Why are these members of authority and celebrities silent over the Kashmir issue?

Published: July 25, 2016
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"Sorry Mark but Facebook wont let us post about what happened to you." PHOTO: NEVER FORGET PAKISTAN

We had been seeing pictures of kids as young as four being admitted in hospitals, their faces mutilated with pellets. Young Kashmiris, some sportsman and some students losing their dreams as their vision was taken away with what the Indian forces described as ‘non-lethal weapons.’

On top of that, Facebook had the audacity to censor these stories in the name of ‘Community Standards.’ We wanted to do a campaign against the use of pellets. Narendra Modi was an obvious choice as he is the prime minister. Sonia Gandhi was chosen because her ally, Omar Abdullah, sanctioned the use of these guns in 2010. It is their collective policies that are resulting in these atrocities. Mark Zuckerberg was selected to highlight the consequences of internet censorship.

We chose Bollywood celebrities because in India they are more than just film stars. They are cultural icons. They are worshipped by their fans and have, in the past, put their weight behind rights issues. Many celebrities were vocal about stricter laws against rape and also active in the economic suppression of farmers, resulting in their suicides.

Then why the silence on Kashmir?

Their movies do business in Kashmir. They go and shoot their films in Kashmir and earn massive revenues. Don’t they feel anything for the people who live there?

We chose these people as a means to create empathy. We live in a sad world where we have to come up with creative, and at times, extreme ways just to make people pause for a second, look, think and reflect.

“Sorry Mark but Facebook wont let us post about what happened to you.”
Click on the picture to read more about Facebook censorship on Kashmir.

Dear Shahrukh, The Army you glorify hunts down unarmed Kashmiri children. Click on the picture to read more about what happened to Hamid Nazir here.

Dear Modi ji, the laws of your democracy are making Kashmiris silent and blind.
Kashmiri doctors lament injuries by pellets in protests. To read more click on the picture.

Dear Amit Ji, your silence is killing Kashmiri sons and daughters.
Click on the picture to read more about the late Gowhar Nazir.

Dear Sonia ji you bear the burden of sanctioning the use of pellet guns.
Click on the picture to read about hospitals Flooded with injured youngsters in a brutalised Kashmir.

Dear Virat, your silience is killing sporting dreams of Kashmiris
Click on the picture to read more about Sahil Zahoor.

Dear Aishwariya, would you speak for someone else’s four year old?
Click on the picture to read about Zuhra Majeed.

Dear Alia, more students are turning blind every year in Kashmir. Click on the picture to read more about Insha Mushtaq.

Dear Saif, Kashmir is losing hope in you.Click on the picture to read about Umar Nazir.

Dear Kajol, would you speak for a fellow mother?
Click on the picture to read more about Tamanna.

Dear Hrithik, would Krish save Kashmiri children from a tyrant army?
Click on the picture to read more about Imaad Ahmad.

That is why we made them look like victims of the same brutalities Kashmiris suffer. The letters, written alongside every picture, were drafted by us but the stories in the letters are real. The names of the victims are real. We wanted to avail every opportunity we got to connect the audience to the struggle of the Kashmiri people – to read and learn as much as possible about their plight; that is why we added links to the actual news stories about these victims with every picture.

We used 11 posters and we tried to highlight different stories and issues. Some talk about how the forces attack non-protestors as well as how age is not a factor, how they shoot at point-blank range, how doctors are harassed in hospitals, how patients are denied medical treatment and arrested from hospitals and how the forces – despite all this – enjoy complete immunity because of draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which makes a mockery out of India’s claim to be a secular democracy.

We are an organisation based in Pakistan, but we do not carry any misplaced sense of nationalism. For this album, our audience, apart from the people addressed in the posters, is the world at large.

Unfortunately, many Pakistanis and Indians carry a misplaced sense of nationalism. There are those who see the human side of it, and then there are those who take this opportunity to play the blame game and not agree that human life and freedom is most precious.

But our main audience were and are, of course, the Kashmiris themselves.

If nothing else, this is a way to tell them that we are on their side – that they are not alone and that the world is listening, trying, fighting for them too.

Even before launching the campaign we tried to contact as many Kashmiri activists we could and got their approval for the campaign. We did not want to undermine their struggle or be insensitive to it. We are just amplifiers, the voice we are amplifying is that of the Kashmiri people. The positive response we have received from our Kashmiri brothers and sisters is very encouraging. If we are able to add even an iota to their strength, we would consider our work done. But that will not absolve the celebrities; whom we have addressed in these posters. We will wait for them to break their silence.

I believe people should realise that we live in the digital age. The best they can do is create awareness about the Kashmiri struggle. All mediums are open; posters, poems, songs, ads, short films.

How you can help us take this campaign forward is by sharing stories of real victims with us so we can amplify them. But whichever way you design your campaign, you need to realise you are not someone’s mouthpiece, you are just an amplifier. All we need to agree on is one simple point, #LetKashmirDecide.

Note: Never Forget Pakistan is a welfare society which works to create positive narratives and do advocacy on human rights. We do not suffer from any misplaced sentiment of nationalism. We speak against abuses be it by any state or government including our own.

Campaign Objective:

You know these faces. Does that make the tragedies more important? The stories in the letters are real. The names signed under the letter are real. The victim you see in the picture is not real. But do you really care what the profile of the victim is in order for you to sympathise and empathise with them, for you to speak for them? Why do we need to glamourise a tragedy in order for people to pay attention?

Have we all become that numb?

This campaign is designed to highlight the atrocities and abuses carried out by the Indian Armed forces and Police who enjoy complete immunity under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which has made a mockery of India’s claim to be a secular democracy.

Scores have been blinded, several killed and hundreds injured by what India describes as a ‘non-lethal’ weapon i.e. the pellet gun.

We condemn and lament the criminal silence and inaction of the Indian government and cultural icons of India. Furthermore, we strongly condemn the pick and choose policy of Facebook, which conveniently censors posts highlighting the plight of the Kashmiris and later excuses itself by calling the censorship a ‘mistake.’

This campaign is not about jingoism. It is about trying to create empathy. We live in a sad world where we have to present genuine tragedies in a creative way just to make people pause and think for a moment.

As advocates for human rights, we believe that Kashmir, independent of any force and influence from India and Pakistan, should have the right to determine its own identity and future.

Concept/Copywriting: Mohammad Jibran Nasir

Artwork: Murtaza Abbas / Batool Aqeel

Campaign: What if you knew the Victim? ‪#‎IndiaCantSee by Never Forget Pakistan

Mohammad.Jibran.Nasir

Jibran Nasir

A lawyer and civil and political rights activist. He is the co-founder of Elaj Trust, Pakistan For All and Never Forget Pakistan. He tweets @MJibranNasir (twitter.com/MJibranNasir)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Alamdar Raza

    Beautifully done… Hope this creates waves on the other sideRecommend

  • Parvez

    Very effective….apparently this has been up on Facebook for over 24 hrs….so that’s good.Recommend

  • Rationalist

    How about images of Raheel Sharif, Nawaz Sharif, Hafeez Sayid, Musharraf, Imran Khan to complete the pictureRecommend

  • AryaBhatt

    A lot of emotional stuff….
    A person is not Kashmiri, unless he has a Kashmiri name and follows Kashmiri language, religion and culture. If he follows Islam, then he has abandoned being a Kashmiri as Islam is not Kashmiri.Recommend

  • Ramdar

    Jibran Nasir- Pellet guns are fired only in self defence. You are silent on stone throwing, burning of police stations…Be honest to expose the full story. I doubt if this comment will be published byTribuneRecommend

  • Aamir – Toronto

    Thank you Jibran !!Recommend

  • Studebaker

    What a cheap shot.Recommend

  • persona2020

    Dear Jibran Nasir, have you ever though about the plight of Ahamadi, shia, Balooch or minority hindu/christian communities in your country who have been brutalized by your own people over the last many decades? Ever thought about writing something or photo-shopped something for them? If not, then you have no moral ground to talk about Kashmir!Recommend

  • maynotmatter

    Also post the pictures of the Pundits killed by your coward community.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    you forgot Kim Kardashian and Sunny Leone.Recommend

  • noman

    not even a single comment on this post by any indians. shame on indian double standards.Recommend

  • Ijaz Mir

    Please read today’s Indian TOI. Head lines that pelt guns will stay. and highlighted MQM protest in USA , Pakistani media is sleeping.Recommend

  • Simla

    The mob used bottles of acid against police, they killed a policeman by drowning him in the river and you expect that they will be treated with flowers. Kashmir issue is totally religious, it’s a continuation of Two Nation Theory. Separatists have named Anantnag as Islamabad. It clearly shows their Islamic agenda.Recommend

  • Lolz

    For all the folks here who categorize the separatists as terrorists, name any city outside Kashmir that they bullied or attacked? You can’t just name them terrorists and move on, this image will haunt the Indian ambitions forever. Moreover, many folks have also tried to highlight towns or issues in Pakistan to justify theirs, I would like to remind them that Pakistan has nothing to lose in the long term as India has been investing to look like a secular state not Pakistan.Recommend

  • SamSal

    Baloch separatists are terroists and Kashmiris are freedom fighters?

    What logic is that?!

    Look at how Pakistan treats the Baloch separatists and then see how they glorify the Kashmir separatists!!

    Do you really think we have the moral base to do it?

    Regards,
    A curios Pakistani!Recommend

  • SamSal

    He is very vocal about Ahmadi and Shia genocide. You can check his other blogs.Recommend

  • wb

    Name one city outside of Pakistan that TTP has attacked?

    You just can’t name them as terrorists and kill those innocent freedom fighters. TTP is fighting for Sharia in Pakistan. Which is their legitimate rights.Recommend

  • Jay

    jeez Canada is doomed , people like you wil ruin it !Recommend

  • Arya

    Ask the Newspaper to post them without censoring.Recommend

  • Srinivasulu Mekala

    “Note: Never Forget Pakistan is a welfare society which works to create positive narratives ”
    This is the biggest joke I have ever read in my life.
    If this were true, why is the picture so murky, read your own newspapers.Recommend

  • Mohd Farhan

    baluchistan? have pakistan army used pellet guns against them??? then don`t compare it with this. RAW can support terrorism in pak`s province but if pak army (“allegedly”) supports freedom fighters against brutal and ILLEGAL indian rule, it is terrorism!! ???

    “Unfortunately, pellets ended up being not the non-lethal option the Indian Govt. had hoped” LMFAO. this is like “Unfortunately US did not know if atom bomb would work when they dropped it on Japan and thought it would not explode at all” Is this how ur media brain washes u people !!! LameRecommend

  • Laskero

    The reality distortion field is strong with the author here. Facebook is only removing posts glorifying terrorists.Recommend

  • http://www.dawateislami.net Aay.K

    I don’t understand where are all so-called human rights organisations like united nations. When this type of issue comes on Muslims they all disappeared and take no action. Why this discriminatory behavior only with Muslims?Recommend

  • http://www.dawateislami.net Aay.K

    We all wants peace and after reading your comment, it seems you also want peace. So kindly tell to your govt. and intelligence agencies stop their influence in Baluchistan, then the whole world will see Peace full Baluchistan.Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    None of them is a world renowned personality ….. :-(Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    Good one …. Shias are not Muslims for Pak Saaf Wahabis … they are heretics … and what to talk about Shia (Jaffaria), Shia (Ismails) and Quadiani of valley …. :-(Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    I sincerely feel that people carrying out such campaign must read “Rajtarangini” by Kalhan and “Rajtarangini II” written during Mughal Rule in Kashmir. Pakistan should include these books in their curricula to educate its new generation better about Kashmir.

    None of them is aware that Islam started in Kashmir in early 13th Century mainly by BulBul Shah (Syed Sharaf-ud-Din Abdur Rahman Suhrawardi). Impressed by BulBul Shah, King Rinchan Shah the ruler of Kashmir accepted Islam and came to be known as Sultan Saddrudin Shah. In 1377 – Sheikh Noor-u-din Noorani (Alamdar-e-Kashmir and known by Hindus as Nund Rishi) further propagated this beautiful religion (his tomb is known as Charar-e-Sharif) which was burned down in 1995. Read more about Rishi Mut and VaishnavMut and her foster mother a Yogini (female saint), Lal Ded (Lal Ded is known as Lal Ishwari among Hindus and Lal Arifa among Muslims) fed him with her own milk and declared him as her spiritual heir.
    Islamic rule began in Kashmir in 1339 AD with annexation by Sultan Shahmir who founded Shahmiri dynasty (popularly known as Sayyid Dynasty) in Kashmir. The real Islam in Kashmir is represented by Sheiks (Hindu descendants) like “Tantre,” “Shaikh,”, “Bat”, “Mantu,” “Ganai,” “Dar,” “Damar,” “Lon” Butts, Dar, Lone, Jat, Gujjar, Rajput, Sudhan and Khatri, Chaudhary etc. Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    Islam has two distinct parts in history. One is before Hijra … better known as Spiritual Islam and another is after Hijra …. known as Political Islam (more so the Geeta Ka Gyan) …. :-) The Land of Pure has adopted the Culture of the period of Jahilya and Islam of the period after Hijra and this combination has doomed them.Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    Sony …. dear. Only few in Pakistan come out in the open and others support the Nudity silently. The most of Danishwar Pakistani keep themselves away and watch Tamasha silently.Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    Read more about Baluchistan and in 1947 Indian Parliament’s refusal to Khan of Kalat’s offer to go with India?Recommend

  • Mohd Farhan

    u think pak army tortures them? why would it do so? baluchis are pakistanis as much as others.Recommend

  • Mohd Farhan

    My point was to not twist the reality, which you are doing again!
    The point is simple Indians are blinding Kashmir’s when they talk about freedom which is their right. isnt it? dont u have right to live in freedom? so why cant they have it?? because they are not hindus ,right??Recommend

  • wb

    Which Kashmiris? Shia Kashmiris? Sufi Kashmiris? Hindu Kashmiris? Christian Kashmiris? Sikh Kasshmiris? Buddhist Kashmiris? Or Wahabi/Salafi/Sunni extremist Kashmiris?Recommend

  • Sane

    No Balochi is killed in Balochistan. They were all Indian terrorist. Their top leader Kubhosan of Indian Navy has also been arrested.Recommend

  • Daft

    Why doesn’t your logic apply to Kashmir and India then?Recommend

  • jasperet

    Yeah please do
    We want to see do you guys even recognize this issue any more?Recommend

  • Shilpa

    Really. If you really think that, you must have been living in blissful oblivion all these years. Why is Baluchistan the most underdeveloped province of Pakistan in spite of having the most natural resources? You’ve driven out thousands of Baloch outside Pakistan and thankfully, due to Twitter and Facebook, we are kept updated about the atrocities committed against them on an ongoing basis by the Pakistani security agencies.Recommend

  • Shilpa

    That’s a poor excuse isn’t it. I mean first of all blaming Uncle Sam, really? What else is Uncle Sam responsible for? It’s amusing sometimes to know the things Uncle Sam is blamed for in Pakistan.

    Let’s face it the Bugti operation was the brainchild of the Pakistani Army and Musharraf. What was Bugti fighting for that so unnerved the Pakistani military, so as to kill him?

    Fact is Baluchistan was meant to be an autonomous region all along and Bugti along with other Baloch want at least that autonomy if not freedom, yet the Pakistani state continues to extract natural resources from Baluchistan and siphon the majority of profits to the only province that has any saying in Pakistan – Punjab.

    How do the Baloch benefit from the economic richness that Baluchistan has? They don’t benefit at all.

    Compare that to Kashmir. What is Kashmir’s natural resource? Oil, gas, metals? What exactly. In fact, if you purely viewed Kashmir as a profit / loss province, the Govt. of India is investing far more into Kashmir building up its infrastructure, railways, roadways, schools, etc. than any revenue that Kashmir can generate for the Govt. of India.

    So, India’s commitment to Kashmir is not economic driven, but purely based on historical and emotional attachment of the people of India and our leaders. We never ask what Kashmir can give us in terms of money, benefits. On the contrary, we are ever willing to give resources and lives for Kashmir as a people, as a country.Recommend

  • Mohd Farhan

    Sir don`t you have any answer to this??? or are you cooking up some more stories like indians always do?Recommend

  • Shilpa

    Please do see how many Kashmiris are there in your part of Kashmir and how much of their culture and ethnic identity has been preserved in your part of Kashmir. How many outsiders have been allowed to settle in your part of Kashmir, do you know? What’s their political power there? What’s their economic power there? The Pakistani state has systematically destroyed the Pakistani part of Kashmir of all their cultural and ethnic identity to the point that most of the politicians in your part of Kashmir can’t even speak Kashmir.Recommend