6. Change of policy not possible
Dr Shabir Choudhry 02 February 2011
In a democratic society everyone has a right to hold an opinion and express it. We don’t have to agree with views of others, but we have no right to insult others or be aggressive to them just because our views are different to others.
Junaid Qureshi, I am honoured with your analyses and friendly advice which is logical. You are young and an educated man, and have every right to advise me and others, as long as you are respectful and do not attach labels against name of those people who disagree with you.
My generation, which includes your father, was persuaded (not necessarily all of us) that they were azad (independent) and only problem was the Indian occupation on the other side of the LOC. They were persuaded to take gun from Pakistan, get training and arms from them and use that against India. Amanullah Khan preached that once India leaves Kashmir they will automatically get azadi of areas under Pakistan.
Those of us who were not in militancy were persuaded to propagate against India; and we did that sincerely hoping that we were serving the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.
Despite fall out with Amanullah Khan, we continued with this policy of exposing India only, until we were persuaded by our none South Asian friends that we were only promoting a Pakistani agenda on Kashmir, as we were giving message to the international community that all was ‘rosy’ on the Pakistani side and problem was only on the Indian side.
Pakistani government, their agencies, their media, their political, human rights and community based parties; and all pro Pakistan and nationalist Kashmiris worked as a team to expose India. With united effort we were successful in exposing India, but damage was done to the Kashmir cause as it was understood by other countries that Kashmiri parties were advancing agenda of secret agencies of Pakistan; and that they were happy with Pakistan.
We were told by these none South Asian friends that as far as the international community was concerned only the Indian side of Kashmir was disputed; and that people of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan were happy with Pakistan. They said whatever solution of the Kashmir dispute it will be related to the Indian side of Kashmir only as that is where the trouble was. They said if we wanted to include Pakistani side of Jammu and Kashmir in the future talks then we should make this area disputed as well by showing that you people were not happy with Pakistan.
Since that date - 1997/8 - we have worked hard to make areas under Pakistan disputed as well. We paid special attention to Gilgit Baltistan, and thank Allah now these areas are also perceived as disputed; and for this we have paid a big price.
During all this time we never stopped anyone to propagate against India. We have never supported India’s claim to Kashmir. We have never supported accession to India. We have never said there were no human rights abuses. I still, from time to time, speak out against human rights abuses in the Valley and criticise India’s Kashmir policy; and my policy, in your view and in view of my critics is not ‘balanced’. Some say I deserve to be accused, opposed and labelled for advancing this policy.
Question is why those Kashmiris who only speak against India, and do not even consider areas under Pakistan as occupied and do not speak one word about these areas or about Pakistan are promoted as holy cows. Why they are promoted as leaders and loyal Kashmiris?
It was wrong policy to put all eggs in one basket and try to liberate the Valley only. It was illogical. Our struggle was, and is, on the Pakistani side of the LOC and your struggle is on that side of the divide. Similarly people of Gilgit Baltistan have to fight against those who occupy them; and people of the Valley cannot and will not be able to come help them. We can support each other; but we cannot fight each other’s fight – one slave cannot help the other slave.
Apart from that India’s Kashmir policy is exposed; what more can you say about the Indian policy on Kashmir. However, the Pakistani policy on Kashmir is disguised in name of religion, brotherhood and friendship; and that hypocrisy must be exposed. Also make note that around 95% of the Kashmiri political activists only expose India and it looks that Pakistan and pro Pakistan lobby cannot even tolerate opposition of this 5%.
In view of the above, I am afraid I cannot abandon my policy; and will continue my jihad of exposing forces of extremism, violence and hatred. In doing so, I know I will face opposition and criticism; but I can assure you that I will fight my corner.
Writer is Head Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
View my blog and web: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com