Friday, 2 November 2018

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 306 of 2018


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.....

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