Srinagar vs Muzaffarabad - true perspective

Chaudhry Abdul Majeed Those who have been closely watching the activities and writings of Dr Syed Nazir Gilani know it well that he has proved himself to be a useful pawn for Indian intelligence agencies. The objectives have been to discredit the Kashmir liberation movement, distract Kashmiris attention away from their just cause and create disillusionment about Pakistan among the Kashmiri people. An example that can be quoted in this regard is Dr Gilanis latest writing, Srinagar vs. Muzaffarabad, which is not more than a jumble of inaccuracies and blatant bias. The writer has raised many issues triggering doubts about the suitability of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Constitution of 1974, civil liberties and political authority in AJK, Kashmiris participation in the legislation of the territory, the way elections are being conducted, Pakistan governing AJK as its colony, and the responsibilities of the Government of Pakistan under the UNCIP resolutions. The malicious motive behind the exercise is to further Indian design of conveying the false notion that India runs Occupied Kashmir in a more democratic way than Pakistan runs Azad Kashmir. In the write up, stories have been fabricated about late K.H. Khurshid, Justice M.Y. Saraf, and Khwaja Sanaullah Butt to cast an impression as if they had to face the wrath of Pakistani governments for advocating civil liberties in AJK. However, Dr Gilani has not been able to produce an evidence to substantiate the point. He can be genuinely asked, why he bypasses in his writings the torture and humiliation, the respectable leaders of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference have been routinely subjected to by the Indian authorities, the action of Indian troops stripping naked Professor Abdul Ghani Butt in Udhampur Police Lines, and the inhuman treatment meted out to the Hurriyet leaders during their incarceration in Jodhpur jail The number of Kashmiris, who migrated from IHK since 1947 due to the persecution of the authorities, is in thousands. If the people were being victimised in Azad Kashmir for criticising Pakistan, how a person like Gilani could have been spared. He has been talking all absurdity against Pakistan and the Kashmir Movement, and at the same time has been paying frequent visits from London to his home at Satellite Town in Rawalpindi, addressing press conferences in the capital city of Islamabad and attending seminars in a free atmosphere. Everybody knows that Gilani has been actively working in Europe quite against the interests of Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. He was the person who supported European Parliamentarian Emma Nicholson in producing a controversial report, which favoured the Indian position on Kashmir with unfounded observations against Pakistan, as well as Kashmiris right to self-determination. The Indian intelligence agencies paid Gilani the price for his services by sponsoring his visits to the occupied territory with a State protection. The people of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) have been demanding their inalienable right to self-determination and, in response, during the last 22 years the Indian troops have killed over 93,000 people, tortured over 100,000 and molested 10,000 women. One cannot quote even a single casualty of such nature about AJK. Everyone is fully cognisant of the fact that in IHK the matter is of the foreign occupation, while the issues in AJK can at the most be related to governance and administration. Dr Gilani in a subtle way praises India for bringing about a change in IHK. According to him, India is tolerating dissent voices of Omer Abdullah, like his demand of active engagement with Pakistan and repeal of draconian laws from some districts of the territory. But Gilanis remarks are ridiculous, since Omer is not saying anything that goes against the position of India. Dr Gilani may not like that his readers should recall that when Omers grandfather, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, took a stand in 1953 that went contrary to Indias plans, he was not only unceremoniously removed from his office of premiership, but also sent behind the bars for a period of 11 years. Dr Gilani has quoted certain sections of the AJK Constitution to prove his absurd point that Azad Kashmir has been turned into a colony by Pakistan. He must be aware of the fact that the said Constitution has not been a promulgation or ordinance imposed by any Pakistani government on the territory, but a culmination of a process of constitutional development in AJK. It was the demand of the people in 1973-74 to modify the Government Act 1970 by introducing a parliamentary form of government in Azad Kashmir, and resultantly an agreement was reached between Pakistani government and the AJK leaders a meeting on June 10, 1974, to introduce the Interim Constitutional Act. The Act was passed by the Kashmir Assembly in August 1974 and was signed by the then President of AJK. The Act is open for amendments and modifications for which procedure has been laid down in its Section 33. So why should impostors like Gilani exploit certain articles of the Act for their venomous campaign against Pakistan. Let the democratic process take its own course, if the people of AJK feel a need to amend any Article in their Constitution. The people in Gilgit-Baltistan have also taken a sigh of relief, since they were given constitutional rights in 2009. Elections in AJK are being periodically held in a free and fair atmosphere, barring few incidents of irregularities of such nature that can even be witnessed in big democracies of Europe and USA. On the contrary, the international bodies have been regularly documenting the stage-managed mass level rigging and cheating of elections in Occupied Kashmir. The preambles of the constitutions of IHK and AJK need to be scrutinised comparatively. Preambles actually define the basic purposes of the Constitution. The first para of the preamble of the AJK Constitution says: Whereas the future status of Jammu and Kashmir is yet to be determined in accordance with the freely expressed will of the people of the State through the democratic method of free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the UN, as envisaged in the UNCIP resolutions adopted from time to time. The third para says: And whereas it is necessary to provide for the better government and administration of AJK is determined as aforesaid and for that purpose to repeal and re-enact the AJK Government Act 1970, with certain modifications. This is what the Government of Pakistan has done in the discharge of its responsibilities under the UNCIP resolutions; accepting Kashmiris right to self-determination and providing a mechanism to the people of the territory to run their affairs. Now read the preamble of the Constitution imposed upon the people of Occupied Kashmir in 1957 by an Indian puppet Assembly: We, the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, having solemnly resolved, in the presence of the accession of this State of India which took place on the twenty-sixth day of October, 1947, to further define the existing relationship of the State with the Union of India as an integral part thereof. The meaning is crystal clear. India wants to put words into the mouth of Kashmiris that Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India; whereas, the international community has been witnessing the fact for the last six decades that their unparalleled sacrifices have been meant to achieve liberation from the Indian bondage. A sincere piece of advice to Dr Syed Nazir Gilani is that he should be faithful and sincere to his community and work for a collective cause, rather than for petty personal interests, give up lecturing Pakistan and ask India to abide by the UN resolutions on Kashmir and fulfil its responsibilities under the UNCIP resolutions. If he fails to understand the jurisprudence of the responsibilities of Pakistan and India as per the relevant UNCIP resolutions, his claim of having earned doctorate in law really becomes doubtful. The writer is the Prime Minister, Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

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