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Pakistan’s Article 370 Delusions; the Free State that is not Free!

It’s ‘Azad’ - 'Free'. "Okay!?" "It's Azad Kashmir!" "Free!" This is Pakistan’s official stance on 'Azad' Jammu & Kashmir. But what is Kashmir ‘free’ of? According to the Pakistani state-enforced narrative, Azad Kashmiris are free from Indian tyranny. Women aren’t being raped by Indian soldiers, and by Indian they mean non-Muslim...

“Don’t delete this comment if you truly believe in Freedom of thought and speech!”

We received the following "comment" from an anonymous account, and we've posted it here at the bottom of this article (scroll down). It's a hate filled rant intended to demoralise Azad Kashmiris in light of the issues we've raised on this blog concerning the...

Fake News, False Narratives and Identity Politics, Silencing Dissent through Digital Media and Search Engine Manipulation

I’ve said on this site, at various places, that Digital Media particularly through interactive platforms like Wikipedia and Social Media, are vehicles of disinformation and political propaganda. Whatever the nature of an online conversation, be it a family’s travel vlogs, pictures, fashion tips, food...

Ethnic tokenism in electoral politics and the laws of unintended consequences

There was a time when you could walk into any local Labour Party branch meeting in the densely populated Pakistani constituency wards of England, and you would realise that something was breathtakingly afoot. The room would be overcrowded. Almost entirely male-dominated with the usual...

Propaganda and Digital Media; the curious case of Authoritarianism and Online Bullshit

Don't trust everything you read online. You'll be duped into believing utter tosh. This holds true for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Had it not been for authoritarianism and control freaks, these spaces would have been wonderful places to learn facts and create vibrant friendships. Sadly,...

The curious case of the anecdote becoming narrative

Internalising the negative perceptions of out-group members is not proof that there’s something inherently wrong with your in-group identity. This has happened to lots of people who have been ‘othered’ through a combination of factors that include inaccurate media portrayals, native informants and unjust social...

Appraising Mirpur’s documented history, the story of Kashmir before and after 1846

Mirpur was the name of an historical settlement in the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir (1846 – 1947), variably known as Kashmir State, Jammu Kingdom and/or the Dogra Raj. The name Mirpur postdates the principality’s alleged founding in the 1600s. Centuries later, the...

Contextualising prejudice within its social and political settings; explaining why and how Pakistanis demonise Mirpuris

The following post was updated 30 October 2020 https://youtu.be/97IES3jFOg0 There comes a point for members of a community to stand up and be heard. And that time has now come for British Azad Kashmiris, otherwise less popularly known as the Kashmiris, but selectively as the Mirpuris.   For...

Understanding Disinformation and Propaganda on Kashmir

Those who argue that Kashmir is the Valley of Kashmir and that Kashmiris are the ethnic Kashmiris of the Valley are engaged in deliberate disinformation. These sinister interests want you to think that they are making ethnolinguistic claims about the people we call Kashmiris, but...

Whose Kashmir is it? Conflict & Territorial Claims; the abuse of myths

As in my earlier post on Israel and competing myths of exclusive origin, Kashmir serves as a good example of national myths and territorial claims. But unlike Israel, Kashmir has a special place for us. It is the place from where our forebears originated,...

Why do anti-Semites say “Israeli Jews are not real Jews?”

You must have heard the claim that modern-day Israel is a country with another people’s language and religion?  If you haven’t, antisemitism has become so common these days (I’m speaking of hatred against Jews, and not criticism against Israel), that you’ve probably come across multiple...

The Feudalism of the Western Himalaya; Patronage, Caste Myths and Colonialism

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting with some local guys as they consumed copious amounts of alcohol to the backdrop of a varied playlist, and it dawned upon me that my opposite number were unaware of the ‘caste-titles’ they were fondly using...

Muslim Ummah Syndrome and Identity Politics

Some years ago, Saudi Arabia proscribed its male citizens from marrying the citizens of four nationalities. Pakistanis were included on this list. The Monarchy had its reasons, no doubt, good or bad; the preponderance of such marriages was given as the primary reason. Apparently, marriages...

India, Pakistan, and “Kashmir” – the Economist explains…!

This is how the Economist explains the "Kashmir" conflict using the colonial label of 'Hindus' and 'Muslims' - these are 'constructed labels' however common-sense they seem to us today! There is a huge scholarly body of knowledge that demonstrates that before the emergence of...

Are Azad Kashmiris the same people as Valley Kashmiris?

Competing ‘State Identities’ & Ethnic Ambiguities In the absence of a genuine Pakistani state or nation-state identity what are Azad Kashmiris? It is at this point that we enter the quagmire of the Kashmiri identity dialectic which in the UK some pro-independence actors from our region...

A quiet triumph for humanity

Politics and politicians herd us like sheep into a protective ‘national’ net that restricts and exploits us rather than allow us to utilise our strengths. It has now been nearly three months since my naani (maternal grandmother) reunited with her brother and sister. They were...

Preserving Mother Tongues, the Pahari Language of Azad Kashmir

Language is a miraculous ability unique to humanity, conveying culture and identity as a means of communication, among kith and kin as well as the wider world, to learn more about other nations and communities. However, in the modern era, it is tragic that...

Pakistan’s Propaganda on Azad Kashmir

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Questions to think about…. How does propaganda work? General Context? How does propaganda work in Kashmir? Specific Context? Who benefits from propaganda? How do some people, unwittingly, spread the propaganda even when the propaganda has been designed to undermine their interests? What is messaging...

The Birth of ‘A’JK Public Agency

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This is our first attempt at making a documentary in 'A'JK with 'bells and whistles'. Many thanks to all my co-citizens for taking part. Some of the background music was borrowed from Shigeru Umebayashi: Yumeji's Theme (In The Mood for Love) Courtesy of Emotion...

Reconciliation for divided Jammu & Kashmir; working towards peace

At some point in the not too distant future, Commander Farooq of Mong and Dr Karan Singh, son of the last Dogra Jamwal Rajput ruler of Jammu & Kashmir, could (and should) meet in Mong, auspices of the people of “Azad” Jammu & Kashmir. This...

Protected: Who taught Pakistanis to hate themselves?

Nearly a decade and a half ago, I got married to a Canadian in Toronto. My mother's incessant demands, innuendoes, emotional breakdowns, insults and 'third party' interventions finally got the better of me. And so I decided to get married in Canada. Little did I...

Imprisoned for 22 years, wrongfully; the fight for justice goes on!

This is a summarised account of my imprisonment in the UK for a crime I did not commit. I was imprisoned for 22 long years as a prisoner of conscience. I first wrote about my experiences in 2009, in a book entitled 'Dastan-e-Azam' (A...