Tag Archives: Azad Jammu and Kashmir

AJK’s transportation system

Dawn has reported today on 19 June 2015 that, at least seven people, including a woman, were killed and 11 others wounded when a passenger bus plunged into a ditch in Rawalakot district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Traffic accidents are very common in Azad Kashmir due to its mountainous area poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving but there is no record available with any of the departments of AJK government of people being killed in road accidents in Azad Kashmir on monthly or annually bases. Which shows fundamental and structural faults in AJK’s administration. There is no bureau of statistics and minister of transport is perhaps without ministry of transport. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) says more than 9,000 road accidents are reported to the police every year since 2011, killing over 4,500 people on average in Pakistan but PBS has no record of accidents in Azad Kashmir.

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At least seven people, including a woman, were killed and 11 others wounded

Just to get an idea of accident if you google “accident in Azad Kashmir”, you will find more than forty thousand results in just a half second and search will literally show you results for every month from June to May of this year and backwards with at least one accident in each month of every year and in some cases more than one, two and even three accidents in just one month in one of the ten districts of Azad Kashmir. So the question is, how long bad roads and underdeveloped transportation system of AJK will kill Kashmiris on everyday bases?

Yasir Naveed, who lost his uncle, in this accident says, this is a nightmare for us. My uncle, Muhammad Sarwar was returning after forty year’s hardships of work in Saudi Arabia to live rest of his life with his family in Azad Kashmir. He says, 11 years before we lost our two other uncles on same spot near Goyee Nala in a similar accident. Another affected person talked about this accident and told that his four neighbors and relatives died in today and among them Zubair was one who got married just weeks ago.

It is important to note that this is third fatal accident which was reported by any online source in this month but number does not restrict to it. According to tribune at least one person died and three others were injured in separate road accidents on 9th June. Before that at least two persons were killed and three others injured in a road accident on 1st June. In May along with other four women were among five members of a family who were killed in a road accident in Mirpur district. And according to this same newspaper in the first three weeks of January alone of this year, more than 15 people lost their lives in road accidents in Muzaffarabad and Kotli districts of AJK.

It is worth noting that road tax in AJK is collected by Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council instead of AJK government which is often considered as supreme institution of AJK but headed by Pakistani president, often criticized as parallel government and takes biggest share of AJK budget. So is Pakistan simply escaping from the responsibility of building roads and improving AJK’s transportation system by installing there a puppet government with no rights and resources? As it has escaped and has forgotten its promise of building a railway station in Azad Kashmir in 1967 at the time of construction of Mangla Dam.

Writer is pursuing his Mphil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.org and works with Institute for Social and Economic Justice (ISEJ). He can be reached at

@imrankhushaal
imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com
http://www.kashmirica.org

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What Kashmiris want?

In my new series “Question on Kashmir” I am going to interview political scientists to get an academic view of Kashmir issue. I will also try to explore what possible solutions are there in their view to resolve Kashmir issue. Series will be based on diverse questions varying from Kashmiri Identity to peace in South Asia, from nationalism to Kashmiri Kashmir and from Pakistani Kashmir to Indian Kashmir. Here is my first venture. Other day I interviewed Dr. Muhammad Mujeeb Afzal. He is an assistant Professor at School of Politics and International Relations at Quaid-I-Azam University Islamabad. Here is what he said.

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Pakistan and India do not know what Kashmiris exactly want says Dr. Muhammad Mujeeb Afzal

Kashmirica: What is the core of Kashmir Issue, why is it important for Pakistan and India?

Mujeeb Afzal: Kashmir is an existential issue for both Pakistan and India. India wants to keep it to justify its showcase secular democracy, and Pakistan wants to get it to prove its two nation theory as well as its apprehensions about the Hindu majority. Neither Pakistan nor India is prepared to give up its stance on Kashmir. India aims at expansion as it sees South Asia from New Delhi and wishes to control it from there like a hegemon; whereas Pakistan feels threatened by India’s desire to keep an unwilling Kashmir under its control and it perceives in its occupation the Indian expansionist design, which looks credible and quite legitimate after the fall of Dhaka and emergence of Bangladesh with the Indian armed assistance. Kashmir’s importance for both Pakistan and India is also strategic in nature. The Indian objective to have an India-controlled South Asia and Pakistani desire to be a meaningful – if not equal to India – partner in the South Asian state system can never be fulfilled without having Kashmir. The Kashmir region is also important in economic terms because of the waters; any state possessing Kashmir as its part would control almost all the water resources of the region. Therefore, Kashmir is vital for cognitive, strategic and economic reasons for both Pakistan and India.

Kashmirica: On what grounds Pakistan and India both claim Kashmir their part?

Mujeeb Afzal: Apparently both Pakistan and India do not know exactly the wishes of the Kashmiri people because they have never counted their opinion in this matter. Neither India has ever asked the Kashmiris whether they wanted to be part of the Indian Union or otherwise nor has Pakistan ever taken their consent. No empirical evidence is available on the options, whether the Kashmiris would like to be part of any of these two states or wish to live as an independent entity. So the whole process is assumptive and both states believe in their assumptions as true but the fear of losing Kashmir in case of any plebiscite on the Indian side, even though it also exists on the Pakistani side as well, because of Muslim majority of the region.

Kashmirica: Is peace in South Asia possible without the solution of Kashmir Issue?

Mujeeb Afzal: No, peace in South Asia is not possible without the solution of the Kashmir Issue because Kashmir is now a reason as well as a symbol of contention: reason in the way that Pakistan insists on redefining the borders in South Asia, and symbol in the sense that it provides the basis for Pakistan-India strategic competition. Kashmir is the center of competition between Pakistan and India.

Kashmirica: What Pakistan and India have gained and lost so far from their contest on Kashmir?

Mujeeb Afzal: Strategic issues are beyond gain and loss; competition is for the sake of competition. Many a time, competition at the strategic level can be endless. I see no solution of this issue in the near future which means there will be more competition between Pakistan and India.

Kashmirica: Incorporating Gilgit-Baltistan into Pakistan will make Pakistan’s stance of right of self-determination for Kashmiris baseless, what you say?

Mujeeb Afzal: Yes, in a narrow legalistic sense, you can say so but opinions are divided on this issue. Gilgit-Baltistan’s own popular opinion is in favor of incorporation. I think, where you place a region legally is not important; what is important right now, is the provision of basic rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan because as long as there is no permanent solution you have to find a temporary one. Pakistani state has to be innovative to incorporate Gilgit-Baltistan as India did in case of Jammu and Kashmir by granting Kashmir special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Pakistan has also developed such a mechanism to administer Azad Kashmir but provision of basic rights to the Kashmiris need to be guaranteed.

Kashmirica: Brad Adams the Asia director at Human Rights Watch has said in 2006 that although ‘azad’ means ‘free,’ the residents of Azad Kashmir are anything but, The Pakistani authorities govern Azad Kashmir with strict controls on basic freedoms, how you see human rights violation in Kashmir and particularly Azad Kashmir?

Mujeeb Afzal: It is virtually Pakistani territory for all practical purposes; therefore, Pakistan treats Azad Kashmir as an allied state. For strategic purposes it is defended, and perhaps only Kashmir is defended. So a strict control is necessary. Besides, Pakistan itself has faced strict control throughout most of its history under the military regimes.

Kashmirica: GB &Jammu has been practically detached from Kashmir, fact or fiction?

Mujeeb Afzal: Intellectual debates on this aspect are there but neither the Pakistani state nor the Indian state has taken any such position. Both the states maintain their original stated positions.

Kashmirica: What possible solution is out there for Kashmir issue?

Mujeeb Afzal: There could be more than one solution of the Kashmir issue but right now there is not a single constituency working for minimizing tensions and normalizing relations between Pakistan and India. Any solution depends on the nature of Pakistan-India relations.

Kashmirica: Dialogue on Kashmir, formal, back channel has been a failure to solve Kashmir issue, yes or no?

Mujeeb Afzal: Yes, officially no dialogue has produced any positive result. Unofficial records and public statements by the participants are available but all the formulas and talks have remained mostly for media consumption. Practically no progress has been observed on this issue so far.

Kashmirica: Independent Kashmir was never on the agenda of Pak-India negotiators, why?

Mujeeb Afzal: I think, ‘independent Kashmir’ is not acceptable to any of the two states, and the reasons are pretty obvious. Firstly if a plebiscite for an ‘independent Kashmir’ materializes, it will set a precedent for the disintegration of these states in future. Secondly independence of Kashmir can provide basis for demands of independence of territories both on the Indian side as well as on the Pakistani side.

Kashmirica: If Kashmir issue remains as it is from past half century how it will affect the socio-political and economic development of south Asia and how it will affect Kashmiri Identity and Kashmiri Diasporas struggle?

Mujeeb Afzal: I see it from a different angle. Structures which were supposed to build from Kashmir’s reference are there, they have been built. Pakistani Kashmir is virtually part of Pakistan. It is highly integrated into Pakistan and this process is going to be more embedded in future. The Kashmiris are perhaps the only community that is deeply integrated into Pakistan. Almost every Kashmiri family from Azad Kashmir has a stake in Pakistan. And you will see, Gilgit-Baltistan will be easily assimilated. The problem is on the Indian side, because Article 370 has partially served its purpose; and now it is being contested within India. I foresee, water shortages, Siachen issue and other smaller issues that are linked with the broader issue of Jammu and Kashmir will affect Pakistan. Pakistan will face concerns on foreign policy level and India at the domestic level. As far as identity is concerned, I see that the whole issue of identity exists on myths, and myths do not evaporate easily. They stay for long, even the contested Identities persist.

Interviewer/Writer is pursuing his Mphil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.org and works with Institute for Social and Economic Justice (ISEJ). He can be reached at

@imrankhushaal
imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com
http://www.kashmirica.org

Treaty of Amritsar; was Kashmir sold?

By: Imran Khsuhaal Raja     Download PDF                                                                            

The Treaty of Amritsar was signed on March 16, 1846, between the British East India Company and Gulab Singh Dogra to formalize the arrangements which were made in a peace treaty at the end of the First Anglo-Sikh War.

In article three and four of that peace treaty which is commonly known as the Treaty of Lahore, Sikhs (Lahore Government) agreed upon ceding all their forts and territories situated between the Rivers Beas and Sutlej.

They agreed upon paying one and a half crore (15 million) of Rupees for the expenses of the war in reparations, and in case being unable to pay this amount, they agreed, ceding all their forts and territories in the hill countries situated between the Rivers Beas and Indus, including the provinces of Cashmere (Kashmir) and Hazarah.

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As per the agreement, when Lahore Government (the Sikhs) failed to pay the whole of this sum immediately, it ceded some of its territories, including Hazara and Kashmir, as equivalent to one crore rupees (10 million). Now the Maharaja of Kashmir Gulab Singh Dogra was required to pay his share immediately to get his territories back. The British recognized Gulab Singh as a Maharaja directly tributary to them on payment of 75 Lakh of the war-indemnity and this payment was justified on account of Gulab Singh legally being one of the chiefs of the Kingdom of Lahore and thus responsible for its treaty obligations.

So the narrative which is widely spread that “Mahraja Gulab Singh Dogra purchased Kashmir against 75 Lakhs’’, is either a misconception or a propaganda, because the grounds on which this agreement is propagated as “the treaty of sale” do not have any references. Neither the Treaty of Lahore nor the Treaty of Amritsar mentions this as a sale but a transfer of what Lahore Government annexed to the British Government.

So it was not a purchase but a reclaim, as Article 1 of the Treaty of Amritsar says, “The British Government transfers and makes over forever in independent possession to Maharajah Gulab Singh and the heirs male of his body all the hilly or mountainous country with its dependencies situated to the eastward of the River Indus and the westward of the River Ravi including Chamba and excluding Lahol, being part of the territories ceded to the British Government by the Lahore State according to the provisions of Article IV of the Treaty of Lahore, dated 9th March, 1846”.

Again in the article 3 of the treaty the word transfer is used instead of sale which shows that the Treaty of Amritsar was not in any sense the treaty of sale of Kashmir, it says, ‘’ In consideration of the transfer made to him and his heirs by the provisions of the foregoing article Maharajah Gulab Singh will pay to the British Government the sum of seventy-five lakhs of rupees (Nanukshahee), fifty lakhs to be paid on or before the 1st October of the current year, A.D., 1846”.

Following is the detailed treaty of Amritsar:

Treaty of Amritsar March 16, 1846

The treaty between the British Government on the one part and Maharajah Gulab Singh of Jammu on the other concluded on the part of the British Government by Frederick Currie, Esq. and Brevet-Major Henry Montgomery Lawrence, acting under the orders of the Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hardinge, G.C.B., one of her Britannic Majesty’s most Honorable Privy Council, Governor-General of the possessions of the East India Company, to direct and control all the affairs in the East Indies and by Maharajah Gulab Singh in person – 1846.

Article 1. The British Government transfers and makes over forever in independent possession to Maharajah Gulab Singh and the heirs male of his body all the hilly or mountainous country with its dependencies situated to the eastward of the River Indus and the westward of the River Ravi including Chamba and excluding Lahol, being part of the territories ceded to the British Government by the Lahore State according to the provisions of Article IV of the Treaty of Lahore, dated 9th March, 1846.

Article 2. The eastern boundary of the track transferred by the foregoing article to Maharajah Gulab Singh shall be laid down by the Commissioners appointed by the British Government and Maharajah Gulab Singh respectively for that purpose and shall be defined in a separate engagement after survey.

Article 3. In consideration of the transfer made to him and his heirs by the provisions of the foregoing article Maharajah Gulab Singh will pay to the British Government the sum of seventy-five lakhs of rupees (Nanukshahee), fifty lakhs to be paid on or before the 1st October of the current year, A.D., 1846.

Article 4. The limits of territories of Maharajah Gulab Singh shall not be at any time changed without the concurrence of the British Government.

Article 5. Maharajah Gulab Singh will refer to the arbitration of the British Government any disputes or question that may arise between himself and the Government of Lahore or any other neighboring State and will abide by the decision of the British Government.

Article 6. Maharajah Gulab Singh engages for himself and heirs to join, with the whole of his Military Forces, the British troops when employed within the hills or in the territories adjoining his possessions.

Article 7. Maharajah Gulab Singh engages never to take to retain in his service any British subject nor the subject of any European or American State without the consent of the British Government.

Article 8. Maharajah Gulab Singh engages to respect in regard to the territory transferred to him, the provisions of Articles V, VI and VII of the separate Engagement between the British Government and the Lahore Durbar, dated 11th March, 1846.

Article 9. The British Government will give its aid to Maharajah Gulab Singh in protecting his territories from external enemies.

Article 10. Maharajah Gulab Singh acknowledges the supremacy of the British Government and will in token of such supremacy present annually to the British Government one horse, twelve shawl goats of approved breed (six male and six female) and three pairs of Cashmere shawls.

This Treaty of ten articles has been this day settled by Frederick Currie, Esq. and Brever-Major Henry Montgomery Lawrence, acting under directions of the Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hardinge, Governor-General, on the part of the British Government and by Maharajah Gulab Singh in person, and the said Treaty has been this day ratified by the seal of the Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hardinge, Governor-General. Done at Amritsar the sixteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, corresponding with the seventeenth day of Rubee-ul-Awal (1262 Hijri).

(Signed) H. Hardinge (Seal) (Signed) F. Currie (Signed) H. M. Lawrence

The writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.org and works with Institute for Social and Economic Justice (ISEJ). He can be reached at

@imrankhushaal

imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com

http://www.kashmirica.org

Muslim Conference; from Military Democracy to Militant Democracy

By: Imran Khushaal Raja

Catch all parties, usually do not have any well-defined ideologies, because they do not need them, but if by chance, they have one, it would be so something which even philosophers and political scientists are sometimes not aware of. All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference’s military democracy is such a case.

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Days ago in a discussion on democracy with our “Civil Society and World Politics’’ course’s moderator, Dr. Ejaz Bhatti, we discussed different types and shades of democracy. I asked doctor’s opinion on military democracy and he was as astonished as anything. Maybe it was natural of him. Maybe someone else in his place would have listened to this animal first time. After all, political scientists are also human beings and not bound to know everything.

Anyways, military democracy a term introduced by L. H. Morgan to designate the organization of power in ancient Greek society at the stage of the disintegration of the primitive commune system and he defines it, “the military state of society, and the system of administration consisting of an elective and removable supreme chief, a council of elders and a popular assembly.”

But a stub article on Wikipedia, titled, “ Atique Ahmed Khan’’, claims that “he is the founder and visionary of the ideology “Military Democracy” (civil-military governance) which is designed to get efficient governance and obstruct martial law or military coup in Pakistan.” Interestingly the term was most definitely coined under some martial law, because Muslim Conference served every dictator, from Ayub Khan to Prevez Mushraf. So the only way of obstructing a martial law as Muslim Conference head proposed, is to make a dictator, the supreme chief.

After reading the Frederick Engels’s characterization of military democracy it seems clear that Muslim Conference’s head, seeks no difference in barbaric Greek Heroic Age and 21st Century, he also finds no difference barbarians of that time and people of this age living in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. I am afraid he might not also be thinking of Kashmiris as plunders who are not engaged in productive work and in his view are possibly involved in the regular profession of plundering.

According to Frederick Engels, the Greek Heroic Age was a typical example of military democracy. He characterizes it as follow, “The military commander, the council, and the popular assembly formed the organs of military democracy, military because war and the organization of war were now the regular functions of life of the people. The wealth of their neighbors excited the greed of the peoples, who began to regard the acquisition of wealth as one of the main purposes in life. They were barbarians: plunder appeared to them easier and even more honorable than productive work. War, once waged simply to avenge aggression or as a means of enlarging territory that had become inadequate, was now waged for the sake of plunder alone, and became a regular profession. The growth of slavery had already begun to brand working for a living as slavish and more ignominious than engaging in plunder.”

Today on my breakfast table I was smirking on Nawa-e-Waqat’s editorial and columns. Unexpectedly, right there I saw a column of Attique Ahmed Khan, head of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference and ex-prime minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. In his column, there was nothing worth mentioning, but his email address, which is, militarydemocracy@hotmail.com

So, I started relating the idea of military democracy and the content of his speech in a rally of Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Islamabad lately, in which he has said, Pakistan People’s Party and Muslim League have abandoned us (Muslim Conference) and now we have no option but to stand with Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Now, Hafiz Saeed and Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s democracy is not unknown to anyone who got senses.

So in short Muslim Conference’s head and so-called founder and visionary of military democracy is now protecting that hypothetical supreme chief through militant democracy of true militants.

The writer is pursuing hisMPhill at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.org and works with Institute for Social and Economic Justice (ISEJ). He tweets @imrankhushaal