"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
Image Not found for user
User Name: drshabir
Full Name: dr shabir choudhry
User since: 5/Jun/2007
No Of voices: 115
 Views: 2303   
 Replies: 0   
 Share with Friend  
 Post Comment  

Passport issue of Shaukat Kashmiri

Dr Shabir Choudhry   06 Nov 2010


Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri is a nationalist leader who is always surrounded by controversies. He is among those leaders who have seriously challenged the status quo in Pakistani Administered Kashmir. He has suffered for his politics and sad thing is that, like many others he is accused of being an ‘Indian agent’.


Many people ask me to stay away from him because, in their view, Shaukat Kashmiri is pursuing an Indian agenda and regularly receives hefty amount of money from India, which he distributes to his party members in Pakistani Administered Kashmir. When I ask them for some evidence in support of this serious allegation they produce none; but still urge me to trust them.


Making silly allegations and calling political opponents agent of one country or the other is part of political culture of Pakistan and Kashmir. The State of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied by three countries and they all don’t want to vacate any part of the State, if anything, they want more Kashmiri territory.


Like India and China, Pakistan also wants to maintain its control over the parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir not legally taken over by them. New Delhi is responsible for human rights abuses in Kashmir, but to lesser extent, Islamabad is also directly responsible for human rights abuses; and also responsible for suffering of the people on both sides of the divide by perpetuating the dispute and by ensuring that the status quo is maintained.


Yet those Kashmiris who receive large amounts of funds to advance a Pakistani agenda on Kashmir are considered as loyal, and they feel proud to be ‘soldiers’ of Pakistan. They openly say they want to be part of Pakistan. But those leaders who are accused of being ‘Indian agents’ never say they are ‘soldiers’ of India or that they want to become part of India; and yet they are accused even though there is not a shred of evidence against them.


This double standard must stop, and culprits of this policy must be opposed by all those who believe in equality, freedom of speech and freedom of political activity. If right of free speech taken away from a society, then slowly but surely that society becomes a totalitarian society with no civil rights.


Shaukat Kashmiri was arrested by secret agencies of Pakistan in 1992 and in 1998. Even at that time allegation was that he had contacts with the secret agencies of India. On both occasions, despite solitary imprisonment and torture, Pakistani secret agencies could not prove a shred of evidence against him; but the rumour mill was churning out lies and propaganda against him. On both occasions he was released without any charges.


Those who didn’t like Shaukat Kashmiri and his politics needed no more evidence, to them mere arrest by the ISI was sufficient to prove that Shaukat Kashmiri was guilty. Those who arrested him and those who were making wild allegations against him were not asked to provide any evidence, onus was put on the accused to prove that he was not guilty – what a justice.


My colleagues and I opposed Pakistani sponsored ‘jihad’ and extremism in Kashmir in mid 1990s, but we did that from safety of London and Geneva. Despite that Pakistani agencies and ‘Jihadi’ groups opposed us tooth and nail; and in some cases issued warnings of death and severe punishment. I was and still am subject of verbal abuse and threatening phone calls.


Shaukat Kashmiri, on the other hand, started exposing Pakistani policy on Kashmir in 1992, while he was still living in Pakistani Administered Kashmir, where he was vulnerable and did not have a large following or international contacts which could have been of some help to him during difficult times.


Of course he was guilty – guilty of openly declaring that militancy in Kashmir was a ‘proxy war of Pakistan’, which was designed to ‘bleed India’ and not to liberate Kashmir. He said it was not ‘jihad’, as the aim of sponsors of militancy and the JKLF leadership was to communalise the Kashmiri struggle and divide people in name of religion.


To say such things at that time, and from position of vulnerability, it was tantamount to signing a death warrant for himself and his colleagues. Instead of getting compliments for his vision and courage he is getting criticism and unfounded allegations.


Now in 2010, Shaukat Kashmiri faces a different kind of allegations. Many in position of authority and some political activists claim that he has compromised his ideology and his political stand. This time, according to rumours, he has met the ISI and made some compromise.


If that was true, then why he and his family is denied passports that they could visit their family and friends in Pakistani Administered Kashmir? This denial is clearly human rights issue, as Shaukat Kashmir and his family have every right to travel to their motherland and meet their relatives and friends; and Pakistani government is in breach of this fundamental right and obligations it assumed under the UNCIP Resolutions.


During KNP Study Tour of Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir in October, one political activist said to me: Your friend Shaukat Kashmiri has made a compromise with Pakistan. He has compromised his ideology and political stand.


I said to him, if that was the case then why Pakistani authorities are not issuing passport to him and his family. His claim was that because his deal was with the army or more appropriately with the GOC Murree, and the ISI didn’t like that. Both GOC Murree (military commander stationed in Murree who wields exceptional powers in affairs of Pakistani Administered Kashmir) and the ISI are in direct competition in controlling affairs of this territory. According to him, ISI officers also met Shaukat Kashmir, but they could not reach any agreement; and his subsequent deal with representatives of the GOC Murree have annoyed the ISI; and it was because of that he is having problems with the passports.


To me and many other thinking Kashmiris, this is another propaganda campaign against a nationalist leader and a loyal son of soil. Shaukat Kashmiri is a pro Kashmir leader; and like me and many others, openly oppose forces of extremism, communalism and hatred, and that appears to be his real crime. As a Kashmiri, he doesn’t have to be pro or anti any country, but he has every right to promote a Kashmiri interest; and he must not be punished for this.


It is advisable that Pakistani authorities issue passports to him and his family, as that is their right. By denying what they are entitled to Pakistani authorities are not going to win their hearts; but it is possible that their unreasonable and illogical action might generate anti Pakistan feelings among some other Kashmiris.


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

View my blog and web:

 No replies/comments found for this voice 
Please send your suggestion/submission to
Long Live Islam and Pakistan
Site is best viewed at 1280*800 resolution