Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 86 of 2019


An impulsive click by Commander Irfan Malik 

The Law of Averages:

We could write a treatise on this phrase but even without academic rigour or reference, there is a lot that we can discuss through the prism of every-day life.

Let's remain focussed on society in AJK.

The law of averages throughout the modern world in the context of mono narratives - in any given society - would suggest that they are not sustainable in the long run.

As we're talking about societies in nation-States (particularly contested ones) and since the Europeans are the architects of this structure, we have licence to use examples from there or in that vicinity.

Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy and Stalin's Russia employed a mono narrative. The Pakistanis have employed a mono narrative in AJK and Gilgit Baltistan (we will usually adopt GB for short in a similar manner to AJK for Azad Jammu & Kashmir).

The law of averages may dictate an inevitable failure.

There are 2 almost distinct narratives that exist in AJK and GB. I say almost because no prominent narrative can be monolithic. One is an internal narrative and the other is a Pakistani narrative.

Since Pakistan controls these 2 territories without legal reference, as being a respondent party of a non-enforceable forum (ref. UN chapter 6) doesn't provide a country de jure status. This dilemma compels Pakistan to base its control on certain assumptions that rely on the majority opinion of the internal inhabitants - the primary stakeholders in this conflict - to unconditionally support their stance. Hence it (Pakistan) considers it - as a matter of survival - to strictly control the public narrative here.

Control the narrative and you control the territory. De facto. As simple as a white flag.

Not recognising (or even acknowledging) the presence of other narratives is suicidal for a nation State.

What if the United Kingdom didn't recognise that a Scottish aspiration for independence exists? What if England and Wales did not recognise that there are citizens who don't want a Brexit? What if the Catholics of Ireland didn't acknowledge that their Protestant compatriots had a different view on national politics?

Closer to the Muslim world, what if Turkey didn't recognise that there are a significant amount of Turks who prefer to be part of a secular Europe rather than a rejuvenated Ottoman Empire?

All aspects of governance, public policy and conflict resolution (an oft cited term in the context of Jammu & Kashmir) follow the cue provided by the State (assuming charge of AJK and GB), based on the contrived perception that an all-encompassing dominant narrative exists, that unquestionably but conveniently favours the State's accession to Pakistan.

Even if we assume that Pakistan had entered AJK and GB in 1947 peacefully, by measuring the needs and opinions of the inhabitants beforehand and then legally sanctioned its presence, they would still have no right to impose a mono-narrative on these parts of the erstwhile princely State of Jammu & Kashmir.

Some would argue that Pakistan imposes its narrative in AJK and GB in the manner that it does, precisely because it could not and cannot sway majority opinion in its favour.

The average person who lives in this territory recognises that these 2 distinguishable narratives co-exist in real life. Everyday transactions between individuals in society reflect that average reality. They manage the 'occupation' (of course not everybody regards Pakistan as an occupier), hence society continues to function regardless. However, because it is militarised through external interference (primarily to protect that State's narrative), the territory has no internal control over governance and public policy and is compelled to abide by that Pakistani narrative, through social, economic, judicial and even at times extra-judicial means.

The system cannot grow organically - on its own resources - both human and natural. A mono narrative is by definition autocratic, anti-life, suppressive of human instinct and simply unsustainable.

There is little conviction in toppling one autocracy (the Dogra Empire) to become part of another autocracy. A Hindu autocracy, a Muslim autocracy or a Christian autocracy is by all means an autocracy. However, this current autocracy is hell-bent on extraction and expatriation. Dogra rule (1820s to 1947) can be rightly accused of many crimes but extraction and expatriation of resources is not one of them.

The citizen of such a territory: be they day labourers, judges, politicians, academics or anyone else will remain camouflaged to survive and succeed.

If any internal entity or body peacefully challenges this imposed mono-narrative, they will immediately be accused of bias, working for the enemies of Pakistan and/or tabooed as a perfect candidate for being put in a mental asylum, or at least deserving of some form of character assassination.

In a system of governance that pivots its existence on bias, it is a cruel irony that bias is the first allegation that is provoked in response to an alternative narrative. It is quite possible that the most instrumental enemies of Pakistan are a product of the internal contradictions of that society. That could be the case in AJK and GB too. Introspection can deliver answers in each case I suspect. It is also possible that the mental asylum candidate could be a genuine candidate for the Nobel peace prize.

In principle, there cannot be a difference between the nationalism of Balawaristan, Bengali nationalism, Indian nationalism, the nationalism(s) of Jammu & Kashmir or even Pakistani nationalism.

Each philosophically justify their 21st century nationalism according to the structure of Westphalian sovereignty introduced in the 17th century.

In an Islamic context, one nationalism cannot be halaal while another is haraam.

One nationalism cannot be legitimate at the cost of the other and that is the basic flaw of the Indian Independence Act, drafted and hurriedly but partially implemented by the soon-to-depart British Raj in 1947.

Let's return to the imposition of a mono-narrative in AJK and GB. With the internal inhabitant still struggling to cover the journey from a subject of the Dogra Empire pre 1947 to an aspiring citizen of AJK or GB, it has been established that our proclivity to resolve our 'national question' has been stunted in a targeted manner, where fear is a lifelong companion for most inhabitants.

It could be helpful to remember that the law of averages also dictates that many rainy days will inevitably be followed by a sunny day.


When I instinctively decided to review the Pakistani female writer Anam Zakaria's compelling book on AJK 'Between the Great Divide: A Journey into Pakistan-Administered Kashmir', I felt it almost equally compelling to write the above as a preliminary review, which I may as well title as 'The Law of Averages'.

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Daily Diary (DD) - Day 52 of 2020

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