By: Omer Zaheer Meer
An extremely important aspect of modern life, greatly neglected in Muslim societies more so in Pakistan is the independent research and development of practical solutions. Therefore any institution striving for this is a blessing in this age of brain-drain, more so when it not just pay lip-service but also act in line with its motto of “Deliberate, Decipher & Decode”. That’s what attracted me to the idea of founding Millat Thinkers’ Forum (MTF).
Following its tradition of celebrating the national days by focusing attention on issues of national importance unattended by others, MTF focused on the issue of Kashmir on this defence day. It’s a sad tragedy that our younger generation is not educated on vital issues. Even when they’re, mostly the narrative used is the one set by opposing contenders. What can be more tragic for a nation than to be robbed of its history, identity and awareness? Nothing can be.
Noam Chomsky once famously wrote how the masses are deceived without them realizing that they’re misled. This is best suited to people of Pakistan. How many Pakistanis know that the alleged accord Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh signed with India was illegal as he was not a hereditary ruler but a British appointee whose legitimacy was over with the end of the British rule in India? Moreover not many today know that the same Maharaja had already signed a stand-still agreement with Pakistan to hold till will of the Kashmiris can be determined.
Let’s ask that how many times have the Pakistani Foreign Office raised the issue of the hypocrisy that India has shown with regard to Hyderabad and Junagarh both of which were mirror images of Kashmir in that they had a majority of Hindu population but Muslim rulers. Unlike Hari Singh, these were hereditary rulers having their legitimacy intact. Nawab of Hyderabad, one of the biggest and the richest state in India announced its independence while the King of Junagarh signed accession to Pakistan. However the Imperialist India enslaved both with its military might claiming the aspirations of Hindu majority had to be taken into account. But when it comes to Kashmir the same India forgets about the aspirations of the Muslim majority but rather focuses on the so-called accord of a ruler who had no legitimacy.
What more ironic is the fact that India conveniently forgets that it was she who took the issue to the United Nations and pledged a plebiscite under UN’s command to determine the will of the people. Now India doesn’t want to talk about keeping its pledges to the international community as well as the Kashmiris. Such despicable behavior of treachery, broken pledges and hypocrisy would shame even the worst of tyrants.
Fair enough that Pakistan is facing several crises today but they’re all tied up with the Kashmir issue and an amicable and just resolution of the Kashmir quagmire will end most of the problems facing Pakistan today. Let’s be more elaborative about it. Be it the support to the TTP miscreants from Indian consulates in Afghanistan or the supplies and training provided to BLA type terrorists in Balochistan from the same source, the root cause lies in Kashmir issue. Similarly the pattern of water shortage in years of rain shortage due to Indian water reservoirs in Kashmir (many illegally built) closing down the water flow and the devastating floods in years of heavy rainfall due to India opening the floodgates from the same reservoirs are again a direct result of the outstanding Kashmir dispute. The reliance on expensive IPP’s using furnace oil to produce electricity and resulting shortages are also a consequence of Pakistan not getting its due share of water. All these problems particularly the water issues are a death-trap for Pakistan which is essentially an agricultural country.
Having said that, it is also true that successive governments in Pakistan have not only failed Kashmiris but also didn’t take corrective steps within their powers such as building water reservoirs on the available resources to address Pakistan’s ultimate survival issue. Unfortunately the focus seems to be on cosmetic and temporary measures for cheap publicity. Despite losses of billions of rupees in infrastructure destruction, crops devastation and loss of output besides irrecoverable human loss, those in power seems to be failing the nation on the front of water management too.
All this was discussed at the highly successful Defence Day event organized by Millat Thinkers’ Forum at Karachi Shouhada Hall, Lahore High Court on the topic of “Kashmir: The forgotten jugular vein. Past, Present and the way forward” A presentation of real-life atrocities on innocent Kashmiri women, children and elderly by occupying Indian forces sent from Indian Occupied Kashmir by Millat Facebook members was also presented. Amongst the prominent dignitaries at the event was the host, Mr. Zaheer Ahmad Meer Advocate (Patron Millat Thinkers’ Forum, Managing Partner Professionals’ Social Network and President Hum Kashmiri Lawyers) and other eminent guests included:
Justice (R) Allah Nawaz (ex Chief Justice Lahore High Court)
Justice (R) Sharif Hussain Bokhari (ex Judge Lahore High Court)
Admiral (R) Javaid Iqbal,
General (R) Rahat Latif,
Mrs. Ayesha Qazi (President Lahore Tax Bar Association),
Mr. Munim Sultan (G. Sec Lahore Tax Bar Association),
Mr. Absar Abdul Ali (Director, Hameed Nizami Press Institute),
Mian Khalid Habib Elahi (Advocate Supreme Court & ex D. Attorney General Punjab),
Mr. Mansoor Ur Rehman Afridi (Advocate Supreme Court, ex VC Punjab Bar Council & ex President Lahore Bar Association)
Mr. Sajjad Mehmood Butt (Advocate Supreme Court & Patron Hum Kashmiri Lawyers)
The closing proposals adopted unanimously as resolutions were that the Government of Pakistan should take concrete steps to build water reservoirs, build an effective narrative on the Kashmir issue and spread it globally, standby Kashmiris and provide them all possible support, internationally highlight the UN resolution and the lack of legitimacy of Hari Singh, a British appointee whose rule ended with the British rule and do not give up on its principled stand. There will come a time when Pakistan and Kashmiris will be able to get their right, just like the China-Taiwan case. Determination, resilience and steadfastness would be required as even a century is not much in the lives of nations. Otherwise the nations who start squandering their rights end up surrendering their independence too.
The author is Director of the think-tank “Millat Thinkers’ Forum”. He is a leading economist, chartered accountant, qualified financial analyst and anti-money laundering expert with international exposure who can be reached on Twitter and www.myMFB.com @OmerZaheerMeer or firstname.lastname@example.org