Thursday 28 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 59 of 2019

1143hrs: From Poonch Sector
Madaarpur and Battal on the LOC witnessed Indian and Pakistani cross-firing throughout the night. This continued with mortar shelling in the morning. No report of any casualties as yet. 


The morning after an exhausting day yesterday. It could have been even more exhausting if I'd been involved in a current affairs debate on international media, as it looked likely at one stage.

Here's a late tweet that I wanted to embed in this diary yesterday:

Musafir setting - what remained of his camp - on fire yesterday:

This is an overview of his year long fight in AJK and Pakistan:

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir has never been a character who would allow anybody else to upstage him. Not even an India vs. Pakistan war in Jammu & Kashmir. 290 days of camping outside Islamabad Press Club in Pakistan drew to a close yesterday with that almost ceremonial burning of his camp. Yesterday also marked the end of one year of being on the road, fighting for public rights.

He needs a little rest now I would suggest, before beginning the next round of his struggle.

1329hrs: in Dadyaal
Pakistani aircraft continue hovering in the skies above......a lot of work is also being done on the propaganda front. A couple of hours ago I could hear people chanting slogans of "Pak Fauj - Zindabad" (Long live - the Pakistani army).

Here's a tune which in words exemplifies how Pakistan is celebrated using iconic Islamic metaphors, to create that important parallel. This lobby is a genuine constituency in AJK and amounts to roughly 25% of society, though it can slightly increase during these 'patriotic' times:

Art is a powerful tool to build or sustain a narrative: It works both ways though and about 75% of our society doesn't properly realise that.


Looking back on yesterday's event in the skies and on the ground near the LOC in AJK:

Interpreting what happens in real-time during a conflict - especially that between India and Pakistan in J & K - is not easy.

It now appears that the 2 Indian military aircrafts (MiG-21 Bison) were tailing 3 Pakistani military aircrafts (F-16), who according to Pakistani reports had dropped bombs in non-populated areas of Indian-controlled J & K. Apparently, this was just to give a message to the Indians that they could also do what the Indians did in Balakot. That in Pakistani terms was that the Indians had also dropped bombs on empty land.

In any case, an aerial dog-fight ensued and the 3 Pakistani F-16's were joined by another, or even 2 if reports by the Indians that they had shot down an F-16 were to be considered accurate, as they entered Pakistani-controlled airspace. The 2 Indian MiG-21's were shot at, one retreated as described yesterday when hit and ended up falling dozens of kilometres away in Indian-controlled airspace above Budgaam. The pilot or (2 pilots as some reports suggest) were already dead when the debris of the plane hit the ground.

The second Indian MiG-21 with the now famous wing commander Abhinandan ejected from the plane in time and landed by parachute in a local stream in Oraah, Poona (tehsil Smaahni). Having a close look at that initial video, where it appeared locals converged to lynch the pilot: those supposed locals seemed more like plain-clothed military personnel or intelligence operatives. Indeed, the guy punching him was also seen later (with ammo) escorting him alongside the Pakistani army in later photos.

Here's an example:

The gentleman on our right is the one who was punching him

I would like to identify him and am trying to do so. That will be difficult if he is military but we can still try.

There was a flurry of social media activity - from the Pakistani perspective - that local Kashmiris (or citizens of AJK) would have lynched him to death if the Pakistani army did not 'mercifully' intervene. I even apologised for my people, if indeed they were responsible for trying to lynch him.

Finally, the other Indian pilot who we were 'reliably' informed had been taken to CMH Rawalpindi, doesn't exist anymore as far as both Indian and Pakistani media are concerned.

We could still have further surprises ahead.     

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 58 of 2019


The past 24hrs indicate a move towards a war footing in many parts of the region. Both armies have been busy killing each other, while our civilians get killed or injured for free and without agency.

Some food for thought in this picture:


Here's the Urdu version of our pitch for peace during war:

Update 0940hrs: From Dadyaal
A lot of aerial commotion with Pakistani military aircraft disturbing the otherwise peaceful airspace here. This war is certainly escalating for a number of reasons......

Update 1501hrs: From Khuiratta and Charoi

It almost feels as if we have suddenly moved near to a busy international airport, except that the only aircraft on the horizon are military. Cross-fire and shelling continues unabated in various sectors along the LOC in AJK and along the working boundary (province of Jammu adjacent to Pakistani Punjab).

An Indian fighter plane was downed this morning at around 1000hrs in AJK. It had been hit by Pakistani fire and its pilots ejected via parachutes, according to eye-witnesses. Another Indian fighter plane was flying in tandem with this but when it got hit it retreated back across the LOC and we understand that it finally fell in district Budgaam of the Kashmir Valley. Meanwhile, this other Indian military plane had been surrounded by 4 Pakistani military aircraft leading up to this aerial confrontation.

The precise location of the pilot's fall was Oraah near the town of Poona in tehsil (subdivision) Smaahni. Both pilots have been detained and one is reported to be seriously injured. He has been shifted to CMH (Civil & Military Hospital Rawalpindi). Locals have been informed by Pakistani military personnel that they (the Indian aircraft) wanted to bomb the Mangla Power House. From personal experience, it is difficult to rely on the words of any military during a war.

After 1100hrs, there has been total silence in Khuiratta sector. Cross-firing and shelling has also halted, within an hour of this incident.

A View of Smaahni Valley where the Indian Plane was Downed

Detained Indian Pilot being Transported 

Sky News in the UK also covers this story somewhat:
Pakistan shoots down two Indian warplanes and captures pilots

I know the following video is going to be contentious at some level but it is being shown for it's news value and not to take any sides in this un-necessary conflict. We are neutral to the core and pro life to the extreme:

Update 1415hrs: From Poonch Sector (on the Indian-controlled side)
- In the Chajjala area of Mendhar, one woman died after sustaining critical injuries from a mortar shell, officials said.
Source: Jammu Links News

Update 1532hrs: From Neelam Valley
Mobile and internet services have been blocked throughout the district

1849hrs: From Tattapani (Kotli) and Poonch
Serra and Darra Sher Khan are under fire after a break of 8hrs

Update 2005hrs: In Dadyaal

Indian airforce Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. I sincerely am sorry - the fact that he's South Indian amplifies my emotion - because they are generally very amicable people and don't carry the burden of identity, like the North Indians and Pakistanis do. I repeat that I am ashamed of the probability that my fellow aspiring citizens of AJK appeared to lynch him.

In this age of social media, Delhi, Islamabad and Poona (in tehsil Smaahni) are literally nano seconds away from each other. Transparency and responsibility for conduct can take humanity very far, I'm sure.

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 57 of 2019


I woke up today to learn that there had been some war activity over the territory of AJK. In fact, Indian fighter jets had flown over AJK and bombed what they described as, "JeM militant camps" where they claimed - according to Indian media reports - to have killed over 300 militants, in the Pakistani territory of Balakot (in KPK) at about 0300hrs, barely a few kilometres from AJK's border with Pakistan.

Now, about 12 hours later the propaganda war between the 2 countries is in full swing, obfuscation and delerium in equal measure. We, the inhabitants of J & K don't exist, irrespective of whether there is peace or war on the horizon.

Update 1908hrs: From Kotli
DHQ Hospital takes emergency measures to take in injured from heavy shelling in Charoi, Khuiratta and Nikyaal tehsils (sub-divisions)

Update 1924hrs: From Smaahni
Receiving reports of heavy cross-shelling and firing in Bhimber Sector too

Well, at least the Valley of Kashmir is quite today. Is there a correlation?

Update 1946hrs: From Khuiratta
Pakistani firing...more than the Indians...from Darghuti....heavy fire....since 1500hrs......4 injured civilians in Khanpur ambulanced to Kotli.....Karghut - 8 to 10 ambulances dispatched to PK army....


Update 1931hrs:

Here's a perspective courtesy of Twitter:


Update 2010hrs:
1 of the 4 injured succumbed to her injuries

Shanaz Siddique w/o Raja Muhammad Siddique - female

Adnan s/o Muhammad Aslam - male
? Kausar d/o Muhammad Karamat - female
Sumehra d/o Muhammad Aslam - female

Update 2013hrs: From Nikyaal
Mohra Dhruti....Malik Umar Hayat House...
- 3 of this already deceased gentleman's family members have now been killed in this fresh Indo-Pak confrontation along the LOC..
- A further 3 members of the late Umar Hayat have been injured.

Motiyan Begum w/o Umar Hayat - 40 years - female
Zarina d/o Umar Hayat - 15 years - female
Gulfraz s/o Umar Hayat - 9 years - male

Umar Farooq s/o Umar Hayat - 17 years - male
Sarfaraz s/o Umar Hayat - 12 years - male
Sagheer s/o Umar Hayat - 10 years - male

Update 2117hrs: From Hattian - Jhelum Valley (Muzaffarabad Division)
All hospitals in the district have been put on high alert.

Also plenty of aerial movement reported from all 3 divisions of AJK

Update 2210hrs:

I sent out the following audio message in English:

Update 2316hrs: From Kotli
Reports of activity in Tattapani and further north along the Poonch Sector

Update 2331hrs: Working Boundary (The area of Jammu & Kashmir controlled by India opposite Pakistani Punjab - Sialkot, Narowal, Shakergarh etc.)
Reports of tank build-up here

Here's some footage on the ground in Tattapani, Nikyaal and Khuiratta:

Coming back to the ground where this territorial conflict really matters, here's a scene from Gilgit Baltistan:


In an effort to remain sober about this needless and expensive conflict thrust upon us, I became engaged with the following question on the 19th of February:

So here's my engagement:

I'm pretty impressed with the structure of this website and the promptness equalled by thoroughness of the administrators. Only I wish I could embed the conversation here.

Initially, on February the 19th I submitted all 3 primary reasons for why Kashmir should be independent.

I'm using the term 'Kashmir' in the most easily understood modern political sense. That is Kashmir as short-hand for the whole erstwhile princely State of Jammu & Kashmir, whose measurement equals roughly 86,000 square miles. Roughly because varying figures are quoted by writers across the geo-political spectrum. This territory can most easily be divided into seven (7) distinct regions, for the dual purpose of understanding its possibly divergent/convergent internal narratives and 72 year administrative history.

1) AJK = 6% of land and 20% population of J & K under Pakistani control
2) Aksai Chin = 14% of land and 0% population under Chinese control
3) Gilgit Baltistan = 29% of land and 9% population under Pakistani control
4) Jammu = 12% of land and 30% population under Indian control
5) Kashmir (Valley) = 8% of land and 39% population under Indian control
6) Ladakh = 28% of land and 2% population under Indian control
7) Trans-Karakoram Tract = 3% of land and 0% population under Chinese control

Further notes:
- One had to extrapolate percentages (using round figures) from a lot of different sources, none of which tally. Therefore Ladakh's land may actually be more of a percentage than quoted and the Kashmir Valley less than quoted.
- Siachen Glacier is a part of Baltistan but is directly controlled by India and Pakistan respectively without any internal State-level administrative link.

Now, let's return to the question: Should Kashmir Be An Independent State?

My 3 primary reasons have each been submitted separately after discussion with the admin at .

1) A neutral confederation of States replacing the old princely State of Jammu & Kashmir, will bring stability and advance economic progress in Asia, much like Switzerland did in Europe.

2) An independent Kashmir will greatly enhance water management technology in the region because its survival will depend on efficient supply of that water to the thirsty plains of India and Pakistan thus averting future wars over water.

3) Geographically, this region is at the intersection of diverse civilisations, harmony here could avert ideological wars elsewhere.
Human rights and religion in Kashmir

These were the threads leading up to the engagement:

Kialo 20/02/19:
Hi @AJK_Public_Agency, thanks for some amazing ideas! It occurs to me that there are a few separate ideas here, each of which might be worth developing as a separate claim? You could maybe create a separate claim to talk about efficient water use, and another to talk about promoting ideological harmony? The water claim might fit well into existing threads about Kashmir's strategic resources and rivers (here: Kashmir is extremely important to Pakistan as the source of its major rivers).

I'm afraid I don't quite understand the first idea you introduce though - why exactly would an independent Kashmir help promote stability and economic progress? And why is it like Switzerland?

Thanks again for contributing!

My response to Kialo 25/02/19:
As for your question(s): "why exactly would an independent Kashmir help promote stability and
economic progress? And why is it like Switzerland?" The answer to both parts of the question are intertwined.

This is Asia's century as forecasts go but is riddled with conflict in key areas such as Kashmir, which links to many of the old silk routes. Take a look at an economic map of Asia a thousand years ago. For India & Pakistan as well as China and Russia many criss-crossing routes for un-explored or under-utilised markets in the modern age, pass through this territory.

Our neutrality could change the political economy of the region (from conflict based on proprietary claims on neighbouring territories, where religious identity is used as a majoritarian weapon to compete on 'securitisation': to a people's narrative driven economy where citizens, as default arbiters of their inherited territory - are desperate to make their lives useful and ther democratic opinion valuable - opening routes would be fundamental to this turn-around) and there is some correlation between Swiss neutrality and European progress.

Furthermore; geography, topography, ethnic diversity, flows of major rivers into other neighbouring territories are all 'closer to nature' similarities with Switzerland while direct democracy, confederacy and neutrality are all favourable precedents for Kashmir (or the whole erstwhile princely State) to adopt.

We can take this discussion deep into history and use various analogies when comparing it to Switzerland, which announced neutrality in 1515. This stance gradually help fend off competing regional empires. Despite Switzerland's ethnic diversity, languages and proximity to larger powers it held together through sheer will of the people there, who were adamant on a distinct identity. All these traits are visible - if seemingly un-refined - here.

I am not the only one making this proposition or coming to such a suggestion for conflict resolution. Despite arriving at my conclusions through independent research on the ground here since 2005, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that an American journalist who covered this region extensively in the volatile 1990s, had made a similar assessment. Here's a link to her presentation at: The Hague in 1999

End of response......

@AJK_Public_Agency That's fascinating! Thanks so much.

Then, further elaboration was needed on primary reason number 3, namely:
 3) Geographically, this region is at the intersection of diverse civilisations, harmony here could avert ideological wars elsewhere.
Human rights and religion in Kashmir

Kialo 28/02/19 (Updated):
@AJK_Public_Agency This is an interesting idea - but I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "intersection of diverse civilizations" are you meaning in a religious sense?  As India and Pakistan were only partitioned in 1947 it seems unclear to me what you mean by this?

My response to Kialo 01/03/19 (Updated):
Well, if we were to account for just South Asia (including India & Pakistan) then yes the religious divide does appear prominent vis a vis Hindu and Muslim. However, a 360 degree view of the geography around Jammu & Kashmir would indicate historic exposure to diverse cultures/religions/languages/races etc. such as Central Asia (including Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey) as well as China.

Let me illustrate further:

Thus:  There are many religions, in or surrounding the State of Jammu & Kashmir -
Buddhist, Confucianist, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Taoist with many varieties of Muslim including further biblical connections with Christian and Jewish links...the 'Throne of Soloman' in Srinagar for example.

Many races:
Caucasoid. Mongoloid and Australoid
- If we adopt mid 20th century racial classification by American anthropologist Carleton S. Coon, who divided humanity broadly into five races. This would mean we host 3 of 5 globally.

Many ethnicities:
111 have been studied in just the Indian-controlled part of Jammu & Kashmir by the anthropolical survey of India.

Many languages:
Pahari (with variants such as Gojri, Dogri and Hindko), Kashmiri, Punjabi, Balti, Sheena, Ladhaki, Burushaski, Wakhi, Khowar and Bhaderwahi.
Officially English, Hindi and Urdu with heavy remnants of Persian still in use.

Many Cultures:
Influences within the wider geographic region as well as beyond are clearly visible in the major expressions of dress, food and living environment. It could be argued that the Kashmir Valley itself is most syncretic because it happens to be virtually in the geographic centre of this wider network of old silk routes or the wider State of Jammu & Kashmir, in its modern context. 

This region has also been at the cross-roads of many colonial/expansionist influences/tendencies throughout history.

End of response....

Kialo 03/03/19 (Updated):
@AJK_Public_Agency That is really interesting!  I didn't know many of those things. I'm just trying to think how we could incorporate some of that into the claim. I think we would also need to explain how this would avert ideological wars elsewhere - as i'm not sure how these diverse language and cultural backgrounds manifest themselves other than the conflict between India, Pakistan, China etc over Kashmir?

My response:
Well, this is where all 3 primary pros entered for this argument rely on each other to make an independent Kashmir practical.

Yes, that can be pondered over as to what can be added further to the argument.

Well, as the region is on the periphery of these contesting/colluding powers it cannot be central or even integral to how those countries function. All 3 are using expansionist - as opposed to genuine democratic - tools to expand the 'idea' of their respective national identities. This disenfranchisement means the onus is on us to prove our neutral geo-political tendencies (pro 1), water management technological capability (pro 2) and the will to distinguish our national identity in a diverse polity with divergent temptations (pro 3). The latter argument gives us a precedent in Switzerland (Please refer to my explanation for pro 1). We can use our history to reference quasi democratic traditions in autocracy, through the lineage of Kings ref. Prem Nath Bazaz (1954) The History of Struggle for Freedom in Kashmir: Cultural and Political, from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. Kashmir Publishing Company. We also have a rich heritage of knowledge at Sharda, which some even describe as the oldest university in the world.

In short, our needs can take some inspiration from our heritage and parallel(s) to Switzerland to refrain from colluding with our neighbours, who are using ideology and or religious identity to attach us as a periphery to their respective centres. A neutral Kashmir would help our neighbours divert their energies elsewhere. Hopefully, away from conflict. This could have a positive spin-off elsewhere too.

End of response...

Kialo 04/03/19 (Updated):
@AJK_Public_Agency It seems to me that the key idea here is "A neutral Kashmir would help our neighbours divert their energies elsewhere. Hopefully, away from conflict. This could have a positive spin-off elsewhere too". Do you have some sources that might be able to back up this idea?

My response 05/03/19 (Updated):
Well, sources related to neutrality and Switzerland provide precedent, as already cited. Admittedly, it is difficult to be counter-factual here.

If such a diverse a region as J & K with potentially deep ethnic faultlines succeeds as a distinct polity, it would not only compel India and Pakistan to concentrate on alternative matters more central to their existence (education, health and employment of their deprived masses for example) but other regions of the world which usually get trapped in conflict based on religious, sectarian or other ethnic considerations could also possibly adjust their priorities likewise.

In Kashmir, we have enough of a diverse heritage to build on, which cannot happen when 3 neighbours are competing for our land, minus the people.

In terms of re-phrasing the argument, I would suggest the following although I appreciate that it may need further refining or substantiation:

Geographically, this region is at the intersection of diverse civilisations, utilising the rich and  diverse (spiritual and knowledge-based) heritage of this region could help convert the ideological expansionism of our neighbours into a more effective pro-life approach towards their own citizens. Becoming a venue for refined civil interaction that replaces military confrontation would also be an inspiration for other regions mired in identity-based conflict.

End of response....

Kialo 06/03/19 (Updated):
@AJK_Public_Agency I think that we are getting closer - can i suggest wording "Geographically, this region is at the intersection of diverse civilsations, utilising the diverse heritage of this region could help divert the ideological expansionism of its neighbours."  Then we could have separate claims beneath that to prove that it is a diverse (spiritual and knowledge based  region and also some claims about why this would divert Indian and Pakistani attentions to their own citizens?

I think the point about "becoming a venue for refined civil interaction..." is a completely separate point.  The only issue I have is that i'm not sure what the arguments for saying that India and Pakistan would become more interested in their approach to their own citizens would be.  I know you have the example of Switzerland but I think thats quite different because Switzerland had a long history of neutrality and I think is in a quite distinct position from Kashmir in that it has never been a disputed territory.  So i think in order to argue this we would need to provide more support than just "see it works in Switzerland".

My response 07/03/19 (Updated):
Yes, I appreciate you putting so much time and thought to this. I am thoroughly enjoying the exchange too. I think the way you have phrased it seems fine and I take along your point of adding the various arguments beneath it. As for India and Pakistan then becoming more interested in their approach to their own citizens, I think that would be inevitable given the huge military resources in use and ideological warfare both countries have been engaged in to gain the upper-hand against each other.

Both have also been very poor in water management despite sharing the water sources emanating from Kashmir. A lot of features of governance that 'normal' countries proceed with have been ignored by both countries over the past 72 years. The constant threat of war and publicity regarding it does sap one's energies. Indeed, both countries have much to benefit from trading with each other, which has been heavily restricted since 1947.

As for Switzerland, there is definitely a huge time lag and difference in political evolution between it and Kashmir. Switzerland was a disputed territory and that's why it declared neutrality in 1515. However, I do agree that any similarities between the 2 need to be qualified. I think my point is rather more eloquently described by Kathy Arlyn Sokol in the reference I gave for pro 1. Here's the link again.


Monday 25 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 56 of 2019


I have to begin today from where I ended yesterday. That is remaining in the exact same place either side of midnight. 

I can kick off with this retweet from yours truly:


Then it's time to translate the following document:

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir's Farewell Flyer 2.0

The earlier farewell bid (1.0) was on the 24th of October 2018 and had to be aborted for logistical reasons.

Here's the translation:


I'm (described as) an apostate and traitor if I speak the truth.
Mad is my humble being they say, if I were to lie then my humble being would be a hypocrite.

That's why this humble being is migrating from here.
This humble being will live his life wherever he will find (a civilised) abode.


The public enemy policies of the authorities in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan have forced me to take this step to migrate from Azad Kashmir and Pakistan towards an (as yet) unknown destination, where I can hide my head.

I will break my hunger strike since (which began on) the 14th of May 2018 and eat food (Musafir has survived on liquids during this period) in such an (conducive) environment where I will be able (given the opportunity) to produce electricity without any of the following (recognised) methods:

Water, diesel, petrol, gas, coal, paraffin oil, atomic power, solar power, furnace oil, dry battery, seawaves, garbage and even without wind, if necessary.


The thought and concern of:

Their Excellencies; Allaama (Professor) Iqbal, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmed Faraz, Habeeb Jaalib and Ubaid Ullah Sindhi.

(An attempt was made to convey to):

Your Excellencies; the president of Pakistan, the prime minister of Pakistan, the 72 year old advocate of Kashmiris - the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the so-called government of Azad (free) Kashmir.

For 26 years I have searched for Islamic fairness & justice, human rights organisations and (legal) courts.


A bright and prosperous Azad Kashmir - A bright and prosperous Pakistan
As I've committed the crime of desiring prosperity of mankind (I bid)
Farewell Farewell Azad Kashmir - Pakistan Farewell


Whilst there are thousands of PHD graduates here and hundreds of thousands of double and triple Masters engineering graduates; yet this country is still bankrupt, mired in a darkness of owing debts upon debts. Why?

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan, Gilgit, Kashmir and in particular Tharpaakar (Sindh) are where the public are deprived of a morsel of food, justice, education, healthcare, clothes and clean drinking water. Why?

A few families have illuminated abodes while the rest make do in darkness. Why?


Load-shedding (of power supply) and expensive electricity.

Expensive education with a dishevelled curriculum and educational institutions without roofs, protective four walls or toilets.

Unclean common drinking water sources that lead to hepatitis and HIV aids.

Cruel termite-infested banking system.

There is a different set of laws for the rich and poor (in practice).

Zakat (compulsory alms-giving) and its institutional structure 'Bait ul Maal' (House of Wealth) including schemes such as Benazir Income Support Programme and Health Card, are all a cruel joke at the expense of the poor.

Young children and women are victims of violent sexual assault.

Freedom of expression is prohibited. 

The United Nations Charter and the constitution of Pakistan have been (practically) abandoned.

Farmers, physical labour and creative writers are economically strangulated.

The children of those in power are facilitated with permanent occupations (job positions) while the children of the poor are subject to ad-hoc-ism and employment on contract policies.

98% of the bureaucracy is unbridled, (are compulsive) liars, hypocrites, tricksters and enemies of Socrates (5th century BC Greek philosopher).

I repeatedly reject this so-called democracy.


If you have power in your (educational) degrees then produce electricty at Siachin (Glacier).

If you can't do that, then burn your degrees and then..............(Musafir leaves the rest to the reader's imagination)


Mahmood Ahmed Musafir

Contact Numbers:


End of flyer translation....

Note: anything in brackets in the translation above is my emphasis, to make the text easier to understand.


Sunday 24 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 55 of 2019


Meaningfully organising what one has done during the day, is also a time-consuming chore at times. Yet it's a necessity in public interest. not least for posterity. 

With less than half an hour to Day 56 of 2019, I still have at least 4 tasks to complete before I sleep. Yet none of them are related to my main priority: Citizen Public Opinion Survey - AJK : Report 2.0 

The latin phrase carpe diem (make the most of today, tomorrow may not come) comes to mind as does an article that I was reading earlier on

Meanwhile, where we've given so much time to the K in J & K, it would be appropriate to feature aspects of the J (for Jammu) narrative, even if it's just an atempt to veer towards balancing the stakes.

Here's a news clip from yesterday entitled, "Jammu Muslims condemn Pulwama attack, say non-locals were involved in violent Jammu protests":

Today, the local administration in Jammu has also spelt out its intent towards miscreants:

It has come to notice that some rumour mongers are spreading rumours of Bandh Call and Curfew in Jammu. People are requested not to pay any heed to rumours. Situation in Jammu is peaceful and there is no such Bandh Call or Curfew planned by administration. To ascertain any unsure information on social media or otherwise, People are requested to confirm same either from DC Office Jammu controls Room or Police Control Room. Rumour mongers will not be spared.

By Order:
District Development Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar

News source: Jammu Links News (via Whatsapp)

This was my immediate reaction:

There is nothing more valuable in the pursuit of State reformation of J & K, than a stable Jammu.

Saturday 23 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 54 of 2019


So the local administrations on both sides of the Line of Control (or Line of Military Occupation - LOMO - to be more precise) have been instructed to move civilians away from the dreaded line, over the past couple of days. We also understand that many people in cities like Srinagar are hoarding grain and other essentials, in anticipation of?

Living on the 'cold' border here in Dadyaal, adjacent to the Potohar region of Pakistan (we describe the LOC as the hot border in this context), it is difficult to estimate the level of tension our citizens have to encounter, whether they are living near the LOC or in volatile urban centres like Srinagar and of late, Jammu.

The responsibility to seek respite from this tragedy is more on our relatively comfortable shoulders than it is theirs. 

It should also be noted that whenever relations between India and Pakistan take a nosedive, its effects are usually played out here in Jammu & Kashmir, while India and Pakistan proper (as in their legal territories), enjoy immunity. In other words, they fight in our territory and not their own.  

This is a sample of what it feels like to be a citizen at the heart of this imposed conflict:

In sharp contrast, here's a very sane letter written by former Indian Navy Chief Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas to President Ram Nath Kovind, in the aftermath of the suicide attack in Pulwama.

He re-iterates the following 2 points - hitherto echoed in abundance elsewhere by others - before appealing for calm and clear thinking in pursuit of a solution.

1) The solution to the Kashmir problem is political, not military.

2) No amount of force as part of the avowedly ‘muscular’ Kashmir policy can quell the anger that Kashmiri youth are experiencing.


To capture the zeitgeist (spirit of the age) in the context of Jammu & Kashmir, the discussion below had 3 very qualified proponents. Incidentally perhaps, they are all female and this chimes with my accumulated opinion that female intellect will be far more effective in delivering a solution to this un-necessarily protracted conflict:

Ayesha Jalal in particular is almost astounding in her analysis.

Friday 22 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 53 of 2019


Once in a while, I get to read a riveting article in a Pakistani newspaper that takes the 'bull by the horns' in its analysis of the malaise of Pakistani polity. Not least because it directly affects us in AJK and GB.

Killing history  in today's Dawn is one such article.

Meanwhile, I found the following interview on JKTV even more riveting. Dibyesh Anand is an expert on modern colonialism and thus his views on Jammu & Kashmir need to be taken very seriously. Our traditional nationalists have much to learn from his educated wisdom:


Thursday 21 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 52 of 2019


A dark overcast day ensured that I wouldn't leave home today.

I sent out the following question in some Whatsapp groups today:

Sponsoring War vs Sponsoring Peace
How has the public of AJK historically performed in this regard?

About 6 hours later, I'm yet to receive a meaningful response. Thus, I'll write a little commentary on it myself:

In the greater scheme of things since 1947, our public have sponsored war far more than they have sponsored peace.

The late 1980's and 1990's are a particular case in point. Our public in AJK as well as the diaspora - particularly in the UK where taxi drivers, restaurant/hotel owners, shopkeepers and the like regularly collected funds and sent them to AJK - to be passed onto the 'mujahideen' who were regularly crossing over to the Indian-controlled side of Jammu & Kashmir, to physically oust the Indian army. Relatively affluent locals here (in AJK) didn't shy from contributing regularly either.

Three major factors for this energetic fund-raising emerged:

1) The Pakistani State was backing this funding drive, thus logistics, publicity and the institutional structure in place here facilitated this process.

2) Our people have always tended to be attracted to the lure of major achievements in a short timeframe. For example, it was repeatedly propagandised on Pakistani State media that Indian military withdrawal was imminent.

3) It was easy to convince our gullible people using the emotion of religious identity, to back a Muslim effort to rid a coveted territory of Hindu rule. In a sense, it was 1947 re-enacted. Indeed, the Kashmiri Pandit community of the Valley suffered in a manner, that was worse than anything they had to endure in 1947. This time there was an exodus. Some blame can undoubtedly be attributed to Governor Jagmohan but if some of the local Muslims of the Kashmir Valley hadn't targetted the Kashmiri Pandits and if some Muslims hadn't made suggestive announcements on loudspeakers in various masaajid in the Valley, an exodus on the scale that occurred may have been averted.

The absence of these three factors in the pursuit of genuine peace means that any dedicated public rights activist has to bear a huge personal burden, just to survive - let alone succeed - in such an environment.

On my visit to the Valley of Kashmir in the summer of 2009, my host - the late Shujaat Bukhari - raised a valid question as to how I will fund the development of civil society in AJK. My response was that the very people who had so generously funded war and lived through the failure, should be able to understand the importance of funding peace.

However, my response didn't fully take into account the above three factors cited. As sponsoring peace requires the following opposing attributes to succeed:

1) We cannot canvass for the backing of other nation states (and certainly not Pakistan which has its own axe to grind) or even foreign NGOs, as some of our citizens are keen to do. Logistics, publicity, funding and all other aspects of building an indigenous political process have to be created by our very own citizens. Indeed, this is an explanation of self-determination, in our particular context.

2) There are no short cuts to conflict resolution. Our public has been repeatedly stung by short term tactics (of war and subterfuge) which ultimately makes our struggle more complex, requiring even greater amounts of peaceful lobbying to unlearn all the propaganda driven into us. Obtaining funding for something that is not immediately redeemable in an environment with such a history, is very hard work.

3) Sponsoring peace entails meticulous and painstaking research to cut out ambiguity of public opinion, counter false/self-serving propaganda, develop a modern structure of governance and  perhaps most important of all; repairing relations with our citizens who do not adhere to the majority religion in the region. In other words, taking a humane approach rather than trying to extract preferential treatment under majoritarian principles.

In summary, this is a battle to foreground the people's narrative against a securitisation narrative conveniently employed by our occupiers.

End of commentary...


Meanwhile, I know our people (citizens of undivided J & K) can become buoyant whenever some significant Indian or Pakistani talks 'our' language but we almost always forget that all the 'footwork' required to create a solution remains our responsibility:


Wednesday 20 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 51 of 2019


What a knackering day!

To and back from Mirpur (to Dadyaal). The day began with circumspect skies and ended with torrential rain at times.

Earlier in the day while on approach to Mirpur, we thought of taking the following photo of an incomplete bridge from the PPP era (2011-16). It is supposed to shorten the route to Mirpur from areas such as Kotli, Dadyaal and Chakswari:

  Is this just another addition to the long list of 'white elephants' in AJK?

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 50 of 2019


Writing in real time on sensitive topics as they affect us in this externally contested territory - while avoiding the trap of falling into line with an Indian or Pakistani narrative - requires a real balancing act at times. A sound argument by an Indian of a Pakistani crime or vice versa doesn't immunise any of them from responsibility for this conflict. 

Extending that point further, that also means that sound arguments put forward by the 'native' inheritors of the old princely State of Jammu & Kashmir, against one or both occupiers doesn't immunise our political leaders or even us either. 

Ultimately, the responsibility to initiate and sustain the path to peace lies with us on the ground, not any of the aforementioned. We may attain a sense of solace by criticising them but that is only one step in a series of steps that resemble climbing a rocky mountain. 

We've spent 71 years on what can loosely be described as a political struggle. Agitational or resistance politics to be more precise. As intimated in an earlier post, that is far from enough. Even that cannot be sustained on a day to day basis and neither can resistance politics mobilise the masses to the extent of foregoing their day to day needs on a prolonged basis.

The quest for deliverance cannot be prioritised over health, nutrition, education or even employment or leisure. 

The Indians understand that and that's why they employ over (reportedly) 350,000 citizens in government service from a population of roughly 12.5 million in that part of J & K. If the figures are correct, that would amount to a staggering 2.8% of the population in government service. This facility is undoubtedly quid pro quo for the occupation and the major beneficiaries are the citizens of the Valley, at the expense of Jammu & Ladakh it could be argued.

The figures in AJK could be roughly estimated at 100,00 government servants from a population of c. 5 million. In percentage terms that would be a no less staggering 2%, especially given Pakistan's use of religious emotion to elicit voluntary support almost at will.

Figures for Gilgit Baltistan (GB) can roughly be extrapolated as about 40,000 government servants from a poulation of c.1.9 million. That in percentage terms would be about 2.1%.

Given that between 30% to 50% of the population on either side of the LOC is under the age of 16 and that most adult women are not made eligible for work, the figures are even more mind-boggling if compared to most of the rest of the world. 

Resisting such a structure with carrots dangling such as described above or alternatively facing the stick of the occupiers for resisting such a trap, makes genuine activism on the ground difficult to mobilise en masse.

I can't speak for the Valley but in AJK the rest of the population, not usually engaged in resistance but desirous of independence, are reluctant to initiate fund-giving for public interest. What they do give is pro-actively canvassed by activists and more often than not, is usually given to fund political rallies, processions, speeches and publicity.

Given the above, there is little time, effort/intellect or finance devoted to the 3 other aspects of struggle needed for change. Namely:

(1 being political as discussed already)
2) Research
3) Economy
4) Culture

That also means, choreographing genuine change internally is the rockiest of mountains to climb.

Finance to sustain the occupation must be countered by finance to end the occupation. Obviously not at the same level but enough to sustain a well-thought out day to day struggle covering all four aspects.

Even today, when change in society is discussed (or freedom from the occupier/s for that matter), most people picturise a charismatic leader with a political party formation active in all corners of society. 

The world has moved on and the demands of the modern age compounded by double occupational structures, means we have to think a lot differently.

Within a few months of arriving here in 2005, I was certain that a lot of thinking had to be different.

That was in the context of what I learned from the India-Pakistan relationship during the relatively harmonious Musharraf era.

Hence, my introductory logo at the time:

Monday 18 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 49 of 2019


I had to embed this as it gives us a clue to the mostly ignored part of the Kashmir conflict puzzle. I've always maintained that India and Pakistan do more to prolong each other's presence in Jammu & Kashmir, than anything else:


Even some of our AJK citizens are celebrating the announcement of the release of 2,107 'Pakistani' prisoners from Saudi jails, as a goodwill gesture by the crown prince Muhammad bin Salman on his visit to Pakistan. However:

Translation of the Urdu text adjacent to the portrait of Baba Jaan:

"I wish I was also in a Saudi Arabian jail - By the son of a land without a constitution - Baba Jaan" 

Sunday 17 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 48 of 2019


A totally blank mind. 

Difficult to write something at the end of a lazy Sunday.


Heartening to see some positivity within a sea of negativity after Pulwama:


Saturday 16 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 47 of 2019


A poor workman may blame his tools but in this digital age, data management needs forever increasing amounts of processing power and RAM (random-access memory). I'm still working with equipment that may have been upto the task in 2015. However, it just simply can't handle the requirements of 2019. 

Which brings us full circle back to the importance of financing public interest.    

Friday 15 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 46 of 2019


The Pulwama Attack in the Valley of Kashmir yesterday dominated discussion on AJK social media. Divergent views are emerging and they are difficult to debate so close to the event.

Courtesy: BBC 

In the larger picture, this is peace versus war and war is winning at the moment.

Whenever India, Pakistan or both - up the ante - in this conflict, it infuriates me inside for a number of reasons. Not least because months, nay years of peaceful efforts on either side of this divided land are disrupted. I can't condone any violent act, whoever the perpetrator may be. 

India and Pakistan must both take a step back.

Neither have a peaceful solution acceptable to the citizens of the territory of Jammu & Kashmir, by way of consensus. Both countries need to abdicate from the responsibility of devising such a solution. The international community should also rephrase their suggestion from encouraging India-Pakistan talks to encouraging an internal solution. This would be the biggest leap in democracy for mankind.

Locally, we've tried to phrase this internal solution as ownership-building measures OBMs, conducted by the inheritors of the princely State of Jammu & Kashmir. That responsibility should exclusively be ours because our survival depends on it. We have a vested interest in peace.

India and Pakistan should lay out their reservations respectively for a neutral Jammu & Kashmir

Meanwhile, I'm still worried about my friend Baba Jaan. Here's a petition for his release:

For those of you interested, this is what I wrote as my reason for signing the petition:

"He's a prisoner of conscience who proves Pakistan's diplomacy and advocacy of freedom for the Indian-controlled Valley of Kashmir is a liability."

Thursday 14 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 45 of 2019


It rained all day, preventing me from spending much time on the ground - outdoors - apart from a little errand for the family.

It has given me opportunity to watch some video archives of speeches given by AJK politicians at various public events.

Selective of history and partisan to the Pakistani narrative but bereft of practical solutions.

They also describe themselves as the unwaged warriors of Pakistan. This is servile deception at its finest.

Their allegiance to Pakistan has helped thwart the local (independence) narrative while bringing them affluence in the Pakistani controlled economy of AJK. Otherwise, they'd be paupers like me. 

Wednesday 13 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 44 of 2019


Today was the second court date of the 'Anti-National' case in Kotli. What was most notable from what I gathered, was that Pakistani clandestine agency operatives were hounded out of the court by the accused and their supporters.

Later in the day, it also emerged that internal tension within the JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front) reached boiling point and a lot of energy that should be reserved for hounding the occupier out of our territory, was utilised in the character assasination of each other.

This is a familiar pattern. One step forward is usually followed by a few steps back. 

In principle, I refrain from commenting on individuals as well as parties and hence will maintain my silence as an independent researcher.    

What I will say though is that developing a mass political party is not sufficient to deliver us from occupation. Indeed, it is only 1 of 4 categories of struggle that need the public's devotion. Even that one is not being carried out as effectively as it could:

Achieving our due rights in AJK requires struggling on all the four following dimensions, preferably separating each from the other:

1) Politics
2) Research
3) Economy
4) Culture

Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned to the 25th of March.

I couldn't have phrased the following better. I'm elated.


Tuesday 12 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 43 of 2019


Didn't go out at all today. Balancing public interest work - indoors and outdoors - is not easy. An overwhelming feeling of constantly wanting to catch up on what has happened elsewhere, is a time hazard in the social media age. It's also hell for data consolidation. You are consuming more data than you can analyse, let alone categorise and order - as appropriate - in your work files.

This also means that I write a lot less description, of how my actual day transpires on this daily blog.

Practice does make perfect though, or at least as close to perfect as possible.

Once again, I want to analyse another couple of tweets, not least because they reflect both sides of the occupation coin. Both are heads of course. A Jinnah and a Gandhi. 

Those who created the problem (Britain) and those who need to solve it (citizens of the State of Jammu & Kashmir) are nowhere on the menu of conflict resolution:


Translated thus:

A red salute to all martyrs of the State of Jammu Kashmir. Banned Pakistani terrorist parties have conducted trade in human blood and dignity in the name of religion. Allah - All Glory belongs to Him, He is the Most Exalted and The Most High - will certainly question these traders and running foot men. Despite 70 years of countless sacrifices, the State's public are not even a part of their own issue.


Translated thus:

One after the other educated youngster of the Kashmir Valley is heading in the direction of militancy and is the target of Indian army bullets on a daily basis. Is the young educated class being killed on purpose? In this current genocide and proxy war, why in particular is the educated youth of Kashmir a target?


As one can easily assess, both India and Pakistan are part of the problem. Hence, partisanship towards one or the other - may have merited arguments from a personal economic, security and perhaps even a cultural point of view - but when analysed with the purpose of conflict resolution in mind, it can prolong the conflict rather than help resolve it.

Thus, our argument to Pakistan (before India for a variety of reasons but one should suffice here: it should be easier to gain concessions on civil space from a perceived sympathiser than from a larger power seemingly unwilling to negotiate) is to not aggravate the issue by posing as sole spokesperson in the global community. This among other tactics makes you as guilty as India for the killing of innocent people. If you really believe there is no military solution to the conflict and if peace entails talking then why do you insist on the State of Jammu & Kashmir's citizens allowing you to talk on their behalf? The affectee can always accurately reflect their problem better than an assumed advocate with vested interests.

Finally (for now), if you present yourself as keen to talk then why are your terms not reflected in flexibility of position? Does it mean you are keen to talk as long as everyone else adheres to your terms? As you are well aware that is never going to happen, in which case there is no harm in pretending you want a solution if no one is going to compel you to fulfill your part of the bargain.

Meanwhile, the conflict continues and your use of the term "disputed territory" maintains your assumed relevancy. If this calculated ambiguity ends, we will embark on the road to a solution.       

This is not a disputed territory and neither is it 'waiting' for the implementation of UN resolutions. These are tactical tropes used by Pakistan to control AJK, GB and the emotions of many citizens of the Kashmir Valley.

If Pakistan continues to pretend it is merely advocating Kashmiri aspirations and not heed the increasing calls to disengage by the latter, it ultimately has much more to lose in this relatively transparent digital age. 

Neither action nor intention can remain concealed now.     

Monday 11 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 42 of 2019


An even earlier start today. 0700hrs to be precise. 

Today we remember the man who will be remembered for ever.

This was how I phrased his approach yesterday evening:

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 140 of 2024

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