India claims; Kashmir is its integral part, here’s why Kashmir cannot be an integral part of India? I maintained that: It is for Kashmiris to decide whether Kashmir will become someone’s integral part or otherwise and if they have eyes and ears they can see and hear what Indian minorities are going through under a so-called secular and socialist India run by Hindu extremists and followers of Hindutva. They can see the atrocities of the Indian forces in Nagaland, Assam, Punjab and more vividly in Jammu and Kashmir.
So Kashmiris will not buy a minority status with blood and blood of their ancestors in a country which does not guarantee any fundamental rights for its minorities yet claims to be the world’s largest democracy. Kashmir cannot be an integral part of India for the sake of Kashmiris and let’s say if it becomes an integral part of India it would be anything but not Kashmir. It would not be Kashmir in its historical, cultural, and traditional sense. Click here to read my latest blog post on SAMAA TV
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was the first Kashmiri nationalist party which started militant struggle against the Indian occupation of former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1989, an insurgency led by JKLF gripped Srinagar and soon there were blood and bullets everywhere. Kashmir has witnessed worse bloodshed of the century in the following years. Before the end of 20th century in less than ten years from 1989 to 1998, more than 70,000 Kashmiris were killed either by the militants or by the Indian forces. JKLF vanished from the scene as quickly as it appeared in 1989. Within two or three years its militants were killed in clashes with rival militant groups, notably Hizbul Mujahidin (HM) or captured/killed by the Indian forces. It lost weapons supply and legitimacy, as the movement it started for a sovereign (Khud-mukhtar) Kashmir later became “Holy Jihad” to win Kashmir for Pakistan.
Recent developments in Pakistan particularly initiation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has sparked a new wave of nationalism across the Jammu and Kashmir. China’s pressure on Pakistan to give Gilgit-Baltistan a legal status has opened a new debate in Pakistan, India and defiantly all parts of Kashmir. Kashmiri nationalist parties are busy in holding all parties conferences and organizing seminars throughout the world on the future status of Gilgit-Baltistan and its impact on Kashmir. JKLF is also doing the same and has also inaugurated its Gilgit-Baltistan office. So the question is; can JKLF rise again, and what it needs to do so?
Well, the short answer is; yes it can, and it needs what it lacked at the first place. And the long answer is; the JKLF can rise again and it needs a secular, non-militant, and indigenous movement against all kinds of occupation and all the occupiers, from all parts of Jammu and Kashmir, with a clear plan and future program, starting from the demilitarization and unification of Jammu and Kashmir. JKLF lacked a secular face in 1989, it was, to a great extent, religious and so soon replaced by other religious groups with a variant ideology. It was militant, and soon it ran out of weapons supply. It has indigenous support but not enough from the local people against the local occupier. It has only rebelled against the Indian occupation, whereas it wanted a free and sovereign Kashmir, free from all kinds of occupation. It has a concentrated insurgency only in one part of Kashmir and other were not mobilized. And finally, it lacked a political program. A program necessary for the demilitarization and the unification of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
JKLF or any nationalist party for that matter can only rise through a non-militant, secular, and indigenous support. Like every other nationalist party, JKLF lacks what is necessary to win Gilgit-Baltistan. It might have local supporters but not enough. And the biggest challenge is to win parties rallying for independent Gilgit-Baltistan. They are fed-up of Azad Kashmir and make no distinction between Azad Kashmir based nationalist or pro-Pakistan parties. For them, Azad Kashmir has ignored them and Pakistan has exploited them for seventy years and now they want independence from Pakistan and don’t want to link Gilgit-Baltistan with the Kashmir dispute.
Obviously, they have their opinion but it is history that has linked Gilgit-Baltistan with Kashmir. Azad Kashmir based nationalists have a different version of history and Gilgit-Baltistan based nationalists seem to have a different version. One possible way to win them over is; get them on board for the demilitarization and the unification of Jammu and Kashmir, to create United States of Kashmir, by uniting all the previous states of Kashmir, with a right to exist separately. And this is one of the ways, that JKLF or any other Kashmiri nationalist party can adopt to rise or rise again.
The writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad. He blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be reached on twitter at @imrankhushaal and on email at email@example.com
This debate on the presence of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Indian subcontinent is heated up. Last year India caught some youth waving ISIL’s flags in Srinagar, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, where anti-Indian Kashmiri were agitating against the Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. This year, Pakistan has arrested more than one hundred different suspects on the basis of their allegiance to ISIL from different cities of the country. Whereas in Bangladesh, ISIL has already taken the responsibility of several terrorist attacks. So the question is, are Indian, Pakistani and Bengali ‘Muslim’ joining ISIL ranks?
A study, Who Becomes a Terrorist? Poverty, education, and the origins of Political Violence, published in 2011, by Alexander Lee, in World Politics, International Relations’ journal, tries to find the answer of this question. Who becomes a terrorist? How terrorism is related to poverty and education and how non-violent politics turns into violent one.
Generally, it is considered that poverty and lack of education lead toward terrorism and more poor and illiterate people become terrorists. If this is the case Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, who have nearly half of their population below poverty line, are in real trouble. But despite all the rhetoric about poverty and terrorism of government officials and public figures social sciences’ research has shown that this is not the case.
If you take “terrorism” as a skill, a mean to gain a political aim, like Alexander Lee, you might note that extremely poor and illiterate people don’t have necessary resources to learn it. This skill cost many and time to learn, which the poor don’t have any. And if you take terrorism as one shape of politics, you might note that, people who cannot afford mainstream politics go for “terrorist politics” the violent politics.
Lee has taken the partition of Bengal (1907) as a case study, where many Bengali nationalists started the political resistance against the British decision of partition. He noted that those who were relatively poor and poorly educated started taking part in violent politics. They would plant a bomb, rob a local landlord and do some other publicity gaining act.
Non-violent politics requires more resources than the violent politics. People who go mainstream, have resources to learn mainstream politics as a skill, but People who opt for terrorism, have least resources, as terrorism doesn’t require more resources to adopt it as a skill. Education plays an important role, but maybe after a qualitative point. As Alexander Lee has noted that among those Bengalis who were involved in violent politics and were also involved in daicoties, those who passed their B.A degree left daicoties and robberies.
So if we take terrorism as kind of politics, we could say, failure to take part in mainstream politics can push one to take part in violent politics. Or failure in gaining what one seeks important to gain through non-violent politics can lead to violent politics. Another example from the colonial India where Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah adopted the non-violent politics, because they were sure that their aim which initially was not of throwing the British out of the Indian subcontinent is achievable through it. Whereas many Muslim, Hindu and Sikh socialists adopted the violent politics because they were sure that their aim of “purna swaraj” “the Complete Independence” cannot be achieved without violence, notably, Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, and Sukhdev Thapar.
Currently, Bangladesh is taking hard measures to deal with Jamaat-i-Islami, but fail to deal with extremism. Extremists have killed a number of bloggers and social activists in Bangladesh. Also, a considerable number of attacks were claimed by ISIL in Bangladesh. India was under attack in the last week when its Airbase at Pathankot got a hit from the terrorists after Mumbai and many other attacks. Pakistan has lost more than 60,000 people in the war against terror and still at losing.
Talking from the state’s point of view, India and Pakistan are really strong nuclear states and both have huge militaries for their defence. Bangladesh is not nuclear capable nor has a larger army as compared to India and Pakistan but still have a better defence system as compared to the countries where ISIL currently operating. Talking from political perspective Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are the countries where taking part in the mainstream politics costs numerous resources which people with limited wealth and poor education cannot afford. The situation such as this can push a number of Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani extremist minds to adopt terrorism as mean to fight whatever they want.
Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad and blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com go say hello @imrankhushaal
On 25-th December when many were busy in Christmas and others were observing Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Birthday here in Pakistan “a few” were celebrating Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s birthday on his granddaughter Mehrun Nisa’s wedding. On the same day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Lal Modi paid a surprise visit to his Pakistani counterpart. He flew from Kabul and landed at Lahore with his 120 personals team, stayed for a while and flew away. Modi’s visit brought a smile on many faces, but it also disturbed a number of people and parties. Jammat-i-Islami and Hizbul Mujahideen staged protests wherever they managed on short notice and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf tweeted, I mean they tweeted a lot on #Modi.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (right) talks to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during his visit to Lahore.
Right after his departure, strong jolts of the earthquake were felt throughout the region from Afghanistan to Dehli, and many has related them with Modi’s “evil” nature. Notably, Dr. Moed Pirzada a Pakistani anchor at Dunya TV who tweeted “Narendra Modi let whole of Pakistan dance into a ‘Simple Harmonic Motion’ leading to worst Earthquake; God, this was literally hell!” upon which he was called a moron and an idiot, by some two hundred people out of 445 retweets. Anyways that was not something I wanted to talk about.
I want to talk about, why Modi has visited Pakistan “after threating Pakistan to holding hands with Nawaz” as Dawn calls it. A lot of people are talking about the reasons which compelled Indian Prime Minister Narendra Lal Modi to visit Pakistan and many believe he has visited Pakistan because of his deteriorating reputation in India and to give a message to multinational corporations; interested in investing in India or already have invested, that he is not a failure on diplomatic front and India is as safe for investment as any other developed democratic country in the world.
I agree to this, but this is not the only thing for which he has visited Pakistan after threating Pakistan in 2011, and taking a real hard line against it. He has visited because of some more serious issues, which involve the US, China, Russia, Pakistan, India and Syria in a way. Before reaching Kabul, on Thursday, he was in Russia as Indian Express has reported that, “As Prime Minister Narendra Modi commences a two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday for the annual summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, New Delhi is expected to focus on nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, defence and trade.” Terrorism, defence and trade are points of agreement between India and Russia and fields where they are cooperating and will enhance their cooperation in the future. On the other hand cooperation and expected cooperation between Russia and China in combating terrorism in Syria and Trade, has also seen. China has also invested in India and going to invest more. And same is the case with Pakistan. So the trade is common between Russia, China, India and Pakistan.
China is going to invest more than $46 billion In Pakistan according to different media reports. This mega venture involves Kashmir in the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and China’s worry isn’t something easily fixable. Pakistan and India has a dispute over Kashmir and Kashmir includes Gilgit-Baltistan, the region which connects Pakistan with China. Despite the demand of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan could not incorporate it as a province and has granted a semi-provincial level, which is ‘okay’ for administrative purpose but didn’t fix China’s reservations. China’s worry is real and genuine and contestation on Kashmir could cause her serious damages in the future. So to be on the safe side, China wants Pakistan to declare Gilgit Baltistan’s status which is not possible until Pakistan and India reach some consensus.
Here comes the assumption part as we don’t know what is really happening behind the scene. So it is possible that China could have talk to Russia to talk to India or it could have directly talked to India to reach an understanding with Pakistan, as it (China) has talked to Pakistan. Pakistan’s green signal can be seen from two statements of past couple of days, first, “Pakistan Joins Russia, Condemns Any Attempts to Topple Assad in Syria, Pakistan opposes any efforts to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Pakistan’s foreign secretary said on Wednesday.” Second, “Issues are resolved with talks, not war: Pervaiz Rashid, He told China had suggested the same solution for Kashmir dispute which it used for Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.”
So Indian Prime Minister Narendra Lal Modi’s Pakistan visit was not just to eat Pakistani Prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s birthday cake or to greet Mehrun Nisa or even rebuild his damaged reputation in his country but it was “supposedly’ also about a step towards some game-changing phenomena. It could also be towards solving or further complicating Kashmir Issue. What it was really about, let’s wait and see.
The writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be followed @imrankhushaal
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.
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
The world is celebrating Global Environmental Day today on Friday, 5th June, 2015. The day is one of the initiatives of The United Nations Environment Program and calls itself “the biggest day for positive environmental action,” which might be needed now more than ever. UN believes that observing this day is the principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment.
Secretary-General of UN, Ban Ki-Moon, is of view that, although individual decisions may seem small but can make a tremendous difference, in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose. But in Azad Kashmir government is either unaware or lacking will, power or resources to make an effort to do anything to preserve the environment especially after the deadly earthquake of 2005. Facilitating plunder of natural resources and cutting of forests is all AJK Puppet Government is capable of, doing so is actually preparing the grounds for a second earthquake hit or maybe another kind of natural disaster. No actions yet have taken in this regard so far. Not even a study has been conducted on the damages of 2005 earthquake.
According to Ejaz Ur-Rehman who wrote a leaflet, titled “Environmental Issues and Need of Sustainable Development in the Earthquake Affected Areas, State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Pakistan”, in 2008, following are the key environmental issues which Azad Kashmir would be facing in future.
Habitat loss and degradation.
Biodiversity loss and migration of wildlife species.
Flash floods and continued landslides/Soil erosion.
Pressure on dwindling natural resources.
Deforestation for fuel and construction/ Shelter purposes.
Health hazard due to poor sanitation and inadequate waste/debris management practices.
Increased transportation of construction material.
Dumping of debris in dry watercourses and on river/streams sides.
Contamination of water.
The damages due to heavy silt deposits in the river feeding to the Mangla water reservoir.
The government claims that on local level civil society is organized and effective for the protection of forests with the help of Tahaffuz-e-Janglaat Committees comprising of forest department and local communities in each area. But figures indicate that 40 percent reduction occurred in forests after the partition of the subcontinent in this area. Other reports say that the area which was 50 percent covered with forests in 1947, has only remained 7 percent which is not only alarming but poses a serious question on the will and power of Azad Kashmir government to protect its forests.
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
New Delhi: The Indian Army may have called off a two-week operation to hunt down infiltrators at the Keran sector in Kashmir and the dead bodies of those it claims were never recovered, the government wants an explanation for alleged lapses.
“Some lapses were there. We had information about possible infiltration attempts in the entire belt (Indo-Pak border along Jammu sector),” said Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde though he stressed that the intelligence alerts did not offer information specific to Keran.
The encounter in Keran, the largest in years, consisted of a series of gunbattles in which soldiers fought about 30 heavily-armed Pakistanis who crossed over the Line of Control for 14 days. India has accused the Pakistani army of links to the group. Five Indian soldiers were injured.
Before that, the Army said at least 12 infiltrators were killed in the village of Shala Batu, but no dead bodies have been recovered. Top government officials said that the army was perhaps “misled into believing” that it had been able to kill over 12 terrorist in the first few days of the operation.
The government has also asked for more information on how three terrorists stormed first into a police station and then an Army camp on September 26, killing 10 people including a Lieutenant Colonel in Samba near Jammu. The terrorists were shot dead.
Sources tell NDTV that initial inquires reveal that the three terrorists entered the camp without being put through any checks because they were wearing army fatigues.
A Quick Reaction Team of the Army, consisting of commandos, was dispatched to the police station though the terrorists had already moved towards the army camp.
“There was absolutely no information about the fact that Fidayeen’s had left the police station. The Jammu and Kashmir police didn’t raise an alarm; nor did the Army, which has many soldiers deployed in the area, warned that the terrorists had moved to another target,” a senior official told NDTV.