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The Kashmir Question

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Here after you’ll find a long article on the Kashmir question, written on February 9, 2003 but still valuable, by Kashi Nath Pandita. But first a link to this page of the Kashmir Herald.

Retrospect: As the British withdrew from the Indian subcontinent on 15 August 1947, their policy planners worked out a strategy of joint defence for India and Pakistan called Auchinleck Plan after the name of the then Indian Army Chief. It was a defence strategy against the Soviet Union.

With Nehru a known socialist, Anglo-American lobby cultivated Pakistan as a dependable bulwark against communism in South Asia. British policy planners working through their lobbies wanted independent Jammu & Kashmir to remain within the sphere of their influence. It was part of the policy of containment of communism.

Ramchand Kak, the Prime Minister of the State, was a key figure. A section of commentators believes that Kashmiri lobby in Delhi contrived the dismissal of Kak more as vendetta than political reprisal. Kak’s removal was followed by an armed uprising in Mirpur by the WW II disbanded Sudans with promptings from outside. This was a precursor to an incursion by the tribesmen of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province meticulously planned and executed by the Pakistani military and civilian combine.

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Roundtable is not an eye wash

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By K.N. Pandita – National press recently reported National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan making some utterances on Kashmir situation. This was in connection with Prime Minister’s proposed second roundtable in Srinagar.

Mr. Narayanan was asked about the rumoured boycott of the APHC representatives, He is reported to have said that “the APHC is not holding a veto for the success or the failure of Kashmir roundtable.”

This appears a hollow statement apart from being a contradiction in terms. What Narayanan intended to convey was that the government did not attach significance to the participation of the Hurriyat leadership in the proposed roundtable?

The purpose of the roundtable is to find an amicable solution to the tangle. The APHC is the group which is at the forefront of dissidents and separatists. If the government feels that the Hurriyat is irrelevant, why then call a roundtable? And if it is relevant, why diminish its role by making inconsiderate statements? Why play a game of self-deception?

This is the reason why Hurriyat has been insisting on meeting with and talking to top political leadership only. The bureaucratic pyramid is incapable of gauging the mood of the people with whom it has to talk.

What makes Narayanan project Hurriyat as inconsequential group? Perhaps he is one of those who try to bring happy tidings to the Prime Minister that terror and militancy are eliminated in the valley and that the atmosphere has changed.

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Spark from the ‘quake wreckage’

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By K.N.Pandita – Second week of April 2006 saw unprecedented unrest and mass protest rallies in almost all parts of “Azad Kashmir”. A section of Pakistan print media tried to play it down but others gave the events adequate coverage.

Commentators and more conservative sections of print media called it an expression of dissatisfaction of ‘quake victims with relief authorities (ERRA) for their callous treatment of the suffering masses. Obviously the incident provided a rare opportunity to the general public to put their fingers on other irritants that need to be explained in some detail.

‘Quake sufferers were given a relief of US $ 416 or 25,000 Pakistani rupees per family, which they considered too small to bring them any relief. They were later promised 1,75000 rupees per household for building a shelter for themselves. However, before this amount would be released, the authorities ordered re-checking the credentials of the applicants before actual disbursements took place. This caused panic among the people lying on the roadside and fearing that they might have to spend another harsh winter out under the open sky. Thus disbursement of relief has been delayed indefinitely.

This is a genuine grievance and authorities should not have allowed it to happen. Nevertheless, the sufferers’ patience has been taxed and with this one particular grievance, the entire plethora of their deprivations has now been opened layer after layer.

AK and Pak authorities may try to underplay the unrest. That doesn’t, in any case. lessen its significance as the beginning of a long and serious confrontation between the rulers and the ruled in “Azad Kashmir”. Perhaps this confrontation has been delayed too long.

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The Christ in Kashmir

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By K.N. Pandita – A western scholar has recently made some revelations about the story of Judas and the travel of Jesus to India. In this connection, I have some ideas to put down.

Since a long long time, there has been a tradition in Kashmir according to which a certain place in the city of Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir (now in Indian control) called Rozabal is attributed to be the grave of Jesus Christ. During the days of British rule over India some Englishmen visited the grave regularly just to satisfy their curiosity.

This site called Rozbal is located in the heart of the old Srinagar town. Strangely, it has escaped the wrath of radicals in course of time. In Kashmir there were some people who believed that this was actually the grave of Jesus Christ. One Dr. Aziz, who died some years ago, devoted much of his time to a study and research of this site. He was of firm belief that it was the grave of Jesus Christ. He was a homoeopath and attained some fame through the ideas he spread.

After the independence of India in 1947, tourism industry developed and more and more people began coming to Kashmir. The story of Rozabal being the resting place of Jesus Christ spread far and wide. Europeans, both Christians and Jews, began paying visits to the place and writing articles. In particular, the French scholars and tourists showed much interest in it. The place remains intact and stands where it is without having been damaged in any way ever since the people of Kashmir began to believe it was the grave of the Christ.

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The Hurriyat and its antics

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(See also gaashonline.com, and their homepage).

By K.N. Pandita – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s second roundtable on Kashmir is scheduled for May 2006 in Srinagar; the first took place at New Delhi in February last.

No representative of the separatist groups, except Hashim Qureshi had participated in the New Delhi meet. They had announced their boycott in advance.

Was there any outcome from the first roundtable? This question has neither been specifically asked nor answered. Nevertheless the rhetoric that the deck cannot be cleared in one go is the classical escape route for the official spokesperson.

The “moderate” group of APHC did not participate in the first roundtable. Its senior echelons reportedly detest being treated at par with other indigenous groups. In a somewhat subdued tone, the Mir Waiz has hinted at this objection.

Any reaction other than a boycott to the Indian Prime Minister’s invitation to a roundtable causes serious embarrassment to the “moderate” Hurriyat faction. Their chagrin is that while the Pakistan President gives them exclusive interviews the Indian Prime Minister invites “all and sundry” to his conference.

This pretext does not hold water. The APHC is not so naïve as not to differentiate between an elected prime minister answerable to the parliament and the people and a self-sponsored president answerable to none.

The APHC will always shun participation in any roundtable. The reason is simple. What does it stand for? If it wants azaadi, that is not acceptable to Pakistan. If it opts for Pakistan, that is tantamount to betraying its own conscience, the people and the martyrs of Kashmir.

This is a quite an intriguing psyche to explain. The Hurriyat has been hammering the demand of tripartite meeting ever since the process of talking began among the concerned parties. Hurriyat’s grouse that its senior representatives were disallowed permission to travel to “Azad Kashmir” and talk to their counterparts has long been removed.

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Srinagar by Earth Google

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Pakistan-Indian Frontier of Kashmir by Earth Google

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Central Asia by Earth Google

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The Creed of Theo-Fascism

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Published for the first time in 2001 on a website by the Kashmir Information Network, this article is still valuable. Here you may read it again:

By K.N.Pandita – Kargil aggression unfolded new dimension of Pakistan’s designs in the region. Ambitious to be recognized as a regional power, it confirmed that even the possession of Kashmir, if that happens, was neither the only nor the final goal she has set for herself.

Emergence of theo-fascist forces in Pakistan, and their social and political reach, is the new phenomenon India has to reckon with. These forces have ideologically integrated with their counterfoils in the Islamic world and also with the strong Muslim Diaspora in the West.

Catalysts to theo-fascist ideology are twofold. One is the cumulative grouse of political and economic exploitation of the Muslims by the West after the dismemberment of Ottoman Empire in early 19th century. The rise of Kemal in Turkey and of Reza Shah in Iran in the beginning of the twentieth century is also considered as western conspiracy against Islam. Western democracy is an anathema to Islamic traditionalists.

The second catalyst is the belief of dominance of Islam over other faiths and the superiority of Islamic civilization over existing civilizations. The youth in Muslim seminaries all over the world are brought up along this scriptural guideline. The concept, they assert, must be translated into practice. Hence we find general mobilization of the faithful.

Religion and state are inseparable in Islamic thought: it is abundantly proved historically as well as theoretically. Late Ayatollah Khumeini refuted Shah Saud’s contention of their separation by stressing that the Kaaba was the precise place where the Muslims coming from all over the world should discuss their political problems.

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Pak political heavyweights to meet in London

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By K.N. Pandita – On April 23, 2006 three Pakistani political heavyweights, all in exile at the moment, are scheduled to meet in London to evolve a strategy for future political destiny of their country. The initiative has been taken by the ANP leader Isfandyar Khan.

For some time in the past, silent initiators have been working behind the curtain to bring the three leaders together and make them discuss the serious issue of where Pakistan was headed to under the rule of an army general now posing as a civilian democrat.

This initiative received a boost after President Bush’s short visit to Pakistan on March 3 last. In Islamabad the American President made some blunt statements generally not considered suave and diplomatic by political pundits. He said that Pakistan should go for parliamentary elections in 2007 reiterating India’s repeated assertion that India would be too happy with a democratic Pakistan.

Besides a signal to the banished leaders to review current political situation in the region, the statement may have prompted the initiators to become more active in their pursuit of a common political porogramme.

In this background, Pakistan’s President gathered nearly a hundred thousand people to listen to his pontification on Pakistani democracy. The real purpose was to send a signal to the American President that he could maneuver democracy as deftly as he could manage the coup of 1999.

As these political somersaults are underway, the question whether or not the General continues to hold both of the top posts in future, has stirred the hornet’s nest. The American Under Secretary Boucher had to make it clear in his recent televised address in Islamabad that Washington would like a Pakistani President without a soldier’s olive green.

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