Is our mission unity of Ummah or independence of Jammu and Kashmir?

Dr Shabir Choudhry

The man was angry and was in no mood to listen to what I had to say. ‘How could you be a Muslim when what you are doing is helping the Kuffaar’, he said angrily.

I tried to reason with him, but how can you get anything logical across when the other person is engulfed with religious fervour, and is mentally conditioned that he could take life of anyone who dares to challenge his views or even disagree with him. I politely said:
Brother, Islam says there is no compulsion in religion. You can have your views and let me live my life according to what I think is correct. When you cool down and want to discuss this matter in a civilised manner, you can contact me again.

Before I disconnected the call, I heard a big abuse with the following words: ‘Are you saying I am not civilised. You are a friend of the Kaffirs, may you rot in hell with them’.
The caller said he was from Srinagar, and was disturbed by my views expressed on the TV and in my articles. The conversation started in a friendly manner. He said, he still admired my contribution for the Kashmir cause; and complained that why my priorities have changed over the past many years.

I said my priorities have not changed. I am still working for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir with liberal and secular society. However, my strategy has changed because of better understanding of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute; and geo political situation. Up till 1990s we were all inadvertently pursuing an agenda set out for us by the GHQ, which was designed to advance a Pakistani agenda.

Later on, we realised that Pakistan was not sincere with the cause of Jammu and Kashmir; and their aim was to divert attention away from areas of Jammu and Kashmir they have occupied. They wanted to bleed India and people of Jammu and Kashmir in name of Jihad; and hide their injustice and crimes.

He could not take anymore. He abruptly interrupted me, ‘Pakistan is our big brother and helps our struggle. Without Pakistan’s support, we cannot continue our struggle against Hindu India which is killing Muslims’.

That is not true, I interrupted him. They are killing those who are using guns and bombs given by Pakistan. When you use guns and bullets, do expect bullets in return. We must struggle peacefully; and against all countries which occupy us. Pakistan is also an occupier. They are not our friends. We are in this mess because of their wrong policies and their attack on Jammu and Kashmir on 22 October 1947, which forced Maharajah Hari Singh to seek help from India.

I could not continue, because he started shouting. He said, ‘Pakistan is a Muslim country; and our big brother. I don’t want to hear another word against Pakistan. Pakistan is a fort of Islam, only Muslim country with nuclear bombs to challenge the non – Muslims. Our mission is unity of Muslims. We want to unite Muslim Ummah. I want you to be part of our team; and use your talent and skills for the cause of Islam and not for non – Islamic system’.
Unity of Ummah? Which Ummah, I said scarcely. Muslims are bleeding since they murdered an innocent man called Hazrat Usman third Caliph, 1400 hundred years ago. That was an end of unity of Ummah. They have been fighting each other since that time. There are 57 Muslim countries in the world; and they all have variant and competing interests. Who is killing Muslims in Yemen? It is your Muslim Ummah. Who is killing Muslims in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and in Pakistan, again your Muslim countries. You are occupied yourself and do not have a country; and yet you are brainwashed to talk of problems and unity of this imaginary Ummah, and not care about your own problems.

This was, perhaps, too much for this man who appeared to be mentally conditioned by Pakistan and jihadi groups. In his view, what I said above was a language of the Kuffar; and that I was ‘a friend of the Kaffirs’.

It is sad to note that he was not a lone voice in Kashmir. There are growing number of youngsters who are expressing similar views. For example, Zakir Rashid Bhat, a successor of Burhan Wani once said:
“when we pick stones or guns, it should not be with the intention that we are fighting for Kashmir (as a nation). The sole motive should be for the supremacy of Islam, so that shariah is established here. He further clarified that ‘nationalism and democracy are not permitted in Islam”.

There are many reasons why we people of Jammu and Kashmir State continue to suffer on both sides of the Line of Control, and there is no light at the end of tunnel; in fact, we cannot even see any tunnel yet. We are leaderless, confused, divided, and lack coherent and practical strategy for liberation of Jammu and Kashmir.
Even after 70 years of struggle and suffering, we, as a nation, are not sure what we want. The following questions should be given a careful consideration:

1. Do we want unification and independence; or we want to unite all Muslim countries of the world first?

2. Do we want accession to Pakistan because they are Muslims? If that is the case, do we also want division of Jammu and Kashmir on religious lines, because non–Muslims won’t want to join Pakistan.

3. If religion is to decide our future, then question arises which sect of Islam will decide?

4. What will happen to other sects who disagree with the majority sect? Are we going to kill them like it is happening in neighbouring Pakistan; and in some other Muslim countries?

5. What are we going to do with non – Muslims who live in Muslim majority areas?

6. Apart from that, what about those Muslims who don’t want to join Pakistan because they know what Pakistan offered to Muslims of East Pakistan; and what they are offering to Muslims of Baluchistan, FATA, Swat and PATA, not to mention Muslims of so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Chairman South Asia Watch and Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.

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