LondonÂ Â 18 November 2016
As a result of my resignation from basic membership of Kashmir National Party, some people were surprised; others were stunned and shocked. Some said it was an end of KNP; others said it was an end of Dr Shabir Choudhryâ€™s struggle.
Both above views are wrong. Political parties do not rely on one person, no matter how important. In any case, a political party or its survival is not an end itself. Political party is only a vehicle that helps to advance a cause and promote policies to reach out to the targeted communities.
When a journey is hazard free and roads are plane, wide and metalled, one can travel even in a small saloon car with an old engine. However, when the journey is hazardous, and terrain is hilly and mountainous with twists and turns; and road is a mud track, a wise driver will not travel in the old saloon car because it will soon heat up and wonâ€™t be able to put up with the demands of the journey.
I helped to set up KNP. It was like my baby. In the past I helped to set up JKLF in 1977. When we realised that the vehicle was going in wrong direction, I and my colleagues first cautioned the driver, but when he continued his journey in the wrong direction we challenged his wisdom and strategy. His excuses and strategy was unconvincing even to his close colleagues; however, unlike us, they decided to continue to follow him with eyes firmly closed and ideology marginalised and compromised.
We jumped off the vehicle because our ideology and struggle for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir with secular ideals was hijacked in 1990. I jumped off the vehicle again because I did not want to create any problems for my colleagues and the KNP. I knew the party lacked strength and will to face the coming storm. In any case, just like other nationalists, apart from UKPNP, they probably thought it was Dr Shabir Choudhryâ€™s war and not an issue that directly affected them.
Compromise I could have made
Perhaps these colleagues did not fully comprehend the implications of blocking of NADRA card of a citizen of Jammu and Kashmir. For me it was a matter of principle, and if forces of occupation and oppression were not stopped then they will target other people they donâ€™t like. It was very easy for me to remain a good â€˜nationalistâ€™, and accept their conditions which they offered as a way out of this quagmire.
I was told to keep wearing a â€˜nationalist hatâ€™ like other nationalist Kashmiri leaders are wearing, provided I:
(1)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Stop Speakers Corner programme;
(2)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Stop writing against Pakistanâ€™s Kashmir policy;
(3)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Apologise for the past damage caused to the Pakistanâ€™s interests; and
(4)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Promise to be a good boy in future.
I was told after this â€˜agreementâ€™ everything will be fine. I bluntly rejected it, and told them to do what they want; and I will do what I feel is appropriate for the struggle of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir with liberal and secular society.
Furthermore, people should know that what Pakistan has done is a clear violation of Pakistanâ€™s obligations under the UN Security Councilâ€™s Resolution on Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistanâ€™s this act is clear abuse of many fundamental human rights of citizens, which include a right to travel, right to assemble, right of expression, right to meet relatives and friends, right to bank, right to buy and sell etc.
Human Rights abuses and legal obligations
When a Kashmiri leader from Srinagar is restricted to his house for â€˜security reasonsâ€™, it becomes international news, and people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially people of so called Azad Kashmir cry out that so and so is unable to offer prayers in Masjid because of â€˜Hindu occupationâ€™. When there are no restrictions on his movements, he might not even care to go near Masjid.
However, when in Muslim Pakistan Masjids and houses are destroyed; human rights are abused within Pakistan and in occupied territories, State Subject Laws are violated, sedition charges are levelled, NADRA cards are cancelled not a single soul from the IOK will speak on these very serious issues. They and political activists of POK will make strenuous efforts to divert attention to â€˜what Hindu India is doing to Muslims in Kashmirâ€™.
According to the UN Resolutions on Kashmir it is the prime responsibility of Pakistan to provide passport and all necessary documents to those Kashmiris who are living under its administration. Apart from violation of much talked about UN Resolutions; Pakistan is also guilty of violating article 13 and 15 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13 states:
(1)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Article 15 states:
(1)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
I agree India is also violating its obligations assumed under the Provisional accession; and obligations assumed under the UN Security Council Resolutions. I strongly condemn all human rights abuses taking place inside Jammu and Kashmir under the Indian control. Will those, presented as Kashmiri patriots and leaders condemn human rights abuses committed by Muslim Pakistan? Or are they â€˜programmedâ€™ to churn out anti India slogans, even when Pakistan is guilty? This double standard in name of Kashmiri nationalism and Kashmiri struggle cannot and must not continue, as people have right to know who is doing what in name of â€˜Kashmiri struggleâ€™.
Rumour has it that if I had remained in KNP it was probable that, in frustration, the dark forces that eliminated Arif Shahid and many other stalwarts could have eliminated some of my colleagues; or hurt them or their families. One can expect anything from them. They can stoop low beyond human perception.
Apart from that they can do what they did to MQM. Powerful and popular MQM could not stand the wrath of the Pakistani establishment; and now MQM is in tatters. They could have established KNP Azad Kashmir with no links with London.
I did not want any of my colleagues get hurt, or put on a trial. Also I did not want disintegration of the KNP, a party I worked extremely hard to set up. I did not want people to say that because of my selfish attitude the party suffered a split or colleagues lost their lives, hence my resignation.
However, it is unfortunate for the forces of occupation because after my resignation the KNP will survive, and continue its mission. Furthermore, after leaving the KNP, my struggle against evil forces of darkness, and oppression will continue with new vigour, new determination and new strategy. In future they will have to face the KNP and South Asia Watch, London.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs; Chairman South Asia Watch, London.