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A shimmering light of enlightenment in PoJK

A shimmering light of enlightenment in PoJK

Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza

On August 27, the Jammu Kashmir Awami Workers Party (JKAWP) held an all party conference in Islamabad. Speeches made on the occasion by young political activists from Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK) indicated an epic shift in their perspective regarding Kashmir.


Due to the devastating monsoon rain and flash floods, the delegation from Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (PoGB) could not make it to Islamabad. However, Baba Jan, leader of the JKAWP's GB chapter addressed the conference via phone link.

Shah Nawaz Ali Sher, a young lawyer and chief organiser of the JKAWP, must have shocked many when he addressed the conference, when he said: "In PoJK, human rights are being violated in a brutal way."

Never before has any political activist dared to call Kashmir an occupied territory on Pakistani soil let alone at a conference held at the National Press Club in Islamabad.

Sher further said that the Maharaja (Hari Singh) wanted to keep the state independent but Pakistan divided the state in the name of religion. Thus Sher openly distanced himself from the Two-Nation theory and the founding ideology of Pakistan.

He also criticised the Kashmir policy of Pakistan by referring to the so-called Pakistan sponsored freedom movement in Kashmir as 'proxy war'. Thereby rejecting the Pakistani military establishment's narrative on Kashmir.

Sher said that it was the need of the hour to liberate PoJK.

Another speaker, Sardar Ishtiaq from the United Kashmir People's National Party said that Kashmir was a multi-religious and multi-ethnic region and therefore it was not possible to start a movement that was solely based on Deobandi or Wahhabi Islam. He said that the purpose of the movement initiated (by Pakistan) in 1988 in the valley was to divide the Kashmiri population on religious grounds.

The killer statement came from the chairman of JKAWP, Nissar Shah, who is a practicing high court lawyer.

In his address to the conference, he said: "In 1947 there was an agreement signed between Maharaja Hari Singh and India after which he joined India. However, since 1947 our people (in PoJK) have been denied of any democratic, political and economic rights and this is what we should have struggle to obtain and should have not demanded the liberation of the Valley because it was never a slave (of India)."

This tantamount to a complete rejection of the 70 odd year old narrative that Pakistani military establishment has been hammering upon the conscious of my people. This also indicates another factor. That a major intellectual barrier raised by the Pakistani military establishment since 1947, to contain the truth about Jammu Kashmir, now seems to have been overcome by the young generation in PoJK.

Since the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution that gave a special status to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, today the youth in PoJK are witnessing the rapid development and prosperity that the BJP government has launched.

As floods and monsoon create havoc the people of PoJK and PoGB continue to protest against the lack of basic necessities such as drinking water, electricity, flour and lack of safety walls on mountainous terrain. They are protesting relentlessly against the unjust taxes that have been levied against them by the government of Pakistan and raise slogans against the Pakistan army as well as demanding independence from the state of Pakistan.

One should hope that the shimmering light of enlightment that was revealed at the Jammu Kashmir Awami Worker's Party conference continues to spread across the length and breadth of PoJK and PoGB.

( is an author and a human rights activist from Mirpur in PoJK. He currently lives in exile in the UK.)

Source: IANS

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A shimmering light of enlightenment in PoJK

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