Jammu and Kashmir National Democratic Alliance -
A Step In Right Direction
By Dr Shabir Choudhry
15 November, 2010
Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party called a meeting of all nationalist parties of Azad Kashmir, which was attended by all parties apart from JKLF of Amanullah Khan. His boycott of the conference was expected. This conference is against his undeclared mission - that is to ensure that nationalists of Jammu and Kashmir are not united. The man has always been divisive and ego centric and his politics thrives on divisions and splits – may Allah put him on right path.
This initiative of NAP should be appreciated and all those who took part in this important conference should also be commended; as their hard work resulted in an alliance which could be of immense importance for the Kashmiri struggle, and especially for politics of Pakistani Administered Kashmir.
National Democratic Alliance wants to plan its strategy for the forthcoming elections in Pakistani Administered Kashmir. Nationalists of this region were kept away from the process of elections by a stipulation of Act 74, which states:
‘No one can contest elections of any kind in AK without taking oath of allegiance to Kashmir 's accession to Pakistan . If someone refuses to sign this allegiance, his nomination would be rejected for not filling in accession to Pakistan oath document.'
What this means is that no one can contest elections in Azad Kashmir without declaring loyalty to Pakistan; and no one can get a job either unless he declares that he will be loyal to Pakistan. Because of this clause nationalists of Azad Kashmir were kept away from the elections and Pakistan has built a strong pro Pakistan structure which aims to minimise the influence of nationalists in all walks of life.
During elections people take part in the public meetings and ask candidates to spell out their programmes; but because of the above clause which was designed to keep nationalists away from the masses that their message could not reach people. Some individuals understood this trap and fought elections, but they were unable to break the structure set up by Pakistan.
Kashmir National Party was the first party, which as an organisation took initiative and included in its constitution that we should take part in the electoral process on both sides of the LOC. Some so called leaders of Kashmir justified elections on the Pakistani side of the LOC, but strongly opposed elections on the Indian side of the LOC, even though they knew elections did not substitute a plebiscite.
They boycotted elections because they feared they would even lose their deposits and that would expose their credentials as leaders of the movement. Increasingly those who wanted to take part in the electoral process increased and in the last elections people ignored boycott plea of these so called leaders and actively took part in the elections held in Indian Administered Kashmir.
Amanullah Khan's role has been a subject of great controversies in Kashmiri politics. Many regard him as a collaborator of Pakistani secret agencies; and some even accuse him of being a murderer of Maqbool Butt, as it was he who ordered the killing of an Indian diplomat in England which resulted in hanging of Maqbool Butt in retaliation.
After being expelled from Britain on alleged charges of terrorism Amanullah Khan was at the mercy of Pakistani secret agencies and it was at that time, from a position of vulnerability he forged an alliance with the ISI to advance the cause of Pakistan in name of independence and Kashmiri struggle, which was later transformed in to Jihad and was labelled as a ‘proxy war'.
His brief from the ISI is to ensure that:
- No unity takes place among Kashmiri nationalists,
- No militancy takes place on the Pakistani side of LOC,
- Only the Indian side of Kashmir, especially the Valley remains centre of focus,
- And when nationalists on this side take an initiative which could be against interests of Pakistan, he should take a counter initiative and lead them in opposite direction, as he did at the time of quit Kashmir movement on this side of the LOC.
Some genuine nationalists on this side of the LOC started a quit Kashmir movement on Pakistani side of the LOC. Fearing that this movement might get some momentum and people might start some actions against forces of occupation here, Amanullah Khan was, once again, activated from his semi retirement to take the lead.
If a genuine quite Kashmir movement is started on this side of the LOC then demonstrators should march towards Kohala Bridge a border with Pakistan or towards Islamabad, as everyone knows it is forces of Pakistan which are in occupation here. Amanullah Khan, on the other hand, took the protestors to Chakothi, a border or LOC which divide both parts of the State, implying that it is the Indian side of Kashmir which is occupied and everything on this side is ‘rosy'.
After the news of National Democratic Alliance and Amanullah Khan's boycott of this conference was published on net - Face Book, I criticised his move. In reply to that a leader of National Students Federation, Raja Azad wrote back:
‘Well done Doctor Sahib. This is not the first time Amanullah Khan has done this. He has always remained away from the nationalists' platform. I was in college around the time of 1990 when NSF tried to unite nationalists in Kotli, you must rem ember Doctor Sahib. Even at that time Amanullah Khan did not turn up. He is a mere puppet and puppets are told what to do and not given choices. Even to this day he will celebrate the remembrance of Shaheed Maqbool Butt with Muslim Conference and Peoples Party members but will not share platform with nationalists there. This happened in Luton last year as well. I am merely talking about Amanullah Khan; I know there are many members of the JKLF who are against this.'
Raja Azad is correct in his analyses. I just wanted to add that in 1990 when the militancy in the Valley was at its peak and India was very defensive, and many thought Indian rule had virtually collapsed and was on its way out, all nationalist parties of Azad Kashmir met Amanullah Khan and offered to dissolve their parties and join the JKLF and accept Amanullah Khan as the Chairman, he still did not accept this unity. His excuse was that: ‘these people will not allow me to work as I want'. Of course, these nationalist leaders would not have allowed him to take instructions from the ISI, so he was wise to keep them away.
People might remember that Amanullah Khan forged an alliance with a pro Pakistan and anti independent Kashmiri leader Sardar Abdul Qayym Khan and became Secretary General of Kashmir Liberation Alliance with Sardar Qayyum as the President of this Alliance . He feels more comfortable with pro Pakistan parties. What kind of independence he wanted to get when he decided to become a Secretary General of an Alliance headed by a person like Sardar Qayyum Khan?
We are not against Amanullha Khan as a person, and we are not against all member of his JKLF. There are, of course, some very dedicated and honest people in his party, and he is exploiting their sincerity and dedication, as he exploited many dedicated people in the past. We are against anti nationalism and anti independence policies of Amanullah Khan, wrapped in colourful slogans of azadi and national independence.
Coming back to formation of National Democratic Alliance, the Alliance has elected Professor Khaleeq as it Spokesman. We hope that they will work out a practical strategy to counter those forces which are against our most cherished cause of independence. National Democratic Alliance might not win any seats, as it is not easy to break hold of the Pakistani establishment supported and nourished over the past 63 years.
But winning is not everything. In my opinion, if they can win minds and hearts of the people and get their message across to them that itself will be a victory. People know what India is doing in Kashmir through powerful propaganda machinery, but people of Jammu and Kashmir must also know what Pakistani designs on Kashmir are. Like Indian policy and exploitation in Kashmir is exposed, similarly Pakistani policy and exploitation must also be exposed.
Writer is Head Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
View my blog and web: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com www.k4kashmir.com