Gowhar Geelani

Gowhar Geelani

The author is a writer, journalist and political commentator from Srinagar, the South Asian Journalism Programme (SAJP) scholar 2015, the first Kashmiri to be selected as Munich Young Leader 2014. He has also served the Deutsche Welle, in Germany, as an editor. He tweets as @gowhargeelani

Is observing Kashmir Day enough to show your support for Kashmir, Pakistan?

In Pakistan, February 5th is observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day. It is a national holiday in the country. A number of solidarity rallies, seminars and awareness programmes are organised across Pakistan in support of the political struggle of the people of Indian-controlled Kashmir. By observing Kashmir Day annually, Pakistan expresses solidarity with the people of Kashmir. What relevance does Kashmir Day hold for Kashmiris as on date? Has the pro-Pakistan sentiment in Kashmir enhanced or diminished over the last 28 years? Does Pakistan need to move beyond symbolism vis-à-vis Kashmir? Is it time for Pakistan to accept that the new, assertive, young and educated ...

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When Nehru promised Kashmir freedom, why is India still in denial?

India’s reluctance to any third party mediation in Kashmir is, at best, a juvenile attempt at distortion of history and denial of context. Deliberately ignoring historicity and context, the vast sections of Indian media are narrating fairy tales on Kashmir while cashing on falsehood, provocation, propaganda and vitriol with an aim to insult the intelligence of a common man in India and hoodwink international audiences. India took the Kashmir case to the United Nations (UN). Nothing can be more ironic than the fact that it is India which is averse to the UN intervention on Kashmir issue. New Delhi’s denialism and its ...

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Last Friday, August 5th, was Kashmir’s Bloody Friday

August 9, 2016: Breaking his 32-day long silence on Kashmir, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has made a statement which is full of empty political rhetoric, and lacks enough substance to address the real issue concerning the political aspiration of Kashmiris. “It is said that boys who should be holding laptops, cricket bats have been handed stones in their hands,” Modi said while addressing a rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district. This irresponsible and juvenile statement stereotyped Kashmiris as gullible and naïve people who are ready to pick up a stone at someone’s behest. “Every Indian loves Kashmir. The freedom that every Indian has also ...

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From a Kashmiri’s perspective: Pakistan and India need to do a lot more than exchange handshakes and smiles

Comprehending the intended policy of India’s present regime led by Narendra Modi is no rocket science. It is evident to the most inert of minds that Modi wants to keep Pakistan at an “arm’s length”. However, the foreign policy is less about rhetoric and more about the reality on the ground. During his noisy election campaign in 2014, Modi boasted about his ‘56 inch chaati’ (56 inch chest); it, however, appears that the embarrassing defeats in the Delhi and Bihar elections may have reduced his chest size by a quite few inches. Those are the facts of his domestic turf. I’m sure that his 30-plus trips abroad as prime ...

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Indian media’s ‘lack’ of Kashmir and Pakistan’s geographical understanding

In the words of one very well-meaning Kashmiri journalist, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led New Delhi government and largely jingoist Indian electronic media have made anti-India resistance in restive Jammu and Kashmir much easier than before. What he meant was that now one only needs to wave a Pakistani flag for a brief moment in any part of Jammu and Kashmir to irritate the Indian government and irk its electronic media. It has become so easy to get them worked up. And once you infuriate them, the right-wing politicians issue strong-worded statements against “pro-Pakistan elements” within Kashmir and the electronic media follows ...

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Who is trying to disconnect Kashmir from the world? Why attack cellular towers?

The unusual series of attacks on cellular towers in different parts of Indian-administered Kashmir Valley has already resulted in the killings of two civilians. And furthermore, the way these attacks have been taking place is also very dubious in my opinion. Many appear clueless about the perpetrators, despite claims made by Lashkar-e-Islam, a lesser-known outfit that had purportedly circulated threat-posters to cellular companies, their employees, and local owners who usually rent out space for installing towers in their compounds, in North Kashmir. These attacks allegedly carried out by Lashkar-e-Islam, which seem to have categorically asked the mobile operators, vendors, and their employees to shut ...

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What are you trying to prove by denying Geelani a passport, India?

Ignorant of their own history and overlooking how leaders like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Subhash Chandra Bose visited countries like South Africa, England and Germany to further their political ideologies, a certain ultra-jingoist Indian media channel recently aired a provocative debate titled Fly Pak Flag, Seek Indian Passport. This was done on Kashmir’s octogenarian resistance leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s request for a passport, as he wanted to visit his ailing daughter, Farhat Jabeen Geelani, in Saudi Arabia. Did Gandhi, Savarkar and Bose visit European countries as Indian citizens and on Indian passports? Did they surrender their political ideology and abandon their struggle for freedom in exchange of ...

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What does a Conservative-led UK mean for British Muslims

Against all expert poll predictions, pre-poll analysis and commentaries from well-meaning pundits, the voters in the United Kingdom stunned one and all by electing the Conservatives (Tories) and rejecting the Labour. The Conservative Party led by charismatic David Cameron won a ‘shocking’ majority (331 out of 650 parliamentary seats) while the Labour Party which was led by Ed Miliband recorded its worst electoral defeat since 1987, forcing their leader to resign on moral grounds. May 7 voting has given a clear mandate to David Cameron, which raises genuine fears and questions about immigration and pro-poor policies. Immigration-friendly Labour Party has ...

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What do the upcoming UK elections have in-store for British Muslims?

The electoral battle in the United Kingdom is getting bitter and interesting by the day. While the real fight appears to be between the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, the Scottish National Party (SNP) is gaining further ground and the Nigel Farag-led right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is expected to win some parliamentary seats. All of this hints toward a hung parliament once the British voters cast vote on May 7. In the 650-member strong British House of Commons, each MP represents a constituency. Presently, the Conservative Party has 303 seats while the Labour Party is the second best with 256. To form a majority government, any single ...

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Kashmir protest: Is India in denial?

The controversial hangings of two Kashmiris inside Delhi’s Tihar Jail, in less than three decades at crucial junctures of Jammu and Kashmir’s political history (1984 and 2013), may have satisfied the collective conscience of the Indian nation but has ended up further distancing and alienating a majority of Kashmiris from the idea of India. Only five years after the hanging of Mohammad Maqbool Butt, founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), in Tihar on February 11, 1984, a popular anti-India armed uprising broke out in restive Jammu and Kashmir. The second execution was of Mohammad Afzal Guru, on February 9, 2013. ...

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