Kashmir: The Forgotten Jugular Vein

The following article has been published in the Sunday Edition of Pakistan Today, dated 31st August 2014
(For online version: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/08/30/comment/kashmir-the-forgotten-jugular-vein/ )

(For Published Version, Page 9:   http://issuu.com/abidoon/docs/dna_issue_39/9?e=3820687/9123742 )

Kashmir: The Forgotten Jugular Vein

What it still means to Pakistan

Prof Dp

By: Omer Zaheer Meer

The author is a Director of the think-tank “Millat Thinkers’ Forum”. He is a leading economist, qualified accountant and anti-money laundering expert with international exposure who can be reached on Twitter and www.myMFB.com @OmerZaheerMeer  or omerzaheermeer@hotmail.co.uk

Just like all beautiful things in this world, Kashmir, the heaven on Earth has been a victim of its own charm. While most people in the sub-continent and world over know of the miseries of Kashmiris since 1947, their hardships and slavery has dated back long. It was the fateful year of 1820 when tyranny took over the beautiful region with Ranjeet Singh annexing it. However it was yet to see the worst. In 1846, following the defeat of Sikhs in the first Anglo-Sikh war, the so-called “Maharaja” Gulab Singh “purchased” Kashmir along with all its inhabitants for a paltry 7.5 million Rupees from none other than the torch bearer of civilization and human-rights, the then British Empire. After the worst possible atrocities and subjugation a nation has been subjected to in human history, Kashmiris saw ray of hope with the arrival of 1947.

A new Muslim state was been carved out in the subcontinent named Pakistan. The region comprising this new state shared natural, logistical, economic, cultural, religious as well historic ties with Jammu and Kashmir. The overwhelming majority of Kashmir at the time, according to some studies over 80% was Muslim. The masses believed it was their democratic right as well as natural to become part of Pakistan. However there was a catch. According to the Independence Plan the Indo-Pak region was divided on the basis of religious majority of Muslims and Hindus but the independent princely states were to decide their own faith but encourage to join India or Pakistan while taking into account geographical contiguity and the wishes of their people. Any disputes were to be resolved by holding plebiscites.

The subjugation of Kashmiris ultimately led to an internal revolt in the “Poonch” region against the “Dogra Raj” resulting in declaration of “Azad” Kashmir government. The cries for support against the ruthless Dogra oppressors were answered by the poorly armed Pashton tribes from the mountainous terrains of Pakistan, sharing a strong bond of religion. As a result Hari Singh asked for help from India and was forced to sign an alleged accession document as per Indian claims despite having already signed a “standstill” agreement with Pakistan.

Worried by Indian aggression, Quaid-e-Azam ordered the British commander-in-chief of Pakistan Army, General Gracey to send in Pakistan Army units to aid Kashmiris but he refused setting a despicable blot on his name. A few low-ranking Pakistan Army officers voluntarily joined the warring tribes and reached the outskirts of Srinagar. However unnecessary changes of command, lack of proper arms and ammunitions and deficiency in numbers of the rag-tag militiamen meant they were no match materially for the regular Indian Army. However their passion, skill and bravery they fought with led them to not only liberate a vast region but inflicted such damage that the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru himself took the matter to the United Nations (UN) requesting a cease-fire and asking for a plebiscite in Kashmir under the UN watch, accepting it to be a disputed territory.

Before proceeding further, let me share an interesting excerpt from a historic address with you: “It (Kashmir) is a people with a soul of its own and an individuality of its own. Kashmir is not the property of either India or Pakistan. It belongs to the people of Kashmir, and the people of Kashmir alone will decide as to what their future affiliation and course of action will be”. The excerpt you just read is not said by any Pakistani or Kashmiri leader but these are words of the Prime Minister of India Mr. Nehru himself.

It is a sad tragedy that the so-called largest democracy in the world has enslaved an entire people against their will and back-tracked on its own commitments to not only them but the whole world for the seventh decade now. What’s more pitiful is the hypocrisy practiced by India. It annexed Hyderabad and Junagargh, both ruled by Muslim rulers despite the first declaring independence and the latter signing accession to Pakistan. India claimed that since the majority of the population was Hindu in both states, the independence and accession agreement do not hold. But when it came to Kashmir which was exactly a mirror image with a majority of Muslim population ruled by a non-Muslim ruler, India changed its own stance claiming the alleged accession agreement was to hold in this case. In effect, India practiced imperialist hypocrisy null of any principles. What’s more it even refuses to date to honor its own pledge of a plebiscite in Kashmir, which it made to the international community.

As of today, despite the partially successful 1948 liberation war and subsequent events including 1962 Indo-China war, the state of Jammu and Kashmir stands divided into three regions, the Indian-Occupied Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh, the Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.

On its part, Pakistan fought several wars with India over the Kashmir dispute but missed some golden opportunities. During the 1962 Indo-China war, Kashmir was virtually “empty” of Indian Army and Pakistan was sent a message by Chinese to move in and take over what was rightfully theirs. However the dictator at the time, Field Marshal Ayub Khan let the opportunity slip. Earlier during the 1948 liberation war, Pakistan accepted a ceasefire when its tribal militia without support of regular Pakistan Army was inflicting serious damage to regular Indian Army, letting an opportunity to liberate Kashmir slip away.

Reading this all, you may be wondering why is Kashmir still so important to Pakistan and do Kashmiris still want to join Pakistan? While the latter can be determined by a plebiscite we can examine the first. All of Pakistan’s rivers flow from Kashmir. The Indian occupation has pursued controversial projects to implement a water control strategy designed to starve Pakistan of its lifeline of water supplies. The consequences of water scarcity require a detailed write-up but it can be safely said that it’ll put the very existence of Pakistan at risk.

It was not without reason that the wise Quaid-e-Azam said “Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan and no nation can allow its jugular vein to be held by the enemy”. Even if one was to think beyond the atrocities by Imperialist India warranting a compassionate response, an independent Kashmir with defense pacts would be better for both Kashmir and Pakistan compared to an Indian Occupied one. Pakistan should therefore continue to stand beside the brave Kashmiris who have given unprecedented sacrifices for freedom and lend all the support possible for their just cause.

Gaza: Holocaust version 2014

The following article is published in the Sunday edition (DNA) of Pakistan Today, dated 20th July 2014

(For online version: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/07/19/comment/gaza-holocaust-version-2014/ )

(For published version: Page 6  at:  http://issuu.com/abidoon/docs/dna_issue_33/4?e=3820687/8669388    )

Gaza: Holocaust version 2014

Zionist occupiers’ atrocities against Palestinian women, children and elderly make Hitler seem like an angel.

By: Omer Zaheer Meer

The author is a Director of the think-tank “Millat Thinkers’ Forum”. He is a leading economist, qualified accountant and anti-money laundering expert with international exposure who can be reached on Twitter and www.myMFB.com @OmerZaheerMeer  or omerzaheermeer@hotmail.co.uk

A sad tragedy ensues when the oppressed becomes the oppressor. Even worse is when it bites the hand that fed it in its worst hour of need. That is precisely the tragedy unfolding in occupied Palestine under the so-called Israeli occupation forces.

The disproportionate use of power is of least concern in a conflict where all international laws are floundered. Banned and illegal weapons like phosphorus, in addition to other internationally banned chemical weapons, are routinely used on civilian populations. Innocent civilians are routinely targeted and killed as are innocent family members of “alleged” Palestinian resistance members. Entire families are wiped out in such Israeli attacks. Children as young as just a few months old are slaughtered while women of all ages are butchered along with the elderly in what is termed collateral damage by Israel. A policy of collective punishment is being pursued by blockading 17 million human beings for eight long years, effectively turning Gaza into the largest open-air prison on the planet.

This Palestinian occupation is truly an asymmetrical conflict with Israel’s sophisticated, top of the range, highly destructive and even internationally banned chemical arsenal largely met with rag-tag home-made crude Palestinian rockets. The comparatively slightly better Palestinian rockets are extremely limited and used rarely by the resistance. Compared to a bomb shelter in almost every new house built in Israel, there is none in Gaza. Only recently the first Israeli fatality of the conflict incurred in over a week compared to over 200 innocent Palestinian children, women and elderly slaughtered in addition to young men. The only Israeli fatality so far was a Zionist volunteer delivering food to Israeli occupation soldiers near the Gaza border. The billions of dollars of annual military aid to Israel by the USA can be compared to a naught for Palestine.

Holocaust, as described by various Jewish as well as Zionist authors, was the alleged systematic and state-sponsored persecution and annihilation of millions of Jews by Nazi Germany.

It is worth mentioning here that present day Imperialist Israel is a fruit of political Zionism whose brutalities against Palestinian civilians are opposed even by moderate Jews across the globe. The genocide of and war crimes against Palestinians perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces, particularly in Gaza, has made atrocities of Nazi Germany seem lighter in comparison.

Let’s visit recent history to draw comparisons. The Nazis believed in racial superiority of Germans, deemed “inferior” Jewish and other non-German races as an alien threat to their survival and supremacy. This is pretty much the same attitude as that showcased by present day Israel against non-Jewish Palestinian Arabs, effectively treating them as a threat to Zionist “supremacy”. It’s even worse since most Israeli Zionists, particularly the impressionable youth, call for the annihilation of even innocent Palestinian children (widely available on social media), unlike Nazi Germany where people even helped Jewish women and children.

Holocaust, as described by various Jewish as well as Zionist authors, was the alleged systematic and state-sponsored persecution and annihilation of millions of Jews by Nazi Germany. The “Holocaust version 2014” by Israel is even worse. Not only are Palestinian Arab Muslims massacred systematically by the occupying Zionist regime, the imperialist state of Israel also controls their life by applying a total blockade particularly on Gaza, where the local population cannot even have emergency medical journeys without a cumbersome process requiring Israeli permission.

What is ironic and perhaps lesser known today is the fact that it was under the Muslim Ottoman rule that Jews fleeing from across the globe were provided sanctuaries and opportunities to prosper. The Jews were heavily persecuted by Byzantines after Christianity was declared the official religion (408 – 450) by Theodosius 11. Forceful conversions of Jews to Christianity were the norm.

With the Ottoman Turkish conquest of Bursa in 1324, a golden era ensued for the previously oppressed Jewish community. The Jews treated the Ottomans as their saviours. The toleration was to the extent that not only were Jews given high public offices, but also allowed to build huge synagogues like the Etz Ha-Hayyim (Tree of Life). Jews from all over Europe came and settled in Muslim Ottoman lands; from Hungary in 1376, France in 1394, Sicily in the early 15th century, Salonika in 1420, Spain in 1492 after Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand expelled the Jews during brutal Spanish Inquisition, and from many more places.

Now let us fast forward to the present era. The memory of the Israeli attack on the Turkish Flotilla carrying civilian aid to Gaza is not too old. More more recent is the case when Israel started bombarding civilians yet again in Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on the planet. An ultimatum was given to people in northern and eastern Gaza to leave their homes, raising fear of the worst atrocities to come. However, the fleeing civilians were forced deep within the already congested and tiny Gaza strip by Israel and its ally Egypt, refusing to open border crossings thereby denying them safety. The blockade of Palestinians, resulting in deaths due to starvation and a crippling economy for eight years, has conveniently been forgotten by the world.

With the Ottoman Turkish conquest of Bursa in 1324, a golden era ensued for the previously oppressed Jewish community. The Jews treated the Ottomans as their saviours.

Perhaps it is time that moderate Jews across the globe rise up to confront the extremist Zionists of Israel for the Muslim rulers seem to be sleeping, barring the lip service of a few. These Muslim rulers are so busy in their sectarian fights and protection of their rule that this human tragedy fails to evoke a serious response from them. While people around the world including Europe and North America have shown their discontent over what is commonly referred to as a brutal massacre by Israel, Muslim governments have continued to show little material support for oppressed Palestinians in Gaza.

A lesser explored aspect of the recent turmoil in Gaza is the political maneuvering of Netanyahu with allegations that the Israeli government knew about the whereabouts of the kidnapped illegal Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territory but decided to use it for political mileage. The incident was used to incite hatred, culminating in the abduction and brutal burning to death of an innocent Palestinian teen legally living in Jerusalem, by Zionist right-wingers. This observation is supported by the gag-order regarding the incident barring even the Israelis from having access to information about it. Furthermore, there were reports of raids on the Palestinian suspects’ homes two weeks before the occupying Israeli Government announced the names. All these indicate manipulation. Truly right-wing extremist Israelis led by Netanyahu gained the most at the expense of everyone else.

This is not the first atrocity against the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, nor can it be expected to be the last. What we should strive for is to create awareness and help the helpless, enslaved population of Gaza.

The big question is will moderate Jews recall the favours granted to them by Muslims, which ensued their golden era, and rise up with them to confront the Zionist monster which has unleashed its own version of Holocaust, only upon Muslims this time.