Thursday 30 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 121 of 2020


File work or desk work compared to field work. The latter is what I've spent a lot of the last 15 years on. It is of little practical use if it is not documented properly, organised and categorised for easy access, even if just for posterity.

This enduring lockdown has allowed us to slow down and reflect.

Maybe now I'm finally in a position to get the balance right!


Wednesday 29 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 120 of 2020


Being grounded has its many advantages for some of us.


Another reminder that all is not well in Gilgit Baltistan:


Tuesday 28 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 119 of 2020


I've been carrying an injury (a strain in the back of my left leg) from football for just over a week now. I carried on playing on a daily basis and thought I could break through the pain barrier. I couldn't and today I finally decided to take a break, otherwise I may not be able to recover. I'm in danger of carrying a permanent limp and saying an eternal good bye to my reunion with football.

I must recover, in order to remain useful for my subaltern community.


Meanwhile, I should remind our readers of the poverty of our 'modern' infrastructure from time to time:


My leg injury becomes insignificant whenever I remember this incident:

in 2011, a poor worker named Sarfaraz Shah belonging to a village in district Bagh (AJK) was unnecessarily shot and killed by Pakistani Rangers in Karachi.

Genuine outrage at this senseless murder at the time forced the Pakistani State to prosecute the Rangers involved. Now, the Pakistani president has decided to forgive them!

One had been sentenced to death (by hanging) while 5 others had been given life sentences.  

Even Niccolò Machiavelli would have been astounded at some of the antics conducted by the Pakistani State.


Monday 27 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 118 of 2020


In the early hours of this morning I learned of the following incident: 

This is 13 year old Zeeshan son of Maqtoob Abbasi, a class 7 student of Ghaslaan in Leepa Valley who was severely injured yesterday (Saturday the 26th of April at 1pm) when he inquisitively picked up a cluster bomb that had landed at some point near his home during recent exchanges of fire between Indian and Pakistani forces. The bomb exploded when he did so and the young boy lost his left hand. 

The use of cluster bombs in a conflict is a war crime and such crimes against the inhabitants of J & K continue to be allegedly perpetrated by Indian forces. It should also be noted that there is a Pakistani army post barely 300 metres away from Zeeshan's home. About a kilometre away, the Pakistani military has also erected heavy artillery in the recent past.

12 hours and over 80 kilometres of journey later, this hapless child is at bed number 26 of the surgical ward in hall 3 of Muzaffarabad's main hospital otherwise described as CMH (Civil & Military Hospital), which as the name may suggest also happens to be controlled by Pakistan's military. No media - not even local - has reported this incident as of yet.

We do understand that local journalists have to seek approval of the Pakistani military's official news monitor ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations) before posting information about incidents on the LOC. It is understood that they have to assess all news for their propaganda value. 

Meanwhile, young Zeeshan's life is on the line through no fault of his own and there is no ICU (Intensive Care Unit) available for this poor soul. It has just gone past 0100hrs (1am in the morning) on the 27th of April and the hospital doctors are also saying that they only have 1 bottle of blood available for the child. If more blood is needed, the child's family will have to somehow arrange for that.

Some concerned locals are outraged that despite over 13 hours since the incident no Pakistani media channel has reported on it. Some even opine that when Pakistani army posts come under fire, many anchors "weep" on TV but when "Kashmiris" become the target of both countries' barbarism, no report comes out in Pakistani media.

This is another picture of 13 year old LOC victim Zeeshan Maqtoob Abbasi of Leepa in hospital:


Sunday 26 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 117 of 2020



In an attempt to develop a richer and more informative experience for the viewer/reader, we will also be providing references for further reading and clarification on what we discuss over the course of our weekly programme:

Here are today's references:

1) At 3 minutes and 20 seconds

A British delegation's visit to Kashmir in 1847, headed by Lieutenant Reynell Taylor

web reference

2) At 4 minutes and 20 seconds

Lord Avebury's visit to Kashmir in 2000

The timeline given in the link below maybe incorrect as I have checked Hansard (British parliamentary archives of verbatim proceedings) to verify the dates of his visit. There is also a very heavy tilt towards the Indian State's narrative in the report but the point that I made in the programme - that the people in the Kashmir Valley were indecisive about their future - maybe gauged from here.

web reference

3) At 5 minutes and 9 seconds

A British delegation's visit to Muzaffarabad in 2020, headed by Debbie Abrahams MP

web reference

4) At 15 minutes and 1 second

Aziz Ali Dad's article in The News entitled "Kashmiri identity and Gilgit Baltistan"

web reference

5) At 32 minutes and 41 seconds

Citizen Public Opinion Survey - AJK : Report 1.0 (Urdu)

web reference

6) At 36 minutes and 36 seconds

4 Civil Society Forums conducted in Gilgit Baltistan 2010. Links to the audio coverage of the forums have been broken, as the hosting company seems to have disappeared. However, here's a link to one of the introductory videos in Hunza: 

web reference

7) At 37 minutes and 13 seconds

Last week's programme

web reference

8) At 40 minutes and 15 seconds

Linking Hunza with Srinagar, Muzaffarabad and Jammu online

web reference

9) At 40 minutes and 50 seconds

BBC Article on Shujaat Bukhari

web reference

10) At 43 minutes

FIR against Nisar Baghi for reporting on sexual scandal in Bagh

web reference:

Awaiting from discussion participant Mujtaba Bandey 

11) At 46 minutes and 32 seconds

Video of Haider Shah Rizvi 

web reference

12) At 57 minutes and 36 seconds

Rubbish in the streets of Kotli

web reference



Saturday 25 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 116 of 2020


Re-imagining the region.....

Can the 21st century be radically different from the 20th?

Can India and Pakistan ever be friends?

That's a title of a programme I keenly watched today:

My remarks:

Ultimately, only Indians and Pakistanis can or rather should decide that. At the very least, the question should be a recurring one. Room must be created for love to defeat hatred. Religious identity is no guarantee of fundamental rights but agreeing on human rights for all irrespective of affiliation would be a much desired objective for all victims of hatred since 1947.


Thursday 23 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 114 of 2020


I've wanted to write about Fauja Singh for a while now.

He's that old man who ran in and completed multiple marathon runs in his 90's and even beyond surpassing a century of years in this world.

He's much more than an inspiration for me rebuilding my footballing career in my late 40's. 


Wednesday 22 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 113 of 2020


Battling on..........I'm picking up vibes of Pakistani clandestine agency interference, more closer than the distance we've created over the past so many years.

So, we must proceed with the next phase of our struggle.


Tuesday 21 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 112 of 2020


It gets tougher by the day but it also gets easier if you can break the pain barriers that change as well as intensify by the day.


On a personal level I owe a lot to the following gentleman, who is a recurring theme on this blog. Please watch this video:


(Update: 12/06/20 at 1757hrs):

I only got to read this a few days ago but felt compelled to respond to it for its poisonous or misleading intent:

Here's my response:

Thank you for your well placed arguments in favour of Pakistan. Indeed, the rigour involved in your writing is surprising and dare I say uncustomary coming from a person originating from AJK. 

However, your article only suggests (or even proves) that India was more inflexible in agreeing to terms of plebiscite than Pakistan apparently was. It does not in any manner prove your conclusion viz. "Therefore, holding Pakistan responsible for forestalling the plebiscite, or asking Pakistan Army to vacate first or equalizing Pakistan and India is a gross example of intellectual dishonesty and distortion of facts as Pakistan was and is always ready to fulfill her obligations to give the people of J&K their right of self-determination."

The word synchronisation is A G Noorani's term (as you've quoted him) and not the UN's. In any case, the words synchronisation and simultaneous are not the same. Indeed, synchronisation can still mean one after the other (in sequence). 

As Pakistan invaded (clearly breaking the standstill agreement and trying to do a Junagadh like India did) thus, it was always likely that it would be required to vacate first under any agreement of demilitarisation. If it didn't invade, there would have been no grounds for India to enter the State (unless it itself invaded of course). With the non Muslims of the territory being in a minority and already hounded out of AJK, there would have always been a reason for India to retain some troops in the territory compared to Pakistan and the UN discourse reflects that.

If Pakistan was so confident of the popular vote in its favour it would not have invaded. Therefore, your conclusion is false.

Every apparent flexibility of the Pakistani government was mere posturing because it was always getting something out of nothing, as has emerged over 73 years. It didn't need India to disband the Azad Kashmir army, the Pakistanis did that themselves unilaterally. The way Pakistan has bought its sympathisers in AJK from the very outset in 1947 (by providing them a monthly wage and hitherto provided them money, arms and logistics to wage war against the Maharajah) and how it confines the public narrative in AJK to reward those who wish to accede to Pakistan and punish those who don't; doesn't exactly make Pakistan an honest, open and flexible stakeholder as you have tried hard to suggest. All Pakistan has done is make expert hypocrites out of all of us.

Within the framework of the UN, if Pakistan was indeed sincere with the people of J & K it would have unilaterally withdrawn and created a real dilemma for Indian presence in the territory. Not least by nullifying all India's arguments. However, everything Pakistan has done since 1947 has been to the mutual benefit of India and Pakistan, just as the British had planned and envisaged.

Which brings me to the actual point which we - as the actual stakeholders of J & K and not India, Pakistan or anyone else - need to understand. Taking the matter to the UN was indeed a British idea and the main purpose of it was to deflect any attention or responsibility away from the British who had in fact facilitated the entry of Indian and Pakistani troops into J & K, whereas the Maharajah wanted to remain independent. The British not only facilitated their entry but they also stabilised both sets of troops in the territory. The UN was intended to give us - the actual stakeholders - an impression that our national question had been referred to the highest global forum and would be imminently resolved.  

We must break out of this British trap of conducting politics on the basis of religious identity and make them accountable via our diaspora in the UK.

Creating pressure on India via Pakistan has only emboldened India while profiting Pakistan.

The winners: India, Pakistan, China, Britain and America

The losers: The people of Jammu Kashmir & Allied


Monday 20 April 2020

Sunday 19 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 110 of 2020


We are moving along quite well...


The following Facebook post laid the foreground for the beginning of a new weekly Facebook live programme on JKTV:

Here's the text of the FB post for those of you who cannot read it above:


Mumlikat/Riyasat Jammu wa Kashmir ka androona bayaaniya ka pehla nuqta!

1947 me aur us se qabl Maharaja Hari Singh aur us ki riaaya ya awaam ke aapas ka raabta kis ne thora?


The first salvo of an internal narrative of the country/state of Jammu & Kashmir!

In 1947 and in the years preceding it, who broke the communication/procedure relationship between Maharaja Hari Singh and his subjects (or the public)?

End of FB post....

Here's a direct link to today's programme as it appears that we cannot embed the video here directly from JKTV's Facebook page at the moment. Many of our logged embeds in previous diaries are also suffering from this dilemma.

We will continue broadcasting every Sunday evening at 2100hrs (9pm AJK time).


(Update 0509hrs on 02/05/20):

We've circumvented the embedding issue from JKTV directly with the aid of Twitter:

In each programme we will also be providing references for further reading and clarification over what we discuss over the course of our weekly programme:

Here are today's references:

1) At 05 minutes and 38 seconds:

Jinnah's interpretation of the Indian Independence Act 1947 (Which was the constitutional basis of how India and Pakistan came into existence)

17 June Statement:

Jinnah's statement of 17 June 1947 highlighted that "constitutionally and legally the Indian States will be independent sovereign States on the termination of paramountcy and they will be free to decide for themselves to adopt any course they like; it is open to them to join the Hindustan Constituent Assembly, or the Pakistan Constituent Assembly, or decide to remain independent."

web reference

2) At 12 minutes and 23 seconds:

In July 1946, Hari Singh stated that people would "work out our own destiny without dictation from any quarter which is not an integral part of the State," writes Ramachandra Guha in his book 'India After Gandhi'. Singh famously wanted J & K to be the 'Switzerland of the East'; effectively a neutral territory between India and Pakistan.

web reference

3) At 13 minutes and 26 seconds:

This is Sitaram Yechury General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

The pre 1947 partition letter from Maharaja Hari Singh to Mountbatten which Yechury refers to would put the ball firmly in the UK's court, today more than ever.

web reference

4) At 14 minutes and 08 seconds:

Freedom of Information Act and the UK Government

Details of communication between the British State and the Dogra State of J & K (1945,1946, 1947)

web reference

5) At 15 minutes and 56 seconds:

Saadat Hasan Manto chronicled the chaos that prevailed, during and after the Partition of India in 1947. Manto strongly opposed the partition of India, which he saw as an "overwhelming tragedy" and "maddeningly senseless".

web reference


Saturday 18 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 109 of 2020


Back to square 1, which is 1947:

This is Sitaram Yechury General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). 

The pre 1947 partition letter from Maharaja Hari Singh to Mountbatten which Yechury refers to would put the ball firmly in the UK's court, today more than ever.

Furthermore, the following video in Urdu - on a Pakistani channel of all places was a reminder that rather than Jinnah and Iqbal, we would have been much better off taking guidance from Saadat Hasan Manto, without whom the following event would perhaps never have reached us today:


Friday 17 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 108 of 2020


I will be reverting to a working routine as of tomorrow, as today carved itself out as the holiday of the week. 

four days of regular football was followed by a rainy day today.


Meanwhile, some effort is being made by some of my co-citizens to introduce me to those that don't know or haven't heard of me:


Thursday 16 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 107 of 2020


John Bright 1811 - 1889 was a British politician and today I'm reading 

HC Deb 24 June 1858 vol 151 cc315-71
He's also mentioned in the national educational curriculum in AJK too.


Wednesday 15 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 106 of 2020


Have just read the book 'Jammu Fox'...and have some important remarks to make on it. The fact that it took me 48 years and in particular the last 15 to get to it, has its own story.

This is an astoundingly balanced account of a man who was both brutal and brilliant in his execution of statecraft.

We are talking about Ghulab Singh 1792 - 1857.

The following 2 paragraphs have been taken from Page 166 and 167 of 
'the Jammu Fox' - A Biography of Maharaja Gulab Singh of Kashmir 1792-1857 
by Bawa Satinder Singh:
1974 - Southern Illinois University Press 

By the middle of 1847, the Company felt compelled to adopt a policy of direct interference by pressuring the Maharaja to initiate reform. Early in June it asked the Kashmir government to reduce prices on foodstuffs and to make available in the market an abundant supply of rice. Simultaneously, Henry Lawrence dispatched to Srinagar a mission under one of his assistants, Lieutenant Reynell Taylor, who was given the formidable task of recommending necessary reforms after consultation with the people as well as the government. While extending a warm welcome and ostensible co-operation to the mission, Gulab Singh skillfully blocked it from completing its work. Attempts were made to convince the visitors that the Kashmiris were generally content with the Maharaja's rule, and that the cause of their grievances came from other quarters. For example, in July over four thousand shawl weavers staged a demonstration against their local Kashmiri employers and went on strike,but it was suspected that their protests were inspired by Gulab Singh himself to impress the mission with his own innocence. During his three-month stay, Taylor's attempts to secure the populace's viewpoint were thwarted not only by the manipulations of the Maharaja's officials but also by the timidity of the people themselves. Khuihami, a Kashmiri historian, recorded the futile exertions of Taylor: 

In 1847 Mr. Taylor Sahib came to Kashmir to inquire into the conditions in Kashmir and to suggest reforms in the Maharaja's administration. For some time he studied the local laws and revenue regulations. He called a general darbar in the Maisuma grounds (at Srinagar), and in a very loud voice he inquired "O you, the people of Kashmir, are you happy with the Maharaja's rule or not." Some of the people who had been tutored by Pandit Raj Dhar Kak (a high government official) shouted back, "Yes, we are." When Taylor Sahib heard this he felt disgusted with the character of the people of Kashmir and went back to (British) India.

End of excerpt.....

While reading the above it dawned on me that not much has changed in 173 years! The recent UK parliamentary delegation's visit to AJK headed by Debbie Abrahams MP was not too dissimilar. Stonewalling and non-platforming the internal narrative is just as effective today as it was then!

We all need to understand and resolve that. 


Monday 13 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 104 of 2020


Getting the most of the day has got to be man's greatest ambition.

Those who succeed in this department usually exceed elsewhere too.


I would like to be able to verify the following information:


Saturday 11 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 102 of 2020


Cross LOC firing over the past week or so during this global lockdown has incensed us like never before. 

This also reminds us of how sinister this 'war' between India and Pakistan really is. From the mute victim's perspective it is as unnecessary as it is sinister.

The mute victim is also the unwilling host of this crazy conflict.


Friday 10 April 2020

Thursday 9 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 100 of 2020


I did achieve 99% then. 

In the first 100 days of this year, I have been able to input a daily update of sorts for 99 days of the 100.

That is the best I have achieved so far in about 13 years of blogging.


Wednesday 8 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 99 of 2020


A contemporary artistic impression of the outstanding Jammu & Kashmir Question:


This tweet also sends a message to the world about the significance of our plight:

Translated thus:

The Corona virus is not as big (significant) an issue for the Kashmiri nation as is the (ongoing) issue of the Indian and Pakistani military (presence). 



Monday 6 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 97 of 2020


We must make the most of what we have...

I haven't done that till date:

This is a photo of my learned uncle Raja Amirdad Khan whom I didn't spend enough time with:

He was buried earlier today in Stopsley, Luton where most of his family have resided for over half a century. This is what his family wrote as a public message:

It is with deep sadness and sorrow to inform you all of the passing of our beloved Father,

- Raja Amir Dad Khan, 10 Oakley Road, Luton, Beds. UK

He has been a rock in our family for many decades and a well known and respected member of our local Community. He was also an active and longstanding member of the local Bury Park business community known for his textile and carpet trading businesses - Amir Brothers and Amir Carpets.

May Allah grant him the highest rank in Jannat al firdaws

‎اِنْ شَاء اللَّه

He has passed away after a long standing battle with cancer but due to current government guidelines we have performed a small, discreet Janazah with only immediate and close family members present.

We ask that you respect current govt guidelines and the family’s wishes at this tough time.


Sunday 5 April 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 96 of 2020


In the context of public interest pursuit in AJK:

To institutionalise is to bring public interest activity on record on a daily basis and also build engagement with co-citizens on a daily basis.

100 engaged minds can lever an internal political process 


In pursuit of our dreams, we forget the most precious of our assets.

For those who cannot read the text in the FB post above:

That's very thoughtful of my thoughts at the moment is my uncle Raja Amirdad of Choch in Sehnsa, who passed away earlier today, a few thousand miles away in Luton Bedfordshire UK.

Ironically, the last discussion I had with him was on Sharda.

He was a learned man who began adult life in 1950s Karachi with the Pakistani Airforce before migrating to the UK. Uncle Amirdad was a successful and even pioneering businessman in the fabrics trade in Luton. He was respected throughout the AJK diaspora in the UK and highly sought as an advisor when education was rare, particularly those of the Kotli district will not forget him.

My regret is the same as whenever any quality human being who had always been helpful in his life to all others leaves this world.

I regret not engaging more with him when it was possible.

He will be missed by many.


Saturday 4 April 2020

Thursday 2 April 2020

Wednesday 1 April 2020

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...