Dr Shabir Choudhry
Political culture in Pakistan is strange to say the least. Those who abrogate constitution of the country and impose martial law are projected as patriots; and those who criticise them are perceived as anti – Pakistan. With this kind of mind-set, there is very little space for genuine pro-democracy, pro – people and pro country political activists.
There are some misguided people who erroneously criticise me too. They are, either influenced by nefarious propaganda of those whom I expose, or because of their inability to differentiate between critics of wrong doings of Pakistani governments; and those who are anti – Pakistan.
All good people challenge wrong doings
Time and again, I hear from these people that I am anti Pakistan. Yes, I criticise wrong doings of Pakistan because these wrong doings hurt people of Pakistan, people of Jammu and Kashmir; and endanger peace and stability of the region. It is my democratic right to hold an opinion and express it; even Pakistani constitution allows that. May be those who castigate us erroneously believe that they are above the constitution, as to them it is only a piece of paper.
If you see a wrong doing taking place in a place where you live, and you choose to remain quiet; it clearly means you wish that wrong doing to continue. Maybe you want it to continue because you like it or enjoy it; or maybe it benefits you politically and economically.
However, if you criticise it you may draw attention of those who are in a position to stop it or change this wrong doing, or reform their policies. State quo, benefits those who established it. All those who want to change the status quo are perceived as enemies by those who benefit from the status quo. With their power and influence they unleash fake stories and activate their propaganda machinery to oppose these ‘enemies’ of their business or interest.
All Prophets, other good people and revolutionaries challenged the status quo during their time. In doing this, they suffered because supporters of the Status quo had power to inflict pain and suffering on them.
To me, those who seek reforms by criticising the wrong doings are sincere people and well – wishers of that society. Real enemies are those who want the wrong doings to continue. Dozens of innocent very young boys and girls became victims of pornography in Sialkot, Pakistan. This wrong doing was abhorred by some people with conscience and, and these brave people exposed them. Were they enemies of Pakistan? Did they commit a crime by exposing these culprits? Or they were well-wishers of the society, and they wanted this evil practice to stop.
Does anyone know what happened to those responsible for this heinous crime? May be their skins were saved by those who were benefitting from this crime.
Jihadi warriors and extremist groups
Many years ago, I started writing and openly opposing this policy of sending jihadi warriors to Jammu and Kashmir. I even spoke to some senior people who were responsible for this. I told them that this policy of sending armed men, especially those who were not citizens of Jammu and Kashmir was providing India with a propaganda stick that Pakistan was creating ‘instability and exporting terrorism’.
My fear was that it will tarnish the struggle, as it will look a Pakistani agenda to ‘bleed India’; and will damage our cause and result in more bloodshed. Moreover, I thought these groups will impose their will on the Pakistani and societies of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the divide.
I was accused of being ‘anti Pakistan, ‘anti Jihad’, ‘anti Islam’ and ‘pro India’. In view of what the world community is saying to Pakistan about Jihadi groups, and in view of what mayhem they have caused to the Pakistani and Jammu and Kashmir society, tell me who was wrong and who was anti Pakistan. Was I anti Pakistan who cautioned them and spoke against this policy; or those who formulated this policy and continued with it even though it caused bloodshed in Pakistan and in Jammu and Kashmir?
There are growing number of people who believe that Mohammed Ali Jinnah was killed; and so was Fatima Jinnah, his sister. If it is true, those responsible for this, were they anti Pakistan or Pakistan?
- Those who got first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, killed, were they anti Pakistan or pro Pakistan?
- What about those who toppled the civilian governments in 1950s, abrogated the 1956 constitution and imposed a Martial law, were they anti Pakistan or pro Pakistan?
- What about those who violated a Standstill Agreement with Jammu and Kashmir government and arranged an attack in name of jihad on Jammu and Kashmir to capture it? This attack resulted in deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people, rapes of women, forced division of Jammu and Kashmir, and first direct war between India and Pakistan. Were they pro Pakistan or anti Pakistan as that action caused damage to Pakistan, its reputation and death and destruction.
- What about those who launched ill planned ‘Operation Gibraltar’, which led to second India Pakistan war and death of thousands of Pakistani and citizens of Jammu and Kashmir; and embittered the relationship with India and many other countries? Were they anti Pakistan or loyal Pakistanis?
- What about those who refused to honour the verdict of people in the elections of 1970, and attacked people of East Pakistan, killed Lakhs of innocent people and raped women. This operation not only gave bad name to Pakistan, but it also resulted in worst surrender in history of world, were these people pro Pakistan or anti Pakistan?
- What about those who imposed Martial law in 1977, and hanged an elected Prime Minister? Were they anti Pakistan or pro Pakistan?
- Those who imposed draconian laws and curbed fundamental rights of citizens, promoted sectarianism and violence in name of religion, were they pro Pakistan or anti Pakistan?
- What about those who were part of conspiracies to get General Zia Ul Haq and Benazir Bhutto killed, were they pro Pakistan or anti-Pakistan?
- What about those who created Taliban and exported militancy in Afghanistan and searched for a strategic depth? This policy also harmed Pakistan’s interests and defamed Pakistan as a country ‘harbouring terrorism’. Were they all pro Pakistan?
- What about General Musharaf who toppled the elected Prime Minister and imposed Martial law in 1999; and gave Pakistani air bases to Americans that they can kill Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Was that pro Pakistan act or anti Pakistan act?
Why is it that when people in uniform are part of wrong doings they are protected; and people are also tight lipped about it; and when civilians criticise their wrong and harmful acts they are projected as enemies of the state and ‘agents’?
Why I oppose wrong policies of Pakistan?
Pakistani obsession to capture Jammu and Kashmir at any cost is bleeding citizens of Jammu and Kashmir state. They train and arm militants, and send them to Jammu and Kashmir in name of jihad; and promote extremism and intolerance there. This is dividing people on religious lines and bleeding them.
Apart from that, area of the State where I come from is occupied by Pakistan. They deny us of our fundamental rights, and exploit our resources. They ban my books and books of other Kashmiri nationalists. They also ban newspapers and maps; and harass and intimidate people. They have blocked my ID card, and deny me a right to visit my homeland, visit a grave of my father and graves of other relatives. They have frozen my bank accounts. Am I not even entitled to speak against this injustice and denial of fundamental rights?
Writer is a political analyst, and author of many books and booklets. Also, he is Chairman South Asia Watch, London and Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:email@example.com