Dr Raja Muhammad Khan
The colonial America fought for its independence from 1775 to 1783, from Great Britain, a super power of the time, which had colonized most of the world. In American history, this war is known as the ‘American War of Independence’, or else, the ‘Revolutionary War’. Since there was no world body like UN at that time, therefore even in the absence of any global rule or a defined charter, American masses thought that freedom and self-rule is their basic right, thus fought for it through an armed struggle and overthrew the Britain. Therefore, should the American nation, which earned its independence through hard ways and through struggle, oppose a similar effort of any other nation? Arresting and imprisoning a Kashmiri political icon, Dr GN Fai by US authorities is a big question mark on the character of this world super power.
In today’s world, we have a world body with a Charter, granting the right of freedom to individual as well as right of self-determinations to communities and nations. Kashmiri is one such nation, which was deprived from freedom, after establishment of UN, in total violation of its Charter. The nation could not get its legal right even after dozens of UN resolutions, all asking for the grant of self-determination to Kashmiris. Whereas, the fact is that UN and world community ensured freedom for many of the nations, which started their struggle much later than Kashmiri did. Today every Kashmiri questions UN and civilized international community, as to why they have been discriminated and deprived of their basic right. After all global rules should have been equal for all. Kashmiris also question the super power of the time, the United States, if its war of independence was legal; how come Kashmiris struggle can be called as illegal and dubbed as; militancy and terrorism. This discrimination has been done once US itself has been a key supporter of all the UN resolution on Kashmir.
Over the years, the level of discriminations with Kashmiris has increased worldwide. The increase is so much that even talking about and peaceful lobbying for the Kashmiri’s right has become a crime. One such example is the arrest and imprisonment of the Mr Ghalum Nabi Fai, a Kashmiri, who settled in US in 1980s. On March 30, 2012, a US District court in Virginia, awarded two-year sentence to Dr Fai for lobbying in US for Kashmir cause. Dr Fai, indeed, the Executive Director of Washington-based Kashmiri-American Council (KAC), has been working for the Kashmir cause since many decades. KAC is a non-profitable Kashmiri organization, run by Kashmiris and funded by US masses.
As I know Dr Fai personally, the primary focus of his effort for the cause of Kashmir was promotion of a peaceful and political struggle, to convince the world community for the just cause of Kashmir. He always opposed the use of violence, as a mean for the attainment of Kashmiri cause. Regretfully, the US court has levelled a number of charges against Dr Fai, while awarding the sentence. These include the linkages between him and Pakistan, especially its intelligence agency, ISI and funding by later.
Indeed, at the time of his arrest, American FBI levelled Dr Fai with these accusations in July 2011. This all drama was staged to defame Pakistan and ISI, sequel to two events. The first was the arrest of Raymond Davis and second was the episode of OBL. These two events brought Pakistan and US in a sharp contrast and with clear differences. Otherwise, Dr Fai was in US and was involved in political motivation of Americans and others through lobbying since decades. Why he was not charged earlier or arrested previously? Therefore, it was a stage-managed event to punish Pakistan and ISI, for not following the US dictates in letter and sprit.
The discrimination and double standards of American Administration can be visualized from the fact that, Kashmiri peaceful organizations, centres, councils and individuals are barred from lobbying for their rightful cause. Nevertheless, Indian Government and Indian lobbyists are encouraged to do that, even up to the level of White House for even their illegal acts. Their lobbying against Kashmiris demand is just illegal and against the UN resolutions. Indeed, these US acts, promote anti-Americanism among the discriminated communities, Kashmiris being one of them.
It is very pertinent to mention that, in essence, Kashmiri is peace-loving nation. They remained under various repressive regimes for centuries. The last one being the most domineering ‘Dogra Rule’ from -1846 to 1947. Whereas millions of the Indians were to get their right of self-rule as a result of decolonization, Kashmiris too dreamed to become part of newly independent dominion of Pakistan, upon its independence in 1947. However, this did not happen and Kashmiris were denied their basic right and hence discriminated. Nevertheless, this time they did not sit back and decided to get freedom from cruel Dogra Rule, thus started their struggle in October 1947.
Today, Kashmiri community anywhere in the world feel that US is making a new history of discriminating and oppressing this peaceful nation on behest of its strategic partners, India. If peaceful political struggle and lobbying for the rightful and just cause were crimes, then there would be a requirement for making fundamental changes in the UN Charter. This would mean that American war of independence, Indian struggle for independence from Britain and so many other wars for independence are all illegal.
Therefore, the world body (UN), international community and especially US must reconcile and follow the UN Charter and rules uniformly for all nations of the world. As a mark of respect for the Kashmiris right of self-determination, mandated through UN resolutions, US must revoke the sentence awarded to Dr Fai forthwith. Furthermore, US must prevail upon India for giving Kashmiris their right of self-determination to fulfil its commitment with international community and UN.
—The writer is an analyst of IR.