Skip to main content

Allow journos to freely report from both sides of Kashmir: PoK-based editor interacts with Guwahati scribes

By Nava Thakuria*
A well-known Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) based editor-journalist has favoured people-to-people contact and exchange of ideas between all parts of Kashmir for greater regional understanding and meeting of minds. Haris Qadeer, a former editor of an Urdu daily published from Muzaffarabad, said, there should be "frequent contact and movement of journalists" in conflict zones, so that truth doesn't remain in the wraps.
Qadeer, who was interacting with Guwahati-based scribes online recently, edited "Daily Mujadala" till it was sealed by Pakistani authorities a year ago.
Talking of challenges faced by working journalists in conflict zones, he called upon aspiring scribes to cultivate proper commitment and passion for the medium if they wished to survive in the increasingly difficult profession.
Qadeer, who now contributes news features for a few Pakistani media outlets, while appreciating the vibrant Indian media, nurtured with constitutional safeguards, expressed concern over the "restricted media freedom in Azad Kashmir (PoK)", adding, "More people-to-people contact and exchange of ideas between different stakeholders could bring about peaceful resolution to Kashmir."
Qadeer said that most of the issues concerning nearly four million mostly Muslim populace of PoK are not highlighted in the media, as vernacular newspapers remain weak, and majority of newspapers, circulated in PoK, are Kashmir editions of various Pakistan-based media outlets. As for news channels, which are primarily cable operated, and not DTH, there is zero visibility of any India-based news channel in PoK.
On the other hand, Qadeer added, the mainstream media of Pakistan remains reluctant to highlight the issues of PoK as the region is geographically and psychologically isolated.
The entire PoK area suffers from lack of development, in particular road infrastructure, when there is no train connectivity, Qadeer said, adding, there is no operational airport in the region as all of them have been occupied by defence personnel. So the aspiring residents have to move to Lahore or Islamabad by road before they could proceed to other places, including foreign countries.
As for healthcare facilities, they too are sparse. Those who can afford people prefer to move out for treatment, he said.
Answering queries from Guwahati scribes about any change of perception after Imran Khan became prime Minister, Qadeer commented, it is too early to say anything. However, he added, PoK residents have little expectation from the new regime in Islamabad.
Qadeer regretted, the Kashmir affairs minister in Islamabad was more powerful than even the Prime Minister of PoK (presently Farooq Haider). However, he clarified, Pakistani military personnel are not visible inside PoK and internal security is fully maintained by local police forces.
Admitting the presence of Islamist fundamentalist elements in PoK, he pointed out that the growth of radical elements and terrorism has affected local aspirations for a greater Kashmir, which, according to him, should also include Baltistan-Gilgit and Aksai Chin.
In contrast to the commonly-held belief in India, the people of PoK are neither in favour of Islamabad nor in support of New Delhi, rather they prefer to identify themselves as Kashmiris first, claimed Qadeer.
Speaking about the crisis facing journalists in conflict zones like PoK, he revealed what he faced following a survey report published in "Daily Mujadala" last year. The outcome of the survey was shocking, as over 73% respondents opted for freedom from Pakistan, seeking to establish an independent State of Kashmir.
Irritated Pakistani authorities promptly sealed his publication, which continues till date, he said, adding he saw and little hope of change of heart among Islamabad-based politicians or Rawalpindi-based military officers.
---
*Senior Guwahati-based journalist

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.

Top Catholic group wants quota for Dalit Christians, foreign fund licenses revived

By Our Representative
Reiterating its long-pending demand to give "scheduled rights for Dalit Christians”, the All-India Catholic Union (AICU) has regretted that while converts to Sikhism and Buddhism from the former untouchable, or Dalit communities, have been included in the scheduled caste (SC) category, Christians from the identical communities have been “kept out.”