Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We see Draco in [AFSPA,DAA & PSA] lawmakers!

The IK Group

Article 1 : [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)] :

“All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

Draco [7th century B.C] was an Athenian lawmaker whose code of conduct prescribed cruelty and severity.His constitution endorsed laws based on homicide and abuse.Now centuries later,we can still find lawmakers with same visions of brutality.Thus the legacy of ' Draconian- like' laws continue and India is no exception!

We, as Kashmiris, firmly believe that territorial integrity is more important than national self-determination. The years of foreign rule, religious movements, and spiritual discoveries in the land of India has given a way to a rich potpourri of social habits, festivals, and customs.This diversity is viewed with' intense pride' by the leaders in India but there is an inherent fallacy in it.Although,The Constitution of India guarantees full freedom to every individual,leaders have practically done nothing to safeguard cultural and ethnic rights.

When a community is discriminated in institutionalizing language,education,jobs and civil liberties,the idea of ethnic nationalism comes to practice.There are States in India which demand self-determination on the basis of these variances & forced subjugation.Thus,the largest democracy in the world,the State of India has designed felonious laws to counter these insurrections.

These Draco chauvinists lawmakers have endorsed a legal philosophy which dishonor fundamental human rights with immunity from legal accountability.Armed personnel's can beat a person to pulp without any warrant, can endorse arbitrary detention, rapes, torture,electric shocks, simulated drowning & They have been shielded by clauses in these Draconian-like laws that allow initiating of a prosecution, without the permission from the central government. Such permission is rarely granted in any world order today.

Indians too have protested against these practices but their voices have been choked in cycles.The actual fact is that the government has chosen to ignore recommendations from its own experts and they are not interested in providing any accountability and justice.It also shows little evidence that the military is fully and effectively prosecuting soldiers and officers for abuses committed by them.None have been tried a court martial in military courts.This fact speaks volumes about atrocities & provoked militancy in various parts of the country.

Under relevant international human rights and humanitarian law standards there is no justification for such acts.By its form and in its application,these laws totally violate the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights'.

If leaders in India want any sense to prevail in their political machinery,let these laws be revoked in order to counter more violence and humility.

Peace should prevail!

'The Armed Forces Special Powers Act effectively allows Indian troops to get away with murder!'

Meenakshi Ganguly,
Senior South Asia researcher
Human Rights Watch

© Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Epitome of True Struggle : Kashmir

[Also published on Opinion, Rising Kashmir on May 13th, 2010]

~A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.

-John F Kennedy

The IK Group

Killing is the worst human tragedy. People, over the last 63 years for the quest of independence have practiced different tactics and strategies, thereby continuing the struggle in different phases and manners.However,any solution is still elusive.

Kashmir's misfortunes do not end here.India and Pakistan both have their own reasons to seek accession of Jammu-Kashmir to their country.The ideological divergences of Chowdary Abbas and Sheikh Abdullah has faced a popular rebellion for a genuine reason.

Those who are trying to project the present struggle as religious one are deliberately trying to confuse the issue. Their aim is very clear - they don't want the issue to be resolved. It is clear to everyone that by projecting the Kashmiri struggle as religious(which is known as "Islamic fundamentalist struggle"), they are only trying to deprive it from desperately needed internal and external support. Also by projecting it as a so called fundamentalist or extremist religious movement, an attempt is being made to frighten off the non Muslims of Kashmir. Already a lot of damage has been done to the social and community harmony, and such attempts are made to ensure that the minorities of Kashmir remain divided.

The people of Kashmir have rendered epitome sacrifices for their nation. But, after a decade of armed aggression and violent protests we have to see where we stand in the dynamics of struggle.We have tested friends and their pledges,we have learnt a lesson,although a bitter one, but we are getting more and more clear about our destination.

Once our minds are ready to accept the changing circumstances around,we will come to know that we have axed our own grind and we are the uprooters of our own nation.The struggle has entered into a new phase, and for this new phase we need to have a new strategy. The strategy we had at the beginning of the present struggle will on longer be relevant to this new phase. We can learn from our mistakes and see what went wrong in the struggle that we are facing the present crises.

We have to fight all elements so that every kind of pressure is exerted on the occupation.Whether people work inside the constitution of both countries for the 'basic right of self determination ' or outside the electoral frays, their strategies should be acceptable to the international community.

Those who are trying to confuse the issue at this juncture, and are trying to deprive the genuine Kashmiri struggle of internal and external support by projecting it as extremist, are not friends of the people. And if we want to improve the situation in Kashmir and build a society that believes in pluralism and have peace and harmony, then we have to stand together and fight these elements and encourage discourses.

There is growing tendency in the world to resolve, differences through continued negotiations, and the realization that decisions imposed through violence do not provide lasting peace and stability.

© Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Polythene Pollution in Paradise!

Polythene scraps have drastically disturbed every man's lifestyle in the valley. This appalling amount of trash remains scattered in every street and mohalla. We spend a sizable chunk of money to keep our homes clean but we forget about our environs. Enough is enough! We need to be disciplined and we must cultivate civic sense to save Kashmir from this disaster.

In order to fight the peril of polythene pollution, the government institutions and social reformers should come up with laws and ideas that restrict the use of polythene all over the valley. These 'bags of trouble' have already posed a new treat to an environmentally lawless place like Kashmir which is already suffering from the menace of water pollution and various other kinds of misfortunes.

Environmental groups say that without awareness among people and tough legislative laws, it is very difficult for the government to attain any success in its fight against polythene. A vigilant public opinion can only fight the problems arising out of the use of polythene, for which we all must owe responsibility seriously. We should perform consecrate duty towards this burning problem.

Tons of polythene is imported in the valley every 6 months. Foreign currency is spent by the country for importing the raw materials to create the bags, yet very few jobs are generated by their manufacture, whereas natural products such as paper bags would require no foreign currency expenditures and would create far more jobs for people making the products.

Polythene poses the highest threat to environment because they are not bio-degradable; they block drainage systems; limit the air to pass through the soil; disturbs the ecology and it also effects micro-organism life.The main reason for an alarming usage of polythene bags is that it comes for free. Shopkeepers blindly hand out polythene bags, little caring about its adverse effects.

Pollution free town is an aware citizen's first desire.The implementation of this policy should be genuinely supported by all sectors of society, even industrialists and business tycoons.If we look around the landmark places of Kashmir like Pahalgam,Gulmarg,Yusmarg,Harwan area and the Dal Lake area, we will notice that the sewage disposal installations are very mismanaged,no proper initiatives have been carried out in order to restore the green verdure of our environment.

If the relationship is strong, often government officials will tell us what we should not move the issue forward. It is important to remember that relationships with government need not always be confrontational! An advocacy campaign is not over when the law is passed. Working for enforcement is just as much the responsibility of civil society as is working for law passage.

When laws are not enforced, the very concept of law is weakened, and governments will sometimes neglect their enforcement duties if pressure ceases. The media pressure that resulted in the law could result in enforcement if civil society continued to highlight the problem to the degree it did before the law was passed.

Masses should work at building stronger relationship with policymakers. This would involve identifying appropriate people in government, meeting with them, writing letters, making phone calls, and sending newspaper articles and publications. Campaigners should involve experts, teachers, students, and other social workers to emphasize different angles and gain wider involvement in their movement. Nature is the best teacher. If we neglect nature, we won’t have a chance to regret.

© Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

'Protecting Human Rights = Protecting Killers ?'

[Also published on south Indian journal, Counter Currents]

In Kashmir, leaders likely support this equilibrium.Nearly one lakh Kashmiris have been victims of 'imposed disappearances',torture and killings

While previous governments now have admitted that many persons are missing, it was claimed that most of them had crossed the border into Pakistan to become militants.Under International Humanitarian Law,it is a crime because the previous innumerable cases have not been solved or even filed and the tradition of continual disappearances in Kashmir continues.'Unmarked graves' in Kashmir are deemed as 'unidentified foreign militants' by the Government of India-- who in reality were picked up by Indian Armed Forces,killed in custody and then falsely identified as foreign militants.In many cases, when relatives have succeeded in their demand to have graves exhumed, their claims have been found to be correct.People are not bitten by wild monkeys when they come out on streets.People don't protest for fun but it is actually the 'failure of deliverance' which drives them out of their homes.

According to Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP),Srinagar,"Our report alleges that more than 8,000 persons have gone missing in Jammu & Kashmir since 1989.Since 2006, the graves of at least 940 people are reported to have been discovered in 18 villages in Uri district alone.The existence of multiple graves which, because of their proximity to Pakistan controlled-areas, are in areas not accessible without the specific permission of the security forces. The Indian authorities put the figure at less than 4.000, claiming that most of these went to Pakistan to join armed opposition groups.A state police report confirmed some deaths in custody of 331 persons, and also 111 enforced disappearances following detention since 1989".

Tariq Ali, an eminent British intellectual wrote an article on London Review of Books where he stated, "An Amnesty International letter to the Indian prime minister in 2008 listed his country’s human rights abuses in Kashmir and called for an independent inquiry, claiming that ‘grave sites are believed to contain the remains of victims of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other abuses which occurred in the context of armed conflict persisting in the state since 1989. The graves of at least 940 persons have reportedly been found in 18 villages in Uri district alone.’ A local NGO, the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir (IPTK), states that extrajudicial killings and torture are a commonplace in the valley and that Western institutions don’t even try to do anything about this for fear of damaging relations with New Delhi. The figures provided by the IPTK are startling. It claims that the Indian military occupation of Kashmir ‘between 1989-2009 has resulted in 70,000+ deaths’. The report disputes claims that these killings are aberrations. On the contrary, they are part of the occupation process, considered as ‘acts of service’, and leading to promotion and financial reward (bounty is paid after claims made by officers are verified)."

In December 2009 International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian Administered Kashmir (IPTK) in collaboration with APDP produced another report called, "Buried Evidence" (www.kashmirprocess.org) in which IPTK has put the number of unmarked and massgraves at 2700 (having 2943 bodies) in Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora Districts.
Unlawful killings,draconian-like laws,arbitrary arrests and high levels of torture are direct violations to international humanitarian laws and are viewed as international crimes-To which State of India is a party.The extraordinary license of 'shoot to kill' is renewed with installation of every new government.The failure to deliver justice where the agencies have found that criminal acts have occurred,is an obvious indictment of all draconian powers including 'Armed Forces (Jammu & Kashmir) Special Powers Act' and 'Disturbed Area Act.'.We should salute the efforts of all Human Rights defenders who have silenced all uncivilized critics and have helped the society by exposing these barbaric facts to a higher degree.

According to popular sentiment,people are urging the Government to:

A)Immediately install a 'Truth Commission' in accordance with international humanitarian standards to inquire into serious violations by Security Forces for investigations regarding all disappearances and killings.

B)Revoke all laws enacted such as DAA,PSA and AFSPA which authorize excessive use of force beyond the limits of Human Rights Protection bodies.

C)Strengthen State Human Rights Commission.The state and national governments should take appropriate 'action' based only on the commission's recommendations.

D)Immediately respond to requests for necessary measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and civil society activists.

E)Strengthen and enforce laws and policies that protect detainees from brutal torture and other mistreatment

Installation of the Truth Commission would clarify incidents of killings,torture and disappearances in order to build a robust record of abuses by institutionalizing responsibility.It will identify individuals at senior levels who were involved in planning and executing such abuses.Governments here suffer from a 'conflict of interest' that has led to omitting of key perpetrators and embezzling evidence during investigations.In order to confuse,these cruel fakes participate in intimidation of witnesses and complaints and other questionable practices.There have been unfair evidential burdens which families face in proving 'disappearances' and extrajudicial executions because the State Government exclusively controls the 'evidence archives' necessary to prove violations-which it rarely turn over.Officials & Bureaucrats in Kashmir are champions in shifting the burden of proof to refute the allegation of violations.Harassment has immorally imitated witnesses which has caused complainants to withdrew cases after repeated abuse.

In order to remedy violations,Government should provide compensation to victims and their beneficiaries based on spectrum of rights violations they have suffered such as:

A)Free admissions in Schools,Universities,Colleges & Special Provisions in Job recruitment.

B)Health Assistance for physical and mental harm incurred by victims and their families.

C)Expunge criminal records of false cases filed against victims and their family members.

D)Develop memorials that commemorate and acknowledge innocent victims of the counterinsurgency abuses.

E)Determining the 'final fate' of disappeared and killed.

There should be a 'genuine course of action' which should meet obligations to investigate violations by taking appropriate measures ensuring that those suspected of criminal responsibility are prosecuted and duly punished. People have been struggling for truth and justice since late 1980's. A long lasting peace perhaps would be the biggest tribute to families who have been victimized through violence. People should build intense pressure for action to raise the cost of human rights abuse.

Quote Reference:Amnesty International(www.amnesty.org)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dal Lake:The Dying Heritage

[Also published on View Point, Rising Kashmir on 30 March, 2011]

[Also published on Kashmir Dispatch]

The IK group

Study of environment helps in sustaining development within a nation and it harmonizes peace with nature . We have to 'return to nature'. It is our responsibility to establish a genial relationship with nature. Kashmiris however have unfortunately suffered from corrupt officials, religious zealots and extortionists. This has left deep scars on our lives, economy and ofcourse-'ecology '. Vale of Kashmir is bestowed with beautiful meadows, streams, rich green forests making it the most unparalleled land on earth. Having said that,the healthy aura of our natural resources has been exploited just for luxury-'without realizing its consequences'.

To gauge the nature of these issues,it is essential to know the magnitude of misery inflicted on environment. There have been no strict and effective measures for it till now . Our disaster management has itself proved as a disaster. The other unfortunate fact is the lack of 'environmental education' among the masses. We seriously lack any ethics or civic sense. Erosion in Kashmiri morality has resulted as an erosion in our 'traditional values'-gifted to us by our great saints . It has also introduced a new life style in our traditional culture which opposed our traditonal, home grown values.

Over the years, The Dal Lake has been encroached upon and been polluted. Due to our uncaring attitude, lake is shrinking in size because the 'weed growth' has interrupted its size. Its purity has been affected through pollutants from its catchments. In recent years, hanji orchardists have developed and used chemical fertilizers which literally get washed off with the lake. The health of the lake has reached to an epidemic level. Tourism has played no less a role in contributing to the pollution and contamination of the atmosphere and it has also created an imbalance in the natural vista and phenomenon. The noisy and talkative tourists are busy munching their food carried in polythene packets and throwing these away heedlessly into our waters and its environs.

According to World Wide Fund for Nature, Switzerland,"The entire Kashmir valley forms the catchment area of the lake and it carries a large amount of untreated organic and inorganic waste from townships and houseboat moorings". The State business tycoons and industrialists have had recently quarreled on a media channel stating that the degradation of Dal lake has not taken place by any houseboat moorings. This statement of theirs reflects gross ignorance about the geographic phenomena in their motherland. Thus putting forth any counter argument against these inauspicious facts reflects nothing but crude ignorance through which some people try to justify their business endeavors.

The lake is a source of livelihood to thousands of people residing around. They should identify its unhealthy boundaries and several proposals should be formulated for its protection and preservation. It is obvious that whichever group and political agency takes hold of the state, the unavoidable noose of powerful business tycoons is destined to hang around their neck, of course with their own selfish choice and welcome gesture. It is a high time for the authorities to revise over and make a thorough reappraisal of the laws,rules and regulations in order to regulate the morals and effective methods. A cultural revolution is needed with the aim of saving this unique heritage.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Corruption in Kashmir

[Also published on Op-ed, Rising Kashmir - June 19, 2011]

Kashmir sits at the top brace in the league of corruption in India. The lust for 'greed and power' in Kashmir, has granted huge amount of money in hands of some people, while most of the people have become increasingly poor. There is corruption at every level, every sphere and every degree in our social order. Obtaining riches has taken all priorities of life. Traditional ethics have been mocked - if we are not shocked by it, why don't we atleast emphasize that obtaining money or a service through illicit means is sinful?

Adventures of corruption have suffocated both public and private sectors. Corruption in one form or the other, has been part of our social strata, and has variegated incidence in different times and at different places. This has lead to despair and resignation on the part of those people who are concerned about it, which mainly include social activists and intellectual commentators. Yet, it has received remarkably little attention from administration and state actors. Our corruption rate is so high that it is difficult to understand which science or which benefit analysis would preclude it from its inclination.

Kashmir has been choked to death by cumbersome and dishonest bureaucracies, thereby slowing down any economical, social and technological advances. Elections for pro-Indians and massive agitations for separatists have given nativity to immoral practices -- 'speedy money' through 'fat levy bribes.' The amount of red tape, mockery of judicial system and political hooliganism at our place is highly alarming. Starting from a ward councilor to a MLA, allegations of corruption have been heard of. Public money has resulted as a free gift. Corruption has brilliantly blended in our lives, in a way that we have totally lost sense of it. Unless and until the top hierarchical order don't show any dedication in chopping the 'weeds of corruption,' from the root levels, no one can prevent it from growing, either today or in the near future.

There are many facets of corruption. Political. Economical. Moral. Social. Legal.
Some have even tainted it to be as fearful as terrorism. Infact, it facilitates terrorism. Religion, western philosophy and psychology calls it a crime - a major offence.

Corrupts have learned boldness and have won an 'influence of expansion.' In our society, it has facilitated outlaws, revenge seekers, incompetents and pseudo pacifists. Due to menacing corruption, home grown wars, varied goals and competing cultures have been institutionalized. Social inclusiveness has taken a halt. It has alleviated our political conflict, and acquired a major role to play because people have taken it to imposing heights. The masses have been petrified and terrified because this 'degree' of action has hacked their social domain, thereby giving them emotional tortures.

Bad governance is also inherent to corruption. If leaders desist from being accessories to it, or condemn it strongly, our society will be less corrupt and this will enhance peace, development and stability in our territorial domains.

The people who work on daily wages in factories or the mazdoors, rehri wala, small owners of convenient stores, darzis and wazas are not corrupt. Unfortunately it is the 'educated class' of our society, the bureaucracy, the politicians, the service sector associates, who are suffering from this trait of corruption - favoritism - nepotism - degeneracy, in other words. There is a need to implement genuine education against corruption, and that can help in bringing certain sophistication, an elevated culture and optimism in ones personality. It can cleanse out skepticism from our mentality, and can eventually make us aware and perceptive individuals.

A bribe in Kashmir is endorsed as a gift, an incentive for service for a considered promise; but threats evolving from these bribes are far more dangerous to our society - both in terms of long term and short term forecasting. It seriously halts our platform for any kind of emancipation. As poorer people slide deep into economic trouble, the social devastation it causes, is merely evaded or excused. It has given us putrefaction and aggravation.

Our economics has been badly affected by these debase practices. Just like tyranny, corruption is a great disease to any society. There is a need to focus on the tension between 'self-seeking behavior' and 'public values.' High levels corruption are associated with our economic sector also. It has reduced the efficiency of our industrial policies, levels of output in investment and there is a growth of violations in financial regulations. There have been no reforms which could reduce incentives for bribery and decrease the risk of corruption. The total elimination of corruption from our society is improbable but steps can be taken to limit its reach and reduce the harm it causes.

Given the perceived high levels of corruption in Kashmir and the way it has been institutionalized, the pattern has resulted in an unauthorized leakage in social and administrative levels. It is a pity that neither of our political leaders nor our administrators ever talk of corruption, its levels, and its minimization as a remedial strategy, of either of the various plans laid down by activists and visionaries of civil society. In the matrix of anti-corruption strategies in world order, the level of commitment of political leaders and the adequacy of anti-corruption measures, Kashmir perhaps falls in the’hopeless’ strategy cell, indicating extremely weak political commitment and inadequate anti-corruption measures.

Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Doable Concept of 'Azaadi'

The IK Group

The concept of independent Kashmir measures the aspiration among the masses in abidance as the present political arrangement is not recognized by international structures i.e UNCIP etc.The gradual erosion of 'Azaadi sentiment' has been through unfair diplomatic means .Over the years, leaders have failed in institutionalizing the claims of the people.The legislative bodies developed on both sides are marketed as a substitute for self determination.Leaders have embedded the right of self determination' into respective legislative assemblies,thereby eroding the aspirations of the masses.Without signing the 'written affidavit' of allegiance to both countries,no political institution is allowed to take part in the election.The present spatial attributes of resolution are clear-A relationship should continue to be based on centralized power structure from New Delhi and Islamabad.

The current arrangement directly or indirectly predetermines the accession to Pakistan and India respectively . Several international independent analysts have stated that elections have never been held freely.Election commissions have sponsored manipulated and spoofed elections, especially in 1987 elections. At the same time, there have been no international voices to condemn these practices. How do we expect a resolution possible or Kashmir to develop, when the conditions created are hostile for safety by both India and Pakistan? The communal twist flavored and mood of hostility created by leaders on both sides will soon turn Kashmir into a wild fanatic state by creating another Taliban with Ak47 as the major export.

Endorsement of legal powers in accord with international conventions which safeguard rights-liberties and redistribute attributes of sovereignty is needed through genuine evolution from actors of both countries.Post 1996,the 'Azaadi sentiment' has acquired a major role in ensconcing the dispute for the process of accommodation.But the biggest hindrance faced by the people is that the leaders have succeeded in evolving a 'trait of flexibility' for the fear of getting irrelevant.The reason for that has been the 'lust for power and wealth'.This has unfortunately created an environment of 'mistrust' and 'social fragmentation'.

The concept of 'Azaadi' should address Indian stands,Pakistani Stands as well as Kashmiri stands through a tripartisan solution by balancing the political,legal and social persuasions of the people.'Internal sovereignty' is more important than concepts of autonomy and self rule.This is the main reason why many attempts regarding implementation of prevailing ideas have failed. An accomplishable resolution can be implemented through enabling an environment of demilitarization , developing new prototype political structures within the region and through shared economic integration(drafted in one economic union) between three parties.Joint institutions created would co-ordinate newly formed relationships.The state of India and Pakistan have failed to genuinely address the issue so far because they have been provided a 'liberty of multiple interpretations'.

The only substitute for dialogue is violence.Every day when these leaders delay talks, at least 20-30 people add up to the list of casualties. The best method in decreasing level of violence is through peaceful negotiations. It is a long term concept for establishing peace.However, there have been no hints of an international intervention-their role has been resisted to mere spectators.Violence has fretted the essence of 'Azaadi' by hijacking our social domain. Leaders are slaves of the prevailing sentiment and have crossed all ideological extremes to facilitate an invalid democratic establishment.This is a harsh reality.Massive human right violations have alleviated the scope for armed and non armed secessionist movements as a result of failure initiated by both countries.

The methodology that would facilitate a resolution would be:

A)Identifying the roots of conflict.

B)Revering the sacrifices rendered.

C)Democratic evaluation by initiating the right of self determination.

D)Redefining political and military institutions in the new state of affairs.

E)Making independent homeland as the most important element in the resolution process.

F)Outmost sincerity and dedication in pursuing the resolution.

G)Involving leaders in an 'inclusive process' from all strands of political thought.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Demilitarized Kashmir

Also appeared on The Kashmir Monitor and Rising Kashmir
The IK Group

The demilitarization proposals for Kashmir have come up several times over the years, but have never proceeded much beyond the stage of a rhetorical discussion, despite of the fact that all mainstream Indian political parties have included this concern in their respective manifestos and in their so called policy making. Even the powerful elites of Pakistani Army - General Karamat and former President, Pervez Musharaf have claimed that they almost came to a breakthrough in restructuring the heavily militarized ambiance across the borders of Kashmir, but these claims have been forgotten or more or less diluted with cavalier diplomacy and irregular politics in the region.
A conflict resolution cannot come when there is no realpolitik of prospects. Peace comes at a cost. For a case like Kashmir, leaders have to be open to both internal and external accords. As for India, in recent years, it had promised the beginning of a demilitarization process in November, 2004. A proposed withdrawal of an unspecified number of troops from Srinagar was announced ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the city. A skirmish of gun battle between the Indian troops and a couple of militants near the venue of Singh's public rally unsettled all plans. There was no word ever since, until a priority take over of the J&K State Police was announced, to manage the security affairs by the ruling state government, and the role of Indian central troops was assigned to tactical collaboration with the state police. Closure and transfer of some of the army battalion units from some areas of rural Kashmir also made news. Some muddy army bunkers were also demolished in the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar. But these developments are devoid of any importance, in keeping the view of a broader resolution in consideration – Kashmiri people still live in the world’s most militarized zone.
In the times of a peaceful protest, Kashmir slips into a police state; violence towards civilians retains its course, whenever a controversial killing or a protest takes place. In recent times, Kashmir has exploded with civil anarchy - in 2008, when a controversial land deal was about to get ratified, and in 2010 - when brutal street murders of civilian protestors happened after a cold blood murder of a school boy. It gave the world harsh reminders of a totalitarian Kashmir hijacked by a void democracy. Kashmir still bleeds openly, and is unable to voice its dissent in the times of injustice.

Kashmir has a history of despoil, controversial historic claims, corruption and administrative depravity. It has made this beautiful and ambitious landlocked vale into a grave dispute and the proof lies in its perpetual political volatility. Leaders and military strategists in India affirm to nationalistic ideals, and take sides on the Indian Military Defense restructuring - by stating reasons of heightened infiltration, dangers to logistics of Indian Army and tactical disadvantages in warfare. However, they have failed to realize that Kashmiris and their aspirations are far more sacred, and are even far more concerning towards a peace process than any military tactic. Keeping the inhuman record of Indian troops in consideration, the stability and starting of a peaceful resolution cannot make its presence felt without a total withdrawal of the Indian troops. When violence runs unabated towards innocent people, Kashmir’s occupation by military apparatus is a dangerous delusion towards political stabilization.

It is ironic when Indian media professionals, political analysts and politicians want to know the root causes of Kashmir crises, each time when its masses protest. Isn’t our history the most gratifying answer itself? Why is their solution only committed to economic grants, compensations and impractical promises? A culture of rejection by India in stating that the deployment of troops within a state of India cannot be decided by or in consultation with a foreign government is another proof of India’s arrogant, unreasonable and inordinate self esteem. Calling a peace process off after a victim of violence has been the essence of Indian politics towards the Kashmir issue.

A joint commission could be formulated by India and Pakistan, which could include experienced dignitaries in politics, key pacifiers, external non-state groups, who would monitor the demilitarization process and decommissioning of armed groups. The agenda could include revocation of all draconian military powers, no interaction between the civilians and the army and inclusion of armed militants in dialogue process. Demilitarization would transform Kashmir into a peaceful political zone. This can only be achieved if different sections of leadership venture out in a balanced and unfeigned environment. The result of demilitarization would fast track the resolution and would provide new initiatives for the dialogue process. Withdrawal of Indian troops will pave the ways for peaceful solution of Kashmir issue.
Triumphalism of the oppressor to the oppressed changes itself to revolution when the oppressed retaliates. This change is inevitable. The final cause of every conflict zone is the transformation and emancipation, as a geographical entity, by breaking through the shackles of political injustice, economic inequality and intellectual slumber. This time will also come to Kashmir one day.
Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir

Monday, February 2, 2009

Kashmir's power of Hydro-energy

The IK Group

Kashmir should have been exporting hydro energy right now.Unfortunately, it all gets eaten up by two energy deficit watchdog countries .The reason for this is that we dont have any freedom of control over our natural resources.The hydro electric projects built are fully regulated under rigid central control.We have to give royalties to compensate for absolutely no reason and are irrelevantly dependent on both countries to fulfill our energy demand.In history,treaties were signed for sharing river waters which are completely against the interests of the people of Kashmir and most of the hydro electric projects by now are caught up in quarrels between two countries due to administrative inactiveness and formal accusations of corruption.Till now,work on some projects has been going on since decades and their completion is nowhere in good deal.

The total hydropower generation potential in both parts of Kashmir is around 25000 MW (Mega Watt) without restrictions of any treaties .Economic and Technical Investigations have been carried out in Indus ,Jehlum,Chenab and Ravi Rivers.The usage by both parts would be a rough estimate of 3000 MW(1600 for IOK and 1400 for POK).That means a total investment needed to build advanced hydro electric projects for a remaining capacity of untapped 22000 MW generation would be a massive chunk of $4 billion dollars.Atleast 60% of the hydro electric generation would be available for export which would need an extra $50 million dollars for energy exportation.Hydro electric projects are highly capital intensive and are naturally dependant on rapid water pressure to run wheels and turn shafts.In summers,river discharge is very high but hydel capacity goes down to 66% in winters which is resisted by gas turbines which generate around 140 MW.Although expensive, they are used to curb shortages during peak time.However some projects have had absence of any storage discharge apparatus,reservoirs which has resulted in a 50% loss of its capacity.That means some projects are still dependent on direct flow of water due to lack of financial resources.

Developing new massive hydro projects by facilitating massive FDI would create a skilled and unskilled workforce potential of one hundred and twenty thousand labourers(1,20,000).It will create a favourable impact on the local economy by pumping up atleast 70% of the total project cost including compensation of land acquired and unskilled employment dependant on civil work.It will turn create emphasis on optimal efficiency on minimum requirement basis and will spur rapid economic growth and new economic opportunities in commercialization.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Unfortunate Partition of Kashmir-Part B (UN Scope)

The IK Group

At University of Oxford ,the perception of a conflict resolution is defined as "Nothing is resolvable & Nothing is irresolvable".In contrary, whenever at UN ,a model on Kashmir conflict with a concept of independent homeland is presented ,it gets diluted by competing claims of New Delhi and Islamabad .Therefore only a distinction of dependable visionaries and sound decision makers will make a difference.The net result of a resolution so far has been irrelevant flexibility by both countries.Indian state has not given sound measures while Pakistan has given denotations of what could be acceptable.The yard stick for success in the Indian and Pakistani bureaucratic and political institutions still seems to be the capability to impede resolution rather than to facilitate resolution.The remorseful history of Kashmiri partition and of developed leaders on both sides has not facilitated a resolution in the past and is unlikely going to facilitate a resolution in the future unless and until realistic approaches are not followed.India and Pakistan both have enjoyed frequent proposals in the past but have always ended up with an anti climax.The anti climax seems to be the preferred pleasure for both countries.

The recent bus services and limited trade spaces are hijacked by local realities because these concepts were implemented at a wrong time and from wrong hands.Utilized electronic media has inturn marketed demonic and inhuman versions of each other and unfortunately this continued propaganda will crusade an accomplishable resolution into a hapless failure.The timeless mutual distrust of India and Pakistan is not allowing an internationally recognized dispute of Kashmir to resolve.The country actors of both states are watchdogs regarding interests of people from both countries and thereby regard Kashmir dispute as a secondary priority.Political machinery of both India and Pakistan have given a strange leniency to Kashmiri society so that people can freely drift away to means of extremism which is not accepted in any political world order.If basic societal parameters have been compromised and transformed into an irreversible state in the process, political objectives are accomplished according to the Charter of United Nations.This linear and liberal perspective of The United Nations Council needs to be implemented accordingly without caring about the perspectives of India and Pakistan.

Timing in any conflict resolution is very important which unfortunately is already passed for the people of Kashmir.Parties to a dispute try to negotiate only when they have a bargaining advantage .The bargaining advantage was higher in early nineties than at present.Unlike India and Pakistan,the time factor is not an advantage to the people of Kashmir.This needs to be understood by the council.The institutional involvement of the council can help in achieving desired level of expectations with a round of dialogue ,if tuned with reality.The result of involvement of the UN Council whether failure or success, could help in understanding the dynamics of the conflict and can provide scope for identifying areas of emulation and avoidance because there is a sense of pessimism about the success of the peace process among the leaders of India and Pakistan which has resulted as an ill fortune for the people of Kashmir.Start of a negotiation process is not the start of a solution or resolution.Civilized behavior as depicted by summits and meetings between the two countries ,is actually nowhere close to any civilized behavior in reality.

The fatalities of non combatant civilians continue to be a daily occurrence and a way of life for leaders in Kashmir.Arbitrary arrests, draconian laws, life-threatening emergency powers of disturbed area act ,vicious special armed forces protection act in Indian occupied Kashmir and all versions of torture continue as natural laws. Installation of Truth Commissions by UN council recognized by an international mandate would allow victims, their relatives and perpetrators to give evidence to prevent re occurrence of such savage abuses. Truth Commissions would exist for a designated period of time on both sides and can exhibit a variety of organizational analysis of processes and procedures, with a goal of producing and disseminating a final report, including conclusions.The objectives would produce accounts of past history of abuse and would promote reconciliation.The establishment of a Truth commission in Kashmir is essential to restore the social and political equilibrium and can help in healing the damaged fabric.This will transform the objectives of the peace talks into short term process rather than a long term process of resolution.

There is an urgent need to evolve a rehabilitation and reintegration plan for thousands of ex militants and victims of violence. The sincerity in proposals for peace lies partly in exhibiting the desired will to facilitate a dignified transformation to non violence as opposed to a transformation that is eternally rooted in humiliation.People who died in the conflict mostly belonged to low income groups and left behind families,most of whom struggle to survive in the most undignified and impoverished conditions.

Youth has been spent either fighting for the nation or in jail.Thousands who were coerced to work in pursuit of a wage for the military apparatus were killed by ex comrades. State of India defines victims of violence as those people killed by the armed groups, while state of Pakistan formally recognizes all the people killed as victims of violence but aid is informally sourced to victims killed by the Indian security forces.UN council should devise a long-term policy which should include special quotas for jobs in public sectors and admissions in colleges and universities.

There is no evidence that the two countries have decided to utilize their state media to evolve a consensus among the people. Neither of the two governments would want to go against the popular mood in the respective countries right now. The mood being created is wicked portrayal of hostility.Respective state media of both countries are acting like they have been given roles for flaming a serious armed war.They are keen to confuse the conflict of Kashmir even further for a longer term.State media has miserably failed in creating an awareness among the masses.They have a temptation of making violence a convenient excuse in the peace process by making it a hostage to violence.UN council is an international witness to this and proper efforts should be adopted to change the mindset of people in both countries. An average Indian and Pakistani is as always obsessed with hostile sentiments and this is creating serious hindrances for Kashmiris in accomplishing political salvation.It is important to understand that the success of the solution lies not only in solution reflecting the majority sentiment of Kashmiris but also how explicitly the solution is perceived by the majority sentiment of Indians and Pakistanis.It is imperative to create an environment wherein pressures for solution are felt internally.

Last year has seen a strange ideological rethinking in the pro Indian mainstream parties like in the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party.They seem to have gone into a sudden ideological drift and have postured themselves somewhat close to the postures of the separatists .This is mainly viewed as a free fall in their ideology by the world and its causes are traced to failure in delivering promises as there are attempts by the mainstream parties to occupy- what would have been the bargaining space of the separatists. .The mainstream parties of Pakistan occupied Kashmir are inturn ruined in rigidity ,religious fanaticism and uncivilized pattern of wild swinging between talks and boisterous shows of belligerence.This losing streak in both parts of Kashmir is one of the main reasons for the perceived failure.The ideological meandering by the mainstream parties is likely to impede rather than facilitate the resolution process.Parties which contest elections as fierce rivals somehow join hands together after the results and form the next embezzled government.This fractured leadership is a serious problem but somehow this has been received in a hearty manner by both countries.India and Pakistan are only two nations of its kind which encourage a perplexing school of thought by smacking democracy.

The UN council should make positive attempts to start a process of accommodation by making plebiscite and demilitarization as a reference point.The reference point would assume importance like in any process of accommodation leading to a solution.In pursuit of the cause,the people of Kashmir have given exemplary sacrifices in using political and non political methods and have been witness to an armed conflict which consumed thousands of lives.The Council should realize the sacrifices rendered because ignoring sacrifices would be tantamount to facilitating failure.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ominous Partition of Kashmir

[Also published on Muslim Institute London]

[Also published on Kashmir Watch]

[Also published on Counter Currents]

The IK Group

Our ambitions were hijacked by the most bizarre shortcut: Chowdary Abbas and Muslim Conference to Pakistan. National Conference and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah to India. There was no erosion on this because there was no room for erosion in an advantageous centralized power sharing structure as both countries had an appetite to gobble up Kashmir ever since the British flee the sub-continent. Kashmir was neither a part of Pakistan nor India before 1947. It was part of an independent princely state by default under a hereditary Monarch ruler through a bilateral agreement with the British Empire.
The conceptual partition of Kashmir was only applicable until British rule. Today, the perspectives of both India & Pakistan are far less liable in the context of struggle and sacrifices rendered by the people of Kashmir. This act of partition eroded the role of Kashmiris pertaining to future ambitions through territorial occupations, and by continual  tussles in keeping the dispute alive. The prevailing political sentiment of majority Kashmiris has been against the prevailing political arrangement with both countries.
When the partition happened, leaders in Kashmir were assigned roles in exchange for loyalties to both respective countries which meant division of leadership into pro India & pro Pakistan. There were different classes of leaders in Kashmir: 'popular and unpopular,' 'educated and uneducated,' 'opportunists' -all united for an advantageous common cause : a role in the new emerging state of affairs. This grabby tradition started developing leaders rather than identifying leaders which sadly persists till date. Sheikh Abdullah and Chowdary Abbas were two former friends, fellow political comrades and their political differences helped both countries in formation of an individual power structure. Both leaders were exploited and they ensured that no secondary democratic institutions were developed on either side. Efforts were made to weaken pro Kashmir camps in both countries by isolating people and transforming Kashmir into a zone of artificial political institutionalization. Even after decades, both parts of Kashmir are subject to a serious dispute, as their is no kinship between two parts since 1947, which is supplemented by deceptive political nomenclature.
The Indian side of argument of accession argues that Kashmir is an integral part but their claims cannot be justified historically, morally or legally. Indian political machinery has to realize that the ongoing political and social resistance movements,continual loss of life and property is an indicator and reminder that ignorantly holding on to the land by armed aggression, hijacking freedom of choice and keeping the dispute unresolved totally violates accepted principles of liberty under international law structures. Delay tactics may favor India but it is not an advantageous asset to the people of Kashmir by any means. Historically, Indians can be held guilty to flee Maharaja forcibly from Kashmir and for massacre of Muslims. The Deed of Accession, whether valid or invalid, is inculcated with sovereign rights and establishes a loose linkage with India .The Indian state’s attitude on plebiscite has not been worthy of reliance from time to time. Kashmiri psyche has somehow firmly refused to be a part of Indian integration. This is a coarse, yet a truthful political reality.
The harsh reality remains that India never had a majority sentiment among the major sections of Kashmiri society. Every common Kashmiri citizen can articulate tales of agonies, arrest or embarrassment and frustrations of frisking at a military check point. India has miserably failed in binding together the people of Kashmir because attitude of India has left negative imprints on resolution process. People in Kashmir do not expect the state of India to constitute a resolution. The conclusions drawn by the people suggest that the Indian state has not delivered in the past and will not deliver at present or in the coming future. This is an uncanny dilemma which can be resolved only by the state of India, which can also contribute to its political image building, both at national and international levels.
Islamic Republic of Pakistan has also failed to fulfill obligations of an honest and helpful neighbor which unfortunately persists till today. Historically, mostly everyone believes in a theory that the North-West Frontier tribesmen assailed Kashmir as armed brigands, who were seeking to plunder and win booties, and seemed less as freedom pundits for Kashmiris. At that time, Pakistani army didn't bother to use aggressive means which would had curbed a controlled invasion. For decades, Pakistan has failed in controlling its intelligence units which has used aggression and conspiracies as a successful dispatch against India. The complete extermination of Jehadi camps in Pakistan still remains a distant reality. Religious fundamentalism, civil strife and minority intolerance looms large in Pakistani politics. The discredited politicians of Pakistan are busy amassing wealth and are cohorts of vendetta politics. Military junta is always looking to seize political power. 
Pakistan has institutionalized its relationship with Azad Kashmir through a council headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Azad Kashmir, as the name suggests, has it own Prime Minister, President, Supreme Court, magistrates, and enjoys considerable autonomy under the Pakistani dominion - a less disputed arrangement if we talk of Indian arrangement with Kashmir in comparison. However, there have been similar stories of rigged elections and leadership biases. Many political commentators have accused Pakistan in empowering these titles to their ideological allies in Azad Kashmir.
There has been no genuine civilized interaction between the two countries.Wars have been fought, negotiations have been attempted, pacts have been signed, an armed movement is still on and yet a decisive outcome is still elusive. Even till now the outlook of a common Indian and Pakistani hasn't changed. Both commit hate and nurture visions of destruction for each other. Both are still obsessed with the competing versions of history through state media. The domestic politicians of Kashmir inturn want to whip each other through hostile sentiments. Both countries are ruined with a fatal overdose of bilateralism and want to pursue a resolution by giving riddances to the masses of Kashmir. This has set the stage for a historic battle of arrogates, wars, countless counter attacks on media, which has resulted in daunting hope for the people of Kashmir. The resolution process of Kashmir is vested in Indian and Pakistani interests and not according to the ambitions of Kashmiris.The most unfortunate part is the delusory propaganda carried on the TV media. There is a feeling of betrayal among the mindset of Kashmiris, on both sides, resulting in a social obsession to change the piteous destiny of Kashmir.
Nevertheless, the new generation of Kashmir is already showing signs of a distinct mindset and have the spirit to change the destiny of troubled Kashmir .The new era in the region is increasingly being defined by high literacy rates, easy accessibility to media, internet, and more exposure in a global world. Well-informed, economically prosperous, globally conscious members of the coming generations of Kashmir are likely to translate into emancipated and articulate minds of the future. The youth at present are better placed to resolve the dispute than previous generations.