Stories about Indian occupied Kashmir

Why repealing Article 35A will bring unmanageable chaos for India

In 2014, the non-governmental organisation ‘We the Citizens’ attracted a large audience when it filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India questioning the validity of Article 35A. This was not the first time this article was questioned in court. It was also brought into the spotlight when Dr Charu Wali Khanna, a Kashmiri Pandit woman by ancestry, filed a petition to change the constitutional provision of Article 35A. She wanted succession rights in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), despite being adjusted outside the state. Since then, this article’s hearing has been postponed by the court, considering how this ...

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Lights, camera, action: India’s ‘Surgical Strike 2.0’ crashes at Pakistan’s ‘box office’

In the early hours of February 26, 2019, India thought that it pulled off an infowar coup by pretending to have carried out a ‘surgical strike’ against 200 to 300 Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) fighters in Pakistan. However, this vote-grabbing stunt by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi completely backfired on him after Pakistan turned this latest Bollywood flick into a reality by defending its airspace and downing two Indian MiG planes that violated the Line of Control (LoC). The movie that came to life The hottest Bollywood flick in the world right now is ‘Surgical Strike 2.0’, which is a big-budget and high-stakes sequel ...

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More sinister than meets the eye: Connecting the dots behind the Pulwama attack

Every time a state is attacked by some non-state actor, the main casualty after the number of lives lost is the truth, which is usually the case when a lot of noise is made after an attack to find an easy target to blame for one’s own mistakes. Realities are subtle. In India, every ill of the society, every negative result of their foreign policy and military adventurism can just be dumped on Pakistan. These laughable tactics are too old, too boring, and have the least substance, just like Bollywood movies. This time blaming Pakistan is not just to sanitise India’s ...

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Why giving G-B a provincial status is as laudable as it is controversial

Last year, when the federal government eventually decided to change the decades-old status quo in the tribal areas by merging the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), it was hailed as a watershed moment with the sole purpose of altering the economical and political situation of the neglected region for the better. Soon after this momentous decision, the people of Gilgit Baltistan (G-B), sensing how they had been neglected since the inception of the country, also began demanding similar treatment for their own region. Pressure began to mount on the government to change the existing state of affairs in ...

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With a possible rise of the Taliban regime, should Afghanistan’s neighbours be worried?

When US President Donald Trump, in his uncanny political demeanour, announced he had decided to pull out half the US military personnel from Afghanistan, not many people, even within his own defence establishment, anticipated such an abrupt announcement. However, the buck didn’t just stop there! Trump further asked Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional players, including India, Pakistan and Russia to play an active role in “rebuilding Afghanistan”. He is of the view that it is the duty of Afghanistan’s neighbours and not the US to fight the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS). However, staying true to his (lack of) ...

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Pakistan celebrates Kashmir Solidarity Day but does it really want Kashmir to be independent?

The day, February 5th, is a national holiday in Pakistan every year – the Kashmir Solidarity Day. It is to remind the people of Pakistan and the world of Kashmir, of the promises made to the Kashmiri people, which remain to be fulfilled till today. It is to stand with a people whose recent history has been that of a brutal subjugation, one that has brought misery to its young and old.  It is to convey a collective support, to remind the Kashmiri people that the ensemble of nations might have turned a blind eye to some of the worst crimes ...

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With rebel groups pledging allegiance to the IS, will Kashmir turn into another Syria or Iraq?

After being routed from Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State (IS) is now attempting to create its presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK). The first time the black flag of IS was seen in Srinagar was in 2014, after which an inquiry launched by the local police revealed that a local “small-time” cleric was involved in encouraging the waving of this flag at protests, particularly outside the Grand Mosque. The director general of police has denied the presence of the group in the valley, while the Indian Home Ministry has also denied its presence in IoK. However, despite these recurring denials, the IS are trying to ...

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Whether it’s ghosts, child traffickers or braid-choppers, the resilient people of Kashmir will continue to rise

It was the mid 90’s, winter had descended on Kashmir, and we had just had our dinner. Lately, dinner conversations had been just about one thing – the daeyn (feminine ghosts). The daeyn had recently arrived in Kashmir. Some would say they were from the jungles in Kupwara, while others said it was from the woods across the Line of Control (LoC) and was wreaking havoc in Kashmir. My uncle, in a hushed tone, informed my father of the latest victim of the daeyn’s attack – Samad Khan. Samad Khan, popularly known as Khan sahib, came from Islamabad in the Kashmir Valley and worked in the local mosque. ...

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Before pointing the terrorism finger at Pakistan, it’ll be wise for India to take a look in their violent backyard first

While in Singapore, I met an Indian Hindu from Indian Gujarat, the state where I was born, in the hotel lobby. After exchanging pleasantries, he asked me, “And in which city do you live now?” When I said Karachi, he was shocked. “But that’s in Pakistan!” And then, when the truth dawned on him, he said, “You’re a Pakistani as well as a Muslim?!” He started edging away from me and I had to assure him that I wasn’t about to blow him up. Like most Indian Hindus, he had always believed that most Pakistanis cannot speak English, that they are too poor to afford vacations ...

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13,000 Pakistanis voted for far-right parties – should the remaining be worried?

Following the Supreme Court decision regarding Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification from his prime ministerial position, the NA-120 seat needed to be filled immediately. Fortunately for the Sharifs, the NA-120 by-election results allowed Kulsoom Nawaz to fill this vacant seat.  NA-120 has been a stronghold for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) since 1985 when Nawaz won and became the chief minister of Punjab. From then onwards, Nawaz’s party consecutively won the NA-120 seat eight times in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 2002, 2008, 2013 and now in 2017. The NA-120 by-election results did not only highlight PML-N’s stronghold, but also highlighted the emergence of two far-right Islamist parties – Milli Muslim League (MML) ...

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