Loading feeds...
Other Articles
When Kashmiri Pandits fled Islamic terror PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kanchan Gupta   
Wednesday, 19 January 2005 00:00
[From]. Kanchan Gupta writes about the large-scale neglect of the 15 year old tragedy of the Kashmiri Pandits in one of a series of articles for Rediff.

Srinagar, January 4, 1990. Aftab, a local Urdu newspaper, publishes a press release issued by Hizb-ul Mujahideen, set up by the Jamaat-e-Islami in 1989 to wage jihad for Jammu and Kashmir's secession from India and accession to Pakistan, asking all Hindus to pack up and leave. Another local paper, Al Safa, repeats this expulsion order.

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 September 2010 05:03
Possible Next Targets PDF Print E-mail
Written by Irfan Husain   
Wednesday, 09 April 2003 00:00
Dawn article on Pakistan, Kashmir, and terrorism.

There has been much loose talk of late about which country is going to be next in George Bush's gun-sights. Apart from denials from the White House and Downing Street, my guess is that the Americans have more than enough on their plate in Afghanistan, and now in Iraq.

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 September 2010 05:05
Reflection on Chittisinghpora Massacre PDF Print E-mail
Written by Barry Bearak   
Sunday, 31 December 2000 00:00
A New York Times writer reflects on the barbaric massacre of 35 Sikh villagers in Kashmir by Islamic terrorists dressed in official Indian Army uniforms just a few hours before President Clinton arrived in India, the first Head of State visit to India in 22 years.

When Bill Clinton went to India in March, it was the first visit by an American president in 22 years. Among the careful preparations for the historic occasion were a painstaking cleanup around the Taj Mahal, a reconnoitering for wild tigers he might glimpse on a V.I.P. safari and the murder of 35 Sikh villagers in a place called Chittisinghpora.

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 September 2010 05:06
Pakistan Simply Has Too Much Blood Invested In Kashmir To Ever Walk Away Quietly PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mansoor Ijaz   
Tuesday, 28 November 2000 00:00

From Interviews with Mansoor Ijaz.

Involved in matters of conflict resolution in regions like Azerbaijan, Jammu & Kashmir and Sudan, Mansoor Ijaz calls himself a reclusive thinker. The nuclear physicist and neural sciences engineer educated at MIT and Harvard runs an investment agency with business interests in Europe, the Middle East and Far East. Ramananda Sengupta, he says the situation in J&K is in a phase where peace could either go forward in a significant and meaningful way, or the situation will disintegrate into a higher degree of chaos and bloodshed.

Having been involved in Pakistan's foreign policy, Ijaz was invited to broker a dialogue in Kashmir. He has been able to persuade the Indian government on the merits that it is imperative to open the doors of dialogue and constructive engagement with both the Kashmiri political leadership as well as militant leaders.

In an exclusive interview -- his first full length interview, ever -- to Senior Associate Editor

How does Mansoor Ijaz describe himself?

I'm a reclusive thinker with a cause who seeks to help disenfranchised people wherever they may be. Vis-a-vis your readers' interest in my activities, I'm trying to do nothing more than to enable men of goodwill on all sides of the Kashmir conflict to talk to each other free of the political and militaristic static that often prevents them from mustering the courage to make peace. In the world of conflict resolution, hawks and doves exist on every side of a problem.

The question in Kashmir has become one of getting doves who were once hawks (Yasin Malik, for example) and hawks who want to become doves (Syed Salahuddin, for example) to come together at one table at the invitation of India's doves and with the consent of Pakistani and Indian hawks. In this context, you could define me as a dove willing to use hawkish force and tactics to achieve a lasting peace.

Could we have a little bit about your childhood… what made you a physicist turned hedge fund manager and investment banker?

Well, I'm a born American… born in Tallahassee, Florida. I grew up on a farm in rural Virginia at a time in the US when prejudice was still a problem. The cumulative effect of these biases and racial attitudes helped to shape my thinking process about the world because it made me realise that wherever there are disenfranchised or disaffected people, you have to help raise them up so they do not develop the desperation to tear you down. I've employed this overarching principle of life in the southern Sudan, in Azerbaijan, and now we are attempting the same in Kashmir.

My education as a nuclear physicist and neural sciences engineer out of MIT and Harvard was also critical in developing my sense of pragmatic realism ensconced in a vision. Physics is one science where learning the overarching principle allows you to apply it to every practical problem encountered. I applied my expertise in modeling the brain at MIT to the financial markets in the mid-1980s and started my own investment firm on the strength of these models in 1990.

Our business, built around my proprietary CARAT, TRACK and CALOP Systems, today invests across a broad cross-section of industries including oil and gas projects, high technology, infrastructure development and commercial real estate. Crescent Investment Management and its affiliates, Crescent Equity Partners and The Crescent Investment Group, have partners in Europe, the Middle East and Far East.

How did your involvement in Pakistan's political and strategic affairs start?

As I developed a political voice in the US starting in 1993, Pakistan under Benazir Bhutto's second term was making a concerted effort to reconstruct its relationship with the Clinton administration. Initially we, the entire Pakistan American community, tried to help her achieve what were important objectives, including freeing Pakistan of US sanctions.

There was a unique opportunity to build on a new US administration's desire to help Pakistan as well as a new Pakistani administration elected on its commitment to change the old ways of doing business. Unfortunately, the unity of the Pakistani-American community quickly disintegrated into factionalism, hidden agendas and bruised egos and Benazir's people in Washington seized upon the fractures to pursue their own corrupt political and financial agendas.

I began to realise the leaders of Pakistan had no real interest in raising up their poor, desolate and disfortunate people. That realisation was crystalised when I went to Pakistan in December 1995 and found out for myself the exact mechanisms Benazir and her cronies were using to loot Pakistan's poor. They did so by manipulating IMF loans that were granted on the assumption that higher utility and telephone rates would bring in the money to service the loans and then moved the money into unofficial accounts for unauthorized use.

That is when I started writing publicly in the US about the evidence we had of corruption and mismanagement in her government. We hoped the exposure would either persuade her to change her ways or create a mechanism of external accountability from afar to protect those who had no capacity to speak up within Pakistani society. The first of my editorial series in The Wall Street Journal on Benazir's corrupt practices was responsible for sewing the seeds that led to her exit from the scene in Pakistan.

How did you get involved in Kashmir?

My interest in Kashmir has always been there, but I chose not to involve myself because I was so deeply involved in trying to change the internal political decision-making process in Pakistan that I didn't feel it was appropriate for me to be involved in structural national security decision-making as well. Also, Kashmir is such a sensitive and emotional issue that rationalising it like I have done with problems in the Sudan and Azerbaijan simply would not work. Pragmatism, however, plays an important role in even the most emotional conflicts.


The overarching principle in citizen diplomacy is to do something the other side does not expect of you. If it happens, then a cornerstone is in place to create domestic consensus or, where it is relevant, international pressure for acceptance of creative solutions. This is the principle I have applied to my involvement in developing a peace framework for Kashmir. I have been able to persuade the Government of India on the merits that it is imperative to open the doors of dialogue and constructive engagement with both the Kashmiri political leadership as well as militant leaders.

The Government of India, in return, has looked to me as an honest broker of the process to help persuade Pakistan's military regime to reciprocate in a manner that would facilitate Pakistan's inclusion in the process as well. Without Islamabad's involvement, there is little hope for a lasting and permanent solution. Pakistan simply has too much blood invested in Kashmir to ever walk away quietly.

Once the peace framework is functional, economic empowerment becomes the overarching and uniting principle of bettering the predicament of disenfranchised people.

So did you volunteer, or were you asked to come into the Kashmiri fray?

No, I was asked. I would not volunteer for such a thankless task. But once I agreed to evaluate how I could help, my key concern was a strong desire to avoid the appearance of doing the bidding of the American government in Kashmir. At no time during the past year since I began this intervention has the US government asked me to do anything specific on its behalf in Kashmir.

As an American citizen with proximity to the President of the United States and senior national security council officials, I have enjoyed their support of my efforts and I did feel a responsibility to keep them informed of my activities to avoid conflicts of interest. But there was no driving force emanating from Washington.

If anything, the driving force for finding a plausible peace framework has been in New Delhi. My role was to clear a channel for Prime Minister Vajpayee and a man he considered responsible for the Kargil fiasco, General Pervez Musharraf, to talk to each other on a wavelength free of extremist rhetoric on both sides.

So what is the position on the ground now?

We are in a phase now where the peace will either go forward in a significant and meaningful way, or it the situation will disintegrate into a higher degree of chaos and bloodshed than we have ever seen in the Valley.

There are four distinct parties to this conflict: the Pakistanis, the indigenous militants in Kashmir, the political Kashmiris, and the Indians. There are also the mercenaries who are paid to wreak havoc there, but they are in the process, in my judgment, of being marginalised as a part of the solution to Kashmir because the indigenous militants have had enough of their chaotic and overly violent behavior that is alienating the indigenous population from the freedom movement.

We have already tried a unilateral ceasefire offer by the militants, and that failed because the militants believed they had political support from Pakistan's military and intelligence apparatus only to find out they did not. Musharraf was hamstrung by his religious zealots to be able to publicly embrace the very ceasefire he helped initiate. On the Indian side, the hawks also got the upper hand very quickly by raising issues of the constitutionality of Vajpayee's acceptance of the July ceasefire and not recognizing that Kashmir is a disputed territory.

The second effort we made was in mid-August to try and resurrect the framework with a wider ceasefire net that would address some of the structural problems exposed by the abrupt breakdown of the first effort. The key problem was finding a way to get the ISI on board for a wide-net ceasefire by reigning in its insurgents operating in the Valley. But I am now convinced that the ISI does not have an interest in ending the militancy in Kashmir. War is big business for ISI intermediaries and the money trail that funds their illicit activities leads well beyond the borders of Pakistan.

Today, we are changing the strategic focus to develop India's unilateral ability to offer peaceful frameworks and solutions. If Delhi can succeed in persuading the Kashmiris of its sincerity to hold a dialogue and find a permanent solution, it would be more appropriate for the Kashmiris to bring Pakistan on board by holding Islamabad true to its principle that it only wants what is best for the Kashmiris' right to self-determination. In this way, both sides are empowering the Kashmiris as the central partners for peace.

The nuance in Delhi's latest proposal is that it seeks to engage both militant and political Kashmiri leaders. The political vision of the Kashmiris will ultimately be the negotiating position and that is very very critical at the moment because it allows the political leadership advocating an independent Kashmir to supersede the importance of the militant operation as the rationale for making peace. That is, political leaders ultimately govern, militants cannot and Delhi is giving the political leaders in Kashmir as much of a chance to be peacemakers as the militants have had.

Please help us understand why Pakistan does not support a change of the status quo in Kashmir's militancy movements.

Unless you are a religious person, you cannot understand. The radical sheikhs with enormous pools of wealth at their ready disposal who are financing the "Jihad" in Kashmir (the violent militants as opposed to the indigenous uprising) think they are the guardians of Allah. And they want to take us back to a time and a place that is so different from anything the imagination can tolerate, so debasing of the human life and emotion, that they are willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to achieve their vision of an Islamic utopia.

Kashmir, East Timor, Bosnia, the Middle East, and even Afghanistan, these are all proxy wars of wealthy men who think that they are the guardians of Allah. They are not real Muslims. They are not even human beings. And the rest of world shouldn't let them get away with their dirty wars. That's why it is so compelling for India to keep making the offers for peace in Kashmir. Because to not do so is enabling the building of a column of radicalism which could spread all over the world.

Would a first step towards this be India finally accepting that Kashmir is a disputed territory? That is what Pakistan has been lobbying for so long...

Well, they've already agreed to a version of that which everyone can live with. During our effort to resurrect the August ceasefire, Delhi agreed to accept a statement from Syed Salahuddin calling for a Valley-wide ceasefire in which the issue of disputed territory would have been dealt with by calling "... on all those who recognize the disputed NATURE of Jammu and Kashmir state to come forward and cease hostilities..."

Such a statement is not the extreme of admitting "disputed territory", and it's not saying there is "no dispute"…. it's somewhere in between…That is diplomacy at its best. You give a little, the opponent gives a little, and before you know it everyone's sitting at the same table talking rather than shooting. The problem we have here is that one party has become calcified with its own inability to control events inside its borders.

A slightly unrelated topic... if asked, would you be interested in involving yourself in the dispute between India and China?

Yes. If asked, I would do anything I could to help. I know the Chinese leadership and they know me. I would be prepared to help if my pragmatic realism could be of assistance. And I think that being of Pakistani origin will also help because of the goodwill that Pakistan enjoys with the Chinese.

A last question: Your reactions to the recent American election...

Astute political observers call it "The great train wreck." America is about to enter a phase in its democratic life that is going to either demonstrate once and for all that American democracy is the best, or show that democracy in the end really doesn't work. Because either we're going to be able to govern ourselves by rising above the partisanship, or we are going to descend into the abyss of political infighting and bicker biting the likes of which we've never seen anywhere before.

I think a Bush administration would be better for the world than a Gore administration, simply because Bush has the capacity to put together a much more intelligent team of strategic foreign policy planners. The Clinton administration never had any strategic planners. Their strategic planner was the president himself… and he only planned what he wanted to plan. They didn't have anyone else in the framework who could look long-range and say let's develop a long-term policy and we'll deal with the potholes as we go along.


Last Updated on Saturday, 18 September 2010 05:09
It Could Finally Be Jammu Vs Kashmir! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Arvind Lavakare   
Tuesday, 12 September 2000 00:00


There is an old belief that from evil comes good. Well, the diabolical J&K autonomy report certainly seems to have reawakened the yearning of Jammu and Ladakh regions to free themselves from what they have long perceived as the tyranny of the Valley-based Kashmiris who occupy just six per cent of the state's territory but live off the resources of the whole.

A talk the other day with a Srinagar-based Sangh Parivar functionary visiting Mumbai indicated that a movement for Jammu and Ladakh's separation from the Valley is now taking shape and gaining strength. It is slow as yet but come October, there may well be some sort of a convention that will signal the action for a divorce suit.

If that happens, it will only be a revival of what was started half a century ago by Nehru's ministerial colleague, Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. The Bengal tiger had staked his life to (i) secure the integration of J&K with the rest of India and ii save the Dogras of Jammu from Sheikh Abdullah's actions that were reportedly described by a former central intelligence chief as a bid at ethnic cleansing.

In a speech at Kanpur on December 29, 1952, Dr Mookerjee had made the grave charge that, "Mr Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah have jointly decided to carry on a ruthless policy of repression in Jammu." He had referred to "an impression gaining ground that with our blood and money we are carving out a virtually autonomous state for Sheikh Abdullah." Therefore, he proclaimed, "Jammu and Ladakh must be fully integrated with India according to the wishes of their people."

Dr Mookerjee categorically stated that while he did not want the partition of J&K, it had become a matter of Hobson's Choice: Kashmir Valley could be made a separate state with all necessary subventions desired by the Sheikh and his advisers, but Jammu and Ladakh must not be sacrificed.

Dr Mookerjee died on June 23, 1953, under suspicious circumstances while under house arrest in an abandoned cottage on a hill outside Srinagar, with no telephone or medical facility within miles, without Nehru meeting him there even once during his 40-day detention. His soul must surely be astir now with talk gaining ground about the revived call for a separate Jammu and a separate Ladakh.

Contrary to "secular" allegations, this separatist drive is not based on the Hindu-Muslim divide. Instead, it is entirely based on the economic deprivation and political despotism exercised by the Abdullah clan, kith and kin from Srinagar.

The charges against the Kashmiri clique are many. Writing in the May 2000 issue of Voice of Jammu Kashmir magazine, J N Bhat, retired judge of the J&K high court, alleged that: 1.Thousands of plots carved out in the suburbs of Jammu have been allotted to Kashmiris, all the beneficiaries belonging to one particular community.

2. In some localities of Jammu city, water is supplied after a gap of three to four days, and not even enough of it to quench the thirst of the people. Obviously, funds got for development get misused.

3. In the Jammu region, the Hindu minorities of Doda and Poonch districts have been tortured and many of them have found, according to sources, conversion the only option, though they prefer death to forced conversion.

Another eminent person who has made more serious accusations is Hari Om, professor of history in Jammu University, and a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR). In a recent newspaper article, the professor complains that:

1.Though Kashmiris constitute roughly 22 per cent of the state's total population, the mechanism cleverly devised by Sheikh Abdullah's National Conference Party in 1951 enables it to capture nearly half of the total assembly and Lok Sabha seats. The trick lies in 46 assembly segments having been created in the small Valley as against 41 segments combined in Jammu and Ladakh regions that are far bigger and more populated than the Valley. This mechanism is apparently contrary to the rules framed under the Indian Parliament's Representation of People's Act and those under the relevant State Act of 1957.

2. Kashmiris hold over 2,30,000 positions out of a nearly 2,40,000 positions in government and semi-government organisations in the Valley. In addition, they corner nearly 25 per cent of the jobs in the regional services of Jammu and Ladakh.

3. All the professional and technical institutions, universities and all the big public sector industrial units like HMT, the television, telephone and cement factories located in the Valley are the sole preserve of the Kashmiris. Besides, they manipulate for themselves more than 50 per cent of the seats in Jammu's ill-equipped and under-staffed medical and engineering college and in the Agricultural University in R S Pura. No such institution exists in Ladakh.

4.The Kashmiris control trade, commerce, transport and industry, and own big orchards as well as landed estates. None of them is without a house. Likewise, the per capita expenditure on woollen clothes in Kashmir is perhaps the highest in the world. Till date, no one in Kashmir has, unlike in UP, Bihar and Orissa, died either of hunger or cold.

5. Interestingly, yet not surprisingly, a vast majority of the Kashmiris don't pay even a single penny to the state in the form of revenue due to it. It is Jammu and Ladakh that contribute over 90 per cent to the state exchequer, but a major part of this money is spent not in the extremely backward and underdeveloped Jammu and Ladakh but in the highly prosperous and developed Kashmir Valley.

As a result of the above, professor Hari Om says, "It is Kashmiris and Kashmiris everywhere and all others in the state exist nowhere."

The dismal scenario above has apparently prevailed for so long that even editors of our national daily newspapers refer most casually to J&K merely as "Kashmir", forgetting the fundamental fact that "J&K" is not Kashmir and that "Kashmir" is not J&K.

Sheikh Abdullah and his National Conference cabal created that scenario with the connivance of Nehru and his Congress dynasty. Today, it has all become perpetuated because Pakistan's cross border terrorism has struck New Delhi with cowardice, denying them the courage to fight against the Kashmiriyat clan for the rights of the meek and the oppressed.

The coming months will show whether the humble folks -- the Jammuites, the Ladakhis, the Shiite Muslims, the Gujjar and Bakerwal Muslims, the Darad and Balti Muslims, the Kashmiri Hindus, the Christians and the Sikhs -- have finally mustered the willpower to take on the might of the Abdullahs, the Yasins, the Geelanis, the Bhats, the Shahs, the Lones, the Dars, the Salahuddins, the Qureshis, the Omar Farooqs, the Muftis and others of their ilk.

If Jammu's old political outfit, the Praja Parishad Party, can take re-birth as it were and join hands with the Ladakhis, Buddhists and all; if the Sangh Parivar can for once play its cards soberly; if the trinity can employ widespread factual communication and peaceful, sustained agitation as their brahmastra, the nation could soon witness a David Vs Goliath armageddon close enough yet far away from General Musharraf's mad jihadis.


Last Updated on Saturday, 18 September 2010 05:11
<< Start < Prev 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 Next > End >>

Page 65 of 68


All site content ©