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Friday, 31 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 213 of 2020

1807hrs:

Eid is being celebrated in various parts of the world and I wish them all a happy Eid in these tenuous times. Here in AJK, we'll be celebrating tomorrow and I'm spending the day locked down inside trying to bring some parity between my outdoor work (field activism) and indoor work (filing, categorising and uploading content).

Meanwhile, we are still working on defining a peaceful, ethical, legal and democratic means to prevent the Pakistani State from encroaching further into our polity, through the Trojan horse of solidarity in our name. 

Pakistan's solidarity with Kashmir - irrespective of however genuine it may be - means we lose out on solidarity by the rest of the world. Being partisan in our approach to conflict resolution in this territory - be it by country, religion or ideology - means we are doomed to being a pawn in the strategy of our neighbouring countries and beyond. Switzerland learned and proactively implemented their neutrality in 1515. That saved them from being trapped in the war calculations of their various neighbours. We could also learn to do so in 2020.

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Thursday, 30 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 212 of 2020

2131hrs:

Since yesterday - while still in Mirpur and having decided to stay here till the first day of Eid - we have been pursuing a legal angle to prevent a delegation of Pakistan's federation from making a visit to AJK's capital Muzaffarabad on August the 5th.

In order to pursue a writ petition to prevent any such Pakistani delegation's visit, we have been instructed to obtain a written letter of invitation or communication between the AJK government and the government of Pakistan, as evidence of such an impending visit for the honourable court to take a stance. It cannot do so simply by newspaper reports or other such mediums. It need to be an official piece of communication.

We thus pursued various quarters in the journalistic arena of Muzaffarabad as well as the administration, including the AJK prime Minister's press secretary Raja Wasim. We were unable to make headway yesterday and today I contacted Secretary Law Irshad Ahmed Qureshi, who confirmed that the AJK Assembly is holding session on the 5th of August. However, he could not confirm or deny whether any representatives from Pakistan's federation are coming and suggested that I contact the principal secretary Ehsan Khalid Kiani for further clarification.

Subsequently, I learned from Mr. Kiani's office that he was away on leave and that I should contact the Special Secretary to the AJK prime minister Raashid Hanif. When I did so, he enquired as to why I wanted such documentation. I explained that public opinion was not in favour of any Pakistani delegation - be it its senate or otherwise - coming to perform an act of solidarity with us or with our Kashmir Valley brethren. The public considers this proposed act to be another in a long chain of events that are compromising the distinct identity and polity of Jammu Kashmir & Allied. Further, that we - the public - need documentary evidence to probe this issue further. Special Secretary Hanif replied that he would respond to me once his immediate work load had lightened. 

He didn't get back to me and this leaves us in the lurch. We cannot pursue a legal route to stop this event without documentation and mere protesting will affect the peace of this region. 

The Pakistanis claim their founder Mr. Jinnah to have achieved public interest targets or whatever he did through constitutional means. However, they are trying their best to close even that avenue for us. 

...   

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 211 of 2020

1319hrs:

Still in Mirpur and still behind in my public interest targets before I venture further North.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 210 of 2020

1043hrs:

I'm still in Mirpur and I know many of my co-citizens are waiting for me to arrive at their respective stations on my journey from Chamb to Sharda. However, I must obtain parity in the groundwork that I have done so far and its visibility on various social media platforms. Given that I've covered about 20% of my AJK wide journey thus far, it will become increasingly difficult to develop that parity mentioned above if I don't address it now.

Meanwhile, let me embed a few tweets of my co-citizens which confirm that many of us are fully tuned to what is happening around us and increasingly so:

I'll begin with some activism on the other side of JKA:



The following stunt being envisaged by the Pakistani State should be stopped in its tracks. Otherwise, it will be all downhill from here:



Now, over to the White House in the USA, albeit a clip from last year which explains in just a few words what the internal narrative of JKA amounts to:



Finally, we return to reality in our home territory, which the Pakistanis used to term as 'base camp' to dupe us into thinking that we were free and that our territory would be used to free the Indian-controlled side:


.......

Monday, 27 July 2020

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 208 of 2020

2018hrs:

Downtime in Mirpur. As intimated many a time before, I'm generating far more content in the field compared to what I'm outputting on various social media platforms. I do look forward to settling down in one place to address this growing imbalance. However, many of my co-citizens are in constant need of my attention. One cannot attain the best of best worlds in this regard. 

Opportunity cost cannot be avoided.

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Today also coincided with our 15th weekly Urdu programme on JKTV pursuing our genuine internal narrative. I do apologise for the lack of light in the video. The timing also coincided with a fishing trip along Mangla Lake unfortunately:



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Saturday, 25 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 207 of 2020

2352hrs:

Luck is on my side at the moment. It is hard to stop a long train in its tracks, especially when its destination is beckoning.

Earlier, on arrival at the entry point of Mirpur city, a local web based TV channel took the bold initiative of taking my narrative from me on the purpose of the bicycle ride from Chamb to Sharda.




Here's a direct embed for the footage generated by K7 Mirpur TV on Facebook:



.......

Friday, 24 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 206 of 2020

2156hrs:

I was so engaged in Dheri Wattan yesterday evening that I overlooked my self-imposed duty of filing a daily diary entry for Day 205 of 2020.

I reached Ali Beg Gurdwara this afternoon and have continued heavy interaction with my co-citizens both in AJK and in the diaspora.

At this point I am virtually shattered!

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Here's the daily video update from yesterday - which by missing yesterday's daily diary entry I'm delivering here:



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This can be followed by today's update at Ali Beg, which could not be broadcast for long due to serious connectivity issues. My internet device which is over 4 years old is playing up:



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Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 204 of 2020

2317hrs:

I've left it very late today. The weather was just a tad challenging en route from Dhandar Kot to Bhimber.

I couldn't make contact with some of my old acquaintances in the city but made some new ones.

A lot of my co-citizens need to be installed with confidence and it needs to emerge from within them. There is always a limit to what can be installed from external sources.

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Here's our daily video update of our cycle tour, brought to you from the village of Pothi near Bhimber:



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Here's our daily YouTube update, which we couldn't deliver to you yesterday because no video was made coincidentally:



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Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 203 of 2020

1224hrs:

Today is the 3rd day of travelling northwards from one extreme of AJK to the other. The weather remains kind as do the people of my territory.


Today, I'll be proceeding from Barnaala to Dhandar which will also take me into the next subdivision (tehsil) namely Bhimber.


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Please remember that the updates on my Facebook page will be staggered and delayed purposefully to give my readers/viewers enough time to digest other pieces of content on this cycle tour. However, on this weblog they will correspond to the date that the content was generated on:


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The following is yet another key facet of our occupation. Please do visit the links in the comments section of this embed to gain more context:




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As I've increasingly intimated over the past few years, the responsibility of the UK Government in reference to Jammu Kashmir & Allied is not just a moral one, it is essentially legal too, which it has skillfully abdicated from, especially since it skillfully diverted our (the people's) 'right to rule' (Haq e Hukmrani) to one of a bilateral territorial dispute at the United Nations. Most of our people have been hoodwinked ever since and I'm glad that another legal mind has eloquently pointed this out for the likes of the Labour Party in the UK. Many thanks to Mirza Sahib Beg of the Valley of Kashmir and residing in London for his contribution to our common cause:




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Our daily updates on this cycle tour continue at Lala Arshad of Oldham's ancestral home in Dhandar Kot:




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Unfortunately, I did not generate any video clips today and thus have nothing to offer you via Youtube today. This is purely a coincidence and not because there would have been no such need to capture video content between Barnaala and Dhandar Kot. In fact, the downhill sprint at Kadaala would have been a joyful sight on video, Alas!

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Monday, 20 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 202 of 2020

0938hrs:

I hope we can get the same blessed weather today as we had yesterday. The next segment of my journey is from Moil to Barnaala.


The most challenging part of my daily journey is whether I can upload necessary content in a timely manner viz. on the day that it is generated. This would allow my co-citizens to monitor my progress accurately and provide feedback as necessary.



A Persian cat in AJK

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Here's our second daily montage of videos taken during our cycle tour:



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Here's our third daily update on JKTV on the trot, live from Barnaala city:



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Our daily Facebook update on my page:



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Sunday, 19 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 201 of 2020

0857hrs:

Ready to begin my cycle journey from the southernmost point in AJK to close to the northernmost point. In total it may amount to almost 500 kilometres by the time I'm done.

I'm also trying to generate content along my journey for Google Maps, writing a daily update here and also conducting a daily video update via JKTV.

I will try and post a photo or two here, every day too.

Can my co-citizens grasp the requirements of direct democracy? Can the rest of the world understand that this territory's public or people have been referenced by all those powers which have a stake in this region, more than any other territory in the world?

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Amongst our various daily content generating endeavours, we will try and bring you a montage of daily footage generated during this cycle journey:



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This is our second daily video update on JKTV which also coincides with our weekly Urdu programme in pursuit of our internal narrative. This being the 14th programme on the trot:



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Not to forget our daily update on my Facebook wall:



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Saturday, 18 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 200 of 2020

1115hrs:

Preparing to leave Mirpur for Chamb.......

Here's a short video to that effect:



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In the evening we began our daily video update on JKTV at Kot Jamel at the residence of one of JKLF's most prominent activists, namely Toseef Jarral:

(Note: The broadcast had to output in 2 different segments due to connectivity issues) 

Video 1 of 2:



Video 2 of 2:



......

Friday, 17 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 199 of 2020

1424hrs:

So it has become apparent that the AJK Assembly has plucked up the courage to reject Pakistan's proposal (read order) for the 14th Amendment which would have reversed most of the gains achieved in the 13th Amendment. Everything is still under a cloud which is true to form of the Pakistani State, which has relied on obfuscation as its most potent weapon since 1947.

One needs to go through the proposal - which cannot be guaranteed to be the actual version - not least because it gives an impression that it has been proposed by the AJK Assembly itself when in fact it came from the direction of Pakistan's federation, apparently on the 20th of June this year. Here's a copy of what is publicly available:

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Page 2 of 10

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Page 9 of 10

Page 10 of 10

The rejection of the above proposal (or direction) by the Pakistani State to amend the constitutional framework (which is in fact not constitutional as it has no local input and was imposed in 1974) operating in AJK was rejected unanimously by the AJK Assembly. Here's a press release in Urdu to that effect. It was made public yesterday but has a time stamp of the day before yesterday:


As it is in Urdu, public interest would dictate that I translate it into English for the benefit of our English speaking public as well as the world at large.

Thus:


(The) Free Government of the State of Jammu & Kashmir

(Press Release)

An extraordinary convention of the Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) cabinet took place on the 15th of July 2020, presided over by Esquire Prime Minister - (of the) Free Government of the State of Jammu & Kashmir - in the cabinet committee room (Prime Minister's Secretariat) Muzaffarabad. Also present in the meeting were (representatives of) the Department of Law and the Department of Kashmir Affairs. The documentation received from the Government of Pakistan, in reference to the (proposed) constitutional amendment on the 22nd of June, was discussed and reflected on at length. The cabinet made the following decisions on the subject of the proposed documentation:

i) 
The cabinet has not completely agreed with the constitutional amendment documentation.

ii) 
It is the collectively agreed opinion of the cabinet that the State of Jammu and Kashmir has an ideological relationship with the motherland of Pakistan, which is a manifestation of the undying aspirations of the Kashmiri people. This is not merely the ownership of an individual, party or government but in fact the collective ownership of the inhabitants of the State (of Jammu & Kashmir), on both sides (of the divide). This bond is completely in accord with the vision of the honourable father of the nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

iii) 
The cabinet has further expressed that on the basis of the action taken on the 5th of August 2019 by the Indian government; the accepted international status of the Kashmir issue, the will of the State's people and their fundamental rights have been violated. In order to achieve its vulgar aims, the Indian government has taken this step in order to change the demography (of the territory under their control), which is in total contradiction of the United Nations Security Council resolutions. In this context, for the purpose of translating the aspirations of the inhabitants of the State of Jammu & Kashmir - on either side (of the divide) - it is requested that steps be taken via mutual consultation to further empower the government of Azad Kashmir.

iv) 
The cabinet has also expressed the opinion that constitutional matters via mutual consultation can only be decided in accordance with public aspirations and the intent described in article 257 of the Pakistani constitution. For this, mutual consultation is needed at the highest level (of Inter-State relations.

v)
The cabinet through collective agreement has expressed their full and complete satisfaction in the leadership of Esquire Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan, the prime minister of the free government of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

(Signature of Raja Wasim)

Press Secretary of the prime minister 

.....End of translation of Urdu document above

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I was invited to participate in the following programme which references a novel way of tackling issues of public interest. From cleaning (refuse disposal) to telecommunications, roads and the political leadership crisis in AJK:



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Thursday, 16 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 198 of 2020

1326hrs:

Using some downtime to combat the backlog between content generated in the field to what appears accessible and categorised (searchable by keyword) online. There is a big gap as indicated in earlier diaries but it has to be bridged nonetheless. I've set the current year as one dedicated to do just that.

Meanwhile, here's some footage of a protest in my home tehsil (subdivision) Sehnsa. It is just one of multiple examples of our land and resources being exploited by our Western neighbour, without our permission:


Note: Karot is the area on the Pakistani side of the border while Holaar (on our side of the border) is what is being utilised. The Pakistanis are building the powerhouse on their side while using our land and resources to power it. Thus, their (Pakistani) intent to use the name Karot for the dam as opposed to Holaar. Not least to obfuscate ownership credentials.

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We have almost completed our preparations for the following tour, announced a few days ago:



Here's the google map once again:



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Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 196 of 2020

1132hrs:

Yesterday was my 4th lapse this year, in reference to logging a daily diary. 

It was avoidable as it usually is but yesterday's excuse was that we had ventured out on a fishing trip to the banks of Mangla Lake. My devices had lost power by the time I remembered this daily task.

....... 

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 194 of 2020

0114hrs:

It was only the day before yesterday that I was discussing the rising amount of threats from the 'not so deep' Pakistani State to a number of our citizens; from established politicians to writers and activists. The following post is a statement made yesterday by a very seasoned and upright journalist in AJK's capital Muzaffarabad:


As I've mentioned in a comment on this post, I have often read his clearly worded articles in Urdu media and have most often felt the need in public interest to translate his writing into English. I've failed to do so thus far but now that his life is clearly on the line, this could literally be a matter of life or death if I don't:




Malik Abdul Hakeem Kashmiri

Secretary General - Central Union of Journalists AJK

Statement - 11/07/20

Life is endearing no doubt......but?

"We will abduct you!"....."We will see to you"...."We will make you serve as a lesson (for others)"..."Confine yourself to your shoe size"....

What kind of mindset is this?

All right. It is understood that those equipped with power and resources can do whatever they want but for a limited amount of time. I am unarmed. My only weapon is my pen. Hitherto, thousands have been abducted and what would happen if I am to be included in this list? One has to die ultimately, whether today or tomorrow (now or in the future)......so be it if it is today.....

However, it should be remembered that I will not beg to stay alive. My case and my ideology is absolutely straight and clear. I talk of humans, I talk of their rights, I talk of their self determination and I talk of their genuine freedom.....

I have never been an opponent of the public of Pakistan. I have never talked against the public of Pakistan. Yes, I speak of my rights. I am of the view that my people deserve total freedom and I am so totally certain of my ideology that it is akin to the belief in all of us that the sun will rise every day.

This territory which is referred to as Azad Kashmir has transformed into an open pasture; there is an environment of coercion, every individual is a prisoner of their own circle (of thought) and stepping out of (that circle) is treason. The people's right to governance is now only in name (empty posture). Steps in contrast with the public mandate are being taken. Operating beyond one's jurisdiction has become tradition. 

The recording of telephonic conversations of our womenfolk is tantamount to playing with our self-respect. Can any such activity be considered as acceptable?

(What about) the act of bringing untrustworthy and corrupt politicians into power in Azad Kashmir for nefarious purposes and then teaching them lessons when they occasionally don't oblige? Making governments, breaking them, changing the prime minister, making self fulfilling agreements and (constitutional) amendments; What have all these issues to do with peace and integrity?

(it should be noted that the Pakistani clandestine agencies have a habit of cornering genuine criticism by turning the tables and citing their country's integrity to be on the line, when such criticism emerges. In other words, anybody who identifies corruption, malpractice or unaccountable behaviour in general by employees of the Pakistani State are victimised by the latter as inviting instability and destruction of their State)

These questions will arise....and I will continue raising these questions. The ideological front is another subject but we can never give permission to anybody to destroy our social fabric (environment). Be it the prime minister Farooq Haider, any other politician or some powerful department. The mantra of politics politics, government government, control control may well be chanted (and played). By all means be corrupt......loot (resources as much as you can).....I will write against such activities according to my capacity and as a journalist identify such (within my means).

However, when (the backlash) reaches our doorstep then life no longer holds any meaning....Any such action - whether individual or collective - cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

As for the threats against me...I'm in no mood to fight and I have no inclination to engage in any such adventure. In all likelihood more than anything else, I may use the option of protesting underneath a banner along with my friends or those of my friends residing in Europe may stage sit-in protests outside (relevant) consulates/embassies etc. 

I would leave those who hold the mandate of threatening others to their own devices. Time will decide what ensues.

I am grateful to all those friends in the USA, Europe, Pakistan, Azad Kashmir and in particular my journalist friends for the manner in which they've shown solidarity with me...my friends in Europe have written to human rights organisations against this coercion and have furthermore pledged all possible support.

End....               


Note: Words in brackets are for emphasis or clarity in meaning.

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This was pending from last year and here it is, just less than a fortnight away from its anniversary:



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Finally, I'm on the verge of beginning my much anticipated cycle ride from Chamb (in tehsil Barnaala where AJK begins in the South) to Sharda via Alibeg Gurdwara. Here's a map of my proposed journey:





This is how the journey began, from Dadyaal to Mirpur:



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Our consistency in providing a weekly Urdu programme on the internal narrative of AJK reached its 13th week today via JKTV, albeit an abridged version due to connectivity issues:



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Saturday, 11 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 193 of 2020

1512hrs:

Preparing to leave Dadyaal for my cycle ride from Chamb (in tehsil Barnaala where AJK begins in the South) to Sharda (where AJK ends in the North).

I'll also be doing a lot of work on Google Maps on this particular tour, something that I've regrettably not given any attention to in all my previous tours.

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Just as we brought you the Upper Jhelum Water Canal Agreement we hereby bring you the Gilgit Lease Agreement between the British Indian Empire and the State of Jammu & Kashmir:



Any discernible reader will gauge the difference in equation of balance between pre 47 governance in J & K under an autocracy and the despicable terms under which governance operates here post 1947, despite us supposedly living in the modern democratic age. In the case of AJK and GB we don't even get to see an agreement, let alone agree terms safeguarding our interests.

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Friday, 10 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 192 of 2020

2311hrs:

There is always a lot brewing under the surface of public life in AJK but the list of public interest issues are rapidly piling up, almost in sync with the summer heat. The governing structure remains archaic as does a lot of the public activism confronting it.

The archaic governing structure persists because self interest in the local population remains dominant over public interest.

That is not entirely true of the whole population and an increasingly levelling 'playing field' provided by communications technology is giving bold armour to citizens to sway towards public interest.

The number of politicians, activists, journalists and even young doctors of all political persuasion encountering threats to their existence is rising too. This is a sign that the Pakistani State is hurtling towards a fiasco in Jammu Kashmir & Allied.

It doesn't want to change its opaque and obfuscating approach to this territory.

Threatening the people of this territory to 'fall in line' with the Pakistani State's myopic and utterly selfish approach is likely to incense and embolden the local people even more.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 191 of 2020

1639hrs:

For those of you who get to see me working (file work indoors or public activism outdoors) will quite easily relate to how I operate.

Of late, I have spent many a day 'cooked up' in my room in Dadyaal, deep in file work. I have a ceiling fan in this room but when the sun breaks in I sweat profusely. The heat of the machines I'm working with only compound the problem!

Furthermore, I have to either sit on a hard plastic chair to work or on a soft sofa (whose foam gives way to its rough wooden structure underneath within a matter of minutes). Yes, this doesn't say much for the quality of craftsmanship in this territory but that is a whole topic in itself. Alternatively, I can can sit cross legged on my bed which is made of rope and thus is more suited to lying down rather than sitting down!

My major shortcoming throughout the past 15 years and 3 months of operating here is that I've spent a considerable amount of time outside in field work or simply put, activism. If that was blended or if half that time was spent on file work I would have had a much more effective impact on this society. 

One should only consume or generate as much information as one can manage, organise and categorise.

Since the global pandemic, I've been able to begin addressing this shortcoming.

Meanwhile, on the accounts front (public funding) I had made a conscious decision on the 10th of March this year to stop directly canvassing for public funding of public interest work. I had been very active - at times - in seeking public funds directly from the public since 2014. However, I made this decision in Hajeera on that day as I feel my work has matured to that level in our society.

The onus must now lie on the public to take initiatives for public funding. The initiative taken by the public of Hajeera that day gave me the necessary confidence to make that decision.

I don't regret it.

.......

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 190 of 2020

1728hrs:

As part of my attempts to deliver public interest output in AJK, I do periodically assess my performance and introspect. Although it isn't necessary that a higher viewership indicates better content but we obtain an indication of our reach and are also able to identify weaknesses which need addressing. 

We began our weekly Urdu programme on JKTV (every Sunday at 9pm to 10pm AJK time) on the 19th of April and haven't broken our trend yet. We neither intend to either, at least not until I leave this world. Indeed, I hope someone can continue with it thereafter too.

We compiled some viewership stats after the first 6 programmes and now that we've completed 12 weeks, I thought it in order to update my readers on how we've progressed, now that we have 2 sets of 6 programmes to compare:

We conducted the first overview on Day 151 of 2020 which corresponds to the 30th of May 2020.

This is our second overview (Day 190 of 2020) and of course it corresponds to the 8th of July 2020.

Viewership stats as they stand at the moment:

First 6 weeks

Programme 1.0 - 19/04/20  - 2,300 views

Programme 2.0 - 26/04/20 - 3,900 views

Programme 3.0 - 03/05/20 - 4,100 views

Programme 4.0 - 10/05/20 - 2,900 views

Programme 5.0 - 17/05/20 - 1,700 views

Programme 6.0 - 24/05/20 - 2,600 views

Mean average viewership over the first 6 weeks = c. 2,917 views

Second 6 weeks

Programme 7.0 - 31/05/20 - 2,900 views

Programme 8.0 - 07/06/20 - 2,300 views

Programme 9.0 - 14/06/20 - 2,100 views

Programme 10.0 - 21/06/20 - 1,000 views

Programme 11.0 - 28/06/20 - 1,700 views

Programme 12.0 - 05/07/20 - 2,400 views

Mean average viewership over the second 6 weeks = c. 2,067 views

Mean average viewership over 12 weeks = 2,492 views

Therefore, there is much to introspect over how we are conducting these weekly programmes. The leading question is: Why is the mean average falling when it should actually be rising with time?

I'm sure we will obtain the answer(s) in due course.

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Daily Diary (DD) - Day 341 of 2021

2110hrs:  I didn't finish the missing historic links of Sharda translation until 0900hrs this morning. I had been working on it intermit...