Saturday 30 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 181 of 2018


We do leave it late at times.

The FIFA World Cup is become engaging, now that it's into its final 14 (as we speak and write)......

AJK to qualify for FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar?

That is not as crazy as it sounds.

Let's discuss...

Friday 29 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 180 of 2018


You wanna proceed to your next mission. In fact, you want to fly at times or at least hit the ground running but......

This line of work never involves a straight line........the twists and turns are as serpentine as the rivers. It is important to remain consistent and composed.

Meanwhile, here's the latest interview of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir on JKTV:

Thursday 28 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 179 of 2018


Another day in Rawalakot.......still struggling to get in gear.....despite covering an important event earlier today.

....The battle lines are clearly drawn I would say.

Meanwhile, I'm still coming to terms with some tantalising news emerging from Muzaffarabad yesterday:

Come to think of it, I wonder what else is discussed (on our behalf) and with whom without our consultation?

Monday 25 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 176 of 2018


How to invent a country?

The BBC has put a lot of effort into finding out......

They spent over 10 years of research in preparing this series for Radio 4

Listening to these podcats could give us a clearer perspective on the history of our own region over the past 200 years and a context for the contested space of Jammu and Kashmir between India, Pakistan and the subjects who reside within this territory.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of interviews of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir conducted by Sudhnuti News:

Friday 22 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 173 of 2018


Achievement in terms of daily tasks set out in public interest are progressing very slowly, if at all. Society in AJK - like most societies throughout the world - is engaged in pursuits which can range from searching for their daily bread to commitments in respect of their families and thus, the scope for engaging in public interest activity is narrow and limited. It's within that confined space that people like me operate.

I've sustained my efforts for 13 years thus far and will continue to do so.

The hardships involved in activism affect all aspects of one's existence but with time, the determination and confidence needed also gets more intense. A critical breaking-point will emerge at some stage. Either the activist will withdraw their commitment or the system will crack.

We understand that our problems begin and end with India and Pakistan's occupation of our territory but it's the middle bit involving the socio-economic transactions of the affectees amongst themselves that needs attention and focus. Taking all factors - internal as well as external - into account and as daunting and unforgiving as they are, it is no surprise that our people look up to the world to help them out of the 70 year old impasse they find themselves locked in.

That is not the solution though.

Change begins at home, in our behaviour and mental approach in particular. Apart from everything else that I am doing, this is what I'm trying to concentrate on in Rawalakot. The people here have a relatively better chance of navigating themselves out of this quagmire, compared to other parts of AJK.

Thursday 21 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 172 of 2018


Another day in Rawalakot.

I've blogged for 118 of 171 days of this year and I would confess that I still haven't developed the right groove in daily blogging. Nevertheless, a 69% output rate compared to close to 0 in previous years is something to build on as we approach the half-way mark of this year already.

The problems of this territory (related to governance) are too many to list impromptu. Likewise, the ability and will of the public to tackle them don't appear to be increasing significantly either. It is in such an environment that I am operating. The public appears to be constantly in a compromised or indolent state of being. The task of determining our current and future status as citizens of AJK - recognised by the global community - appears as daunting as it was during that tumultuous year of 1947.

However, it is not at all grim if the public changes its mental approach and builds on the various qualities that it possesses. We introspect a lot in public but don't devote enough time and attention to those amongst us who show ability to address our plight....the late Sardar Aftab of Thorar - who died on the 5th of June last year (2017) - was one such sincere and formidable activist.

Here we are celebrating his commitment and devotion in Ali Sojal earlier today:


Wednesday 20 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 171 of 2018


I've been in Poonch (district) for a few days now and I don't find it difficult to maintain my contact with mother nature here.

In my 13 years here - in or around AJK - I've never had an opportunity or public interest imperative to ground myself in Rawalakot before. In fact the longest stretch of time hitherto spent here was either during fieldwork for the Public Opinion Survey Report - AJK or during the recent 'Justice for Naeem Butt Shaheed' campaign.

The ground here is as tricky as it is promising and that should become obvious, gradually as this blog cuts through the future as it unfolds before us.

There is some parallels between Rawalakot and Srinagar too, apart from being at about the same height above sea level: 5,374 feet to 5,200 feet respectively.

Now that 'Governor Rule' has been imposed in Indian-administered Kashmir once again. That counts as another first for me to witness, even if from across the LOC.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 170 of 2018


We have drafted and sent a response to UNHCR's reply to Mahmood Ahmed Musafir on the 14th of June.

Here it is:

Ms. Ruven Menikdiwela
The UNHCR Representative in Pakistan
No.2 Diplomatic Enclave, QUAID-E-AZAM, University Road, Sector G-4, Islamabad, Pakistan

Dear Madam,

Many thanks for your email response on the 14th of June.

While we accept your explanation in terms of the standard operating procedures you have described, we wish to provide further context into this case and hope that - at the very least - you can continue monitoring it.

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir was born in 1964 in Subdivision (tehsil) Mendhar, District Poonch in Indian-administered Kashmir. In 1965, war broke out between India and Pakistan and Mahmood's parents  were forced to migrate (taking their children including 1 year old Mahmood) to Kotli in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

He began his life in public activism at the age of 20 in 1984. He has engaged in all manner of peaceful and creative pursuit to address the absence of governance in AJK (Pakistani-Administered Kashmir). The local governmental set-up despite nomenclatures such as 'Azad' (free) with a prime minister, president and supreme court operates at the 5th tier of governance despite the practice and appearance of democratic elections un-interrupted every 5 years since 1985.

Decisions on public policy/governance in AJK begin at the 1st tier with Pakistan's military and its agencies, followed by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs in Islamabad as 2nd tier. Below them remains the Kashmir Council (which has operated effectively as an upper house of parliament in AJK and until the recent 13th Amendment in AJK's 'constitutional' structure had almost sole legislative, judicial as well as executive power in AJK). The 4th tier is a group of at least 7 'lent officers' from Pakistan who further oversee and over-ride any decisions made by the assembly members of AJK who are voted in every 5 years by the public of AJK. However, there is very little that these local politicians can be held accountable for as most powers vest with the Federation of Pakistan, which is not accountable to the public of AJK.

The scenario is further complicated by the fact that AJK is not a territory that is constitutionally a part of the Federation of Pakistan and neither is it autonomous or independent in decision-making. Pakistan has in fact assumed all responsibilities regarding governance in AJK, which for all practical purposes appears self-fulfilling at the cost of the basic rights of the citizen in AJK. A recent report (on the state of human rights in Kashmir) by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the 14th of June, also alludes to some of the points made above.

In short, Mahmood Ahmed Musafir is not a citizen of Pakistan and has in fact moved out of his territory of origin (which remains under constitutional ambiguity for the past 70 years and from where a local citizen cannot institutionally pursue less resolve any aspect of public policy).

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir - despite all the above - has no enmity towards Pakistan but rather has always tried to include the aspirations of the Pakistani citizen within his efforts. However, his aspirations to create alternative energy in a free environment where merit and skill is recognised for the sake of alleviating problems for humanity cannot be realised in AJK or Pakistan. Indeed, the governmental set-up in AJK has expressly demanded that he stop agitating for rights in that territory.

Now that he's reaching the end of his life, he wants to die on a positive note whereby he would be leaving behind something for humanity.

He has also requested UNHCR to explore other grounds which may enable him to be considered for asylum/refugee status. Or should we contact HRCP and assess their response before exploring other options or taking the next step?

It has now been 37 days since Mahmood began his hunger strike on the 14th of May. He has been surviving on liquid and consequently at this stage can no longer walk and his head gets dizzy with increasing frequency.

Finally, we hope to be able to engage with the Head of UNHCR in Pakistan as the dilemma of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir is part of a wider dilemma that prevents any citizen (laymen, politician or judiciary) of AJK from engaging meaningfully with global institutions in particular and the outside world in general.

Being categorised (by default) as citizens of Pakistan without that country bearing the responsibilities of its unqualified control of our territory; has stock-piled a increasing range of problems which could otherwise be resolved by direct access to the outside world on our part.

Thanking you for your understanding.


Tanveer Ahmed (on behalf of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir)

Founder - AJK Public Agency

Contact: 03455044252


The original letter written to UNHCR on the 4th of June can be accessed here:

Monday 18 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 169 of 2018


We must return to the topic of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir today. He is into Day 36 of his hunger strike outside Islamabad Press Club in Pakistan.

After the initial letter witten to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee's representative in Pakistan on the 4th of June and a written reminder sent on the 11th of June, we received the following reply from them on the 14th of June:

Dear Mr. Tanveer,

We hereby confirm receipt of your application. We wish to inform that UNHCR’s mandate does not allow UNHCR in Pakistan to assist citizens of Pakistan unless they are displaced within their country due to conflict and the Government of Pakistan requests UNHCR and other UN agencies for assistance for these internally displaced persons.

Please note that under its mandate, UNHCR supports governments in providing protection to persons who have crossed international borders in order to seek asylum in a country that is not their country of origin.

For seeking protection as a refugee, a person needs to be outside his/her country of origin. A person who is still living in his/her country, such as a Pakistani national in Pakistan, cannot apply for asylum and be recognized as a refugee.

We, therefore, are unable to respond to your request for assistance inside Pakistan. You may, however, wish to contact the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) – a countrywide independent human rights body – to whom you could address your situation. The HRCP head office is located at Aiwan-i-Jamhoor, 107-Tipu Block New Garden Town, Lahore. Tel: + 92 42 35838341- 35864994 - 35865969 Fax: + 92 42 35883582. E-mail: 

You may also wish to contact the HRCP’s Complaint Cell for seeking assistance on mobile number 0333-2006800 or landline number 042-35845959. You may also contact them directly on the Complaint Cell email address

Further details on HRCP’s offices can be found at

Thank you for your understanding.

Yours sincerely,

Protection Unit
Country office Islamabad


After consultation with Mahmood Ahmed Musafir, we are in the process of responding in turn to this letter.

Meanwhile, here's a valiant attempt at highlighting Mahmood's cause. Many thanks to the media team at Ab Tak.

Not to forget the other side of the LOC, here's a silent protest through the streets of Srinagar today in remembrance of the irreplaceable Shujaat Bukhari:

Sunday 17 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 168 of 2018


Celebrating each other as individuals and part of public agency in Jammu and Kashmir.

This is the late Shujaat Bukhari - a priceless asset of Jammu & Kashmir

Recognising the individual in a State

Connecting the individual to the 'State' and synchronising their mtutal interests to create identity, which then provides access to a global forum from where one puts forward an indigenous narrative.

This achievement (of public space) enables a nation (a specific set of people within a legally defined territory and recognised as such by the world's most obvious forum - the United Nations) to translate its genuine aggregate public concerns into effective political representation. The public itself has to create, nurture, protect and sustain that agency: to avoid external interference.

When I suddenly phoned Shujaat Bukhari from Jammu in the summer of 2009 to inform him that I was on my way to Srinagar. His first question was, "Where will you be staying in the city?" I replied in my usual manner, "I was hoping to stay with you to make my visit as useful as possible in the shortest space of time".

He was a noble, fabulous, flexible, generous and concerned host who looked after me during the whole week that I was there. I spent 3 memorable days in his home and admired the way he multi-tasked so much and kept his composure and attention at all times. His home had wonderfully diverse cuisine with influence of much from Central Asia to South Asia.

My loss is the nation's loss.   

Kashmir is a conflict which consumes the best of its people. Shujaat Bukhari was a proud Kashmiri, a champion of its language and culture, and someone who sought dialogue over slogans and violence. His independence of mind has cost him his life.

Quote from Andrew Whitehead - Former BBC World Service Editor and Historian (on Kashmir)

Saturday 16 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 167 of 2018


The day before yesterday (Day 165, which I couldn't log an entry for - it was that shattering) climaxed in a piece of news that paralysed me mentally for the next few hours. I am yet to digest the death of Shujaat Bukhari

As described on my facebook entry that day:

I heard of his death on the balcony of another fallen dynamic hero - Arif Shahid - of peace and prosperity in Jammu & Kashmir. This connection paralysed me given that it had taken just over 12 hours for me to get from Sehnsa to Rawalakot (about 80 kilometres in total). It was a hot day to travel, my vehicle broke down 4 times in between and despite the ice cold shower at the Bawali (Water Spring) just below Hatkora - the day was nerve-racking and highly introspective. The public of AJK played a superb supporting role as usual. I rued the lack of interest and support shown by our diaspora, especially those citizens of evolved democracies. However, I know I shouldn't as they'll come good one day.

I'm writing this not far from the LOC where we aim to spend Eid and deliver aspects of hope between our intermittently aggressive neighbours.


At last, somebody is giving attention to what I've described as the 'Jammu narrative' for years but almost ignored hitherto. Essentially, the J in J & K:


Friday 15 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 166 of 2018


It began raining about an hour ago....a cool climax to a month of 16 hour daily fasts at the peak of the summer.

How and where to spend Eid:

We are on our way to the LOC and particularly those areas which have witnessed the brunt of Indo-Pak cross-fire. Various villages had been evacuated over the past year and their inhabitants are still reluctant to return for fear of losing what remains of their lives.

As it is unlikely that we'll be able to post anything while on the LOC, we would like to invite our co-citizens to spend or share some of their time in solidarity with these villages....From Dharamsaal in tehsil Hajeera to Polas in tehsil Abbaspur.

Source: Google

White Flags and asserting peace amidst two aggresive neighbours - who have little toleration for anything or anyone that doesn't agree with their particular sense of nationalism - no matter how un-natural or destructive for humanity their stance may prove to be - for a hard core activist in AJK is the most productive activity that one can imagine doing, at this specific point in time.


So, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN - OHCHR) in Geneva has finally published its first ever report on Human Rights on both sides of the divide in J & K:


Wednesday 13 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 164 of 2018


The days go mounts......important notes in public interest need to be extracted everyday and made public.........transparency in thought and motive....

As I mull over the 'constitutional question' of AJK and now that I have fresh material in the shape of the '13th Amendment', the need to elaborate on the self-serving assumptions of Pakistan's legal stance vis a vis its relationship with AJK, becomes compelling.

For many years and after many a discussion with legal experts in AJK and Pakistan, I still can't understand the legal validity of the word 'When' at the beginning of article 257 of the 1973 Pakistani constitution. At best it should be written as 'If'.

At least I got an affirmative laugh on that remark from a senior legal expert in AJK!

Article 257 of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan reads:

257. Provision relating to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and that State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State. 

The distance between assumption and fact cannot be measured in time or even verified. It has more to do with principles and performance (especially in matters of governance). 70 years and counting provides ample 'material' especially in this digital age. 

The following may qualify as a metaphor:

A thief could steal something in 1947 and remain largely undetected or disturbed. If need be, he, she or it could provide a plausible alibi or even a meaningful narrative. Not in June 2018. 

There are audio/video capturing devices everywhere now. Information gathering has come of age. The same modus operandi in 1947 cannot work today.

Assumption Number 2:
That Pakistan's totalitarian control of AJK and GB is sanctioned by the United Nations. Further, that their presence has been unreservedly backed by an overwhelming majority of the 'citizens' of the 2 territories in question. 

This could be a huge thread in academic discussion but needs to be scrutinised by the people of AJK before exploring the pros and cons of AJK's 44 year leap from 'Interim Act' in 1974 to 'Interim Constitution' today. 

Thank you Pakistan for the 13th Amendment.

Governance and functioning institutions have never been your forte. 

These are not my words to be precise, I'm just paraphrasing the fundamental argument made by Imran Khan in a recent interview on BBC Hardtalk   

Sunday 10 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 161 of 2018


Unfortunately, my performance - when measured in public interest output - for this previous month has been atrocious. I hope that it translates into the calm before the storm. Of course, time followed by health are the most precious 'commodities' in the hands of man (and woman) and wasting them is more painful than watching all the selfish activity of the Pakistani State right under our nose.

This evening was spent at a water spring (Chashma). Let's hope the invigoration derived from this activity transforms my performance in favour of public interest in AJK.

Saturday 9 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 160 of 2018


Still in Sehnsa............trying to piece memories together bit by bit......

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 157 of 2018


Now I'm stuck in Sehnsa since yesterday whereas my ultimate destination - for the immediate future - is Rawalakot.

More on that in due course.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 156 of 2018


The following is a letter written to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) yesterday morning according to the timeline cited and as requested by Mahmood Ahmed Musafir.

Later, in what is perhaps an un-connected event and what emerged as 22 days of ignoring his presence, the State of Pakistan seemed to have suddenly sprung into action this evening when their Federal Police appeared to launch an 'offensive' at 7:30 (pm).

It seemed as if they were on the verge of arresting Mahmood.

An altercation between journalists of AJK and the police ensued. It is reported that the latter were brusque in their approach but gradually matters returned to calm we post this blog...there are still 40 odd federal policeman watching over Mahmood, his tent and presumably dozens of other protesters from all over Pakistan:

Assessing/Determining the refugee status of a citizen of AJK (More commonly described as Pakistani-administered Kashmir) in Pakistan

Tanveer Ahmed
04:17 (0 minutes ago)

Ms. Ruven Menikdiwela
The UNHCR Representative in Pakistan
No.2 Diplomatic Enclave, QUAID-E-AZAM, University Road, Sector G-4, Islamabad, Pakistan

Dear Madam,

With respect to Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which we understand asserts the right of everyone to seek and enjoy
asylum, we wish to put forward the case of our citizen (of AJK or Azad Jammu & Kashmir), namely Mahmood Ahmed Musafir for possible 'refugee status' assessment by your esteemed organisation.

Having read through all concerned notes on your work it is difficult to ascertain whether or not Mahmood Ahmed Musafir qualifies for assistance, given the very unusual nature of his predicament.

We'll just try and provide a brief synopsis of why Mahmood wishes to attain refugee status and travel to any one of the following countries:

1) United Kingdom
2) Germany
3) Japan
4) Philippines
5) Malaysia

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir has been a dedicated activist in AJK for the past 34 years. Apart from working for the fundamental rights of the citizens of this territory described as AJK (which happens to be a constitutional enigma amongst other descriptions - it is neither legally a part of Pakistan or an independent territory but it is controlled/administered in toto by Pakistan) Mahmood also wishes to work on alternative energy (in particular wind and mechanical). However, despite annual events in public interest from walking/marching/demonstrating/conducting hunger strikes to try and persuade the local government in AJK to heed to his demands in public interest, he has been unsuccessful.

His demands break down into the most basic of needs such as roofs and sanitary facilities for government schools in AJK and an appeal for clean drinking water. Incidentally, his home district of Kotli is where water related diseases in the local population are most severe (compared to the rest of AJK).

This year on the 27th of February, he began a walk for almost 400 kilometres from Bhimber (in the South of AJK) to Muzaffarabad (the capital of the territory in the North of AJK) with 3 donkeys and a camel in tow (to highlight the point that if humans cannot legislate on their affairs, then perhaps animals could provide guidance). These animals and the wheel-cart they were pushing had a list of 32 demands in public interest. The local government of AJK did not provide the required attention to his demands and dismissed them with 4 common objections/excuses:

1) We are already working on these issues.
2) We do not have the necessary legislative/administrative/executive power to deliver to the public. Those powers lie with Pakistan.
3) We do not have the budget/finance to deliver.
4) Why are you so concerned? This is not your business.

Even before sitting down to talk with him, the AJK Government had undertaken many underhand tactics to try and prevent him from reaching the discussion table.

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir then felt compelled to begin an indefinite hunger strike outside Islamabad Press Club in Pakistan's capital on May the 14th. 

To date his hunger strike continues and the Federation of Pakistan which should be answerable to his plight has yet to pay him a visit.

He just wants to serve humanity and delving in alternative energy could help his country alleviate at least some of the problems it is confronted with.

Mahmood is of the opinion that any one of the five countries listed above may assist him with the right environment to develop these technologies which he has spent much of his life devoted to developing.

Can the UNHCR help?


Tanveer Ahmed (on behalf of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir)

Founder - AJK Public Agency

Contact: 03455044252

Monday 4 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 155 of 2018


I'll refer to the past 2 weeks and more as my longest 'down-time' this year. The heat of Dadyaal combined with the long days of fasting have been a major factor in this recess.

I am also struggling to get some aspects of my work understood by those of my co-citizens that I come across in day to day life. That is, apart from those who have already appreciated and contributed to 'my work'. What I write daily is primarily for my co-citizens - at home in AJK as well as the diaspora - many of whom are not comfortable in reading or writing English. That limits the impact of my work somewhat, though I do make up for it with a wide range of audio and video with commentary in Urdu or even Pahari at times. As for the wider world - particularly media and  academia - it is the written word that counts.

This scenario may mean that many citizens of the world may become more acquainted with my work than many of my own co-citizens. After all, it is the latter who are the subject matter as well as the source of assistance required by this nature of work. Essentially, where the public of AJK become the agency of change needed in this territory. However, there are already some indications that the world at large may be a more willing contributor to my 'cause', if I may call it that. That is what I want to avoid at all costs.

As I dig deeper into the soul while writing about my day to day activity, the chinks or weaknesses in our people's struggle for rights will inevitably also become apparent.

Meanwhile, these past couple of weeks have been busy for Pakistan's outgoing PML-N government (and it's deep state), which have tried to rush in 'constitutional' reforms for AJK and GB (Gilgit-Baltistan). Both 'orders' make a mockery of democracy once again.

The GB 'Order' is a bit more brutal in its wording while the AJK '13th Amendment' (of Act 74) is rather more sugar-coated, with an apparent transfer of financial/admin powers to AJK's legislative assembly but of course subject to Pakistan's consent at every juncture. Both steps are an ugly attempt at further integrating AJK and GB into Pakistan's federation. Removing the word 'Act' from AJK's 'Interim Constitution Act 1974' and simply using the word 'constitution' for a document that is imposed on the citizens of AJK is particularly ominous.

More on this topic in due course.   

Sunday 3 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 154 of 2018


Still stuck in Dadyaal. It's getting hotter by the day and as a consequence, fasting is getting more difficult.

Friday 1 June 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 152 of 2018


Its been 9 days since my previous blog entry. That's by far the longest stretch of absence since the 1st of January this year. It is Ramadhan and it is hot in Dadyaal at this time of the year but I've been trying to transfer my presence and work to Rawalakot for as many days as I've been absent from this blogosphere.

Without any luck so far.

It is at times like this that frustration with our nature of work is at its peak.

It is also troublesome for the mind that Mahmood Ahmed Musafir almost decided to self-immolate himself this morning after learning yesterday that the Kotli police tried to return his 3 donkeys and camel to his parent's house. Thankfully, this disaster was averted when - various members of the public rallied around the issue to force the local admin to re-take custody of the animals.

Meanwhile, here's a discussion on Mahmood's mission on JK TV:

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir was also visited by a group of journalists (of AJK but working in Islamabad/Rawalpindi Pakistan) on May the 24th. Here's a video of their discussion:

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 59 of 2024

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