Sunday, 6 November 2022
Daily Diary (DD) - Day 310 of 2022
Day 154 at Maqbool Bhat Shaheed Square - Dadyaal.
My punctuality deficit has decreased to 17 minutes.
Punctuality percentage: 91 days on time or early of 154 = 59% punctual.
The following is no doubt a lengthy exchange between Reiss Haidar (founder of Portmir)
and myself. In the interests of transparency and providing an opportunity to all my co-citizens to learn how vastly different individual outlooks can be when discussing the same subjects or topics. We can assess what are the relative merits of being an armchair 'Marshal' and an on-the-ground activist.
Most importantly, it should provide enough material for us all to deeply introspect our behaviour with each other. What are converging factors and what are diverging factors in our respective behaviours? Why do attempts at constructive criticism and unity usually transform into personal attacks, irrespective of whether the attacker or attacked is illiterate or highly educated?
As I've always maintained, if we can't get on with each other, there is little chance that the world will get on with us as a 'people' belonging to a specific 'land'.
So here goes:
I hope we all learn from this experience so that future generations do not have to repeat the mistakes that we have all made:
Reiss Haidar (henceforth initialled as RH whenever a new thread begins):
Re; a period of reflective contemplation
This will be my last communication with you. I hope you can find it in yourself to reflect on it, in the days, months and years to come. Share the sentiments with your genuine friends, or even the content with those you trust, genuinely.
Please do not reply; I want to extricate myself from this "conversation", once and for all.
Apologies for hurting your feelings, that’s not my intention, but sometimes, we need to be told in no uncertain terms that we can be shortsighted on any course of action, not on some great macro narrative level, but in the day to day realities that we take for granted.
It’s easy dishing out criticism, but it’s hard levelling the same criticism against ourselves. I’ve not taken umbrage at anything you’ve said, or Rizwan Shabbir’s “bitterness” analysis. Before his conciliatory email, he was telling you that he thinks “I’m insecure”, and he knows all this because “he hires and fires people”. He’s also waxing lyrical about Islam, Khilafa, love, peace, Rumi, with the usual demons thrown in, “colonialism and Britain”, oh, and before I forget, he happens to come from Kashmir, which he loves, “and mountains, rivers, Saif-e-Mulook” and dare I say Pakistan, when the opportune moment arises, hating Hindus, India and an independent Kashmir that’s not Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir).
In human behavioural psychology, we tend to associate with people who offer us a sense of security, friendship, and positive messaging. Manipulators know all this, and they ply this craft to playing people against each other. Some of the best writings on authoritarianism have connected autocratic despots with narcissistic traits. There’s a certain profile that’s quite rampant amongst Pakistanis - I say this anecdotally, who seem to obsess about great leaders and saviour characters. If you want to understand how to challenge your occupiers, learn how domestic violence perpetrators manipulate their victims without resorting to violence or threats of violence.
Authoritarian regimes operate like domestic violence abusers - they gaslight their victims.
Some years ago I had the misfortune of entering into a conversation with some fake Pakistani accounts on the Portmir Foundation website, the language and tone of those conversations are almost identical to the ones I confront now. I’m not saying Rizwan is one of those characters, but he exhibits those tendencies. Those interests had been spreading malware onto my devices, but I learnt a good trick when my devices were eventually examined - you leave the door open, never barricade it.
This was the point I was making to you Tanveer “sb”, you can’t guarantee who we’re talking to, and if that’s true of your wider circle, then you are royally screwed. You’re allowing people into your circles who want to co-opt your struggles. In the case of Pakistan, they do this through Islam and a deference to tradition. At every turn, they undermine you. They are as further from Islam and Sufism as Yazid was from Hussain (As), who the Ummayyad martyred in the name of Muslim despotism. Allah will have the final laugh, not you, not me, not anyone else.
I say this as a secular humanist, with more love for Islam than the bullshiters waxing lyrical about Muslim Unity and Kuffaar demons. Islam is their ruse.
Who is this sycophant (“sb”) that you’ve put me into contact with, do you know him? Do you even know me? Do you even have a system of vetting people given you want to liberate a State from the Pakistani Occupier? They are surveilling your every move, which allows others to surveil them.
Now to your previous emails.
You should have realised by now I’m not emotional and neither do I have an inflated sense of my own self-importance. In the previous email you sent about the missing post on Portmir, you had taken umbrage at what I said about resuscitating you given the pitiable state of your freedom endeavours. This was evidenced by you listing your perceived accomplishments (you’ve travelled around the world, you have Westminster connections), and your demand for deference on account of your age and your status as someone living in the State. This didn’t upset me, it gave me a chuckle because I respect you.
In that email you made reference to my intermittent attention spans, without asking the more probing question of what I had been doing with my time? That’s a pre-judgement on your part, and prejudgements lead to prejudice, which can be linked to emotions, and not a rational calculus behind judgements. Emotions based on prejudgements are not exactly a rational response to rebukes, or criticism, which you seem to have a problem with because of “entitlement” - “I’m here, you’re not, thus I have authority and legitimacy to speak for 4 million Azad Kashmiris (note, Anderson’s ‘imagined community’ remark).
I can reframe this cognitive distortion through the following scenarios;
“I’m British, you’re not, thus I alone can speak for Britons”.
“I’m Muslim, you’re not, thus I alone can speak for Islam”.
“I went to Prison, you did not, thus I alone can speak for prison reforms.”
“I’m here, you’re not, thus I alone can speak for this place”.
This is what is meant by the discourse of primordial entitlement - an illusory quality which is based on nativism, connected in your case to a nation state fiction. The fact of being a “native” does not automatically give you pride of legitimacy to share “opinions” based on lived experience - a subjective experience all the while. You didn’t understand the point about ethnographic studies either in previous emails, and I’m not going to proffer another explanation. We are operating in two radically different universe of meanings, and so, sometimes, we need to agree that we won’t agree on everything.
We need to agree to disagree, Yes.
In my case, this implies the discontinuance of engagement with an inchoate movement, (if one can call it that), that will be eclipsed by events - this is why I said, you are doing the bidding of your Occupiers. I’ve realised from my conversations with you, and your circle, that you don’t have a genuine appreciation of the themes around occupation within its wider context, and whatever I say or do will be wasted because you are all entirely emotional.
This exchange is one-sided. I get absolutely nothing from trying to help you because you exhibit the very things I find problematic in people - you speak the language of inclusion (a western social construct) but display the acts of exclusion (norms that you otherwise complain about). You’re not different to the “autocrats” you complain about, and there is nothing in the ontology of your cause that would warrant the help of people like me, who are strongly predisposed to personal autonomy and human rights values (western ideas), which I think you confuse for “resistance”.
We are poles apart in our values and insights, and methodologies.
You said 9 out of every 10 Azad Kashmiris have funded your endeavours, whereas only 1 out of every 30 diaspora Azad Kashmiris have funded your endeavours.” Aside from why anyone from the UK should fund your Independence Movement, these are anecdotal claims in the absence of hard facts - datasets, but yet you feel confident to make such a claim. I’m prepared to accept them on good faith, but it doesn’t make you credible when you make such claims.
I won’t go into issues around datasets, methodologies and statistical models, I’ll just take your word for how you’ve accrued such insight. Yet, you speak of accountability and transparency, but you fail to disclose who paid what, and when, in a publicly available document. If indeed this document exists, who has access to it? I’ve never seen it.
I’ve given you money, and I facilitated others to give you money (I recall on that occasion, you tweeted to people to give you donations directly as if I was somehow collecting money on your behalf without you being aware of it - is this etiquette? These are the sorts of antics that irritate me, but at the time I let it pass. Do you even understand how you would come across to the people for whom you’re being vouched? But you’re lecturing me about the etiquettes of discourse with no sense of how far removed you are from my contemporaries, who could fund your cause, but choose not to because they think “you’re all the same”. The people that donated money, through me, only did so because I was vouching for you, but the moment you started to tweet for direct assistance, I decided to withdraw - thus, you are your own worst enemies. I gave your colleague (Mr Musafar) money too, but this was never on condition for anything. I’ve never asked for anything in return, but this is lost on you.
From a power dynamic point of view, you need me, more than I need you. Reciprocation is not just a social or personal virtue, it is a political imperative if coalitions are to be formed, and it’s also an evolutionary trait for survival if indeed you are amenable to the insights of evolutionary biologists.
What exactly are you doing for me when you demand that I facilitate your cause on the Portmir website? This is what I mean when I say, you speak the language of inclusion but yet you embody the practises of exclusion, something completely lost on you and your peers.
Let me reframe your 9 out of 10 Azad Kashmiri observation for the purpose of showing flaws in your insights. For every 1 British Azad Kashmiri, how many 9 Azad Kashmiris are worth the same financial, economic and intellectual output? AJK’s economy is worth a tiny 7 billion US dollars (much less now) - how much of this accrues from remittences and the tourist pound, US dollar and other currencies? How much of this wealth comes from trade within AJK and from outside? How much of this revenue comes from the Mangla Dam, Mirpur District, through the tiny budget of Muzaffarabad sourced from the hand that gives less than it steals?
From where does the State get the bulk of its revenues? From Kotli, Muzaffarabad, or from Mirpur?
Where are the majority of expatriate “Mirpuris” — the bulk of all Azad Kashmiris, living today?
Why is Pakistan so keen to return Mirpuris as Pakistanis (Mirpuri-Pakistani), and not as Azad Kashmiris (Kashmiri-Pakistani) in UK ethnic classifications? Why is India so keen to help Pakistan erase Mirpuris from Jammu & Kashmir? This is completely lost on all of you because you are tribal people linked to Kotli, Muzaffarabad etc. You’re not genuine nationalists linked to the idea of a nation comprised of all its parts. This is the reason why this particular theme is missing in your resistance narrative discourse. You become Mirpuris when it suits you, otherwise you become “Kotlian” - who invented the idea of the Kotlian critically at the point it was given separate district status at a time the JKLF was gaining momentum amongst Mirpuris in Britain?
To reiterate, what industries are there in Azad Kashmir? What do Azad Kashmiris produce that Pakistan needs or wants? AJK’s entire commercial sector is reliant on a patronage system rooted in the UK that the locals despise because it makes them feel inadequate and insecure, but these conversations will never be aired, all the while you beat the dead horse of Pakistani-Indian occupation.
You are your own worst enemies. How am I wrong?
What is the per capita wealth of Azad Kashmiris compared to British Azad Kashmiris? What about comparisons in human capital? In the 1990s, Dadyal alone had about 5 billion GBP sitting in Pakistani banks, the deposits were being invested in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. Show me from the writings of the Pro-Independence Kashmiris, (at the time this point was being made by Ballard), any understanding of such power dynamics to the disadvantage of all Azad Kashmiris?
But apparently, I offend your sensibilities when I state Independence Kashmiris are working for Pakistan (you’re doing Pakistan’s bidding, whether you know it, or not). To date, no activist from AJK has offered an effective critique concerning Pakistan’s systems of exploitation in AJK, and Pakistan’s instrumentalisation of Islam to deceive Azad Kashmiris about Muslim Unity claims.
You can’t even convince British Azad Kashmiris that they are part of Azad Kashmir, and not Pakistan! But this doesn’t matter to you because you have no sense of how removed you are from actual power politics. You are a nuisance to the Pakistani Occupier, and not an existential threat to their regime. But this hurts your feelings when I point this out. They know your every move and they want you to carry on doing what you’re doing because they’re playing you like how the domestic violence perpetrator plays his abused wife.
Your Movement lacks the basic skills that are otherwise abundantly clear in other nationalist movements, but this is a sore point. You have examples by way of Ukraine and Kurdistan, instead you want to speak about Switzerland being a model for Kashmir - should I laugh, or cry?
You’re not Hong Kong, or Taiwan. Pakistan is not China. But you deploy the example of Switzerland - a country with one of the most sought after currencies because of its banking sector, and a history much older than Kashmir State, but you think you’re making viable comparisons because someone, somewhere, in “Kashmir” deployed the idea of Switzerland and its multi-ethnic model of co-existence courtesy of claims that Kashmir has different ethnic backgrounds, so it can be a nation state based on ethnicity and language - the basic legal definition for self-determination in international law.
Let me be harsh to awaken some sort of critical reflection.
What dreams are you selling Azad Kashmiris?
Dreams must be attainable. You will never get independence - you are telling naive and impressionable people that you can build a dam in the Sinai peninsula! Recycled claims about saving motherlands and fatherlands, unaware of how such ideas emerged from within the West are being eclipsed by momentous events in history, but you don’t understand this point at all.
South Korea was one of the poorest countries on earth during the 1960s, today it is one of the richest thanks to an economic and social model based on a Western model of statecraft and governance. It has the 11th largest economy by GDP if my memory serves me well. China initiated reforms during the 80s based on the western capitalist model, with all the trappings of an autocratic party system deceptively loyal to a mangled communism that came out of Russia.
Marx and Engels would have been imprisoned by Stalin, and worse, in China they would have been executed by the current incumbents - but apparently I’m ignorant when I point out that your comrades have no grounding in the symbolic red flags they fly for Kashmir’s independence. Marx wrote his epistles whilst writing and researching from London, he was a German of Jewish descent, but who will explain this history to people who love the “idea” of identities, but not what the ideas actually represent?
North Korea continues to be aligned with China, and it is the most oppressive county on earth, and guess what it too has a nuclear bomb like Pakistan? Like North Korea, Pakistan is seen as a nuisance but for the fact of its strategic location to stop the spread of communism - that story is quickly fading in the West. Pakistan will be become increasingly isolated in the years to come.
Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Eastern Turkistan?
All four peoples have turned to the West, not the Muslim World or Russia. But, you don’t want to approximate your cause with the West. Women in Iran (the Hijab Ijbari movement) and freedom fighters in Kurdistan are approximating to the West.
Instead of soul searching on these sorts of themes, you narrate the old stories that have failed to liberate you from your occupiers - namely, nationalism. I can show you from old English, 7th century CE, writings of the venerable Bede talking about the English nation fashioned on a Christian Latin narrative (the Latin Church), and this holds true for other countries, but you think this presupposes that Kashmir also has a similar history. Your 200 year timeline of “people power” is a fiction my friend, an absurdity that Kashmiri Pandits laugh at, for whom Kashmir is India. It was the Kashmiri Brahmans who wrote Kashmir’s history initially in Sanskrit, but apparently you know more than the inheritors of this legacy who laugh at the idea that “Azad Kashmiris” are Kashmiris. If you’re not even considered Kashmiris by those who wrote Kashmir’s history, why are you arguing with me about Mian Baksh whose family were immigrants into what is today Mirpur from neighbouring Gujrat - Yes, Pakistan instrumentalises this ethnic origin ruse.
In his writings, the “Punjabi Sufi” spoke of the “Punjab land” that produced Sufi writers like him - he was operating within that universe of meaning, please see the writings of Shackle. He never viewed himself as a Kashmiri, he was a Gujjar - that’s how people identified previously. Kashmiri meant Muslim occupational castes at the time of his writing, but you think you know more about this history than I do because you live in Azad Kashmir, and I live in the UK.
It was Kashmiri Pandits that wanted jobs from the Dogra Rajput Darbar, who created the fascist chant “Kashmir for the Kashmiris” because the founders of the State were recruiting Urdu-speaking Dogras and Punjabis from outside the State. The chant was about access to jobs, not to create a national identity. The Dogras hated the Kashmiri Pandits - they couldn’t stand these “parasites” (these are not my sentiments). It was one of the reasons why they dropped Persian for Urdu, following in the footsteps of British India. But, this fact of history will not disturb your naive sensibilities about realities that clearly show you - Kashmir has never been a nation if you mean 17 million people living across 85000 square miles of territory, today.
Kashmir has always been competing interests, but you think you’re somehow going to bring all these rival parties to the realisation that they are indeed one people?
Are you really this naive my brother Tanveer? Yet, you are lecturing me about etiquette and your abilities to traverse a conflict sustained in the capitals of Islamabad and New Delhi? They want bilateralism to solve their conflict, and you the occupied peoples of this divided state oblige them when you speak to them in Urdu, and not the world in English. For the past 500 years, landless people in Kashmir have been oppressed, forced to leave their “motherland” and “fatherland”. The landed groups from which most of us come in Azad Kashmir, the “native clients” from which your own tribe claims descent, cynically I add, are going to somehow narrate a shared history for the historically dispossessed, and that too from a position of weakness, and crucially, with no international backers.
But, apparently, you’re older than me and I must defer to your superior intellect.
If I spat on the ground and said, “this is water and that is water, pointing to the ocean”, you would understand the actual point I’m making, but for the fact that you are driven by emotions, and not a rational calculus.
Thus I repeat, you are your own worst enemies.
You have no understanding of how social media works and its critical importance to resistance narratives - every successful protest movement has been linked with social media, (which is not necessarily a good thing). The backers of the “freedom story” reside in the West, social media is a door to such people. The Muslim World, Russia and China equate to despotism.
Your comrades have failed to understand this point when they tweet in Urdu.
Yet, you speak in Urdu to an Indian-Pakistani audience.
You’re going around speaking of “Kashmir” as Kashmir, Jammu & Allied Areas - 3, 4, 5, 6 different entities - is this not divide and rule? But, you think you are “including” people by creating mental divisions in their minds whilst telling the world you are a United People.
How are you different to the “useful idiots" of political satire?
Your Occupiers use your narratives against you.
You are bedfellows to the people you despise, reinforcing India and Pakistan’s claim to Jammu & Kashmir, both of which countries claim the identical identities you solidify for your own people, Islam, Hinduism and Hindi-Urdu. You don’t understand how you’ve been moulded by the same identities, but yet you want independence from Hindus and Muslims because your “Kashmir” history is separate to theirs. You have a problem with Britain because it created the “Kashmir Problem” you say, unperturbed by the fact that it was Britain that created the Princely State of Kashmir, calling it Kashmir.
You hate the interest that created the problem but love the problem!
You refuse to accept that “Kashmir”, 85000 miles of it, is not a “nation”. How many times must you be told this? But you say, India and Pakistan, weren’t nation states either. This is the sum of your insights, what can anyone say to you if you can’t see the illogicality of your claims.
My brother, Kashmir was an imposition on your landed tribes, and not a “motherland”, or a “fatherland”. The “Raja” of Jammu, who became the “Maharaja” of Kashmir, Mian Ghulab Singh had Shamas Khan of Poonch, a petty tribal leader flayed to death. He then sold the wives of the conquered Poonchi leaders to his soldiers, but instead you worship the history of Kashmir State that begins with a Dogra timeline.
You feel flattered by the word “Rajput”, unaware that this idea is a performative identity for lots of people in India and Pakistan. Instead of joining Freedom Activists in India and Pakistan to hold the autocrats to account, you want to take Azad Kashmiris to a place that is unattainable, making them more irrelevant when India and China emerge in the coming decades.
You beat the dead horse of colonialism as if your own fathers and mothers were somehow embroiled in India’s resistance movements of the 1930s, when they weren’t. They were labourers fleeing the persecution of a state imposed upon them. In what is today AJK, the people migrated to other countries out of desperation, from which movement of people I come, and the 1 million British Azad Kashmiris, who could help you but for your own “nativist” insecurities. It was the legacy of colonialism that imperfectly empowered us in the UK, and not the stories of Indian and Pakistani activists who believe Kashmir is India or Pakistan.
You are “adopting” a people’s memories who have not forgotten which people oppressed them. And then you take delight in telling people, your forebears were veterans of the British Indian Army. The same caste system from which you claim your clan titles was codified and empowered by British colonial ethnographers; amazingly you hate the British ethnographers, but you’re not prepared to forsake the caste fictions they created for you.
You deploy outdated self-appointed titles with pride.
Who is a Raja or Sardar in Azad Kashmir? Who exactly is a Chaudhry? We are all slaves. Like the “low castes” of Pakistan, our people will soon be telling the world that they have discovered that they too are the descendants of the Mughals and the Sayids, and like the landless Caste Kashmiris, they originate from Srinagar, one of the most dispossessed and occupied places in history.
Apparently, I’m being rude, insensitive and presumptive when I point out there is no genuine fraternity between the sum-parts of Jammu & Kashmir. Hindus will never accept an Independent Kashmir State where Muslims are the ruling majority, but I’m imagining this, whilst you advocate for the impossible.
The people in Indian Poonch and Rajouri do not want to be part of Pakistan, or even AJK - they don’t want to be controlled by Kashur speaking Valley Kashmiris, but, apparently, I’m making this up when I say you need to turn to a secular, democratic India for support, and not one run by the BJP, Hindu Nationalists, who like the Pakistanis want to play the communities against each other.
If 4 million Azad Kashmiris were given British, American, Canadian, EU passports, they would all leave in droves including your relatives. You want to convince me that independence is what the natives want because they love freedom more than they love the right to have jobs and opportunities.
What is this deceit you wrap your minds in?
You have become totally beholden to your own stories. People need jobs, opportunities, dignity in their lives, running water, electricity, schools and hospitals, but you’ve made it about freedom - a western concept to which you pay lip service, operating through the auspices of “premodern tribes” who are a drain on their own societies, pitying one another for positions and social status.
You are unaware of how DNA, or genomic studies have destroyed the collective claims of identity fictions linked with a particular place. I have studied my own DNA to redeem me of my own stupidities. I know my forbears not only came from the Anatolia-Iraq region but they also came from BMAC and the Caucasus spreading in different directions even to Poland. Hindu Nationalists want everyone to believe we all came from India, despite the old Rajput and Brahmans being the descendants of the same west Eurasian foreigners who went in different directions, and into India. Pakistanis are spectators to this research, and they feel insecure because the majority of Pakistanis do descend from low caste Muslim convert backgrounds.
In the words of the Qur’an, a book that is gathering dust on your top shelves, “are those who know, and those who do not know, equal?” From where are you getting your inspiration? You are romanticising a history you don’t understand.
Instead, you want to rebuke me about how far you’ve travelled the world and your Westminster connections, neither of which availed you in your hour of need. Am I correct in thinking it odd that someone with powerful connections, was requesting the help of ordinary Azad Kashmiris in the UK to write letters to their MPs?
You had difficulties saying my name, or the name of my website, on your blog at one point. I had to be told by my friends, “why are you giving such people platforms on your website but they don’t even mention you, or your website? Isn’t that strange to you?” Yet, you ask me to host your articles on the Portmir website as if you’ve offered me something of value, of some exchange. I have always tried to be a person of conscience, that’s why I can’t stand Pakistanis waxing lyrical about Islam, when there’s nothing remotely Muslim about their occupation of Azad Kashmir and Baluchistan, and their genocide of East Pakistan. Muslims can never become rapists, it would be an affront to their belief in God. I have lost jobs in the UK because of what I had written about Pakistan in 2015 long before I met you, on the old website, but you’re unaware of these dynamics in the UK. Just so you know, the Pakistanis have no presence in senior management roles, and the ones who do have always been insecure about being Pakistani. Pakistanis have no influence except to spread innuendo against us - they are great amongst one another in their groups.
And yet you say, “I agree with 90 percent of what you say”.
You only agree with what I say when it corresponds with what you want to believe in - it is you who are subjective and biased, not me. I am far more open minded.
I have thus grown tired of how Azad Kashmiris behave with their insincere compliments, veiled as compliments through enormous innuendo. In the UK, British Azad Kashmiris talk about the “taana” culture of “Apne”. I didn’t create these social realities, but when I try to explain the subtext to you, you’re not interested in understanding the mental divisions that can be exploited by the Pakistan Occupier.
You said, “I live amongst an ignorant uneducated population in one of the most suppressed regions on earth - “they herd us like cattle”. Do you remember these words?
You said of me, “you live in a technologically advanced society with freedoms”.
When I try to help you on account of that privilege, you retreat.
A harsh tongue does not stop truth being true. I’m not looking to provoke you, or say horrible things to hurt your feelings. Flattery has destroyed people who think they can make a difference to people’s actual lived experiences, offering them unrealistic outcomes; the Pakistanis love flattering Azad Kashmiris and they are the sorts of people who say Tanveer “Sahib”, blah blah blah….
Life would become easier for the Azad Kashmiris you claim to represent if they could come to some arrangement with the Indians, but this option is beyond the holy grail of your nation-state politics that the colonialists gave you. You then insist on challenging your Occupiers, whilst speaking to them in their native languages. The Kurds who speak Arabic, Persian and Turkish natively insist on speaking in Kurdish, or English - they take power away from their Occupiers, opening up the space to a larger audience. Their lands were divided by the French and British courtesy of the Sykes-Picot agreement, and they turn to the West for finance and arms, but apparently, you in Azad Kashmir hate the colonialists more than the Kurds, who never once deploy Muslim narratives in their freedom struggle courtesy of the deaf “Muslims” occupying them and their populations.
When the Pakistanis use Islam, they are disarming you from rising up against them. There has been no Ummah in history, Muslims have died at the hands of Muslim despots - be careful of this propaganda. The Prophets family died at the hands of Muslim Rulers, and they were the first Muslim refugees. This is the reason why there is a split between Sunnis and Shia; the traditional and classical Sunni Ulema had always been sympathetic to the Shia and not the Sunni Rulers.
The people who gave you democracy, and the idea of liberty and human rights - I refer you to the literary canon of liberalism, were fighting political and economic tyranny in Christian countries run by absolute monarchs 300 - 400 years ago. Their spiritual heirs ended up in America, romanticised through the retelling of the Pilgrim Fathers’ “story”. Others fought in the French Revolution. It is a complex history, which I know from talking to you, you don’t understand.
You seem to hate European colonialism because you don’t understand it in the way you think you do. I entreat you to become a true seeker of knowledge, anyone can study at a University - trust me, I have friends who are senior lecturers at Universities creating syllabi for their students, they are fed up with ambitious students pursuing “qualifications” and upward mobility.
Reactively, you ask me, so what’s the solution then?
You don’t like my critique, but then you think you’re smart by asking me for solutions.
I’ll try given this is my final communication with you.
You need to join the “freedom” story and make allies in the West and across the world. You must ditch the false “Islam” story of the fantasists and the occupiers. Your story must be about freedom and human rights for all people, whatever their religions. Make allies with devout Christians, Indian Muslims and secular and devout Hindus, Sikhs and South Indians, and not those getting money from Pakistan to speak for Islamic Kashmir. Don’t let any Pakistani join your cause because they will undermine your freedom quest, they are insecure about where their country is heading - the dustbin of history. Your allies are not Islamist Muslims or Nationalist Hindus - understand this point, once and for all in a nuanced kind of way.
New configurations emerge all the time. The Kurds are on the side of the West, note the identity of the Kurdish woman murdered in Iran that’s sparked the recent spate of protests? Follow these developments and befriend the leadership. Do you know anything about Masih, exiled in America? Understand how protest movements are operating across the world.
Set up parallel schools that teach English. Make it a policy that English will be the language of instruction in every school in Azad Kashmir; you’re entreating the help of the West who ended apartheid in white South Africa. If the English language gave you an opportunity to “travel” extensively across the world, and hobnob with powerful people in “Westminster” as you’re so keen to point out, why isn’t it good enough for ordinary Azad Kashmiris? Why are all the call-centres in India?
Who helped the Black South Africans from the White Afrikaans? What language do the freed black slaves of South Africa speak today? What language do the white Afrikaans speak?
The old Kashmir “independence” movement emerged out of a marxist-socialist dream, (a good story) that fell apart in Lenin’s Soviet Russia and Mao Zedong’s Communist China, but AJK’s activists want to fly the red banners of communism that have gone out of fashion in the country of its birth - Russia.
The Liberal West is your only hope, not Russia, China or the Muslim World. If you could have freed yourselves, you would be free. Befriend the Christians of the West and understand their narrative of a Suffering Jesus.
Let these words spark some reflection.
All the best my friend, I wish you every success in your just and righteous pursuit, wa alaikum al-salam.
(End of communication 1 by RH of 5,670 words)....
0016hrs on 07/11/2022
My Response (henceforth initialled as MR):
I've read all 5,670 words that you wrote with great interest and introspection. Previously, ever since I've known you I have read and observed all communication that you've sent me and responded in as timely a manner as possible, without fail. I've always considered it to be my duty in public interest to try and understand everything that you've said or wrote, that I have come across. I have applied the same principle with all 'co-citizens' to date, without exception.
What I can't and no other free-thinking human being can guarantee is that we accept every iota of what you say or write as the ultimate truth. You are a mortal like the rest of us and can make errors in judgement and analysis. Millions of people's lives are at stake and that puts a lot of responsibility on anybody and everybody who engages with such subject matter, irrespective of whether they're an armchair spectator or an active participant on the ground/territory in question.
You cannot extricate yourself as and when you feel like and dictate terms of communication without taking the dignity of others into consideration. Certainly not those who have invested at least as much time as you have in understanding the subject matter. I have always been as open, transparent and available as is practically possible for me without endangering the lives of others who operate in this geopolitical minefield.
You have made a lot of incorrect judgements about a lot of things and incorrectly analysed many aspects of (my) struggle in particular. Repeatedly so, may I add.
I think I'm entitled to a right of reply and discussing threadbare each and every error you've made. It would be important to put this communication/exchange out in the public domain - not to prove you or me right - but to enhance the understanding of our people.
I featured some of the points you have raised in our daily space on Twitter this evening.
As and when time permits I will respond to each and every sentence you wrote sequentially and log it in today's diary.
Please be patient and persevere my dear brother, as all wise people do.
May Allah guide us all.
(End of response 1 by myself of 370 words)....
0328hrs on 07/11/2022
I didn’t want to continue this conversation with you because of the points already raised, but you felt the need to rebuke me publicly, albeit through the aegis of your esteemed friends - all well intentioned individuals, no doubt. I think you’ve proven my point about the confirmation bias though, not one person disagreed with you, but how can they disagree with you, when you framed the discussion through “leading questions” (a concept) about “the chap sitting in his office, or home, having read thousands of books (innuendo, perhaps?), calling activists like yourselves ‘idiots’, refusing to spend 6 months on the ground to understand the realities of your occupation”. You also made reference to the 5000-word email I sent, repeatedly in a petty kind of way - which, I believe is beneath your dignity.
So, you’re proving what I’ve been saying all along about the emotional component behind your judgements - you feel demeaned on account of what I said, and you’ve sought reassurance from your fellow activists about the sacrifices you are making for the “nation” - entirely of your own choosing. Who is this “idiot” in the UK to call us “useful idiots, right?
It seems to me you are very thin skinned, which I find puzzling given the overtures you made to wisdom and age.
Also, if I may, you should correct your misrepresentation of the words I deployed concerning the “useful idiot” - a well known term used in political discourse, which is itself insightful given you seem unaware of the actual connotation? I just assumed you were aware of the concept, but it seems you’ve reacted emotionally to, what you think is an attack on your personal sacrifices because you’re on the ground, and I’m not (the discourse of entitlement).
I was deliberately making reference to a concept attributed to Lenin, but which is used in highly evolved democratic systems about propaganda that induce people to act contrary to their interests. Please google the idea of the “useful idiot”. It’s a highly developed theme.
I didn’t call your associates “idiots”, and definitely not “stupid”, there’s a world of difference between calling someone an idiot, and applying the idea of the “useful idiot” to a political landscape.
Now, please don’t get offended when I say, it is you who do not understand what I am saying, but you still feel the need to rebuke. Is that a rationale calculus in your reasoning or an emotional (reactive) need?
Anyway, there were other points you incorrectly framed (English language use, alignment with the West, etc) , but I guess it’s just me looking to argue with Moses, right? Please, reflect on what you’ve said and try to appreciate the actual points I’ve been trying to make all along.
I think you should be graceful now, and end this engagement, I don’t belong to your world, and you don’t understand the frames of reference I’m using. I’m “mature” enough to appreciate we belong to different social and cultural ecologies and intellectual environments.
All the best.
(End of communication 2 by RH of 512 words)....
0916hrs on 07/11/2022
Many thanks for that. As I've mentioned before, I will publicly respond to every sentence you've written. You are of course free to criticise anything and everything that you come across. Let more sane people (and less 'emotional' people to coin your term) be the judge. I'm quite sure they exist.
We live in the same world. There are common parameters to our discussion. If there weren't, you would never have communicated with me and neither would I have communicated with you.
If you're certain that you're precisely right in everything you say and do - that you cannot possibly make any errors in judgement and analysis - then you have nothing to worry about.
Let me do all the worrying as I have everything at stake, you don't.
(End of response 2 by myself of 132 words)....
1142hrs on 07/11/2022
I’ve never said I’m “precisely right on everything”, in fact I’ve changed my opinions on numerous occasions. If I thought I was right I wouldn’t be changing my opinion? It was because of you that my views on independence changed, but it’s still undeliverable - I won’t to live in a utopia, but will it ever happen? No.
So, it’s about my sanity now, not me being cocooned in my home, or office?
You’re right, (words you need to hear), please publicly rebuke me - I’m sure your audience that runs in the millions will give you the emotional succour you need. And even if I can count them on my hand, I’m not trying to degrade you, which is the point your missing.
There are common parameters, absolutely, and we live in the same world, we eat, sleep, work, argue, get upset, befriend and insult each other, degrade and become self-appointed leaders because the people need us - we tell ourselves. Those who disagree with us, we infantilise, we call them stupid, or worse, we say they’re mad, because ultimately it’s really about “us” and not the people we’re fighting for, the “them”.
We praise those who tell us we’re right, and we demonise those who tell us we’re wrong. This is not the seed for a democracy, but an autocracy.
You are a good man, more virtuous and more righteous than me. You have sacrificed and lost immensely, and still you have your dignity intact. You have not turned into a monster or become vindictive because of how you’ve been treated. You’re probably suffering from PTSD, but still you fight on, and for what? I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, that was not my intention.
But, yes, you are right. I am wrong. I’m not very sane, insanity drove me to say what I said, not forgetting bitterness, or my idle pursuits that are intermittent.
When you say, I think I’m always right, you’re absolutely right. If Moses was here I would have told him “he is wrong because I think I am Jesus, the Saviour of Truth - I bear my cross with pride”.
The beauty of all this is I live in the UK, where I’m allowed to express an opinion, and not be murdered for my thoughts, or misguided convictions. You live in a world where this is not possible, but you hate the fact I can operate like this, whilst you can’t - so the parameters are not the same, except in your world they are the same.
But, I’m wrong, you are right, and you are older than me.
All the best.
(End of communication 3 by RH of 444 words)....
1729hrs on 08/11/2022
I think you need to slow down first of all.
I want people to read this exchange. It should be a positive learning experience for everybody. We cannot test the patience of potential readers by producing 1,000s or even 100's of words in a 24 hour cycle.
You should give me an opportunity to respond to every sentence you've written. Please be patient. We will not conquer Rome in a day.
You can remain polite and show that you're willing to learn. You have used plenty of words to make your case and it has some important lessons for all of us. However, it is not 100% correct in either factual narration or analysis. However, it is better than what most aspiring citizens of this human forsaken territory have been able to express in a lifetime. I commend you for that.
I would appreciate it if you would refrain from responding to me until I have fully responded to you.
You have written(1):
175606112022 - 5,670 words
001607112022 - 370 words
032807112022 - 512 words
091607112022 - 132 words
114207112022 - 444 words
172908112022 – 222 words
You have written 6,626 words in about 48 hours.
I have written 724 words in the same time period.
(End of response 3 by myself of 222 words)....
0402hrs on 09/11/2022
Re: Do as you will
I have spent many years meticulously looking at the concept of personal and collective identities, which has taken me through the pages of books written by scholars whose names are unknown in your part of the world. Since 2010, going back to 2006 when I returned from Jordan, I had been trying to understand why people join groups, adopt illusory identities and are prepared to die for imagined “nations”. Note, “Imagined” doesn’t mean fictitious. This was also at a time when ISIS emerged, so you can imagine my horror when I was arguing with guys (Ulema in the sanad based system), years previously, about dangerous fiqh that became a reality. Like you, they were being dismissive.
But ISIS was only an afterthought.
In terms of Ummah delusions, I couldn’t understand why people from Pakistan cared so much for Palestine, but not Kashmir, their villages, even their own mothers and fathers. I couldn’t understand why there was so much hatred for Mirpuris (a group fiction) on the internet, especially and exclusively within Pakistani circles. I discovered afterwards the whole thing was engineered because of the Kashmir Conflict and fear of diaspora politics (Ireland, South Africa, America and the Zionist Lobby, evangelical Christians - the same patterns).
India and Pakistan don’t want British Azad Kashmiris to get embroiled in “your conflict”. This is why they’ve been reconstructed as “Mirpuris”. They’ve managed to influence UK policy.
At the time, I wasn’t aware of what was going on.
I’ve looked at what social scientists say about belonging courtesy of a body of knowledge that delves into our deep past as a hominid species - a lot of these ideas are taken from the natural sciences. I started to explore new and potentially revolutionary ideas sitting at the crossroads of a global information hub, what you call “an office in someone’s house” insultingly.
The books I have access to, are not being published in your part of the world. You get access to these books years later, because your universities there are not pioneering any research, they are merely adopting ideas that quickly become obsolete. But, you think I’m being rude and offensive.
My brother, I know by having spoken to you over the years you’re not aware of these particular themes. By saying this I’m not trying to lesson or reduce your esteem in my own view of you (I hold you very highly), I’m trying to explain you don’t have my background when you try to critique what I’m saying (which you’re doing because of visceral emotions). You’re reacting emotionally, not rationally.
This doesn’t make me think I’m a Prophet, or proud, or infallible - the fact I have to defend myself like this should be a cause of concern for you, if not outright shame, given what you know of occupation and manipulation.
At a certain point in that journey, I came across a tiny group of independence Kashmiris in the UK. I was immediately disappointed, because they weren’t genuinely concerned about redeeming people (like you were), but about creating a space for themselves - jobs, opportunities in the name of the “voiceless”.
They were cafe “dissidents” (I’m being offensive), it was almost as if they were policing their boundaries, allowing in some people, whilst keeping others out. I recall one guy calling me a “qalam qasai” - what you’re doing now.
In the past 70 years, what have we achieved but a desire to degrade and demean each other. I feel ashamed it took me about 12 years to come to the same realisation, this is why I was saying “you are your own worst enemies”.
When I came across your badly curated videos, I felt sorry for you, and contacted you to offer moral support, and even finance. I spoke about you to my friends who were prepared to raise funds for your “cause”.
I was inspired.
As I carried on researching the original themes - an unhealthy obsession at one point, I began to look at messaging, and I realised the people adopting “our” identities were impersonating us. They were creating divisions, stirring up controversies, inciting factionalism, and worse, creating false talking points - what you’re doing now. They would always position themselves as the intermediaries in our conversations.
There’s no genuine fraternity amongst our people, because we’re not a people - we’re interest groups, egos. We’re a terrible version of ideological Pakistanis, a people I can’t stand because of how they instrumentalise Islam politically. The very thing they claim to love, they destroy.
I now realise I made a mistake because I didn’t understand what I was getting involved in. I should never have created the portmir foundation website, and for that I apologise. It was supposed to be a resource platform, where fiercely independent people discuss, debate and critique through robust argument. Where no one would be censored. No one to date from “our” community cares much for it, but what I found astonishing, if not respite for my soul, members of other communities, find the themes inspiring, and they seem to be more fraternal.
In all the years since, the website has been infiltrated, my social media accounts have been infiltrated, impersonated, tampered with, malware has been spread - even letters have been sent to my private residence in an attempt to intimidate me.
So, you’re free to discuss whatever you want - it makes no difference to me, except to prove what I’ve been saying all along - we belong to different social and intellectual ecologies. I tried my best to follow my conscience, to a sense of shared distant memories, but there’s no genuine reciprocation with Azad Kashmiris fighting for independence. I get the impression it’s really about egos, respect, deference, an outdated honour system, things I find detestable.
Ultimately, there can be no fight against corruption, injustice, manipulation, if our own people are against “us” simply because they want to get ahead in life.
You are right, the diaspora stopped caring about Azad Kashmiris a long time ago, but whose fault is that? The people convincing them they’re Pakistanis (in-group), watching Bollywood movies, Lollywood dramas, speaking Urdu to them (because Pahari is a lessor language), waxing lyrical about Islam Unity, treating them like shit (out-group), or the Azad Kashmiris excluding them from their supposedly native spaces?
There is no space for someone like me with my values because I’m seen as an outsider to your communities. My words will be scoffed at and ignored. I would like to extricate myself from your cause, because it’s not my cause, it’s the cause of a few people supposedly representing a “nation”, when I say this, I’m not trying to insult you - it’s an observation.
To date, I’ve gained absolutely nothing from all my wasted endeavours, and you of all people should understand that.
I promise you this will be my last communication.
(End of communication 4 by RH of 1,157 words)....
1144hrs on 10/11/2022
It's just that I have another 1,157 words to process, contemplate and respond to in public interest, on top of the 6,626 words you've written already.
Every human is both an asset and a liability. You would be more of an asset if you were more open to listening to and observing others, as much as you want others to listen to and observe you.
In fact, it would have been far more productive in public interest if you were to write about 100-200 words at a time to express your concerns or reservations and wait for a response that specifically covers the points you have raised. It would be easier on other readers too.
You will find that I'm always ready to correct myself if I'm convinced that I'm doing anything wrong. The whole purpose of conversing with you is that I know - as a critic - you will leave no stone unturned in expressing yourself. I have taken up some suggestions of yours in the past and if you haven't noticed them, it's likely that you are not paying attention. On the other hand, you should also be open to correcting yourself if you have made errors in presenting facts and analysis.
As explained before, you cannot simply extricate yourself after throwing a barrage of incorrect observations and allegations, then drift away for another few years....
That won't help you, help me or anyone else that you so liberally criticise.
I would really appreciate it if you allow me to respond to everything you've written in the past few days.
It will take me a few days to do so as I have a heavy daily agenda, covering many activities in public interest.
(End of response 4 by myself of 291 words)....
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