TRUTH FEARS NO QUESTIONS’
On 22 October 1947 tribesmen launched attack on Kashmir. Indian forces entered Kashmir on 27 October to resist them. Ever since Kashmir become a region of tragedies. In the meanwhile, people continued their struggle against foreign forces and their local supporters. The struggle consumed lives of thousands of Kashmiris. Two contesting countries fought many wars in the name of Kashmir. Kashmir issue was much talked about at the UN and other international platforms. It is perhaps the most talked about issue after Palestine. But so far the struggle has not achieved anything. Why is it so? People should put this question to themselves and to others also. In particular, the parties engaged in waging the struggle have to answer this question. Also those raising accession to Pakistan slogan and the authorities in Pakistan should also answer this question. What can be the practical shape of accession to Pakistan? How to acquire it? Those who want to liberate 84771 square miles of the territory of our nation from three usurpers, namely India, Pakistan and China, too, have not been able to give any clear agenda and direction to take it to its destination. Sacrifices are unending and the result is tragic. The story of this tragedy is spread all over Kashmir.
Under the leadership of Maqbool Butt the Martyr, National Liberation Front taught the lesson of sustained armed struggle for freedom. Oppressed nations were struggling for freedom at that time all over the world. Vietnam War had derailed colonial supremacy. Palestinian struggle had infused oppressed nations with spirit for freedom. African countries were following the struggle.
Maqbool Butt had become the practical voice of this worldwide struggle. Ganga high jacking had given him the opportunity of introducing his organization and his demand for independent Kashmir on international level. Kashmir issue had been almost forgotten after Tashkent Agreement of 1965.The concept of independent and united Jammu and Kashmir was considered a crime for the leaders of Plebiscite Front (AK and Pakistan) and National Liberation Front.
It is unfortunate that before processing the Ganga hijack case Pakistani authorities declared it a conspiracy of India. Inquiry Commission and Special courts were constituted later on. Not only Pakistani military leadership and civil authorities took the lead in labeling it a conspiracy, even the leadership on this side of the LoC left no stone unturned to join the maligning chorus of Pakistanis. Now in this conspiracy of dubbing the high jacking a conspiracy of India, Sheikh Abdullah, Sadiq and Indian institutions were equal partners.
After that event, Maqbool Butt, National Liberation Front and the highjackers gave wide publicity to the idea of independent Kashmir. They preached freedom of Gilgit- Baltistan and AK and reintegration into a united state of J&K which had been divided in the aftermath of 1947 incursion of the tribesmen. Kashmiris, wherever they were in the state or outside, found pride n this concept. People had begun to come out of the mindset of accession to India or Pakistan. Sheikh Abdullah’s leadership had dwarfed in comparison to that of Maqbool Butt. Sardar Qayyum and Muslim Conference had offered a sum of thirty lakh rupees to the hijackers for introducing ourselves from Muslim Conference platform.
Sardar Qayyum Khan, President of Azad Kashmir, realized that the slogan of “Kashmir banega Pakistan” or Kashmir is the”shahrag” of Pakistan” and such stuff put in the text books of schools in AK would expose their falsehood. They found it in their interests to dub National Liberating Front, Maqbool Butt and the highjackers as Indian conspiracy. Their purpose was to obscure the freedom concept from the sight of the people. Leaders on both sides like Sheikh, Sadiq and Sardar Qayyum wanted to save their leadership and their chairs. Above all they wanted to secure the idea of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. The unremitting tragedy of Ganga high jacking is that the people of Kashmir have once again become the prisoners of accession to India and Pakistan.
In 1988-89 Pakistani super intelligence agency floated Operation Topac, an armed insurgency plan in Kashmir. At that time I was the Chairman of Organizing Committee which was the central body of the Liberation Front Azad Kashmir. ISI invited me for talks about armed insurgency. I formed a committee comprising late Sardar Rashid Hasrat, Farooq Haider and Zubairul Haq Ansari and I. We were engaged in seven month long talks with top ISI officers Generals and Brigadiers. Their plan was to invite Kashmiri youth from the valley, give them short term training in arms for seven or eight days and send them back to Kashmir to fight against Indian army.
But Zubair Ansari and I clearly conveyed to them the idea of independence as nourished by our party. We told them that we did not need our boys to be trained. We told them that once the boys responded to the idea of independence, we could ourselves give them training. We told them that they could give us symbolic support for propagating our concept of freedom. “You can just go on making our fake arrests. In doing so, India and the rest of the world will not have the opportunity of accusing you of supporting our movement. That would help our movement gaining international publicity” I said. Zubair Ansari was of same ideas and he supported me as he was the General Secretary.
Unfortunately ISI high ups rejected my ideas and I once again became the object of their victimization. This forced me to escape to Europe leaving my family and kids behind in Pakistan. The ISI used Amanullah Khan for carrying forward its scandalous mission. Thus without any well planned program, without giving it due thought and without considering its consequences and repercussions, gun was placed in the hands of innocent Kashmiri youth.
Owing to oppressive treatment meted out to MUF after assembly election sin 1986 Kashmiri youth had already been disgruntled and angry with India, National Conference, Farooq Abdullah and Rajiv-Farooq Accord. People turned to Pakistan for acquiring the gun. India did not do anything to prevent their movement across the LoC.
Whatever benefit could be expected from 1990 to 1992 out of this step would have accrued to the people in the shape of political awakening. At that time lakhs of people would pour out on the streets. This was the time when I had suggested to the Liberation Front stalwarts on both sides of the line that people did not wake up despite much effort. But now that they had awoken the gun should be given up immediately. I had said that the gun should be used only for protecting the political platform and a civil movement based on the principle of non-violence should be launched. I had warned that the gun would break the movement into pieces and a number of armed groups would emerge and get involved in internecine fighting.
Looking in retrospect, I find that valley leadership did want to continue political movement but ISI and AK leadership surviving on the prevalence of gun in Kashmir valley were not at all in favour of the political moment. They knew that by giving up the gun the command of the movement would pass into the hands of civil leadership. A proof of this is the courageous decision of Yasin Malik in 1994 in which call was given to withdraw armed struggle and initiate civil disobedience. Remember this line of thinking of Yasin Malik was opposed by Azad Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Amanullah Khan and Pakistani administration. They even went to the length of calling Yasin Malik an agent of India. Yasin’s announcement had made AK leadership of Liberation Front irrelevant. This is the reason why they resolved differences by negotiating with Liberation Front of the Valley under the leadership of Yasin Malik. A large scale business was carried out on the other side of the line on thousands of dead bodies that fell on this side of the line.
In-fighting among armed groups, accusations and counter accusations and penetration of wretched agents sponsored by India into the movement deflected the direction of this movement. It was faced with numerous obstructions. Armed groups lost public support. In the name of unity Hurriyat organization came to be formed. We are told Pakistan secret agencies and administration had a hand in the formation of this organization. I think Indian hand was also moving invisibly somewhere. India thought of resolving the issue through a united front of the opposition.
But Hurriyat did not split into three factions only; its each faction got subdivided into many more factions each claiming to be the original Hurriyat. None of them could bring forth an organized and systematic programme of struggle in Kashmir. Another cause of dismay of people was that close relatives of so called frontline leaders of freedom struggle managed to get admission for their wards in professional institutions. Ordinary Kashmiri was deprived of normal facilities like jobs, business and other economic perks. Educational institutes came to be destroyed in the valley. Economic recession ensued. People gradually began distancing themselves from these organizations. Hurriyat and other freedom seeking organizations did not make attempt to consciously acquaint people about the purport of the moment.
In 2008 Amarnath land row erupted. 64 precious lives were lost. Hurriyat could not convert it into civil movement for there was no guideline or discipline. Two months later, 65 per cent of Kashmir valley population cast votes in the election in the name of water, electricity, roads and other needs, NC and Congress formed a coalition government. NC complicated the issue of murder of two sisters in Shupian. In 2010 at least 117 innocent youth were killed. This movement continued for five months. This brought economic disaster. Educational institutes remained close for five months. Hurriyat failed to consolidate the movement and its gains and got relegated to silence and inactivity. Reasons were as follow:
– Resistance forces are victims of frustration and sunk deep in mutual conspiracies.
– My and people’s fourteen year long appeals to the stakeholders to unite have fallen on deaf ears. Conversely they have become fully engrossed in disunity and frustration.
– This movement has not any economic and political agenda based on scientific principles of a freedom movement.
– The movement is confined to event-based action. Even that has just two or three purposes like a photo session or news session telecast on television at home and especially on Pakistan television. It is nothing but to show their existence and project themselves as leaders who matter.
– Resistance organizations hired activists on salary basis instead of inducting them for the movement. The resistance leaders make speeches in mosques and shrines as they know people gather at these venues in large numbers. Photographers are encouraged to take their pictures addressing large crowds and in the process they force the public to listen to their political speeches.
– Repeated calls for strikes are proving very damaging for the ordinary people. A few shopkeepers in Lal Chowk put down the shutters and some bus drivers stop plying their buses just because they are afraid the hooligans would inflict damages on shops and buses.
– Disorganized strike even paves the way for damaging ambulance vehicles.
– Strikes are welcome to security forces. They do not need to make special security arrangements for any VIP who has to pass through the main streets.
– There is no organized programme of supporting the wards of martyrs and prisoners of the movement. This has caused disappointment to them and the people in general from the resistance leadership.
– There is a provision of quota for admission to professional courses for the orphans on both ides of the dividing line. But these seats do not go to the genuine students.
In January 2014, Yasin Malik, the Chairman of Liberation Front gave the call for “jail bharo”. It was to begin on 4 January for a period of ten days. This is a way of keeping the nation actively involved. But total arrests made during ten days were around a hundred or hundred and fifty. They were all connected with Liberation Front. They did not fill even a single room of the jail. Why the masses did not join the “jail bharo” call is an important question.
In June last Yasin Malik announced another programme. It was of “Quit Kashmir”. We don’t have any difference on this programme as it is a recognized programme of freedom movements. We are reminded of Quit India call given by Gandhiji which was responded by multitudes of Indians. When jails were filled with people offering themselves for the movement, the British rulers set up tent villages to be filled by arrested public. In response to the call for Quit Kashmir” movement given by Sheikh Abdullah during his political struggle hundreds of thousands of people offered themselves for arrest. The entire world came to know about it. Martin Luther King floated the movement and the entire United States of America was shaken to the core. Nelson Mandela lead the freedom movement in Africa and it became a free nation. Quit Kashmir should have unnerved civil administration. It did not happen at all. Here are the reasons:
– Resistance organizations or their allies had to be included so that each organization took active part in the movement.
– The slogan for movement should have been carried to each street and each locality with the purpose of making it a success.
– Locality-wise committees should have been formed to take care of the problems of the activists of the movement who were arrested.
Quit Kashmir was an admirable step. But it was oddly conducted. Just a couple of dozens of people offered themselves for arrest and they and Yasin Malik were set free after a couple of days when they submitted bails. A look at the history of such movements around the world shows that the leaders of this type of movement never won their freedom from prison by submitting bail application. Generally the masses of people have to be involved in such movements conscientiously. Because such movements bring about disorder in the administration, therefore, the government offers to release the leaders from prisons. But in Yasin Malik’s moment, a handful of activists of Liberation Front were taken into custody and a large majority of people became just disinterested onlookers. This situation justifies the claim of Indians and others outside India that our movement is nothing more than a handful of people coming together to express their anger for some mundane purpose. They attribute it to intervention by Pakistan.
All of us shall have to answer a question. According to statistics available, about 94 thousand persons have been martyred from 1989 up to 30 June 2014 in Kashmir struggle. More than 7 thousand have met with custodial deaths. More than 11 thousand houses and structures have been damaged owing to shelling. About 13 thousand people have been put behind bars. The number of widows has risen to nearly 23 thousand and those of orphans are 1.8 lakh. More than ten thousand gang rapes have been reported. This data has been extracted from KNS News.
The question is this: Despite all this stupendous loss and immeasurable sacrifices in which people have lost everything they possessed, they are not joining the movement in large numbers and are disappointed. Have not people caught up the idea that the defeat of Farooq Abdullah has proved that power is in their hands and in their vote? Are not they realizing that they can get their nation rid of tyrannical, corrupt treacherous people from power?
Of course, thinking has developed among ordinary people that Farooq Abdullah whom they could not oust through protests or through unleashing of the gun, could be thrown out by a simple piece of paper called ballot. This event takes the wind out of the sail of election boycott theory? By boycotting election, people cannot get rid of corrupt, oppressive and law violating people whom they have voluntarily imposed on themselves for years at end.
The people should understand that according to the UN Resolution, participating in elections and casting vote would not alter the complexion of Kashmir issue.
Let me conclude by reiterating that unless resistance organizations do not shun ego and mutual dissension, and converge on a few basic points, this moment will lead us nowhere. Innocent people will continue to lose their precious lives, and economy will see further decline. We can never reach our destination. I have come to the conclusion that people are frustrated by internal dissensions and differences among the resistance groups who have no plan and no strategy. Resistance forces issue intermittent appeals and organize individual programmes but these evoke no response from the masses of people. Remember that people are not to be blamed for this phenomenon. Remember they are the very people who would come out in massive protests of 15 to 19 lakh strong on the streets.
This article was published in various Kashmiri and Pakistani newspapers.