Tuesday 31 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 365 of 2019


So, we have got to the last day of the year after all. There has been a marked improvement in blogging efficiency this year compared to last year, when we began our evolved mission to commence daily blogging.

2018: 255 of 365 (days) = 69.9%

2019: 330 of 365 = 90.4%

2018 itself was a huge leap from all previous years whereby the intention of daily blogging was always felt but I wasn't ready for it, given the intensity of my field work.

Just for the record:

2017: 5 of 365 = 1.4%
2016: 8 of 366 = 2.2%
2015: 5 of 365 = 1.4%
2014: 4 of 365 = 1.1%
2013: 7 of 365 = 1.9%
2012: 3 of 366 = 0.8%
2011: 51 of 365 = 14%
2010: 11 of 365 = 3% 
2009: 37 of 365 = 10.1%
2008: 18 (from 29 May) of 217 = 8.3%


We are adding yet another feature to the daily blog:

The People's Assembly Nomination Process will also be updated on a daily basis and in real time where possible.


Today was Day 16 since we left Muzaffarabad and this is the first daily video update being made since Day 9:


Monday 30 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 364 of 2019


Each day brings a new resolve. Despite heavy odds against delivering public interest in AJK we march on with ever increasing determination.

We must cross barriers that we've never crossed before to realise the People's Assembly concept.

We are running behind schedule and we haven't uploaded any daily video update since the 25th of December either.


Sunday 29 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 363 of 2019


Today, I finally decided to type in Urdu myself. This decision was made after going through various experiments with various co-citizens. This proved time consuming, exhausting and expensive where I still needed to pay as much attention as I would need to do the work myself.

I don't think my co-citizens fully understand the concept of research and its importance in delivering clarity in public affairs. 


The activists of GB have always proved themselves to be more worldly-wise than us in AJK:


Many thanks to Ravinder Pandita Ji for promoting this clip, which covers the notion of an impending cross road where the national interests of India, Jammu Kashmir and Pakistan converge on the subject of religious heritage:


Saturday 28 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 362 of 2019


A death in the family took me to Sehnsa once again. Here, we met sunshine for the first time in a few days. On our way back to Dadyaal, we learned that the sun had remained absent in Dadyaal. At times this winter, this hot summer town feels like the North of Scotland.


This video has got to be watched till the very end. The theme is of course the concept of freedom:


Friday 27 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 361 of 2019


We've enjoyed some slack over the past few days but hopefully that will have worked to store energy inside us; needed for our long, twisting, event packed itinerary involved in covering all 32 subdivisions (tehsils) of AJK.


Another masterpiece of a lesson:


Thursday 26 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 360 of 2019


As the year draws to a very cold close, I battle on with managing my data in preparation for the AJK wide tour ahead. 

I haven't made a video update today either, as there is little to add at the moment while I'm in data sift mode. For the record, today is Day 10 in Mirpur division since spending 26 days in Muzaffarabad.


Wednesday 25 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 359 of 2019


I could have missed today's entry quite easily but I didn't. 

A merry Christmas to all my Christian friends wherever they may dwell in the world. Here's an image from Google:


(Update: 31/12/19 at c. 2300hrs):

In Conversation with Liaqat Hayat of JKNAP & PNA in Dadyaal on Day 9 - 25/12/19

After commemorating the death anniversary of Arshad Billoo Shaheed here in Dadyaal, we used the opportunity to converse with the President of JKNAP and Secretary General of PNA.

We discussed the current state of affairs in AJK, the wider regional scenario, PNA's strategy and an exchange of views on the People's Assembly. 

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 358 of 2019


Today is the first day in many days that I'm sitting full time behind a desk, to bring my ever increasing data compilation in some sort of order.

While doing so, I also have to catch up on all notifications sent to me via various social media applications. While signing a petition to the UN to stop (India and Pakistan) from killing Kashmiri people along the LOC I have to mention certain provisos that our people as well as the world must understand. Here's my comment after signing:

Though I have reservations about the UN holding a free and fair plebiscite as I feel it is for the actual legal stakeholders (its people) to design their present governance structure, so that they can negotiate their future status. For example, we cannot have a free and fair plebiscite if India and Pakistan are controlling our population census records and also disturbing our demography. However, the UN (present in J & K in the shape of UNMOGIP) can do much to bring about a ceasefire between both armies and the UN in general, can do much to protect our fundamental rights, denied to the inhabitants of J & K since 1947. 

End of my comment at ........


As we're at home today, the daily video update has also been made here:


Monday 23 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 357 of 2019


A lot of travelling today but very little work done:


I was pleasantly surprised to find a reasonably comprehensive Urdu write-up on my work, particularly in relation to the People's Assembly framework that we are working on:


Sunday 22 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 356 of 2019


Still in Mirpur and travelling at a pedestrian pace in our pursuit of 100 members of the impending People's Assembly.

We were unable to upload a video on Day 5 (yesterday) and despite today being a Sunday - whereby we take a video break on Sundays - we made up for our absence yesterday:


At least some of our people are concerned about the subject of water as this shared image from a local Whatsapp group indicates. Our very own curse and the major reason for the persistent occupation of us by others:


(Update: c.2100hrs on 26/12/19)

This is an even longer video made on water, underneath which the old city of Mirpur is submerged:


Saturday 21 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 355 of 2019


Still in Mirpur. Rich interaction. Very behind in routine 24 hour tasks. They pile up by the day and after 4 days of such lag, one feels they need to put a brake on public activity; in order to make sense of exactly what they've done in the past. 

There is a technology lag too.


The following notes emerged from a major theme discussed throughout the day between our immediate company:

'Crowd' Politics

They are hard to discipline and it is hard to grasp their collective wisdom in real time, as just a few antagonists make long speeches with very little scope for 2 way interaction. 

The aggregate quality of thinking doesn't improve in such societies. It remains stagnant and thus adaptability to modern conditions and needs of public interest do not arise.....Problem solving is a shared pursuit and we don't give each other the chance to progress. We become dogmatic rather than pragmatic.

A research based approach to democracy 

Horizontal weight is necessary (among citizens) rather than the prevailing leader and crowd approach to democracy.

100 citizens proportional to the population of each tehsil - with 1 minute each - gives a much more measured approach than a leader crowd approach using the muscle of some business interests, who in turn suffocate public interest with their subsequent advance in vested personal interest.

Both conformist and nationalist politics in AJK have always adopted a leader crowd approach..... 

This is not helping us in our current dilemma.

It should be remembered that measuring public opinion helps in consensus building, which is the most difficult of the 4 stages involved in resolving our national question and needs of governance in AJK > J & K.

The 4 stages of Public Policy in AJK:

1) Pilot Study throughout AJK and GB: 2009 - 2011
2) Public Opinion Survey throughout AJK: 2011 - 2016
3) Consensus Building in AJK via an internal political process ....> The People's Assembly: 2017 - 2020
4) Legislation in AJK > Model for other parts of J & K: 2020 >


We were so engaged with people that we totally forgot to upload our now customary daily video update, which corresponds to Day 5 of our current AJK wide tour to scout out members of the People's Assembly. We will now produce a video tomorrow on Day 6 despite it being a Sunday, in order to make up for our absence on Day 5. 


Friday 20 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 354 of 2019


In Mirpur, on Day 4 of our AJK wide tour in reference to seeking out the 100 co-citizens that will make up the quorum for the People's Assembly.

Here's our video summary of the discussion (belatedly uploaded at c. midday on 24/12/19):


Thursday 19 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 353 of 2019


Our 3rd day in Dadyaal as our friends in Mirpur are not yet ready to proceed.


We had a long but wonderful session at Taryabi ni Baithak in Balathi near Khadimabad in Dadyaal. Shafaq Hussain of Kashmiri Worker's Association in Britain and pioneer of the KNIC (Kashmir National Identity Campaign) in Britain also participated and contributed with his valuable suggestions, along with other local members of civil society. Here's an Urdu write-up on the event by Taryabi Sahaab:

Here's a belated upload (updated: 2100hrs on 22/12/19) of just a glimpse of the discussion: 


Wednesday 18 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 352 of 2019


Our second day in Dadyaal. 

This is where my family is and after coming home for the first time in over a month - on the night before last - I have to start preparing to move on to Mirpur by tomorrow. 


Converging at Maqbool Bhat Shaheed Chowk on Day 2 of our AJK wide tour:


Tuesday 17 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 351 of 2019


A sunny day in Dadyaal. Day One of our AJK wide tour to find 100 citizens for the People's Assembly.

I received a very interesting question followed by an even more interesting suggestion:

Who protects these 100 people?

They need 100 people (co-citizens) in the background to protect them.

My follow up:
These 100 people in the background should be from the diaspora, in Western democracies. Again, they should be reflective of each tehsil (subdivision).

If anything untoward or a dilemma befalls any one of those 100 local citizens, their shadow (in the diaspora) would be alerted and due course would be taken, including contacting and liaising with their local democratic representative, to report an affront on democracy.

We're still running a bit behind on uploading our daily video:

(Update on 18/12/19 at1142hrs):


An open room and not a closed room is what the citizens of GB and AJK are demanding:


Monday 16 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 350 of 2019


I have been driving flat out since I ended my current journey to Muzaffarabad on Day 26 at 1400hrs....changed vehicle in Sehnsa but kept driving......just reached Dadyaal less than 5 minutes ago. 

Such is the magnet of a 24 hour routine!


(Update on 17/12/19 at1758hrs):

The AJK Prime Minister's Secretariat:

'The People's Assembly - AJK Public Document' was handed over to Senior Special Secretary Raashid Hanif of Mirpur at the Assembly Secretariat and an acknowledgement received:

People's Assembly AJK - Public Document Copy for AJK PM

Document Acknowledgement Received


Sunday 15 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 349 of 2019


I've just come back from an invigorating 3 km walk eastwards along the River Jhelum, to fetch some pristine spring water.

While eating a piece of guava followed by a walnut on my return, I began pitying many of my co-citizens who hardly walk let alone exercise, have a very high intake of sugar, use sub-standard cooking oil/ghee in their cooking, consume powdered spices and processed salt, bake flour with hardly any wheat in it, eat a lot of things wrapped in newspapers or plastic packaging, drink contaminated water and have x cups of tea made from packaged milk and the list goes on. They then consume sub-standard medicines to try and superficially repel the accumulated ills their bodies carry.

I almost feel like an ardent ritual namaazi (Muslim worshipper) who tends to look down on all those who refrain from regular prayer.

In any case, I do my utmost to avoid all the above - irrespective of wherever I may be - because I want to stay fit and healthy to do the work that I do, at least until I die.

The next days, weeks and months will prove to be the most interesting in the history of this territory, otherwise described as Jammu Kashmir Aqsai Tibetha. Isn't it interesting that many documents get to Indian media before the sharing circle reaches us in AJK:


For over a decade now, I've felt linking Jammu with AJK and Ladakh with GB will untie the knot of slavery in Jammu & Kashmir. The people of Skardu (GB) have tried to remind the world of their plight and aspirations to re-unite with Kargil (Ladakh) on many occasions:

It is very heartening to see such human aspirations in such a climate.


People's Assembly, Lok Assembly or Awaami Assembly? 
In a territory where the externally sponsored Legislative Assembly has capsized and where people haven't enjoyed freedom of assembly for 72 years. 

A detailed conversation in Urdu, thanks to Shams Rehman & #JKTV:


Saturday 14 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 348 of 2019


I have been burning the midnight oil to get through a lot of things on our public agenda.

This was just one of them:

I always knew this video would have to be re-visited from time to time.

Here are some points that I have extracted from his speech and translated them for added clarity:

n.b. Time (in video) is followed by extracts of his speech.

13:06 - Pakistan's foreign policy is not in sync with the needs of the Kashmiri people.

14:22 - According to a survey in the (Kashmir) Valley, sympathy for Pakistan was at 6%.

14:32 - At night on the internet I see people mobilising for an independent Kashmir.

14: 45 - How governments are made and broken here - (the absence of democracy) - that Kashmir (Valley) has been robbed and we don't want to become someone else's colony. Or some other country's citizen(s).

15:19 - An innocent woman cannot live between 3 gangsters (aik sharif zaadi 3 goondo ke darmiyan nahi reh sakti!) This is difficult, it cannot happen. We don't know who controls the (Pakistani) foreign ministry.

18:14 - This constitutional set-up is not capable of fulfilling the aspirations of the people. This is not possible. 

19:30 - If we had control, none of these issues would arise.

19:39 - The role of Chief Election Commissioner is also used to wring our necks.

19:48 - For Mangla, I don't want royalty, I want net hydel profit like NWFP (now KPK).

23:00 - Voluntary soldiers (billa thankhwa fauj) is a drama.

23:35 - Pakistani PM Gilani whispered in my (Raja Farooq Haider's) ear that I will get Kashmir for you! 

24:00 - We (AJK) have no voice. We don't exist.

24:36 - Amend Article 257 of Pakistani Constitution to bring it up to date. Add another article and take us back to the acceptance position (of that standstill agreement) and let us do our own thing! Its as simple as that!

24: 57 - (While narrating a conversation with Pakistani PM Gilani) Ghulam Sadiq and I may be talking to you nicely but who (of us) you meet in future may not be so pleasant, when talking to you.

25: 32 - When the money is mine then taxation is my job, I have to spend it (and do budgeting). Why should Manzoor Watoo (then Minister for Kashmir Affairs) give clearance?

25: 47 - A hawaldaar (sergeant in Pakistan's clandestine agencies) will be writing that I'm anti Pakistan.

27:15 - We have our own State identity

28: 25 Mirs of Hunza and Nagar discouraged by Sardar Ibrahim Khan with good arguments from 'acceding' with Hari Singh (My note: This point needs further elaboration) 

28: 40 - The people here basically fought themselves for this territory (in 1947).

30: 10 - A lot of bad times are ahead for Pakistan where it will face a lot of economic problems.

End of translation of extracts of Raja Farooq Haider's speech.....


Here's the Urdu podcast of the People's Assembly - AJK Public Document, as promised yesterday:


Sardar Masood Khan, otherwise known as the president of AJK has disowned the government circular doing the rounds on social media since yesterday:


Trying to give you other angles on my existence:


Friday 13 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 347 of 2019


Another drizzly day is on the cards........a lot more work indoors but we have an evening dinner to attend too.


This gentleman appears to talk my language whenever I come across his posts. I hope I can meet him one day:


The People's Assembly - AJK Public Document is ready and is also available in our public documents section in the top right corner of the blog post (on your screen)


Events can propel us thick and fast into the future, or we could be thinking ahead of ourselves.

From Azad Jammu & Kashmir Management Group (AJKMG) to Jammu Kashmir Administrative Services (JKAS): 

From self determination to self infliction?


We've reached Day 23 of our current journey in the capital:


Thursday 12 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 346 of 2019


A bit more settled today. Working flat out for the past 3 weeks has paid some dividends but the amount of work still pending proves that a 2 man operation is simply not enough to tackle today's research needs. A further 9 people plus 10 to securitise the whole research operation are needed as soon as possible.

It was a drizzly day all day today so I thought I'd enter a sunny photo taken in Neelam earlier this year on my daily Facebook update:


Wednesday 11 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 345 of 2019


Despite sleeping at midnight last night, I couldn't get up in the morning till is a very cold room where we stay and one doesn't want to let go of the little bit of warmth that is generated over the night. We only have 34 rupees in our balance and thus we will have to forego breakfast yet again and make do with a few oranges (maltas) in the meantime.




We can't absorb these lies anymore:

She even had the cheek to claim that AJK has its own Assembly, knowing full well who controls it. Despicable behaviour I say.


We continue to roll in the capital:

It isn't easy retrieving missing/stolen items from AJK police custody or for that matter from Pakistani army/custody as I've experienced in the past. Most people waive their right and thus embolden these 'security' organisations to abuse citizens and their possessions at will. This is an attempt to stem the tide and of course it is time consuming. Here are our documents in pursuit of our 6 of 7 missing items:

Application to Qazi 291119

Written Response by City Thaana 291119 

2nd Application to Qazi 301119 1 of 2

2nd Application to Qazi 301119 2 of 2

Application to SSP 111219

Let me give you a summary of events rather than translate all these documents word for word:

When we were arrested and tortured on the 25th of October and into the early hours of the 26th the police (accompanied by Pakistan's clandestine agencies) didn't bother confirming our items which they were taking into separate custody from us. The next morning I did start looking and asking for my sandals but received a blank response from the police. In fact, I was physically beaten up once again! When we were taken from the police station to be presented in court, I enquired of my missing sandals once again and was hastily given somebody else's sandals while being assured that my sandals would be found and returned to me in due course. They weren't. 

When we were released - on bail - from Raara jail on he 31st of October, the police had been ordered to pick us up and deport us from our territory! (without legal reference). Here the PI (Police Inspector) returned 27 of our 34 witheld items. I explained to him that the following 7 items were missing and wrote them in the document he gave to me sign, to confirm that I had received my possessions:

1) Sandals (by Clarks of UK)
2) Glasses (frames by Rodenstock of Germany)
3) Perfume (by Dior of France)
4) Phone microphone x 2 with lead (of Sweden)
5) Black Sleeping Bag and Cover
6) Thermos
7) 500 rs (that somebody had given to the police for my use)  

When he (the PI) dropped us off in Arja (after intervention from some lawyers who helped us avoid being deported to Pakistan without legal reference), there was no means of obtaining a copy of the list of our possessions. 

It wasn't until our fourth hearing in court on the 29th (of November) - when I walked barefooted from my hotel room to the courts and then onto the police station - that the Qazi ordered a response from the police on my missing items. Upon arrival at the City police station barefooted, it took just about 10 minutes for the police to return my sandals. However, they did not mention them in their written response to the court and gave a statement that they had returned 27 items to me and that they had nothing else to return to me.

We then approached the court yet again armed with an affidavit in reference to our possessions on the 30th. We were acquitted on the 4th of December and our missing items issue remained suspended. It wasn't until the 11th of December (today) that we approached the learned Qazi yet again and he - in turn - instructed us to pursue SSP Muzaffarabad.

This is where we stand: A fresh application has been given to the SSP via his reader Mr. Anwar Khan and we have received a written acknowledgement of receipt.

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 344 of 2019


Worked beyond midnight as discussion on the People's Assembly intensified in a Whatsapp Group. I had to listen to over 100 minutes of a multitude of audio clips, take notes and then respond with about 33 minutes of assorted clips myself. This whole process took about 3 hours and I didn't get to sleep before 0500hrs. 

Thus, I couldn't get up before midday. Now, I'm again running behind time....need to play catch up on this international day for human rights. 


I actually posted this tweet in the early hours of the morning:


Outside the AJK President's House on International Human Right's Day:


Here is what I wrote in response to a question about the People's Assembly today. The question was in Urdu and hence the response was also thought out in Roman Urdu. I will translate into English of course:

Mojooda AJK Assembly ki qanoon saazi ke fuqdaan se ye takaaza wajood me aata hay - bilkhusoos aaj ke tanaazur me jaha 5 mulk humey mustaqil taqseem karney par agley 2 maa me tulley huwey hain. 

Wo bhi beghair kisi qanooni, jamhoori, akhlaaqi zariye se, aur jaha wo aman ko qaim rakhney ke faraiz ko bhi tarak kar rahey hain.

Lehaaza humey (AJK ke shehryo ko) is waqt se pehle dunya ko aik jadeed, tehqeeq ki bunyaad par aik androona (internal) political process waazai karna parega. 

Us ki output 100 shehryo ki shakal me aik Awaami Assembly me hay. Jis ka pehla session Government Secretariat me January 2020 ke kisi itwaar ko munaqad karna naa guzeer hay. 


English translation of the above:

Then in response to a query from the public:

Humey pehley session me baa-izzat tareeqey se discussion karna chahtey hay aur dunya ke saamney apna public bayaaniya dena chahtey hay bas. Ye koi ehtejaaj nahi aur nahi kisi tabqey ka amal hay. Hamaari riyasat/mumlikat ke waaris 1927 ke qanoon me waazay hain.


If I had only one sentence to say about International Human Rights Day in the context of Jammu & Kashmir, it would be something from the following:


Daily Diary (DD) - Day 140 of 2024

2320hrs: Our 7 political prisoners in Mangla are on my mind foremost. It could be criminal if I return to Sehnsa without securing their rele...