Keep Kashmir a priority or tomorrow may be too late
Dr Syed Nazir Gilani
JUNE 1, 2020
Accepted with gratitude that Pakistan has been offering political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. If all this support was ever there, India should not have dared to bluff and outsmart us on 5 August and 31 October 2019. The three constituent of Pakistani support and the vision of Kashmiri leadership, flagged by Pakistan and supported by us (State Subjects and Human Rights defenders) since 1990, should not have been folded by Government of India, as we fold an umbrella and store it for another rainy day.
Political, diplomatic and moral support and the nascent spirit and vision of Kashmiri political and militant leadership, should have gone wild to influence the world support and force a condemnation of Indian, aggression and reoccupation, of a part of Kashmir. Thank God, UN Security Council has warned Srinagar and Delhi that they are in control of only a part of the disputed State of Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, Indian actions could at worse degenerate into a colonial occupation and without any merit.
If we want to help the people of Kashmir, have an appetite and desire to vacate the Indian actions, we have to do it as an inclusive and on war footing. India continues to advance its policy and is seen taking steps (unlawful) in broad day light. We have been warning India that if it commits aggression against Azad Kashmir, we would do the worse to her. Indians are not mad and why should they create a situation for them, which they have never desired and could never manage.
Azad Kashmir Government has to rethink its role and seek to lead from the front. It has to fix its broken tools. The first and foremost is to make Kashmir Liberation Cell credible and club it with Section 11 duties
India in fact has committed an aggression in Kashmir. Pakistan is a party to Kashmir dispute at the UN Security Council and has obligations as a member nation of UN as well. Turning away from the badly needed political, moral and diplomatic support is unwise and unfair. The first step should be to revisit the Kashmir policy and induct genuineness, legitimacy and credibility in it.
Characters involved in politics and militancy since 1990, have a case to answer. The wisdom and planning of both components, needs a full re-examination. All those who have used Kashmir tragedy for their own benefit and for their families need to be marked and punished. One does not need a Diogenes lantern to spot these Iago’s wearing the Kashmiri apron.
It is unfortunate that Government of Azad Kashmir, could not assume itself as envisaged in UNCIP Resolutions and has remained very slow on the road to carry out duties accepted in the Provisional Declaration of 24 October 1947 and Constitutional Acts of 1970 and 1974. The lead institution Kashmir Liberation Cell, is unimpressive, filled and lead by mediocre people, in particular without a compass to stand up to like institutions created by New Delhi. Azad Kashmir Government has either not tried and if advised, has not listened, to intensify its relationship as agreed in the Constitution Act 1974, nor has it asked Government of Pakistan, to show her balance sheet of support as agreed under UNCIP duties.
Essay competitions, entertainments and hospitality work done by Kashmir Liberation Cell, is fine but it should be a peripheral activity. We have seen that all the hospitality offered by Kashmir Liberation Cell, was washed clean by a single contact of Hindu Forum of Britain and Labour leader ditched us under the open sky. We had a flurry of activity and had a fit of fury during cheap £50=00 (Fifty Pound) TV shows. Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir has a deep sense of being a State Subject and more so understands the pains of division of families. He could have streamlined the ranks and merit of the KLC but unfortunately, does not seem to have a regular input and support.
The twelve refugee members in the AJK Assembly represent 2.5 million Kashmiri refugees living in various provinces of Pakistan. These members do not seem to be around except when the Assembly is in session. They have turned into a school of abuse and many of them show a total disconnect with the unfolding tragedy in Kashmir. The thirteenth member representing the Kashmiri Diaspora, could have played a significant role. Members elected from amongst overseas Kashmiris, in the past and the present one all had to dangle a brief case full of British Pounds. The seat has gone to the highest bidder or the most obedient. It has been a tragedy without a title, that the two Kashmiri Refugee seats of Karachi were gifted to Altaf Hussain.
Azad Kashmir Government has to rethink its role and seek to lead from the front. It has to fix its broken tools. The first and foremost is to make Kashmir Liberation Cell credible and club it with Section 11 duties. It can’t be led by people, who have been to school for only 10 and 11 days. The twelve members representing the refugees should have a serious concern that the right to return of refugees provided in UN Security Council Resolution 47 of 21 April 1948 and the right to return bill passed by Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in 1982/83 has been disturbed by new Domicile Laws passed by the State Government, run from Delhi. It is a serious situation.
The Domicile Laws are aimed to phase out the protection that has been available for the past 92 years to local residents. New categories have been created on the basis of 15 years residence, 10 years’ service in state-employment or 10 years stay for education for any non-Kashmiri (non-State) to be eligible as a resident of the disputed State. Non- Kashmiris (non-State subjects) have been made eligible for jobs in the disputed State. It will add to the unemployment in Kashmir. Kashmiri Muslims have been chased out from work, business and education, from almost every State of India.
It is high time that the two Governments re-orient their priorities on Kashmir. They shall have to re-design the Kashmir policy and make it inclusive in Muzaffarabad and in Islamabad. The old sketch has failed the test. It would not sell because it has passed its sell by date. India has to vacate from Kashmir and vacate its actions, provided we have a plan and a will. Keep Kashmir a priority or tomorrow may be too late
The author is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.