Tag Archives: jammu and kashmir

Pakistan’s Failure in Combating Terrorism

Pakistan has been fighting against terrorism since 9/11, 2001, when the United States of America was attacked by Al-Qaeda. Though its decision was hesitant and because of American pressure, it fought against terrorists and is still fighting. In its combat against terrorism, Pakistan has lost more than 70,000 lives, and still continuing, but it is nowhere near ending terrorism.

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Pakistan’s inability or unwillingness is evident from the time it has taken in formulating its (first) National Action Plan, (NAP), to eradicate terrorism, which is more than 14 years. Before the formulation of such a plan, many debated “who is a terrorist”, “who is a mujahid”, “who should be called a martyr and who should not be”, from TV talk shows to all fields of life. And even after a year of NAP, such debates have not lost their heat.

In his speech, before waging the “war on terror”, President Bush told his citizen that, Why the United States of America was attacked, who carried this attack, and what the U.S. is going to do? Unlike the United States, no one tried to give a clear (even false) explanation of “why Pakistan is under attack’, and who is carrying these attacks. Perhaps there was no explanation at all. So, what happened, after every terrorist attack there came different distorted explanations, which painted an elusive and ambiguous picture, just like an abstract painting, to which anyone can attach any meanings. This picture was more or less like this; “no Muslim can kill Muslims so this must be done by non-Muslims”. “India doesn’t want peace in Pakistan so it must be done by RAW”, “America is behind it”. “Israel has done this hideous thing”. So on and so forth.

This indicates an extremist mindset which is an outcome of decades of radicalization and Islamization of political issues in Pakistan. Though it has started from 1949’s Objectives Resolution but till General Zia’s era religion has a relatively lesser influence on politics. In General Zia’s time, everything was Islamized to fight against the Soviets, which gave enormous power to religious parties and groups. From 1979 to 1989, these ten years, when a holy war was fought in Afghanistan, all most all of Pakistan was militarized and radicalized. In 1989, Soviet’s defeat triumphed extremism. In the same year, the insurgency in Kashmir was affected by the overflow of extremism. Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front’s (JKLF) militant struggle for the right of self-determination and independence got Islamized and soon became a Jehad for the incorporation of Kashmir into Pakistan.

Islamization of the Kashmir dispute strengthened the religious parties and weaken democratic institutions. It paved a way for military coups and overthrown the elected governments. Religious parties supported military regimes and, military regimes in return protected their interests. Extremism created a war loving mindset which was not favorable for political leaders but military dictators.

In his efforts to solve the Kashmir dispute, General Musharraf had gone one or two steps away. Retreating from the decade-old stance on Kashmir was his one the biggest mistakes, which led to the start of terrorist attacks inside Pakistan and after that there frequency and intensity increased with every passing day.

Pakistan’s efforts in combating terrorism are linked with its people’s mindset. Terrorism is an ideology and needs to be replaced by a non-terrorist ideology. It is a narrative which needs to be challenged with a counter-narrative. Pakistan has conducted a handful military operations in its Tribal areas, which are being considered successful but it has failed on the ideological front. Failure in preventing a terrorist attack is not just Pakistan’s inability but failure in fulfilling what is needed to be fulfilled after an attack is its specification.

It has failed in bringing madrasa and syllabus reforms. It has failed in implementing NAP’s major portion. And more importantly, it has failed in countering the narrative of terrorists which has given them an advantage of recruiting more and more people for their ranks.

Militancy is not a solution to any of Pakistan problems and certainly not to the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan needs to de-Islamized the Kashmir dispute, which will strengthen its democratic institutions and will reduce support for religious and militant groups and leaders. This could reduce the number of extremist minds in the country. When there will be considerable voices against homegrown terrorists, extremism will then be challenged on the ideological level. And only then a counter-narrative can be successful.

Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad. He blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be reached at @imrankhushaal or imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com

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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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

LoC: A line that is the problem, not the solution

Two weeks of intense engagement in Keran sector mark the obvious that LoC-a temporary arrangement is not working. India and Pakistan continue to have a different take of any engagement on LoC.

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Accusations fly across the divide like volleys across the net, with an obvious difference…the engagement is far from sporting. While Indian army takes the latest engagement as infiltration plus BAT-implying the support factor provided by Pakistan regulars to infiltration bid, Pakistan army chief-Parvez Kayani dismisses Indian charges, calling such charges-unfounded and provocative. While scores die on this unfortunate line that runs through the heart of people of J&K state, while casualties mount, in moral terms the most marked casualty remains the TRUTH!

Truth being the casualty is marked by 30 to 40 persons reportedly making the infiltration bid. The initial reports, as the bid started a few days before Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers met about two weeks back coincided with a fidayeen attack in Akhnoor sector, not far from the junction of LoC and international border between Indian and Pakistani Punjab. Added to twelve or thirteen combatants losing their lives in Akhnoor sector, twelve militants were reported killed in Keran. The ones killed were not accounted for, with Indian army claiming that given the armed engagement, finding dead bodies is not a priority. As the reports mounted on a daily basis with infiltration bids reported from various points in Keran sector, it was subsequently reported that 30 to 40 militants have been killed. However, apart from some seven bodies being accounted for, the rest were speculated to be dragged across to the other side.

Indian army’s take or Parvez Kyani’s stating it as unfounded is what is the staple, people of subcontinent are being fed with. In this exchange, it is difficult to make out, where the truth lies, however the only standing truth is that LoC is the problem, and could never be counted as a solution. Yet, it is often heard that providing a temporary arrangement-the very name LoC entails it, a permanency of sorts would solve the ‘K’ issue. Decades back in Simla, 1972 to be precise, India tried to put it down the throat of Pakistan. Presumption was that the country being virtually on the mat, Pakistan would be in no position to refuse it. Far from that, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto pressed hard preferred to pack and go home rather than submit to Indira Gandhi’s dictate. Indira was riding the high horse after Pakistan’s eastern wing had assumed new name-Bangladesh. Vajpayee in his oratorical fluency called her Durga.

Bhutto had decided the limits he could go to. He had an inkling that he has to accommodate Indian wishes, his daughter-the assassinated Benazir picks up the tale. As her father, the maverick, the mercurial, and the magnetic—Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto took off for the Indian tourist resort–Simla in 1972 to meet Indira Gandhi, teenaged Benazir was with him. Benazir was on apprenticeship in the art of politics. Her father’s adversary on the diplomatic turf-Indira Gandhi had her apprenticeship much earlier. Asked on succession by Congress President—Kamraj, Nehru on hearing Indira’s name, said “Indu, perhaps later” [Kuldip Nayar: Between the Lines]. Kamraj took the cue, thus Indu followed Shastri. She had taken her political lessons as a young girl, marshalling her dolls against mighty English Empire.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hardly got the chance to name his dynastic successor, a South Asian staple. However, as his plane took off on the short trip with Benazir on his side, the political pundits were left in no doubt on Bhutto’s preference. He had two sons. The feudal hierarchy to which he belonged has had the tradition of a male heir, however Zulfiqar, sharp and agile saw the potential and promoted it. Benazir was his choice. What would you do if Indira offered the choice of either return of land or POWs? Zulfiqar asked Benazir and provided the answer—she cannot retain POWs for long, so we may opt for return of land. Benazir was getting her early lessons; the apprenticeship had started in right earnest in a critical phase of Pakistan’s short history as a nation.

When it came to the crunch, a take it or leave it situation on ceasefire line becoming a permanent border, and as Bhutto started packing, cool heads like PN Haksar on the India side, A. Aziz on Pakistani side got to work. They put it to their principals-Indira Gandhi and Bhutto that an accommodations of sorts has to be worked out. While Indira’s team had some ethnic Kashmiris like DP Dhar and TN Koul, Pakistan too was not lacking in local advice. Bhutto’s secretary-Yusuf Bucch-a Kashmiri, pushed back to Pakistan administered Kashmir [PaK] in 1947; a level headed diplomat was a part of the delegation. Yusuf Bucch-now a nonagenarian was a revenue official in 1947, he rose to become an international civil servant in UN headquarters. Line of Control [LoC] turned to be the compromise worked out. ‘K’ issue until then multi-lateral was sought to be bi-lateralized. However here too, Bhutto escaped with a rider-bilateral affair, yet under UN auspices, it turned out to be an agreement both could sell to their constituents.

The Line of Control (LoC) whatever it might mean to Indians and Pakistanis, for the overwhelming majority of people of Jammu & Kashmiris on both sides of the divide, the line runs through their hearts. With recent flare-ups between the two countries, the millstone is getting heavier, the strangulating effect of noose tighter. Give the line any name, it makes little difference. The dividing line is unacceptable and unpalatable; call it ceasefire line-a pre-1972 Simla Agreement nomenclature or LoC–the name prescribed in Simla.

Indira Gandhi made it out to be an agreement whereby India and Pakistan would administer the parts retained by either, on a permanent basis. Multi-lateral ‘K’ issue with UN resolutions was projected as bi-lateral by Indian side following Simla–an Indian diplomatic staple. This was an old mantra worked out by Indian establishment, first applied to water sharing between India and Pakistan, immediately after partition. Eugene R Black, the then World Bank president had to go in circles pretending that he is not mediating, while exactly doing that. Facilitator is grudgingly acceptable in crunch situations, while mediator remains a diplomatic anathema. Indira Gandhi’s father and predecessor in Prime Ministerial office–Jawaharlal Nehru had been much criticized for taking ‘K’ issue to UN. Once India had pocketed the accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh, there was no need to take the case to UN, argue his critics. Post Simla, Indira thought she had helped erase the indecisive Indian dealing in Kashmir, her father stood accused of. Rider on bi-lateralization, which entailed under UN auspices, retained it as an issue on international agenda of unsolved disputes, whatever the pretensions to contrary. Even the much touted Indira-Abdullah 1975 accord, which had discord inherent in it could not accord permanency to Indian take on Jammu and Kashmir state.

The overwhelmingly dominant sentiment in Kashmir has never been affected by what New Delhi proposes or Islamabad disposes. In the paradigm of dominant sentiment, LoC is the problem rather than the solution. And state of Jammu & Kashmir craves to be a part of solution, rather than be a part of the problem. The craving had Kashmir erupt violently in 1989-90, changing the dynamics of how the prevailing situation is viewed. The resistance refuses to die down, in spite of what is attempted to counter it. Kashmir craves for room to breathe freely in the almost relentless Indo-Pak conflict and LoC symbolizes the conflict. The changed nomenclature has hardly had the desired impact. For years following Simla, frequent exchanges of fire and mines planted on either side led to innocent people dying on both sides. With initiation of militancy, pressures of other sort developed. Movement of men and arms across LoC grew. Militants in search of sanctuaries and the Indian Army bent upon drying up safe houses put additional strain on the residents staying in areas close to LoC, it did not end there. As militancy spread to other areas in the vale of Kashmir as well as the Chenab valley and Pir Panchal, the traumatized segments of the population grew in number, violations of human rights multiplied.

There was hope as decade long ceasefire worked out in 2003 more or less held, however the relative peace with dwindling scale of militancy could not be utilized for conflict resolution. It is back to square one with mounting pressures. People of J&K state on either side of LoC have to bear the brunt and pay the ultimate price, if the existent ugly situation turns uglier. As the situation stands, the noose that is LoC might be getting a bit tighter, the millstone that this line has become might be getting heavier.

Written by: Dr. Javid Iqbal

Published by: Kashmir Times

Top Hizbul commander arrested in Kashmir

Srinagar: A top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit has been arrested by security forces from Bandipora district of Kashmir Valley, police said Monday. 

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Junaid, who used aliases Manzoor and Arshad and was working with the outfit for the past 14 years, was arrested in Turkpora area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district last Wednesday, a police spokesman said.

On specific information about presence of a militant in a house in the area, Army and police had conducted a joint operation and cordoned off a house, where Junaid was hiding. He tried to break the cordon and escape, but he was overpowered and arrested, the spokesman said.

He said the forces recovered one AK-56 rifle with two magazines and 60 rounds from his possession.

Junaid, the police said, was also working as a guide and helped militant groups to cross the Line of Control in the Valley.

He had managed to escape last month from the neighbouring Ganderbal district when Army and police killed five militants in a nocturnal raid.

His arrest was kept under wraps due to ongoing anti-militancy operations based on the information provided by him to the police during questioning.

Pakistan says Indian shelling kills child in Kashmir

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The photo shows an Indian soldier near the Line of Control. — Photo by Reuters

MUZAFFARABAD: Indian troops fired mortars across the disputed border in Kashmir on Friday, killing a child and wounding three other people, Pakistani officials said.

The incident took place in Nakyal sector, along the Line of Control (LoC), the heavily militarised de facto border between Pakistan and India, in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

“An 11-year-old boy was killed and three others including two women were wounded in the Indian shelling,” in senior local administration official Masood-ur-Rehman told AFP.

A senior police official in the area, Muhammad Amin, confirmed the incident and casualties.

The latest incident came almost two weeks after the prime ministers of the two countries pledged to restore calm on their disputed border in Kashmir, at a meeting in New York.

A deadly flare-up along the LoC in January brought a halt to peace talks that had only just resumed following a three-year hiatus sparked by the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

Fresh skirmishes erupted on the LoC after five Indian soldiers were killed in a raid in August.

Delhi blamed that ambush on the Pakistan army, but Islamabad denied the claims and has repeatedly called for restraint and dialogue.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority territory, is divided into Indian and Pakistani-administered sectors but is claimed in full by both sides.

Reported AFP Orignally Published by DAWN

Army to explain alleged lapses in recent Kashmir encounters

The encounter in Keran lasted for 14 days
The encounter in Keran lasted for 14 days

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.

Written by Sudhi Ranjan Sen for NDTV.