International moot on KashmirCall to purge Kashmir of religiouselements
Geneva: Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, Chairman United Kashmir Peoples National Party (UKPNP), has said the people of Kashmir are pro-peace and pro-democracy. They demand that a culture of accountability and transparency be established in the polity of entire Jammu Kashmir without any distinction.Addressing a conference on “Kashmir Issue, Terrorism and Human Rights” at the United Nations offices in Geneva, he said we are against the teachings, preaching and education of communal hatred. And the forces which are using religion as a weapon must be discouraged and their infrastructure be dismantled anywhere in the region under any name.”We support and endorse reconciliation and the need of roundtable discussion of the political leaders, civil society of all divided parts of former princely state. We oppose proxy war and proxy politics, which left enormous effects on the daily life of the people of Jammu Kashmir. Today the entire population of the state is compelled to live in threat and harassment by the different non-state actors in the region.”We strongly demand from the government of Pakistan to abolish all discriminatory clauses from the constitutional act of 1974 which bars freedom of thoughts, freedom of assembly as well as discriminate and violates universal charter of fundamental rights of the local people.He said human rights must be protected without the distinction of caste, colour, creed, gender, social and political orientation. Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said today entire population of Jammu Kashmir has become hostage to terrorists, which are still freely and independently operating and moving everywhere in Pakistani administered Kashmir. The government of Pakistan is still not successful to draft a modern day foreign policy out of the pressure of its military influence. He alleged that Pakistan is promoting, importing and still exporting terrorists and training camps are still intact in various parts of Pakistan, as well as in some far most remote areas of the mountainous region of so called Azad Kashmir.”For us, Kashmir comprises 85,000 square miles, including the Kashmir valley, which encompasses 8,000 square miles. Jammu, which constitutes 12,000 square miles, Ladakh, which has 35,000 square miles, Gilgit Baltistan and Hunza which cover the area of 28,000 square miles, and Pakistani-administered Kashmir (Azad Kashmir), 4,000 square miles. For us, Kashmir is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-ethnic State encompassing the most important strategic areas in the South Asian region in terms of its political and economic significance in today’s globalized world.But for some Kashmiri leaders, Kashmir is only the Valley of Kashmir and the rest is meaningless to them. Yet when we describe Kashmir as a land of peace, harmony, brotherhood, love and tolerance, these are not just words: Kashmir and its 13 million inhabitants from east, west, north and south truly reflect these noble sentiments of humanity to each other. Wular and Dal lakes set off the Valley of Kashmir; the Tawi and Chenab rivers water the fertile fields of Jammu; the Gilgit and Indus rivers give life to the land of northern Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan; and the River Poonch flows in the Poonch area, where people grow rice, wheat, corn and vegetables. The State of Jammu and Kashmir is replete with natural resources: five major rivers and many small streams, Sweetwater lakes, the world’s longest mountain ranges, such as the lofty Great Himalayas, and the world’s second-highest mountain, K2, situated in this many-sided area. From a cultural perspective Kashmir features unique diversity: in the Valley of Kashmir, we can catch a glimpse of old Persian and eastern European cultural influence, in Jammu, the vibrant Dogra culture encompasses historical Sanskrit letters and poetry, songs and dances; while in Ladakh and Gilgit Baltistan, eastern European and Buddhist cultures and languages have left their mark on the everyday lives of the inhabitants. Kashmir has produced a host of renowned political leaders, intellectuals, musicians, historians, artists, writers and singers. To give just a few examples – and I could go on at length – the poetry of Lal Ded ,Habba Khatoon,Shahi Hamdan, is full of love and her writings afford us fascinating insights into Kashmiri society. The poems of Dina Nath Nadim convey the pain, misery and plight of the Kahsmiri people in the early 19th century. Later, Fauq and Krishan Chandar gave Kashmiri literature a boost in the 20th century. Similarly, intellectuals, musicians and academics in all other regions of the former Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu have valiantly endeavoured to preserve centuries-old culture, music and literature in these areas despite present-day divisions.The geographic and strategic location of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir made it vulnerable, first in the 19th century, as the sun began to set over the far-flung British Empire, then after the Second World War. At the time, the British were preparing to leave the subcontinent, which featured vast amounts of inhabitants, resources and land and could pride itself on centuries of peaceful coexistence.We must remember that, although Mughals conquered India and ruled for several centuries,with lot of conversion took place besides the sentiments of harmony, peace, and love coexisted side by side. Yet the British divided people into Muslims and non-Muslims, promoting a two-nation theory. Not only Muslims in India met the definition of a separate nation: many other nationalities enjoyed their own language, culture, traditions and religion, occupying substantial areas of the land. Divide-and-rule has been a centuries-old tool of occupying forces. Today, however, occupying forces are relying on the tactic of confuse-and-rule.To give you an inkling of Kashmir’s rich history, many believe that the Mauryan emperor Ashoka founded the city of Srinagar. Moreover, Kashmir was a seat of Buddhist learning in days of yore. History tells us that Buddhism came to China from Kashmir. In 1349, after Muslim rule was ushered in, Islam became the dominant religion in Kashmir valley because of mass conversion by then the muslim rulers from afghan and arabs. The Muslims and Hindus of Kashmir coexisted harmoniously by and large, as the Sufi-Islamic way of life of ordinary Muslims in Kashmir dovetailed with the Rishi traditions of Kashmiri pundits. The outcome was a syncretic culture where Hindus and Muslims prayed at the same shrines. Today, Kashmiris refer to the Rajatarangini, the chronicle of the kings of Kashmir, as the sole ancient record of Kashmir’s history and existence.At this point, I would like to give you a glimpse of recent history so that you can understand the present-day conflict in Jammu and Kashmir. By the early 19th century, control of the Kashmir valley had shifted from the Durrani Empire of Afghanistan and four centuries of Muslim rule under the Mughals and Afghans to the conquering Sikh armies. This change began in 1780, after the death of Ranjit Deo, the Rajah of Jammu, when the Kingdom of Jammu was captured by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh of Lahore. Gulab Singh, Ranjit Singh’s subordinate, took the valley, annexing it to Jammu in 1819. With the help of his army officer Zorawar Singh, Gulab Singh seized Ladakh and Gilgit Baltistan to the east and north-east of Jammu. In 1845, when the First Anglo-Sikh war broke out, Gulab Singh skilfully managed to avoid involvement until the battle of Sobraon (1846), when he acted as a useful mediator and a trusted advisor of Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence. Two treaties were then signed. Under the first, the state of Lahore, that is West Punjab, ceded to the British, as the equivalent of one Crore of indemnity, the hill countries between Beas and Indus.Under the second, the British gave Gulab Singh for 75 lakhs all the hilly or the mountainous country situated to the east of Indus and west of Ravi (that is, the Vale of Kashmir). Thus, the Kingdom of Jammu became a tributary of Sikh power in 1846. Not long after Gulab Singh died in 1857, his son Ranbir Singh swallowed up the emirates of Hunza, Gilgit and Nagar.The Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu, as it was called at the time, came into being between 1820 and 1858. It brought together heterogeneous regions, religions and ethnicities; to the east, Ladakh was ethnically and culturally Tibetan with inhabitants who practised Buddhism, to the south, Jammu was a mixture of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs; in the Kashmir valley, the vast majority of inhabitants were Sunni Muslims apart from a small minority of Brahmans and pundits; to the north-east, thinly populated Baltistan had a population which was ethnically related to Ladakh but practised Shia Islam; to the north, the area of Gilgit Agency featured a mix of Shia and Sunni Muslims; and to the west, Poonch contained Muslims who were ethnically dissimilar to those of the Kashmir valley.After the subcontinent was partitioned, rulers of princely states were given a choice to decide their future: either to accede via union to India or Pakistan or in special cases to remain independent. However, a tribal invasion from Pakistan frightened the Maharajah of Kashmir into signing an instrument of accession with India. This instrument specified that the wishes of the Kashmiri people had to be taken into account and that India would protect the life, liberty and property of the Kashmiri people.” Property” in this respect meant that India had to do more to clear those areas which were illegally occupied by Pakistan by then still we are not sure what is future of our generation with pakistan. It was Pakistan which occupied the most significant regions of the State, and the presence of its military forces in the State materially changed the entire situation. United Nations Security Council resolution 47 was adopted on 21 April 1948. After hearing arguments from both India and Pakistan, the Council increased the size of the Commission established by United Nations Security Council resolution 39 to five members, instructing the Commission to go to the subcontinent and help the governments of India and Pakistan restore peace and order to the region and prepare for a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir. The resolution recommended that in order to ensure the impartiality of the plebiscite, Pakistan withdraw all tribesmen and nationals who had entered the region for the purpose of fighting and that India leave only very little Troops as to safe guard the whole J&K needed t o keep civil order because of evil sight on the occupied will never are not interested to do so . The Commission was also to send as many observers into the region as it deemed necessary to ensure that the provisions of the resolution were enacted. Yet Pakistan never complied with the stipulations of the Security Council or UNCIP recommendations. It has not recognized these provisions and has continued to press for a plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people. Pakistan set up its own Kashmir, called Azad Kashmir, in a minute Western chunk controlled by it. The much larger region of Pakistani Kashmir in the north-west, which was a province named Northern Areas in the erstwhile State, hardly features in the laws and Constitution of Pakistan. Yet the military establishment and secret agencies claim that these areas are part of Pakistan and have nothing to do with the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The silence of the pro-Pakistan group APHC regarding these areas is also meaningful and regrettably shameful.We lost Aksai Chin in 1962 because of war between India and China and Pakistan who helped china in this regard also gave Saksham valley to china for goodwill gesture .
New approaches on Kashmir whenever and whoever suggested were largely resisted by certain forces, both in Pakistan and India including Kashmiri’s on both sides. Those interests are entwined with the status quo. Such idea was initially advanced in early 50s and early sixties when dialogues between Bhutto and Sawarn Sigh were conducted to resolve this complex issue based on the changed ground realities and shared regional interests. The approach was advocated by the US then to persuade Ayub Khan that it is the time to come to recognize the ground realities and not to miss the opportunity when India was inclined to compromise on the changing situation. And when Sheikh Abdullah visited last time Pakistan, he had suggested along the same lines to Ayub Khan too.Opportunities were missed on both occasions when Patel asked Liaquat Ali Khan to take Kashmir and leave Hyderabad before ending up for nothing. But Pakistan leadership’s shortsightedness couldn’t see beyond the wall and helped India to keep both, Kashmir and Hyderabad. After 1965 lost war and 1971 Pakistan’s division – because of its own policies to marginalize the Bengali politically and economically – it was time or Pakistan to review its flawed and failed policies over all, on Kashmir and within its own provinces could have helped Pakistan to secure its economic and geographical interests. But military’s growing political interests and control over power led it to resist any change that was deemed necessary to keep this country’s larger interests ahead to the military institution. The unchanged policies and unchallenged military’s direct and indirect control over the political power in Pakistan has seriously discouraged every new approach that was suggested to resolve the conflict of Kashmir; that eventually resulted in the prolonged confrontation, hostilities and proxy war that strengthened the extremist forces across Pakistan and region, and military in Pakistan.Nawaz Sharif was first who had tried to depart from the traditional policy by inviting Vajpayee and signing Lahore Declaration which was thwarted through Kargil misadventure of Mushraf and eventually he was ousted from the power. Later, the same Mushraf agreed, who had accused Nawaz for sell-off Kashmir under the global pressure, on the new approaches on Kashmir suggested by the former Indian PM Mr. Vajpaee to soften the borders. Though the idea of soft borders has been advocated by many political scientists and practitioners since ago, at least to start with in order to mitigate the grievances and sufferings that division and barriers had caused or inflicted upon the people, was finally endorsed in 2004 after six decades of destruction and death. But again forces opposed to new ideas and fresh approaches are seen to be disenchanted with the utility of it and insist to embark upon the old notions, ideas and approaches of fighting for Kashmiri cause without winning it.Reasons and aims are obvious because in six decades military dominated politics and policies were largely advocated on both sides but especially in Pakistan without questioning its merits. However, India succeeded to keep military out of politics and its successive governments changed priorities of Indian politics from military to build Economy. But somehow Kashmir aspect has been determining factor between both countries relations whether it was under the two-nation theory in Pakistan, or secularism in India. As a result only military was strengthened on both sides but this mindset further entrenched in policy making to make military might unchallengeable on both sides which helped Pakistan military to take the charge of everything by demonizing and ridiculing the political leadership of country. The growing military control and interests in Pakistan I hope issue of our sides be resolved with the interest and wishes of the peoples of both sides not only in Indian side Kashmir.