“J K L F is ISI-controlled”
Shabir Choudhry, born in Nakker Shamali, Bhimber, Pakistan Occupied
Kashmir, is based in the United Kingdom since 1966 and holds a dual
nationality. Choudhry has done extensive research on Indo- Pakistan
relations and has a doctorate on the politics of Kashmir. He regularly takes
part in the sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and has addressed
various conferences and seminars to
oppose violence and highlight the Kashmir cause. A founder member of JKLF , he parted ways with it and formed the Kashmir National Party. He gave an extensive interview to R C GANJOO. Excerpts:
Q: You were an active member of
JKLF. What forced you to launch
your own party in London ?
Ans: The Jammu Kashmir
Liberation Front (JKLF) was formed
in Birmingham, England in 1977. It
believed in a united and independent
Jammu and Kashmir free from both
India and Pakistan. The JKLF head
office was shifted from Britain to
Muzaffrabad when Amanullah Khan
was expelled from Britain in 1987.
Afzal Jatalvi and I were senior office
bearers at that time and we both
agreed; we feared action against the
JKLF in Britain as a result of the Rawinder Mahtare (Indian diplomat
in Britain) kidnapping and his
subsequent killing in Britain.
The JKLF believed in non
communal politics then. We strongly
believed in equality for all
citizens, rule of law, democracy and liberal ideals. To us both India and Pakistan were occupiers and hence equally bad. Our struggle was against both.
But expelled from Britain, Khan
had head office in Muzaffarabad and
he decided to take help from one
occupier (Pakistan) to fight against
the other occupier (India). The JKLF
gradually walked into the Pak trap and
was forced to support communalism,
regionalism and terrorism against
innocent people. In Kashmir policy of
religious hatred and intolerance was
unleashed where non-Muslims were
targeted and the struggle was
presented as a Muslim one . This was
against Islamic teaching.
Amanullah Khan believes in
dictatorship in the organisation . He
has had the support of ISI . Anyone
who dared to challenge him was
expelled from the party on charges of
working for either ISI or RAW.
In 1995 when Yasin Malik and
Amanullah Khan had power struggle ,
we thought may be Yasin Malik would
be little better and we supported him.
Alas, he proved worse!
Q: Now the two factions of JKLF,
one headed by Ammanullah Khan
and another by Yaseen Malik , have joined hands.
Ans: It is no unity . The two
individuals met and without taking
any senior leaders of their groups or
their respective Central Committees
in confidence announced this unity.
They have completely ignored the
Aftab Group and Bitta Karate or
Farooq Dar Group.
Q : What prompted you to
observe 22 October as a Black Day
Ans. With the passage of time we
have realised that Black Day should be
observed on 22 October. It was on
this date that Pakistani sponsored
Tribesmen attacked the sovereignty of
Jammu and Kashmir and killed, raped
and looted its innocent people ,
especially non Muslims.
The Indian troops came to
Kashmir on a request of the ruler of
Jammu and Kashmir and after a treaty
when Pakistan unleashed
unprovoked attack on Jammu and
Q: Pakistan Occupied Kashmir
(POK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB)
are reeling under authoritarian rule
of Pakistan. How long would the
people of these areas suffer ?
Ans. It is unfortunate. Unless the
people of POK and Gilgit Baltistan
realise that they are occupied and denied of fundamental rights, there
can never be change on this side of
the divide. They need to understand
that our struggle is against the
Pakistani side of the divide and those
who tell us to fight against the Indian
occupation only want to divert our
attention from their role in our plight.
Q : In the Pok-GB regions we
have today China’s presence for
developmental activities. This is
with the permission of Pakistan.
What do you think of this ?
Ans: I have said this many times
that policy makers of Pakistan want to
make China part of the Kashmir
dispute and in this regard some socalled
Kashmiri leaders and political
activists are also working hard. I have
serious concern over the presence of
Chinese army and other civilian and
technical staff on my territory. Both Pakistan and China are looting and
plundering our resources. Contracts
have been given to China without any
knowledge and agreement of local
administration and to the detriment
of our interest.
Furthermore, the presence of the
Chinese army in our territory, which
is disputed and already highly
militarised, will only exacerbate the
situation and attract challenges from
those who also have interest in the
region . Our territory could become a
battle ground for competing military,
strategic and economic interests of
very powerful countries of the world.
Q : What about Pakistan's
external and internal conflicts ?
Ans: Pakistan has lost its writ in
certain areas. But they are still relying
on those out- of- date strategies, once
employed in East Pakistan. Pakistani policy makers need to understand
that the cold war has ended. Pakistan
has to become a democratic, liberal
and responsible country. It has to
learn to live peacefully with its
neighbours and resolve internal and
external disputes through a process of
Q : Will Taliban ever get
Ans: Pakistani politicians have to
work as a team to counter threat the
country is facing . They have been too
involved in their petty interests. To
them personal and political interests
and their ego are more important
than national interest. They don’t
have what is needed to take the
country out of the mess. I am afraid
this menace of terrorism or threat of
Taliban might stay with disastrous
results for many years to come.