Published On: Mon, Sep 16th, 2013

Two Onions and Hurriyat

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

It was way back in my Higher Secondary School (HSC) days that I read a book titled “India Without Make Up”. I regret to admit that I can’t remember the name of the author. The author had likened the Indian society to an “Onion”. He maintained that Indian society has many layers like an onion and after every peal, one is exposed to a second peal and the process goes on. It is all the more safer to quote that the author was himself an Indian. People of Kashmir have been making genuine efforts to adjust with the ‘pungence’ of this multi-layered onion. Unfortunately the onion does not wish to be kind to our eyes and does not have any regard for the ever running tears.

Double layered Onion

In fact over the years after the book was written, the Indian society has turned into a “Double layered Onion” and excessively over layered in character. It may however, not be right to liken everyone in the society as part of the “Onion” layer. Broadly speaking and on balance the likening has a merit. We saw the top layer in the shape of Zubin Mehta’s Music Concert and it did not take long for the second peal of the Onion to appear in Shopian, Pulwama, Srinagar and Baramulla. If the top layer of the onion was a genuine effort to heal the bruised souls in Kashmir the second, third, fourth and fifth layers revealed in Shopian, Pulwama, Srinagar and Baramulla have not only caused a serious bodily harm, but have taken lives. The author of my school days was not wrong.

Is it an unending war between the ‘pungence’ of a multi-layered onion and the ocean deep eyes of a common Kashmiri or there is still a hope. Would the onion turn different tomorrow and be a non-irritant vegetable on a shelf in Kashmir? Delhi has to ask itself, before it is too late.

Hurriyat Human Rights approach

Human Rights are for all. We have to know them, demand them and defend them. Unfortunately, the understanding of Human Rights in Kashmir is unconvincing and it has failed to impress the world community. It is encouraging that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is said to have instructed Hurriyat (M) delegation currently in Geneva to highlight the human rights violation situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir on 17 September 2013.

Mirwaiz deserves a full credit and appreciation for his sense of responsibility. However, this is not the right way to handle the question of Human Rights at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The cause of human rights should be common to Hurriyat (M), Hurriyat (G), JKLF, Freedom Party, Muslim Conference (outside Hurriyat) and other parties currently not part of Hurriyat.

Mirwaiz has a long history of international interaction, starting from Islamic Summit in Morocco in December 1994 and remains best suited person to understand the merits and demerits of an unimpressive representation at an international forum. Hurriyat should have developed a consensus around any letter addressed to permanent members of United Nations Security Council, OIC, and members of the European Union, informing them about the Shopian killings incidents and rights violations in Kashmiri. It is not clear what is the mode of delivery of these letters and if any follow up has been duly considered.

Hurriyat Delegation at UNHRC

As a start we should not sweep it under the carpet that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in her Opening Statement at the 24th regular session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday 9th September 2013 listed 23 countries (situations) in her report on Human Rights concerns. There was no reference to Kashmir. Our narrative on Human Rights has been lost in the wilderness of non-Kashmiri reflexes and non-Kashmiri interests.

Hurriyat has to accept that Kashmiri narrative on Human Rights has lost its handle. Internationally reputed NGOs like International Federation of Human Rights (world’s oldest NGO), World Society of Victimology, Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights that (without any interference of any elements) and some other NGOs would walk the extra mile and sponsor delegates and focus on Kashmir. In August 1993 the three NGOs sponsored, paid for travel and accommodation for the whole family of a female witness (Mrs. Shamim Shawl) to give evidence at the 45th session of UN Sub Commission on Human Rights on the violence committed against women in Kashmir. Hurriyat internal politics (and outside dictate) and desire of various constituents to commission their person to these sessions remains fully responsible for the change of character and behaviour of Human Rights work at the UN.

Today the opinions in regard to human rights situation in the State are divided. There are three visible variables who inscribe their individual interest in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan Administered Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan. There is a full faced challenge to those who highlight human rights violations by Indian security forces or state apparatus. It is a challenge to the representative character of Hurriyat leadership (inclusive) and to other leadership as well.

It is not clear who are the members of the Hurriyat delegation which has been advised to take up rights violation on 17 September 2013 in Geneva. It would need courage and profound moral strength for Hurriyat (M) to go against the findings of FBI in its affidavit on Brussels and London Kashmir Centres and the two Executive Directors and still identify them as Hurriyat representatives. No matter in what manner FBI finds against them, they continue to remain as State Subjects.

JKCHR as the lead NGO in special consultative status with the UN has no clue in regard to Hurriyat (M) letter or its event on 17 September. We have been taking Hurriyat members under our fold to the UN. If JKCHR has an issue of non-compliance with Islamabad, Hurriyat (M) should keep itself out of an unwarranted desire of walking hand in hand with the Lucifer and should make every effort to remain on the right side of the people and their interests.

JKCHR in fact has groomed and launched many members who turn up under Hurriyat banner at the UNHRC. Two members currently in the delegation (one who represents Awami Action Committee) have been launched into the field by JKCHR in June 1991 and July 1992. Syed Faiz Naqashbandi representing Mirwaiz was first launched by JKCHR at its 6 June 1991 International Conference on human rights in Islamabad. The conference was attended by delegates from 13 countries. The second member of Hurriyat team Mrs. Shamim Shawl first appeared at the launch of JKCHR Report titled “Torture, Rape and Death” in Pakistan in July 1992. The report launch was arranged by JKCHR Pakistan chapter and was presided over by President PaK Sikandar Hayat Khan.

Common agenda

Human Rights is a common agenda for all. Work on human rights has to be all inclusive and for all communities. Hurriyat should revisit its wisdom of agreeing to the people dressed as Hurriyat delegation by vested interests in Islamabad. It should not hesitate to admit that UN Human Rights Forum became notoriously unimpressive and a battle field of interests from early 1990s when various Hurriyat constituents would strike private deals with elements in Islamabad to be part of Hurriyat Delegation to UN.

JKCHR refused to accredit every Tom, Dick and Harry and resisted the pressures. JKCHR did not fail in its sense of responsibility and pushed for merit and agreed to sponsor people across the board and of the calibre like, Attique Ahmad Khan, Abdul Rashid Turabi, Khalid Ibrahim, Yusuf Nasim, Ershad Mehmood, Mumtaz Hussain Rathore, Justice Durab Patel, Dr. Haytham Manna. Even the Kashmiri pandits appearing to tell their story and pronounce every Kashmiri as a wild wolf, would not find a cause to curse us.

Two Documents on Kashmir

UN Secretary General has received two documents from JKCHR under agenda items 3 and 4 covering Promotion and protection of all human rights and Cease fire line – in Jammu and Kashmir. These have been circulated as UN Documents A/HRC/24/NGO/54 and A/HRC/24/NGO/55 at the 24th Session of Human Rights Council and could be accessed by visiting UN Website

[] at Page 2. Hurriyat should remain well advised on the substantive work being done on Kashmir.

Human Rights work in Srinagar, Muzaffarabad and at the international forums has gradually degenerated into a commercial interest and today it has lost its merit. The charge of corruption around this work is listed in the “No Confidence Motion” brought by members of assembly against the Prime Minister of PaK. Hurriyat has to take a decision to either become part of this dress rehearsal on Human Rights at the cost of our misery or take a turn in the best interests of their people.

There are people of good conscience in India, Pakistan and in the world community who would support.


Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He is on UN register as an expert in Peace Keeping, Humanitarian Operations and Election Monitoring Missions. He could be reached on email

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