To: United Nations Secretariat - Department of Political Affairs
Subject: Freedom of Movement and Non-Violent Struggle to Achieve
Political Objectives in AJK (Pakistani-administered Kashmir)
Date: Friday 27/04/12
Having lived most of my life in the ‘democratic world’ (viz. UK) coupled with the opportunity of covering conflict zones (Iraq, Afghanistan) as a journalist - equipped me somewhat to work on civil society development in my native region – which I’ve been carrying out un-interrupted since April 2005.
In reference to the subject title, over the past few weeks I’ve been privy to the preparation of a student organisation (namely JKNSF – Jammu Kashmir National Students Federation) to peacefully resist the bilateral manner in which the past, present and future status of our divided territory is being decided by India and Pakistan. They find it equally disturbing that the international community has appeared to treat our dispute as one of conflicting sovereign territorial claims rather than as a question of the freedom of it’s inhabitants.
Accepting that matters on the Indian-administered side are to be decided between the citizens that live there and the Government of India; matters on this side indicate a clear desire on the part of citizens here to be independent and to re-unite the divided territory (as it was under the Maharajah, albeit with a democratic framework). This is of course subject to the will of the people living in each part of the divided territory (viz. Gilgit Baltistan, Ladakh, the Kashmir Valley and Jammu)
In order for a genuine democratic process to emerge, it is essential that un-hindered people to people contact is realised forthwith. To date, JKNSF has engaged in peaceful resistance to the LOC and solidarity with the Valley of Kashmir in 1990 and with Gilgit Baltistan in 2007. On each occasion two of our citizens perished. On this occasion, emphasis is on interaction between the divided province of Jammu (part of which makes up AJK), hence their slogan: Chalo Chalo Jammu Chalo (Come, let’s go to Jammu). Given Pakistan’s insistence on the 2 nation theory (creating a wedge between us and our Hindu/Sikh compatriots living in Jammu), JKNSF’s attempt to cross the LOC tomorrow (28/04/12) also reminds us of this day in 1949 when a couple of our politicians (without due public process) formerly handed over all public affairs of AJK and Gilgit Baltistan to the Government of Pakistan. This was despite UNCIP giving these matters to the AJK Government which it recognised as a ‘Local Authority’.
Our citizens recognise Pakistan’s need for water and even it’s defence concerns but that doesn’t give them carte blanche to control each and every aspect of our territory - without a legal and constitutional basis – in their favour and at the cost of our freedom, well-being and sanity. JKNSF finds no explicit moral or legal obligation to remain divided from it’s compatriots across the LOC and neither does it find any legal basis for the Pakistani State’s prevention/interference of their cadre’s peaceful march from various cities of AJK to Seri (Khuiratta).
They seek the opinion of your good office.