Mon, Jul 24, 2017 | updated 06:35 AM IST

If only PoK's tallest leader, Arif Shahid was alive today

Updated: Aug 30, 2016 08:15 IST      
If only PoK's tallest leader, Arif Shahid was alive today
By Smita Prakash

New Delhi [India], Aug.30 (ANI): Amidst talk of India possibly inviting people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir living outside Pakistan for a Pravasiya Bharatiya Diwas (celebration of overseas Indian community) in January 2017 in Bengaluru, one can't help wondering what Arif Shahid would have thought of the idea had he been alive.

Shahid was the tallest leader of Pakistani Kashmiris. A pacifist, he raised the issue of atrocities on Pakistani Kashmiris in a democratic manner. Shahid was the President of the Jammu and Kashmir National Liberation Conference (JKNLC) and the Chairman of the All Parties National Alliance (APNA). In May 2013, this affable leader was assassinated in cold blood in his own home. No enquiry was ordered and his assassins walked free. There was no condemnation of Shahid's killing. Pakistani politicians and civil society members maintained a conspiratorial silence.

Shahid had been labeled an Indian agent by the all powerful Pakistani intelligence agency - ISI. People of 'Azad Kashmir' or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan were shocked at the snuffing out of the genuine voice of Kashmiris. Shahid's fatal flaw was that he believed that the rule of law would ensure his safety. He stayed back in Pakistan and did not live in enforced exile like Baloch leaders Bugti, Murri and others.

In 2004, Arif Shahid, while addressing a rally, said, "Pakistani generals have flourished in the name of Kashmir. Kill 5 - 20 in the name of Kashmir - get promoted from Colonel to Brigadier. Kill 25-30 in the name of Kashmir; get promoted from Brigadier to General. And if a General is able to push jehadis across the LoC and they die there killing others, then get promoted to a Lt 1947, 1965, 1971 Pakistani generals have waged their wars in our (Kashmir) name. It is their war, and proxy war not ours."

Arif Shahid sought to distance Kashmiris from the concept of Jihad. In the books he authored, his interviews and speeches, Shahid spoke of how jihad or religious war is alien to Kashmir. He said, "The erstwhile princely state of Kashmir has Shias, Sunnis, Noor Bakshi, Islaimi, Pandits, Dogras, Buddhists..the theo-fascists of Pakistani intelligence try to work jihadi networks and make it a religious issue. Only secularism can work in Kashmir."

Shahid was a true leader of Kashmiris under Pakistani occupation. He preferred not to leave the land of his forefathers and staunchly defended his organisation from scurrilous attacks by establishment stooges. But like Saleem Shahzad, the brave journalist who was brutally killed in 2011, Arif Shahid too was mercilessly eliminated, another victim of state sponsored snuffing of brave voices in Pakistan.

Shahid had been warned several times by well wishers that he should tone down his criticism of the Pakistan military, else he would be killed, but he seemed to prefer death rather than toe the line of the establishment.

The APNA movement lost its steam with Shahid's assassination. His followers have gone underground, living lives of anonymity. They have not surfaced even after India sought to voice their plight now in international forums. Unlike Baloch leaders who live abroad in exile and run their movements for independence from Europe and the US, Kashmiris from 'AJK' and Gilgit Baltistan are a leaderless lot.

There were some stalwarts like Shafqat Inqalabi, Manzoor Parwana, Wajahat Hassan Khan and Nawaz Khan Niazi, all of whom cannot indulge in any political activity in Pakistan. They have been placed under Exit Control List and are not allowed to speak to the Pakistani media. The media too dare not speak to them about any Kashmir-related issue. Big brother is watching. When it comes to Kashmir, you will see the likes of Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin on Pakistani TV debates. And neither of them speaks about the status or plight of 'Azad Kashmir' or Gilgit Baltistan.

But now their plight is going to be highlighted by India in the new turn of events is taking place. Had Arif Shahid been alive he would have quoted his favourite poem once more.

Dukh ki kali lambi raatein

Zulm kay dhoop main vaar na dena

Jabr (force) ka suraj dhal kay rahega

Log himmat haar na dena

Zindaano (jails) ke salakhen tootenge

Quflon (locks) ko pareshan dekhenge

Daawa hai hamaara zanjeeron

Hum jashn-e-bahara (spring) dekhenge

Kya dar hai ki noor ki chahat mey

Hum ko bhi shab-e-gam kha jaye

Kuch log toh aise bhi honge

Jo suraj darakshan (brightness) dekhenge (ANI)

Iraq Foreign Minister arrives in India

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 05:48 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 24 (ANI): Iraq Foreign Minister Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who is on a five day visit to India, arrived in New Delhi on Monday.

Full Story >>

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], July 24 (ANI): The Samajwadi Party on Monday demanded a strict action against Bihar's Aurangabad District Magistrate (DM) Kanwal Tanuj, who stated those who cannot afford a toilet, should sell off their wives.

Full Story >>

Krishnamoorthi's sleep more important than Azaan, mocks SP

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 04:20 IST     

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], July 24 (ANI): A day after singer-actress Suchitra Krishnamoorthi labelled Azaan on loudspeakers 'uncivilised', the Samajwadi Party mocked the former saying her sleep is more important than the prayer.

Full Story >>

SC to hear cow slaughter ban case today

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 02:56 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 24 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Monday will hear a plea challenging the Centre's notification prohibiting sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter on the grounds that it violates the right to free trade.

Full Story >>

Delhi HC to hear DDCA defamation case today

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 02:54 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 24 (ANI): The hearing in the plea by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking recording of evidence in a time-bound, fair, dignified, and bonafide manner in the defamation case against Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) case will continue on Monday.

Full Story >>

ICC Women's WC: Kin of players proud of their daughters

Updated: Jul 24, 2017 02:02 IST     

Mumbai/Moga (Maharashtra/Punjab) [India], July 24 (ANI): Though the India Women's Cricket team could not mark victory in the ICC Women's World Cup final,their families back at their home were seen celebrating their daughters' brilliant performances.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 24 (ANI): Though the day was not in favour of the Indian team, they won millions of hearts their tremendous performance throughout the ICC Women's World Cup and inspired more girls to take up sports as career, feel politicos like Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 24 (ANI): Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel, while congratulating Team Indian for their performance at the Women's World Cup, said India will achieve new heights in women's cricket in the future.

Full Story >>

Punjab CM offers cricketer Harmanpreet post in Punjab Police

Updated: Jul 23, 2017 23:18 IST     

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], July 23 (ANI): Lauding Punjab's Moga's girl Harmanpreet Kaur for her brilliant performance in ICC Women World Cup tournament, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday offered the star cricketer a post in Punjab Police, if she still desired to join the force.

Full Story >>

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], July 23 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday announced a cash reward of Rs. 5 lakh for cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur, who had made state proud with her performance in ICC Women World Cup semi-finals.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India],July 23 (ANI): Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday lauded the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) authorities for organising an event for Kargil martyrs, while saying that it was a proud day for every citizen of the country.

Full Story >>

Pranab Mukherjee's advice must be implemented: Cabinet

Updated: Jul 23, 2017 21:05 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): Union Minister of Steel Choudhary Birendra Singh on Sunday said that what outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee shared in the Parliament during his farewell was based on his experience and must be implemented in the democracy to make the Parliament stronger.

Full Story >>

Kashmir CPM leader Tarigami suffers heart attack

Updated: Jul 23, 2017 20:50 IST     

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Jul 23 (ANI): Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) leader and MLA from Kashmir Kulgam M.Y. Tarigami on Sunday was admitted at a hospital after he suffered a severe heart attack.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): As President Pranab Mukherjee, the 13th president of India, vacates the Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow, making way for his successor President-elect Ram Nath Kovind, Parliamentarians from both the Houses - Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha - gathered at the Central Hall to bid farewell to the outgoing Raisina Hill occupant.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): Commenting on status of the missing 39 Indians in Iraq's Mosul, Minister of State for Ministry of External Affairs V.K. Singh said the Government would not abandon its citizens.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): The Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has urged the Jammu and Kashmir Government and the Government of India to fill the vacant seats in the state's Assembly and Council that have been allocated to the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) constituency so that Islamabad's claim of the territory stands null and void.

Full Story >>

RSS Muslim wing to launch agitation asking Pak to vacate PoK

Updated: Jul 23, 2017 19:33 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): The Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has said that its Muslim wing, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, will launch a mass movement in Jammu and Kashmir against Pakistan's illegal occupation of Kashmir on August 9.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): After the Uttar Pradesh Government issued a directive to provide toll-free lanes for MLAs, MLCs and MPs at all toll plazas across the state, including the ones on national highways, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma on Sunday said that was a fair decision on the part of the cabinet as all members of the State Assembly and State Council should enjoy the same rights.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): The ongoing protest by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation's (DMRC) non-executive employees was called off on Sunday after all the issues raised by the agitating employees were amicably settled following many rounds of meetings and deliberations with Managing Director Mangu Singh and other senior officials.

Full Story >>

New Delhi[India], July 23 (ANI): Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday said the Centre is make all efforts to trace the 39 Indians held captive by terror group ISIS in Mosul since 2014.

Full Story >>