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Around 500,000 Muslims were killed with military precision. British daily The London Times quoting its special correspondent in India stated that the Maharaja, under his own supervision, got assassinated 2,37,000 Muslims, using military forces in the Jammu area.
by KHALID IQBAL
It was cathartic to interact with the Kashmiri leadership from the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) delegation, led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, comprised of living icons of the longest political struggle in the post-World War II era. The group was representative of at least three generations of the Kashmiri leadership. Each one of the seven members had at least one near and dear one martyred during the decades-long struggle. Right from the moment this delegation reached Pakistan, each and every segment of the society received them with overwhelming enthusiasm. The kind of reception given to them was a genuine display of love and affection for the Kashmiri people, their leadership and their just cause that is as dear to every Pakistani as to the Kashmiris themselves. All sectors of society cutting across the political, ethnic and sectarian divide passionately welcomed the guests, which is reflective of national consensus about the cause of Kashmir.
What is the cause of Kashmir? Nothing unusual or out of the way; in fact, it is the grant of an inalienable right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir. This is what the universally-accepted democratic norms stand for: the grant of the basic human right of choosing the way people want to live. The cause of Kashmir is to implement the UNSC resolutions pertaining to plebiscite, which means that the people of Kashmir have the right to exercise their options. The partition plan of June 03, 1947, had vested the authority in the rulers of the princely state to either join India or Pakistan or become an independent state while keeping in mind the aspirations of people.
When the high drama of the Maharaja’s accession to India was in the making, the conspiracy became a public knowledge, which resulted into widespread resentment among the Kashmiris. Soon a popular rebellion broke out in Jammu and Kashmir. Ever since, the Maharaja and the state legislature lost their popular acceptance. Hence, the right of self-determination stood devolved to the people of Kashmir, irrespective of their religion or ethnicity. It is as much a right of a Hindu Kashmiri as it is of a Muslim Kashmiri to vote freely for the candidate of his or her choice. This reality is well recognised and duly incorporated in numerous UN resolutions.
The APHC delegates symbolised a typical Kashmiri turmoil from within, perpetuated by state sponsored suppression, spanning over decades. The Kashmiris live in a dilemma regardless of whether it is a territorial conflict or the realisation of people’s aspiration. The visit of the Kashmiri leaders to Pakistan provided them an opportunity to exchange their views with the leaders, politicians and prominent opinion-makers about Pakistani perspective of Kashmir.
Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf termed the interaction with APHC a “positive sign” and said that “there is a consensus among all political parties of Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.” He maintained: “We praise the political acumen and wisdom of the Hurriyat leadership to highlight the cause of the people of Kashmir…….Pakistan fully supports them.”
Meanwhile, the APHC leadership reiterated its stance that Kashmiris should be included in the talks held between Islamabad and New Delhi. Mirwaiz said: “Talks between India and Pakistan are incomplete without the involvement of Kashmiris. We want to move forward and serve as a bridge of friendship between the two neighbours. But that is possible only when the demands of justice are met…….Kashmir is a political and humanitarian issue that ought to be resolved in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people…….We are not averse to the way India and Pakistan are making progress in their relations and, in fact, we want the trust deficit between them to end.” He, however, questioned: “Can this deficit be removed without addressing the core issue?”
Mirwaiz opined that it was incumbent upon the Pakistani and AJK leadership to devise a mechanism to ensure that more Kashmir-related confidence building measures (CBMs) were taken and strengthened alongside progress on other issues. While appreciating the people-to-people contact, travel and trade initiatives and calling for their furtherance, he underlined the need to resolve the Kashmir issue. He said: “Time has come when barriers and distances between both parts of Kashmir should end. Only then, we will believe that the positive outcome of dialogue between Pakistan and India is being reflected in Kashmir.”
He pointed out that the Kashmiri people have grievances like other citizens in the world, but what mattered the most for them were their aspirations that need to be addressed for the establishment of durable peace in their motherland. He made it clear that the issue could not be brushed aside with economic packages or other incentives. He expressed the hope that India would bring flexibility in its approach and attitude to resolve the Kashmir issue. “India should not go for superficial or cosmetic peace, but take concrete steps to settle the issue amicably,” he stressed.
The APHC Chairman said that the Kashmir movement could not be suppressed or weakened through military might. “The Kashmiri youth is attached with the movement…….Just one flare up can bring hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris back on to the streets,” he warned. While supporting the trans-Kashmir travel of the Kashmiri leadership, he said: “We have to tell the world in conjunction that without the settlement of Kashmir issue, the dream of peace, progress and prosperity will never materialise. This visit is a process. Just one or two visits will not resolve the issue, but it will send a message that the real party has to be taken on board and will not accept any imposed readymade solution.”
Pakistan believes that result-oriented, uninterrupted dialogue process with India will greatly help create conducive environment to find a permanent solution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations.
Indeed, APHC’s visit is significant; it is reflective of the desire of both Pakistan and Kashmir to include Kashmiris in the dialogue process, as no solution of the dispute could be durable without their participation. Pakistan firmly believes that the Kashmir dispute is an unfinished agenda of the partition and that there could be no genuine peace and stability in the region without its just and permanent settlement.
Hopefully, the Kashmiri leadership stands reassured that though Pakistan is trapped in a myriad of problems, Pakistanis have neither forgotten the Kashmir conflict nor would they ever forsake it. We look forward to see the process of such visits flourishing!
The writer is a retired air commodore and former assistant chief of air staff of the Pakistan Air Force. At present, he is a member of the visiting faculty at the PAF Air War College, Naval War College and Quaid-i-Azam University. Email:email@example.com
In occupied Kashmir, senior leader of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference, Professor Abdul Ghani Butt, has said that settlement of the Kashmir dispute is essential for the betterment of the people of entire South Asia.
According to media sources, Professor Abdul Ghani Butt in a media interview in Srinagar said, “Resolution of Kashmir is not only for the betterment of the people of Kashmir but also in the larger interests of South Asia, China and America.” He said, the long-pending dispute should be resolved so that no wars and confrontations between two nuclear powers – Pakistan and India – take place in future.
The APHC leader deplored that the United Nations had failed to resolve the conflict over Kashmir and even after 65 years, nothing concrete had happened vis-à-vis its settlement.
Maintaining that the so-called elections in the occupied territory had no relevance to the Kashmir dispute, he said that the sham polls were held for better roads and electricity and they had nothing to do with the ongoing liberation struggle. He pointed out that even the UN resolutions on Kashmir deliberated in detail that the election process in the territory could not affect the disputed character of Jammu and Kashmir.
In occupied Kashmir, the veteran Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani, has said that minorities, the Muslims in particular, in India have suffered immensely during the Congress rule.
According to media sources, Syed Ali Gilani in a statement issued in Srinagar dismissed as election stunt the assertion of Indian Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, asking the governments of all Indian states to set up review or screening committees to assess role of minority youth languishing in jails on terror charges without trial.
“During Congress rule, Muslim community in India and people of Kashmir in particular were the worst sufferers and thousands of Muslim youth are languishing in different jails on fictitious cases,” the veteran leader said. He pointed out that the Kashmiri youth were subjected to the worst type of suppression for being a part of the freedom movement, while Muslim community in India was being targeted for their association with so-called Indian Mujahedeen.
Syed Ali Gilani said that Congress under the cover of so-called secularism, promoted the agenda of the rightwing communal parties whose sole agenda was killing, destruction and humiliation of Kashmiri people and Muslim community in India.
“It is in view of the forthcoming elections that Sushil Kumar Shinde has raised the issue of fake cases against Muslim population and this is all mockery and only to lure Muslim community,” he added.
The veteran leader maintained that the Congress party ignored all norms of justice when Kashmiri youth, Muhammad Afzal Guru, was executed mercilessly to satisfy the so-called conscience of the people of India.
Referring to the Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blasts, he said that these elements blamed Muslim youth in India for these terror acts. “However, after the investigations revealed the facts about these incidents, they never apologized for their misleading statements and their allegations against the Muslim community,” he added.
In occupied Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League (JKML) has expressed serious concern over the political victimization of its Chairman, Dr Muhammad Qasim Fakhtoo, by the puppet authorities.
According to media sources, Dr Muhammad Qasim Fakhtoo, who has spent more than twenty years in different Indian jails, is presently undergoing treatment at SMHS hospital in Srinagar under police custody.
The JKML spokesman, Muhammad Rafique Ganai, in a statement issued in Srinagar said that the puppet authorities had shifted Dr Fakhtoo to the hospital after his health deteriorated at Srinagar Central jail. However, he deplored that the authorities were trying to shift him back to jail without proper check-up and complete treatment which was a violation of human rights.
The spokesman said that the puppet administration could not weaken the resolve of Dr Fakhtoo by prolonging his illegal detention. He said that special prayers for speedy recovery of the detained leader were also offered in mosques across the occupied territory.
The spokesman also denounced the continued illegal detention of party’s Vice Chairman, Masarrat Aalam Butt. He said that Masarrat Aalam was presented before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar, who sent him to police remand till January 18.
In occupied Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Political Movement (DPM) has urged India to withdraw its troops from the territory and settle the Kashmir dispute by implementing the relevant UN resolutions.
According to media sources, the DPM General Secretary, Muhammad Shafi Reshi, addressing a party meeting at Sumbal in Sonwari said that Kashmir was an internationally recognized dispute and permanent peace in the region was not possible without its resolution.
The DPM General Secretary denounced the curbs on the movement and political activities of Hurriyet leadership. He said that India could not suppress the ongoing liberation movement through such cheap tactics.
Muhammad Shafi Reshi paid glowing tributes to the Kashmiri youth martyred recently by Indian troops and police personnel at different places. He said that sacrifices of Kashmiri martyrs would not go waste.
Besides others, party Chief Orgniser, Khawaja Firdous, Coordinator, Muhammad Imran and Feroz Sarfaraz attended the meeting.