Friday, February 5, 2010


By M Raza Malik
Pakistanis, here and across the globe, have been observing 5th February every year since 1991, as Kashmir Solidarity Day to convey the message that at this time of trial they are with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been rendering matchless sacrifices, for the last 63 years, to secure their inalienable right to self-determination, promised to them by the international community.

The people of Pakistan are bound to express solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren, as they share common cultural, ideological, geographical and emotional ties, which have fastened them into one unity for centuries. There is no denying of this historic fact that the Kashmir dispute is the unfinished part of the partition of the Indian subcontinent and peace in the South Asian region can not be established without resolving it in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations.

President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, while addressing a joint session of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Assembly and Kashmir Council in the Assembly Hall on January 05, said that settlement of the Kashmir dispute was vital for regional peace. “As world attention is on Pakistan, then together with Pakistan, the world has to talk about the Kashmir problem as well because only then can peace be brought to the region,” he said. “We cannot de-link regional peace from peace in Kashmir ... we have highlighted this thinking in the world and will keep projecting it,” he added.

The President maintained that Pakistan and India should learn to live in peace. “We know that we cannot change our neighbours but they (India) should also know that they can also not change their neighbours.” He hoped that the people of Kashmir would succeed in their struggle.

In order to realize the importance of the Kashmir Solidarity Day one needs to understand the history of India’s occupation on Kashmir, which dates back to the partition of the Indian Subcontinent. According to Partition Plan in 1947, the Indian British Colony was to be divided into two sovereign states: India comprising Hindu-majority areas, and Pakistan constituted by the Muslim-majority areas of Western provinces and East Bengal.

The partition plan had given the princely states the choice to accede either to Pakistan or to India, considering their geography and demography. As Jammu and Kashmir was a Muslim-majority state, with 87% Muslim population, it had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan. But the then Hindu ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh and the Indian National Congress by announcing Kashmir’s accession with India under a well thought out conspiracy sowed the seeds of destruction of the future of the Kashmiri people. India landed its paramilitary forces in the territory by totally violating the partition plan and against the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiris.

Right from October 27, 1947, the day when Indian forces landed in the occupied territory, the people of Jammu and Kashmir never accepted India’s illegal occupation of their motherland and they have been struggling to liberate it from Indian subjugation. Their liberation struggle forced India to seek the help of the international community to settle the Kashmir dispute. On January 1, 1948, sensing the defeat to its forces, it approached the United Nations Security Council, which in its successive resolutions, accepted by both Pakistan and India, promised that a free and impartial plebiscite would be conducted by the UN and the people of Kashmir would be given the opportunity to decide their future themselves.

On October 27, 1947, the first head of the Indian state, Lord Mountbatten, is on record having said that since the “question of accession [of Kashmir] should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the state, it is my government’s wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir... the question of the state’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people.” The first Prime Minister of India, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, whose government took the Kashmir dispute to the United Nations, on June 26, 1952, told Indian parliament, “If ... the people of Kashmir do not wish to remain with us, let them go by all means; we will not keep them against their will, however painful it may [be] for us.”

Despite these pledges and commitments by the Indian rulers, the people of Kashmir keep on suffering atrocities at the hands of the occupation troops and their miseries continue unabated. One of the most awful aspects of the Kashmir dispute is the fact that India had taken the dispute to the United Nations itself but later backed away from the promises, it had made before the international community, to resolve the dispute over Kashmir and to let the Kashmiri people chose their destiny by themselves.

It is very lamenting that India claims itself to be the biggest democracy of the world but it continues to suppress the democratic rights of the Kashmiri people with military might. It also describes the Jammu and Kashmir as its integral part in total contrast to the UN resolutions, which describe Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territory. Furthermore, the most deplorable aspect of the picture is that while Pakistan demonstrates considerable flexibility in the dialogue process, Indian intransigent approach remains the biggest hurdle in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

History stands testimony to the reality that despite exhausting all its resources, India has failed to deter the Kashmiris from continuing their struggle for securing the right to self-determination. Its forces have broken all the records of human rights violations in the occupied territory. Indian troops have martyred over ninety-two thousand civilians in occupied Kashmir, killing thousands in custody. These killings rendered more than twenty five thousand women widowed and over one-lac children orphaned. The troops have molested around ten thousand Kashmiri women during the past 20 years and have constantly been using the molestation of women as a tool to suppress the Kashmiris’ spirit of freedom. The whereabouts of thousands of innocent Kashmiris, disappeared in troops’ custody, are yet to be revealed. But all these cruelties could not refrain the Kashmiris raising their voice for freedom from Indian bondage.

Thousands of people in occupied Kashmir poured into streets during the second half of 2008 against the transfer of Kashmiris’ land to non-Kashmiris and in 2009 following the rape and subsequent murder of two Kashmiri women in Shopian in May. They conveyed a strong message to India and the international community that the human rights violations would continue to occur in the occupied territory as long as Indian troops were present there.

To reaffirm their political, moral and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir like always, this year too, Pakistanis will hold conferences, seminars, demonstrations and various functions. These activities will be aimed at highlighting various dimensions of the Kashmir dispute besides the state terrorism unleashed by India in the occupied territory would be projected in a factual manner. The observance of the day is also intended to remind the international community that it has a moral obligation to play its role in resolving the dispute over Kashmir in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations.

The fact is that the hearts of the Pakistanis throb in unison with their Kashmiri brethren. They feel not only the pain of Indian state terrorism against the Kashmiris but also their sufferings due to natural disasters, the glaring example of which was witnessed after the devastating earthquake of October 2005. The world observed how massively the Pakistani people transported relief goods and provided aid for the rehabilitation to the people in the calamity-hit areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

In the nutshell the 5th of February is a day to pay tribute to the unique sacrifices of the Kashmiri people, who have been carrying on their struggle of freedom with devotion. The observance is also intended to convey India that it cannot hold on Kashmir against the will of the people for long and that it will have to give the Kashmiris the right to live freely.

The writer is a Senior News Editor at Kashmir Media Service and can be reached at

S.B.Dissanayake to contest from Kandy as the organizer for Udunuwara

S.B.Dissanayake to contest from Kandy as the organizer for Udunuwara
Former UNP member S.B. Dissanayaka, who crossed over to the SLFP prior to the Presidential elections, has been appointed as the chief SLFP organizer for Udunuwara and will contest the upcoming General elections from the Kandy district.Speaking to Daily Mirror online Mr. Dissanayaka said that his latest appointment came in the wake of a full presidential pardon.President Mahinda Rajapaksa had granted a full pardon to the UNP dissident, who was earlier sentenced to jail on contempt of court charges by the Supreme Court.S.B. Dissanayake a minister in the then United National Front government was found guilty of having insulted the Supreme Court at a cultivation ceremony in Habaraduwa. He was released on a presidential order before completing his jail sentence.
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Come June, India will play Pakistan in Asia Cup

Come June, India will play Pakistan in Asia Cup
India, which is vying with Pakistan in almost all sports disciplines at the ongoing South Asian Games in Dhaka, will also take on the rival neighbours in cricket soon, though again at a neutral venue - in the Asia Cup from June 15 to 25.
According to sources in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), the tournament is likely to be hosted most likely in Sri Lanka. Apart from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh is the fourth team in the tournament. When the tournament was last played in Karachi in 2008, the Lankans had defeated India in the final by 100 runs. India last played Pakistan in the Champions Trophy last year in Centurion.
The ACC has reportedly been forced to consider Sri Lanka as a possible venue as the broadcasters and sponsors rejected first choice Malaysia due to weather concerns. However, sources also maintained that the final call on the venue is yet to be taken. "It's a toss up between Sri Lanka and Malaysia," an ACC official told TOI on Wednesday. "Malaysia was a front runner... but as the broadcasters didn't show interest in having the event in Malaysia, we have changed our plans," ACC president Ejaz Butt was quoted as saying recently. Incidentally, Asia Cup will be clashing with the football World Cup and it will be held right after the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.
However, ACC doesn't seem too bothered about the timing. "It a championships involving the best in Asia and we are confident it will generate enough excitement," the ACC official added. In the backdrop of Pakistani players being snubbed in the recently held IPL auction, the proposed meeting of the neighbours in Asia Cup will certainly generate excitement. However, It's still too early to talk about the possibility of a bilateral series in near future. "As of now, there is no question of having a bilateral series between India and Pakistan. We don't know what will happen tomorrow. We hope the relationship between the two countries improve, which is very important for cricket," a BCCI official said

Asia Cup in Sri Lanka

Asia Cup in Sri Lanka
Chennai: The Asia Cup ODI tournament will be held in Sri Lanka from June 16 to 25 this year.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Syed Ashraful Huq told The Hindu here on Thursday that only the four Test playing nations of Asia — India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — would take part in the event.
Ashraful, in the city to hold discussions with BCCI Secretary N.Srinivasan, said “The matches will be staged in Colombo and Premadasa Stadium is the likely venue. In all there will be six league games and the final.
“In the last edition of the Asia Cup, we had Hong Kong and UAE in the tournament but we had to shorten the format this time because of the lack of time available for the major teams.”
He admitted Malaysia was in contention to host the championship. “Yes, Malaysia was in the running. Eventually, the ACC has settled for Sri Lanka.” — Special Correspondent

Sri Lanka’s Independence Commemoration in France

Sri Lanka’s Independence Commemoration in France

The 62nd Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka was commemorated at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Paris with special religious observances at the Embassy premises yesterday (4th February 2010).
Clergy representing all the main religions in Sri Lanka participated in theceremony and invoked Blessings on His Excellency the President, the Cabinet of Ministers, armed forces, the Public Service, the country and people.
The National Messages of Sri Lanka’s President, Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs were read out at the ceremony.
Sri Lanka President in his message recalled with gratitude the role played by patriots in the struggle for independence and also paid tribute to the heroic troops and their families for the sacrifices made in the battle against terrorism. Special mention was also made of the friendly nations from the East to the West, who understood and supported Sri Lanka ‘to achieve the objective of true freedom for our country and people’.
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka in his National Message opined that ‘the value of freedom is deeply felt when it is lost, more than when it is enjoyed.’ He called on ‘all citizens of the country to unite to bring a brighter future to our motherland.’
Marking the Anniversary of Independence, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama pointed out that ‘rising from the shackles of colonialism sixty two years ago and annihilating and almost three decade long grip of terrorism from our shores eight months ago,’ ensured the celebration of independence with a sense of oneness and pride. He also observed that ‘a new era of peace and hope has dawned for the country with a renewed mandate for the continued leadership of President Rajapaksa, that too with the beginning of a new decade.’
Addressing the gathering the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in France, Lionel Fernando noted that independence was being celebrated under one writ after a considerable period of time and this bade well for the future as the country was about to embark on a new era of development and reconciliation.
A special alms giving was also arranged at the Embassy.