Kashmir on the streets and Palestine at the UN

Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

Kashmir on the streets and Palestine at the UNPeople of Jammu and Kashmir (Muslims in particular) and the people of Palestine (Muslim in particular) are engaged in opposition with two respective cruel administrations. Imprisonment, torture, taking the dissent (youth in particular) out of circulation and use of military force are common practices followed by Delhi and Tel Aviv.

Kashmiri and Palestinian people continue to be on the streets and this semblance of unrest is a permanent feature in their daily lives. Palestinians however, have distinguished their method and wisdom, by being active off street as well. They have continued to remain active in diplomacy and have used the United Nations, to a point that Palestinian flag would be flying at the UN Headquarters along with other 193 countries either at the start of the 70th session of General Assembly or within 20 days from 10 September 2015.

Kashmiri people have their case at the United Nations since January 1948, when the organization itself was only three years old. There is no evidence except the proxy appearance of Sheikh Abdullah in February 1948 at the UN Security Council that Kashmiri leadership has ever made any direct or proxy input of any kind to its case at the UN. The records at the UN Security Council show that Pakistan has been left to itself to brave the debate and face the challenge at the UN.

The leadership from 1948-1990 and from 1990-2015 does not show evidence of any input or interest in the UN debates or the UN mechanism agreed to resolve the question of self-determination. There is no evidence that the three Kashmiri Governments at Srinagar (in particular), Muzaffarabad and Gilgit have done any sort of work, outsourced to them by the United Nations. Kashmiri leaders no doubt have taken a generation of their youth to the grave and put men, women, children and elderly through unprecedented humiliation and human rights abuse and have wasted their monopoly on the political, diplomatic and moral (etc.) support of the Government of Pakistan. There is no evidence that they have ever understood their case in the manner the people of Palestine understood.

Israel has been using tactics to derail and distract the Palestinian movement at home and at the UN. Yasser Arafat was cordoned and boxed in his office by air and military power. He remained put behind the table of his office and had his pistol always laid on the table. He refused to yield and would die fighting than give up or surrender.

Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa had one finger on the trigger of his pistol and his mind set on taking the Palestine (PLO) to the world map, till UN General assembly recognised PLO as a legitimate national liberation movement. On 9 December 1988 the UN General Assembly among other things decided as follows:

  1. Decides that the Palestine Liberation Organization and the South West Africa People’s Organization are entitled to have their communications  relating to the sessions and work of the General Assembly issued and circulated directly, and without intermediary, as official documents of the Assembly;
  2. Decides also that the Palestine Liberation Organization and the South West Africa People’s Organization are entitled to have their communications relating to the sessions and work of all international conferences convened under the auspices of the General Assembly of the United Nations issued and circulated directly, and without intermediary, as official documents of these conferences;
  3. Authorizes the Secretariat to issue and circulate as official documents of the United Nations, under the appropriate symbol of other organs or conferences of the United Nations, communications submitted directly, without intermediary, by the Palestine Liberation Organization and the South West Africa People’s Organization, on matters relative to the work of these organs and conferences;

Palestinian leadership suffered intrigue, betrayal, mass massacre at the hands of Israel and some Muslim countries but never allowed Israel to set an agenda for it. It refused to be sucked into a reactive politics or into a response to any of Israeli intrigues or tactics. On the contrary Kashmiri leadership except maintaining a brief spell of its authority in early 1990s against Delhi intrigue has massively erred to fall into a trap and has wasted its strengths in reacting to agenda set by Delhi or its proxy agencies in the Valley.

In 2015 when world is meeting in September at the 70th session of UN General Assembly in New York and the General Debate starts on Monday 28th September till 6 October 2015, Kashmiri leadership has been handed down the sensitive issue of ‘Beef Ban” by the  two administrations in Delhi and Srinagar. Jammu and Kashmir Government could not be excused because it was its Assistant Advocate General who pursued the PIL against the Government in the High Court. In fact PDP as partner in the Government has paid Assistant Advocate General to argue a case against the Government.

Under these circumstances when the Kashmiri Muslim is slapped with a ban on beef, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s, order to J&K Wakf Board to “take immediate steps for improving facilities and beautification of the shrines under its ambit, enabling the devotees to pay obeisance in a hassle-free manner”, does not seem to have any merit. It is betraying the trust of the electorate and insulting the common wisdom of the people. Chief Minister became an associate in sinning against the sentiments of Kashmiri Muslims when he allowed the Government’s Law Officer to argue the case in the High Court and secure a ban.

PDP-BJP Government has committed an unprecedented and unforgivable sin against the Muslims of Kashmir. It has not only hurt the religious sentiments and violated the freedom of privacy in the kitchen, but it is a deliberate attempt to derail the political struggle by sucking the common people into streets protests at least for the period when world is meeting at the UN. It is an attempt to shed more Muslim blood on the streets of Kashmir. There are elements in BJP Government in Delhi, who would leave no stone unturned to punish the Kashmiri Muslims under one or the other pretext.

The ban on beef would not stay for long. Beyond the disputed State of Jammu and Kashmir, the beef ban has started shaking the foundations of a secular India. People like Justice Katju responsible for Maharashtra ban on beef for 9 days in his judgment have started realising their misdirected wisdom and are expressing their remorse.  Muslims of the Valley need to plan their protest and challenge well and in a manner that all their energies are not wasted on the streets.

The law banning slaughter of a cow is there since 1862. Our leaders and successive Governments in Jammu and Kashmir and the people as a whole have all turned a blind eye to this discriminatory rule. The law could have been easily scrapped from 1956 by the Governments through the assemblies. Let PDP settle it for itself, how it would handle it with its partner BJP. PDP is responsible for bringing in BJP and it is again PDP which has paid to bring this ban on beef. Kashmir is not Maharashtra and therefore stakes are very high in this habitat.

It is important that Kashmiri people and the leaders visit the political struggle of Palestinian people. They made full use of street politics but did not fail to keep their gaze fixed in the skies. On 10 September 2015 The United Nations General Assembly decided that the flags of non-member observer States shall be raised at the world body’s headquarters and other offices following the flags of its 193 Member States. The resolution, “Raising the flags of non-member observer States at the United Nations,” was adopted by a vote of 119 in favour to 8 against, with 45 delegations abstaining. The Holy See and Palestine maintain permanent observer missions at UN Headquarters and their flags shall start flying along with 193 countries.

Ban Ki-moon has been requested to take “the measures necessary” for the implementation of this decision during the Assembly’s seventieth session, which begins on 15 September, and within 20 days of the adoption of the resolution. Congratulations Palestine. If possible pray for the People of Jammu and Kashmir. Our leaders are engaged in fighting against a ban imposed on eating beef. The ban has been there from 1862.

In November 2012 Palestine gained Observer State Status at the UN by a vote of 138 in favour to nine against with 41 abstentions in a 193-member Assembly. Palestinians have graduated from strength to strength in gathering (gaining)  their Status at the UN and the Palestinians would be proud people to see their national flag flying high at UN Headquarters and other offices along with 193 flags of other countries in September 2015. Time is essence. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have also started at the UN in January 1948. They have their own flag and a movement in hand. There is no time to waste. Let the people and leadership move from streets to world stage.

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