“Death is just an insignificant word for them,” begins the report in The News of 28 November, 1997 on the annual gathering of the Mujahidin-e-Taiba. “Killing those who do not share their set of Islamic values is the only reality. The congregation was flooded with thousands of people with these beliefs…” “And the massive gathering of people delivered one message loud and clear,” the paper reports, “there is no dearth of manpower in Pakistan for the fanatic forces to indoctrinate. ‘If I die fighting, I will be greeted in heaven by Allah who will smile upon me,’ said a 20-year old mujahid from Okra.” The paper reproduces at length the views and exhortations of “Professor” Saeed who heads the organization which is conducting the congregation, the Jamaat Dawa-wal-Ishad. He conveys a simple message, it says : “It was God who had ordered the establishment of the law of Islam everywhere in the world.” He calls for a jehad, says the paper, for ending the democratic system in Pakistan and turning it into “a pure Islamic State governed by strict Shariat laws.” At the congregation he rejects democracy, proclaiming, “the notion of the sovereignty of the people is un-Islamic — only Allah is sovereign.” [That has been the provision in each of Pakistan’s three Constitutions since the Objectives Resolution was passed in 1949.] And these notions have been well internalized by the congregation, the paper reports : “The whole place was full of signboards with slogans like ‘Jamhooriat ka jawab, grenade and blast.” (Our reply to democracy, grenade and blast). “The Dawa chief said his organization’s main interest in Pakistan waas to pick people and train them to wage jehad in countries wherever an un-Islamic government was in power,” the paper says. “God has ordained every Muslim to fight until his rule is established,” he declared. “We have no option but to follow God’s order.” As usual the weapons and moral of the participants strike awe. “The mediamen covering the event were shaken” The News says, “when a mujahid addressed the gathering from Bosnia and another from Kashmir via satellite phone. The latest wireless sets were in abundance, as of course were modern weaponry in the hands of youngsters.” The paper carries and account of a youngster from Canada who has joined up for the jehad, and has thoroughly internalized the poison. “I would go to Kashmir as a volunteer but I have not yet been able to persuade my leaders to let me go,” the paper quotes him as declaring, and adds, “He shares the dream of martyrdom with thousands of others who attended the annual gathering of the Mujahidin Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant wing of the group.” “Rehman has no second thoughts about his decision to wage jehad against those who have enslaved Muslim brothers in the world… Abdur Rehman agrees with his leader’s doctrine that democracy (sovereignty of the people) is anti-Islamic as it is against the basic principle of Islam that sovereignty belongs to Allah. He believes that it is the basic duty of every young Muslim to take up arms against those who do not believe in the Islamic system. ‘We should fight against those who oppose the establishment of this system,’ he states firmly. Muridke serves both as a headquarters for Dawa and a training ground for militants destined for aKashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya and the southern Philippines where Muslim communities are seeking self-determination. Rehman is ready to fight anywhere when he is needed. ‘I know we are considered terrorists in the West, but I reject this title. A terrorist is someone who hates the world. We don’t hate the world. I just want to bring about the system called for by God so that society can be happier’, he says.” In addition to the account of the gathering at Muridke, the January 1998 issue of Pakistan’s carries a detailed interview with the Amir of the Lashkar Taiba, Mohammed Khan. “There are Muslim organizations which preach and work on the missionary level inside and outside Pakistan,” the Amir tells the correspondent, “but they usually steer clear of jehad. However, not only has the need for jehad always existed, the present conditions demand it more than ever.” Nor is the Amir at all reticent in naming the targets of the organization’s jehad. He tells the publication, “Our jehad is confined strictly to non-Muslims, and particularly Hindus and Jews, the two main enemies of the Muslims. The Quran too has declared these two groups to be enemies (of Islam). These two powers are creating problems for Muslims and for Pakistan. “To my mind the Hindus are what the Quran calls ‘mushriks’ (polutheists). This (Hinduism) is the worst form of shirk (polytheism) in which 30 million gods are worshipped. And from here shirk has been smuggled to other nations of the world. Hindus are creating problems for us directly. If God gives us the power we will enlarge the scope of jehad to include the Jews, who are the worst danger for the Muslims.” The Amir maintains that jehad is the cure for the sectarian strife which is tearing Pakistan — his cure for it, in a word, is to export the conflict! The correspondent asks the Amir for his reactions to the charge that organizations such as the Lashkar have fomented a militancy which has in turn given rise to sectarianism, violence and crime. As one would expect, the Amir starts with a conspiracy theory : “I feel that the opposite is true. For quite some time a conspiracy has been hatched against the Muslims. Shias and Sunnis have been made to fight each other, and Sunnis have been made to fight amongst themselves. A conspiracy has been hatched to encourage sectarianism, and its ill-effects are there for all to see. The conspirators did this to prevent Muslims from engaging in jehad. “The Jews have made this play in Egypt. They have made those people fight each other who could have fought against Israel. You find the same thing with the Shia-Sunni conflict. They (the conspirators) know that if Muslims are united, their wrath will be directed against the infidels.” Quite apart from everything else, if it really is the case that “if the Muslims were united, their wrath will be directed against the infidels,” that would in itself constitute a complete case for fomenting the conspiracy which the Amir accuses the infidels of having hatched ! Not just that, the Amir prescribes jehad as the remedy for sectarian violence which is endemic to Islam ! He tells the publication, “But if you study those people objectively — those who have been engaged in jehad either in Afghanistan, Kashmir or elsewhere — you will find that those who are making sacrifices have started coming closer together. Those who have joined jehad have been saved from sectarian conflict. “I see a large number of people who have left these useless things behind and are joining jehad in Kashmir. Neither the Milli Yakjehti Council nor Mr Nawaz Sharif can succeed in putting an end to sectarianism. The credit goes to jehad in Kashmir.” Indeed, in the Amir’s considered view, jehad is the medicine not just for sectarian violence. It is the way to kick-start Islamic peoples into the new technologies! The Amir says, “In fact, when the Muslims were engaged in jehad, in the early days of their history, they had a grasp over science and technology. It was when Muslims gave up jehad that science and technology also went into the hands of others. This is natural. The one who possesses power also commands science, the economy and politics. The Christians won this power after a long time which began with the Crusades. It is very obvious – the technology which was centered at the Biatul Hikat in Baghdad has now been transferred to Europe. Today, if the Muslims really want to regain their former glory, it is not enough to do a PhD in Europe, although there is no harm in doing so. But achieving real power is a necessity.” He is circumspect, but only a bit, about the relationship of the organization with the intelligence and security agencies of Pakistan. Asked about it, the Amir says, “If you wage jehad and that too against countries and organised armies, you cannot afford to make any mistakes. You must get help from wherever you can, whether it is from governments or individuals. Even if the Chinese Government agrees to help us against India, we should take the offer because, in order to break a target, you have to gather resources by all possible means. Despite the problems involved in outside funding, I feel that we should get help from wherever we can, from our Government or any other government which can help us against India.” The Amir is asked next for his views about democracy. He is explicit as can be : “Democracy is among the menaces we inherited from an alien government. These are all useless practices and part of the system we are fighting against. Many of our brothers feel that they will be able to establish an Islamic system while working within this system. They are mistaken. It is not possible to work within a democracy and establish an Islamic system. This is trash, and you just dirty your hands dealing with it. If God gives us a chance we will try to bring in the pure concept of an Islamic Caliphate.” And how will the cadre be prepared for this overturning? The Amir comes back to his sovereign remedy, jehad : “Pakistan is an ideal place for us to work in. We enjoy freedom to carry out our work and educational institutions are also located here. We will prepare mujahideen preachers and an alternative leadership. And through jehad, God will give this work success and countries will break. When change comes it will come when those opposing Islam will be crushed and then comes the time when you have to take the field.” “By force ?,” asks the interviewer. “Yes,” says the Amir, “that is a must.” The issue of The Herald carries a companion report about what it says is “the most widely circulated religious publication in the country,” the Majla-al-Dawa. The magazine sold about 5000 copies in 1989, reports The Herald, now it sells around 70,000 copies. At Rs 12 per copy. It is the organ of the Dawa-al-Irshad. The Herald’s account of the mind-set of the editor and his team, as well as of the contents of the magazine is as disturbing, as it is predictable. “‘The magazine team, and its editor in particular,” The Herald says, “has traveled far and wide — to shrines, temples, jails and even musical gatherings — in search of ‘satanic’ practices. Once uncovered, these goings-on are written about in detail.” The Herald’s account continues, “The enterprising editor, Amir Hamza, has traveled as far as Iran to uncover evil practices. During his travels to that country, he took the daredevil step of visiting its prisons and published a fascinating report, titled ‘From Iran’s jails and dungeons’ … ” In another such story, ‘On the Tomb of the Homosexual Saint’, the magazine reports from the annual festival of Madho Lal Hussain and informs its readers about the ‘perverted ways’ of the Saint and his followers. In a similar article on Riaz Gohar Shahi, another famous pir, the magazine traces his life-history in an attempt to prove that he was a fraud. “However, no religious leader has received more attention from the Majla team than Tahirul Qadri, Chief of the Tehrik Millhajul Quran, a Barelvi Sunni group. Members of the Dawa are Ahle Hadith, expounding an austere, Arabic version of Islam. To them, Minhajul Quran’s brand of religion is tainted with the influence of Hinduism. The Majla team is determined to ‘purify’ the Islam practiced in the subcontinent, and target Qadri so that ‘those who do not know him may guard against his evil designs, and those who know him can nip the evil in the bud.’ “Not only does Majla take a hard-line against such ‘evil designs’, it is also severely critical of mysticism in Islam and considers this movement to be a deviation from the path of the Prophet….” Nor are the concerns of the magazine limited to merely religious observances. The editors are in the forefront of campaigns to exorcise day to day life of the Devil and his conspiracies. The Herald mentions a special crusade which is glorified in a series of articles entitled, ‘television murders’. “Here the television set is evil personified, and the ritual ‘murder’ of television sets at the hands of youngmen, mostly fresh converts to the Lashkar Taiba, are reported,” The Herald informs us. “One such story reads : ‘All the brothers and sisters were watching a film on the VCR when Nadim entered the room. His religious ghairat (pride) was stirred and, taking a brick in his hand, he broke the television set into pieces with two or three blows.’ Where entire families are in agreement over the danger of television, TV sets are smashed ceremoniously on a stage at Lashkar meetings…” And, of course, there are statements, exhortations, wills of “martyrs” who have “sacrificed their lives” for liberating Kashmir ! The Herald reproduces a typical letter from a “martyr” : “My dear father, mother, brothers and sisters, “If you really love me, you should bear the news of my martyrdom with courage and be thankful to God. I request my mother and sisters to observe purdah, shun sin, say their prayers and pray to God to accept my martyrdom. I request my father to send my brothers for (military) training and also to educate others about jehad. It is an excellent path which leads straight to paradise. “I request you to break your television set soon after reading my will so that our house is free from the influence of Satan, and God is pleased with us all. I request you again to be thankful to God for my martyrdom. You should know that your son has died the death of a martyr. He did not die while drinking alcohol, watching a movie or television. Rather, he died fighting against the enemies of God, and is alive in Paradise forever. “You should not pay heed to those who say that these people (the Lashkar Taiba) get our children killed in Kashmir. You should read the Quran and Hadith and see how God has ordered jehad and what great gifts have been set aside for martyrs. The Prophet of God has said, ‘On the Day of Judgment, every martyr will be allowed to take 70 persons to Paradise.’ It is a big gift. Do pray for me. (Signed) Abu Marsad” How convenient! Not only has the man made himself available for a “cause” which the Amir has selected, he has made it all the easier for the Amir to acquire replacements by making his closest relatives feel guilty if they fail to supply the remaining brothers to the Lashkar. He has advocated the very points that the Lashkar is urging — right down to destroying the TV set! And he has so thoughtfully absolved the Lashkar from all criticism. Notice too how very helpful are the accounts of Paradise and of the gifts that Allah has so thoughtfully provided in the hereafter for those who make themselves available to organizations like the Lashkar! But to revert to our immediate concern, Kashmir : These accounts of the Lashkar and of the Dawa is typical. The Dawa is but one of a host of organizations which are dedicated to exterminating the conspiracies of Kafirs, in particular to “liberating” Kashmir from India. That activity is now not just a religious mission for these organizations — it is the honey-pot : it is the device which gets them money from Government, from the laity, from Islamic Governments and organizations abroad. Their recruits are murdering people in Kashmir. And we are desisting from even giving information about the groups and about their proclaimed design to our own people…
August 31, 2006
August 29, 2006
The recent Assembly by-elections were a success for your party and this time people participated overwhelmingly. How do you see it?
It was because of the general improvement in the situation between India and Pakistan. Pakistan has realised that it can not carry on supporting violence in Kashmir as the world opinion has changed about terrorism.
All the Kashmiri groups including Hurriyat Conferences – both headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Geelani sahib and every body else realises that Kashmiris are suffering and they need some reprieve.
It is the Kashmiri who is dying. We suffer by grenade attacks from the militants. All these attacks kill or injure innocent civilians – Kashmiris and not the Indian army and security forces.
If militants only targeted Indian forces would u look at it differently.
No it is not viewing things differently. Those people targeting the Army or paramilitary forces do not realise that their actions are causing misery to the innocent civilians.
India is creating an atmosphere wherein innocents are targeted. Indian Home Minister earlier said that there is semblance of peace in Kashmir as tourists are flocking. After this statement tourists were attacked. That was a provocation?
Of course such things are hard. We have to tread very carefully. All these confidence building measures between India and Pakistan are really fragile. They can be rolled back any time if India and Pakistan do not act faster enough to resolve the long standing Kashmir issue.
Do you agree that the recent election in Kashmir is not a verdict for the future of Kashmir problem?
Of course not. Elections in Kashmir is not a verdict that Kashmir problem is solved. It is not rai shumari (right of self determination). It is not plebiscite.
People want development… they want their roads to be fixed, health care improvements, jobs and education. The vote was for that and nothing else. If somebody will say that it is for India or Pakistan that is totally wrong.
Previously your position was that elections were held…..?
Elections were always held…even when the gun was reigning supreme. Whether 5 percent, ten percent or thirty percent.
Previously your position was that elections are held here regularly and that was a verdict that people are with India.
If you think you will get azadi or become part of Pakistan you are dreaming. Kashmir will always remain with India. Even the Hurriyat leaders who fooled people with the slogans of azadi have now realised that they can’t achieve it and are talking with India both openly and secretly. They have realised the futility of hollow slogans. What is possible and what we could get is complete internal autonomy.
Well if autonomy was the case, your previous government tired its best, but Indian government humiliated you.
Not at all. Please remember that things don’t remain the same. In the coming round table (second) conference what are they going to talk there? The internal autonomy is on the agenda. Autonomy is the only hope in hell we have got. Pakistan does not have the strength to take Kashmir by force. They’ve tried many times before and now have given up as it did not work.
If Pakistan has realised that it can’t take Kashmir by force, has India realised that it can’t keep Kashmir by force either.
Yes they have realised that as well. Otherwise why is India willing to talk to Pakistan or why should India talk to Kashmiris now.
Indian willingness to talk does not say anything about their intensions. They talked to your father and other leaders. They have talked with Pakistan on numerous occasions.
That time is gone now. If you still look at those times, you will never move forward.
Prior to the first Round Table Conference, you said that the Indian autonomy offer is only to change the nomenclature and nothing else.
No, those times have gone now. The Indian Prime Minister Narsimha Rao once said that sky is the limit, but his sky was changing the nomenclature but we did not accept that.
Though the BJP government rejected our autonomy resolution, the current Indian government has shown its willingness to talk about it. That is why they are talking to the Hurriyat conference and others.
So all this talk with the Hurriyat leaders is not for azadi but autonomy?
Of course it is for autonomy. The Hurriyat leaders know that they can’t get azadi and Pakistan also knows that. That is why they have directed the Hurriyat to talk to India.
If that is the case, will you join the Mirwaiz led Hurriyat to form a new government?
We don’t know. Let us see….
But are you in touch with them?
Yes we are in touch with many Kashmiri groups.
What about Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. His father was your close associate and you had alliance with him called Double Farooq Ittihad?
Inshallah, you will soon see Double-Umar ittehad as well.
But Isn’t Mirwaiz’s family bitter towards you, as Mouvli Farooq was killed because of his electoral association with the National Conference.
Not because of National Conference. Moulvi sahib was killed because he was secular and pro-Indian Kashmiri. Pakistan-trained militants were afraid to face him politically so they eliminated him.
It was governor Jagmohan who is responsible for his killing because Mirwaiz had begged him for security but he denied it. Mirwaiz knew that he was under threat, but Jagmohan did not like any Kashmiri Muslim whether secular or otherwise.
How can the Hurriyat join you in power share when in 1996, you allowed constitutional sanctity to renegades who had committed atrocities on Hurriyat sympathisers and activists?
Listen we made Javed Shah and from Bhaderwah an educated guy Baba…(Fridous Syed) as Members of Legislative Council (MLCs). We wanted to give message that people who had left gun or those who wanted to leave gun have a future. We wanted them to know that they could have a place in the future of Kashmir and to show that gun has no future.
But the reports suggest that the Military Intelligence prevailed upon you that renegade militants have to be involved in the electoral process.
No that was not the case. What India and Pakistan do is up to them, but we wanted to put the message out.
Farooq sahib, I was told by at least two of your very senior party leaders that military intelligence wanted more renegades into your ranks so that they can spy on you and I have since reconfirmed it with them.
Smiling…. Well they have gone now… so now one can spy on us….
I would like to ask you a couple of questions about 1987 elections. It is generally believed that when your government employed massive rigging in 1987 against opposition Muslim United Front (MUF) including the candidates like Syed Salahudin, it laid foundation of the armed struggle.
No I don’t agree. If you think that losing of elections by four people is the cause of gun you are living in dark ages. These people used symbols of green flag, Quran and names of Allah and Muhammad in calligraphy on their flags to exploit the feelings of the people which was against the election rules. I saw that for the first time and I came back and cried in front of my mother saying that mother they are asking people to vote for Allah. Does He need our votes.
If there was any such allegation of rigging, why didn’t they go to the Election Commission.
Your government did not give them a chance Farooq sahib. Soon after the elections were over, they were arrested, beaten and tortured. Even one of Salahudin’s election agents and future militant commander Hamid Sheikh of JKLF was beaten up and tortured by one of your senior minister.
That is not true. Hamid Sheikh was from a National Conference family and today his father is a National Conference man. He comes and sees me in this very room.
That does not mean Hamid Sheikh was National Conference man.
He was a National Conference man for your information.
So did he die as an National Conference man?
No, he died as a man who wanted to die.
For what cause?
For that man….. You don’t know the inner story. He was working for Inspector General Police (IG) Patel who was an intelligence man. Patel was trying to bargain something for Hamid Sheikh, but it did not work out and in the end Patel got him eliminated.
So you blame IG Patel for his death?
If Hamid Sheikh was NC man, you earlier opposed his release in exchange of the then Home Minister Mufti Sayeed’s daughter?
Yes I opposed the move knowing that it will boost militancy. Release of the militants gave their militant movement a flip as they thought they will drive India from Kashmir like Afghans had done with Russia. But look where are we now. Have they driven out India? Today India is occupying us more than ever. The army is acquiring thousands of kanals of land everywhere in Kashmir for building huge new basis.
You recently said that India is remilitarising Kashmir amid growing demands for demilitarisation.
It is remilitarisation. It is not me who is saying that. Ask any one in Kashmir. The army is taking 7,000 kanals of land in Awantipore area only. What are they for? India is remilitarising Kashmir on a very large scale and there is no demilitarisation.
If that is the case how are we even thinking about India willing to solve the Kashmir issue. Isn’t then India misleading Kashmiris, Pakistan and world opinion?
What is world opinion? Don’t you see Palestine? Hamas has come to power through democratic process but yet they are being victimised and they have no money. Americans are killing people everywhere and aiding Israel, stopping money to Palestinian government and now let us see how Arabs are going to give them money.
Let us talk about something that is unique to the National Conference. Your organisation fought for land reforms in Kashmir freeing Kashmiris from the centuries old land grab and exploitation of Pandits. But now that land is again being forcibly taken by the army everywhere as you also said earlier. Why don’t you launch a public campaign against this exploitation and land occupation. This issue certainly must be an emotional one for you.
No I am not going to get Kashmiris killed on the roads. If you want to do that, go to somewhere else.
But you claim to be a mass leader Doctor sahib and I am sure if you raise the issue you will get support and there are still UN resolutions on Kashmir that would mean extra help?
What UN resolutions? The UN is an impotent organisation working for American and Western interests…We should accept the reality that we have to work with India and Pakistan to resolve the crisis.
But how can we work with India when we have been occupied by them?
What occupation? Is Pakistani Kashmir not occupied? Why are you talking only about Indian occupied Kashmir why not Pakistani occupied one?
At least the people there are not being killed.
Who tells you that. Go and see yourself what do they do to the people who are opposed to their rule. You know that you will have to sign that Kashmir banega Pakistan and then only can you stand for elections.
But same is the case on this side of Kashmir?
No the case is not same. Here we have the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
Farooq Sahib that Constitution was long buried. It has no relevance now.
Recently Mehbooba Mufti, your political opponent called slain militants as martyrs during a public rally. What is your opinion?
But what is your opinion.
I don’t have any opinion.
Are they terrorists, mujahideen, militants?
I can’t say. I don’t have any opinion about it.
Previously you called them terrorists when you were in power.
No I don’t want to answer this. And it is my prerogative whether to answer or not.
You have gone to numerous world forums and attended conferences representing India. What did you do there?
There is nothing except meetings, few speeches and resolutions which are all useless.
But didn’t you play against the national interest of Kashmiris by pleading Indian case.
I still plead the Indian case. Please listen to me that I am not a Pakistani nor do I want Azadi. This is all loose talk. Those people who think they can survive in azadi with such huge borders with China, India and Pakistan must be living in Cuckoo world….We can’t even pay for our electricity or survive without any assistance.
Despite the fact that we have huge water resources.
That is true. I want to build dams but I can’t as Pakistan is raking up due to the Indus Water Treaty. …. I made Baghliar project with great difficulty.
It was the Indian government that had the treaty with Pakistan, thus depriving us of our fair share of water.
Question is not who did it.
You earlier said that you are not Pakistani. Does that mean any freedom loving Kashmiri who wants Kashmir to be free is a Pakistani?
I never said that such people are Pakistanis. I just wanted to erase that impression from you that I am not Pakistani but a Kashmiri.
Does that mean Kashmiris are Indians?
No I didn’t say that either. There are some Indians, lots of pro-Pakistanis and pro-independence. What can I do? People have their own opinions. This is a free country and they are entitled to have their own opinion.
Some people believe that when Maqbool Bhat was hanged in 1984 it was the first step towards militancy.
…(Laughing)… The militancy was started here by Pakistan not by Maqbool Bhat. He was handed over to the police by the Kashmiri people himself.
Have you met with Maqbool Bhat.
Yes I have.
How do you rate him?
I don’t know. I don’t want to say. The man is dead. Let him remain in peace.
Some people say that you were instrumental in getting him hanged.
What do I have to do with his hanging? He killed an innocent bank manager while taking money from the bank. He was later hanged because of Ravinder Mahatre who was killed by the JKLF in the UK.
You agree then that it was a political killing when you say that Maqbool Bhat was killed because JKLF had killed Mahatre in UK?
Why should I agree. He had already killed an innocent bank manager. Why don’t you remember him and his family when he stole money from the bank.
You signed his final hanging order.
I did not sign anything. For God’s sake Farooq Abdullah does not sign anything. It was the government of India who decided things.
But as head of the government you were sent the final warrant by the Supreme Court of India.
So what does that mean? I still do not matter. It was all up to government of India. The Indian government was secretly negotiating with Pakistan to exchange Maqbool Bhat and few other people in Indian jails but the Pakistani authorities washed off their hands saying they had nothing to do with this. Thus Maqbool Bhat’s fate was sealed. Why don’t you say that. Simply because you don’t know anything about that. When JKLF killed Mahatre, the Indians said that they should teach the other side a lesson.
You could have still saved him.
For God’s sake we live in a civilised state. If a man was charge sheeted and convicted, Farooq Abdullah can not save a man from gallows. The only person who can do that is the president of India.
But as a Kashmiri you could have resisted.
No I could not have. Please don’t even think about that. You live in the so-called free world. See the conditions of Muslims in your part of the world. Have you seen the figure of innocent Muslims being harassed and jailed in the UK under the pretext of terrorism.
When you say that I live in a free world. Does that mean even as Chief Minister of Kashmir you are not allowed to operate freely?
Are you free in England?
Of course I am.
My foot. You wait till you say something and they put you in jail and then you know what life is like.
Let me rephrase it again. As Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir you were not free.
In certain matters no body is free.
People also say that you have been a member of JKLF.
I have never been a member of JKLF. I have always been a National Conference man.
May be because you had gone to Azad Kashmir.
So what? I have always been to different parts of the world. That does not mean I belong to that place or to any other group. I was never JKLF.
But people say you also wanted independent Kashmir.
Please don’t put wrong words in my mouth.
Farooq sahib when you went to Pakistan to meet former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhuttoo while Sheikh sahib was in jail, I have heard that he said to you to convey it to your father that Pakistan can no longer help therefore Kashmiris should fend for themselves. Is it true?
At Shimla both India and Pakistan had agreed to divide Kashmir on the basis what India has is India’s and what Pakistan has is Pakistan’s. This was an understanding between Indira Gandhi and Bhuttoo as Pakistan had lost East Pakistan.
Now that your son went and met with President Musharraf. What transpired between the two. Did Musharraf say that same thing to Omar?
You should ask this to Omar.
You must have talked to him.
That doesn’t matter. You better talk to him.
You did not say what happened in your meeting with Bhutto?
That was a good talk and let us leave it there.
Will we see it in your book?
You will see it in my book but it won’t be too soon.
Farooq sahib thousands of people died in Kashmir since 1988. Who do you blame for all this?
I can’t blame anyone. Let us just forget about the past. It was all madness. Many of our people were also killed.
That is no answer.
That is the answer I give. It was our fate.
What is your stand on the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir particularly those committed by the Indian paramilitary forces.
It is well documented. Farooq Abdullah does not have to say anything.
But you took a strong exception to your political rival Mehbooba Mufti when she continuously spoke against human rights violations by the Army during your tenure. You even threatened to throw her out of the Assembly.
I did not throw her out. She resigned herself. Where do you get these reports. Did you see in the media in UK?
How do you see the media conduct in Kashmir?
I don’t want to comment on that.
Okay let us talk of the record.
There is nothing of the record. There is nothing of the record with the journalists. I used to be very frank in the past, but not any more.
The present peace process between India and Pakistan is going very slowly. What is the reason?
Well it is a process. Congress has the commitment, it seems, to solve the problem but they have to tread carefully.
The Bharatia Janata Party (BJP) is now saying that this process should be stopped forthwith and that it is against the national interests of India.
BJP has a different position and they are militant in approach. They don’t want Congress to win the credit and I think they don’t want Kashmir issue to be settled as they can continue to use it fanning the communal trouble in India and thereby keep their vote bank.
Let us change the subject. You are famous for many other things like flirting with women, motorbike rides with Shabana Azami etc. Do you miss those rides around Dal Lake?
……. (Smiles on his face, but no words)
Is this a form of defence?
…(Smiling again)… I am not trying to defend myself. I don’t want to defend myself. I am not god. That is me. I can’t change and I say it openly because I am not a crook. I don’t do things under the carpet. I do things on the carpet.
But do you miss Shabana Azami and the rides?
Why are you asking it? Twenty years ago I did something and you harp on that. And the situation is such that now it is not even possible to go for a ride due to security reasons.
(At this time we started hearing loud voices of Allah-u-Akbar – God is great from hundreds of National Conference workers who had gathered in the courtyard to celebrate the election win and Farooq Abdullah asked us to hurry).
Do you feel suffocated by all this security around?
What can you do? It is just not me, the whole Kashmir is like this. I just have to live with it.
What do you think about inclusion of militant leadership like Syed Salahudin in the peace process between India and Pakistan?
Those people who hold the gun have a role to play and they should be included in the peace process.
The Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad says that militants should not be involved in the process and that they should be dealt with sternly.
I don’t agree with his view. The militants have the most important role to play and they are the people who can bring real peace. Majid Dar tried it last time and it was a good opportunity, but India handled it very badly.
I want to ask you a question about Indian Muslims. What is your opinion about growing anti-Muslim attacks in India.
It is a major problem. Muslims are being targeted increasingly and killed even by the state machinery which is very worrying. This makes it more imperative that Kashmir has to be solved to stop those fascist forces in India to sow the seeds of hatred and destruction.
There is a continuous propaganda going on that Kashmiri Pandits were thrown out by the Kashmiri Muslims. Do you agree with that?
No I don’t agree with that. But the situation was such that they were frightened that they could be a target. And the Governor of that time Jagmohan told them to go away for some time promising them that they will be brought back.
So Jagmohan instigated their exodus?
Yes of course he did it. I have always said that. I am on record to say that.
What is your opinion about Jagmohan?
I think… I don’t think I should give an opinion about him.
Farooq sahib your father sheikh Abdullah was unquestionably the greatest Kashmiri leader, but knowing the destruction and unsettlement of Kashmir issue, would you agree that his approach was not correct.
No his approach was correct.
If that was so why are so many people still dying?
Well if you carry gun and go astray the killings are bound to happen. You can’t blame my father for that. How did these draconian laws get in here.. today any army person can get into our house and do whatever he wants without us stopping him. Who brought this misery on us….
If our boys wouldn’t have taken up arms all this wouldn’t have happened.
There are many historians and academicians who blame Sheikh Abdullah for all what has happened since 1947.
Alright who shall we blame for 1947. Maharaja asked for time but who invaded here? Then Maharaja got scared and he signed the Accession and the Indian army came here. Had they not attacked, India would not have come and we would have either been part of Pakistan or independent now. Don’t blame my father… read the history in its true sense not from emotions or heresy.
You can’t blame everything on Pakistan. India treated us like a colony. We are just slaves.
Isn’t is true that Pakistan is behind all this. Who is doing all this? Where did these guns and grenades come from?
That is fine, but you can’t ignore huge anti-India sentiment among the people.
Now did they get Pakistan? All that happened is destruction.
That was done by India. The sentiment is for independence from India.
What sentiments are you talking about? You are living elsewhere. You don’t see what Kashmiris are going through. The slogan of Azadi was wrong… otherwise they’d have got it by now.
You are talking about autonomy for more than ten years now but you didn’t get it. Does that mean your autonomy slogan is wrong?
Not it is not the question of that. We will get autonomy and that too without guns.
But gun was a strategy.
Yes I know. That is what has cost us our whole Kashmir.
Last couple of questions. Pardon me as I would be direct and blunt. Sheikh Abdullah a great and undisputed leader. But his grave is under constant guard. Something must be wrong here.
You go and see Pakistani founder Jinnah’s grave that has a guard as well.
That is ceremonial guard.
Sheikh sahib’s security is also ceremonial guard.
When you pass away, do you think you will have to be under constant security like your father.
Do you know where you are going to die? Do you know how you are going to die?
No I don’t know.
When you don’t know how and why, how the hell do you expect Farooq Abdullah to know what is going to happen. I don’t know and it just doesn’t matter when you die. You just go to God Almighty.
But where would you like to be buried.
I don’t know.
Interview Ref : KashmirAffairs
August 28, 2006
….UN resolutions on Kashmir did not come under Chapter 7 of the UN charter and were, therefore, not self-enforcing. Unlike the resolutions on East Timor and Iraq, which come under that particular chapter, the Kashmir resolutions require the cooperation of both parties for implementation……[ March 2001 During his brief interaction with the media at Pakistan’s Chakala military ]
August 26, 2006
…….“Islam and secularism have no relation. Islam is a complete way of life. It has its own culture. Islam doesn’t ask you don’t sing but it tells you to recite Na’at. Allah will not accept any way of life other than Islam…..
August 25, 2006
……..Despite repeated promises, no viable measures have yet been made to bring the Pandits back. Even today Pandit homes are occupied by others in rural and metropolitan areas, even in Srinagar. Arguably no single community given its size has contributed as much to Kashmiriyat and Kashmiri culture, but none has suffered as greatly. There appears to be no great urgency on the part of the state or central agencies to end their suffering, or to significantly ameliorate it……..
Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Associate Professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
For Ref : (Common Minimum Program Point 10 Of J&K Govt): The government reaffirms that the return of the Kashmir Pandits to their mother land is an essential ingredient of Kashmiriat. The government will seek the cooperation of all elements in the society to create an atmosphere conducive to their safe return, will take all necessary steps to ensure their safety and devise effective measures of their rehabilitation and employment.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WRITES TO CHIEF MINISTER………..The state government promised a dignified return for the estimated 200,000 Kashmiri Pandits who have left the state since the outbreak of the insurgency.(6) The state government failed to protect the Pandit community at a time when it was making efforts to persuade the Pandits to return to their homes. In March 2003, 24 Kashmiri Pandits including 11 women and two children were killed by unidentified gunmen in Nadimarg.(7) Prior to these killings leaders of the Pandit community had met with local authorities and requested additional security as they felt that the level of security was inadequate, but their request had been rejected.
Fifty-four people from nine families were living in Nadimarg and had not migrated despite several massacres that had been carried out in the area in the past. Since these killings a further 160 of the estimated 700 Pandit families who continued to live in Kashmir fled due to fears of being targeted. Seven constables of the Jammu and Kashmir police were dismissed from service following an inquiry into the role of the policemen deployed on guard duty at Nadimarg on the day. Investigations have not revealed the individuals responsible for the killings.(8)
Amnesty International urges the state government to abide by the commitment it made in the Common Minimum Program that it would ensure that religious minorities in the state are able to enjoy all their constitutionally guaranteed rights and that further impartial and independent investigations will be .will be conducted into the killings at Nadimarg with a view to bringing to justice those responsible. ……..
August 24, 2006
in the House of RepresentativesWEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 1994
- Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of the House a very important matter. The role of Pakistan in aiding and abetting terrorism in Kashmir is well documented, so much so that the administration almost placed the Pakistani regime on the 1993 list of state sponsors of terrorism. However, the administration did not take such action because it was assured by Pakistan that Islamabad was taking credible steps to dissociate itself from the militants in Kashir.
- Recent reports however, suggest that Pakistan never stopped its aid to the terrorists in Kashir. A report in the Washington Post dated, May 16, 1994, titled, `Pakistan Aiding Rebels in Kashmir: Muslims Reportedly Armed and Trained,’ by John Word Anderson, datelined Muzzaffarabad, gives a first-hand account of such assistance by Pakistan to terrorists in Kashmir.
- The State Department has also confirmed this fact in its annual report titled, `Patterns of Global Terrorism’ I quote, `* * * there were credible reports in 1993 of official Pakistani support to Kashmiri militants * * *.’
- This fact is further confirmed from a study conducted by The Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare titled, `The Kashmir Connection,’ which I would like to place in the Record, immediately following these remarks which details the extent of Pakistani involvement in aiding the terrorists in Kashmir.
- This House should take cognizance of this serious issue particularly as some of those who have indicted in the bombing of the World Trade Center had also received training in Pakistan.
(BY YOSSEF BODANSKY AND VAUGHN S. FORREST)
Yossef Bodansky is director of research for the International Strategic Studies Association, where he is also a senior editor for their Defense and Foreign Affairs publications. He is director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare for the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, Bodansky has served as a consultant on terrorism for the U.S. government and other organizations.
Plz Clcik On pictures for the larger view
“The traitors of “Jang-e-Aazadi” i.e, Kashmiri Pandits who have been part and parcel of “Muslim – Kush” policies of Jagmohan, who have since left their “Wattan”, are being strongly warned to desist from the plans and activities which are aimed at undermining our freedom struggle.
Our organization stands by the joint pronouncement dated 22.7.2005 of Al-farin, Al-Nasreen, Farzandani Millat and Save Kashmir Movement, which made compulsory for the Pandits to seek pardon, for all the omissions and commissions against the Kashmiri Muslims and also to beg pardon for the heinous crimes they have committed, which also directed Pandits to participate actively in Jehad failing which they will not be allowed to come back.
Our organization in its congregation has decided to defeat the sinister designs of the migrant Pandits, who are going to perform a Maha Shraadh at Mattan near Islamabad to project the killings of “Mukhbir Pandits” as martyrs.
The Pandits are warned to be ready to pay the price for entering the valley. Defying this warning, they could not be protected even by the Prime Minister of India, the Indian puppet Chief Minister and the army contingents.
Migrant Pandits are being warned that their welfare rests in begging for pardons, accept their heinous crimes and terms and conditions of our organizations, till they do it the doors to the valley are shut for them.”
Spokesperson for HUJI
August 23, 2006
”Terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir is exactly kind of terrorism that must be condemned and must be rooted out. War against terrorism must include terrorism against India,” …..
US Ambassador Robert D Blackwill ..Oct2001
……….When we speak of human rights abuses, too often we are critical of the way Indian security forces treat suspected militants. We overlook the abuses committed by these very militants on the civilian population in Kashmir, most notably the acts of violence committed against Kashmiri Hindus…………
Statement by Congressman Joe Wilson, Co-Chair Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness and the House Committee on Government Reform : May 12, 2004
Today, whether a person goes to Kashmir for a holiday or visits a temple in Varanasi for worship, or boards a train in Mumbai, he is nervous and apprehensive. He is not sure whether he is going to be alive and well or whether he would be killed or maimed for life. Today, when you visit any place, it is converted into a fortress, because the security agencies are not sure of anyone. We seem to be living in a country under siege. What have we done to deserve this?…………………
“What freedom are we talking about when the Prime Minister of our country is forced to hide under a bullet-proof glass in order to address the nation? There’s a fear looming in the mind of every citizen of this country that he might just end up in a blast while traveling on the road. Security men are forced to frisk innocent people at airports suspecting them to be probable terrorists. Is this freedom? The freedom that we all cherish is just a big farce. The reality is that the country is sold to terrorism and it is dying a gradual death.”……
………Ashok Pandit ….Panun Kashmir Activist & Noted Film Maker
August 22, 2006
……………The Indian government must first recognize the Pandits as legitimate victims of terror in Kashmir. They must then give them back their stolen property and they must win the war on terror in Kashmir. By doing so, they will also allow the moderate Islam of Kashmir to return to that once fabled Himalayan paradise. Kashmiriat is good for democracy. ………
Geoffrey Clarfield is a Foreign Affairs Advisor to the Canadian Coalition for Democracies