Though I am well settled in the clouds of Rawalakot while I try and devote most if not all my time to preparing a thorough academic version of the Citizen Public Opinion Survey - AJK , not a day passes when an example or two of mis-governance in AJK comes to my notice. Issues related to the absence of merit in government job vacancies is particularly common. I have always felt that the absence of meritocracy, accountability and transparency in governance here will drive our people mad at some stage. Most people have thus far been pragmatic by by-passing this inhumane structure and venturing out to any part of the world that will provide them economic opportunity.
Meanwhile, the citizen of our territory who has staked his all in addressing the absence of governance here is now into his 66th day of a hunger strike outside Islamabad Press Club: Mahmood Ahmed Musafir
The UN in the shape of its organ: UNHCR also seems to be dragging its feet and here is our latest letter to them:
Ms. Ruven Menikdiwela
The UNHCR Representative in Pakistan
No.2 Diplomatic Enclave, QUAID-E-AZAM, University Road, Sector G-4, Islamabad, Pakistan
Further to our letter of 19th June to you, this is a reminder as well as a request for an appointment for our representative to visit you at your head office in Islamabad.
This is in response to not having received a reply to our letter as described above and further to learning that your secondary office at the details below - as described on your website - is no longer active:
Inquiry day: Every other Wednesday (9:00-16:30)
Address: SHARP Office, House no. 279-A, Nazim ud din Road, F-10/1
We were informed through our representative that the alternative address given over the phone was also not accessible.
Given the serious nature of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir's plight - he is now into his 66th day of a hunger strike outside Islamabad Press Club - and the very limited options he has available to resolve his quest for a system of governance in AJK, we would humbly request that you grant some time to our representative namely Muhammed Haroon to discuss the nuances of this unusual case and try and find a practical resolution to Mahmood's dilemma.
In the interim, Mahmood Ahmed Musafir has continued seeking institutional means to resolve his demands in public interest. For example, he contacted the Ministry of Human Rights (a federal government agency in Pakistan) yesterday on the number 051 9221704 at 1236hrs in an effort to put forward his case. However, the response he received was cold and the suggestion the person at the other end of the line gave him was, "Do whatever you want - If you die, who cares? If you survive, you'll end up in jail."
It should also be clear that in all these 66 days thus far, the government of Pakistan has not as much as enquired about his condition (of health) or his demands (in public interest).
As for the possibility of Mahmood travelling to another country to make an application for refugee status, it is unlikely that he would be able to obtain a travel document given that during his 34 years of working in pursuit of public interest in AJK, the local authorities had declared him insane on account of his efforts on a number of occasions.
For example, on the 21st of April 1996, when Mahmood had begun a hunger strike outside the President's house in Muzaffarabad (the capital of AJK), he was arrested at 10pm by the local police and the then ASI (Assistant Sub-Inspector) at Jalalabad Chowki (Police check-post) Sultan Awan had declared him insane and capable of doing anything. Indeed, these were the words put to the then senior sub-judge Bashir Ahmed Mughal in court the next morning. After a further 2 days in custody, Mahmood Ahmed Musafir was released without bail.
Hence, our request for a formal meeting in person between the head of UNHCR in Pakistan and our representative Muhammed Haroon (on behalf of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir) at your head office in Islamabad in the coming days.
If, as the premier forum in the world, the UN (via its organs) is unable to assist Mahmood Ahmed Musafir in his 'pro-life' campaign and if their stance is practically similar to what the AJK Government and the Pakistani Government has displayed thus far, then in Mahmood's opinion this would be tantamount to a global conspiracy against the development of this region.
Thanking you in anticipation
Tanveer Ahmed (on behalf of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir)
Founder - AJK Public Agency
There has been further coverage of Mahmood by Sudhnuti News in the meantime. Here's a clip from the 10th of July: