, interference took place in the district of Diamer (as occupation of the land) beyond Basha (in KPK) reached Basri. From where (efffectively the Pakistani State) successfully encroached up to 30 kilometres into (GB) territory. If this area had remained with us (GB), then KPK would not even have a claim on Diamer Basha dam at all.

In the second stage, the area of Chitral in KPK which is adjacent to district Ghizer (in GB) encroached into the latter area where the historic polo ground of Shandur is situated. Here, the Chitral scouts with the help of FC (Frontier Constabulary of Pakistan) occupied this ground. Shandur boasts the world's highest polo ground and tourist resort. This area is the State of Jammu & Kashmir's 3rd Northern province's historic part, whose (geographic) boundaries were (mutually) agreed upon (and settled) by Maharajah Hari Singh and the English governor of the Frontier province (modern day KPK).

After achieving total success in capturing these 2 aforementioned areas, KPK has initiated an attempt to capture the most important part of district Ghizer, which is in close proximity to the borders of Afghanistan and Tajikistan and where the lake and glacier of Kurumber is situated. The 3rd world war is anticipated to be over (fresh) water sources and our largest source of water is in this very Kurumber.

My request to you noble fellows through this letter, is to discuss this illegal action within the general assemblies of your parties/organisations and raise your voice in local, national and international forums against this forced occupation by KPK upon various important parts of the State (of Jammu & Kashmir).

A province of Pakistan on the basis of brute force is encroaching within the borders of the disputed State, I urge you to make the international community aware (of the situation) and realise your national obligations in doing so. Also, make this case a part of your ongoing party/organisational campaigns.

I am fully hopeful that my noble friends will treat this subject with the seriousness that it deserves.

I thank you all.

Protecting our borders is protecting our State. 

Yours in healthy anticipation

Shafqat Ali Inqalabi
Northern Province (Gilgit-Ladakh)
13th July 2019

end of letter.........

Copies to:

United Nations
Foreign Office - Government of Pakistan
Prime Minister - AJK
Opposition Leader - AJK LA 
Chief Minister (Governor) - Indian-controlled Kashmir
Chief Minister - Gilgit Baltistan
Opposition Leader - GB LA
Chief Justice - Supreme Court of Pakistan
Chief Justice - Supreme Court AJK
Chief Judge - Supreme Appellate Court GB
Chief Justice - High Court Muzaffarabad AJK


This is an interesting angle and helps us balance much of our views about our neighbourhood vis a vis the rest of the world:


Friday, 12 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 193 of 2019


Enroute.....stepping down the layers of mountains and valleys....from Kishenganga to Jhelum to the tip of Mangla....




Thursday, 11 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 192 of 2019


Our people are still a distance away from practicing Ownership-Building Measures (OBMs) despite the desperate need for such, given our conditions.......We are simultaneously very close yet very far from our public interest targets.

Persistence will close the gap.


This vox populi began uploading in Neelam over 2 days ago. It had barely uploaded 50% by this morning. The remaining part uploaded within a couple of hours in Muzaffarabad. The tragedy of the Neelam Valley cannot be adequately explained in just a few sentences. I will write a more lengthy explanation in due course. Yesterday the electricity was absent there from 1230hrs to 2300hrs (10.5hrs). Today, all communication networks were off air for over a couple of hours.

Track 1 is the term being used for the people's reference on matters of public interest, as opposed to the institutional deliberations between AJK, GB or Indian-controlled J & K and India or Pakistan or any combination thereof:


Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 191 of 2019


Battling along....taking the bitter with the sweet............keeping aligned to nature and its forces...


This will be discussed for a while:


Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 190 of 2019


No doubt, citizens of the divided political entity of Jammu & Kashmir will give way more attention to this second UN (OHCHR) report (in 2 years and released yesterday) than India or Pakistan would ever care to wish for:


I suppose this is what I would describe as taking my view a few notches ahead of where I stand:


Monday, 8 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 189 of 2019


When momentum is on your side, many unexpected and even unrealistic events turn in your favour.

Publicity can go either way
I had 2 short but sharp exchanges with a couple of people today who I am carefully presuming to be Pakistanis, on holiday here in the Neelam Valley.

Example 1:
An old man called me a "Jahil ke bachey" (son of an ignorant/illiterate) for asking him to pass me in a narrow stretch of road where there was still enough space for him to comfortably pass by.

Example 2:
I was stopped by a car while it overtook me, whereby the gentleman in the passenger seat peeked his head out from behind a sun cover on his window to angrily inquire from me as to why I was flying a white flag on my vehicle. I calmly explained that I was promoting peace between 2 armies. His tone increased at my response and he in turn authoritatively informed me that only UN (United Nations) vehicles could fly a white flag in this territory. I remained calm and explained that the citizens of this territory are its exclusively legitimate stakeholders. He stared at me with disdain as if to say, "I will see to it, as to how much longer you'll continue flying a white flag in Neelam Valley!" and sped off.

A white flag between the Indian and Pakistani narratives

Personally, I'm not sure how much longer I can tolerate imposed violence on my territory, just because it might suit my neighbour's warped interests.

Having cited these examples, it is important to point out that - in the main - Pakistani tourists flocking to AJK and in particular the Valley of Neelam has had a positive impact. Albeit more economic than social.


Some people may not believe me but I make a point of not interfering in politics within the State of Jammu & Kashmir. The following tweet has its own merit in public interest:


Sunday, 7 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 188 of 2019


As I'm constantly on the road in district is quite difficult for me to post every day. 

Much like most work done since 2005, activism on the ground is more thorough than the write-ups that should follow it. Thus, there is a huge lag in between, which is increasing by the day.


It hurts:


An opinion:


Another forgotten mandir (Hindu temple) in Mandetar, Nikyaal (district Kotli) and near the LOC:


Friday, 5 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 186 of 2019


The root of all success in governance and public policy is genuine public opinion. 

This is what we have been certain of ever since we embarked on playing our part in the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. 

The question occupying our thoughts at the moment is how can we make a leap in our quest and can this progress take place in the valley of Neelam?

A valley that has probably taken most casualties (in AJK) in this Indo-Pak conflict since 1947.  

Can the most affected transform themselves into a catalyst?


Succinctly put:


This following fb post sheds more light on the less discussed aspects of the relationship between Britain and militarised governance in Pakistan:

I'll just translate the commentary of the post here:

This is the interview of (Javed) Ghamdi Sahaab after which he had to leave the country (Pakistan) to protect his life. The only reason was boldly telling the truth about the holy cows - read Pakistani military - (in our midst).

What a great analysis by Ghamdi Sahaab of the psychology of this society:

We have adopted the habits of slavery as we consider those to be our messiah who we should hate.

The British (Empire) recruited locals in their army who were loyal to the British Raaj. To protect the interests of the King (or Queen) they were always ready to fire bullets at the public.

The British left but left their army here. This army that we inherited from them has enslaved us.

In this country the gun-wielders at times govern directly and at other times govern from behind the scenes.

The government belongs to the people and the gun needs to be under the command-and-control of the public but how do we reclaim this right from the gun-wielders?

The hands that weild the gun are never ready to relinquish power and rather to extend and justify their power they exclaim that the public is safe because of them.

These days, their (foot) sergeants and boot polishers are seen propagating these views on social media: 

End of commentary....


Reality is stranger than fiction can ever be:


What I would like to know is, is this news story by Russian TV from May actually true?


Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 183 of 2019


The Neelam Valley.....fertile in every sense, if just the fear that has been imposed on society here - on account of being sandwiched between 2 conflicting armies - can subside.


Discussing Sharda with JANG correspondent for Neelam District/Valley Khwaja Fiaz:


Monday, 1 July 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 182 of 2019


The past week or so has probably seen much more of a reversal of the 2 nation theory than ever before, since 1947.

A few examples should suffice:

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 203 of 2019

0822hrs: We are embarking on a trek that will take us above 15,000 feet and hope to deliver you exclusive footage on return. Let's h...