Role of IKA must be strengthened

January 17th, 2008 - 12:05 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto
Attn: News Editors/News Desks: Following is an article by Dr. Shabbir Choudhry, Chairman of Diplomatic Committee of the JKLF. We do hope it would be interest to your esteemed publication
Dr. Shabir Choudhry

London, Jan 16 (ANI): International Kashmir Alliance (IKA) came in to being under Geneva Declaration. Establishment of IKA was a response to those who promoted politics of communalism, sectarianism and hatred. It challenged those who were hitherto unchallenged.

IKA promoted politics of peace, dialogue and accountability. It also advanced pluralism and Kashmiri nationalism rather than politics based on religion and sectarianism, and vowed to speak for all sections of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Within hours of IKA first press conference held in London, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), which claims to speak for all Kashmiris, but in actual fact promotes self-interest and interest of Islamabad, advances politics of communalism and violence, and does not even speak for all Muslims of the Valley, issued a very strong statement against IKA and its leadership.

This declaration sounded alarm bells in various cities of the world, especially in South Asia, and those who promoted proxy war, violence, communalism and hatred felt threatened. Emergency meetings were held to counter this threat and their foot soldiers based in various cities in South Asia and abroad were given directions how to deal with this menace, which was determined to challenge their hegemony in the Kashmiri politics.

Those who were activated included professional politicians, those who commercialised the struggle, mercenaries, surrendered and renegade militants, who mastered the art of milking both governments.

Their misplaced judgement and overreaction was double edge sword. On one hand IKA and its leaders had to face wrath of very angry state, and state within state and its influential allies spread over in many parts of the world; on the other hand it gave IKA prominence and credibility.

People with independent mind and loyalty to nation and ideology of an independent Kashmir thought IKA must have done something right that is why so much effort was made to oppose IKA and huge resources were made available to unleash negative propaganda against IKA and its leaders.

IKA, it must be noted, is an alliance and not a political party. Vision and ideals of IKA are shared by like-minded people in the Valley and among Kashmiri diaspora who strongly believe in equality, rule of law and human rights for all and not for chosen or blessed people. Generally alliances have short life. They either split or become victims of conspiracies of agencies, egoism or die their natural death due to inactivity or differences.

IKA was no different and was not blessed to last forever, but thanks to those who wanted to kill IKA, its vision and ideals, and promoted politics of violence and sectarianism, IKA is still alive and kicking. Each time a conspiracy is hatched against the IKA, it forces us to stick together as our strength and political survival rests in our unity.

IKA because of various reasons could not work to its full potential. IKA leadership is talented, hardworking and sincere with its cause, and has roots in the civil society. Prior to formation of IKA only Indian side of Kashmir, especially the Valley was considered disputed, and the international community assumed that people in areas on the Pakistani side of the LOC were happy and satisfied with the situation there.

What this meant was that plight and suffering of the people on this side of LOC was not an issue, and governments and Think Tanks were concerned about finding a solution of the Valley only. But thanks to continuous efforts of the IKA leadership and its allies other areas of the state, especially areas of Gilgit and Baltistan and Azad Kashmir are firmly on the agenda now.

All five regions of the state, namely the Valley, Jammu, Ladakh, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan are now perceived to be disputed and part of the Jammu and Kashmir state, as they were at the time of partition.

Apart from that IKA created and expanded a space for peace, dialogue and tolerance. It promoted intra Kashmir dialogue, and for the first time in history of the dispute, successfully brought people of all regions and all faiths in an international conference, which was attended by luminaries like late Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto. It helped people to think that they too can speak out their minds, and challenge self imposed political mafia, hypocrites and dons who intimidated and terrorised the society.

One Kashmiri commentator and political activist said, IKA has become a symbol of resistance, as it opposed politics of violence and intimidation. It has changed mindset of people. IKA has challenged division of the state, and reinforced state boundaries once again at a time when so called nationalists and other Kashmiri leaders were considering different options leading to permanent division of the state.

He further said, IKA has promoted peace, dialogue, tolerance and accountability, and those who have different agenda to this will make every effort to eliminate IKA and malign IKA leaders by making unfounded allegations.

A Kashmiri leader based in Islamabad phoned me and discussed matters related to IKA. He said, all of you in IKA are very active individually but as a team of IKA you have not done much for some time, and asked me if there were any problems in the ranks of IKA. He said nationalists of Jammu and Kashmir have pinned their hopes with IKA, as they think only we speak about unity of the state, equality for all citizens and right of self-determination.

He further said, other leaders and alliances like APHC speak about options on Kashmir presented by the rulers of Pakistan who have no interest in right of self-determination of Kashmiris and unity of the state. Their interest is to get more territory either by force or by giving people a right of accession in place of right of self-determination.

Pakistan, its institutions and all its lobbyists suffered humiliating defeat in Europe on the issue of Emma Nicholson report. They spent huge amount of money, sent many delegations to Europe and their puppets and Kashmir Centres worked round the clock, yet they could only persuade nine MEPs to vote for them. Feeling in Islamabad and in other political circles is that IKA leaders were fully behind Baroness Emma Nicholson, and they have out manoeuvred the Islamabad teams and centres and helped to make the report pro people and pro Kashmir, he said.

After this humiliating defeat heads did not role in Islamabad, as it is not tradition or political practise there. Heads do not role even when biggest mistakes and blunders are committed, even when the country lost its Eastern wing no heads were rolled. But defeat of this magnitude in Europe and again at the hands of IKA was not taken lightly and a committee was set up to investigate what went wrong.

He said, you rubbed salt in their wounds when you got your articles on this topic translated in Urdu and then published as a book with title of: Emma Nicholson report who has won? And the last straw was your endeavour to get the EU Kashmir Report translated in Urdu and then published in Azad Kashmir.

Those who hate IKA and want to bury it alive have worked out a strategy to deal with you and the organisation. They will nail you down together with Abbas Butt. As a Kashmiri I feel, you people must be doing something right which irritates them and frustrates them. He further said, dont be fooled with unity talks. They are not sincere with this. It is only a trap, and they will humiliate you and Abbas Butt once again and possibly expel you with some new allegations.

In view of this he said, you should work out a suitable strategy, and take other IKA leadership in confidence. He said, IKA leaders must work out a strategy to protect IKA and reactivate this important alliance. He said, IKA must be strengthened and other like- minded people should help and support it.

When I told this to Abbas Butt he questioned me how well I knew this man, and if he could be against unity of the JKLF. I told him that he was trustworthy person, and had no reason to mislead me. Abbas Butt said, we have sincerely and openly supported unity talks but after listening to this conversation I am also somewhat confused and disappointed.

I said to him that I was not confused, because we are once again being trapped in name of unity? If they were sincere and serious then why Yasin Malik has not endorsed the decision of his Zonal President Sabir Ansari, and why he has not endorsed the decision of his Zonal Central Committee? Furthermore why Yasin Malik has not disowned the defunct JKLF Group headed by Mohammed Younis?

I said to him I am also in favour of unity but signs dont look good. In view of the above what if Yasin Malik authorise another renegade militant to expel us again, and this time with some silly allegation? Abbas Butt smiled and said, I will say good- bye to politics and the struggle, and open a grocery shop and sell onions and potatoes. (ANI)

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