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Monday, 30 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 273 of 2019

1811hrs:

There can be no more tolerance for not tallying wonderful gestures with action on the ground in AJK and GB any longer:



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Earlier, I spent most of the working day at the High Court of AJK to listen to the arguments in reference to the right to life, right of water and right of electricity and the competing claims of the people of Muzaffarabad and WAPDA (Water & Power Development Authority - in Pakistan). Both can be considered euphemisms for the State of AJK and the State of Pakistan respectively.

The arguments couldn't be completed in today's session and the court has been adjourned till tomorrow morning. Here's the traditional photo-shoot conducted after each hearing at the High Court:



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This was followed by a visit to JKLF's awareness camp at Upper Adda as they prepare for perhaps the biggest event in their history on the 4th of October:


From Left to Right: Khwaja Saif Udeen, Saajid Siddiqui, Yours Truly and Bashir Lone

My eyes are not deceiving me or you. This is Ghanta Ghar at Laal Chowk in Srinagar being replicated here at Upper Adda, Muzaffarabad:


The JKLF flag hovers above
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Meanwhile, in Mirpur we appear to be well on the road towards OBMs (Ownership-Building-Measures) it seems....Encouraging if so:



Reference

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Sunday, 29 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 272 of 2019

2140hrs:

In Muzaffarabad once again and the humidity here is more than palpable.

Azaadi Chowk! Where Else?

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Saturday, 28 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 271 of 2019

1126hrs:

The slogan of freedom has truly penetrated all public space in AJK:



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What an accurate depiction of Pakistan's policy on Jammu & Kashmir!:




This makes it 2 gems in a day from Sardar Anwar of Ali Sojal, Rawalakot and JKLF: 



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In this digital age, questions will always emerge in the aftermath of what you say on global podiums. I would repeat the twitter hashtag that I think encapsulates the sharpest feature of the emerging internal narrative in AJK viz. #SitDownPakistan 

There is an argument that nation States play off human rights accusations against each other but how do you dodge the learned activist's conscience & character? viz. #BabaJaan



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For those who can't read the text in the FB post above:

From Tanveer to (Gilgit) Jammu & Kashmir (Leh & Muzaffarabad)...towards a total transition or for all to be one and the same.

I cannot see a third way on this 4 × 4 mountain exercise for humanity.....

End of text from FB post.....

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Some things are ticking very fast.......

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Friday, 27 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 270 of 2019

2156hrs:

A day among a few days in the year that belong to New York, where India and Pakistan refresh their membership of the community that is known as the United Nations.

Earlier, we came across this:


I had this say:

Does #ImranKhanAtUN mean what he says or is he following the tradition of calculated ambiguity about Pakistan's role in #JandK ?


2 weeks ago on this day, 21 year old Khwaja Mujtaba Bandey was arrested & tortured for chanting slogans for an independent Kashmir, in front of Imran Khan in Muzaffarabad: Link

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I hadn't listened to Imran Khan's speech at the General Assembly yet but decided to fire another salvo on Facebook, while he was speaking:


For those of you who can't read the text of the post:

We of the table strive for the battlefield to be dismantled, from our territory if not the world.

Who is preventing the construction of this home-made table?


Identify the alleged and activate the judicial process in #Gilgit #Jammu #Leh #Muzaffarabad and #Srinagar

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Thursday, 26 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 269 of 2019

2340hrs:

We not only remember the fallen......we take inspiration from them too:


Here's a testimony from a member of the martyr's family:

"Today on 26 September 1991 we lost our beloved brave family member Faheem Akram Shaheed (Martyr) of JKNSF/JKNAP. My social media activism is a tribute for him. I started on 26 September 2018 last year."

End of testimony.... 

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This is sensitive but it is genuinely a part of our internal narrative in AJK:



Yes, the poster to our right merits translation in public interest, especially for global civil society.


Thus:


The people of Pakistan! Come Forward


Become a balm for the wounds of the Kashmiri public


To highlight the case of the Kashmiri public at a global level


GIVE FINANCIAL DONATIONS


To remain active on the diplomatic, public and global arena


To conduct relief work for the Kashmiris



JAMAAT E ISLAMI PAKISTAN

End of translation of poster.....


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I am yet to attend this annual event. This is some form of consolation for the time being until I do. I shall also write a summarised version of his background in political activism and the events leading up to his murder in 1991 here:




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Times Square in New York this evening. I remember the place vividly from my visit once upon a time. There probably is no square in the world more prominent than this and the wording is quite precise too:



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Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 267 of 2019

1851hrs:

Earlier this afternoon:

The earth has just shook heavily for almost a minute in Dadyaal......just a minute ago.......


AJ English were very quick in breaking the news worldwide:





Just over 2 hours later:


Mirpur, Jammu and Kashmir acknowledged by Facebook

Reflecting on what happened on a day which will be remembered as the 24th of September, the day of the Mirpur Earthquake:


It felt as if the earth underneath us suddenly transformed into sea waves...such was the vibration....

The death toll is going to continue to rise unfortunately, as are other losses.....it could be days before we can correctly assess the extent of damage.

It is comforting to notice so many people active on social media responding to relief and rehabilitation efforts so rapidly.

AJK has already received an unprecedented level of attention from global media in these past few weeks and now this happens...we thank humanity, our neighbours and global institutions for their continued attention.




The use of the word Pakistan to describe disaster in AJK is a bit irksome, though we appreciate the attention and solidarity:




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This issue has been heavily monitored by the people of Jammu & Kashmir over the past few days and further pinpoints the inability of the Pakistani State to advocate for J & K:




The tweet is translated thus:

Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Imran Khan both have said that we have the support of over 50 countries. Despite that, why could they (Pakistan) not submit a resolution on the 19th of September, for which they needed just 16 votes?

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Monday, 23 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 266 of 2019

1240hrs:

"The time has therefore come for Pakistan’s bonzes – immersed as they are in their own troubles, and incapable as they are of looking beyond their noses – to display boldness and declare that Pakistan’s basic position is tied to the UN resolutions but that if the Kashmiris so desire, and they want to be on their own, then so be it. Pakistan will respect their wishes, even if it means Azad Kashmir becoming part of an independent Kashmir."

This time was over 3 years ago!

This is perhaps the most practical article I ever remember reading by a Pakistani on Kashmir:



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Remaining on the theme of Pakistanis who display genuine empathy for the sovereign aspirations of Jammu & Kashmir,  here is the first of a two part Urdu video whereby Dr Arif Mahmud Kisana makes some unusual arguments for a Pakistani:



For example, he reminds us that Iqbal in his Allahabad Address in 1930, while outlining a vision of an independent state for Muslim-majority provinces in northwestern India never mentioned Kashmir. 

There was no such mention in the Lahore Resolution (which some describe as the Pakistan Resolution) either, 10 years later (1940). 

Pakistan had recognised the independence of Hyderabad, which had remained independent for 13 months until September 1948 when the Indian State took over, after many months of internal as well as external intrigue. Hence, M A Jinnah's interpretation of the Indian Independence Act was practically followed through viz. that the Princely States could remain independent or accede to any one of the 2 dominions.

I was particularly surprised at Dr Arif's elaboration on the Standstill Agreement which many Pakistanis wish to obliterate from memory, except to mention in passing where convenient.

He rightly mentions that Pakistan was enjoying favour with the Maharajah of Jammu & Kashmir and his subjects after signing the Standstill Agreement - which India didn't do - so why did Pakistan begin obstructing essential supplies to J & K under that agreement? 

In other words. why enrage others and make enemies of those who favour you or don't bring you harm?

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This is a first hand account account of what happened on the 13th of September when the Pakistani prime minister made his 3rd trip to AJK in 39 days since India bifurcated and downgraded its controlled part of Jammu & Kashmir on the 5th of August. 21 year old Khwaja Mujtaba Bandey explains how he and a few others were raising slogans in favour of Kashmir's freedom in the crowd (not the sort of freedom that would enslave us to Pakistan). They had garnered the attention of the crowd at K. H. Khursheed Stadium for over 20 minutes before the AJK police took action. Mujtaba then explains how he was arrested and subsequently tortured in custody, by those who were 'senior' to the local SHO (Station House officer). Again, this is a euphemism for Pakistan's clandestine agencies:



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Random thoughts:


The aspiring citizens of AJK have to convert the wealth of the territory itself into the means of holding it.

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Sunday, 22 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 265 of 2019

1041hrs:

The canvass gets larger and wider.........Jammu is no longer that far.....the city was a magnet for the whole region pre 1947. Our elders would walk there from Sehnsa and beyond in 2 days. For attending court and otherwise.

In the past couple of hours, we have heard unconfirmed reports that the powers that control the prime minister of AJK have issued an indefinite ban on him appearing in front of media forthwith.

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Saturday, 21 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 264 of 2019

2320hrs:

All roads lead to Sharda....but via Jammu and Khuiratta....This programme is from the 18th (of September) but I only got to watch it today. In this age of instant and multiple communication channels, we can quite easily miss the most important conversations in our midst:



What we can take from this programme which had such a provocative headline:




"Our emotions are the same - aar aur paar" 
(Here & there X LOC)

"Sharda - building bridges"

Ravinder Pandita 
Founder: Save Sharda Committee Kashmir Regd 

While watching this programme I felt we all in AJK or POK should watch this. I put the following quote to Pandita Ji and asked if it reflected his message on News 18 Urdu TV:

"There is little initiative or time that the government's of India and Pakistan have for re-opening Sharda. That work has been and will continue to be conducted by cross LOC civil society. People to people contact is a civil, peaceful and effective means of public policy. There is a peace narrative and a war narrative. A peace narrative depends on the re-opening of Sharda to the aspiring citizens of J & K."

He replied that "Sharda is a bridge builder.....there is no scope of extremism on this land of Rishis & sufis. Divine intervention is needed to bring back the much needed peace."

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Friday, 20 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 263 of 2019

1224hrs:

Coverage of AJK and its internal narrative by global media has reached unprecedented and even hitherto unimaginable levels. Al Jazeera and BBC Urdu covered the Poonch LOC March by Sardar Sagheer Khan's faction of the JKLF which began on the 7th of September. The New York Times yesterday. India's The Wire the day before and today BBC Urdu has yet again offered a new piece of commentary on this side of Kashmir, controlled by Pakistan.

Its title can be translated as 'Who talks of Kashmir's Independence in Pakistan?':


n.b. The title can be a bit misleading as the discussion is about AJK or Pakistani-controlled Kashmir and not Pakistan per se.

Here's an abridged video covering the same theme:



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A lesson on nationalism in the context of AJK:

Then there is geographic nationalism such as ours which is based on the concentration of resources in a territory desperately needed by all its neighbours. Such that it is a matter of life or death - water. It shares the concerns of liberal nationalism too.

Averting future conflict over water while preservIng the environment must be the responsibility of a nation State as that is the configuration of the world and the sole currency of global institutions. Whenever the world evolves to a different configuration, J & K will adapt too. 

The reformation of this legally sovereign entity is being achieved through civic nationalism and citizens in all divided parts of the State have contributed to this emerging internal political process. 

It is necessary that we take responsibility for water, soil and waste management in Jammu & Kashmir, that along with a modern, representative real-time procedure for making our public interest decisions will help us engage with the world meaningfully and practically.

Thank you.....written by Tanveer Ahmed in response to:

Nationalism, introduction and Types 

Nationalism is the doctrine that one's national culture and interests are superior to any other, and that nations should act independently (rather than collectively) to attain their goals. It holds that a nation, usually defined in terms of language, ethnicity or culture, has the right to constitute an independent or autonomous political community based on a shared history and common destiny. It can also refer to the aspiration for national independence felt by people under foreign domination.

Nationalism seeks to order the world as a series of nation-states, each based on the geopolitical national homeland of its respective nation, and holds that each nation has a moral entitlement to a sovereign state. It seeks to guarantee the continued existence of a nation, to preserve its distinct identity, and to provide a territory where the national culture and ethos are dominant. In turn, nation-states appeal to a national cultural-historical mythos to justify their existence, and to confer political legitimacy.

Simplistically, Nationalism is the desire of a nation to self-determination. It is usually associated with patriotism (a positive and supportive attitudes to a "fatherland"), but it can also lead to chauvinism (aggressive patriotism, or blind or biased devotion to any group, attitude or cause), imperialism, racism and xenophobia, militarism, or ultimately to Fascism.

It is usually considered a relatively recent idea, based as it is on the concept of the nation-state which is a largely 19th Century phenomenon and, until around 1800, very few people had more than local loyalties. National identity and unity were originally imposed from above by European states, in order to modernize the economy and society.

Types of Nationalism

Nationalism may manifest itself along civic, ethnic, cultural, religious or ideological lines. These self-definitions of nations are used to classify different types of Nationalism, although such categories are not mutually exclusive and many nationalist movements combine some or all of these elements to varying degrees.

Ethnic Nationalism: 

Where the nation is defined in terms of ethnicity and descent from previous generations. It also includes the idea of a culture shared between members of the group, and usually a shared language.

Civic Nationalism: 

Where the state derives political legitimacy from the active participation of its citizenry and from the degree to which it represents the "will of the people".

State Nationalism: 

A variant of Civic Nationalism, where the nation is assumed to be a community of those who contribute to the maintenance and strength of the state, and that the individual exists in the community expressly to contribute to this goal. This often results in Fascism.

Expansionist Nationalism: 

A radical form of imperialism (and not really true Nationalism at all) that incorporates autonomous, patriotic sentiments with a belief in expansionism, usually by military aggression, e.g. Nazism (or Nationalist-Socialism) in Germany.

Romantic Nationalism: 

A form of Ethnic Nationalism in which the state derives political legitimacy as a natural (or "organic") consequence and expression of the nation. It relies upon the existence of a historical ethnic culture which meets the romantic ideal (folklore developed as a Romantic Nationalist concept).

Cultural Nationalism: 

Where the nation is defined by shared culture, and neither purely civic nor purely ethnic. Chinese nationalism is an example of Cultural Nationalism, partly because of the many national minorities within China.

Third World Nationalism: 

Where nationalist sentiments result from resistance to colonial domination in order to survive and retain a national identity.

Liberal Nationalism: 

Where it is claimed that individuals need a national identity in order to lead meaningful, autonomous lives, and that liberal democracies need national identity in order to function properly. John Stuart Mill expressed similar sentiments.

Religious Nationalism: 

Where a shared religion can be seen to contribute to a sense of national unity, and a common bond among the citizens of the nation.

Pan-Nationalism: 

Where Ethnic or Cultural Nationalism applies to a nation which is itself a cluster of related ethnic groups and cultures (such as the Turkic peoples).

Diaspora Nationalism: 

Where there is nationalist feeling among a diaspora, (an ethnic population living outside their traditional homelands) e.g. the Irish in the United States, the Jews in the United States and elsewhere, etc.

Stateless Nationalism: 

Where an ethnic or cultural minority within a nation-state seeks independence on nationalist grounds (e.g. the Catalans and Basques in Spain).

National Conservatism: 


A political term, used primarily in Europe, to describe a variant of Conservatism which concentrates more on national interests than standard Conservatism, while not being unduly Nationalist or pursuing an excessively far-right agenda.

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In response to my explanation of nationalism in the context of AJK, the following comments in response were useful:

Comment 1:
But one thing I must say, strongest nationalism prevailing in AJK is Jatt, Raja, Gujjar and Sudhan Nationalism

My response:
That is very true to a certain extent as many of our people vote or supposedly support public interest ventures under such influences, which can be described as tribal nationalism. Indeed senior members of our diaspora who have lived in liberal democracies like the UK for decades still practice tribal nationalism when making political choices. 

Comment 2:
Don't you think this movement should be above religion because the Pakistani government is playing religion card?

My response:
I think we have to think like humans without labels to solve the problems of humanity. We all live in the same world and have to find common solutions to common problems. We have to save our geography. We cannot allow it to be Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or Muslim geography. Neither can it be Shia or Sunni..or...


The State is a system. It requires ingenuity, efficiency and order to operate...not religious sentiments...they can be channeled in prayer or charity...

Comment 3:
Yeah probably we can say that to give confidence to our non MUSLIM Natives of Jammu and Kashmir. But in a Muslim dominant society, don’t you think we have to implement Islamic Rule of law. Where as Islam is a complete social system which provides full protection to minorities?

My response:
If only non Muslims would accept that, which they won't and many Muslims wouldn't either. Remember water belongs to everybody...it would be impossible to make efficient use of it if you can't agree on a set of rules.

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Thursday, 19 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 262 of 2019

2204hrs:

Our neighbours failed to assert their State narrative, twice in 2 days at Bhimber:


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It is human nature to be comforted by an acknowledgement from time to time:




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This really took me by surprise. I never thought the New York Times would ever put a spotlight on AJK but they have:




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Meanwhile, we should not forget the plight of the Valley Kashmiris, stuck right in the middle of rocks and hard stones:





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This quote is hugely significant:



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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 261 of 2019

2221hrs:

The Pakistani State narrative tried to confront the internal narrative in Bhimber city today. The Pakistani State's illegal agency operatives tried their best to prevent activists of the Jammu Kashmir People's National Alliance (JKPNA) from distributing pamphlets to the public of Bhimber. However, they were thwarted by a firm civil society response and outrage from other parts of AJK and its diaspora. As explained hitherto, the AJK police are also a part of this society and thus share similar sentiments with the public. This sentiment can be encapsulated in the following messages:








Obviously this second image will have to be translated. Thus:

We vociferously condemn the illegality of the cowardly administration of Bhimber, which - without reason - kept Kashmiris under duress and stopped the public from propagating the truth.

End of translation.... 

It should be remembered that the word 'administration' is a euphemism for Pakistan's agencies which are now desperately trying to protect their country's narrative in AJK but with decreasing effect.

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Earlier, the following speech of the AJK prime minister made waves for its uncustomary bold advice to the Pakistani State, to effectively take a back seat in matters related to J & K: 




Parts of his speech was censored too, which increased the intrigue surrounding it:



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A British MEP has been busy discussing us in the European Parliament too:




However, as with all previous advocacy by British politicians, we urge them to stop thinking along bilateral terms. Here's my response to Phillip Bennion on his post:


We agree with most of your suggestions and analysis. We also thank you for your pro-active stance on this delicate issue. 


However, we do not think this issue can be resolved by India and Pakistan with an international mediator, even if it included Kashmiri representatives. That is a very unlikely scenario and even if it were to proceed thus, there would be little that the exclusive inheritors of this territory could claim. 


As someone who lives and thrives in a functioning democracy why do you not make suggestions for J & K that you would want for yourself if - God Forbid - the UK were to be occupied by France and Germany? 


Please support an internal political process in J & K without external interference. The world should accept a solution democratically created within J & K rather than open it further to regional and international intrigue.


End of my comment...


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This gentleman should not be forgotten. In fact, it could be said that our previous 200 years of history begins with him:




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Isn't it interesting that barely a day after the Pathan tribesmen are sent on a State sponsored visit to provoke the citizens of AJK into helping them repeat the horrors of 1947, the Pakistani prime minister has this to say:




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Daily Diary (DD) - Day 293 of 2019

0727hrs: Preparing for another visit to the LOC. This time in Smaahni sector.