The Unknown Soldiers of Kashmir

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The beautiful region of Kashmir, a rose between two thorns, is between the Himalayas and Pir Panjal range and is an area of striking natural beauty. Sadly, its borders have also been the subject of a long running dispute between Pakistan and India since the end of British colonialism led to the partition of the two states in 1947. It has also been the cause of two of the three wars waged between Pakistan & India in the last five decades. Currently India controls about 55,000 square miles of the territory and Pakistan controls about 32,000 square miles. The majority of Kashmir’s 10 million residents are Muslim.

I recently sat down with Ums, a very close friend, and we discussed his personal views on the Kashmir conflict. Ums is a Kashmiri himself, from Srinagar, and is passionate about his roots. He has adopted a non-violent means of awareness raising through discussion, debate, and rhetoric, which he feels is ultimately more effective.

I have pasted below a few of the questions that I had asked him to gain more of an insight about his sentiments for you guys.

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OUH – Can you tell me a little bit about the history of Kashmir, which led to the current situation?

UMS – Jammu & Kashmir was a gigantic princely state, which was ruled by the Hindu Maharaja back in the day of the British rule. Pakistan thought that India had an eye for Kashmir and that caused the Pakistani army to invade the state. It was only when Pakistan actually arrived in Kashmir that the Maharaja rushed to the Indians for their assistance. They accepted his request on the basis of him signing an accession letter to India, which the Maharaja did to save him, his fortune, and the people of Kashmir.
The Kashmir dispute needs an immediate solution. For over six decades, India & Pakistan have fought wars over us without even considering what the Kashmiris want. Unfortunately, Kashmir has become accustomed to tragedy and devastation and it has been a very difficult time for us. The two countries need to abandon their rigid stance and be honest in resolving this dispute once and for all; trust me, we are not going to give up until we gain our independence.

OUH – Why did the Maharaja or the Viceroy agree to India’s conditions at the time?

UMS – As I mentioned above, the Maharaja was leaning towards independence and it was only when Pakistan arrived in Kashmir that he rushed to the Indians for their assistance. The letter was signed on October 27th, 1947, which is also knows as “Black Day” in Kashmir till today. The Viceroy accepted the condition only on the basis that the people of Kashmir would be allowed to decide what they wanted, which was self-determination. This was actually a provision that was put in place at the time of partition, as there were princely states where the head of the state was of a different religion than a majority of the state and any dispute would be resolved in accordance with the aspirations of the majority.
This  right of determination  also ended up being echoed  by Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister  at the time,  in the middle of the UN Assembly and then again at a gathering of millions in Kashmir. However, India has denied that right to date even though there are a number of UN resolutions that have been passed regarding this issue.

OUH – Can you tell me a bit about the Kashmiri (Hindu) Pandits?

UMS – In regards to the Pandits, I, as a Muslim Kashmiri, am fully ashamed of what happened to the 250 Hindus who died and the 500,000 people who had to relocate because I feel that Kashmir belongs to them as much as it belongs to me. The Indian Government took complete advantage by encouraging the Pandits to relocate and turned this into Islamic extremism. One must think why the Indian Government didn’t do this when the Muslims were being slaughtered in Gujrat.
Personally, I would like to see the Kashmiri Pandits return to the Valley and this should be done on a government, social, and security level. India has 700,000 army personals in Kashmir at the moment and I’m sure they are able to manage this just fine. India has been completely irresponsible and selfish by not helping solve this issue and the same is said about Pakistanis. I truly believe that these talks and initiatives are going to be wasted until we see the next generation of politicians in both these countries.

OUH – Do you think Pakistan & India have a genuine interest in finding a resolution for Kashmir?  Is there any resolution in sight?

UMS – Plebiscite is the most appropriate solution as it is the democratic approach for solving the Kashmir dispute. We have been expecting India to implement its promise of carrying this out and as I mentioned earlier, even Nehru had said this in his speech to the people of Kashmir soon after the partition. Believe me; we are not against meaningful talks as long as they help in ending the illegal occupation of India over Kashmir.
Unfortunately, this issue has been dragging on for decades. Pakistan & India have been too busy pointing fingers at each other and have had several discussions & solutions as well. However, they have forgotten to involve a representative from Kashmir and have not bothered to get to the root of the problem. The only issue that they have agreed on is the distribution of water through the Indus Water Treaty, which is governed through International Law. From a Kashmiri perspective, it’s extremely disappointing and frustrating as we can’t even make use of our own natural resource — our neighbors have been too busy abusing it. I guess it would be like the Arabs not being able to make use of their own oil because the Europeans & Americans had cut a deal instead leaving them to pick up just the small change at the end.

OUH – Honestly, do you think Kashmir would be able to survive on its own if it were to gain independence?

UMS – In regards to partition, each state had a choice to make. They could either be a part of India or a part of Pakistan and we can’t understand why Kashmir was left alone to be a slave to these two new masters instead of having the same option as everyone else.
India and Pakistan have had, and continue to have, a proxy war in Kashmir as they cannot afford to go face to face with each other. There are over 700,000 soldiers occupying Jammu & Kashmir, with a total population of around 7 million. India’s excuse is that they are fighting the militants but as per their own records, they say they are only about 1000 to 2500 militants active in the region today. Well, what do you think? Are they present over there to protect us from the militants or are they planning a strategic move to further occupy us?
Coming back to your question about Kashmir surviving on its own, of course it can survive on its own. Historically, Kashmir was a part of the famous silk route and was an important trading area in the region. We had numerous routes to trade, which included China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and even the Middle East. However, we now only have one source, which is a small tunnel link to India. Unfortunately, we have had to depend on India for the past 60 years and are unable to be economically independent. Due to the terrain, it is actually more feasible for us to trade through Karachi, Pakistan instead of going through any of the Indian ports.  

OUH – Interesting point. What else would you be able to offer?

UMS – Kashmir has fertile land. We can systematically provide agriculture farming, with the help of storage facilities and trade with other regions, which would include fruits, vegetables, rice, saffron, etc. We have ample amounts of natural reserves as well such as calcium, coal, granite, cement, wood, etc to make use of. Unfortunately, we just haven’t had the opportunity to have a huge industrial revolution yet but Inshallah, one day we will.
In regards to handicraft manufacturing, we are up against the best in terms of carpets, paper-mache, shawls, wood-carving, etc.

OUH – I’ve also heard about “white oil”? Could you elaborate on that?

UMS – Yes, Kashmir has white oil, which can generate hydro-electricity. There is so much potential to exceed and Kashmir could even have the power to supply electricity to Northern India and parts of Pakistan as well.

OUH – A few of my Kashmiri friends from Muzaffarabad have shared their personal views on the beauty aspect of Kashmir. Would it be right for me to assume that Srinigar and the surrounding areas are as beautiful and could possibly make some revenue from that aspect as well?

UMS – You’re right. One of the biggest things we have is tourism. We have all four seasons to offer our guests and have the ability to flourish even more. The summer can offer a honeymoon destination, provide opportunities for adventure sports, and be used for golfing. In the winter, Kashmir could be an amazing ski destination as the powdered snow Kashmir has is one of the best in the world. There is so much potential that we might even be able to survive just on tourism alone. However, it’s very unfortunate that even though a few of my cousins have hotels in Srinigar and are in the hotel industry, they are severely suffering due to the current situation.

OUH – How do you view the international efforts which have been made towards Kashmir? Are you satisfied?

UMS – Efforts on the international front have been going on for decades now. However, the real momentum in these efforts increased only when the Kashmiris voiced their frustrations in the 1990s. Until then, we, as a nation, had exhausted all the peaceful means and were lacking direction. The sacrifice of so many martyrs in the last two decades has played a prominent role in highlighting the dispute while spreading the pain of the occupied people of Kashmir to the world. It is only the sacrifice of these martyrs that has provided a platform for pro-freedom leaders. Unfortunately, the efforts need to be carried out at a much faster and more solid pace.  When it comes to solving conflicts in the Muslim world, the International community doesn’t pay as much attention as they should.

OUH – Do you feel India has been sincere with Indian-Occupied Kashmir?

UMS – No, India has not been sincere. In the recent past, India has tried every single oppressive strategy to suppress the Kashmiri nation, but fortunately it has failed to restrain the voice of the masses. They have carried out many operations to quell the pro-freedom sentiment of Kashmir but have been unsuccessful. I find it strange that India is struggling to feed its own population and are willing to spend such expenditure on holding on to Kashmir.

OUH – What is India & Pakistan’s role in Kashmir right now?

UMS – We have always had our Pakistani & Indian friends fighting over us. In regards to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, I believe that there is severe oppression as well. I recently met a Kashmiri from there and he vented to me how there is a doctrine, which is led by the Pakistanis and it continuously reminds them that they are a part of Pakistan and have not gained independence. The unfortunate fact is that even the leaders who are brought forward only keep the Pakistani ideology in mind and not of the state of Kashmir.
The Pakistani Governments feels as if this is a perfect opportunity to take revenge on India after Bangladesh’s independence and of course after the success of driving the Russians out of the region.
Personally, I believe India is transforming and becoming more secular; especially after the recent elections. However, just to be clear, I do believe that India has played a disastrous role in Kashmir and this is not a reason for us to be a part of them.
Yes, I agree that violence, which included weapons, was picked up by the Kashmiris but the amount of human rights abuses that have been committed by the Indian Armed forces are unbelievable. It’s absolutely disgusting to see how there is an Indian soldier every few meters holding a gun. He abuses his power by strip searching, acting vulgarly, and humiliating the men and women of Kashmir. I guess it’s their way of reminding us that we are their slaves and they are here to rule us. Similarly, my Kashmiri friend from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir told me the same scenario from their side as well, which is disappointing.
Honestly, I don’t want to get in the number of people who have been dislocated, raped, abused, or missing in both, Indian Occupied & Pakistani Occupied Kashmir but I do know that we do not trust the governments and probably never will.

OUH – Thanks. Any concluding thoughts?

UMS – We aren’t naïve and are not living in a bubble. We know that our independence will lead to a lot of difficulties. I understand that it will be a struggle but it will be our struggle, our nation, and our responsibility. The right of self determination has to be taken into account and only then will we be able to succeed. We cannot force our ideas on anyone and we want it to be a purely democratic resolution. I know that Indians & Pakistanis are going to find it very difficult to let go of us. I know that it’s going to be a difficult struggle of freedom and it will take time.  Just look at India & Pakistan – they first rebelled in 1857 and it  took them about 90 years,  so I guess we’re just at 62 and still counting.

We must never forget that we have to fight this struggle through non-violence means.   It can only be won effectively through blogs, marches, discussions, debates, education, and by spreading awareness throughout the world.

 

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I was grateful to UMS for sharing his views, and was most impressed by his commitment to finding a non-violent solution to this conflict. I think we should all remember that ultimately we are facing a battle to educate and to raise awareness around the world. We can all contribute our bit to the resolution of this struggle by taking part in marches, blogs, discussions and debates – the importance of which should not be underestimated.

50 comments

  1. Very interesting-I sadly didn’t have much knowledge of the details of the origins of the Pakistan/India Kashmir dispute.This blog article was very informative.
    I also didn’t know that the right of self determination was given to the Kashmiri people and that it has been ignored for all these years.
    I have always believed that Kashmir should be independent and completely agree with your friend on why Kashmir never got the choice to be independent and its own state just as Pakistan or India.They are their own people with their own customs and beliefs-and yes if Kashmir becomes part of Pakistan that would be great for Pakistan but incredibly unfair to a people who deserve a right to be independent and want to be independent.

  2. Very interesting. I may be wrong but believe that the balkanization of India in the 1940s has been an unfortunate event. I know some Indians and Pakistanis who regret this partition today. Now, after more than sixty years of separation and conflict between both countries, I also fully understand that the situation of the Kashmiri population, stuck between two nuclear powers, is unbearable. I hope that both countries will one day solve their bilateral issues. Nevertheless, a unilateral declaration of independance from the Kashmiri side could lead to new wars, even more bloodshed and to a probable domino effect in the region beginning in Baluchistan. This is probably not what the region needs for the time being.

  3. It was nice to read someone’s perspective who is from Kashmir. What about the Pakistan occupied Kashmir? Will it be hard to get them to agree to giving Kashimiris independence? It would be interesting to hear from someone who from the Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

  4. NS, I have just sent a few messages to Kashmiris I know who are from Azaad (Pakistani Occupied) Kashmir and have requested them to join in on the discussion as well. You’re right, it would be interesting to read their perspective and personal views from their own experiences as well.

  5. AD, I totally agree with your comment. However, what I’m trying to say is that this process will definately take time and can only be resolved if India and Pakistan mututally decide on setting Jammu & Kashmir free.

    The main problem lies in the fact that there is nobody representing Kashmir itself.

    This issue has to be a resolved mutually between all three parties. Right now, India and Pakistan are negotiating on their own terms and leaving Kashmir out of the discussion and I feel that we should have the most right and should be leading these discussions.

    If you take a look at the Indus Water Treaty, the Kashmiris have not gained anything at all and India and Pakistan have conveniently only suited their needs.

    This issue cannot be resolved if Kashmiris themselves do not have a say in anything.

    We need to get to the root of the problem. The weed will obviously grow back if you continue to cut it from the top. Why not go further down to the bottom of the weed and look at the actual roots?

  6. It seems as if Kashmir is torn between these two giants, Pak and India, who just want to wrestle each other to defend their pride and principles.

  7. Great and informative interview! Thanks for the insight “Ums” :)

  8. Very insightful, Omar. Before the earthquake of 2005 devastated what Pakistan calls “azad” Kashmir, I used to visit frequently. Almost everyone I met had been to graduate school, its enrollment rates–especially for female education–were impressively high, its hospitals were well equipped and well staffed, and its people were progressive and broad minded. In contrast, the people living in what Pakistan calls “occupied” Kashmir are still struggling for their basic rights as human beings. This is just my observation.

    The people of Kashmir are smart and hard working, and its a shame that generation after generation is losing its potential and its future because of the egos of two countries. My ancestors made tremendous sacrifices for Kashmir, as have millions of other families, but sadly, these sacrifices have amounted to nothing.

  9. Having Kashmiri friends and even a sister in law who is Kashmiri, I know for a fact taht Kashmiris do want to use their rights of self determination and even the people of Muzaffarabad and beyond in the Pakistan region irrespective of living in Pakistani terriroty consider themselves as Kashmiris and not Pakistanis. Personally, I do not blame them because for most of them, growing up in the 50s, they went to universities in Srinigar etc and then had to move towards the Pakistani side because of the division – some by choice and some by other factors.

    After going through history, the Kashmir issue is in fact also a pre-partition self fabricated pre-planned division – yet another well thought out master plan laid out decades back for creating instability in the region and supressing the Muslims. By all means, Kashmir should have been declared as an independent state and as for if Kashmir could survive on it’s own – we have some of the finest think tanks in Kashmir just like any other place in the world ,who IF were given a chance would have actually promoted THIS(Kashmir) heaven on earth….

    At times, I find myself wondering and thinking beyond the geographic boundaries as to WHY are Muslims suffering severely all over the world? May it be Kashmiris, pakistanis, Bosnians, Iraqis, Sudanes, and even the recen tbomb blast in the Irani Mosque. Ever heard of the Zionists?

    Kashmir, justl ike our BEAUTIFUL Pakistan has all the resources may it be the human intellect or the raw natural resources needed by a place to be called a country.

  10. Strange that I just read this article and then saw your interview. Seen it?

    Dawn : Protests in Srinagar over alleged rape of Muslim women

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/07-protests-in-srinagar-over-alleged-rape-of-muslim-women-ha-07

  11. Good job with this post. It was so informative and heartbreaking. Kashmir is such a gorgeous place and it is such a tragedy that Pakistan and India are ruining it with their constant fighting.

  12. Amit Ch · · Reply

    Sorry to say but Kashmir will not be able to survive on it’s own without Indian support. Why should we give independence to them and why should they be treated like this when there are also other states present in the country going through trouble. You cant just seperate a part of the country because of some problems. We have to learn to live with one another and fix the problems and it will take time. Not only india but even in Pakistan, should Pakistan give Balochistan independence because they have been struggling and have asked to be a seperate country? The answer is No, my friend.

  13. The situation in Kashmir (speaking of the part of Jammu and Kashmir incorporated into India and governed under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution) has been a tremendous setback for the improvements that had been previously happening such that at least the appearance of normality had been returning there in large part.

    However, is reversing that course and has only played into the hands of destructive elements: specifically into the hands of Pakistani elements that love causing India grief and who really are no friends of the Kashmiri people, into the hands of Kashmiri separatist elements, and into the hands of political extremists of different stripes in India.

    Curfews on the street, shutdowns of communication networks, economic and trade blockades, and massive use of security forces using violent means to disrupt mobilization of the people won’t resolve legitimate grievances; rather, as some have said, it leaves the core issue to fester as a sore issue that infects the political process and disrupts progress on various fronts.

    The massive demonstrations in Kashmir are a product of a foolish policy by the former Governor of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Giving Kashmir’s land to non-state subjects was going to produce a lot of drama and only an idiot would not know better and do as he did in arranging for the land to be transferred to an entity not considered wholly a state subject or wholly controlled by just state subjects.

    While many here may or may not be aware of this, immovable property in Kashmir can only be owned, purchased or inherited by state subjects because the issue of who can own fixed property in the state has been a sensitive subject long before there was even an independent India and Pakistan and therefore such a legal restriction exists as a result of such sensitivities. (This restriction existed earlier and is the reason house boats in Kashmir are still a common presence: outsiders, such as the British then ruling India, were allowed to own movable property such as house boats but not generally allowed to own immovable property.)

  14. This was by far one of the most informative pieces I’ve read on Kashmir. UMS inisght has really helped clarify the situation to those that do not know as much about the region. His views on nonviolent approaches are impressive. It was heartbreaking to read about the rapes and abuse of power by soldiers. Reminded me of the stories being leaked in the US press about American soldiers abusing prisoners and even civilians in Iraq.

  15. Also, I have to say I completely disagree with AD’s following comment –> “Very interesting. I may be wrong but believe that the balkanization of India in the 1940s has been an unfortunate event. I know some Indians and Pakistanis who regret this partition today.”

    As a Pakistani, I can confidently say that the people AD is referring to (those regretting partition) are a VERY small minority. Pakistan has its own identity and we are proud to have our nation.

  16. UMS, do you know how much of Pakistan and India’s water supply originates from Kashmir? I remember hearing that this issue was one of the main reasons why both countries would never allow the other one to gain further control…

    1. Dear PK,

      Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK) sits at the head of major rivers feeding large parts of Pakistan. The World Bank arbitrated between the two countries resulting in the signing of the IWT.

      The pact grants India exclusive rights to the three major southern rivers of Ravi, Beas and Sutluj, while Pakistan has the rights to three large northern rivers that first flow through Indian-occupied Kashmir – the Indus, Jhelum and then Chenab. The Jhelum and Kishenganga, by then known as the Neelum, join each other near Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK).

      The treaty has withstood two wars and numerous other conflicts between the two countries, but now the situation seems to be changing. The growing economies of both countries and increased energy needs are compelling exploitation of the rivers to the last drop, even if that means violating the IWT.

      Pakistan, being the lower riparian state, faces the disadvantage of geography.

      A common Man in J&K doesn’t know the game both parties are playing over our resources, where the governments of these two states care not about the people but our resources, of which we cannot benefit from.

      That is why i feel that both parties are not serious about resolving this issue as they both have gotten what they wanted to a large extent. I just hope that one day the leaders (next generation) of both nations will feel some moral obligation and resolve this issue ethically (the right of self determination)

  17. Anonymous Karachite · · Reply

    I just read this interview with your friend UMS on your blog. So interesting! You know my family is from Amritsar and Srinagar. My great grandfather wrote Kashmir, which is apparently one of the most authoritative books on Kashmir.And my cousin (who passed away last year) was extremely passionate about the Kashmir cause, and she wrote this excellent dissertation on how the dialogue in Kashmir is still, to date, reduced to religious rhetoric (by politicians) and how this needs to be tackled before any constructive step is taken towards a resolution. it was published as well though I can’t find it on the internet.

    Anyhow, what I wanted to say was UMS interview got me thinking about my family roots too, and made me think about doing something positive towards that end. soooooo thanks! xx

  18. I agree with PK. On the regret issue, there is no regret for the 1947 partition. In face, despite of the unfair division, India getting the better and larger share of everything, Pakistan has not only survived but has hit industralization decades back as well. It is still progressing adorned by the finest intellect in the world and abundance of natural resournces. Being a PAKISTANI is our pride and dignity.

  19. Balouchistan was and is not a disputed part of Pakistan. In fact, it is well within the legal geographic boundaries of Pakistan since the 1947 independence.However, where Kashmir and Kashmiris are concerned, just like UMS has clearly mentioned in his interview, they were deprived of the right for freedom due to undue intervention even running over the geneva convention. Kashmir by all standards and means, given the right to do so, will prove to survive, in fact even flourish on it’s own.

  20. Amit,

    Kindly understand the historical background of the J & K State. It wasn’t even part of India or Pakistan when those countries gained their independence. Hari Singh was forced to ask the Indians for help due to the Pakistanis arrival in the state. The accession was accepted on the grounds of a plebiscite to be held in J&K. However, that never happened as the Indians said that as per UN resolution, the Pakistani army had to withdraw, which of course they never did and India decided to walk away from that Resolution. That is why the Plebiscite should be thrown out and the right to self determination should be strongly supported, as India and Pakistan have completely abused their power and failed the people of J&K.

    In regards to J&K surviving on Indian support, that has been forced upon us by India and to certain degree Pakistan as well. We had a trade route that had central Asia, China and Middle East covered. But as you can see in the interview above, we were only left with a small tunnel connecting Kashmir to the rest of the world.

    As for Kashmir surviging on it’s own – Yes we can.

    Resource Base of J&K

    * Hydro Power Potential – 20,000 MW
    The Current consumption of J&K is about 1,000 to 1,500 MW. Even if we consume double, that we still have 15,000 MW to export to Northern India and Pakistan. We consider water to be our oil and that will be our biggest source of income.

    * HORTICULTURE
    Examples are:
    Apple 10,93,275 MTs/PA
    (57% of Country’s Production)
    Pear 40,250 MTs/PA
    Cherries 7,365 MTs/PA
    Walnut 1,00,596 MTs/PA (6th largest production in the World)
    92% of National Production
    Almonds 13,473 MTs/PA
    Saffron 15 MTs/PA
    Apricot 11,975 MTs/PA

    * MINERAL RESOURCES
    Lime Stone 3355 Million Metric Tons.
    Gypsum 95.83 Million Metric Tons.
    Bauxite 8.6 Million Metric Tons.
    Marble 35 Million cubic Meters
    Sapphire Yet to be fully explored
    Magnetite 7.00 Million Metric Tons.
    Dolomite 12.63 Million Metric Tons.
    Lignite 7.25 Million Metric Tons.
    Quartzite 16.55 Million Metric Tons.
    Coal 1.3 Million Metric Tons.

    Data: http://www.jksidco.org/focused_areas.html#resource_base

    With the Natural deposits stated above, the amount of byproducts we can have through these resources definitely adds to our argument of being self sufficient.

    This can be allowed only when we would have FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) available to us. The reason why it isn’t possible is that because it’s a conflict zone and private or Sovereign Wealth funds are not ready to invest, as the risks are too high. But if there is a resolution on this issue by the method of self determination, we would see unprecedented influx of these funds coming to J&K. Which we can make use of through public and private partnerships or even joint ventures between local firms and MNCs.

    In regards to Tourism, we can definitely gain substantially from this, your figures our related to developed economies, if you look at Mauritius or Maldives it is about 40 to 50 % of their GDP. Even for example Dubai, over 30% of their GDP is through Tourism.

    Also, as mentioned, please keep in mind that Kashmir can be considered as two destinations, the summer period demand a different USP (Unique Selling Proposition) to the winter period. So to have an all year tourist destination definitely adds to this argument.

    So in conclusion, Electricity will be a No. 1 source of income and then tourism, horticulture, Handicraft and so on. I hope the above gives you some clear justification of our potential and hopefully I have answered any of your reservations on J&K being self-sufficient.

  21. @UMS- What about Hindu Kashmiris? Very conveniently, you have forgotten them. I hope you remember history that we won freedom in 1947 because of Hindu Muslim unity.

  22. ns, I might be wrong in my understanding but this was NOT about Hindu or Muslim Kashmiris but about Kashmiris in general. Please correct me if I am wrong about my interpretation of the discussion.

  23. a reader · · Reply

    I just read this Omar and the only person that makes any sense in all of this and in all of comments is “ums” himeself. any assumptions from anyone else are wrong, we have family that lives there and as you know my own family just went to srinagar in december. the only restriction in their lives that we witnessed were the ones imposed on them by inida and pakistan. I firmly disagree with any notion that kashmir should be a part of pakistan or india. it is the right of the people of kashmir to have their own country. id file for my dual citizenship in a heartbeat.

  24. Dear NS,

    I would strongly ask you to read my interview again. I have clearly mentioned the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits and how they should return to their homes in Kashmir. The brutal minority from a majority ruined the unity that our four fathers built in just a matter of days. Kashmir (apart from Jammu) was the only place in the whole subcontinent where there weren’t any communal riots during the partition.

    The right to self determination will not be complete unless all the Kashmirirs are not a part of this process.

    Hopefully all Kashmiris (Hindu/Muslim/Christian/Sikh) would have realized that both Pakistan and India are the reason why we are in this mess. Maybe one could be blamed more than the other, depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting on, but as a Kashmiri, that really doesn’t matter as we have suffered the most.

    UMS

  25. Zeeshan · · Reply

    Omar i must say i continue to be impressed with your detailed coverage regarding the real issues in Pakistan. Adding the viewpoint of the actual oppressees of the conflict, the people of Kashmir, gives such a fresh perspective to a conflict that people so often make as a Pakistan vs. India issue. My heart and prayers goes out the millions residing in Kashmir and hold hope that common sense and reason can prevail over battles that began with and should have ended during the times of our forefathers. UMS, thanks so much for providing your insight on the Kashmiri viewpoint as well.

  26. Well done UMS, it took one man to free a nation. Mahatma is your middle name, may the power of peace be with you.

  27. What a start with non violent struggle!!! God Bless you and Keep it up.
    I belong to POK (they say Azad Kashmir), I have many examples of the efforts have been implementing by Pak administration to wipe out the consideration of Free Kashmir (which is impossible) in my side.
    No doubt of having the world’s best natural resources and strategic location in the region to not only survive even rule the Asian economy.
    Lets contribute as much as we can. Don’t worry, I have strong faith that it won’t take that long to set this heaven free……

  28. This is a blog by a racist Kashmiri Muslim with a superiority complex, entitlement. His freedom = oppression and loss of freedom to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists.

    The idea of “liberation” of muslims in the sub-continent has not worked well so far.

    The Indian subcontinent hosts hundreds of ethnicities, speaking 1000 languages and practicing all the religions in God’s earth. There are linguistic ethnic groups- Sindhis, Gujaratis, Bengalis, Maratis, Pathans, Punjabis, Tamil, Telugus, Kashmiris .and so on….the list is long. The only ethnic, linguistic group in the subcontinent that constitutes a separate country is Bangladhesh- born because of genocide of three million Bangladheshis perpetrated by the Pakistan army in 1971.

    http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/

    Kashmiri muslims (mainly sunni sect) wanting a separate country seems to have born out of sense of entitlement out of events of partition, UN resolutions, etc. Either that or it is born out of the special racial supremacy some of them feel. Hindus, Shia muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs all living in the Indian administered Kashmir are opposed to this separation sought by the Sunni muslims of Kashmir valley. In either case another intolerant country based on religious exclusivity is the last thing the subcontinent needs!!! International community is not interested in another country “Islamic Republic of Kashmir” led by Syed Salahuddin of “United Jihad council” as its supreme leader. in the vicinity of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Very funny. Not going to happen. Just because India went to UN for Mumbai massacre, it doesn’t mean it is going to redraw its maps or cede territory. That’s laughable.

    The priorities are – control of religion based terrorism, as waged by Kashmir “freedom movement” should be completely stopped. Once this is achieved LOC could be liberalized, but this is going to take a long time after terrorism is stopped. Other genuine grievances of Kashmiri muslims if any could be fulfilled without redrawing of India’s current borders. Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir will remain an area where people belonging to all religion can live together. No need to erect new Berlin walls!!!

    1. Raj,

      Thank you for all your sweeping statements about Kashmir.

      It seems that you are speaking for all Kashmiris, which include “Hindus, Shia Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Sunni Muslims” and oh, by the way, you seemed to have forgotten about Christians in your statement.

      By your tone and bold comments, it seems that you are stating that us Kashmiris have set in stone what we want so I guess if I propose the right to self determination for all state subjects, that would be ok with you and you would have no objections? Right?

      As you have clearly seen in the interview, the only thing I am appealing for here is is self determination.

      In regards to the United Nations, I feel that it has been toothless. There has been a UN observer post in Kashmir since all of this begun and they have silently been watching but have not been able to do anything till today. The only thing I do appreciate is that in all the world maps, J&K is independent and not a part of Pakistan or India. I guess I’m grateful that at least people know that there is an issue which has been pending for a long time in this part of the world. We are waiting for the day that the UN updates the world on their stand on J&K and decides to become more active in resolving this issue.

      In regards to your dramatic “Berlin Wall” statement, I never mentioned that I have any issues with the people of India or Pakistan, however, I do have issues with their governments.

      We welcome ALL our guests with open arms.

      UMS

  29. interesting insight into a place that has been torn by conflict for decades

  30. Shoda · · Reply

    Very insightful Oms, your friend UMS brings some interesting perspective to the issue

  31. Good job done Omar. Good interview but your friend UMS needs further knowledge and analysis of the issue in its historic perspective.

    The Kashmir issue remains unresolved between India and Pakistan. It encompasses the fate and aspirations of Millions of Kashmiris – of all religions, races and ethnicities. The cause of Kashmiris and the mess they are in today is largely due to action and inaction of various actors and factors both national and international.

    Historically, on partition of Sub-continent/ end of British colonial rule, and in accordance with the Partition Plan, the hundreds of Princely States in the region, the option was given to their Rulers to join either of the two Dominions i.e. India or Pakistan – in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the majority of their people. There was no provision for conditional Accession or complete independence.

    The Maharaja of Kashmir kept the final decision on the issue pending and did not do so immediately. Soon the “Quit Kashmir “ Movement under Sheikh Abdullah started. The situation worsened getting out of control. As India was eyeing on Kashmir for its vast resources and potential, it decided to intervene and occupied the valley through military means. Pakistan sent limited force, mainly the volunteers of their own free volition, to help the freedom fighters. Thus India and Pakistan came face to face militarily. Indian army invaded ostensibly in favour of Maharaja Hari Singh with massive troops landing while Pakistan Commander in Chief General Gracey on Pakistani side, being British, obeyed reluctantly and acted hesitantly for obvious reasons. The Indian forces occupied a larger part of the state while the Kashmiris thwarted further occupation through heroic sacrifices.

    Ignoring and violating the wishes and aspirations of the majority populations, undoubtedly a Muslim majority state, the Maharaja was coerced and conspired into signing a “Letter of Accession” by treacherous Hindu leadership.

    As this violated the Instrument of Independence / Partition India had been an aggressor, its prime minister Mr. Jawahar Lal Nehru promised and committed himself at the united nations to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiris to join India or Pakistan through a fair and free plebiscite which is their undeniable right. However, India went back on this promise and contrary to numerous UN Regulations on the issue continuous to occupy Kashmir through oppressive presence of 0.7 million arrogant soldiers who shamelessly and ceaselessly violate and abused the people. Violent demonstrations by people and bloody suppression is an almost daily feature. Barbarian Laws like TADA/ POTA have not helped quell their struggle to throw the Indian yoke. A former Indian Army General has been saddled as Governor.

    The excesses and atrocities perpetrated by occupation forces can well be verified through the following data for 16 years from 1989 to 2005 courtesy KMS.

    Sixteen years of Atrocities

    Total Killing 89,742
    Custodial Killings 6,771
    Civilian Arrested 110,100
    Structures Arsoned / Destroyed 104,866
    Women Widowed 22,240
    Children Orphaned 106,353
    Women Gang Raped / Molested 9,579

    India has ruled Kashmir ever since through special provisions like article 370 in its constitution – a unique and unparallel phenomenon in the Statecraft. All the resolutions coming up at the UN had all along been supported by the free democratic world to give Kashmiris their inviolable right of self determination through holding a free and fair plebiscite, under UN aegis.

    Pakistan has all along used peaceful means to seek a resolution of the dispute despite two wars forced by India on Pakistan – the sufferers have been the innocent Kashmiris.

    India through phony politicians in the garb of Sheikhs and Mufties who continued to grab power is side stepping the UN mandated plebiscite. The APHC leaders have all along been pressing for the right of self determination. Only a thin minority mostly non Muslims occasionally voice freedom, majority wants to be part of Pakistan. Those advocating freedom or independence for Kashmir ought to keep in mind:-

    a. This does not have popular support at peoples level – the foremost consideration
    b. There was / is no such option / provision in the independence / partition plan of sub continent signed and agreed to in 1947 by all affected parties.
    c. UN Resolutions adopted later do not envisage such a solution.
    d. Being land locked territory, its trade and economic viability would be in jeopardy and political entity / independence a distant reality. At west it will be a Satellite State in the region.
    e. In extreme global crisis like World War situation, being strategically located, it will be first fodder for the Titans sitting in its vicinity.

    The people of Azad Government of Jammu & Kashmir are leading an honorable existence enjoying life and liberty as a freedom loving community. They are economically and politically independent. They have their own Legislative Assembly, their own Prime Minister, President and the Constitution. The Kashmiris on other side have been enslaved through naked use of brutal force.

    I will quote some verses of a Kashmiri poet Naz Kulgami – he says:-

    On Seeing the Sky
    I feel grieved
    To find my bird
    Enslaved and Locked
    By alien hands

    1. Dear I,

      I would request you to have a detailed understanding of the Kashmir issue and not just from the books written by Pakistani Historians.

      By the rules of the British transfer of power in Indian subcontinent in 1947, the Ruler of the State, Maharajah Sir Hari Singh, with the departure of the British and the lapsing of Paramountcy (as the relationship between State and British Crown was termed), could opt to join either India or Pakistan or, by doing nothing, become from 15 August 1947 the Ruler of an independent polity. The choice was the Ruler’s and his alone: there was no provision for popular consultation in the Indian Princely States during the final days of the British Raj. On 15th August 1947, by default, the State of Jammu and Kashmir became independent.

      In regards to the Indians trying to take over Kashmir due to our vast resource and strategic locations, the same can be said of Pakistan. The Pakistani Government has played with the emotions of the Muslim majority of Kashmir, by using the Islam brotherhood as a carrot for us.

      The Pakistani government conveniently forgot that when the Indus water treaty was signed, and all the other agreements signed with India, or the allotment of our land to the Chinese!

      Furthermore (which might just be the most shameful) the supply of weapons and arms training in the late 1980s, with the extremist Islamic doctrine, comparable to the Afghan War, was a start of mass bloodshed and gave the Indian government a free ticket to abuse power and human rights. Also, it helped them create a fear in our mindset, resulting in a slave mentality, which has resulted in lack of confidence and dependency of our potential and welfare with them.

      This also resulted in the biggest tragedy – the 500,000 Pandit Refugees and the Kashmiri struggle was categorized as Islamic terrorist, which played right in the hands of the Indian government, especially the BJP – the government in power at the time.

      Personally, I hope the state subjects in J&K are able to see through the false promises and puppet leaders that have been appointed by both Governments. I don’t see much difference between them and we just end up being the lamb between the two foxes.

      In regards to our survival, being land locked has allowed countries in the rest of the world to flourish, and the only obstacle is government policies from India and Pakistan, which is not allowing us to grow and flourish. If we were allowed to live independently and others would not interfere or play war games on our land, we could possibly be the crowning glory of the Sub Continent, which like our geographical location.

      In regards to your remark about “independence” not being very popular… I can just repeat what I have already said to my friend Raj. – “Right to Self Determination”!

      You have picked an excellent quote. However, I do wonder if the poet knew that was one was a Pakistani hand the other was Indian.

      UMS

  32. UMS- I would suggest Jinnah as your middle name rather than Mahatma.

    1. Dear I,

      Thank You. I don’t mind being called either one of them as long as I can help in some way or form to try to get my people what they want. I just hope that they make the right decision.

      UMS

  33. Historically people must realize that history of countries are rewritten not what the documents show but what and where track 2 diplomacy have been happening and which country used it fast and consolidated its track 2 moves .

    To all including UMS, I want to correct some of the history from my analysis:
    A) Using Track 2 Nehru used his influence with the wife of lord Mountbatten by asking dickson to change the map and show Gurdaspur as part of India, and due to this Nehru opened the bloodbath which occurred and also planned road land link to Kashmir.

    B) 1) Using again track 2 Nehru influenced Sheikh Abdullah and promised him that power shall be given to him, otherwise how a person which had started his anti maharaja movement in Kashmir from 1930 and in 1932 made MUSLIM CONFERENCE PARTY AND WHICH IN 1946 LAUNCHED “QUIT KASHMIR” , could have been on the same side INDIA when Nehru had tried to enter in Kashmir in 1946 was arrested by Maharajas Prime Minister Ramchand Kak.

    2)How could Maharaja sign the instrument of Accession when he was on road between Srinagar and Jammu on the date shown.

    3)I had the opportunity to have one to one statement from nearest party person GCK of sheikh Abdullah who questioned ex chief Minister G.M.Sadiq that when Muslim Conference sent him to Pakistan to discuss the terms of accession to Pakistan , while Sheikh Abdullah was sent to Delhi to discuss the terms of accession .(which means that the government of Mahraja was asking the Muslim Conference to take the decision for the majority people, and Maharaja had agreed to this as he was advised by his Prime Minister Ramchand KAk.

    4)On record the ten year agreement was signed by Mr. G.M Sadiq on behalf of Kashhmir was signed in which all the terms similar to Art.370 of Indian Constitution

    5)It is on record that when Sadiq showed the agreement to Sheikh Abdullah in Delhi who in turn showed to Nehru, who became hysterical, and after being cooled asked Ambedkar to redraft the Indian Constitution and the famed ARTICLE 370 was born with the same terms which Pakistans Liaquat Ali Khan had given , and Nehru promised Plebiscite and promised that India guarantees the term and shall get out of Kashmir if Plebiscite demanded the same. This statement and promise was never kept, just because Pakistan is occupying POK, well when Nehru gave this promise to the people of Kashmir he never mentioned that Pakistan have to move out. THIS IS WHERE NEHRU COMPLETED THE DEMARCHE OF TRACK 2 TO ENSURE CHANGE COURSE OF HISTORY FOR KASHMIR, and since then Kashmir cannot come out of the slavery of India.

    6) To protect the resources and agriculture Nehru using his intelligence ensured all rivers of Punjab to India and built Bhakra dam and ensured no water to Pakistan for its fertile granary land , and when Pakistan realized that Nehru had strategically strangled Pakistan and as a compromise offered all rivers from Kashmir to Pakistan, knowing that it will take some time for Pakistan , and Nehru successfully created a strategic buffer and strangle hold on Pakistan.
    There are many track 2 methods which have been employed by India as well as Pakistan, which used 1963 and 1965 and 1989 for insurgency and though you can say it helped awakening of the dead issue and since the damage it has inflicted on Kashmir and its people and we have lost our paradise.
    I would blame the leaders of poor Kashmir people who have no love for their subjects but only lust for power and money and blame both India and Pakistan for not being visionary but playing one up gamesmanship and trying to be strategically strong at the cost of people who are suffering.

    Who says the chengis khan culture has been replaced by democratic intelligentsia which ostensibly has been used to make barbaric inhuman torture to the people and in which all Kashmiris irrespective of religion or culture have suffered

    I believe that as Late Prime Minister RamChand Kak had suggested and advised to remain INDEPENDENT ON OUR OWN, for which we are nation, highly educated, fertile and skilled people and the world’s best marketing people come from Kashmir, and I believe that we can be more prosperous country on our own.

  34. Good read.

    Being a second generation Kashmiri, born and raised in Pakistan, who considers himself Pakistani first and Kashmiri second, the reality for me is that:

    (1) Pakistan is now almost a failed state and no people with such a strong desire for self determination would want to become a part of a sinking ship.

    (2) Regardless of what should have happened in 1947, Kashmir is a part of India and Pakistan has not been able to win it from them after 3/4 wars therefore whether Pakistan likes it or not, it is a part of India and will remain a part of India till India chooses otherwise. Furthermore, India is now too powerful a player on the international stage for it to be forced into granting Kashmir independence.

    (3) Given the first two, dominion status within India is the best case for the people of Kashmir to prove to the world that it can govern itself and run itself financially whereby putting enough diplomatic and moral pressure on a democratic India to give it full autonomy.

  35. Hey Hey … take it easy. pakistan was never a failed state. It’s an International conspiracy lead by RAW and supported by the other International agencies. The war has been shifted to Pakistan by design and we have ample proof of Indian involvement in the insurgency in Baluchistan and NWFP. The arms,tele-communication equipment and money is all pouring and it’s all true although it is very unfortunate. Pakistan’s Army has now made in roads and soon it will be in control. The US designs are to stay in Afghanistan for many years to come-2040 is the target given by one think tank. They want to keep an eye on the Central Asian resources,a close look at China and Iran and ofcourse, at “THE ISLAMIC BOMB”. The Time will soon come for the Kashmiris to determine their future,their own destiny and let me say that nobody can stop them from their right of self determination.

  36. I admire your patriotism. God knows i love my country and want to see it prosper but in order to do that we need to wake up to certain realities – one of which is that our country has been in a consistent downward spiral for the better part of 35 years. If we continue living in this pipe dream that nothing is wrong and the army will fix everything, it will only make the outcome of “failed state” more inevitable. We have serious problems in our country and we need to tackle them head on and more importantly find leadership capable of tacking them head on and the army is not it. Yes it does have an important role to play but that role is confined to safeguarding its borders not its internal politics. You can moan about conspiracy theories and other countries meddling in your affairs all you want and for the record i believe most of them but the sad fact is that they are able to do this because of our own weaknesses. US and India designs can be whatever they want them to be – right or wrong – if we don’t admit to ourselves our own failings which include not being able to provide its citizens law, order, justice, the means to provide three meals a day through respectful means and most importantly failing to uphold the writ of the state – then im sorry to say but “their” victory is just around the corner because their success is fueled by your weaknesses! You don’t have to go further than Baluchistan to realize that!

    God is not going to send down a Messiah to give the Kashmiris self determination. He has given you a mind to use how best you see fit so use it and counter your enemies by making yourself stronger – make your country stronger – make your convictions stronger – learn from your mistakes – be ashamed that your leadership is the laughing stock of the world and vow that you will do everything in your power to change that – and pray the army stays out of politics – and maybe one day soon Pakistan will have the power, the standing and most importantly the respect to stand on that world stage to win the self determination for its brothers and sisters in Kashmir and more importantly win respect for the sovereignty of its own state!

  37. Qasim T · · Reply

    Kashmir seems to invoke strong sentiments on not only both sides of the Pakistan-India border but around the world. And the volume of material not only on Omar’s blog post but from several other sources provides evidence to support the deadlock that Kashmir’s indepndence has become. They saying ‘when two elephants fight it is the grass that gets crushed’ couldn’t be more true in Kashmir’s case. But what can an occupied state do? Protest its, often brutal occupation through violent and non-violent means? Side with one occupying force and eventually gain independence through negotiations? Historically the princely states were never completely autonomous there was always been some degree of dependence on the center. There always seemed to be a delicate balance of power which today, both the Indians and Pakistanis haven’t been able to maintain with Kashmiri leaders. Military force has only muddied the waters. One can only hope that clarity of vision will prevail and the people of Kashmir can enjoy their state’s abudant natural resources in peace. Can’t wait to visit.

  38. DH. From your views, I had initially thought that perhaps you were NOT from Pakistan. Good that you have cleared your position regarding the love for your Country and my patriotism. I am relieved. Thanks.

  39. Mubeen - Kashmiri · · Reply

    I am convinced as a person living in Kashmir at the moment that we can survive as an independant country. As UMS has given details of the resources already – it should be clear to all that we can be independent but in order to achieve this I feel and am sure that it can be done by following the steps below:

    1) People have to be more consistent in their reaction to events.
    2) Program of resentment without effecting the local economy.
    3) Every reader has to understand that strong nations like USSR gave way to independent nations when the will of the people is there.
    4) India as a democratic country should give the choice of self determination to the people of J&K and Pakistan also.
    5) As the valley is the more problematic one, declare it as a free economic zone
    6) The recent rape of women gives the enormity of the problem which is a daily affair in villages.
    7) Indus water treaty needs to be renegotiated and both countries should compensate the kashmiris by putting the equity of developing the run of the river projects of 20000 mws as interim compensation.

  40. Dear UMS.

    Thanks for the comments.

    1. You will agree that Kashmir issue is too complex to be resolved between two of us. Had it been otherwise, it should have required No wars and could have been settled much early. We have hundred arguments to offer to disagree with each other.

    2. Can anyone deny the fact that religion – Islam or Hinduism – was the only basis for creation of two separate States on the departure of British Ruler? How can Pakistan’s efforts and endeavors at bilateral and multilateral fora be treated as “carrot” for some and “Islamic Terrorism” by others?

    3. As it can be verified through the UN Commission on India and Pakistan, no third option was available in such cases. During the discussion at the UN Headquarters where Sh Abdullah represented India and Sardar Ibrahim Khan represented Pakistan, it was agreed to by all those including the UK, USA and Canada that there has to be No third option, as to the contrary mushroom of nearly six hundred tiny States would follow suit. Your statement that State of Jamu and Kashmir became independent by default is therefore not understood.

    4. War gaming by armies keeps going on in every part of the world – it is all hypothetical – not amongst the foes only but between fast friends also.

    5. Pakistan and its people have suffered enormously for the just cause of Kashmiris. Therefore, to blame Pakistan for eyeing on Kashmir is simply misplaced.

    6. Indus Water Basin Treaty is completely a different aspect to which International Bodies are guarantors. To fetch and foster friendship with China is one of the best accomplished policy option for Pakistan. It is now almost proverbial. With Soviet Union on India’s back, China has played a balancing role in the International arena. Ceding a few Kms here and gaining a few Kms there, is not a faulty bargain or bad Barter. Therefore, allotment of Kashmir land to China by Pakistan is simply laughable.

    7. There have been a few non-significant repulses to the cause of Kashmir. But rest assured, the world at large is on our side and ultimate is not too far. The Current ongoing Composite Dialogue and Track-2 Policy are going to gain ground whereby India cannot enslave the Kashmiris through Barrel and Bayonet for long. Kashmiris are proud and honourable nation and do not feel being a lamb between the two foxes.

    8. Thank you for appreciating the quote by Poet Naz Kulgami. Your comments are amusing. But I am sure that the gentle soul must have believed that those to follow shall know in hindsight that the alien hands shall not be able to hold and enslave his bird to infinity. Some other friendly hand shall put his bird free some day. And that friendly hand is yours and mine – together.

    8. I hope I have covered almost all points that you raised.

    Sincerely,

    I

  41. Thank you Omar Ul Haq for this insightful interview and raising this topic. At first I was a little skeptical reading this, with it bringing up the historical account of Kashmir’s conflict, which I feel anyone with a little interest in the region will already be aware of. What I really wanted to find was something meaty/substantial and some forward-thinking. With further reading however; I found what I was looking for.
    Great to hear Kashmiris like UMS do have a vision for the region’s future and that it isn’t merely a dream but something well thought over and with reasonable possibilities.

    Usually the Kashmir topic brings with it a lot of mudslinging and no real foundation for agreement amongst the parties involved in the debate/conversation and that has often proved discouraging. It’s nice to see people here can be mature and have a little consideration for each other.

    However, I too, am a Kashmiri, My dad’s originally from Muzaffarabad and mother from is from Sudhnoti, both settled in Kotli city after marriage, where me and my siblings were born. I can thus say I have a fair idea of Azad Kashmir and it’s current status. I think it’s ridiculous the people from that region have claimed there have been counts of rape, murder and the like! UMS can’t be lying but surely, were these carried out by the Pakistani state? If so, this is pretty damn serious and the first I have heard of it!
    Sorry to say but I doubt they were state-led offensives. Azaad J&K is relatively peaceful but I certainly won’t deny that like anywhere else there are bound to be counts of conflict and crime carried out by locals.

    I would hate to be blind to the truth and foolishly loyal to any one party in this here conflict, but I would like to say many, many people in AJK are happy with Pakistan and grateful. Though these people don’t come to the fore, Maybe we should try asking the muhajir communities, who have seen and lived both the Kashmirs?
    We can’t keep overlooking how much the Pakistani Army has done to protect us over the years? Can we forget incidents like shellings from the Indian Army in border towns like Khuiratta?

    Over the past few months, me and a bunch of similar aged Kotli youth were talking of shaping a better future for Azaad Kashmir, with all of being able to resettle in Kotli city (a city with a lot of potential), from our current homes in Kashmir, Pakistan and beyond. We’re all qualified and educated enough to feel we can make that difference, we also feel a little sensitive as to certain stigmas; i.e. bunch of ‘hill-people’, ‘goat herders’, ‘depending on income from overseas to survive’ and such things. We feel it would be nice for people to see beyond that image they have of AzKashis.Alas, these dreams may have to be nipped in the bud at an earlier stage than we thought.

    There is always certain fear of the Indian govt, although it may sound delusional, judging by what has beeing going on, over the side of the border, our fears are substantiated. And it’s felt that if there was to be any merging of both Kashmirs, it may cause more problems than it will resolve.
    I’m sorry politics isn’t really my strong forte and I was only able to share some musings.

    FYI: Of course I believe Hindu Kashmiris are as much a part of Kashmir as are the Muslims.

  42. Dawood · · Reply

    India and Pakistan need to meet the representatives of Kashmir and resolve issues that have bogged down the potential of these countries as well as the region…while the Kashmiri people suffer daily due to the atrocities on both sides of the LOC, citizens of both india and pakistan are also paying the price as is evident by the rise of terrorism all over the subcontinent.

    It is time the intelligent and privileged people of all 3 effected parties understand that divisive politics is making them all losers….there needs to be action plan with clear deadlines on how to achieve lasting peace & prosperity…all of us are tied together by our history, geography and common interests…there is no escaping this….

    Hoping better sense prevails..

  43. Thank you all for such a great discussion. This is such an important topic and there is so much that has happened in the last few months.. that I think you guys should highlight some of the latest issues.

    For example, what are your thoughts on China projecting Kashmir as a separate country???

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/China-projects-Kashmir-as-a-separate-country-/articleshow/5139315.cms

  44. India is in panic mode – Love it!

    Sequence of events:

    – 2nd in Command of Baba Atomic Centre claims India’s nuclear tests in 1999 were a failure.

    – Former head of India Army General Malik announces Indian armed forces have lost their confidence in the ability of their nuclear deterrent

    – Chinese army vandalizes “Indian” occupied land with “China” sprayed over boulders.

    – China becomes the 1st Global power to publicly claim kashmir as a Sovereign State

    – India then cringes ..

    – And the Kashmiris are LOVING IT!!

  45. Hi Depaak,

    Thank you for restarting the conversation, I would appreciate it if you can elaborate on these realities.

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