|Chakothi Crossing Point|
Notes from Diary of 070715:
Since arriving in Chakothi (Tehsil and District Hattian Bala - Division Muzaffarabad) yesterday evening, Pakistan's security service apparatus has been hounding, hassling and trying to terrify us away from this region. They are meting out this treatment to any and every citizen who makes contact with us. For example, the house where we stayed last night in Taafarabad (about a km from the LOC) is still being hounded with phone calls whereby Pakistan's security services are asking the womenfolk of that household as to why they accommodated us etc....
I spent more than an hour this morning with the local head of Pakistan's army, namely Col. Javed of Barnaala (AJK); explaining who I am and what I'm doing in AJK un-interrupted since April 2005. In summary, that I'm exercising the Right to Self-Determination as a citizen of this hapless territory which has been deprived of its own narrative and political agency.
I'm conducted the final phase of the National Survey begun in 2011 (which involves randomly sampling 10,000 citizens of AJK by covering every tehsil, profession and tribe) while my wife and two children have been trying to 'enjoy' the natural delights of Kashmir during their summer holidays.
At the moment, we are staying in a house in Chakothi town. What has compelled me to contact the British Government and to put up this update on FB is the fact that just before Iftaar, yet another member of Pakistan's security services came looking for me and the idea of me having to clarify my identity for the upteenth time in the last 24 hrs is way beyond the level of indignity that I can bear in my own home....
The above-mentioned gentleman came to the house where we were staying about an hour after iftaar in desperate search of a way and means to oust me from this part of my motherland. The hour long discussion was heated at times and involved many an inane question from him. In the mutual cross examination that ensued, i discovered that he had 'migrated' from Uri (barely 20 kilometres away on the Srinagar Road beyond the LOC) in 1990. It sickened and disgusted me to see him straining to find a way of pleasing his Pakistani superiors. An acute form of treason he was engaged in though little did he consider it as such.
By the grace of the Almighty, he chose the wrong individual of course and sheepishly left after an hour.
As for Pakistan's premier spy agency: smart move - to use a state subject for their dirty work - but not smart enough!
On a more serious note, the above is just a glimpse of what the local citizens of the 'free' part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir have to endure on a daily basis, decade after decade. All for the cause of Pakistan's myopic security and water interests, concealed under the guise of a benign Islamic fraternity.