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Monday, 5 August 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 217 of 2019

1514hrs:

So, the whole of Jammu & Kashmir is mired in total uncertainty at the moment.

This may be a time when most people are anxious or even helpless but this brings opportunity to the internal narrative on an unprecedented scale.

The following tweet reminds me of the late, great K. H. Khursheed: 




Here's a short documented video profile of (K for) Khursheed (H for) Hassan Khursheed:





Please note that there is a minor error in the narration at 01:30 whereby in fact Ram Chander Kak was succeeded by General Janak Singh as prime minister of J & K before Mehr Chand Mahajan in turn replaced him. Mr. Mahajan had also been instrumental earlier in August (1947) as an assistant to the British lawyer Cyril Radcliffe in demarcating the new post-partition boundary/border in Punjab.

......

An 'Internal Political Process - AJK'

I've been very clear about what Pakistan needs to do, at least since 2012. Unilateral de-militarisation beginning from Tehsil (sub-division) Khuiratta in district Kotli, Mirpur (division of AJK) which we consider a part of Jammu region (the J in J & K).  

Here's a reminder given in this interview (in Urdu) at Khuiratta in 2016:




Once the defence, security and other concerning matters are stabilised in an alternative framework, driven by local civil society in AJK and concurred by the AJK government, including liaison with the international community and regional order; then India can be asked to vacate a similar sized tehsil in the Valley of Kashmir, where conflict has been most intense (apart from the LOC). A phased military withdrawal in such a manner (tehsil by tehsil in the sequence of Pakistan followed by India - one by one) will automatically and simultaneously generate the conditions for an internal political process (throughout Jammu & Kashmir) to take shape.

What is an internal (J & K) political process?

It is being improvised via independent research conducted uninterrupted since 2005.


It has 4 major sequences. 2 of which have been conducted, 1 is currently in process and the final sequence will involve 29 elected members of the AJK legislative assembly; from constituencies in AJK and thus excluding the 20 other members, for reasons to be elaborated on below.



Sequence 1:


A pilot study or an initial foray at the deep end of action-oriented research, which involved open-ended questions on all matters of public significance in public forums, put to a diverse set of aspiring citizens in each major town/city of AJK and GB between 2009 and 2012. C. 50 civil society forums in total. This initial exercise enabled me to witness all levels of ambiguity in society while being exposed to all manner of narratives held by people in both territories. This not only helped me frame the questions for the next sequence (so that I could begin to quantify public opinion); it also made me understand that GB and the other divided territories of Jammu & Kashmir need local citizens within each territory to devise a similar internal democratic framework cum internal political process through civic engagement for reclaiming ownership of their respective territories.



Sequence 2:


A representative sample of public opinion randomly obtained from all 32 tehsils (subdivisions) of AJK, between 2011 and 2016. Read the following document for a detailed summary. It should also be noted that a lengthier academic version of the public opinion survey report will be ready for publication in a Western academic journal this winter (2019/2020):



  



Sequence 3:


Whereas the 10 question public opinion survey was random and involved a sample of 10,000 citizens of AJK, the next sequence is what I describe as the most difficult part of the 4 sequences and where the conflict of interest between what AJK should be compared to what it is, will be tested. 


In this sequence we narrow down to identifying 1,000 of the most significant/influential citizens of AJK. They remain representative like the public opinion sample above because they will also be weighted and distributed - according to the population of each tehsil. These 1,000 people can be of any background, ideology, sect or tribe or but the citizens of any given tehsil will have to identify them (rather than me) and develop a consensus between themselves of the final list of nominations. They can be politicians/political workers (excluding the current members of AJK's legislative assembly because they are relevant for the 4th and final sequence), businessmen, lawyers, spiritual leaders, academicians, activists, professionals in other arenas etc.


The above can include members of the AJK diaspora but they must have some exposure,  a regular stake within AJK and be familiar with how it functions. While the public opinion survey had 10 questions extrapolated from the forums conducted in sequence 1, sequence 3 will have 4 questions based on the 4 sections of that 10 question survey.


Namely:


1) National Question:


Q. Do you agree that AJK should be demilitarised gradually tehsil by tehsil, whereby after the first tehsil is vacated and an alternative security structure is in place and stabilised,  then the same request would be put to the Indian government to vacate a similar sized tehsil in the Valley of Kashmir, where the conflict between both countries has been most intense since 1947?


Yes  / No / Don't know (which may include comments or remarks)


Note: My own calculation of the appropriate tehsil to be first to demilitarise is Khuiratta, for a range of reasons. One is that it is in the Jammu region (via Mirpur division) and thus far only Poonch and Muzaffarabad have had limited routes opened, whereby the most divided as well as most populated region is Jammu. Secondly, the Indians have a very clear military advantage in Khuiratta as the whole Valley (Wadi e Banaah) is directly beneath them, thus the Pakistanis have very limited deterrence value here, if at all. 


As for the alternative security arrangements, these should include 2 components viz. 1 local and one international. The local component should be a combination of our citizens currently employed by the Pakistan army, who would be transferred here (under a local command and control structure, which also entails that the IG would have to be a local citizen and special branch/intelligence functions in AJK would also be answerable within rather than to Pakistani institutions) and a vetted list of those citizens who have been trained in the past and who now remain largely unemployed or working in miscellaneous security positions etc. The international component could be a stronger number of UN forces to patrol between Indian and local AJK positions. My own opinion is that rather than UN forces, the UK should take responsibility for interim security measures here (during the demilitarisation phase), as not only did they facilitate the entry of Indian and Pakistani forces in 1947, they are also the creators of the ceasefire line cum LOC and no force in the world is more familiar with the region. 


2) Governance - Public Policy (Constitution/al matters):


Q: Do you agree that in the modern age of communications technology, having a correct (real-time) database of your population and its aggregate skill set is the first step to effective governance in AJK?


Yes  / No / Don't know (which may include comments or remarks)


Note: There are obviously a whole range of things that could be included to improve governance in AJK. For example, having our own educational curriculum is also a must, saving our forests, managing our water and there is a long list to follow. However, as human capital is always going to be your most precious asset, being able to measure its number and what skills it possesses will enable both the government and the people to reflect that information in consulting and designing public policy. This will also give us an accurate figure of our diaspora and where they have spread out to. We can then think about 'brain gain' as opposed to suffering from decades and centuries of 'brain drain'.


The census data gathered in the decades pre-1947 should provide a sound basis of determining those who qualify as state subjects and thus unnecessary external influence can be minimised. Once you are clear about your assets and income possibilities, you can then drive your country forward and develop all other vital government institutions needed for progress and competing with the rest of the world.


Also remember, there can be no genuine rai shumari (plebiscite, referendum, public opinion) without genuine (localised) mardum shumari (population census data in real time). On this note, it should be pointed out there are 3 conventional means of measuring public opinion in a democratic framework:


i) Periodic Elections - They don't work here because of overbearing military presence & structural reliance on Pakistan's federation. Merit, transparency and accountability among other features of democracy are also almost non-existent here.
ii) Plebiscite/Referendum - Promised since Mountbatten's response to Maharajah Hari Singh's request for military assistance to quell Pakistani invasion in October 1947 but not forthcoming at this stage. It would necessitate military withdrawal in any case ref. Question 1 above.
iii) Public opinion polls/survey - This was the only practical means available to us to measure public opinion and even this had attempted obstruction from Pakistan's clandestine agencies. In any case, it has provided us a reference to launch an internal political process.

3) The economy:


Q: Should AJK take responsibility for all matters of fiscal and monetary significance in AJK, including taking responsibility for all direct as well as indirect taxation?


Yes  / No / Don't know (which may include comments or remarks)


Note: I think this question should be self-explanatory but one should now be able to notice that each of the 4 sequences as well as each of the 4 questions logically follow each other. For example, we can't have control over taxation (no.3) if we don't have control over population data (no,2) and likewise we can't have control over population data if we remain occupied. In fact, the current Pakistani government's representative and a form of foreign policy think-tank Shireen Mazari said in October last year in a presentation to Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (where she was director when I met her in 2005), that if we think we can talk peace or move towards conflict resolution without demilitarisation, we are only fooling ourselves. I am of course paraphrasing her. You can read the text or listen to her speech at the following link.   


For almost 72 years we have been deprived of the most fundamental benefit of taxation viz. representation in a political economy. If our political representatives do not have direct access to a public treasury generated from citizen's taxes, then instead of representing us they will have no choice but to represent the interests of those controlling the public's treasury. Hence...

4) Society (regaining religious/cultural equilibrium):


Q: Should the AJK government and civil society actively engage to facilitate the renovation and revitalisation of Mandirs, Gurdwaras and other places of historic or cultural significance?


Yes  / No / Don't know (which may include comments or remarks)


Note: So, this would be the icing on the cake of a resurgent AJK. Clear and unambiguous about its status and taking all aspects of its past into the future. Our legitimacy as inheritors of AJK depends on us reversing the policy of our forefathers to kill, convert or drive away our non Muslim community in 1947. This would be the epitome of 'soft power', the most authentic fulfillment of Ownership-Building Measures (OBMs) and a clear message that (the) white (flag) reflects not only peace but a will to design our future beginning with a clean slate - no pre-conceived inhumane biases - dependent on the inclusiveness of all sections of our society.  


The 1,000 influential stakeholders would be divided into tehsils in the following manner:


Division



Sample
Per Cent
Mirpur
405
41%
Muzaffarabad
266
27%
Poonch
329
33%




District



Sample
Per Cent
Bagh
90
9%
Bhimber
109
11%
Hattian Bala
60
6%
Haveli
36
4%
Kotli
194
19%
Mirpur
102
10%
Muzaffarabad
160
16%
Neelam
46
5%
Poonch
130
13%
Sudhnoti
73
7%


Tehsil (sub-division)



Sample
Per Cent

Abbaspur
19
2%
Athmaqam
30
3%
Bagh
35
4%
Baloch
18
2%
Barnaala
36
3%
Bhimber
42
4%
Charoi
16
2%
Chikaar
10
1%
Dadyaal
31
3%
Darlya Jattan
14
1%
Dheerkot
39
4%
Hajeera
47
5%
Harigel
16
2%
Hattian Bala
38
4%
Haveli
18
2%
Khuiratta
22
3%
Khursheedabad
7
1%
Kotli
76
7%
Leepa
12
1%
Mirpur
71
7%
Mong
8
1%
Mumtazabad
11
1%
Muzaffarabad
111
11%
Nikyaal
16
2%
Palandri
32
3%
Pateeka
49
5%
Rawalakot
55
6%
Samaahni
31
3%
Sehnsa
50
5%
Sharda
16
2%
Thorar
9
1%
Trarkhel
15
1%
Notes: (3)

1) Percentages have been rounded off to the nearest whole number.


2) To balance the weightage between categories, Muzaffarabad Division has been favoured over Mirpur. 



3) The following adjustments in weightage have been made to make up for minor skewness during fieldwork for Citizen Public Opinion Survey - AJK:


District
Sub-division
Added (+)
Bhimber
Barnaala
4
Kotli
Kotli
3
Neelam
Athmaqam
1
Sudhnoti
Palandri
4
Sudhnoti
Trarkhel
2





Taken Away (-)
Bhimber
Samaahni
-4
Kotli
Khuiratta
-3
Neelam
Sharda
-1
Sudhnoti
Baloch
-6


If a majority of 501 or more of these influential citizens decide to agree (Yes) to the 4 items on the agenda, for advancing an internal political process then we can move to the final and (relatively less difficult) 4th sequence:


Sequence 4:


To put the very same 4 items to 29 MLAs representing the 29 constituencies in AJK, where there has been uninterrupted elections since 1985. They count for 50% weightage in this internal political process as the vast majority of them have firm grounding in their constituencies and are looked up to for leadership by an unignorable amount of people within them. The other 20 members who comprise of 12 people elected from various 'migrant' constituencies in Pakistan, 5 women, a technocrat, an aalim/mashaikh (Islamic scholar) and an overseas 'Kashmiri' representative have barely any democratic justification while the 12 'migrants' (the progeny of those who had to flee from Indian-controlled J & K in 1947 onwards, who have settled in various parts of Pakistan and enjoy the vote in both entities viz. AJK and Pakistan) are hardly in touch with the realities of AJK.

The remaining 50% weightage in this internal political process remains with the people/civil society/public and can be measured using such tools as the 3 sequences prior to this final sequence. If at least 15 of the 29 MLAs agree to the 4 points on the agenda, then as a political entity described as AJK, we can legislate on them in the very assembly that has to date looked up to the State of Pakistan for direction, guidance, finance and influence.


The very assembly that ratified the Interim Act in 1974 is the very assembly that can ultimately abandon it. The only difference is that hitherto the assembly members took their cue from the Pakistani State and have tried to obtain concessions over authority from them, with very limited success if at all. This time the cue would come from an internal political process, which would provide enough cover and a shield for our politicians, to minimise 'blowback' from the Pakistani State.


Throughout these 14 years of independent research thus far, it gradually became apparent that mobilising the public here on the basis of a political ideology, party,class, tribe, region, religion, sect or any other category which occupiers have used as divisive tools for centuries, would not bear fruit. Not least because they all overlap the concept of a nation-State at some point and are likely to hinder the building of an internal consensus, under one pretext or the other. 


This does not by any means mean that the owners of these categories are not owners of the territory we have all inherited. Indeed, many of these categories may come in use to mobilise public opinion on this internal political process. Furthermore, many people from these categories will also feature among those 1,000 significant citizens. 

Perhaps an even more prominent factor in the context of how society operates in AJK is, how does one efficiently navigate around the chicanery of Pakistan's clandestine agencies? None of the categories described above have been able to persist on their own. If your work is as diverse as the society you operate in, then you are likely to be effective. If you treat every citizen as an asset and accumulate public interest in tiny elements over years of practice on the ground; then distribute that strength throughout society and the polity you exist in, subsequently deriving decisions in favour of public interest becomes a habit.


I do recognise that many questions may (and should) flow from all that I've written but please remember that I started off as one lost soul in 2005 but to date we have managed to accumulate the direct help (finance - cash & in kind - logistics, protection) from more than 35,000 aspiring citizens at home and in our diaspora. Those who have indirectly helped number many more. This assistance in promoting public interest is most certainly a collective effort but not one that can be conventionally measured viz. political party strength, organisational capability, quality of cadre, large finance or even international backing. However, it is inclusive (of all sections of society and departments in government); spontaneous, collective, flexible, agile and most importantly rooted in the needs, aspirations and existing capacity of the people. The very aspiring citizens who also happen to be the very marginalised inheritors of this territory, whose reference has been quoted by all and sundry, for perceived legitimacy.    


If we - in AJK - successfully proceed beyond sequence 4, then a ready made model (with room for local variation of course) could be adopted by each of the seemingly disparate territories of the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir. 


If we cannot convince our co-citizens - including our apparent political representatives - to mobilise around public interest, there is little honour in taking our case to the world, to seek that elusive justice that we deny to each other? 


Taking this internal political process forward:

I have been trying to address Tehsil/District Bar Associations and Government/Private Graduate/Post-Graduate Colleges/Universities throughout AJK for the past year or so but with very limited success thus far. However, I wouldn't be disheartened because each sequence on this journey has undergone many hurdles. A process of increasing the confidence of our citizens as a collective political entity is ongoing whilst simultaneously softening the barriers put up by our neighbour.

Our co-citizens are urged to take a practical role in this process, which essentially belongs to all of us. At the first instance, most of us can nominate who they think would qualify as an influential/significant citizen in their respective tehsil.

The names could be emailed at: sahaafi@gmail.com or sent via other social media platforms linked on the right pane of this blog.   

For further background reading:

1) 
Please read up on what is commonly described as K. H. Khursheed Sb's formula, which was presented to the Pakistani State while he was president of AJK, at the end of September 1962, upon the formation of his party viz. Jammu Kashmir Liberation League (JKLL). Wherein Muzaffarabad should be recognised as the rebellious and representative dejure government of the erstwhile princely State of J & K. Further, that initially Pakistan should recognise it and then ask friendly countries to recognise it too. 

The intended purpose was to get the actual stakeholders of the J & K Question (Kashmir dispute) viz. the people of the territory to represent their own case globally, in a bid to obtain self-determination and avoid being further marginalised in a bilateral territorial dispute. At the time, it is understood that 28 countries - including China - had given their indication of consent to recognise this government. 

Equally, it is important to understand the strife he had to go through for his sincere endeavours and how & why he was foiled.

2) Please also read up on Colin Irwin - a Research Fellow in the Department of Politics at the University of Liverpool in the UK - and in particular the following 2 publications of his:

i) The Northern Ireland ‘Peace Polls’
ii) The People's Peace - Pax Populi Pax Dei

3) The following needs to be read as background to fully grasp what I am proposing as an internal political process:




End of document......'Internal Political Process - AJK' 

.......

A selection of excerpts from a spat between India media and the government of India whereby the UK makes a welcome 'intervention':


" The Wire has also confirmed that Jaishankar did write to Javadekar that the two sponsor governments were told through diplomatic channels that it was “unacceptable and unfortunate” that a platform had been provided to make “unfounded remarks” against India.


The UK government doesn’t seem to agree – at least as per the remarks of the high commissioner to India, Dominic Asquith.


When asked at a recent interaction about the Indian government’s protest, he stated that it was agreed by all those who participated that media freedom event was a “vital part of international responsibility”.


Asquith noted that a “range of views were, of course, expressed at the conference as you would expect”.


He added, “It is a forum for exchanging views, not a forum to suppress views”.


The British envoy also went on to state that it was not surprising that a presentation made by a journalist would not fall in line with narratives of governments.


“I can say that not just in that case, the views expressed in the conference, as you would expect professional journalists are not always aligned to some of the governments. So, that’s what freedom of media means. In the context of that conference, the chairman of Prasar Bharati had space made for him by the chairman (of the session) to respond to the comments made…and we have of course listened to him,” he said.


.........Vinod Jose told The Wire that he welcomed the UK high commissioner’s statement. “If the UK government’s India envoy did not respond to the Indian government’s criticism positively, he was echoing the sentiment expressed by the global community in London last month. As an Indian, I am ashamed that the Indian government had to be reminded of the definition of a professional journalist – someone who is not always aligned to the government,” he said.


......The senior Indian journalist was highly critical of India’s move to formally object to his presence with foreign governments.


“Minister Jaishankar’s response is a glowing validation of why a Global Conference for Media Freedom was needed in the first place: because governments and vested interests are throttling the press world over, and we need collective local and global efforts to resist such suppression to safeguard whatever little we have built since World War II in terms of value systems and democracy,” said Jose.


He felt that that “whoever advised a career-bureaucrat-turned-minister to write such a letter is painting the Indian Foreign Service and Indian diplomacy in poor light”.


....He also observed that the 20th century had witnessed the choice made by diplomats, ministers, journalists and jurists to be on the side of truth and justice, freedom of press and rule of law, while others chose authoritarian governments, control of media and arbitrary decision-making. “I don’t think the 21st century will be very different either. Individuals and governments are taking positions, and I hope individuals and governments still slipping on the wrong side will calibrate their positions to be on the right side of history,” said the senior journalist.

"

End of selected excerpts from:


After India Protests, UK Says Journalists' Views Can’t Always Be Aligned With Govt's



Courtesy: thewire.in

My comment:


Now, this is what the British excel at. However, it's a pity they don't utilise such diplomacy in the avoidable dispute referred to once, as the 'Jammu & Kashmir Question'.


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