Pakistan reiterates unflinching support to Kashmiris struggle

MUZAFFARABAD - The president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari has reiterated that Pakistan would continue extending political, moral and diplomatic support to just cause of Kashmiris for their freedom from Indian oppression saying the only possible solution of the dispute is thorough peaceful talks. The president expressed his views while addressing the joint sitting of AJK Legislative Assembly and Council here in Muzaffarabad on Wednesday. “Kashmiris have rendered innumerable sacrifices for freedom; no one can suppress their voice and I have come here on the invitation of all political parties of the state”, he added. The people of Pakistan cannot offload Kashmir from their un-erazable catalogue of history, he reassured.

President Zardari stated that the Pakistani nation and all political parties were united on Kashmir issue despite their differences. Addressing the Kashmiri nation he said, “ you are a nation and nations can neither be defeated nor be deprived of freedom; your movement is absolutely indegineous and peaceful and it’s the time when international community should take notice of the atrocities being carried out by Indian troops in Indian Occupied Kashmir against the Kashmiri people including innocent children and women”.

While terming Afzal Guru’s assassination a judicial murder Mr. Zardari observed that the whole world protested against his murder and it would strengthen the freedom movement of the people of Kashmir. Reaffirming his commitment on Kashmir issue, he said that Pakistan wanted result oriented, comprehensive and a meaningful negotiation with India on Kashmir saga as it has always put efforts to maintain good relations with its neighbors. The President of Pakistan said that Pakistan suffered badly due to terrorism and both the countries should not let terrorists and miscreants dictate their agenda. “ we need to put joint efforts to fight against terrorism and should not let our lands to be used for terrorist activities”, he added further.

Responding to the demands made by opposition leader in AJK Legislative Assembly Raja Farooq Haider, the president held that all his demands including amendments in Interim Consitution 1974, the utilization of resources and reconstruction of earthquake affected areas would be accepted and addressed properly. He said that to resolve the issues of AJK, there was a need of consensus in federation which would be achieved.

The Prime Minister AJ&K, addressing on this occasion, said that the visit of President Zardari promoted courage in both sides of Kashmir saying that no durable peace could be achieved in south Asia unless Kashmir dispute is resolved that laid pending for more than six decades. “ The international community and the Security Council paid no attention to Kashmir; we are not against the trade or pleasant bilateral ties between two nuclear powers but we will never compromise on the fundamental right to self-determination as promised to the people of the state”, he added.

The leader of opposition Raja Farooq Haider Khan lauded the way President Zardari’s for successful completion of first democratically elected government with his efforts for smooth transition of power. He demanded that Gilgit Biltastan and Kashmir be made one unit. He also president Zardari to give state due water uses charges and royalty and give consideration to the fact that after 18th amendment in Pakistan, resources have been traferred to provinces but on contrary to it, resources of Kashmir have been reduced. The President assured the Kashmiri leadership that all their demands would be fulfilled. PID-AJK.

New Delhi has always looked at Kashmir and Kashmiris with a prism of suspicion

Spies and security agencies
Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh’s assertion that security agencies and spies are dictating the policy on Kashmir and that Centre is not quite sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the people in the valley is significant. However, it sounds more like a plea of helplessness rather than the beginning of a new chapter of addressing the anger and alienation of the people, coming from a person who is very much a part of the central government he holds responsible for inadequate action on Kashmir. Of course, he has hit the nail on the head by analysing much that is wrong with Indian state’s policy vis-à-vis Kashmir and even confessed that it was political vacuum that allowed the growth of militant, secessionist groups. This indeed, is a welcome departure from the past when national leaders have been in complete denial of the indigenous genesis of the turmoil in Kashmir and simply shifted the blame to Pakistan for all that is wrong in the Valley. Barring the brief period of a peace process that did not cross the barrier of some half baked confidence building measures to facilitate movement between the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir divided by the bloody Line of Control, successive governments in recent decades have shown little spine or sensitivity in dealing with Kashmir and even Congress led regimes, in their bid to outdo the hyper-nationalism of the Hindutva Brigade when it comes to Kashmir, have been ultra-nationalistic in their approach and treated the Kashmir issue and the Kashmiri dissent with obsessive paranoia. The net result has been a bid to excessively control people through repressive measures and curtailment of their civil liberties.
While excessive militarisation of the Valley and rest of the state may be a much more recent phenomenon, necessitated by the rise of armed insurgency in 1988-89, even in the decades before that, spies, intelligence and security agencies have had unprecedented and unmatched presence in their surveillance operations and their interference in matters that are political, social and economic. The intelligence inputs of the security agencies have played a very vital role in shaping the politics of control pursued by New Delhi ever since 1947, particularly after 1952 when Sheikh Abdullah was arrested. Unfortunately, their feedback has been treated as far more sacred than the views and reports of academic and political experts and the former has had a more discerning role to play. That the centre has always looked at Kashmiris from a prism of suspicion has a great deal to do with the overwhelming role that security agencies and spy networks, genetically at odds with the basic essence of democracy, have carved out for themselves in the most complex political tangles of South Asia. Similar is the fate of the part of Jammu and Kashmir administered by Pakistan. These agencies have become monstrously powerful after insurgency and have performed a role beyond the simple strategic role of combating militancy, enriching the fabric of Kashmir with chaos, confusion, repression and dehumanization. The agencies are well entrenched and sizeable population of the state is marginally or fully co-opted to play the second rung role of informers and collaborators, a policy that has given birth to the disastrous action of creating VDCs, arming renegades and recruiting adhoc appointees in police and security forces, and thus pitted people against their own.
Such a policy does not only lie at the core of human rights abuse, it also lies at the nucleus of complete political inertia simply because this thriving networking of intelligence and security agencies has developed a vested interest in stalling any move towards resolution of Kashmir issue and restoring meaningful peace. The successive prime ministers – from men who talked about sky is the limit on Kashmir to men who have promised zero tolerance to human rights violations – have never played an assertive role by questioning the intelligence briefs provided to them, either due to their indifference and insensitivity or their powerlessness. Chief minister Omar Abdullah recently displayed a show of tears on the floor of the state legislative assembly talking about his woeful tale of helplessness against brutal killings by security forces. The power vests to a great extent in the union home ministry but does this ministry ever overstep the dotted line provided as per the traditional feedback coming through security agencies and intelligence networks? It is no small wonder that despite much political noises, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), far from totally revoking it cannot even be put under review only because the army openly opposes it. Finance minister P. Chidambaram, who held the home portfolio not so long ago, provided some legitimacy to the claims of the army recently by stating that it was only army getting in the way between Kashmir and AFSPA revocation. This so, even as the Act came as a piece of legislation, stamped by the parliament. Only the parliament should have the right to revoke it, as per the law. But facts appear otherwise, reflecting that when it comes to a state like Jammu and Kashmir, it is virtually the control of the uniform in every aspect, and the policy is simply sugar-coated with a pseudo democracy that does not extend beyond the right to vote. Jairam Ramesh is right in his jargon but as part of the most powerful elite of the country does he have either the power or the temerity to challenge this trend and get the Centre to genuinely address the political issue as well as the socio-economic problems of the state?

Kunan-Poshpora mass rape ‘a horror night for victims’, says SHRC in its annual report

By Yasir Ashraf

JAMMU: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has termed the infamous Kunan-Poshpora mass rape as a “horror night for victims” and slammed the successive governments in its annual report for ignoring the victims.

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Mir Saifullah tabled the annual report of SHRC (2011-12) in the Legislative Council here Thursday.

“Right from February 1991, all the successive governments and district administration have being guilty of callous, negligent, insensitive and indifferent approach and attitude towards all these victims as if nothing had happened in Kunan-Poshpora during the intervening night of February 23/24, 1991,” the report says.

“Taking into the consideration all the material available on record and the reasoning discussed, the commission feels sorry for the victims that till date no successive government/district administration has ever taken the trouble to approach them and offer them a helping hand.”

The report says that it appears that just after the investigation of the case was closed as untraced and the file was shelved, all the successive governments and district administration “closed their eyes towards the pain and agony of the victims and nobody for all these more than 23 years has tried to extend any relief or compensation to them which could have even for a prima-facie purposes aroused sense of belonging to these victims and they would have developed a feeling that there is somebody who owns and cares for them.”

The commission has recommended monetary relief for the mass rape victims and said that “leaving maximum discretion to the wisdom of the government, minimum Rs two lakh each be paid to all the victims viz complainants in all the six petitions including composite petition No. 118 of 2007 and regarding whom suo-motto cognizance has been taken vide order dated: 05-04-2011. Besides them, (relief should be given) also in favour of those who after the medical examination and opinion have been found to have suffered the same atrocities during the horror night.”

“In addition, the daughter of complainant in the lead case be given Rs 25000 for the injuries she sustained during the incident,” it says.

The reports also states that while considering the complaints from every angle and law, the commission arrives at an “irresistible conclusion that the then Director Prosecution by his deliberate and intentional omissions and commissions and with the implied or express approval of competent authority has been able to scuttle the investigation of the case and thereby the offenders have not even been shown the doors of the court or court martial, while as in the facts and circumstances of the case the trial.

“Thereby it is clear that the then Director Prosecution has deliberately played a pivotal role in this whole incident whereby due to his intentional omission/commissions and negligent approach he has deterred the investigating agency from taking due action as warranted under law and thereby has been responsible for violation of Human Rights Act,” the report points out.

The SHRC also recommends the prosecution of the officer(s) involved in hushing up the mass rape incident. “That under section 19(1) of the J&K Prevention of Human Rights Act 1997 proceedings for prosecution be initiated against him and such other officers/officials who had approved his childish opinion which directly contributed to this serious case and thereby directly benefitted the offenders who had committed such grave human rights violation.”

The SHRC also demanded that investigation of FIR No. 10 of 1991 of Police Station Trehgam shall be re-opened and same shall be re-investigated through a special investigating team headed by an officer not below the rank of SSP and “the investigation must be taken to its logical end without any further delay and hiccups within a specific time bound period.”

Dr. Fai to continue work for the cause of Kashmir during incarceration

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. June 25, 2012 - Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, the leader of Kashmiri freedom struggle, says during his incarceration at the minimal security Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Cumberland, Maryland, he will continue his work for the cause of Kashmir.


Addressing a gathering of American Muslim leadership and well-wishers in Fremont, CA, Dr Fai said there is no restriction on him to continue his work for the cause of Kashmir. He pointed out that the prosecution had withdrawn charges initially leveled against him to be the agent of a foreign government.


Dr. Fai begins a two-year imprisonment term on July 10, 2012 for violating certain tax laws related to non-profit organizations. On March 30th he was sentenced to two-year imprisonment for conspiracy and violations of certain tax laws. Although initially charged under the FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] as an unregistered agent of Pakistan, Dr. Fai was never convicted on this allegation, which seemed clearly intended to support negotiations the U.S. and Hillary Clinton were engaged in with India at the time, according to Paul Barrow, Director of United Progressives and the Director of American Affairs for the International Council for Human Rights and Justice.

During the hearing Dr. Fai’s attorney Nina Ginsburg stated: “Judge, I think (Assistant U.S. Attorney) Mr. Kromberg’s arguments to the Court are appalling.  [Federal investigators] have a lot of words that were captured in intercepts, 20 years of intercepts, hundreds of thousands of interprets, and Mr. Kromberg cannot stand in front of this Court with one example of a statement, a public statement by Dr. Fai, a writing by Dr. Fai, a position taken at a conference he sponsored, not one, not one word, that is anything that could be characterized as propaganda for the Pakistani government.” 

Read more: Dr. Fai to continue work for the cause of Kashmir during incarceration

Al Jazeera :The Sentencing of Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai: Setting the Record Straight

On March 30, 2012, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, the man the international diplomatic community has known for more than 20 years as the ambassador for  Kashmir to the United States, stood before Judge Liam O’Grady in a federal court in Virginia and received a sentence of two years for the part he played as Director in funding the Kashmiri American Council, using contributions that allegedly had skirted certain tax regulations regarding how they may be made to a non-profit organization.  The technicalities involved in the sources of that money and how it ended up in the bank  accounts of the KAC are still too complex for me to really understand, and  probably not worth going into anyway, but its clear from the outcome that some violation of tax laws did occur and Dr. Fai was willing to take the rap for it.  In fact, both he and his wife believe sincerely that the judge was quite fair in handing down the sentence.  Although Dr. Fai’s reputation was sullied momentarily by charges that he was a spy for the Pakistani ISI and illegally lobbied members of Congress and two presidents, none of that proved true, and such charges were voluntarily dropped by the prosecution.  

Read more: Al Jazeera :The Sentencing of Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai: Setting the Record Straight

Interlocutor’s Report, Back to Square One

The report of the group of interlocutors for Jammu & Kashmir entitled, “A New Compact With The People of Jammu & Kashmir” was finally released on May 23, 2012, after months of waiting.  Prepared by Mr. Dileep Padgoankar, Mr. M. M. Ansari and Professor Radha Kumar, it’s unfortunately a mess and unquestionably a diversion from the primary interests of the people, if not an outright diversionary tactic by the members of the group.  In fact, that is what some members of the leadership of the resistance have charged. The report was rejected out of hand by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Shabir Ahmed Shah, as well as other factions including the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association.  None feels that it represents the will of the people and most believe that the government is simply buying time to avoid the inevitable, a real political solution to the quagmire that Kashmir has become.

Read more: Interlocutor’s Report, Back to Square One

Solidarity Expressed With Dr. Fai by Kashmiri American community in NYC

New York, May 27, 2012. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai voiced his continuing belief that India and Pakistan alone cannot solve the 65-year-old Kashmir conflict, DSC02721and that genuine leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir must be included in all negotiations. He was speaking at a reception arranged by Captain Shaheen Butt at Royal Banquette Hall, Brooklyn, New York. The event was organized to express solidarity with Dr. Fai.

Read more: Solidarity Expressed With Dr. Fai by Kashmiri American community in NYC

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