Stories about Indian occupied Kashmir

Bernie Sanders spoke up about Kashmir, but does it really matter?

We are a nation that rejoices at semantics, not action. You need only look towards the reaction to Bernie Sanders’ statement regarding Kashmir to get a sense of that. Sanders, who is currently one of the candidates vying to become the Democratic presidential nominee, recently spoke at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in Houston and made some remarks which led to a whole host of reactions. He called India’s actions in occupied Kashmir “unacceptable,” and went onto state, “The communications blockade must be lifted immediately, and the United States government must speak out boldly in support of international ...

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Indians can’t wait to ‘marry Kashmiri girls’, ‘buy land in Kashmir’ – and therein lies the problem

A few years ago, I wrote a blog in which I cherished an overarching identity which connected me, a Pakistani, to the inhabitants of neighbouring India. The said article was not a negation of the Two-Nation Theory but rather what I thought was the right way forward. I had written, “Yes, modern Pakistan and India are a reality, but then so is our great common heritage. Yes, it is important for us to be loyal to our political states, but at the same time not overlook the joint heritage. There is an overarching identity which unites us despite our political ...

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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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