Why You Should Be Wary of Pakistan’s State Propaganda About Kashmir

Source: Dawn

Following the shocking move of the revocation of Article 370 that grants special autonomous status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Central Government in India has cracked down on civil liberties. The state has been in a virtual state of a shutdown for more than 10 days and restrictions such as suspension of landline are recently being eased.

The Central Government in India has incarcerated the major political leaders including former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, his son Umer Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti. The Hurriyet leaders are a no-brainer. The state is under a communication blackout to this day and only one major protest has been tolerated to date. Anyone within India and outside with concern about democracy and human rights was appalled by the situation. However, the malicious Indian right-wing in their urge for greatness have sadly turned a blind eye to this coercion.

Of course, this sudden and shocking development slowly provoked a negative reaction in Pakistan. The country’s ruling party PTI came back with a Modi/Hitler and BJP/RSS/Nazi Party analogy campaign. They and the Prime Minister are still going in full flow against the Modi administration. This came after a rather mellow speech from the Prime Minister in the joint session of the parliament, in which he criticized the “fascism” of the Indian government and for locking up the entire opposition. This immediately attracted criticism and right after the speech, the PML-N leader of opposition Shahbaz Sharif accused him of being a worse oppressor of the opposition than the Indian government.

However, many commentators did not take a lot of time to point out that Pakistan had little credibility to lecture India on violation of democracy and human rights, thanks to its own dismal record at home. Currently, Pakistan is making headlines around the world on curbing the press while jailing the entire opposition and other dissenting activists. Designed to appeal to its global audience, the bombardment of tweets of its social media team of copywriters and graphic designers on overtime were particularly embarrassing and disconnected to history.

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While there is little doubt about the fascism of BJP, it is more comparable to that of the Pakistani Islamist nationalists supportive of the Pakistani military and the PTI itself instead of Nazis in Germany. And if we are at comparisons of Nazi’s treatment of the Jews, the treatment of Ahmedis in Pakistan strikes an eerie similarity. Furthermore, Pakistan has done far worse in East Pakistan, tribal areas, and Baluchistan than what India can ever hope to do in Kashmir. The following tweet is actually more accurately reflective of how the right-wingers on both sides are indeed coming together to validate the two-nation theory.

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There are a couple of reasons why the Pakistani administration’s official narrative reeks of intellectual dishonesty. Pakistan does not recognize the problem created by the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits (Native Hindus) from the valley. Furthermore, analysts such as Tariq Pirzada are openly inciting violence or genocide against any Hindu citizens that settle in Kashmir. Aren’t elements of Pakistan promoting communal supremacy in the State too? And if that is not the case, why is the mention of Hindu Pandits absent from the communication of Pakistani propaganda.

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Now you can dismiss this as an opinion of an individual but the Pakistani state has backed Islamist militancy in the State for a long time. Not only this influence has resulted in the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the State but has also seriously hampered the legitimacy of the Kashmiri struggle for autonomy.

Some of the Kashmiri Pandit opinion leaders on social media, especially the notable actor Anupam Kher, often sound bitter and quite a few of them have been cheerleading the draconian measures of the BJP government in Kashmir. However, such voices should not mislead the focus on the need to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits in the valley. Any political resolution in the valley is incomplete without their voices.

Pakistan’s so-called moral case of Kashmir on the international forum is plagued with its own share of hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty. The following tweet of the Pakistan Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, lauds China, Pakistan’s usual partner on the Security Council forum, for “as always standing up firmly on principles and upholding international law.” Though you can be pretty sure that Madame Ambassador would never have bothered to call China out on the treatment of Uighur Muslims (something where PTI’s Nazism and “Final Solution” analogies are conveniently missing) since she is such a huge proponent of principles and upholding international law. Even though some people would be laughing at a Pakistani diplomat invoking principles and international law.

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Pakistan would like you to believe that India is already committing. There is some degree of truth to the targeting of Kashmiri Muslims by the Indian state in recent years, well before the Modi administration, but the Islamist trends in the Kashmir separatist movement are the major reason behind them. To this date, the Prime Minister is continuing his tweets to condemn Narendra Modi as Hitler and his party as Nazis. That also raises questions about the maturity of this narrative. Does this mean that Pakistan has rejected the Indian administration and will not engage in talks with them for peace in the future?

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Pakistan has already taken the issue with the United Nations, which has disapproved of India changing the status of Kashmir. But that is where its influence ends for now. While it is positive to see that India is being held accountable at some kind of international platform for its recklessness but that still does not legitimize the reckless misrepresentation of facts and intellectual dishonesty of the Pakistani Prime Minister and the ruling party who could themselves be criticized for their own fascism any given day.

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A Foreign Minister With A Mind of His Own?

Source: Asia Society

I am not saying it has happened for the first time in Pakistani history, but it surely seems something out of the ordinary in the current political atmosphere in Pakistan. After the Pakistani military and bureaucratic establishment realized what a colossal error its favorite dictator General Pervez Musharraf had committed by permitting private TV channels, a regime of media control was brought about.

It was at least too late for Musharraf himself who erroneously started considering himself to be a democratic leader with a liberal economic vision who enjoys complete support by the people of Pakistan. He probably banked too much on his ridiculous referendum numbers and ended up resigning due to the resistance put up by civilians for a sacked judge.

The same political party which had been overthrown by the military bureaucracy returned 14 years later with another overwhelming mandate, only earlier paralleled in its volume by the Awami League in the 1970 election. The Awami League was,, of course, declared as an outlawed and traitorous party in a rebel country.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had his third term cut short by some dimension of the state bureaucracy earlier in July this year. Today, at this situation, it is refreshing to see that the Foreign Minister of the same political party who had delivered a fiery speech against the military establishment in the parliament embarrass it on an international forum. Especially when the current Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi looks like a zombie bullied by the drill sergeant at the Kakul Academy about “What to say at UN manual.”

Here is Khawaja Asif speaking at the Asia Society in New York.

Not only that, Khawaja Asif completely owned the label of a “more liberal foreign policy,” criticizing the opposition party to pandering to the “religious fringes.” Like most liberals of Pakistans, he also reminisced about the “old liberal, pluralistic, tolerant, and progressive Pakistan of the 50s and 60s,” which was taken away due to the Islamization in the wake of the Afghan Jihad. He also thought that Pakistan so openly joining the American camp during the Cold War years was a mistake. At least, it is refreshing to see such an approach taken by a Pakistan government official so openly in an international diplomatic forum.

Khawaja Asif also remarkably admitted that Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and other terrorists like the Haqqani Group were liabilities for Pakistan and that Pakistan needed time to deal with them. He also stated that the dismissed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had put his career on stake in order to improve relations with India, which he considered necessary while also describing the struggle of the Kashmiri youth at the hands of the brutality of Indian military and government.

Khawaja Asif certainly has many flaws. He is an inarticulate loudmouth with a knack of saying inappropriate things every now and then, blame it on his Punjabi male chauvinistic upbringing.  Even was my Idiot of the year 2016. But once in a while, he also ends up doing something right. And to his credit, more often than the broken clock telling the time right. However, he is still the same man who threatened Israel over a piece of fake news when he was the Defense Minister. Read about the underlying antisemitism of his comment here.

Of course, his statements have given indigestion to a lot of nationalist conservatives and military establishment loyalists including the PTI who are accusing him of treason as usual. However, all supporters of democracy and civilian supremacy should celebrate this rare moment in Pakistan foreign policy. State protected terrorist Hafiz Saeed s even suing Khawaja Asif for Rs. 100 million for defamation. Just to give you an idea how bad things are in Pakistan when it comes to the moral authority of the state. It would also not be beyond our deep state if we shortly see the resignation of the minister following the controversy he has stirred. In that case, the Pakistani people should stand by a diplomat that has, for once, truly represented them.

There has been Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the PPP government who chose to dissent but never like this. So a Foreign Minister finally having a mind of his own, or at least saying the right thing, has been rare in Pakistan.

Let’s celebrate that.

The Moral Complexities of Supporting the Armed Struggle in Kashmir

Source: Indian Express

Source: Indian Express

The mind of a modern, liberal, enlightened youth in Pakistan is boggled with the moral puzzle of the armed struggle in Kashmir. Should Pakistan stop backing the Jihad in Kashmir? Or should Pakistan provide support for the freedom movement in Kashmir? What a world of a difference do these words make.

In a world that is unforgivably anti-Jihad since 9/11, and very rightly so, backing Kashmiri Jihadi group sounds like a recipe for diplomatic suicide. This could possibly isolate Pakistan, cost valuable alliances with the West and jeopardize economic prosperity and trade partnerships in the future.

But suspending the lifeline of the Jihadi struggle in Kashmir also sounds like an unacceptable option to many, especially the Pakistani establishment. Other than their political designs, it would effectively mean that a Kashmiri would probably never be able to see the face of a military grade weapon again.

It would mean that all they would ever have to respond to the occupying force of way more than 500,000 strength military is sticks and stones. It would mean the death of the Kashmiri freedom struggle, which is somehow acknowledged as legitimate by people who condemn the Jihad in Kashmir at the same time. No other country in the world is going to come to support the supposedly peaceful Hurriyet leaders.

Which route is easier? Certainly the former. It would make Pakistan less unpopular and who knows India would grace us with a bilateral cricket series. It could improve Pakistan’s image as the state recovering from hiding Osama Ben Laden right next to its military academy. Why should a Pakistani go out of their way to help a Kashmiri anyway?

Alright, a lot of Kashmiris live in Pakistan. They are our next door neighbors, relatives by blood, friends, and colleagues. So what? Even the Pakistani Kashmiris apparently do not seem to be too bothered with what is going on across the Line of Control. Why do we need to replicate the misery of the Indian Kashmiris in our lives?

However, with every mutilated unarmed Kashmiri teenager, and every raped Kashmiri woman and wounded mother, something stirs the conscience of a nation that is notorious for ignoring everyday atrocities within its own borders. A nation which cherishes a law that is designed to make its religious minorities suffer in constant terror. All of a sudden morality becomes much more complex than sheer self-interest. Even though it should not. It does not make any sense.

So would a Pakistani support the armed struggle in Kashmir or not?

It’s a question with a rather simple answer. Either you do or you don’t. But if you do, then it’s important to embrace the cause and defend its moral grounds. There was a time when the Pakistani state used to openly embrace it. And since when have we stopped referring to Kashmiri militants as freedom fighters? But it was a different world. Still, hanging somewhere in the middle reminds the world of the policy Pakistan has been adopting from selectively targeting Taliban factions to continuing old partnerships with the likes of Ben Laden from the days of the Afghan Jihad and pretending that we are fighting terrorism. The Americans have moved on, but our security leadership has been having a very hard time.

Of course, it is perfectly legitimate to defend the Kashmiri armed struggle on moral grounds. Are the Kashmiri Jihadi freedom fighters terrorists just because they are Islamists? Does the secular character of a freedom struggle immediately makes the cause legitimate? Surely, you cannot expect the Kashmiri freedom movement to turn secular overnight, not that it would ever have any such intention. Is targeting soldiers, even if sleeping, an act of terrorism or an act of war? Especially when the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is not exactly very friendly to the Indian State. But then there are Mumbai attacks, Parliament attacks, Hindu Pandits. Innocent lives. What to do?

With the exception of those who committed these atrocities, our intellectuals get played at the hands of the textbook Indian diplomatic rhetoric when they declare the Kashmiri freedom fighters terrorists. They end up endorsing foreign state propaganda in an effort to avoid the local one. Though they speak the truth in their own right. Pakistan has had enough of fighting other people’s wars and lying about it. Enough of freeing Afghans from the Soviets, or restoring Saudi custody of the Ka’aba, or sending pilots to fly Syrian planes or handing over bases to the United States. All for nothing but to make our generals richer, who, let’s face it, would have grown richer anyway. But we need to build our country. Who gives a damn anymore?

How do you harness an out of control Jihadi who is raised on hate? How do you expect that they would never hurt citizens? Does this effectively mean that supporting armed resistance in Kashmir is not any different to supporting and apologizing for terrorism? And India is surely justified in believing that any country that is supporting an armed movement in its borders is its enemy. Granted, but should Kashmiris be abandoned to their conditions of a whole state turned into almost an internment camp? Simply expressing solidarity will not get them anywhere.

India does not win the diplomatic battle for Kashmir out of any moral virtues or for having a clean human rights record, but simply because of the leverage it enjoys for being a sheer heavyweight. Anyone who does not recognize India as an emerging global power is sadly mistaken. At least, it’s the strongest military presence in the Asian continent after China, and not doing too bad in terms of economy either. So why pick a fight with India when we can avoid it?

But calling a Kashmiri freedom fighter a terrorist still is a resounding slap on the face of every Kashmiri who idiotically risks his life to needlessly wave a poorly sewn, incorrect Pakistani flag on some obscure building. It’s an insult to the desperate Kashmiri who shortens his misery by exposing himself to the pellets because he has to choose between a life of humiliation and a not-so-distant inevitable death. How is a Kashmiri to fight back? Does anyone bother answering this question? Are the Naxalites not fighting back?

The biggest moral problem is that if a Pakistani would not stand up for the plight of the Kashmiri, who else in the world will? Because the fellow countrymen of Kashmiris pretty much consider them expendable second class citizens and a distant border state with delicious produce and exotic vacation destinations. Still, it is a battle that would take anyone taking this road on a tough, treacherous ride.

It only takes a hypocritical Pakistani to realize the plight and it only takes a brainwashed Jihadi to fight this fight. And well, there is plenty of hypocrisy to go around. Neither our generals nor our Jihad backing secular liberals would have the gut to fight for anything, let alone Kashmir. So you can only count on Islamist fanatics. It’s just stupid.

Though as far as the right of an oppressed people’s armed struggle is concerned, it would be a betrayal of history not to recognize it. Just pray that you are not in their way. And the inherent, incurable hypocrisy of Pakistanis should not sabotage this right of the battered citizens of Kashmiris.

Let it be the humiliated Yazidis, the frustrated Palestinians, the courageous Kurds or the brutalized Balochs, it is almost insensitive to ask them to become Gandhi at the face of continual aggression. Walk up to the gas chambers in obedience. However, how they make their point tells a lot about a people. You would be judged differently when you blow up a civilian building instead of retaliating against an army camp.

Every liberty seeking individual should welcome India’s new stance to support the freedom movement in Baluchistan, even though more out of animosity with Pakistan than the love for the Baloch, and should welcome them to the club of “terrorist states” or “backers of terrorism.” Just like the United States and allies are backing the Syrian rebel army to overthrow the despotic Assad regime. Just like the British backed the Arabs to bring the Ottoman Empire down to its knees. Perhaps Pakistan’s role in Kashmir is not too odd after all.

Sometimes, you have no choice but to be a “backer of terrorists” to fight oppressive tyrants.

You get no extra bonus points for turning the other cheek anyway. All it does is get you crucified.

The post was originally published in The Nation blogs.

Keep on Mounting the Pressure on India Over Kashmir

Source: BBC/Getty Images

Source: BBC/Getty Images

The last thing an Indian nationalist wants to talk to you about is Kashmir. It’s because looking the other way when it comes to Kashmir has become the defining factor for the Indian nationalist. And it’s not just Kashmir. From Parveena Ahanger to Soni Sori and Irom Sharmila, there are many voices slapping the brutality of the Indian establishment that are discounted every day.

But don’t get me wrong. This does not imply by any means that the fire inside the Indian nationalist has died. They are ready to come at you harder than ever when the question is asked, especially now with an upper hand in the national politics, but their response would be anything but about Kashmir. It may be about Baluchistan, about radical Islam, about the treatment of minority groups in Pakistan, about what sort of hell Pakistan has become. But hardly ever about the subject under discussion.

Probably the only reason for that is that other than conscientious objectors in India, only the people and the government of Pakistan realize the moral responsibility to speak out about Kashmir for the most part. Despite the allegations and/or possible militant interference. Despite being a country “inspired by terrorism.”

Even the honorable Prime Minister of India, who is the true voice of his most avid followers, had similar answers to offer on Kashmir. Nothing substantial and a lot of embarrassment.

This only goes to show the moral state of the Indian nationalist mind. But more than that, it also gives you an insight into the priority that Kashmiris hold in India. It shows how much Indian nationalists care about the people of their inseparable part, and which worsens the feeling of isolation among Kashmiris.

Source: AP/Dawn

Source: AP/Dawn

There is no doubt that the Kashmiri freedom movement has had overwhelmingly Islamist tilt since the insurgency of the 1980s, backed by the Pakistani establishment. However, since its defeat, the Indian state has not had much to offer to the Kashmiris either. It has failed to win hearts and minds, like so many other border states where Pakistan was not a factor. It’s about time the Indian people realize that the brutality of their establishment is not always about retaliation to Pakistan’s interference.

A war of words on Kashmir, as long as it remains a war of words, is always going to be a losing battle for the Indians because there really is nothing to defend there. The way to hurt an Indian fundamentalist nationalist the most is to target where it hurts the most. Their nationalistic pride.

You cannot possibly defend shooting more than a million pellets aimed right in the eyes of your people. You cannot possibly defend killing dozens of those young protesters. But the plight of the Kashmiri people is far more than just the recent unrest.

Indian Occupied Kashmir is one of the most heavily militarized regions in the world, where thousands have been killed. According to independent observers such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, rape is used as effectively an instrument of war and domination in Kashmir, as well as the impunity with which the security forces act. You don’t have to be an expert to know that Kashmiris in the valley are treated as second class citizens.

Pakistani nationalists display a similar attitude toward Baluchistan, so Prime Minister Modi’s comments about it should be the least of Pakistan’s worries. Again, it is a matter of waking up to the human rights abuses going on in your own backyard. The recent disappearance of journalist Abdul Wahid Baloch is the latest of the unanswered question marks and a very serious one too.

But bringing up Baluchistan as a response to a question about Kashmir and vice versa is only indicative of the lack of interest in even addressing the issue at hand. Such arguments can be expected from twitter trolls, not from the leadership of a country. Though sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Source: Ahmad Kakar/new-pakistan.com

Source: Ahmad Kakar/new-pakistan.com

But it is bad news for the Pakistani dove who wants unconditional peace with India. Modi’s comment potentially offer legitimacy to the argument that Pakistani establishment and nationalists have been making for years. This is particularly counterproductive as the focus toward Taliban and Islamist militants could shift back to India as the primary enemy. But that is not India’s problem. It is Pakistan’s problem, and unfortunately, the warmongers on both sides enable each other.

What the Indian nationalist fails to understand is that not everyone is interested in Kashmir defecting to Pakistan. Not everyone is even interested in the independence of Kashmir, even though these suggestions may seem to be the only relief to the troubled Kashmiri people.

Despite the history, if the Indian government and military start treating Kashmiris with a little more respect, the entire rhetoric about the Kashmir issue could disappear. But the fact remains that neither Kashmiris, nor the rest of the Indians have a remote understanding of each other’s viewpoint and have little in common. The cultural divide between the two makes the problem even worse.

However, whenever the Pakistani stance would move forward to actively support militancy in Kashmir, particularly through Islamist militants, the entire moral side of the argument is sabotaged. It only takes the world’s attention away from India’s brutal treatment of who are supposed to be their own citizens. This is where the support and freedom given to the likes of Hafiz Saeed must be discontinued.

Let’s keep mounting pressure on India when it comes to Kashmir. But it would only work effectively when we officially remain confined to a war of words.

A version of this post was originally published in The Nation blogs.

The Kashmir Day Post – 2011

 

Source: Drew Martin, logosjournal.com

Kashmir has been an area of conflict for quite some time, and has also been the most violent of regions in South Asia. While it is hard to even mention Kashmir without taking a particular political side, but to me, there is only side to take when I think of Kashmir, humanity.

Whether Kashmir is a part of India or Pakistan is none of my business, because both the countries are occupying certain parts of the region, and will continue to fight over it forever it seems. Neither would I be promoting any separatist ideas, which is something that Kashmiris on the both sides should decide for themselves.

Of course, every country was born out of a separatist movement, even India and Pakistan themselves.

Unfortunately, religious and political divisions in the sub continent are so deep that the prejudice, patriotism and nationalism cloud the vision of even the most apparently sane people who justify the use of all sorts of violence and force to achieve their political means.  At the end of the day, there is no balance in the way the Kashmir issue is perceived either in India or in Pakistan.

Of course, no Indian would approve of the idea of separatism, and rightly so, I support them in their views, but I would like them to consider that there is a boundary between political disagreement and human rights violation. But at the same time, I think it is the right of the Kashmiris to choose their own destiny. Unfortunately, the Kashmiri Muslims and Pakistanis completely fail to realize the agony of Kashmiri Pandits driven out of the state, and the Indian nationalists gladly overlook all the violence and atrocities on the local Kashmiri population blinded by nationalism.

I can thankfully say that my brain is not infected with any sort of false nationalism, patriotism or religious affiliation that could affect my ability of not disapproving a human rights violation when I see one, anywhere in the world, in Pakistan, in Kashmir or anywhere else. But the most cruel aspect to it is the brutal silence of approval and the lack of humanity in our views.

There is no use in hating the stone-pelter, for they will never stop unless they are accepted.

Pakistanis itch every year to observe the Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5, some for their vested interest, others for capturing Kashmir for its resources, some out of plain hatred for India, while others in genuine solidarity and brotherhood for the oppressed. But at least some one around the world should speak for the people who are suffering out there, if only the traditional rivals.

However, I see the matter differently because to me human rights violations in Kashmir is not really an issue for Pakistan to worry about, although every nation of the world should be worried about it. I would be even more concerned about it on a political level as an Indian and would have been concerned in the very same manner as a human being despite of any affiliation with the Indian subcontinent.

I can just be thankful that I am not a Kashmiri or that I don’t live in Kashmir, and I can afford to say that living in peace, comfort and security, like many of those reading these lines. While it seems cruel, cold-hearted and insensitive to say that , it is a harsh reality.  A reality known probably to every Indian, every Pakistani, but surely to every Kashmiri. Some compare Kashmir to Gaza, which is largely incorrect, but what Kashmir has in common with Gaza is the fact that no one would like to live there. I would not, at least.

While things have thankfully calmed down in the Indian Kashmir of late, which I would hope remain that way forever, there should just be realization and recognition of the human rights violations there that have been taking place for more than two decades now, and it is brutal to even mention the statistics, most probably starting after Pakistani intervention in the state. And the Indians who do recognize that impartially are labelled as traitors. Of course, tyranny shows its face in so many ways.

But Pakistani intervention or not, it is how the Indian forces treat the locals which largely alienates them from the country, as has been the case in Balochistan in Pakistan. This is a point to ponder for you cannot govern indefinitely using brute force. India is a strong regional power and Kashmiris do not stand a chance against them anyway, but every oppression has its limits.

Why cannot India, Pakistan and Kashmiris be on the same team? (Ridiculous? I know.)

I would like India to keep Kashmir forever, since it is one of their states. I have no problems with saying that. But I would only like them to treat Kashmiris the right way.

That is the only way Kashmiris could be made to realize that India, and even Pakistan, are more concerned about the people than the land and its resources, if only that were true.

 

Maybe that could help them win their hearts.

Our Truth is Truer Than Your Truth

Date: October 27, 2010

Setting: Rawlakot, Pakistani Administered Kashmir and Poonch, Indian Administered Kashmir.

Fact: Exchange of fire on the LOC (Kashmir Part of India-Pakistan Border)

Indian Side:

The following news was reported by the Times of India.

2 Ceasefire violations by Pak at Poonch, Uri Sectors in J-K

JAMMU: Pakistan on Wednesday violated the ceasefire agreement and opened heavy fire on forward Indian positions in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir, army sources said, adding no casualty or loss has been reported so far.

Sources said the Pakistan troops opened heavy firing from machine guns and fired rockets on the Forward Defended Locations (FDLs) namely Kranti, Kripan and Ravi in Krishnaghati sub-sector along the Line of Control.

The Army spokesperson confirmed the incident and said the Pak troops opened heavy fire using machine guns and RPG rockets on Indian posts in Krihna Ghati sector at around 1530 hrs. He also said the encounter is still on. He however added that Indian side observed restrained to avoid escalation of tension in area.

He said it is clear case of ceasefire violation and has been done to facilitate the pushing the infiltrators into Indian side.

In an earlier ceasefire violation, Pak troops fired on the Indian posts in same sector for an hour in which on army jawan was killed on Oct 24. Pakistani troops had fired on Indian posts in Kerni at Jallas sub-sector along the Line of Control ( LoC) in Poonch district on October 1 and 2. Pak troops also violated ceasefire on September 28 and 29 in the Krishna Ghati sub-sector in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan Side:

This was the piece as reported by the Samaa News.

Indian army opens fire on PPP rally in Azad Kashmir

Staff Report

MUZAFFARABAD: The Indian army opened fire on the rally organized by Pakistan Peoples’ Party where one man wounded Wednesday.

Kashmiris are observing the black day throughout the world against the Indian occupation in Kashmir.

Indian army opened fire on the rally when it reached near Taitri, Batal Sector where one man injured.

Pakistan minister for information, Qamar-uz Zaman Kaira, while talking to media persons in Lahore, said that the government condemned the incident and will protest. SAMAA

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If I Were an Indian National…

Every Pakistani, whether they admit or not, is bonded with India, a mass of land we also refer coldly to as the sub-continent. Making that point clear, I would like to say that it is not difficult for me to understand a veiwpoint loyal to the Unity of India, to which I have no problems at all.

Because after all, I am an Indian too, despite the fact that I was born in Pakistan and am a Pakistani national. But despite all that, most of all I am a human being before and more than anything else. But this is really not what I am writing about here.

What I write about now concerns humanity more than country or politics, which are the least of my concerns. I want to write a few words on the violence in Jammu and Kashmir. Although I have been refraining to make any comment on the subject at all, but my conscience had the better of me, which was an indication that at least some part of it was indeed alive.

I have had a few Kashmiri friends so I have some idea about the problems faced by Kashmiris and what they really want. In fact, if any one of you makes the effort, which is not hard to do, you can easily put yourself in a Kashmiri’s shoes in order to learn how they feel and what they have been going through.

I understand the presence of Indian Armed Forces in Kashmir, and I also understand the difficulty of India’s position as far as the troubled State is concerned. But despite all that, I have to say that encouraging and approving of the violence and atrocities going on there out of patriotism for India is simply inhuman to me.

While some people may object to this piece due to the fact that why a Pakistani is speaking out against the violence in Kashmir, I would simply like to say that I would have done the same and would have felt the same way If I were an Indian National.

I would simply say that humanity should be held supreme to politics and patriotism, read armies brutally murdering defenseless citizens.

But thankfully, at least the Indian media is covering the matter relatively sensibly this time around, although not to the Indian ultra-right, since some people in the media are acknowledging India’s mistakes and asking questions of how the government is handling the matters there. The educated in India are certainly offering me, if not the Kashmiris, a ray of hope towards the resolution of the problem.

Amid all the nonsense and the insensitivity of brutal rightist patriots, I cannot help but admire the honesty, the daring and the outspokenness of people like Arundhati Roy, who indeed has a soul of an artist. But really while I tried hard to approve of all that violence, I figured out that I would have to cease to be a human being first in order to do so.

At least she has the guts to say that Indians are not doing something right in Kashmir. I cannot help but feel sorry for the insensitivity of the patriot scholars who call her a traitor. I do not consider them educated. A loyalist to humanity is greater than a patriot to a nation. But it is nothing new. People who speak the truth have often been labeled as traitors , such as Asma Jehangir on the other side of the border.

As for the Indian patriots complaining why Kashmiris want “Azadi” or “Freedom”, ask the question to Kashmiris. Had they been living in peace, would they have  ever demanded it, even if the idea was injected by foreign infiltrators from Pakistan? Would have they not rejected it because thinking that way would be treason?

To my mind, the Kashmiris do not care about what will happen to them as long as they can be free, even if global and neighboring regional powers make the land their battlefield, since it will be up for grabs for them. Things can hardly get any worse for them than whatever has been going on for more than two decades now.

While I acknowledge and condemn the exodus of the majority of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley at the hands of the extremists there, I cannot help but notice the oppression of the majority of Kashmiri Muslims at the hands of the Indian Security Forces there as well, trying to be as impartial to both these groups as possible.

Had all this been happening in Pakistan, I would have condemned it still. Had I been an Indian, my opinion would not have been any different. I condemn all such acts, whether carried out by the Indian or the Pakistani army, by the Indian or the Pakistani police or by any other authority-abusing-citizen-terrorizing-so-called-law-enforcement-authorities anywhere around the world.

I condemn violence and I condemn injustice.

Courtesy: The Hindu

But it is not hard for me to imagine at all, that if my family were killed by the Indian forces, and if my mother, or my sister, or wife, or daughter, or any other female friend were raped by the Indian Forces, then surely my patriotism for Indian would fade away there and then.

There is just no other way to it.

It is a well-known fact that among all conflict zones occupied by armed forces around the world, Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir has the highest count of sexual assaults made on women. I am not really a supporter of the Kashmiri Freedom movement, but if that is what the Kashmiris of both sides want to live in peace, let it be, even if that hurts the Indian and Pakistani egos.

But for those who want to do so, to my mind the best way to help Kashmiris right now is to leave them on their own, so that they can find their way to freedom themselves. Freedom is never granted, but it must always be earned.

I don’t want to sound audacious but Kashmiris in the Pakistani Occupied Kashmir are living much more affluently, comfortably and in peace. At least even if no real economic relief is being offered to them, they are generally living in peace, without which how can you ever have peace of mind and pursue any further socioeconomic advances? I know that because I know them and they freely live among Pakistanis as equals, not as rebels.

Still they ask Kashmiris why they want freedom. Pretty much like asking a dying patient why he needs a doctor.