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Friday, 4 May 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 124 of 2018

1848hrs:

The feeling that I should be constructively writing my day is becoming more intense. Thank you Google for keeping this electronic diary going for so many years. I suppose I'm writing regularly in an age when people are more likely to read snippets of info, amongst a huge choice of information to choose, though people do engage in clusters, I suppose I am one amongst a particular cluster of humanity: seeking considered and informed change in a war zone which involves more casualties amongst my fellow citizens than the two 'outside parties' fighting on my turf and at my expense, whilst refraining from similar activity on their 'own' border.

The UN

I had a fortuitous meeting with the two UNMOGIP soldiers, stationed in Rawalakot this morning. The information exchanged needs to be put on the record to illustrate how the non-existence of AJK in the comity of nations - identified as such by the rest of the world - means we have no civil or institutional access to either nation-states or international institutions. Even if we communicate with them, they will not acknowledge or respond to anything in writing. Formally engaging with them is still a few steps ahead in our struggle for identity.

Here are the points discussed:

1 Swiss national and 1 Thai national (female) represented UNMOGIP

I explained/reminded them that:

1) This a peaceful territory with a public that aspires for peace, civilisational progress, justice and economic opportunity within a democratic/consensual framework of governance.

2) We don't exist as an entity as far as the world is concerned. For all practical purposes, even the UN doesn't recognise us as distinct from India and/or Pakistan. The most we can do is arrange for an appointment with UNMOGIP at any one of our large urban centres in AJK (which all have UNMOGIP presence albeit within Pakistani army 'cantons' or brigade headquarters). Whereby, all they are instructed to do is take a memorandum/letter from us addressed to the Secretary General in New York. Over the past 71 years, many thousands of letters have reached the Secretary General (particularly from Srinagar) but none have ever received a written response. The Political Affairs Department - also based in New York - according to its website description, seems to be the most appropriate organ within the UN to liaise on matters such as ours but alas, they stonewall us too.

3) We are not seeking help or charity from the UN, rather we are trying to help ourselves through locally generated resources and our own diaspora. We merely want the world to acknowledge our existence and monitor how we are using 'soft power' and democratic tools (in some respects at a standard not yet witnessed in the developed world). Accessing the world without Pakistan (or India) blocking all routes is an immediate need that the UN should discuss informally within its institutional structure, as should the UK and the EU for the sake of humanity and the values they espouse from time to time.

4) If Switzerland can sustain its neutrality for hundreds of years as a diverse entity amongst powerful neighbours, then Jammu & Kashmir deserves that right too.

At the end of our conversation, I requested to take a joint photo with them but they politely declined, explaining that they didn't have permission to do so.

.......

Meanwhile, since yesterday there has been a lot of chatter about the police of Rawalakot expressing solidarity with 'Justice for Naeem Butt Shaheed Committee' which is into its 15th day today. I've been at the camp for 7 days now and I know the police are keen to express solidarity at the camp but fear losing their jobs. We told them to come en masse so that the prospect of such an eventuality is reduced.

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Today, I was jolted badly by the State of Pakistan and its shadowy presence in AJK. A couple of days ago I had ordered some money from the UK (from our diaspora) using an online provider that we've using for over a couple of years. After a few hours of repeatedly visiting the relevant bank, we learned that their was an 'unknown error' preventing the transaction from being processed. As we dug deeper, we found out that we were being punished for not including the word 'Pakistan' in the receiver's address section. I cancelled the transaction and began thinking of a method to counter their inhumanity.

I've survived against all odds for 13 years and I'm sure I'll survive till my last breath, irrespective of whatever Pakistan tries to do to make AJK a formal part of Pakistan.

.......

Late in the evening was a prolonged discussion between 9 members of 'Justice for Naeem Butt Action Committee' and the local administration next to the camp at DC Office. Particpants of the committee were upbeat despite the discussions not being completed. The remaining portion of the agenda will be discussed tomorrow:

Here's our own version of a 'press conference' afterwards:



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