OpinionsWe are not independent because we have a big brother

We are not independent because we have a big brother

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We are not independent because we have a big brother

We are not independent because we have a big brother, Speech of Dr Shabir Choudhry in a Seminar during the UN Human Rights Council's 34th Session in Geneva 15 March 2017. The seminar was arranged by African International.

Mr Chairman, friends and colleagues Aslamo alaikam and good after noon

While addressing a ‘Round Table Conference of Jammu and Kashmir Diaspora' in London, which was held in London in January 2017, one speaker gave details of various independence movements and explained how they achieved independence. To this, Abbas Butt Chairman of Kashmir National Party responded:

‘They became independent because they did not have a big brother. We are divided and occupied because we have a big brother'.

This short comment sums up our fate and our relationship with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. After lapse of the British Paramountcy on 15 August 1947, Jammu and Kashmir became independent because the Ruler of the State decided not to accede with any country. If it was not for our ‘big brother' we could have remained independent. But the Rulers of Pakistan betrayed the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, and violated the Standstill Agreement by launching their illogical and imperial attack on Jammu and Kashmir State.

That unprovoked aggression of our so called big brother resulted in death and destruction, raping and kidnapping of women, looting and plunder and above all forced division of our motherland. When the matter was in the UN Security Council, and after the UNCIP Resolution of 13 August 1948, it looked that the people of Jammu and Kashmir could have got an option of an independent Jammu and Kashmir. The big brother soon got alarmed and proposed a change in the next Resolution that people of Jammu and Kashmir could only have two options, namely joining Pakistan or joining .

In other words, the big brother can accept if Jammu and Kashmir becomes part of India as result of a plebiscite; but cannot tolerate people of Jammu and Kashmir becoming independent and enjoying their freedom. Are we not lucky to have such a caring big brother? Thank you big brother for being so compassionate and caring. Also thank you to those citizens of Jammu and Kashmir who sing laurels for the big brother.

When we have a big brother and friend like Pakistan, do we need enemies? I hope no other nation gets such a selfish, unjust, oppressive and intolerant big brother.

Mr Chairman

Pakistan claims to be a democratic country, and claims to adhere to the UN Rights Covenants. How sad that all this is not true. A bitter fact is that anyone who dares to expose Pakistani human rights abuses pays a big price.

In January 2017, five Pakistani social media activists were abducted, among them was Waqass Goraya. These five were extremely lucky that they were released and they went back to their families; many don't return and even bodies of some are never found. These abductees remained quiet after their release. Waqass Goraya only spoke to the BBC after he left Pakistan and reached Holland.

He told the BBC that a “government institution” with links to the military held him and tortured him. He further saidhe was tortured “for pleasure…We knew it was over… We will die under torture.” He told the BBC that he had been tortured “beyond limits”.

Pakistan has won this reputation for being ‘one of the world's most dangerous countries for reporters and human rights activists', and those who criticise powerful military and secret agencies are harassed, abducted, ‘detained, beaten or killed'.

He further said: “They are still picking people, more and more people are being harmed – our friends, our colleagues – so how can we stop? Someone has to stand up.” 1

Mr Chairman

Some people may not like to hear this, but fact is that I am also a victim of Pakistan's unjust, anti-democracy and discriminatory policies. They have blocked my ID card which is extremely essential to a normal life in Pakistan and areas of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by Pakistan. It is evidence of one's existence. Without ID card police can stop you and arrest you anywhere, and at any time. You cannot open a bank account or operate one. You cannot buy or sell property. You cannot book a hotel room or apply a job.

In my case, I cannot visit my home village. I cannot visit my friends and relatives. I cannot visit grave of my beloved father. They have frozen my bank accounts. My crime is that I opposed their policies on Jammu and Kashmir which promote extremism, terrorism, intolerance and hatred. Their policies have divided Jammu and Kashmir; they are dividing people of Jammu and Kashmir, generating intolerance, hatred and violence. Above all, their policies provide opportunities to the India para military forces to oppress and kill people.

Some critics say to me if you are not a Pakistani than why do you need a Pakistani ID card? It is a valid point. These people fail to understand that Pakistan occupies my country; and if Pakistan leaves areas of Jammu and Kashmir they occupy, we can make a Jammu and Kashmir ID card.

Pakistani authorities know I am not a criminal or a violent man. I don't preach extremism and intolerance; and yet they don't want me to visit my homeland. They want to send a message to other nationalists of Jammu and Kashmir that if you also cross the red line, you will also be denied an ID card and a right to visit relatives and friends.

This act of Pakistan is also a clear violation of the UN Human Rights Charter, the UN Resolutions on Kashmir; and even against Pakistani constitution. It is sad that the ruling elite of Pakistan and especially the establishment think they are above every law.

 

Mr Chairman

I am a loyal son of Jammu and Kashmir. To date, I have done everything to protect and enhance interests of my motherland. It is sad that some misguided people are telling me that in order to be a loyal son of Jammu and Kashmir I must declare my loyalty to Pakistan first. No, Mr Chairman, I cannot declare my loyalty to Pakistan, or India for that matter. I want to live and die as a loyal son of my motherland – Jammu and Kashmir.

 

As a loyal son of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir, I sincerely believe that China Pakistan Economic Corridor is not in our best interests. I have every right to write and oppose this mega project which, like East India Company of the past centuries, will usurp our rights and loot and plunder our resources.

 

In my view these are the dangers because of the mega Project:

  1. Change status of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and Gilgit Baltistan;
  2. A serious danger in the demographic changes; already hundreds of thousands of non local people reside in Gilgit Baltistan and control local and politics;
  3. Enhance Pakistani and Chinese ability to loot and plunder our resources;
  4. We will suffer from enormous problems;
  5. Growing influence and power of secret agencies of Pakistan and competing interests of secret agencies of other countries will result in curbing our fundamental rights and more intimidation and harassment;
  6. Stationing of foreign troops to protect the CEPC route, and economic zones will also have very negative impact on our polity and our lives
  7. There is a possibility that those powers or groups which oppose the CPEC and growing Chinese influence in this region might try to sabotage the projects related to the CPEC by stationing their non state actors, which will surely affect our lives and our future;
  8. There is a serious danger that Pakistani occupied Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani occupied Jammu and Kashmir could become a battleground for competing interests of countries and their proxies; and especially a battleground for the new Great Game.

Those people who claim that in Pakistan, Punjab gets lion's share of rewards, perhaps they are not wrong. Just look at the data below which gives details of the loans from Agricultural Development Bank Limited; and it has provided the following loans:

  • Loans for Punjabi farmers 81%;
  • For Sindhi farmers 13.4%;
  • For KPK farmers 4.2%;
  • For Baloch farmers 0.3%;
  • For farmers of Azad Jammu Kashmir 0.3%, and
  • For farmers of Gilgit-Baltistan 0.4%. 2

This shows of level injustice and exploitation. Thank you Mr Chairman.

Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Chairman South Asia Watch and Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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