KASHMIR – The Dispute That Continues to Rock South Asia

By Shahid R. Siddiqi

The Conflict

A cartoon published in an American newspaper in 2002 showed former president George Bush sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office, utterly confused by a news report he was reading about India and Pakistan going to war over Kashmir. “But why are the two countries fighting over a sweater,” he asked Dick Cheney who stood by with his usual sly smile on his face.

Besides reflecting the intellectual capacity of the American president of the time, the cartoon was a realistic portrayal of the understanding that American leaders have generally shown of this longstanding dispute between Pakistan and India.

The unresolved Kashmir conflict has rocked South Asia for six decades. It has created an environment of distrust and acrimony, forced the people to sink into poverty with bulk of the resources consumed by the war machines and claimed lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians as well as soldiers who died in the three wars fought between India and Pakistan. India, whose forcible occupation of Kashmir in 1947 created the conflict, refuses to settle it. The other stake holders, the Kashmiri people and Pakistan, insist on a fair solution. The international community including the US and the United Nations played little or no role in diffusing it either. Consequently, the conflict has developed into one of the most intractable problems of international politics that remains a continuing threat to peace of the region.

Indian Brutalities & The International Reaction

India has not hesitated to use brutal force to maintain its hold on Indian occupied Kashmir and suppress revolt. The US, UN and other international organizations failed to take note of grave human rights violations. They failed to provide any specific, actionable proposals for a permanent solution. All they extended were diplomatic courtesies, suggested vague formulas and generalities that are open to multiple interpretations.

Although the US considers South Asia to be a sensitive and strategically important region from its geopolitical, security and economic standpoint and has expressed the desire to see peace prevail, yet it has so far paid only lip service to finding a permanent solution. It would not chastise India for human rights violations, which would have attracted its immediate attention if these were taking place in a country that it had chosen to punish, for fear of displeasing or alienating India which it has aggressively been courting in recent years.

This situation was compounded by the Indian dreams of regional hegemony that led it to dismember Pakistan in 1971 and go on to become a nuclear power, which forced Pakistan to develop its own nuclear deterrent for safeguarding its security.

Consequently, India has consistently and blatantly refused to honor the will of the people, negotiate Kashmir’s future status and stop the use of brutal force.

The Conflict Leads To The First Kashmir War

In the wake of the August 1947 partition of British India that brought into existence two sovereign states of the Indian Union and Pakistan, the British left after having midwifed the Kashmir dispute that has since bedeviled peace between the two countries. Essentially, the agreed principle that governed partition was that Muslim majority states to the east and west of British India would form Pakistan, while rest of the subcontinent was to form Indian Union.

Decisions by several Muslim rulers for accession of their states to Pakistan that had Hindu majorities (Hyderabad, Junagadh and Manavadar being cases in point) were rejected on the grounds that a Muslim ruler did not have the right to overrule the will of the Hindu majority population. But the decision of the Hindu Raja of the princely state of Kashmir, which was predominantly a Muslim majority state and should have acceded to Pakistan, was immediately accepted by the British viceroy and the Indian government, despite a popular Kashmiri revolt against his decision. Although an agreement of non-intervention in Kashmir had been signed between India and Pakistan, the new Indian government sent troops into Kashmir at the request of the Hindu ruler to enforce the instrument of accession and forcibly occupy the territory, in disregard of the agreed principle of accession applied elsewhere.

This led to the first Kashmir war in 1947 between India and Pakistan. In 1948 India sought cease fire, taking the issue to the UN Security Council, which passed resolution 47 on 21 April 1948 that imposed an immediate cease-fire along the line of actual control of territory by both parties and called on them to withdraw their troops. It also ruled that “the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.” The cease fire was enacted in December 1948, with both governments agreeing to hold the plebiscite in areas under their control. Ever since, India has been rejecting all resolutions of the Security Council and the proposals of the UN arbitrators for demilitarization of the region – all of which were accepted by Pakistan.

The Security Council Steps In

Although the resolutions of the Security Council were regarded as the ‘documents of reference’ for a durable and internationally acceptable solution, no steps were ever taken for their implementation. This was because in technical terms these were not mandatory – not having been based under Chapter VII of the Charter. This allowed India to get away, dashing the false expectations of the Kashmiris as to the possible role of the United Nations as facilitator of a solution to the Kashmir problem.

This injustice to the Kashmiri people was intrinsically linked to the veto privilege of the permanent members of the Security Council and the lack of unanimity between them for enforcement measures according to Articles 41 and 42 of the Charter. Their plight is similar to that of the Palestinians, in whose case also resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) that call upon Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab territories are not based on Chapter VII and have hence enabled the occupying country, Israel, to ignore them.

That the United Nations Organization follows double standards was clearly visible when it adopted compulsory resolutions in other conflict situations, such as in case of the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990-1991, where the US – a permanent member, having an interest in the matter, was able to force the hand of other permanent members to do its bidding.

The cease fire line between the Indian and Pakistani sides of Kashmir has since become the Line of Control and continues to be monitored by UN observers. Read more of this post

Pax Americana, a dream shattered by Afghans


by Dr S M Rahman

The reactionary power propensity represented by Bushes, Dick Cheneys, Rumsfelds, whom Robert Jensen in his article ‘N-Weapon abolition requires death of US empire (Dissident Voice, reproduced in the Nation, June 20, 2010) describes as Reckless Hawks, compared to Obama, Bidens and Clintons who are relatively Reasonable Hawks. Hawks nevertheless!! The Reckless lot is ‘psychotic, whereas the Reasonable ones are cynical. What is that impels US policy makers – Republicans and Democrats alike to follow Wilsonian security paradigm as against Jeffersonian. Dismayed by the over ambitious, awfully disastrous pre-emptive US doctrine propounded by George Bush and Co,, the new incumbent Obama has been advised by the ‘pundits’ and statesmen to steer foreign policy a bit different from that of his predecessor. Walter Russell Mead based on the Carter analogy argued in the recent issue of Foreign Policy; “Obama”, he says, “needs to reconcile a transcendent Wilsonian vision of US foreign policy, with a competing Jeffersonian world view that focuses on the pitfalls of imperial overstretch” (All the Presidents Dreams by Richard Bart, The National interest, No. 106, Mar-Apr 2010).

Zbigniew Brezezinski – who was serving as Security Advisor to President Carter – a Hawkish policy propeller, just as Henry Kissinger was to Richard Nixon. How to take full control of Eurasia, after the end of Cold War, was Brezezinski’s strategic ambition in order to perpetuate USA’s absolute control over the world through a Power Chess Board paradigm. He is a bit critical of Obama – perhaps being ‘wishy washy’ and raising lot of expectations rather than “strategic breakthroughs”. He needs to be, “tenacious” and ‘energetic’ according to him, to be ale to ‘realize’ the goals he has already elaborated. Left to himself, perhaps, he would have followed what Nixon did in the context of Vietnam under the advice of Henry Kissinger. It was although a painful decision, but he did extract USA from the “Vietnam morass”, as the useless war was exceedingly becoming unpopular, besides creating an economic nightmare, entailing colossal budget deficit. Obama’s oscillation between ‘power’ and prudence is due to the mounting pressures of the Hawkish groups – the remnants of Bush era and the Military Industrial Complex, which promotes military interventions, as its market strategy. The ‘merchants of death’, have led to the transformation for the world, as if it were a replica of Greek tragedy.

At the end of World War II, USA emerged as an undisputed global power, though through act of ‘nuclear barbarism’ on Japan, not due to military requirements but to convey a message indirectly to “Soviet Union” to accept a step lower than that of USA, in the ‘power-pecking order’ of the world. Is it not a pathological and a dehumanized sensibility that depicts the US strategic mind set? A military historian has calculated that there were 39 incidents of “nuclear black mail”, of which 30 were made by the US officials. This, in essence depicts the so called civilizational face of USA, which Bush was so boastful about in justifying his ‘pre-emptive military doctrine’, which essentially was predatory in nature, to defend the most exploitative economic system of Capitalism and the West’s over accentuating greed to consume disproportional share of the global wealth. What else is globalization?

“Strategic contentment” is not what US and its allies tend to pursue. Despite the affluence and military power, USA had attained, the State Department’s policy planning staff in 1947 (as quoted by Robert Jenson) very explicitly conveyed: “To seek less than preponderant power would be to opt for defeat. Preponderant power must be the object of US policy.” The ‘preponderant power’ essentially is that it rules the world and that USA calls the strategic shots and determine the “terms of the global economy, to others, who can not reconcile to the domination, must be prepared to face annihilation. No other system would be acceptable and therefore, throughout the Cold War the myth of Communism was created to make the gullible public phobic about the dreadful ideology. It was not the media onslaught that led to the fall of Soviet Union. The strategic blunder did it, which it committed by invading Afghanistan, not realizing that Afghan territory is predisposed to sucking great empires – sort of eastern version of ‘Bermuda triangle’ (Analogy made by General Asad Durrani) in his write-up Making Sense in AfPak (Newsletter, issue 8, Thinker’s Forum (TFP). Read more of this post

Europe’s stain

By Mowahid Hussain Shah

Among the recurring European themes of the post 9/11 era are lectures telling Muslims how to behave. It has become fashionable to lecture. Netherlands has been at the forefront of the lecturing spree.

On July 11 at Johannesburg, when Netherlands was playing Spain for the World Cup Soccer title, thousands of miles away in eastern Bosnia, on the same day, was being marked the 15th anniversary of the genocidal massacre of over 8,000 Muslims by Serb soldiers in the Muslim town of Srebrenica.

The 1995 Srebrenica slaughter was the largest mass murder, as well as the first legally established case of genocide, in Europe since World War II. Significantly, it occurred in a place which had been designated by the UN Security Council as a “safe area which should be free from any armed attack or other hostile act”, under the protection of the United Nations Protection Force. The Security Council directed that Srebrenica be protected using “the necessary measures, including the use of force.” A Dutch battalion operating under the auspices of the UN was assigned the responsibility for protecting Srebrenica and its inhabitants. Rather than safeguarding Srebrenica, the Dutch guardians, under pressure from Serbian forces, fled or stood by while their charges were butchered. The sense of angry humiliation left in the aftermath of the Srebrenica slaughter, and the Western indifference to it, was a key catalyst inflaming radicalism in Europe and beyond.

Srebrenica is not highlighted in the Muslim world because the Muslim elites neither have the pride, nor the drive to do so. And it is equally not highlighted in the Western world, where there is little incentive to illuminate facets of Western “civilisation” which have caused devastation to the lives of Muslim victims, when the constant commotion is about “Islamic” terrorism.

Today, xenophobic politicians in Holland and elsewhere in Europe – under the cover of freedom of expression – indulge in targeted vilification of the Muslim world without examining their own sorry performance. One politician in particular, Geert Wilders, showed his disdain when he wrote and commissioned the making of an unnecessarily provocative and insulting documentary called Fitna, in 2008, with full knowledge that Holland’s bigoted political climate and weak Muslim community would permit Wilders to get away with his attacks. Earlier, a Dutch movie-maker, Theo van Gogh (great-grandson of the brother of the legendary Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh) made a movie which outraged the Dutch Muslim community and led to his being slain on November 2, 2004, in early morning on a public street, by an enraged Dutch-Moroccan.

Seventy years ago, when Holland and much of Europe crumbled before the German blitzkrieg, the Nazis swiftly discovered how quickly many locals became eager collaborators and informers, turning on their own fellow Jewish citizens and neighbours. The famous diary of the 14-year-old girl Anne Frank was written in hiding in Amsterdam and starkly details the atmosphere of terror and treachery.

In Indonesia – where I spent a part of my boyhood – I heard plenty of stories of how the Dutch colonial rulers fled when the Japanese invaded Indonesia in early 1942. After atom bombs pulverised Japan in 1945, the Dutch re-surfaced to regain their colonial control of the mineral rich Indonesia, but then, the Sukarno-led nationalist movement thwarted it. Read more of this post

Pak-US vs Pak-China relations

By S.m. Hali

Decision makers in Pakistan are often torn between opting for strategic relations with the US or China: ties with either of the two should be mutually exclusive. However, as Pakistanis wonder whether Pakistan is a US ‘ally’ or ‘target’, China with its quiet unobtrusive help continues to win the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan. The question here is, why is it that the US continues to pump money, train Pakistani security forces and provide technical support, yet it continues to draw flak? It is worth examining the reason for this dichotomy.

The Pak-US military relations have been like a rollercoaster ride. Historically, no US ally has faced as many sanctions from it as Pakistan. A brief history of the Pak-US military relations indicates that they commenced in 1954/55, with the signing of the SEATO/CENTO pact, after which Pakistan started receiving weapons and training from America. In July 1957, Pakistan permitted the US to establish a secret intelligence facility in the country and for the U-2 spy plane to operate from Badaber, near Peshawar. But when the plane was shot down by the Soviet army and its pilot captured alive on May 1, 1960, it embarrassed the US and brought Soviet ire on Pakistan. Since the Pakistani government was kept in the dark regarding the clandestine US operations, it asked the US to wind up its activities in Pakistan.

During the Indo-China war in 1962, the US supply of defence equipment to India, despite Pakistan’s objections, soured the Pak-US relations. On the contrary, the US did not come to Pakistan’s aid either in the 1965 or the 1971 Indo-Pak wars, despite a pact for mutual defence, forcing Pakistan to denounce its SEATO and CENTO membership. In addition, the Pak-US relations underwent a severe blow with Pakistan’s nuclear tests on May 28, 1998, and the ensuing sanctions. The ouster of then premier Nawaz Sharif in 1999 in a military coup led by General Musharraf gave the US government another reason to invoke fresh sanctions under Section 508 of the Foreign Appropriations Act, which included restrictions on foreign military financing and economic assistance.

Now let us examine Pak-China relations briefly. The relationship between the two countries began in 1950s when Pakistan was among the first countries, and the only Muslim nation, to recognise the People’s Republic of China and tried to build good relations with the newly independent country. Pakistan also helped China become a member of the United Nations and has been instrumental in helping it to maintain relations with the Muslim world. It has also played a leading role in bridging the communication gap between China and the West, through Henry Kissinger’s secret visit in 1971, which became the forerunner of President Nixon’s historic Beijing tour, establishing to the world that China was a lawful entity. Read more of this post

Human Rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Baramulla Kashmir | PEOPLE CARRY THE BODY OF NINE-YEAR-OLD TARIQ AHMAD

By Dr Raja Muhammad Khan

According to a recent report on Human Rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir by Indian Army and its paramilitary forces, there have been deaths of 93,274 innocent Kashmiri from 1989 to June 30, 2010. Besides this alarming figure of open killings by its security forces, there have been 6,969 custodial killings, 117,345 arrests, destruction, and razing of 105,861 houses and other physical structures in the use of the community as a whole. The brutal security forces have orphaned over 107, 351 children, widowed 22,728 women and gang raped 9,920 women. In June 2010 only, there have been 33 deaths including four children besides, torturing and injuring 572 people. The brutal Indian security forces molested eight women during this one month. This brief account indeed, is the reality of Indian achievements on which they are trumpeting for their success in the Kashmir through counter insurgency operations.

It seems that non-condemnation of these Indian acts of massive human rights violations, by the so-called civilized international community has further encouraged India to step-up its brutalities on the armless Kashmiri masses. Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. India perhaps reached to a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris, demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the Kashmiris movement for the freedom from the Indian rule. This indeed is the continuation of their resistance against the Dogra Rule, started in early part of the 20th century. On July 13, 1931, the Dogra authorities ordered firing on a group of peaceful Kashmiri Protestants in Jammu, resultant killing of dozens of innocent Kashmiris. Thereafter, there has been no letup in the oppression of the Dogra rule until its end in October 1947. The end of the Dogrea rule was marked by the beginning of the Hindu rule, another repressive rule on the Kashmiris, which is continuing. People of Kashmir feels that, “The martyrs who sacrificed their precious lives for Kashmir cause teach us all not to bow before the forces even if one has to sacrifice his life.”

India misperceived that the temporary halt in the armed struggle of Kashmiris after 2002, is because of its counter-insurgency operation. Indeed, from 2003 onwards, there appeared a change in the Indian attitude, and it was thought that, as Pakistan, India is also sincere in the resolution of Kashmir dispute. In January 2004, during the historic 12th SAARC Summit, both countries pledged that, Kashmir issue would be resolved through an option acceptable to all three parties; the Kashmiri, Pakistan and India. That time, many options were debated to reach on a consensus solution. Unfortunately, India’s stubborn attitude and its misperception that Kashmiris are no more presenting a resistance, as if they have reconciled with the Indian rule has led her not to make further progress on the issue. In the meanwhile, through various compensatory measures, India tried to redress the Kashmiri grievances. However, there has been no policy change in the repressive activities of Indian security forces. Indian security forces continued human rights violations in Kashmir unabated.

Recent Clash in Old Srinagar With Indian Occupied Forces

Seeing no progress for the resolution of Kashmir issue, in 2008, Kashmiri once again renewed their peaceful protests. This time forceful grabbing of their land by the Indian authorities became the raison d’être for the protests. Through a deliberate attempt, Indian Government allotted 800 kanal of Kashmiri land to a Hindu shrine. The tactics was that, through a gradual process, a demographic change would be effected in the Vale of Kashmir, the way it was done in the Jammu, following the Indian rule there, from October 1947 onwards. It is worth mentioning that Muslim population constituted 62 percent of the Jammu province according to the last census held in the united Kashmir in 1941. Now it is in thirties. The Valley has over 95 % Muslim population; therefore, India is all out to reduce this by inhabiting Hindu population, through land allotments. To curb their uprisings, this time Indian state machinery decided to economically strangulate the Valley people. Making use of the security forces and Hindu extremists of Jammu, India blocked all the entrants and exist routes of the Kashmir Valley. The economic blockade was so ruthless that there took place severe shortage of the foodstuff in the Valley. The protestants were fired upon, resultant killing of hundreds of the innocent masses including the prominent leaders like Sheikh Abdul Aziz on 11 August 2008, once he was leading a peaceful march towards Muzaffarabad, demanding an end to economic blockade by Indian Army. Read more of this post

Kashmir needs freedom from India: Arundhati Roy

SRINAGAR: Activist and author Arundhati Roy, who was present at the massive Monday rally, said that the people of Kashmir have made themselves abundantly clear. ( Watch )

“And if no one is listening then it is because they don’t want to hear. Because this is a referendum. People don’t need anyone to represent them; they are representing themselves. As somebody who has followed people’s movements and who has been in rallies and at the heart or the edge of things, I don’t think you can dispute what you see here,” she toldTOI .

Roy also said that “since the 1930s, there have been debates and disputes about who has the right to represent the Kashmiri people, whether it was Hari Singh or Sheikh Abdullah or someone else. And the debate continues till today whether it is the Hurriyat or some other party.”

Then she added, “But I think today the people have represented themselves.”

Roy concluded with words, “India needs azadi from Kashmir as much as Kashmir needs azadi from India.” –TOI

> Arundhati Roy on BBC Urdu Service about current kashmir violence

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Pakistan-Afghanistan: The Conjoined Twins

Have you heard about Allama Iqbal Faculty at Kabul University? Sir Syed Science Faculty Block at Nangarhar University? Liaqat Ali Khan Engineering Faculty at Balkh University? Rehman Baba High School in Kabul? And the sprawling ten-tower Jinnah Hospital Complex in Kabul and the Nishtar Kidney Hospital in Jalalabad?

  • Pakistan will issue 250,000 multiple entry visas to applicants across Afghanistan in 2010
  • 28,000 Afghans have studied in Pakistani schools, colleges and universities in the past 30 years; Islamabad has longstanding policy of educating the children of Afghan refugees
  • About 500,000 Afghan children attend schools in Pakistan
  • The most successful professionals in today’s Afghan society had studied in Pakistan
  • Afghan graduates from Pakistani universities receive higher salaries than graduates from any other country in the region
  • Every single day in 2009, 52,000 Afghans entered Pakistan for business, education and tourism
  • Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara Afghans are as welcome in Pakistan as the Pashtun Afghans
  • Pakistan once hosted 5.5 million Afghans, a majority of them continue to live with their Pakistani cousins
  • When the world abandoned Afghanistan after 1989, it was Pakistanis who supported their Afghan cousins

By AMBASSADOR MOHAMMAD SADIQ
[This is a revised version by the author]

KABUL, Afghanistan—While addressing the media in Islamabad on 11 March 2010, President Hamid Karzai very aptly said Pakistan and Afghanistan were conjoined twins. The remarks were not new but they hit the headlines, showing that nature of relations between the two countries continued to baffle many.

Mark Twain, the great American writer, had famously said Johann Sebastian Bach’s music was better than it sounded. If Twain were around today, he would have pronounced Pak-Afghan relationship ‘better than portrayed.’

Some 52,000 Afghans crossed border with Pakistan everyday in 2009 for business, jobs, medical treatment, education and to visit relatives. This was a significant increase over a year ago when 44,000 Afghans traversed the border daily. More visitors now undertake documented travel between the two countries by obtaining visas or visit permits.

Our Missions in Afghanistan have geared up to issue quarter of a million multiple entry visas to Afghan nationals during 2010. Pakistan issues more visas to Afghans than the rest of the world combined. Pakistan does not charge any visa fee from Afghan passport holders.

Contrary to the craftily promoted perception that Afghans of only one ethnicity are welcomed in Pakistan, one finds people from all over Afghanistan in Pakistani cities. Our consular records show that visas issued to Afghan nationals closely represent the ethnic composition of the population.

Despite occasional ups and downs at certain levels, the overall bilateral relations remained remarkably frequent and cordial. This explains the continued presence of over three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan for last 30 years. At one point, over 5.5 million Afghans were living in Pakistan. 37 percent of the refugees who voluntarily repatriate to Afghanistan are back in Pakistan within weeks.

In last thirty years, Afghans of all ethnicities and of political views had taken refuge in Pakistan: whether it was mass exodus against the Soviet occupation or flight from atrocities of a decade long internecine war. They looked at Pakistan as a place where they could find safety, at least temporarily, for their families.

The world hurriedly left Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal. The unfortunate events of 9/11 have reengaged the world in Afghanistan but still little attention is paid to the honourable return of refugees to their homes. The international community’s attitude towards Afghan refugees is rather callous. Just one example: they were disenfranchised in the last Presidential elections because the international community claimed that it was short of funds!

Due to Pakistan’s longstanding policy on educating Afghan nationals, some 28,000 Afghans had attended Pakistani universities and colleges in last three decades. Today, 6,000 Afghan students are enrolled in Pakistan’s colleges and universities. This represents about 60 percent of all Afghans studying in institutions of higher education abroad. In addition, about half a million Afghan refugee children attend schools in Pakistan.

To facilitate the capacity building efforts of other donors, Pakistan also encourages third party sponsorship of training of Afghan students and officials in its institutions. Under this policy, over five hundred Afghan nationals attended courses in the field of agriculture from a few weeks duration to postgraduate degrees in the AgricultureUniversity of Peshawar alone. Scores were trained in other professions ranging from medicine to civil aviation.

Over the years, Afghan students in Pakistan have mostly been allowed the same opportunities and treatment which are extended to our own nationals. A whole generation of Afghans is thus educated, and now gainfully employed, inside Afghanistan or abroad.

Most successful professionals in today’s Afghan society had studied in Pakistan. They dominate the work place not only in government offices, international organizations and NGOs but also as professionals, businessmen, and skilled and semi-skilled workers.

And more proudly, Afghan graduates from Pakistani universities are paid significantly higher salaries than graduates from any other neighboring country.

Pakistan is further providing 2,000 fully funded graduate and post-graduate scholarships to Afghan students in its institutions of higher learning over the next four years. The placements are being made in ten different fields from medicine to IT to agriculture. The first batch of the students under this programme had already left for Pakistan early this year.

Providing consistent and across the board education and capacity building opportunities is Pakistan’s greatest gift to the people of Afghanistan and it is considered so innate that it is hardly mentioned in any discourse in Kabul.

Another important area where Pakistan has been of unlimited help to the people of Afghanistan is healthcare. Afghans are provided free medical care in Pakistan’s government hospitals, a facility available to our own nationals.

Over 90 percent of Afghans who seek medical treatment abroad visit Pakistan. Most of the Afghan patients opt for free treatment at government or philanthropic healthcare facilities. Moneyed Afghan patients are welcomed by many countries but for their less fortunate compatriots only Pakistan has kept its doors opened.

Just a few examples of the effects of this facility: 40 percent of patients in Peshawar’s major government hospitals and 11 percent patients in tertiary hospitals all over Pakhtunkhwa province are Afghans; over 50 percent patients in major government hospitals in Quetta are Afghan nationals; and two Pakistani philanthropic hospitals perform free eye surgeries on about 30,000 Afghans every year. Read more of this post

India buries dissent in Kashmir

…and its pretensions to democracy

By Anil Choudhary

The Harvard Law Record

International Tribunal for Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir Mass graves found in Kashmir in 2008. 2,600 fresh graves were discovered last year.

Nearly 2,600 bodies have been discovered in single, unmarked graves and in mass graves throughout mountainous Indian-controlled Kashmir. The International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice (IPTHJ), an Indian Kashmir-based human rights organization, claimed that they found the graves in 55 villages during a three-year survey that concluded in November. Out of the 2,600 graves discovered by IPTHJ, they claim that 177 graves held more than one body. This report is one of the most damning pieces of evidence of the ‘crime against humanity’ perpetrated by the Indian armed forces in their occupation of the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Indian policemen clash with Kashmiri protesters during a protest in Srinagar - Indian Occupied Kashmir

The Muslim-dominated region of Kashmir has been a disputed territory right from the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947 and has been the source of conflict for more than half a century. While both countries claim the region, it is the civilian population of Kashmir that has paid the price of the conflict. In contested claims, more than 68,000 people have lost their lives in Indian-occupied Kashmir in the past two decades alone and have witnessed three conventional wars.

The latest report, if accurate, only goes to prove the brutalities encountered by the Kashmiris at the hands of the Indian armed forces. The Indian occupation of Kashmir casts a dark shadow over India’s shining image as the largest democracy in the world. Indian democracy prides itself on freedom of speech and expression and the right of its people to dissent. But the manner in which the dissent of the Kashmiri population has been crushed illustrates that India still has a long way to go to be a real functional democracy. Over the past couple of decades, it has been alleged by various human rights groups that the Indian military has killed a large number of Kashmiri youth in “fake encounters”, dubbing them “Pakistani terrorists”. In April, 2008, Amnesty International appealed to the Indian government to investigate hundreds of unidentified graves — believed to contain victims of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other abuses — to no avail.

The starkest feature of these recent findings is that there was no coverage of the report by the Indian media. Having stumbled upon this shocking report in the New York Times when sitting in the U.S., I sought the perspective of the Indian media. To my disbelief and horror, there was not even a single mention about this report in all the leading Indian dailies and news channels, while all of the major international media groups had covered the story.

So what does this tell about Indian democracy? The truth of brutalities in Kashmir have always been kept a secret to the nation. The Indian state has, for decades, been suppressing the largely non-violent dissent of Kashmiri people against the militarization of Kashmir. The Indian state has used the divisive propaganda of militancy and religion as tools to suppress any kind of dissent against its forced occupation of the region. The Indian state has tried to keep not only the international community in the dark about its hostilities toward Kashmiris but also the local Indian population, by controlling media reports of the real situation on the ground in Indian occupied Kashmir.

A democracy which suppresses dissent by means of violence is the most vulgar form of democracy, if at all it can be called ‘democracy’. The successful attempt by the Indian state to keep the Indian populace in the dark about such damning reports questions the validity of its claim to be the largest functional, pluralistic democracy.

See the charred bodies of Indian Muslims burned alive by Hindu mobs in 2002, in the 21st century’s first genocide. There is a distinct lobby in United States and Britain that played a criminal role in fostering Indian terrorism. It did this by covering up Hindu terrorism against Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and low-caste Indians. Have you seen picture like this published by any American or British newspaper or news service?

Kashmir is not the only place where the Indian government has responded with violence in the wake of dissent. The rising tide of the left-wing Indian Maoists group (termed “Naxalites”), predominant in East India, have constantly faced violent retaliations for their dissent against the capitalist regime of the Indian state. The people of neglected regions of northeastern India have been the subject of torture by the Indian military forces for decades for their demand of more autonomy for the region.

Unfortunately, the resort to violence against any kind of dissent is not a new phenomenon for the Indian state, either. The princely states of Junagadh and Hyderabad were annexed by the Indian state by use of force when these states declined to be part of the newly formed independent Indian state.

But India’s use of violence to vitiate dissent has long been kept under the wraps of propagandist theories of a functional pluralistic democracy. India has projected itself, not only to the international community, but also to its citizens, as being a soft, liberal state. But events, past and present, prove otherwise.


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Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi & The Crusades : (Documentary film)






Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi, the hero of hundreds of battles, was the person who for twenty years braved the storm of the Crusaders and ultimately pushed back the combined forces of Europe which had come to swarm the Holy Land. The world has hardly witnessed a more chivalrous and humane conqueror.

The Crusades represent the maddest and the longest war in the history of mankind, in which the storm of savage fanaticism of the Christian West burst in all its fury over the Muslim World.The Crusaders met with initial success and conquered a major part of Syria and Palestine, including the Holy city of Jerusalem. But their victories were followed by such brutalities and massacres of innocent Muslims which eclipsed the massacres of Genghes Khan and Hulaku.

90 years later…Salahuddin Ayyubi becomes the Sultan of Syria and Egypt.At that time, there was a truce between the Sultan and the Franks in Palestine but, according to the French historian Michaud, `the Mussalmans respected their pledged faith, whilst the Christians gave the signal of a new war’. Contrary to the terms of the truce, the Christians attacked a Muslim caravan passing by his castle, massacred a large number of people and looted their property.Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi was now free to act. By a skilful manoeuvre, Salahuddin entrapped the powerful enemy forces near the hill of Hittin in 1187 and routed them with heavy loses. The Sultan did allow the Christians to recover and rapidly followed up his victory of Hittin. In a remarkably short time, he reoccupied a large number of cities which were in possession of the Christians including Nablus, Jericko, Ramlah, Caesarea, Arsuf, Jaffa and Beirut. Ascalon, too, submitted after a short siege and was granted generous terms by the kind-hearted Sultan.

The Sultan now turned his attention to Jerusalem which contained more than sixty thousand Crusaders. The Christians, could not withstand the onslaught of the Sultan’s forces and capitulated in 1187. The humanity of the Sultan towards the defeated Christians of Jerusalem procures an unpleasant contrast to the massacre of the Muslims in Jerusalem when conquered by the Christians about ninety years before.

When the Sultan captured Jerusalem in 1187, he gave free pardon to the Christians living in the city. Only the combatants were asked to leave the city on payment of a nominal ransom. In most of the cases, the Sultan provided the ransom money from his own pocket and even provided them transport. A number of weeping Christian women carrying their children in their arms approached the Sultan and said `You see us on foot, the wives, mothers and daughters of the warriors who are your prisoners; we are quitting forever this country; they aided us in our lives, in losing them we lose our last hope; if you give them to us, they can alleviate our miseries and we shall not be without support on earth’. The Sultan was highly moved with their appeal and set free their men. Those who left the city were allowed to carry all their bag and baggage. The humane and benevolent behaviour of the Sultan with the defeated Christians of Jerusalem provides a striking contrast to the butchery of the Muslims in this city at the hands of the Crusaders ninety years before. The commanders under the Sultan vied with each other in showing mercy to the defeated Crusaders.

The fall of Jerusalem into the hands of the Muslims threw Christendom into violent commotion and reinforcements began to pour in from all parts of Europe. The Emperors of Germany and France as well as Richard, the Lion-hearted, king of England, hurried with large armies to seize the Holy Land from the Muslims. They laid siege to Acre which lasted for several months. In several open combats against the Sultan,, the Crusaders were routed with terrible losses.

In 1193,Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi passed away in Damascus.He was one of the most humane and chivalrous monarchs in the annals of mankind. In him, nature had very harmoniously blended the benevolent and merciful heart of a Muslim with a matchless military genius. The messenger who took the news of his death to Baghdad brought the Sultan’s coat of mail, his horse one dinar and 36 dirhams which was all the property he had left. His contemporaries and other historians are unanimous in acknowledging Salahuddin as a tender-hearted, kind, patient, affable person— a friend of the learned and the virtuous whom he treated with utmost respect and beneficence. `In Europe’, says Phillip K. Hitti, `he touched the fancy of the English minstrels as well as the modern novelists and is still considered the paragon of chivalry’.

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Barbarity of Indian Army in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Indian atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir From Jan. 1989 to May 31, 2010

  • Total Killings* = 93,241
  • Custodial Killings = 6,969
  • Civilians Arrested = 117,117
  • Structures Arsoned/Destroyed = 105,845
  • Women Widowed = 22,726
  • Children Orphaned = 107,347
  • Women gang-raped / Molested = 9,912



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