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Sunday 31 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 365 of 2023

1611hrs:

The last day of the year obviously invokes reflection over the past 365 days. It was the first year since 2018 that I hadn't spent even a day in jail. Although I was technically detained a couple of times in the summer for a few hours on each occasion. Just like our activism has evolved over the years, so has our police force which has increased its respect for our work accordingly. They have understood our selfless ambitions for our territory and know that we are fighting to ensure our coming generations escape the slavery thrust on us.

It was also a day spent in Dadyaal. The very place that has ensured the territory of AJK turned its attention towards reclaiming ownership of it. The people hitherto understood 'No India' and now they understand 'No Pakistan' too. 
 
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Saturday 30 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 364 of 2023

1247hrs:

Hard decisions have to be made. One has to be cruel to oneself at times in order to be kind to the rest of society all the time.

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Friday 29 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 363 of 2023

1127hrs:

Finishing 2023 strong is preparing us well for 2024, which I feel will be another even year, in more ways than one.

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Thursday 28 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 362 of 2023

0906hrs:

Those loose ends are promptly being tied up. Just a matter of 1 hour & 45 minutes left to cover up in the daily 24 hour cycle.

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Wednesday 27 December 2023

Tuesday 26 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 360 of 2023

0940hrs:

We count the blessings of another fresh day....making the most of the sun in winter.

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Monday 25 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 359 of 2023

1419hrs:

Pulled muscles can affect one much more than anticipated once we move beyond an age spanning over half a century.

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Meanwhile, we consider it opportune to wish all our Christian co-citizens a very merry Christmas and indeed pass on this sentiment to Christians throughout the world.

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Sunday 24 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 358 of 2023

1514hrs:

Today has got to be the day when everything clicks into gear....

1) Security
2) Governance
3) Economy
4) Culture

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Saturday 23 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 357 of 2023

2009hrs:

After a hectic session of interaction with almost a dozen of my co-citizens from various parts of AJK beginning on the day before yesterday and lasting well into the early hours of yesterday, followed by a hectic day of work on the field, all contributed to exhaustion by the evening. 

These were all contributing factors in not being able to log an entry for Day 356 of 2023. 

It is not an excuse as factoring in all daily needs and duties is a duty in the life of an activist in AJK.

We will try our utmost to reclaim a 100% record of daily blogging in 2024 and reflect on how and why we lapsed in 2023.

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Thursday 21 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 355 of 2023

1034hrs:

When the 'boot is on the other foot' it is difficult for our people to recognise the requirements of a 'peace strategy' as opposed to a 'conflict strategy', whereby our people have traditionally fell 'lock, stock and barrel' for the latter without thinking much about the consequences.

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As intimated earlier, we have begun scrutinising the workings of local government organs in the tehsil (subdivision) of Sehnsa, my home tehsil. Today was our maiden visit to the 'Department of Alms', described in Urdu as 'Tehsil Zakat wa Ashar Committee':


Earlier, here's the video made at home today before venturing out: 

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Here's the video after our maiden discussion at the 'Department of Alms':

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'Your Rule' & 'My Rule' = 'Public Rule' = Popular Sovereignty

We have embarked on an advanced stage at Jammu Chowk in Sehnsa today:


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As with our previous public sit-in protests in Kotli - Shaheed Chowk (2022) and Dadyaal - Maqbool Bhat Shaheed Chowk (2022 to 2023) we will try and provide a photo of our presence at Sehnsa - Jammu Chowk on each day that we attend. It should be noted that this presence is very different from the previous two, on many counts. As a hint, the earlier two were on our own initiative and our presence was not only daily but at times had to extend to 24 hours, while the initiative at Sehnsa has been taken by the public in Sehnsa itself in mid August 2023 and our presence is not strictly daily. In short, the public has finally woken up in 2023 and taken veritable responsibility:


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Here's an analysis by Dr Shabir Choudhary of where the Awaami Action Committee - AJK stands vis a vis the Government of AJK, followed by my response:

Action Committee V Azad Kashmir Government

Dr Shabir Choudhry
London
21 December 2023

1. I have no doubt in sincerity of the Action Committee members, who were selected to hold dialogue with the Conciliation Committee established by the Government of Azad Kashmir.

2. However, by looking at the handwritten 2 paragraph Urdu document, it appears that the Conciliation Committee has already won the battle; but the war is still to be won.

3. Sadly, the representatives of the Action Committee failed to discharge their responsibilities and protect genuine demands and fundamental rights of the suffering people of Azad Kashmir.

4. I can understand constraints of the Government selected Conciliation Committee; and I am also cognizant with the legal and constitutional  (Lent Officers, Act 74, Ministry of Kashmir Affairs, The Karachi Pact, Kashmir Council, GOC Murree and the secret agencies) under which they have to conduct affairs of this region controlled by Pakistan.

5. Despite all the checks, controls and restrictions their loyalty must be with the people of Azad Kashmir, and they must protect and enhance fundamental rights of the people. 

6. The Action Committee should demand that there must be a national grid in Azad Kashmir, and all the electricity, around 4,000 Megawatt, produced in Azad Kashmir must go to Azad Kashmir national grid instead of the Pakistani national grid.

7. Our electricity consumption is between 350 to 400 Megawatt, and the rest WAPDA should purchase from Azad Kashmir so that we can also benefit from our resources.

8. The WAPDA or Pakistan should pay us back all the money they illegally and forcefully collected from us in the name of Neelam Jhelum project.

9. All the Dams built in Azad Kashmir must be under the control of Azad Kashmir Government.

10. All other resources of our region should also be under control of Azad Kashmir.

11. All estates belonging to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir must be controlled by the Azad Kashmir.

12. Problems of Azad Kashmiri expatriates must be resolved. They must be accorded with all necessary facilities at all the airports.

13. All citizens of Azad Kashmir must be provided travelling documents so that they can travel abroad and also visit their motherland.

14. Army must limit themselves to their barracks and vacate mingling with residential areas.

15. The current ‘agreement’ with the Conciliation Committee is inadequate and too vague, and that will strengthen the position of the Government.

16. As the agreement stands, my apprehension is that the Government with the help of the Conciliation Committee is playing games with the Action Committee; and their real agenda was and is to delay matters and take the momentum out of the Movement which has massive public support.

17. This vagueness will be interpreted by experts of the Azad Kashmir Government to benefit the authorities and Pakistan at the expense of the ordinary citizens of Azad Kashmir who are suffering because of the exploitative policies and a pro Pakistan system of governance.

18. The Action Committee must induct some experts who can help and advise them.

19. There is no mechanism to implement the final agreement. What action could be taken if the government refuses to implement some of the conditions. 

END.

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My response on 22/12/2023

Have read and agree. Pressure can be put on the Awami Action Committee to broaden their consultative process with the public (especially experts in various relevant fields) and to draw tangibles from their interaction with the AJK 'government'. 

That is, focus on what is possible now - to gain those usurped rights which can be delivered straight away without complexity and to press on GovtAJK to prepare process for your point about selling all electricity through a national AJK grid including a mechanism on how that national wealth will be utilised in AJK. Would it be confined to subsidised bills for our population or will the Govt share that new found income with the public? 

Examples like Norway come to mind.

Legal and constitutional matters should be phased in within the engagement which should continue and not tempt the Awami Action Committee into making a 'full and final' deal.

This has to be a sustained exercise. The public should not forego their sit-in protests at any cost. They are a guarantor of regaining the territory of AJK for its people.

Otherwise, we will end up back at square one.

End..

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Wednesday 20 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 354 of 2023

1114hrs:

We will be digging deeper into the functioning of local governance in our home tehsil (subdivision) Sehnsa over the next few days, weeks and months.

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I shall use the following words written by Dr Shabir Choudhary himself to introduce the following video:

A dialogue with Tanveer Ahmed. Make Azad Kashmir military free zone. Peaceful struggle to continue.

We don't need protection from the Pakistani army. There shall be no war with India. Promotion of trade, peace and regional cooperation is needed.


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Tuesday 19 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 353 of 2023

1023hrs:

Under the public policy subject of 'security' lies the very thorny subject of demilitarisation. It has finally come to the fore given the prevailing circumstances in AJK. Most of our co-citizens have tried to 'cushion' the imperative by insisting that demilitarisation take place simultaneously on both sides, which more than anything else keeps us stuck in the quagmire we find ourselves in and indeed even lays the ground for a back door agreement to permanently divide our territory between India and Pakistan, with tacit international sanction.

In 1947, our co-citizens in Poonch didn't make such 'cushioned simultaneous' calculations when they rebelled against the autocratic king while being militarily bolstered by Pakistan under the carefully monitored eye of colonial Britain. In 1987, our co-citizens in the Valley of Kashmir likewise didn't make such 'cushioned simultaneous' calculations when they rebelled against the Indian State while being militarily bolstered by Pakistan, supported with life, effort and resources by most citizens in AJK under the carefully monitored eye of the international community (including Britain and the United States).

So, when the 'boot is on the other foot' so to speak and where logical as well as strictly peaceful initiatives to force the Pakistani State gradually out of AJK are imperative (for all public policy goals to convert this region from a 'conflict economy' to a 'peace economy') we seemingly hesitate to take responsibility to act. Yes, this is an internally created and driven political process using peaceful, ethical, democratic and legal means without taking any tacit or open support from the rest of the world; however we tend to hesitate, prevaricate and foolishly rely on others to fulfill responsibilities that are essentially our own. 

Now, do we only act when directed and supported by others for ends that suit them while destroying the diverse character of our territory and enforcing us to lose generation after generation to conflict while also making us economic migrants throughout the world or do we 'take the bull by the horns' and assert our sovereignty and neutrality over AJK?

This is the challenge right before our eyes!

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Meanwhile, we reiterate our stance that whatever we wish for the people of AJK (fundamental rights as equal human beings on par with the best standards practiced in the world) is what we wish for the people of Gilgit Baltistan, Ladakh, the Valley of Kashmir and Jammu. There can be no compromise on the freedom of expression & movement, right to assembly & association and recourse to law, including international law.

Hence, we have signed the following letter to the Indian ambassador in London via Amnesty International UK:


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Monday 18 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 352 of 2023

1316hrs:

This is the beginning of what remains of my life and I wish to live it according to duties assigned by clockwork.

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Friday 15 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 349 of 2023

2338hrs:

Fridays in Muslim majority countries can be like Sundays in Christian majority countries.

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I am tempted to rephrase the following essentially humanitarian message for all those people who stand up for #Pakistan - where #UsmanKhawaja is reported to originate from - into a question: "Are all humans equal?"

Reason:

For a country apparently born out of a political demand for separate Statehood from North #India in 1947 on the basis of religion to avoid 'exploitation'; it seems unwilling to acknowledge a political demand en masse from the people of #AJK & #GilgitBaltistan to avoid being 'exploited' in the name of the same religion in 2023!


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Thursday 14 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 348 of 2023

1022hrs:

Surging ahead....

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Some words I used in the following video clip were highly aggressive and could even be considered abusive if we had not put up with so much exploitation in the name of religion, on the part of Pakistan for 77 years:


Before considering publishing it, I did put the video to my co-citizens on a peer to peer network to ascertain their response. Here's the text of the request:

(English):
With all due respect, I hereby make a request to my friends, enemies and the rest of humanity who can understand Pahaari, to watch this video of 6 minutes and 50 seconds, which was captured in Jammu Square - Sehnsa on Thursday 14 December 2023....That they listen and give their opinion....Were the words I used correct or should I have used different words? I will not publish your response without your permission but in the coming days and weeks you will witness some major changes in AJK...Your opinion is important in public interest.

(Pahaari):
Dosto, dushmano aur deegar  insaaniyat jo Pahaari samjh sakti hay, se muadebana guzaarish hay ke wo is 6 minute 50 second ka video jo Jammu Chowk Sehnsa me liya gaya Jumaraat 14 December 2023 ko..ke wo sun kar apni rai dey...kya merey alfaaz drust they ya mujhe alfaaz mukhtalif istimaal karney chahiye they? Aap ki rai ko me publish nahi karoonga aap ki ijaazat ke beghair lekin aaney waaley dino aur hafto me aap ko kuch khaas tabdeeli nazar ayegi Azad Jammu Kashmir me....aap ki rai awaami mufaad ke liye ehem hay:

With permission, I will be publishing some of the responses in due course:

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Tuesday 12 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 346 of 2023

1836hrs:

Accelerating fast!

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Such activities as the following on the part of Pakistan's army have increased in AJK over the past few years in particular. Wherever they find a scenic abode to their liking in our territory, they begin construction without any due procedure of consulting the local people or the government. This always has a devastating effect on the local environment as well as society living nearby.

It also creates fear and intimidation in the local people whose normal day to day life gets affected and gradually they are deprived of access of local natural amenities for themselves, their families and livestock.

There are no military or security compulsions for the Pakistani army to engage in such intrusive activity. It is either commercially related or a source of entertainment for them.

We have maintained contact with the locals, some of whom have tried to obtain legal reprieve in the shape of a 'stay order'. Even that, they are doing in a discreet manner so as not to invite reprisal from the Pakistani Army.

Others locals have opined that there doesn't appear to be any security compulsion for such encroachment. One even went to the extent of saying that, "We know that the Indian army is not interested in sustaining conflict and is more focused on economy, while the Pakistani army continues to give this false perception that they are under constant threat from the Indians!"

Meanwhile, we did raise this issue with the Assistant Commissioner's (AC) office in Sehnsa. The AC himself avoided meeting us on a couple of occasions as the fear of the Pakistani army runs deep in our administration. However, we understand that he did interact with the Pakistani army on his own initiative and gave them some idea of what to expect in terms of local resistance.

Indeed, we have chalked out a strategy of demilitarisation which we are implementing gradually. They have been ousted from a couple of other places in our subdivision before and likewise will be ousted from here too. 

Thriya (Afzalpur) also happens to be my adjacent village as well as the village of our current member of the AJK Legislative Assembly (MLA) Choudhary Ikhlaq.   

Watch this space....


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Coverage of Sehnsa from nearby Poonch:


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Saturday 9 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 343 of 2023

2311hrs:

This daily chore has been conducted almost successfully since 2018. Earlier, it featured sporadically since first use in 2008.

2018 - 255 in percentage = 70%

likewise....

2019 - 330 (*6 days in prison) = 92%
2020 - 226 (*131 days in prison) = 97%
2021 - 123 (*170 days in prison) = 63%
2022 - 361 (*4 of 6 days in prison) = 100%
2023 - 333 (342 days to date) = 97%

*Obviously, I couldn't blog daily while imprisoned and thus have subtracted those days from 365 to derive percentages.

The average success rate in daily weblogging over almost 6 years (2018 to date) has been 87%.

Whereas, the average success rate between 2008 and 2017 (10 years) was a dismal 0.04%.

Reference:
2008 - 18 (216 days as commenced on 29 May) = 0.08%
2009 - 37 (28 days on the other side of the LOC) = 0.11%
2010 - 11 = 0.03% 
2011 - 51 (Kidnapped for 2 days) = 0.14% 
2012 - 3 = 0.01%
2013 - 7 (29 days in prison) = 0.02%
2014 - 4 = 0.01%
2015 - 5 (6 days in prison) = 0.01%
2016 - 8 (19 days in prison & kidnapped for 6 days) = 2.5% 
2017 - 5 = 0.01%  

(149 days of entering a daily blog from a possible 3,650 - 149 - 28 - 2 - 29 - 6 - 25 = 3,411 = 0.04%)

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Friday 8 December 2023

Thursday 7 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 341 of 2023

2311hrs:

A great leap today. The plateau achieved must be maintained for the foresee-able future.

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Sunday 3 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 337 of 2023

1919hrs:

Have to get used to making a lot more decisions in any given day compared to before....the learning curve can be steep at times which in itself becomes a habit over time. 

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Saturday 2 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 336 of 2023

2324hrs:

Luton have faltered today....I was actually looking forward to them earning their second away win of the season.

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Friday 1 December 2023

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 335 of 2023

1247hrs:

We have received a reference number for the letter written to the AJK administration on the 29th of November (Day 333 of 2023):


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Daily Diary (DD) - Day 60 of 2024

1308hrs: It is Day 60 already of the year 2024. It is also a leap year and thus today we are enjoying an extra day for the year. Let's h...