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Thursday, 29 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 333 of 2018

0019hrs:

Gosh! 

I've spent all evening in front of the computer and even had a window of this blog post open since 1900hrs yesterday (Day 332) but still managed to miss the midnight transition (deadline)!

I was more engrossed in the following book more than anything else. Not merely in reading it but trying to find the best way of recreating it for ease of use in blogger.


This fascinating book is as candid and comprehensive as it is 'against the tide' and sadly incomplete. Somehow, somebody somewhere was able to preserve most of it for us to read today. It focusses on governance in AJK during the 1960s and was presumably written in the early 1970s.

It is unthinkable that it would have been published anywhere in AJK or Pakistan, on account of it's lucidity about how AJK was managed by the Pakistani State then. The structure and mono narrative imposed on us then hasn't really improved to date. 

At some stage it seems to have been re-printed by Chand Press in Jammu and published by Nau Kashir Publications in Batamaloo, Srinagar. I wonder if anybody has a copy of the book across the LOC?

The following 8 pages (pages 18 to 25) form the contents of a chapter, namely (Mangla Dam - Kashmiris' murder)

Page 18

Page 19
Page 20
Page 21

Page 22
Page 23

Page 24

Page 25

On a day when Kartaarpur dominates the news, here's a view from AJK:

If Kartarpur, why not Sharda Peeth too? 

Monday, 26 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 330 of 2018

2107hrs:

Poor tools can be a valid reason for not progressing enough...

Meanwhile, here's yet another example of Pakistan's clandestine agencies disrupting the sale of books on Jammu & Kashmir. This time the 'attack' happened in our Eastern-most district of Haveli:



Can such a country viz. Pakistan be taken seriously for advocating the right to self-determination of the Kashmir Valley? For how much longer do we have to tolerate this hypocrisy?

On the same day...we can move from our least populated district: Haveli to our most populated district: Kotli...here's a contrasting scene where people's power is momentarily supreme:



Sustainability > Sequence > Synchronisation of public interest is what we're after, as intimated in an earlier blog post.


Sunday, 25 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 329 of 2018

0154hrs:

This is part of my country but I can't travel there at will.



.....

I can't think of a better place to spend a winter morning in.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 328 of 2018

1155hrs:

Yes, this is a good analogy of how governance in AJK works:


Meanwhile, here's an example of how - at times - confrontation takes place between the public of AJK and the Pakistani army:


This 'incident' occurred this evening at Battal (tehsil Hajeera) - near the LOC - where the Pakistani army man a checkpost. They were not allowing the party cadre of JKNAP (Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party) to proceed to their party convention in Kotli. Sanity prevailed soon after as no army can prevent an organised public group from travelling within their homeland.


Friday, 23 November 2018

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 326 of 2018

1632hrs:

Have accomplished quite a bit in the past 24 hours but can't really show much for it. Perhaps a bit like how the engineering quality of a car isn't quite visible from afar.

2234hrs:

Invited impromptu to the following Cross LOC talk show....Discussing re-opening Sharda and other places of worship in AJK. The programme is taking its cue from Kartaarpur movement between India and Pakistan in Punjab today. This shows both countries are more friendly to each other than they are to us..



....

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 325 of 2018

1840hrs:

Being organised has got to be a virtue, even though it takes so much time to attain it.

The Shahid Afridi issue has startled many a citizen of AJK and here are two very well presented takes on what is referred to in Pakistan as the 3rd option viz. Independence of Jammu & Kashmir.

Exhibit 1:



Exhibit 2:



...

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 324 of 2018

1435hrs:

When I'm just engaged in data organisation at home - like I was yesterday - other matters of public interest suffer. Everything seems to be a race against time.

Image of Sultan Raees from Google Search

Momentum is building over the arrest of Maulana Sultan Raees, leader of Awaami Action Committee Gilgit Baltistan (AAC-GB). He's also been unanimously nominated by various wings of civil society in AJK to be their declared representative in policy matters where AJK and GB converge.

In our opinion, he is being victimised by the Pakistani State for attending a seminar in AJK, in particular.

Here's a letter written by Quayyum Raja to the international community (global civil society):

Quayyum Raja

We appeal to all democratic and justice-loving people to protest against the arrest of Maulana Sultan Raees, who chairs the people's Action Committee (AAC-GB-AJK) which comprises of several political and religious parties (and groups) from Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB). 

Both territories are being controlled by Pakistan that has discouraged and disrupted communication between the people of two territories (GB and AJK), which were both parts of the United States of Jammu Kashmir until 1947, when India and Pakistan clashed over this territory, thereby forcibly dividing it. 

The only crime of the arrested leader is that he attended a seminar held in Mirpur (district capital of AJK) by the Azad Jammu Kashmir Syllabus Action Committee, chaired by this writer. 

We have been campaigning for the inclusion of Jammu Kashmir history into our national curriculum here, which is also controlled by Islamabad.  

We believe that it is the right of Kashmiri children to study their history like all other nations. 

Quayyum Raja 
Burhaan House
Khuiratta (tehsil)
Kotli (district)
AJK

Contact Number: 0092 3448909960 

End....

......

1903hrs:

The update above was supposed to have been written yesterday. Events do move forward faster than one individual can possibly find the opportunity to write about.

In this inter-connected world, many activists simultaneously engage on addressing the authorities' cruelty, at home and abroad.

As a consequence, Maulana Sultan Raees was released on bail from Gilgit jail this afternoon, after 4 days in captivity.



Meanwhile, on a more shallow note, I've been able to blog daily for 68.2% of the year so far. Let's see if the percentage can increase by day 365 on December the 31st 2018.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 323 of 2018

1213hrs:

Now, this is a serious bit of history which almost links my village to my State: Jammu & Kashmir. Apologies for keeping it from you since I received it in 2011, thanks to Yahoo and my co-citizens from across the LOC. 

Kalanger to Kotli


Autumn day after a monsoon in Kotli 2014

Khush Dev Maini - Also known as K.D. Maini

After the massive earthquake of 8th October 2005 on both the sides of LOC, a 45 kilometer long Mendhar-Kotli road across the LOC was opened for meeting of the divided families for the first time after 58 years on 17th Nov. 2005. The divided families on both the sides were allowed to visit the other side, to meet their kith and kin via Tata Pani Balnoi crossing point. 

However, later on when Poonch-Rawalakote road across the LOC was opened, Mendhar-Kotli road via Tata Pani was abandoned after 20th June 2006 and Kotli was linked with Poonch via Chakan-da-Bagh Zero point. Therefore, the old relations were revived and new contacts were established due to people to people meeting with the habitants of Kotli. 

In 1947, there were two routes leading towards Kotli from Poonch. First was a motorable road from Poonch via Mandole-Tatapani and the second was a bridal path connecting Kotli with Mendhar via Sona Gali Pass. At the time of partition in 1947, there were about 700 houses in Kotli town apart from a established Bazzar of an ancient time. Most of the houses were single storeyed buildings made of mud and boulders while some pacca houses were also existing in the town. 

Kotli was a tehsil headquarter of district Mirpur. There was also an old Baradari situated at the edge of Poonch river constructed with bricks and lime. There were three Hindu temples and a Dharamshala, two mosques and number of water mills. Kotli was a Mandi of food grain and wool products. The climate of the town was a bit hotter than Poonch town. The town was dominated by Hindu and Sikh families.

There were about 4000 Hindus in Kotli town at the time of partition. Mostly they were traders. There was a complete communal harmony between Hindu and Muslims in Kotli town. The habitants were participating in the religious and social functions of each other. However during the turmoil of 1947 the Hindu and Sikh population of Kotli town and surrounding villages was forced to migrated on this side of LOC and they never got opportunity to go back in their native areas. 

Presently the migrants of Kotli have been settled in Nowshera, Jhangar and Jammu area, but their sentiments are still with Kotli. With the opening of Poonch-Rawalakote road, the migrants of Kotli have again started dreaming of visiting Kotli, the land of their dreams. 

Presently Kotli is a district headquarter in POK with three tehsils namely Sensa, Nakyal and Kotli. The district is located on the southern side of tehsil Mendhar of Poonch district. 55 kilometers LOC divides Kotli from Mendhar. 

As per Raj Tringani the original name of Kotli was Kalanger. Around 1120 AD Padma Vat was the Raja of the Kalanger principality.

When King Susal of Kashmir was defeated by Bakachar, he had taken refuge in Kotli. In this very period King Susal had married the daughter of Raja Padma Vat of Kotli and finally with the help of the Raja of Kotli, Susal invaded Kashmir, defeated Bakachar and became the King of Kashmir. 

Kotli remained governed by local Hindu Raja's upto 14th century AD. In 1339 AD, when Kashmir was taken over by Shah Mir, the influence of Islam started increasing in the princely states of Pir Panchal region including Kotli. 

In 1452 AD when Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin established an outer hill state comprising of Poonch-Nowshera district, Kotli principality was dissolved and merged with new principality. 

With the passage of time, majority of the habitants embraced Islam in this area. 

In 17th century AD a new principality of Muslim Mangral Rajput Raja's came into existence with headquarter at Kotli. As per Tarikh-e-Aquama-e-Poonch Part-II, in the ancient time Kotli was ruled by Mangral Hindu Rajput Raja's with the headquarter at Sensa. The Raja of the third dynasty was Sansar Chand who embraced Islam and shifted his headquarter from Sensa to Kotli. 

The Muslim Mangral Rajputs ruled Kotli upto 1819 AD. However, they were dominated by Chib Rajas of Chabal.

As per Tarikh-e-Rajgan-e-Jammu and Kashmir, in 1808 AD, Gulab Singh was a common man known as Gulabu. His father Kishora Singh borrowed some money from a trader Dulu Shah and purchased two horses for his sons - Gulab Singh and Dayan Singh. He directed them to join the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

However besieged due to confrontation with Mian Mota, Gulab Singh and Dayan Singh could not meet Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore. Therefore, they decided not to join the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and moved back towards Jammu. When they reached Chabal area they joined the forces of Chib Raja Sultan Khan of Chabal. 

At that time Kotli was a Jagir of Mangral Rajas and a part of Chabal principality. Sultan Khan appointed Gulab Singh as a Qiladar of Kotli. Therefore Gulab Singh reached Kotli, took the possession of the fort and started collecting revenue on behalf of Raja Sultan Khan of Chabal. However Gulab Singh was not in good terms with the wife of Raja Sultan Khan whose name was Hayat Khatoon. One day when Gulab Singh was present in the court of Raja Sultan Khan his wife Hayat Khatoon abused Gulab Singh. 

At that very movement Gulab Singh left the services of Raja Sultan Khan and returned back to Jammu. Later on, Gulab Singh and Dayan Singh joined the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 

In 1814 AD during the first attack of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on Kashmir his forces were besieged at around Poonch due to unexpected revolt of Raja Ru-Alla-Khan of Poonch. At this stage the Rai (Jagirdar) of Kotli helped the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 

There was disturbance and revolt in Kotli area after 1820 onward against the rule of Khalsa Darbar Lahore. To subside this revolt, the Kotli and Chabal area was given by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to his Prime Minister Raja Dayan Singh as a gift in 1827 AD. 

Dhayan Singh received a tough resistance from Mangral Rajputs of Kotli in between 1827-1846 AD. In this disturbance, most of the Mangral Rajputs of Kotli had left their native villages and migrated towards the remote areas of Pir Panchal range. 

In 1852 AD when Poonch-Chabal Jagir was divided into two parts, Kotli had become the part of Chabbal principality of Raja Jawahar Singh. But Raja Jawahar Singh had never came to Kotli-Chabal area and this principality was confiscated by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1856 AD. Kotli remained the part of J&K State from 1856-1947 AD. 

In 1947 Kotli was defended by a company of state forces. During the turmoil of 1947, the rebels with the help of Pakistan armed forces and tribesmen of NWFP revolted against state forces. The state forces could not hold the area and the scattered contingents retreated towards Kotli. The town was besieged by the rebels. In these circumstances Colonel Baldev Singh Pathania was appointed as guide to state forces for operation against the rebels under the overall commanded of Brigadier Chattar Singh who was stationed at Mirpur. 

The city was besieged from all the sides. About 5000 Hindus from the surrounding areas had also taken refuge in the town. There was acute shortage of ammunition and it was not possible for the state forces to hold the town. 

The Indian air force in the month of November, 1947 dropped some boxes of ammunition in and around Kotli town. Unfortunately these boxes of ammunition were captured by the rebels. However 17 boxes were snatched by the civil population. In the meantime Indian forces started operation from Jammu side and reached Jhangar under the command of Brigadier Pran Japi. 

On 12th November the advance towards Kotli was started by Brigadier Pran Japi from Jammu towards Akhnoor for the relief of Kotli town. On 13th November the advancing forces reached Akhnoor, on 16th November they crossed Bari Pattan Bridge and rushed towards Nowshera. On 19th of November Jhangar was captured. 

On 26th November Indian troops marched towards Kotli and entered the town at 2.20 PM after defeating the rebels in and around the town. Brigadier Pran Japi found that about two companies of state forces in Kotli were completely demoralized. 

There was severe scarcity of food grain, medicines and consumable items in the town. The habitants were drinking water from a filthy pond in the town. There was a demoralized civil population of about nine thousands. It was not possible for the forces of Pran Japi to hold the Kotli town because the town was 147 miles away from Jammu.

Therefore it was decided not to hold the town. 

In these circumstances Brigadier Pran Japi vacated Kotli town on 28th November 1947 along with nine thousand refugees. The caravan reached Jhangar on the same day and the ancient Kotli town was captured by the rebels.

End....  

This article was first published in the Sunday Magazine of the Daily Excelsior from Jammu on:
SUNDAY, March 13, 2011

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 322 of 2018

1848hrs:

A mind with vast spaces of emptyness......is that still possible in this information cluttered world?

2236hrs:

I had watched this video a few days ago and even though I have a dedicated blogger page for the study of Water I feel compelled to add this here too, as it is taking up more of my time gradually.



.....

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 321 of 2018

1220hrs:

The Demand and Supply of Self-Determination for AJK

The will of the people has to have a demand/supply diagram.

It's not about what you're entitled to, it's about what you do to attain your title. 

Self-determination (SD) is a verb, like fighting or struggling.

The diagram would be what we're entitled to (demand) compared to what we're doing (supply) to attain it.

If there is a demand, then there must be a supply.

We are the ones doing the demanding, yet are short on supply.

Qila Karjai - Khuiratta AJK 2012

2101hrs:

Meanwhile, the Shahid Afridi suggestion for India and Pakistan to militarily vacate the State of Jammu & Kashmir, was met with contempt and accusations of 'traitor' by some politicians of AJK. In other words, politicians who have been 'mandated' by the public of AJK to represent the public of AJK, are accusing a Pakistani citizen of mutinying against the Pakistani State. For what they perceive to be a betrayal of Pakistan's claim on the State of J & K.

Bizarre: The politicians of AJK are representing the aspirations of the Pakistani State while a Pakistani sportsman is being victimised for supporting the aspirations of the actual owners of the State of J & K.


In this Urdu news item, Quayyum Raja is advising the 'power hungry' to flock over to Islamabad and Delhi to sweep the floors there.

2144hrs:

The 'authorities' in Gilgit Baltistan (GB) are upping the ante against 'construction of civil society links between AJK and GB'.

Maulana Sultan Raees, leader of Awami Action Committee (AAC) was arrested earlier today, while in court for a hearing on an 8 year old case and shifted to Central Jail, Gilgit.

Image borrowed from dailytimes.com.pk
Maulana Sultan Raees under arrest at Court in Gilgit



....   

Friday, 16 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 320 of 2018

2203hrs:

Sustainability - Sequence - Synchronisation

All 3 terms are major attributes needed for a successful transition from subject to citizen in AJK. The opposite of all 3 are in abundance here and in the diaspora. It is no wonder that we can't counter external influence in what should be a dominant public narrative here.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 319 of 2018

0046hrs:

Shahid Afridi didn't just upstage Raja Farooq Haider in the power corridors of London....his 'hit' comment gave the people of Jammu & Kashmir a seemingly unassailable lead in the subtle propaganda war over this territory.


Then, the infamous big-hitter on the cricket field was run out!




As clear a forced retraction as any I can think of.

Here's a link to the full clip and context of the question he was responding to:



Both India and Pakistan - in some shape or form - condemned Shahid Afridi's suggestion for Kashmir to be left alone as an independent country. Here's a good analysis - in Urdu - by our very own Shams Rehman:


Remember, Shams is the independent researcher who upstaged Lord Nazir in Ireland last month. On this occasion, Shahid Afridi upstaged the AJK prime minister Raja Farooq Haider. What the latter should've been lobbying to explain to one set of British parliamentarians, a Pakistani cricketer decided to do to a different set of British parliamentarians. 

The AJK politician seemed meek and almost unsure to his audience. The Pakistani sportsman was bold and clear to his.  

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 318 of 2018

2328hrs:

Fast...slow........uphill...downhill......imagination and intellect.........right and wrong....future and history.......poverty and power.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 317 of 2018

2359hrs:

Just in time and not for the first time!

Just back home from a wonderful evening. Our occupiers are in a fix at the moment. Their most potent weapon is propaganda but it is becoming toothless with the passage of time. It seems that they are busy searching for a way of countering the tide. I don't normally like speculating on what they are doing or not doing. I prefer to concentrate on what I'm doing and need to do, from day to day.

The afternoon was equally thoughtful. Not just because I was nominated as chief guest of today's book launch:



Although I only spoke for about 20 minutes, I have written an 11 page review of the book, which I aim to share here shortly.. 


Monday, 12 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 316 of 2018

0006hrs:

Realised at about 0002hrs that I was supposed to write an entry for Day 315. Absent-mindedness is dangerous.

2136hrs:

We are discussing the following book tomorrow in Dadyaal:


For those of you unfamiliar with Urdu, the name of the book is 'Asal Tanaza Kashmir' which translates as 'The Actual Kashmir Dispute'. The event will take place at Aziz Marriage Hall in Dadyaal at 1400hrs (13/11/2018).


Saturday, 10 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 314 of 2018

2123hrs:

As I continue to wade through the mounting TB (terabyte/s) of data in my possession, I am close to establishing a pattern of categories.

I am also spending some of my god-given time to approach 'fresh' members of the public, to acquaint them with my work (for them) and enquire on how they can possibly assist me. I am almost at the stage of being able to put up a monthly income/expenditure chart, which will provide further insights into what's missing in our rights struggle.

This is all in aid of improvising a solution for AJK's ambiguous status.

Meanwhile, let me take you back to a piece of writing written by Khalid Hasan, more than a decade ago. He may have spent a lot of his life working for Pakistani institutions but his sense of patriotism for J & K is visible in a sample of his writing below:

Mirpur, the vanished city

Khalid Hasan

The Mangla Dam was built because of the obligations that Pakistan accepted by signing the Indus Basin Waters Treaty. This monstrous manmade wall that played havoc with the topography and environment of the area was built on territory over which Pakistan had no legal or constitutional right since it was a part of the old state of Jammu and Kashmir, whose future, Pakistan otherwise maintains, remains to be decided in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of its people.

As was to be expected and as has consistently been the case, the people over whose land this giant dam was built were the very ones never consulted. Mum’s the word when it comes to determining the extent to which the construction of Mangla has affected Pakistan’s case on Kashmir. After the transfer of some territory to China in Kashmir’s northern regions, again without consultation with the people of the state, this was the second major assault on the state’s territory. However, the saving grace of this treaty is a clause that in the event of a change of status, the treaty would be renegotiated with the controlling entity. The Northern Areas are to this day administered from Islamabad and the so-called Northern Areas Council has no powers. But that is a tale for another day.

Recently, there has been talk of raising the Mangla Dam, a decision that only Barrister Sultan Mahmood, following in the footsteps of his father Chaudhri Noor Hussain, to his great credit opposed on the ground it would bring vast tracts of Mirpur lands under water, do violence to the environment and uproot the people who still have not forgotten or recovered from their forcible eviction from their homes so that the monstrosity called Mangla could be built. Forty years later, there remain many Mangla affectees, their claims for due compensation unresolved. Many were settled in areas far from their homes, such as Thal. Few of them stayed there but there was nothing to come back to because what were once their homes were now under water. What benefits Mangla has brought to Pakistan, it is for its government to list, but it has done little for Azad Kashmir or its people. The royalties that they should have been paid have always been in dispute and always in arrears. Unfortunately, there was no Arundhati Roy in Pakistan when Mangla was being built. I wonder if our own Arundhati Roy, the admirable Asma Jehangir, can be persuaded to join those who are opposing the raising of the dam.

The people of Mirpur are settled in large numbers in Britain and it is their innate hardiness and their Spartan spirit that has enabled them to become one of the most prosperous and organised communities of expatriates in the West. They also remain the sole torchbearers for the Kashmir cause in that land, which seems now all but lost, given the recent declaration from Islamabad that the problem can be resolved in “one day”. Very little has been written about Mirpur as it was before the Mangla deluge and even less about its pre-1947 days. In 1995, one Mirpuri, Syed Sultan Ali Shah, published a book about Mirpur, containing his reminiscences of the city as it was before the partition of India, its people and its vanished landmarks. He had plans to produce a revised edition covering post-1947 Mirpur but, sadly, he did not live long to complete that labour of love.

During the maharaja’s time, Mirpur was the headquarter of the district, which was known by the same name, and which included the three tehsils of Niabat, Bhimbar and Kotli. The administration was headed by a state official called Wazir-e-Wazarat and the magistracy was independent of the administration. Sardar Ibrahim Khan, who was a barrister-at-law from London, served as public prosecutor at Mirpur for a time, so did M Yusuf Buch as a young member of the Kashmir Civil Service. The valleys that lay between the hills had different settlements, some of them dating back to pre-Mughal times and peopled by different tribal and ethnic groups. There were 64 villages in Mirpur that were classified as jagirs and 336 others, both with Muslim majorities. There was an uprising against the Maharaja in 1931 in Mirpur and British troops had to be called in to restore order. This became a turning point in the struggle of the Muslims for their rights and the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference was founded a year later by Chaudhri Ghulam Abbas and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah (who formed his own party later – an event that marks the beginning of Muslim misfortunes in the state). The most revolutionary of young Mirpuris was Ilahi Bux who physically stopped the area’s police chief from disturbing a meeting inside the Jamia Masjid. He was overpowered ultimately and jailed, but the people of Mirpur from that day on only knew him as Ghazi Ilahi Bux.

My journalist friend from London, Habibur Rehman, a true Mirpuri if there was one, remembers the city where he grew up and went to school, a city now under water. No Mirpuri can visit the graves of his forefathers because every graveyard is now buried in a larger graveyard called the Mangla lake. One of the most revered saints of the area, Ghazi Shah Pir Qalandar, also rests in that watery grave. The people of Mirpur may have been poor but they were always defiant and never took things lying down. There was no electricity in Mirpur for several years after the establishment of Pakistan and Habibur Rehman remembers that as a child, he and his classmates would go and stand in the evening on a hillock to watch the lights of the city of Jhelum twinkling like glow-worms in the dark. One of the promises made to the people of Mirpur was that since Mangla had been built on their homes and hearths, they would be provided with free electricity when it started generating power. That turned out to be another unfulfilled promise. If the government of Pakistan would only pay what it truly owes in royalties, the face of that part of Azad Kashmir can be transformed.

One blessing of Mangla to have come the way of the Mirpuris was that they were encouraged to go abroad. In those days, it was extremely difficult to obtain a passport. However, to induce the people to leave, the government issued thousands of passports in the 1960s and since immigration restrictions, as we know them today, did not quite exist then, the Mirpuris travelled to England where there already was a scattered population of Mirpuris, most of them having jumped ship. One such man was the later Chaudhri Zaman Ali, Sitara-e-Khidmat, the elder statesman of the Mirpuri people in Britain. When a huge demonstration was organised in London’s Hyde Park to protest the execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Chaudhri Zaman, even though he was a very old man then, brought several busloads of people from the Midlands to join a huge crowd that included both Murtaza and Shahnawaz Bhutto. I recall Chaudhri Zaman Ali being lifted by the boys on top of a car from where he addressed the crowd. He always wore a turban with a Peshawari kullah and though he had lived in England for decades, he spoke no more than a couple of words of English. He was a great Mirpuri and was most helpful to early immigrants from his homeland.

Syed Sultan Shah never got over the destruction of his city. In his words: “With my own eyes, I have seen not the wrath of God but aggression committed by men erase what our ancestors had left behind to remind us of them. Our historical monuments, our mosques, our shrines, even our graveyards were obliterated. It was as if they never were. Our people were uprooted from their homes to wander the world. Many went into exile.” One can only hope that this sad history will not be repeated, although one fears that, once again, the last thing on the rulers’ agenda will be the people whose lands, no less than their lives, are to be inundated and consigned to oblivion.

End...

Khalid Hasan died in 2009 and the archives of his prolific writing which were available previously at http://khalidhasan.net are no longer so. This is yet another aspect of the tragedy that is Jammu & Kashmir.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 313 of 2018

0140hrs:

I have ventured into obtaining eye-witness accounts of the turbulence staged in this territory, particularly during the months of October and November in 1947.

Here's a particularly poignant piece by Pt. Bishambar Nath Sapru, a Kashmiri Pandit stuck in Muzaffarabad when the tribal Pathans invaded.


Thursday, 8 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 312 of 2018

0100hrs:

As improvisation and constant public feedback are a big part of what we're doing in AJK, it was obvious that we would edit and re-vamp the AJK Citizen's ID Card as we passed from one phase to the next. A lot of demand has erupted for it from co-citizens, to the extent that we almost have one citizen working full time on making digital copies for them.

It is still a digital concept and we have much more to do before it can be launched for practical use in the public domain.

Here it is as it stands today:

Front
Back
1236hrs:



Transmission lines for the Neelam-Jhelum Hydro Project which are taking 969 MW of electricity directly from where it is produced in AJK to Pakistan, are not just creating environmental destruction in the Muzaffarabad region but also exposing this area - Tain in Poonch division - to electric currents. Despite numerous attempts to make the AJK government and Pakistan's WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) address this issue over the past couple of months, nothing has been done thus far. Notice how the locals are using an electric current tester to explain how their health is being directly affected. These currents are affecting all living beings and when it rains, the locals are further exposed to something which they have no stake in whatsoever.

AJK is paying in every way for Pakistan's belated development needs and furthermore, the Pakistanis firmly believe that they don't even need to consent the AJK government (or its people) on what they are extracting from this territory.

Meanwhile, I've decided to cut back on analysing fresh news from AJK - for the meantime till I complete the extended version of the Citizen Public Opinion Survey - as everything requires time which otherwise needs to be devoted to work already completed yet not organised (streamlined). However, the video above is yet another pointed example of Pakistan's near absent governing structure in the region. 

FIFA, AJK and the World Cup in Qatar 2022:

The following is the third round of an attempt to enter the comity of nations who compete to play in the most popular sporting event in the world every 4 years.

From the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) in July and September, in November we are trying to contact FIFA directly to assist us in our quest, however outlandish it may seem at this stage. There are interesting precedents to examine. For example, Palestine, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, China and Guam all compete separately for a qualifying slot in Asia. Indeed, in Europe the United Kingdom has separate competitors in the shape of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

So, operating as a distinct de facto sovereign nation state is not a precondition to enter the qualifying stages of the FIFA world cup. 

Yes, we have a very rusty network, live in a conflict zone and lack institutional evolution in sport (and governance in general) but we have a rich base of potential talent - at home as well as a pool of talent and resources in the diaspora. Being positive and persistent in our approach could help us leapfrog our way ahead of many other footballing nations.

For example, the UK is not only the inventor of the modern version of football but also accomodates our largest diaspora, where at least two generations of ours are heavily involved in the sport or take fanatical interest in it.

Coming back to the procedure, many attempts were made to send the following letter to FIFA via email but it just didn't process, that is that FIFA's inbox would not accept the email. Subsequently, further attempts were made to contact any of their subsidiary organisations in Zurich:

...Beginning of email communication with IFAB - The International Football Association Board in Zurich):

Procedure for applying for FIFA membership ref. AJK

Tanveer Ahmed
8 Nov 2018, 14:42
to info@theifab.com

Dear IFAB,

This may not be the appropriate forum to resolve this issue but as we can't send a query to FIFA.com's webpage despite numerous attempts and earlier couldn't contact AFC either, we are sending this letter to you hoping that you can guide us appropriately.

Letter:

The following letter was initially sent via email during the final of the FIFA 2018 Word Cup on Sunday the 15th of July to AFC: However, since I haven't received a response from them and cannot get through to speaking to the appropriate person, I am now sending this letter directly to FIFA:

Fax: 00 603 8994 2689
To:
The Asian Football Confederation
AFC House
Jalan 1/155B, Bukit Jalil
57000 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia

Procedure for applying for FIFA membership ref. AJK

Tanveer Ahmed
Sun 15 Jul, 20:48

to media@the-afc.com


Dear AFC,

We are not sure whether this is the appropriate forum to make a formal application for FIFA (and by extension AFC) membership, with a view to participating in the qualifying campaign for the next world cup in Qatar 2022 (from Asia).

Our 'country' is officially described as Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK is an acronym) and it translates as the free part of Jammu and Kashmir, which is intermittently but fiercely contested between India and Pakistan.

Our territory boasts having its own prime minister, president, supreme court and constitution with a clearly defined territory including an over 1 million strong diaspora in the developed world.

We are a keen footballing nation and are confident of qualifying from Asia.

We would be grateful if the AFC can guide us on how and what are the appropriate steps that we need to take.

In earnest

Tanveer Ahmed

Founder: AJK Public Agency

ajkpublicagency.org

Contact: 0092 3455044252

Further Note:

In reference to the above email, a phone conversation was attempted on the 7th of September to the following phone number 00 603 8994 2689, as no response was received via email. I was put through to a lady whose name I was informed to be Ms Elia. However, despite a couple of attempts I could not get through to her either.

Now that I haven’t received a response via email or the phone, I am attempting to contact AFC via fax. If I don’t receive a response via this method either, then I will contact FIFA directly.

End.....

From: Tanveer Ahmed
Date: Thursday, 8 November 2018 at 10:42
To: "info@theifab.com"
Subject: Procedure for applying for FIFA membership ref. AJK

info@theifab.com
8 Nov 2018, 14:43
to me

we cannot help you with this

Boudien Broekhuis
Communications & Administration Manager
The International Football Association Board - IFAB
www.theifab.com
Münstergasse 9
CH-8001 Zurich 

Tanveer Ahmed
8 Nov 2018, 14:56
to info@theifab.com

Thank you for your prompt response. Could you please guide us to the right forum, if possible?

info@theifab.com
8 Nov 2018, 15:06
to me

no sorry, we do not have that informatio

Boudien Broekhuis
Communications & Administration Manager
The International Football Association Board - IFAB
www.theifab.com
Münstergasse 9
CH-8001 Zurich 

Tanveer Ahmed
8 Nov 2018, 19:32
to info@theifab.com

Thank you for your prompt response once again.

End of email communication with IFAB - The International Football Association Board in Zurich)........

We remain clinging to thin air. It is almost certain that we need a citizen of AJK on the ground in Zurich, to conscientiously take our case forward.

......

Today has seen the latest communication with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in reference to the following question which I haven't been able to receive a response on:

Tanveer Ahmed 22 July 2018 Delivered

Dear Foreign and Commonwealth Office,

Many thanks for your prompt response once again.

Let's refine the request further to 2 years between 1945 and 1947 and seek all correspondence related to the future dispensation of the State (of J & K) between British India and the Maharajah (or his representatives).

I hope the above meets the criteria you have outlined.

Apologies for the delay in responding, on my part.

Yours faithfully,


Tanveer Ahmed

....

Their final response was as follows:

Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Knowledge Management Dept 
Hanslope Park 
Hanslope 
Milton Keynes MK19 7BH 
  
Mr Tanveer Ahmed  
  
By email to: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx 
  
16 October 2018  
  
Dear Mr Ahmed, 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST – REF: 0871-18 

We are writing with the reply to your FOI request of 2 May. We apologise for the delay in 
replying. You asked for: 

“records of all communication/correspondence (official and non-official) between the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir and the British Empire (beginning from the 1820's co-inciding with Ranjeet Singh's rule over the territory in question) until 1947 (and beyond if it exists).” 

Our email of 3 May explained that as currently drafted your request was too broad and we would be unable to proceed with it. We suggested that you initially consult the India Office records at the British Library and The National Archives for your research. If you wished to proceed with an FOI request we asked that you refine your request to a shorter timeframe and a specific topic/subject area. 
  
Following an exchange of correspondence you confirmed in your email of 22 July that your request be refined to the years of 1945 to 1947 for “all correspondence related to the future dispensation of the State (of J & K) between British India and the Maharajah (or his representatives).” 

We said in our letters of 20 August and 18 September that we had identified information held by the FCO that we considered to be relevant to your request. After further consideration we find that this material is actually out of scope because it is correspondence dated in the period after the independence of India in 1947 rather than during the period of British India as stated in your request. We apologise for the oversight in this case. If you wished to make a new FOI request to seek access to the post-independence material we would be content to review the material for possible release.  

If you would like a review of our decision, or if you wish to make a complaint, please write to the Central FOI Unit, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Room WH2.177, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH.  
E-mail: xxxxxxx.xxxx@xxx.xxx.xx.  

You have 40 working days to do so from the date of this letter. 

You can apply directly to the Information Commissioner. However, the Information Commissioner will not normally make a decision unless you have first exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the FCO. The Information Commissioner can be 
contacted at: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, 
Cheshire SK9 5AF. 
  
Yours sincerely, 
  
Historical FOI Team 
Knowledge Management Department     

.....

I responded thus on today's date:

Record of official (and non-official) correspondence between the Dogra Dynasty (Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir) and the British Empire

Dear Historical FOI (Sensitive),

I would like to clarify if your latest response should be interpreted as saying that you don't hold any information within the scope of my request from 1945 to 1947?

Yours sincerely,

Tanveer Ahmed

....    

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 311 of 2018

2149hrs:

Studying biometrics for civil identification methods and trends associated with this subject globally. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 310 of 2018

1125hrs:

The massacre of Muslims in the Jammu province in 1947 is commemorated on this day every year. It is difficult to ascertain accurate figures because it is a less talked about series of events. However, I am keen to understand this aspect of the ensuing bloody divide of my motherland. Amongst the most prominent writers this land has produced was Khalid Hasan, his book: 'Memory Lane to Jammu' would be an exception in this regard.

Meanwhile, I take heart from a female Pakistani journalist, who in her frequent opportunities to assess Indo-Pak talks, suggests a solution quite akin to how I feel we should move forward: Here's her tweet: (read fry as by in the tweet)





Monday, 5 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 309 of 2018

1942hrs:

In pursuit of a fitness regime and level that counter-balances the mental exertion required in processing and creating information.

Left Mirpur with my reborn bicycle at 1500hrs...pedalling all the way around the Mangla Dam to Dadyaal was my initial target.

Guess where?

Reached Mawa at just past 1900hrs. It was now dark, cold and I was exhausted. 40 kilometres in about 4 hours wasn't bad considering I haven't ridden a bicycle for over 6 years. I am not going to capture Rome in one day I thought. Dadyaal was still another 25 odd kilometres away. So, I jumped into a Dadyaal-bound coaster as it approached. The local fruit and vegetable vendor was exemplary in his hospitality of keeping me company and ensuring that I got on the right vehicle to get me home.




Sunday, 4 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 308 of 2018

1909hrs:

On the banks of what is described as Mangla Dam. Fishing for my share of the national treasure.


Sardar Khalid Ibrahim is no more with us. From 1948 to 2018 he was almost always available to meet, to have a friendly and informative discussion.

For him to be not available any longer, is a loss many of us will regret. Me certainly, I had been preparing for a meeting with him for over a year now, on a consensus building measure in AJK.

I spent the summer in his home city of Rawalakot. Yet, I didn't make the effort. Deep down I felt the time wasn't right. That I would meet him after the publication of my extended version of the Citizen Public Opinion Survey Report.

Alas...I will live to regret my decision. I needed him for his un-paralled opinion and advice.

He was always very humble about his stature but very bold and frank on giving his opinion.

In 2009, at his home in Islamabad, Pakistan he was a lively and engaging host. He felt the history made by his father would pave the way for other people to make history too.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 307 of 2018

2009hrs:

It is very cold today in Dadyaal....icy winds have swept in from the North where many parts of AJK have seen their first day of snowfall.

So, out of the 3 'adversaries' mentioned yesterday, we've proved our edge over Pakistan in our own territory, once again. It will take us more time, tact, will power and resources to overcome the machinations of the UK and India. 

The road to salvation for the State of Jammu & Kashmir begins in AJK.

Here's an illustration:

The book stall that was disrupted in Abbaspur Festival 2 days ago, re-took its position yesterday and continued un-interrupted throughout the day. 



آج انتظامیہ کے لوگ دوبارہ آئے ہم دس لوگ سٹال پہ کھڑے تھے دور سے گزر گئے بھت کوشش کی لیکن ایک منٹ کے لیے بھی سٹال سے ہٹے نہیں عوام بھی جوش و خروش سے کتابیں خرید رہی دیکھتے اب کیا ھوتا۔ 

Here's a translation of the above sentence from Urdu:

The (local AJK government) administration did visit today, where 10 of us (civil society activists) were keeping guard. They (the administration) kept their distance and monitored from afar and it seemed that they were waiting for the crowds to subside or the civil society guards to filter away. That didn't happen and the public remained constantly active in purchasing books from the stall. Let's see what transpires....

End of translation...

The mood and sense of empowerment of local civil society in Abbaspur emboldened as the day progressed: 

ہم نے گلشن کے تحفظ کی قسم کھائی ھے انتظامیہ کے دھمکیاں بارش اور سردی کے باوجود مکمل پہرا دیا یاد رھے رات اچانک چھاپہ مار کے انتظامیہ نے سٹال بند کروا دیا تھا آج پھر لگایا اور مکمل۔پہرا دیا  انتظامیہ نے جن کتابوں کا لکھ کر بھیجا تھا کہ یہ اٹھاو ورنہ سٹال اٹھاو وہی کتابیں سہر فہرست رکھ کر سیل کی اور عوام کی کثیر تعداد نے خریدی۔


Translation:

We've sworn to protect our 'garden of roses'. Despite threats from the administration (read Pakistani clandestine agencies operating via proxies in the local AJK admin/police) - never mind the rain and icy weather - we (civil society) kept a constant vigil (of the book stall). Don't forget that the admin had raided the stall and closed it down last night. We kept it open all day today under our protection. The very books that the admin had given us written instructions to take off public display and threatened to break up the stall if visible, were the very books we put most prominently in view for the public. The public purchased those very books in the highest quantity.

End of translation....    

Friday, 2 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 306 of 2018

0122hrs:

Controlling the Public Narrative in AJK:

Exhibit 1: Role of the United Kingdom

What is written and photographed in the facebook embed below is all 'fine and dandy' but how do we access this "detailed" and "full fact finding" report?

All I see is photos, no substance. Perhaps some democratic being in the UK can pursue that? Any UK MP that comes here to AJK (or even Pakistan) is chaperoned and kept under very close surveillance. Their movement is controlled and who they meet is manipulated to favour Pakistan's control. Please ensure these MPs of the UK have meaningful engagement with AJK...

(Update): 04/11/18 - 0440hrs:
I found the report yesterday evening and consider it to be thorough about Indian-controlled Kashmir but almost non committal on AJK and GB. Yes, it does have a proviso on these areas and urges the Pakistanis to do some inward soul-searching (these are my words) but it isn't specific or detailed enough. A lacuna persists as does my perception given the crowd surrounding Chris Leslie MP.

End of update....


Compare the above with the - still developing - news below:

Exhibit 2: Role of Pakistan

I'll translate the post from Urdu to English for the benefit of most of my readers:

"When a State or nation is to be enslaved, preliminary steps include depriving the concerned inhabitants of their history followed by erasure of that State's geography.

A group of friends belonging to the Jammu Kashmir National Students Federation (JKNSF) had set up a book stall at a local festival in Abbaspur (district Poonch) a few days ago, where the enemies of the State (read Pakistani clandestine agencies) and their local lackeys forcefully broke up the stall this evening (Thursday 01/11/2018), before banning the student activists from displaying these books in public.

The public and youth of Kashmir (referring to AJK as well as the rest of the State of J & K as a whole) should understand the oppression meted out to this State. Furthermore, those that we consider our own (read the Pakistani State) are in fact the enemies of our quest for freedom. This is a point of concern and provocation to act against injustice.

JKNSF will vehemently raise its voice. The occupiers should understand that these crazy youngsters will no longer tolerate slavery and that they (agents of the Pakistani State) can no longer suppress our voice." 

Aqdus Irfan



This is yet another way of 'controlling' the public narrative in AJK. From the UK parliament to the streets of AJK. Notice how the language of Mr. Irfan seems at first sight very reactionary. However, it should be remembered that it is a response to decades of suppression. There are hundreds if not thousands of examples of such behaviour by our Western neighbours - who happen to profess the same faith as us - and who created a country premised on an argument that they would be marginalised by the Hindu majority in a united India. Pakistan is perpetrating the very crimes it advocated against.

Exhibit 3: Role of India

Here's an even more eye-opening aspect of this conflict some call the 'Kashmir Dispute', which marginalises AJK and its aspiring citizens in almost every conceivable sense. The AJK diaspora is not immune from this and the role of India - despite its democratic credentials - is just as shrewd as the Pakistanis in suppressing peaceful democratic engagement between AJK and the Dogra heartland in Jammu.



Now, as this post is in Urdu too, let me summarise the issue:

The gentleman in question - Sajjad Raja - has as his introduction on his facebook page the following words: "Long Live Struggle for Reconciliation among Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh & Kashmir."

This should describe his innocent intent. However, it has become clear over the years that India and Pakistan will go to any length to prevent any meaningful engagement between these divided parts of the erstwhile Dogra State of Jammu & Kashmir. In this respect, both countries work in tandem as opposed to against each other, which is the most common perception about the 2 countries vis a vis the territory of Jammu & Kashmir.


Hence, the need to highlight this particular development:



Sajjad Raja's visa issue:

Security clearance could not be obtained for members of Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party (JKNAP) - UK for their party's convention in Jammu on the 11th of November.

7 members from the UK (all originating from AJK) and 1 member of the party from AJK were due to attend this convention. 3 of the 7 from the UK were issued with electronic visas (e-visa) by the Indian High Commission in London. The other 4 were deferred to the regular visa process and their decisions were pending. Ultimately, no response was given in this regard.

In the meantime, the party member from AJK was refused a visa by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan.

It was decided between party members that the 3 who had managed to obtain visas should proceed to travel to India and onwards to Jammu. Tickets were purchased and all other arrangements to prepare for travel were made. Likewise, arrangements for their stay in Jammu were also completed by the local hosts of the convention.

However, on the 11th of October Sajjad Raja received a call from the Indian High Commission in London to inform him that the 3 visas had been cancelled. He was also informed that they wouldn't be able to even board the flight from Manchester via Muscat (Oman) to Delhi. If they (the travellers) managed to get through that stage, they wouldn't be able to board the onward flight from Oman to Delhi and if they managed to get through that hurdle, on arrival at Delhi they would be forcibly put back on the same plane on its return to Oman. Further, that they would be black-listed from ever entering India in the future.

These political workers had been preparing for this trip to Jammu for the past 4 months, only to be denied barely days before their journey. Upon enquiry to highly influential people in Jammu, it transpired that this decision had been made at a very senior level of the Indian State structure.

So even if you are peaceful, democratic and secular there is little - if any - scope for the divided citizens of Jammu & Kashmir to seek reconciliation and mutual understanding across the LOC. The message is that you will be thwarted, if not by Pakistan then by India. Both are an alibi and guarantor of the other's presence here.

Experiences such as these usually make the determined even more determined. If the struggle for justice is consistent, humanity always triumphs at the end.....








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....