Tag Archives: JKLF

Will JKLF rise again?

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.

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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 imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com

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Why couldn’t 1989 insurgency liberate Kashmir?

By: Imran Khushal

Militant movements or guerrilla warfare has played a vital role in transforming the realities almost all the time, particularly in the 20th-century world. After the Second World War, starting from Chines Revolution where Mao’s People Liberation Army (1945-1949) not only defeated the three time bigger opponents and conquered the third largest nation in the period of just four years but also brought one billion under the rule of Communism and influenced the communist movements in many nations like India (Naxalite movement), Vietnam (Vietcong), Malaysia, Philippines etc. to Mujahideen in Afghanistan (1979-1989) who failed soviet war machine to occupy this mountain-rugged nation and weakened its economy which assisted in the fall of Soviet Union in 1991.

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Exactly when Soviet was defeated in 1989 in Afghanistan, an insurgency broke out in Kashmir. Definitely, Kashmir had background and conditions which led to the insurgency in 1989 but the success of Mujahideen in Afghanistan played like a catalyst. In the mid 80’s when Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference allied to All Indian National Congress, radical groups and parties gained grounds and later momentum and soon an insurgency gripped Srinagar in 1989, under the banner of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front commonly known as JKLF, which demanded a “Sovereign Kashmir’’, in their slogans like “Kashmir Bannay Ga Khudmukhtar”, and “Hum Kia Chahtay, Azaadi”, from both India and Pakistan.

So If Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and his group of 82 were able to overthrow the corrupt rule of Fulgencio Batista and defeat his army of more than 20,000, after 1955 in Cuba, why couldn’t Maqbool But and His companions do the same thing in Kashmir? If Vietcong could defeat France in Battle of Dien Bien Phu and forced American to leave why JKLF couldn’t defeat India and liberate Kashmir?

Well, in Kashmir’s case, even though JKLF was fighting for a sovereign Kashmir it was fighting only against Indian occupation which made it suspicious in the eye of other Kashmiri nationalists in general and Kashmiri non-Muslims in Particular, where it lacked general public support and due to lack of resources and dependency on Pakistan, soon it was weakened and divided. In the absence of a clear political aim, a perfect propaganda, sustainable resources and public support along with other deficiencies, JKLF was replaced by Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) in couple of years, and insurgency’s theme became “Kashmir, Bannay Ga Pakistan”, (Kashmir will become a Part of Pakistan), from “Kashmir, Bannay Ga Khud Mukhtar”.

By comparing Kashmir’s insurgency of 1989 and the July 26 Movement of Cuba, we see one essential difference in two guerrilla approaches, and that is of recognizing and challenging the instant enemy. General Batista was nothing but an American puppet, similarly government in Srinagar was nothing but an Indian installation. Where JKLF tipped was neglecting Pakistani Installations in Muzaffarabad and Gilgit-Baltistan. They rallied to fight against occupation and yet they fought against only one kind of occupation and “favored” or “neglected” other kind of occupation. They depended on Muslim fighters and gave an impression of liberating Kashmir to build a theocratic state or joining Pakistan an already theocratic state. Where non-Muslims feared and preferred to remain in a “Contested, but Secular Land” instead of living in a “Liberated, but non-secular state”, or predominantly Muslim theocratic state.

Another reason for the failure of 1989 insurgency can clearly be seen in the divided status of Jammu and Kashmir. Insurgency broke out and remained in one “part of the state” i.e. Valley, against “one occupier” i.e. India, by “one religious group” i.e. Muslims. So here arises a fundamental question, can Kashmir be liberated without its unification and can Kashmir be united without liberation? One of the Kashmiri nationalist parties tried to answer this question in 1992 when they opposed militancy and insurgency in Kashmir. They renamed their party after a split in old party. It was called United Kashmir People’s National Party, or (UKPNP) which then gave an idea of the unification and creation of United States of Kashmir, by combining all its divided parts which are under Chines, Indian and Pakistani control. As per UKPNP’s philosophy, former states of Burushal, Dardistan, Boloristan, Ladakh, Purig, Kishtwar, Duggart, Poonch and Kashmir, should be united in order to get what they called United States of Kashmir.

Recently in South Kashmir, a new wave of militancy struck a handful number of college and university students who see Jihad as the only way forward ignoring the historical lesson of JKLF and 1989 insurgency. If Kashmir could not be liberated in 1989, through a militant struggle, in the 20th-century, when plenty of countries opted guerilla warfare and got independence from their occupiers all over the world, it can’t be liberated through militancy in the 21st century, which is clearly not a century of guerrilla warfare.

So the only way forward is the political one. Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri, all those who are interested in peace in South East Asia, should behave politically. United Nations should force Pakistan and India to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir after withdrawal of their militaries. Nationalists should put pressure on both India and Pakistan to include independence as a third option. And also, participate in “fair or rigged” all kind of electoral processes, in all parts of “state”, under Indian as well a Pakistani administration to spread their message across Jammu and Kashmir.

Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be followed @imrankhushaal

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Why Khan Can’t win AJK?

By: Imran Khushaal Raja On: 03 July 2014

It was reported that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has formed its 10-member executive council on Wednesday to revive workers activism in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK). The council will organize and mobilize the party in the AJK within six months.

maxresdefaultAccording to the news report Dr Latif-ur-Rehman has been made the president of the council, Sardar Abrar Javed senior vice president, and Sardar Babar Hussain has been designated as General Secretary.

Alright here’s a million dollar question, who these guys are? Frankly speaking I don’t know the answer. (Divulge me if you know any.) But what I know is, PTI can’t trigger a tsunami in AJK. (Yes, you heard me correctly.) Why it is so? The answer is; Kashmir is not Pakistan. Hang on, don’t take me wrong. It is its jugular vein as they say. (But let it remain for another discussion.) What I mean to say; it’s not Pakistan is; it’s not like Pakistan. The politics there is much more different than it is in Pakistan. Individual’s opinion can’t surpass the clan’s decision. I know this same thing also exists in Pakistan but let me tell you the difference.

Clans or BRADRIES are supreme political institutions in Kashmiri (AJK’s particularly) society. Every Clan has its own political association or you can say every political party depends on a particular clan to run its matters. Traditionally Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muslim Conference (MC) were two major parties in AJK’s electoral Politics. PPP would depend on Choudhries (Gujjar + Jat) plus Minorites (Sayyeds, Mughals like Douli Sardars, Maldyal, Hoteel, Baig, Mirza, Mir, Banday and Chughtai) plus exceptions (Less in number but Influential clans like; Sudhans) all the time and MC’s vote bank used to be Rajpots plus minorities plus exceptions almost all of the time.

But with the passage of time a very complex but interesting situation has been developed over there. Now a political party can only generate its impact with the help of a particular clan and that particular clan can’t move the earth without the party it has been associated with. Chaudhries are now bounded to PPP and PPP can’t win even a tehsil’s election without them.

Same thing has also been proved about MC in last elections. When Pakistan Muslim league N (PML-N) replaced MC, more or less all of the Rajpot’s voted for PML-N instead of MC and eventually MC couldn’t won anything. Now PPP and PMLN are two major stake holders.

And as we all know khan couldn’t replace PML-N in Pakistan how he can replace it in AJK? Whereas in AJK he has to win a major clan at the same time. Even though his flirtatious banters and a little left charisma could make people to listen him but it seems impossible for him to win a clan.

Secondly; the youth in Kashmir which don’t obey their clans are mostly Nationalists or Socialists. They are either active in Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party(JKNAP), Jammu Kashmir Peoples National party (JKPNP) or in a Marxist Leninist Socialists group like National Students Federation (NSF) or Peoples Students Federation (PSF). And believe me they don’t take Khan or PTI seriously.

According to one of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Students Federation’s (JKLSF) Mirpur district leading activist Adeel Khan “PTI can’t solve Kashmir issue and we are fighting for an independent Kashmir.” Comrade Taifor chairman of JKPNP’s students wing Jammu Kashmir Peoples National Students Organization (JKPNSO) says “For us politics is a matter of life and death. Our destination being youth of Kashmir is a Socialist Independent Kashmir and we are convinced that Khan or PTI can’t distract our comrades.” And Sajid Kashir who is leading one of NSF’s group says. “No, doubt Kashmiri youth has a lot of potential but they are politically much more advance and aware that neither Imran Khan nor Tahir Ul Qadri can address their problems.”

Thirdly; If Khan goes for a long term cadre building and donates some cancer hospital or university /college in Kashmir, even then the chances are very low for his success. Because this same method has been used by Jamat-E-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) in their separate projects namely Read Foundation Schools and Minhaj Ul Quran schools accordingly but couldn’t help them politically.

So in short, in general no Tsunami in Azad Kashmir and particularly one which Khan is trying to export is possible. People will listen him. They will join his rallies in case he will be able to lead some but they will remain Chaudry, Rajpot and Sudhan.  That’s mean they will never abandon their parties because they are “the parties”.