A Message to Apna Des
London 25 March 2009
Friends and colleagues and readers of Apna Des aslamo alaykam
Apna Des means one’s own country. By looking at the prevailing situation where you live, ask yourself if this is your country. Answer to this is yes and no. It is your country de jure - by right; but de facto - in reality it is occupied, and you have no control over it. Do you have any input in making policies or in running of the affairs of this area, or someone else from Islamabad is calling the shots in all policy matters.
Those who control us have deliberately divided us on religious, regional, ethnic and tribal lines. In order to get your rights and fight back divisive and corrupt policies of those who rule us, you have to organise yourselves and establish unity, especially among all Kashmiri nationalists that the cause of nationalism could be articulated and advanced in such a way that it meets present day needs of the movement for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.
But it is increasingly becoming difficult to decide who is a nationalist, and who is promoting the cause of secret agencies under the garb of nationalism. There are wolves in sheep clothing and their aim is to protect personal interests and interests of those who occupy us. They, under different pretexts, formulate policies which promote and defend interests of either India or Pakistan. Yet their parties are labelled as nationalist parties, and they have help and support of establishment and media to ensure that they are always in limelight and are considered as senior leaders of the independence movement.
We have to keep a watchful eye on these elements that we are not deceived once again. We have to ensure that we stand united and that personal interests, rivalries, ego, extremism, regionalism and ethnicity DOES NOT become obstacle in the cause of our struggle for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.
We all have to work as a team to achieve our goal of national emancipation. Our role should be to promote and protect a Kashmiri interest. India and Pakistan are occupiers in the State of Jammu and Kashmir; and those of us who protect their interests are collaborators and traitors and not Kashmiri nationalists.
Apart from that we need to ensure that our struggle is not against any religion or any community. Religion has no role in our struggle. Our struggle is for our inherent and inalienable right of self determination which has been denied to us. Our struggle is not against Pakistan or India or their people, but against their Kashmir policies. Once the Kashmir dispute is resolved according to the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, then we can all live side by side in peace and harmony; and promote political and economic stability in South Asia.
Friends and colleagues, last but not least, our struggle is on this side of the LOC. We were wrongly persuaded to follow the strategy of ‘liberating’ the Kashmir on the other side of the LOC first. It suited Pakistani establishment and some others, but it did help our national cause. Once we are organised on this side of the LOC, and are liberated then we will be in a position to help our brothers on the other side. But it does not mean that we don’t interact and coordinate our activities with like minded people in other regions.
Keep this in mind one slave cannot liberate the other slave, especially when he is forcibly divided and is on the other side of the barbed fence. Either both slaves have to work together to win freedom or one of them has to be free before he could help his enslaved brother. We have to work out a strategy which suits our needs and environment; and those on the other side can formulate strategies which are appropriate to their conditions.
As a Kashmiri nationalist who has sincerely advocated true Kashmiri nationalism through thick and thin, and during very difficult and trying moments, I want to express my profound appreciation for your efforts to promote a Kashmiri interest. I also want to express my gratitude to Muahmmad Rafiq Khawaja and Professor Rafiq Bhatti who have kindly provided me with this opportunity to write this message.
I hope this endeavour will help us to reorganise ourselves that we can establish a democratic, stable and prosperous society in an independent Jammu and Kashmir.
Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To view other articles see my blog: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com