Marking 27th October as Black Day for Kashmir


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم

اَللّٰھُمَّ صَلِّ عَلٰی مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلٰٓی اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ

By Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi

Youth Forum for Kashmir

27th October 2013 marks the 66th year of Indian invasion and occupation of Kashmir. Kashmiris all across the world observe Black Day every year on this day to jolt the world’s conscience and to remind the international community of their responsibility regarding the rights of Kashmiris. Kashmir was a Muslim majority state and had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan but the Hindu Raja gave into the pressure by the Indian government and on 27th October 1947 Indian troops landed in Srinagar and forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir in total disregard of the partition plan of the Sub-continent and Kashmiris’ aspirations. Since that catastrophic day, Kashmir, the heaven on earth, has turned into a living hell for the sons and daughters of this great land who live in a perpetual state of terror, torture and subjugation.

At that time, Quaid-e-Azam took a firm stand regarding Kashmir issue and stated in clear terms that no compromise could be reached regarding the lives of Kashmiris and they should have the right to self-determination. On 5th January 1949, the UN Security Council through its successive resolutions nullified Indian invasion and occupation of Kashmir. It also approve:

  • ·         a ceasefire,
  • ·         demarcation of the ceasefire line,
  • ·         de-militarization of the state
  • ·         and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the World Body.

Although the ceasefire and demarcation of the ceasefire line was implemented, the de-militarization of the occupied territory and a free and impartial plebiscite under UN supervision remain unimplemented to date.

The hearts of Pakistanis beat with the Kashmiris as they have always considered Kashmir spiritually and physically a part of them. In the past, Pakistan had always put Kashmir on the top priority in any kind of negotiations with India but India always sidestepped this issue, never accepting any responsibility and unfortunately this dispute has not reached any meaningful conclusion. It saddens me to say that even the government, political parties and media of Pakistan have put Kashmir issue on the back burner for the last 12 years, which is reprehensible and unfortunate. Now it is high time that Pakistani nation raises its voice for their Kashmiri brethren. The recent escalation in LoC violations by the Indian Army is also an unpleasant reminder of the affliction of our Kashmiri Muslims. If we Pakistanis will not raise our voice for them, then who will? After all, it our moral obligation as well as a matter of survival for Pakistan’s own existence as Quaid-e-Azam had called Kashmir Pakistan’s jugular vein. How is it that the enemy is strangling our jugular and we remain silent spectators and willing victims?

In this dismal picture, the arrival on the scene of the first lobbying group for Kashmir in Pakistan is truly a ray of hope for Kashmiris all over the World. Since its launch two months ago, Youth Forum for Kashmir is actively promoting Kashmir cause in Pakistani Media and Social Media and marks all national holidays by holding events that display support for Kashmiris. On this 27th October as well, young Pakistanis and Kashmiris come together in Islamabad to mark as Black Day the 66th anniversary of India’s criminal invasion and inhuman occupation of Kashmir. Pakistani celebrities and YFK members will hold a walk and session of Q&A for Kashmir in the heart of Jinnah Avenue, Blue Area, Islamabad. This will be a message of hope from Pakistanis to the brave Kashmiri youth in Indian-occupied Kashmir who face the ruthless Indian occupation army every day. It is time that Pakistani leadership also ends its passiveness and stands shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistani youth who are giving moral support and encouragement to Kashmiris.

It is high time also that Pakistani media plays its part in raising its voice for Kashmir dispute and demonstrating that they stand for Truth, Integrity and Justice and no amount of external or internal pressure can make them hide the plight of Kashmiris from the world. May the long night of oppression and torment in Kashmir, end soon.

Let’s mark 27th October as Black Day for Kashmir. Remember, the World is watching.

https://www.facebook.com/YFKOfficial

No Use Meeting India’s Prime Minister


By Ahmed Quraishi

NawazSharif-ManmohanSingh

Pakistan had perfectly normal ties with India for nearly 20 years after our Independence. We contested the Kashmir dispute with civility at the UN but retained normal trade and cultural ties with India.

This was until India started to expand the conflict beyond and outside the UN.

India went to Afghanistan and started promoting independent Pashtunistan and Balochistan and started recruiting Pakistanis to work against their country.

India’s Hindi-speaking ruling minority, the most extremist segment of Indian population, had been obsessed with punishing Pakistan since 1950. India developed the idea of promoting independent Pashtunistan and Balochistan as a way to prove that Pakistan should not exist.

It is this hate for Pakistan that prompted India and its Hindi-speaking rulers to expand the conflict over Kashmir.  Resolving Kashmir is key to helping India understand it needs to accept Pakistan, and accept Kashmiris’ right to decide their fate in a free, UN-sponsored plebiscite.

Some Indians, not all but some, have deep-seated hatred against you if you are a Pakistani. Tonight, at this hour, there are hundreds of Indian families sleeping in the open, in the fields, just 80 miles from New Delhi. Their crime? They are Indian Muslims, who share the same religion as most Pakistanis. So, having the same religion as most Pakistanis is a crime in the eyes of some hateful Indians. The place is called Muzaffarnagar. If they can do this to their own citizens, imagine what they will do to you when they get a chance.

In 2007, some Indians burned nearly 50 Pakistanis alive aboard a ‘Friendship Train’ inside Indian territory. Those Pakistanis traveled to India believing Indian statements on peace. They were blown up and New Delhi accused ISI of killing them to derail peace. But thanks to few upright Indian police officers who uncovered the role of Indian intelligence officers and Hindu extremists in that terror act. Just yesterday, Indian extremists stopped a Pakistani tourism bus from returning home. The passengers were scared to death of being burned alive, just like that friendship train five years ago.

You would think the Indian government would issue a statement after such an incident apologizing to ordinary Pakistanis and promising them safety and inviting them to visit again. No such thing. That’s the level of hatred in the Hindi-speaking north India against everything Pakistani. It’s a petty and small mindset they have.

India is keeping Pakistan under pressure through terrorism in Kashmir, through terror camps in Afghanistan that supply weapons and training to TTP and LeJ and BLA. India is involved in terror acts in Karachi and Lahore. At this time, the most irrational thing we can do is to give India more breathing space and more space to carry out terrorism against us. We must make India understand that hurting Pakistan has a price. When your house is under attack by a neighbor, you don’t go play cricket with that neighbor and pretend everything is right, or say, ‘We have other issues, let’s forget for now that you’re attacking and killing us. Let’s raise that issue later and play friends for now!’

This is the time for Pakistan to put Kashmir up and front. We have tried to put Kashmir on the side for nine years and got nothing from hateful Indians except delay tactics and double dealings.

One hundred and thirty million Kashmiris would support this Pakistani position. We at Youth Forum For Kashmir [#YFK] feel and see this Kashmiri desire  every day in the emails, tweets, and telephone calls we receive daily from Kashmiris inside Indian-occupied Kashmir, in Pakistan, and worldwide.

Kashmir is the reason that Manmohan Singh was desperate while meeting Obama at the UN in New York. What counts is the Kashmiri spirit that continues to fight. We need to support it.

Pakistan’s parliament should pass a unanimous resolution voluntarily annulling the Simla agreement of 1972 with India over Kashmir.  That agreement is used by India as an excuse to delay peace in the region. We should pull that rug from under Indian feet. No more delay tactics. Our reference points are the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir. Instead of prolonging enmity with Pakistan, India should think peace and accept to give Kashmiris the right to choose their destiny under UN-sponsored plebiscite.

Without Kashmir front and center, many meetings between Pakistani and Indian premiers would come and go, with all the hype, and with no results.

Arundhati puts forward 13 questions on the parliament attack of Dec 13




Arundhati puts forward 13 questions in her book on the parliament attack of Dec 13:

Question 1: For months before the Attack on Parliament, both the government and the police had been saying that Parliament could be attacked. On 12 December 2001, at an informal meeting the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee warned of an imminent attack on Parliament. On 13 December Parliament was attacked. Given that there was an ‘improved security drill’, how did a car bomb packed with explosives enter the parliament complex?

Question 2: Within days of the Attack,the Special Cell of Delhi Police said it was a meticulously planned joint operation of Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e- Toiba . They said the attack was led by a man called ‘Mohammad’ who was also involved
in the hijacking of IC-814 in 1998. (This was later refuted by the CBI.) None of this was ever proved in court. What evidence did the Special Cell have for its claim?

Question 3: The entire attack was recorded live on Close Circuit TV (CCTV). Congress Party MP Kapil Sibal demanded in Parliament that the CCTV recording be shown to the members. He was supported by the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Najma Heptullah, who said that there was confusion about the details of the event. The chief whip of the Congress Party, Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, said, ‘I counted six men getting out of the car. But only five were killed. The close circuit TV camera recording clearly showed the six men.’ If Dasmunshi was right, why did the police say that there were only five people in the car? Who was the the sixth person? Where is he now? Why was the CCTV recording not produced by the prosecution as evidence in the trial? Why was it not released for public viewing?

Question 4: Why was Parliament adjourned after some of these questions were raised?

Question 5: A few days after 13 December, the government declared that it had ‘incontrovertible evidence’ of Pakistan’s involvement in the attack,and announced a massive mobilization of almost  half a million soldiers to the Indo-Pakistan border. The subcontinent was pushed to the brink of nuclear war. Apart from Afzal’s ‘confession’, extracted under torture (and later set aside by the Supreme Court), what was the ‘incontrovertible evidence’?

Question 6: Is it true that the military mobilization to the Pakistan border had begun long before the 13 December Attack?

Question 7: How much did this military standoff, which lasted for nearly a year, cost?How many soldiers died in the process? How many soldiers and civilians died because of mishandled landmines, and how many peasants lost their homes and land because trucks and tanks were rolling through their villages, and landmines were being planted in their fields?

Question 8: In a criminal investigation it is vital for the police to show how the evidence gathered at the scene of theattack led them to the accused. How did the police reach Mohammad Afzal? The Special Cell says S.A.R. Geelani led them to Afzal. But the message to look out for Afzal was actually flashed to the Srinagar Police before Geelani was arrested. So how did the Special Cell connect Afzal to the 13 December Attack?

Question 9: The courts acknowledge that Afzal was a surrendered militant who was in regular contact with the security forces, particularly the Special Task Force (STF) of Jammu & Kashmir Police. How do the security forces explain the fact that a person under their surveillance was able to conspire in a major militant operation?

Question 10: Is it plausible that organizations like Lashkar-e- Toiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed would rely on a person who had been in and out of STF torture chambers, and was under constant police surveillance, as the principal link for a major operation?

Question 11: In his statement before the court, Afzal says that he was introduced to ‘Mohammed’ and instructed to take him to Delhi by a man called Tariq, who was working with the STF. Tariq was named in the police charge sheet. Who is Tariq and where is he now?

Question 12: On 19 December 2001, six days after the Parliament Attack, Police Commissioner, Thane (Maharashtra), S.M. Shangari identified one of the attackers killed in the Parliament Attack as Mohammad Yasin Fateh Mohammed (alias Abu Hamza) of the Lashkar-e-Toiba , who had been arrested in Mumbai in November 2000, and immediately handed over to the J&K Police. He gave detailed descriptions to support his statement. If Police Commissioner Shangari was right, how did Mohammad Yasin, a man in the custody of the J&K Police, end up participating in the Parliament Attack? If he was wrong, where is Mohammad Yasin now?

Question 13: Why is it that we still don’t know who the five dead ‘terrorists’ killed in the Parliament Attack are?

Courtesy: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/dec/15/india.kashmir

Impact of Social Media in Pakistan


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم

اَللّٰھُمَّ صَلِّ عَلٰی مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلٰٓی اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ

social_media

By Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi

Not many years ago Facebook and other social networking sites were looked down upon as activities of the frivolous and idle youth. Online ‘chatting’ was the new evil and parents discouraged the use of internet in their homes. The scenario today has changed quite a bit. Facebook and Twitter are not just tools to pass time and find friends on the net; they have become modern tools of expression of personal opinion and social gathering in the hands of social media activists, analysts, celebrities and journalists. Besides Social Media activists, there are hacktivists [hackers who hack for a cause] who excel at attacking websites of their rival countries. It is a fact that the exponential increase in the influence of Social Media is a horrific nightmare for governments who want to have a firm control on what is accessible to the public, as well as for the news and print media who give news in accordance to the agenda of their sponsors. I want to bring forth the negative as well as positive aspects of Social Media in our lives.

Negative Impact of Social Media

  • ·         In today’s world of information technology, when people spent most of their time on social networking sites, it has become easier to gather information about any individual. Facebook is a dream come true for intelligence agencies like CIA as people willingly share all their information. The contact information on Facebook includes:

1.   1.emails, websites
2. phone and cell phone numbers,
3. even their home addresses,
4. business/ job info,
5. school / colleges / universities
6. their home towns and current location.

  • ·         Like all mediums of media, SM too can be used for spreading of vulgarity, immodesty and illegal activities. As a Muslim, we are constantly reminded in Quran and Hadith about the importance of Haya [Modesty] and how Emaan and Haya are interconnected. If one goes, the other leaves as well. It is painful to see that unbridled youth of today involved in immoral activities on SM and also spreading to and sharing it with others. It is definitely the responsibility of parents to monitor the activities of their children on internet and particularly on SM because it can have great repercussions. Just last month, a 13 year old boy in Karachi was kidnapped by the elder brother of a ‘friend’ he made on Facebook. SM is obviously not for children as they don’t have the prudence or experience to make proper judgements.
  • ·         Another annoying aspect of SM, especially Facebook is of the fake ids. People do it for various reasons; sometimes it is just boys posing to be girls in order to interact with other females on Facebook. But mainly it is done for greater more nefarious reasons, basically for spying and psy-ops. In this way, many unwanted people are added in your ‘friend list’ and they can easily monitor your activities by posing to have the same likes and affiliations as yourself. This method is being employed by intelligence agencies, especially CIA and RAW, to spy on their rivals and also to sow seeds of dissent amongst their enemies. Highlighting Shia-Sunni differences amongst Muslims and spitting venom about different sects on Facebook, Twitter and other SM sites is also a result of such fake ids.
  • ·         The advent of SM has also seen a decline in the sanctity of an individual’s privacy. Internet giants like Google monitor every activity of internet users and provide this data to intl. agencies. To have some idea about how people are being tracked on internet and SM, enter the name of any person you know, in Google Search, whether a friend or a family member and you are instantly going to get information about all their activities in the Cyber World:

1.   1. their comments on different Facebook Groups.
2. their comments on different blogs.
3. pictures that they have uploaded on social networking sites or other websites.
4. their info on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus that they have made public.

  • ·         Another dis-advantage of SM is psychological in nature. The excessive use of SM makes human beings quite anti-social and they shy away from actually spending time with friends and family. Reading books is the one of the best hobbies and it too has suffered as the attention of the youth is wholly consumed by the SM.
  • ·         Elections 2013 in Pakistan saw the phenomenon of Social Media reaching its Zenith. In fact its ugly face was more obvious than its pretty side. The Social Media teams of various political parties crossed all boundaries of etiquette and ethics when it came to maligning the opponents. Mudslinging of highest level was seen during election campaign on Facebook and Twitter and personal lives of politicians were broadcasted to entire public. It is the right of the public to know about the lives of their leaders, but truth should always prevail. Making cock and bull stories, name calling and spreading fake photos modified by Photoshop, is immoral and decadent.

Positive aspects of Social Media:

Positive aspects of Social Media are not easily perceived or understood by an average layman who uses his Facebook just to share his picture having his dinner or update his status about how he is feeling that day. The greater impact of SM is recognized by highly motivated SM activists and social analysts. They know full well the power they have of moulding and forming public opinions through SM. If used to achieve a greater goal for a sublime purpose and for reasons that are morally and ethically sound, SM can play an extremely positive role.

  • ·         Being a Muslim, the first and foremost advantage I see in SM is the sharing and spreading of Islamic knowledge. Constant reminders from Quran, Hadith and majestic words of great minds from our glorious history are a source of inspiration and help in our personal development. If one really wants, one can use SM to contribute to the society in a productive way. 
  • ·         News that is not shared with the public by the electronic and print media is now accessible through SM. Many dictatorial regimes and even democracies that want to hide their actions from the public eye, keep a tight lid over their media but have no control over SM and hence the people who are active on SM are more aware of what is happening nationally and internationally. The media is actually not ‘free’ even when they claim so because they have to serve the interests of their pay-masters. Unfortunately, in Pakistan we see that Pakistani media is heavily funded by the USA and India, former a wolf in sheep’s clothing and the latter, a sworn enemy of Pakistan. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to see that anti-state elements like BLA and TTP are given maximum coverage on Pakistan’s private News Channels while the sacrifices of the Pakistan Army are brushed aside. Questions are being raised about Two Nations Theory and the founding fathers of the nation by Liberal Fascists to stir up controversy. In fact, in the recent years, Pakistani media has actually become anti-Pakistan and anti-Pak Army which is nothing short of treachery. In this scenario, SM is playing a very positive role and encouraging people to use their mind and not be a blind slave of whatever the media tells them to be true. There are many Facebook pages with huge fan following that are invigorating the sacred ideology of Pakistan.
  • ·         In an Islamic perspective, clear rules and guidelines have been given for interaction between males and females. Limits of Mahram and Na-Mahram have been defined and as a Muslim, it should always be in our minds to follow Shariat. The one worthy thing that I have observed on SM is that there are boys and girls and even mature men and house wives, who are essentially on SM for doing beneficial work for the society that is in bounds of our moral values and religion. A female can in point of fact communicate with a male without having to meet him and or talk to him. Facebook and Twitter are used as means of communication for doing community work and conveying valuable information and this can easily be achieved remaining in the bounds of Shariat. Not the majority of public, but quite a few individuals in Pakistan are very focused on their work and mission.
  • ·         Just as SM can be used for propaganda [which is one of its negative aspect], in the same way it can also be used for keeping the public informed. There are many issues which would not have reached to the public loud and clear if the SM was not highlighting them. Whether it is the Palestinian Intifada, Kashmir’s struggle for freedom or the massacre of Burmese Muslims, the SM activists raised their voices on Facebook and Twitter on such burning issues and spread awareness.

In short, we see that SM is just another medium like our TV or Computer and is not an evil in itself. It depends upon the person using it whether he makes good use of it and serves his country and fellow men, or chooses to become a nuisance for others. Let us be the light that others follow and not the dark pits of Hades where others fall.

 

Interview with Afzal Guru – Voice of Kashmir Freedom Struggle


New Delhi based Journalist Vinod K. Jose meets Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru inside the high security Tihar Jail in New Delhi. Read excerpts from this rare interview with Afzal.

New Delhi, Feb 19, 2006 (Kashmir Newz Specials):

A rusted table, and behind it stood a well-built man in uniform holding a spoon in his hand. Visitors, all of them looked habituated, queued up to open their plastic bags containing food, allowing it to be smelt, sometimes even tasted. The security man’s spoon paved its way through the thick grease floating curries—Malai Kofta, Shahi Paneer, Aalu Bengan, and Mixed Vegetables. As the visitors opened tiny bags of curries the spoon separated each piece of vegetable from the other, quite mechanically. ‘Frisking’ the food of a middle aged woman the spoon took a dip at the water in the steel bowl nearby. It then moved to the plastic bags of the next in the queue, an early teenage boy. By now water in the steel bowl has all kinds of colours. The floating oil gave it a vibgyor effect when light hit at it on the winter afternoon. Around 4.30 my turn came. The man left the spoon on the table and frisked my body top to bottom, thrice thoroughly. And when the metal detector made noise I had to remove my belt, steel watch, and keys. The man on duty bearing the badge of Tamilnadu Special Police (TSP) looked satisfied. I am allowed to enter now. This is the fourth security drill I had to go through to get into the High Risk Ward of Prison No 3 in Tihar Central Prison. I am on my way to meet Mohammad Afzal, one of the most talked about man in the contemporary times.
A room with many tiny cubicles. The Visitors and inmate are separated by a thick glass, and iron grills. The two connected through a mike and a speaker fixed on the wall. Poorly audible, people at both sides of the glass strained their ears out touching the wall to listen other. Mohammad Afzal was already at the other side of the cubicle. His face gave me an impression of unfathomable dignity and calmness. A little short man in his mid-thirties wearing white kurta paijama had a Reynolds pen in his pocket. Very clear voice welcomed me with the best of all mannerisms.

Afzal-Guru

Afzal Guru

“How are you sir?”, he said.

I said, “I’m fine.”
Am I to return the same question to a man on the death row, was apprehensive for a second, but I did. “Very fine. Thank you sir”, he answered with warmth. The conversation went on for close to an hour, and continued a fortnight later with a second Mulakat. Both of us were in a hurry to answer and ask whatever one could in the time. I went on scribbling him in my tiny pocket book. He seemed to be a person who wanted to tell a lot of things to the world. But repeated his helplessness to reach people from the current stature of ‘condemned for life’.

Excerpts of the interview

There are so many contradicting images of Afzal. Which Afzal am I meeting?

“Is it? But as far as I’m concerned there is only one Afzal. That is me.”

Who is that Afzal?

A moments’ silence. “Afzal as a young, enthusiastic, intelligent, idealistic young man, Afzal a Kashmiri influenced like many thousands in the Kashmir Valley in the political climate of early 1990s, who was a JKLF member and crossed over to the other side of Kashmir, but in a matter of weeks got disillusioned and came back and tried to live a normal life, but was never allowed to do so by the security agencies who inordinate times picked me up, tortured the pulp out of me, electrified, frozen in cold water, dipped in petrol, smoked in chilies you name it, and falsely implicated in a case, with no lawyer, no fair trial, finally condemned to death. The lies the police told was propagated by you in media. And that perhaps created what the Supreme Court referred to as “collective conscience of the nation”. And to satisfy that “collective conscience” I’m condemned to death. That is the Mohammad Afzal you are meeting.”

After a moments’ silence, he continued.

“But I wonder whether the outside world knows anything about this Afzal. I ask you, did I get a chance to tell my story? Do you think justice is done? Would you like to hang a person without giving him a lawyer? Without a fair trial? Without listening to what he had to go through in life? Democracy doesn’t mean all this, does it?”

Kashmir-Azadi-Freedom

Can we begin with your life? Your life before the case…

“It was a turbulent political period in Kashmir when I was growing up. Maqbul Bhatt was hanged. The situation was volatile. The people of Kashmir decided to fight an electoral battle once again to resolve the Kashmir issue through peaceful means. Muslim United Front (MUF) was formed to represent the sentiments of Kashmiri Muslims for the final settlement of the Kashmir issue. Administration at Delhi was alarmed by the kind of support that MUF was gaining and in the consequence we saw rigging in the election on an unprecedented scale. And the leaders, who took part in the election and won with huge majority, were arrested, humiliated and put behind bars. It is only after this that the same leaders gave call for armed resistance. In response thousands of youth took to armed revolt. I dropped out from my MBBS studies in Jhelum Valley Medical College, Srinagar. I was also one of those who crossed to the other side of Kashmir as a JKLF member, but was disillusioned after seeing Pakistani Politicians acting the same as the Indian politicians in dealing with Kashmiris. I returned after few weeks. I surrendered to the security force, and you know, I was even given a BSF certificate as surrendered militant. I began to start the life new. I could not become a doctor but I became a dealer of medicines and surgical instruments on commission basis (laughs).
With the meagre income I even bought a scooter and also got married. But not a day passed by without the scare of Rashtriya Rifles and STF men harassing me. If there was a militant attack somewhere in Kashmir they would round up civilians, torture them to pulp. The situation was even worse for a surrendered militant like me. They detained us for several weeks, and threatened to implicate in false cases and were let free only if we paid huge bribes. Many times I had to go through this. Major Ram Mohan Roy of 22 Rashtriya Rifles gave electric shock to my private parts. Many times I was made to clean their toilets and sweep their camps. Once I had to bribe the security men with all that I had to escape from the Humhama STF torture camp. D.S.P. Vinay Gupta and D.S.P. Davinder Singh supervised the torture. One of their torture experts, Inspector Shanty Singh, electrified me for three hours until I agreed to pay one lakh rupees as bribe. My wife sold her jewellery and for the remaining amount they sold my scooter. I left the camp broken both financially and mentally. For six months I could not go outside home because my body was in such a bad shape. I could not even share the bed with my wife as my penile organ had been electrified. I had to take medical treatment to regain potency….”

Afzal narrated the torture details with a disturbing calmness on his face. He seemed to have lot of details to tell me about the torture he faced. But unable to hear the horror stories of security forces that operate with my tax money, I cut him short and asked:

If you could come to the Case…, what were the incidents that led to the Parliament attack Case?

“After all the lessons I learned in STF camps, which is either you and your family members get harassed constantly for resisting or cooperate with the STF blindly, I had hardly any options left, when D.S.P Davinder Singh asked me to do a small job for him. That is what he told, “a small job”. He told me that I had to take one man to Delhi. I was supposed to find a rented house for him in Delhi. I was seeing the man first time, but since he did not speak Kashmiri I suspected he was an outsider. He told his name was Mohammad” [Mohammad is identified by the police as the man who led the 5 gunmen who attacked the Parliament. All of them were killed by the security men in the attack].
When we were in Delhi, Mohammad and me used to get phone calls from Davinder Singh. I had also noticed that Mohammad used to visit many people in Delhi. After he purchased a car he told me now I could go back and gave me 35,000 rupees saying it was a gift. And I left to Kashmir for Eid.
When I was about to leave to Sopore from Srinagar bus stand I was arrested and taken to Parimpora police station. They tortured me and took to STF headquarters and from there brought me to Delhi. In the torture chamber of Delhi Police Special Cell, I told them everything I knew about Mohammad. But they insisted that I should say that my cousin Showkat, his wife Navjot S.A.R. Geelani and I were the people behind the Parliament attack. They wanted me to say this convincingly in front of media. I resisted. But I had no option than to yield when they told me my family was in their custody and threatened to kill them. I was made to sign many blank pages and was forced to talk to the media and claim responsibility for the attack by repeating what the police told me to say. When a journalist asked me about the role of S.A.R. Geelani I told him Geelani was innocent. A.C.P. Rajbeer Singh shouted at me in the full media glare for talking beyond what they tutored. They were really upset when I deviated from their story and Rajbeer Singh requested the journalists not to broadcast that part where I spoke of Geelani’s innocence.
Rajbeer Singh allowed me to talk to my wife the next day. After the call he told me if I wanted to see them alive I had to cooperate. Accepting the charges was the only option in front of me if I wanted to see the family alive and the Special Cell officers promised they would make my case weak so I would be released after sometime. Then they took me to various places and showed me the markets where Mohammad had purchased different things. Thus they made the evidence for the case.
Police made me a scapegoat in order to mask their failure to find out the mastermind of Parliament attack. They have fooled the people. People still don’t know whose idea was to attack the Parliament. I was entrapped into the case by Special Task Force (STF) of Kashmir and implicated by Delhi Police Special Cell.
The media constantly played the tape. The police officers received awards. And I was condemned to death.

occupied-kashmir-indian-police 1

Why didn’t you find legal defence?

I had no one to turn to. I did not even see my family until six months into the trial. And when I saw them it was only for a short time in the Patiala House Court. There was no one to arrange a lawyer for me. As legal aid is a fundamental right in this country I named four lawyers whom I wished to have defended me. But the judge S.N. Dhingra, said all four refused to do the case. The lawyer whom the Court chose for me began by admitting some of the most crucial documents without even asking me what the truth of the matter was. She was not doing the job properly and finally she moved to defend another fellow accused. Then the Court appointed an amicus curie, not to defend me, but to assist court in the matter. He never met me. And he was very hostile and communal. That is my case, completely unrepresented at the crucial trial stage. The fact of the matter is that I did not have a lawyer and in a case like this, what does not having a lawyer mean everyone can understand. If you wanted to put me to death what was the need for such a long legal process which to me was totally meaningless?”

Do you want to make any appeal to the world?

“I have no specific appeals to make. I have said whatever I wanted to say in my petition to the President of India. My simple, appeal is that do not allow blind nationalism and mistaken perceptions to lead you to deny even the most fundamental rights of your fellow citizens. Let me repeat what S.A.R. Geelani said after he was awarded death sentence at the trial court, he said, peace comes with justice. If there is no justice, there is no peace. I think that is what I want to say now. If you want to hang me, go ahead with it but remember it would be a black spot on the judicial and political system of India.”

Police bring Afzal Guru to court in Delhi in 2002

What is the condition in jail?

“I’m lodged in solitary confinement in the high risk cell. I’m taken out from my cell only for a short period during noon. No radio, no television. Even the newspaper I subscribe reaches me torn. If there is a news item about me, they tear that portion apart and give me the rest.”

Apart from the uncertainty about your future, what else concerns you the most?

“Yes, a lot of things concern me. There are hundreds of Kashmiris languishing in different jails, without lawyers, without trial, without any rights. The situation of civilians in the streets of Kashmir is not any different. The valley itself is an open prison. These days the news of fake encounters is coming out. But that is only the tip of a big iceberg. Kashmir has everything that you don’t want to see in a civilized nation. They breathe torture. Inhale injustice.”

He paused for a moment.

“Also, there are so many thoughts that come into my mind; farmers who get displaced, merchants whose shops are sealed in Delhi and so on. So many faces of injustice you can see and identify, can’t you? Have you thought how many thousands of people get affected by all this, their livelihood, family…? All these things too, worry me.”

Again a longer pause.

“Also global developments. I took to the news of the execution of Saddham Hussain with at most sadness. Injustice so openly and shamelessly done. Iraq, the land of Mesopotamia, world’s richest civilization, that taught us mathematics, use a 60 minute clock, 24 hour day, 360 degree circle, is thrashed to dust by the Americans. Americans are destroying all other civilizations and value systems. Now the so called War against Terrorism is only good in spreading hatred and causing destruction. I can go on saying what worries me.”

Which books are you reading now?

“I finished reading Arundhati Roy. Now I’m reading Sartre’s work on existentialism. You see, it is a poor library in the jail. So I will have to request the visiting Society for the Protection of Detainees and Prisoners’ Rights (SPDPR) members for books.”

There is a campaign in defence for you…

“I am really moved and obliged by the thousands of people who came forward saying injustice is done to me. The lawyers, students, writers, intellectuals, and all those people are doing something great by speaking against injustice.
The situation at the beginning, was such in 2001 and initial days of the case that it was impossible for justice loving people to come forward. When the High Court acquitted SAR Geelani people started questioning the police theory. And when more and more people became aware of the case details and facts and started seeing things beyond the lies, they began speaking up. It is natural that justice loving people speak up and say, injustice is done to Afzal. Because that is the truth.

Afzal+Guru 2

Members of your family have conflicting opinion on your case?

“My wife has been consistently saying that I was wrongly framed. She has seen how the STF tortured me and did not allow me to live a normal life. She also knew how they implicated me in the case. She wants me to see our son Ghalib growing up. I have also an elder brother who apparently is speaking against me under duress from the STF. It is unfortunate what he does, that’s what I can say.
See, it is a reality in Kashmir now, what you call the counter insurgency operations take any dirty shape—that they field brother against brother, neighbour against neighbour. You are breaking a society with your dirty tricks.
As far as the campaign is concerned I had requested and authorized Society for the Protection of Detainees and Prisoners Society (SPDPR) run by Geelani and group of activists to do the campaign.

What comes to your mind when you think of your wife Tabassum and Son Ghalib?

This year is the tenth anniversary of our wedding. Over half that period I spent in jail. And prior to that, many a times I was detained and tortured by Indian security forces in Kashmir. Tabassum witnessed both my physical and mental wounds. Many times I returned from the torture camp, unable to stand, all kinds of torture including electric shock to my ****, she gave me hope to live…We did not have a day of peaceful living. It is the story of many Kashmiri couples. Constant fear is the dominant feeling in all Kashmiri households.
We were so happy when a child was born. We named our son after the legendary poet Mirza Ghalib. We had a dream to see our son Ghalib grow up. I could spend very little time with him. After his second birthday I was implicated in the case.”

What do you want him to grow up as?

“Professionally, if you are asking, a doctor. Because that is my incomplete dream.
But most importantly, I want him to grow without fear. I want him to speak against injustice. That I am sure he will be. Who else know the story of injustice better than my wife and son?”

[While Afzal continued talking about his wife and son, I could not stop recollecting what Tabassum told me when I met her outside Supreme Court in 2005 during the case’s appeal stage. When Afzal’s family members remained in Kashmir Tabassum dared to come to Delhi with her son Ghalib to organize defence for Afzal. Outside the Supreme Court New Lawyers chamber, at the tiny tea stall on the roadside, she chatted in detail about Afzal. While sipping and complaining the tea for excess sugar she told me how Afzal enjoyed cooking. One picture she painted struck me deep—one of those dear private moments in their lives, he would not allow her to enter kitchen, make her seated on the chair nearby and Afzal would cook, holding one book in his hand, a ladle in the other and read out stories for her.]

If I may ask you about Kashmir issue…how do you think it can be solved?

“First let the government be sincere to the people of Kashmir. And let them initiate talk with the real representatives of Kashmir. Trust me, the real representatives of Kashmir can solve the problem. But if the government consider peace process as a tactics of counter insurgency, then the issue is not going to be solved. It is time some sincerity is shown.”

Who are the real people?

“Find out from the sentiments of the people of Kashmir. I am not going to name x, y or z.
And I have an appeal to Indian media; stop acting as a propaganda tool. Let them report the truth. With their smartly worded and politically loaded news reports, they distort facts, make incomplete reports, build hardliners, terrorists et al. They easily fall for the games of the intelligence agencies. By doing insincere journalism you are adding to the problem. Disinformation on Kashmir should stop first. Allow Indians to know the complete history of the conflict, let them know the ground realities. True democrats cannot turn down the facts. If Indian government is not taking into account the wishes of Kashmiri people, then they can’t solve the problem. It will continue to be a conflict zone.
Also you tell me how are you going to develop real trust among Kashmiris when you send out the message that India has a justice system that hang people without giving a lawyer, without a fair trial?
Tell me, when hundreds of Kashmiris are lodged in jails most of them with no lawyer, no hope for justice, are you not further escalating the distrust on Indian government among Kashmiris? Do you think if you don’t address the core issues and do a cosmetic effort, you can solve Kashmir conflict? No, you can’t. Let the democratic institutions of both India and Pakistan start showing some sincerity, their politicians, Parliament, justice system, media, intellectuals…”


9 security men were killed in the Parliament attack. What is that you have to tell their relatives?

“In fact I share the pain of the family members who lost their dear ones in the attack. But I feel sad that they are misled to believe that hanging an innocent person like me would satisfy them. They are used as pawns in a completely distorted cause of nationalism. I appeal them to come out of it and see through things.”

What do you see is your achievement in life?

“My biggest achievement perhaps is that through my case and the campaign on the injustice done to me, the horror of STF has been brought into light. I am happy that now people are discussing security forces’ atrocities on civilians, encounter killings, disappearances, torture camps, etc…These are the realities that a Kashmiri grows up with. People outside Kashmir have no clue what Indian security forces are up to in Kashmir.
Even if they kill me for no crime of mine, it would be because they cannot stand the truth. They cannot face the questions arise out of hanging a Kashmiri with no lawyer.”

An ear-splitting electric bell rang. Could hear hurried up conversations from the neighbor cubicles. This was my last question to Afzal.

What do you want to be known as?

He thought for a minute, and answered:

“As Afzal, as Mohmammad Afzal. I am Afzal for Kashmiris, and I am Afzal for Indians as well, but the two groups have an entirely conflicting perception of my being. I would naturally trust the judgment of Kashmiri people not only because I am one among them but also because they are well aware of the reality I have been through and they cannot be misled into believing any distorted version of either a history or an incident.

I was confused with this last statement of Mohammad Afzal, but on further reflection I began to understand what he meant. History of Kashmir and narration of an incident by a Kashmiri is always a big shock for an Indian whose sources of knowledge on Kashmir happen to be confined only to the text books and media reports. Afzal did just that to me. Two more bells. Time to end Mulakat. But people were still busy conversing. Mike put off. Speaker stopped. But if you strained your ear, and watched the lip movement, you could still hear him. The guards made rough round-ups, asking to leave. As they found visitors not leaving, they put the lights off, mulakat room turned dark. In the long stretch of walk out from the Jail No 3 of Tihar jail compound to the main road I found myself in the company of clusters of twos and threes, moving out silently—either a cluster of mother, wife and daughter; or brother, sister and wife; or friend and brother; or someone else. Every cluster had two things in common. They carried an empty cotton bag back with them. Those bags had stains of Malai Kofta, Shahi Paneer and Mixed Vegetables, often spilled over by the rash frisking of the TSP man’s spoon. The second, I observed, they all wore inexpensive winter clothes, torn shoes, and outside Gate No 3 they waited for Bus No 588, Tilak Nagar-Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium bus, that perhaps took them to Dhaulakuan main junction—they are the poor citizens of this country. Remembered President Abdul Kalam’s musing how poor people were the awardees of capital punishments. My interviewee is also one. When I asked him how much ‘tokens’ (the form of currency allowed in the jail) he had, he said “enough to survive”.

[Vinod K. Jose is a foreign correspondent attached with Radio Pacifica Network, USA. He is based in New Delhi. vinodkjose@gmail.com]

Can A Gang Rape Change India’s Hate Culture?


By Ahmed Quraishi

Ahmed Quraishi

The sad gang rape of a college student on a public bus in the Indian capital might end up having ramifications. And although events inside India rarely create interest in India’s western neighbor Pakistan, this particular incident concerns Pakistanis in important ways. It should also concern India’s other neighbors like Sri Lanka, China, Bangladesh and Nepal.

India is a country beset by virulent hatreds of all types: political, historical, religious and social. These hatreds are so potent they led to 21st century’s first genocide. More than 2,000 Indians were butchered and burned across Gujarat, a major trading state in western India near the Pakistani border.

The murder of 2,000 Indians spread over just three days was no small matter, happening as it did in 21st century, and not in 20th or 19th centuries. The fact that almost all of the killed were Indian Muslims; men, women, elderly and children, eliminated on the streets by the country’s Hindu majority, meant that this was a ghastly incident of ethnic cleansing and religious extermination.

One way to gauge the amount of hate that motivated the Indian mobs is to look at one type of criminal act that was repeatedly committed during the 2002 Gujarat ethnic cleansing. In case after case, Indian mobs cut open the stomachs of pregnant Indian Muslim women and killed the unborn babies. In other cases, breasts of Indian Muslim women were mutilated before killing them.

In less than seventy years since the creation of India by Britain in 1947, New Delhi managed to provoke a war and several border clashes with China, four wars with Pakistan, invade Bangladesh, fight a proxy war in Sri Lanka and indirectly interfere in Nepal.

The Indian military invasion in 1971 of what is now Bangladesh is the perfect example of how the combustible mix of Indian hatreds poisoned its foreign policy.

In 1971, there was no armed freedom movement in Kashmir blamed by India on Pakistan. There were no pro-Kashmir groups like Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) accused of involvement in attacks on India. In that year, Pakistanis were busy in messy and chaotic elections. Less than 40,000 Pakistani soldiers were stationed in East Pakistan, and all of them in their barracks.

Despite this peaceful Pakistani posture, Indian army crossed international borders in December of that year in an unprovoked war. Assisting the Indian army was a terror militia that went on a killing spree of Pakistani civilians, selecting targets based on their language. India’s ally, the Soviet Union, provided indirect help.

Several indisputable evidences that emerged in the following years show how India meticulously planned the invasion at least two years in advance, if not more, recruiting agents and saboteurs and deploying a psy-ops strategy.

Why would India go to such lengths?

Until 1971, Kashmir was the only dispute between Pakistan and India and was contested in a largely peaceful manner inside the UN Security Council. But India created a permanent blood feud with Pakistan by planning and executing the one-sided, unprovoked invasion of 1971.

India did this in the hope that breaking up Pakistan and helping proxies transform East Pakistan into Bangladesh would deal a fatal blow to the Pakistani state. The Indian ruling elites have directly and indirectly perpetuated a myth that Pakistani territories constitute a historical Indian land. But this territorial claim is a mask for religious hatred. Muslim empires that preceded Pakistan have invaded and ruled India for ten centuries. This historical baggage bears heavily on the minds of the minority Hindi-speaking rulers of India who dominate New Delhi.

The multifaceted social and political hatreds in India are linked to the Hindi-speaking minority that rules India and is responsible for wars with neighbors, for prolonging the Kashmir conflict, and for feeding hate against India’s Christian, Sikh, Muslim, Dalit and Assamese minorities.

THE GANG RAPE

This background gives context to the gang rape of a 23-year-old college student on a public bus in New Delhi.

The incident has sparked riots in the Indian capital because of the increasing incidents of gang rapes that have given New Delhi its unflattering designation as the Rape Capital of India.

But the gang rape hides an uglier fact, that India has the worst world record in treating women.

The largest number of cases of murder of female babies for social and religious reasons occur in India, according to UN figures. The country has the world’s largest cases of underage girl forced marriages. And a probe by American television network ABC earlier this year concluded that over 40 million Indian women of all ages disappeared or were killed in India since 1980.

Several amateur videos on YouTube show how Indian men molested women on Indian streets with impunity. Passersby appear in those videos cheering the offenders and making cell phone videos without any attempt to save the molested women. In most cases, the violated girls belong to minorities.

This is what makes the New Delhi gang rape dangerous. Unconfirmed reports suggest the college student was Muslim. If this is true, it would partially explain the apathy of other commuters on the bus. The injuries of the young woman were so severe she died at a Singapore hospital where the Indian government had flown her for treatment.

The riots by Indian civil society show there is hope that India will be able to defeat the multifaceted hatreds that pollute Indian society and politics.

There is something deeply wrong in India. Leaders of opinion need to raise it and end the state of denial. There have been many recent warnings and they have nothing to do with rape. The 2002 Gujarat ethnic cleansing is one. The riots against poor Assamese migrant workers is another. The Indian interior ministry blamed those riots on alleged Facebook posts originating in Pakistan. The ridiculous accusation caused embarrassment to India as television footage showed ordinary Indians beat and humiliate the Assamese workers on the streets prompting a mass exodus by the Assamese from Indian cities back to Assam. No wonder then that the entire northeastern belt of India is up in arms demanding independence.

We in Pakistan continue to be at the receiving end of Indian hate. In 2007, a group of Pakistani families heeded Indian government’s call for peace and boarded a ‘Friendship Train’ from Lahore to the Indian capital, which is located in the heart of the minority Hindi-speaking belt of India. The train was blown up and more than 50 Pakistanis were killed. The perpetrators turned out to be Indian military officers working with Hindu extremist groups. The incident was motivated by hate toward Pakistanis and possibly toward Muslims.

Recently, the captain of blind Pakistani sports team was served a form of acid in breakfast at an Indian hotel. Pakistani artists who visit India are routinely threatened by extremist Indians.

On Twitter, Pakistanis increasingly complain about Indian trolls who dedicate time and human resource to spam Pakistani timelines. This Indian effort is often motivated by hate, seeking to demonize Pakistan and incite linguistic or religious controversies among Pakistanis. What amazes most Pakistanis is to see a large number of Indians dedicate themselves to obsessing online about a neighboring nation. Very few Pakistanis show a similar interest in India.

The new Indian Spring against policies of hate practiced by the minority Hindi-speaking elite of New Delhi is a good omen. But it’s only a start and there is a long way ahead. This effort should expand to force the Indian elite to listen to the voice of a majority of Indians who are a peaceful people.

Ending New Delhi’s culture of hate is essential to see an India at peace with its own people and with neighbors.

Saudis say No to the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH], Yes to Paris Hilton


by Omid Safi

 

More and more people are speaking out against the Saudi regime, and the way in which its Wahhabi ideology has linked together an utter disregard for the historical heritage of Muslims with an unabashed embrace of vapid capitalism.     In both Mecca and Medina, the Saudi state has already bulldozed over 90% of the Islamic monuments going back some 1400 years.     In their place, they are putting up five star hotels, parking lots, and shopping malls.

Adding injury to insult: In the same cities of Mecca and Medina, where the Wahhabi-backed Saudi state has bulldozed the historical shrines and cemeteries of the family of the Prophet, now we have the establishment of shopping malls featuring…. Paris Hilton. 

So this is what it has come to.   The so-called “Guardians of the two sanctuaries” bulldoze Islamic history, tear down the houses associated with the Prophet and his family, and in its place put up shopping malls by vapid symbols of the most crass capitalistic materialism the world has to offer.  No wonder many are talking about the transformation of Mecca into another Las Vegas.

Yes, the Saudis have bulldozed:

 

*An Ottoman Fortress overlooking and protecting Mecca, plus a whole mountain, was removed to put down the monstrosity known as the Mecca Royal Clock-Tower, aka “Big Ben on crack.

*The house the Prophet was born in, currently a library, is under consideration for destruction.

 

*The house of the Prophet’s wife, Khadija, who is referred to by Muslims as the “Mother of the Faithful” was recently torn down, and in its place a row of toilets were established.

*Old Ottoman and Abbasid columns will likely be torn down to make room for a 680 million dollar expansion of the Great Mosque.

 

*The old historic cemeteries of Jannat al-Baqi, containing the remains of the descendants of the Prophet, have been bulldozed, and nothing but a dirt mound remains of the former shrines there.

Sami Angawi, the director of the Hajj Research Center which is trying to preserve what’s left of the Islamic heritage of Saudi Arabia says of the Saudi state:

“They are turning the holy sanctuary into a machine, a city which has no identity, no heritage, no culture and no natural environment. They’ve even taken away the mountains.”

Often the excuse is used that with the global increase in the number of Muslims coming to Mecca, these expansions are necessary to accommodate these pilgrims.    However, there is no reason why the hotels for the pilgrims couldn’t be put outside the historical center of Mecca, thus preserving the monuments.

 

Furthermore, in place of these historical monuments, many of which hold a sacred significance to all Muslims outside of the Wahhabi sect, the Saudi state is building five star hotels that cost as much as $7,000 a night.     In other words, these policies are not only bulldozing the history of Islam, they are also subverting the radical egalitarian teachings of Islam most beautifully symbolized in the rich and poor standing shoulder to shoulder wearing simple unadorned clothing in the House of the One God.   Now the poor teeming masses are below, and the ultra-rich can reside in their 5-star suites looking down at the Ka’ba.    Lastly, these absurd towers even displace the very symbolism and centrality of the Ka’ba.

 

La hawla wa la quwwata illa bi Allah.

“They paved Paradise,
Put up a parking lot.”

The Saudis make a great deal of their honorific as the “Caretaker of the two Noble Sanctuaries” in Mecca and Medina.   One has to wonder about a kind of Care that says no to the legacy of Muhammad, bulldozes it, and invites Paris Hilton in its place.    These shrines, these historical sites, indeed Mecca and Medina, do not belong to the Saudi state.   They are treasures belonging to the worldwide Muslim population, indeed the whole of humanity (as the Prophet was sent as a Mercy to all the Universes).   If the Saudis insist on calling themselves the caretakers of the two sanctuaries, their first task should be in fact to take care of them–and not bulldoze them.  If they can not or will do not so, then someone else has to step up to provide care for these historical and sacred heritages of humanity.

The Prophet Muhammad once said that Islam began in this world as a stranger, and it will someday return as a stranger.

In looking at the uber-Capitalist, history-bulldozing practice of the Saudi/Wahhabi state, one cannot help but cry at the strange kind of Islam that now rules over the House of God and the home of the Prophet.

Courtesy: http://www.religionnews.com/blogs/omid-safi/saudis-say-no-to-the-prophet-muhammad-yes-to-paris-hilton

A lesson from history – wake-up call for Muslims


Golda Meir – Israel’s Prime Minister

 

In 1973 the war between Arabs and Israel was about to start. Meanwhile an American Senator visited Israel on a special mission. He was chief of the Senate Armed Services Committee. A meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was arranged immediately.

Golda Meir welcomed him into her home, like any common housewife welcoming a family guest. She took him to the kitchen. While seating him at the kitchen dining table, she went over to prepare tea for the guest.

As the water was kept for boiling, she came over and sat on a chair near the dining table. She opened the discussion regarding planes, missiles, and guns. In the course of negotiations, she got the aroma of the brew.

She prepared two cups of tea, and offered one cup to the Senator, and another to an American guard who was standing at the gate. On returning, she came back, continued talking with the Senator. After a discussion they settled the arms deal. In the meantime, she stood up, collected all the cups, and turned to senator and said “I agree to this deal. You can send your secretary to my secretary for written deal”.

It may be remembered that Israel at that time was facing a serious economic crisis, but the huge arms deal was settled by Meir with the greatest of ease in the history of Israel. It was quite astonishing that earlier, the Israeli cabinet had rejected the same deal, because they thought it would be so costly, that the whole nation would have to make do with a single meal a day, for years to come.

Meir knew about their stand, and said, “Your doubts are well founded, but if we win this war, and defeat the Arabs, history will remember us as the victors, and in history, once a community is know as the victor, it forgets how many eggs they ate and how many times they had food. Whether there was jam, honey, butter on the table, and how many holes they had in their shoes. Or whether the sheaths of their swords were new or old! A conqueror is a conqueror.”

Based on Meir’s solid logic, the Israeli cabinet approved the deal. Later it was proved that the decision taken by Meir was right, and the whole world witnessed the Jews knocking on the doors of the Arabs with this artillery. A war took place, and the Arabs faced a shameful defeat at the hands of an old lady.

After a gap of one decade after the war, a reporter of the Washington Post interviewed Meir, asking “Was the logic you had in your mind for the arms was spur of the moment decision or you had had an advance strategy?”

Meir’s reply was very surprising.

She answered, “I got this logic from the prophet (of the Muslims) Mohammed (peace be upon him). When I was a student, my favorite topic was comparative study of religions. Those days I studied the life of Mohammed (PBUH). One author stated that when Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) died, there was not enough money to buy oil for a lamp, his wife (Ayesha Siddiqua) mortgaged his battle shield to buy oil, yet there were nine swords hung on the wall of his house.

When I read this account, it occurred to me- how many people in the world would have known about the worst economic condition of Islamic state? But everyone recognizes them as conquerors of half the world. So I decided that I would buy arms at any cost; even if we would have to starve or to live in camps instead of buildings, but we would prove ourselves as the victor”.

Meir revealed this secret, but requested the interviewer to keep it “off the record”, and refrain from publishing it, because if she referred to Prophet Mohammed, the Jews would have revolted against her and the Muslim position would have strengthened.

Over the time, world situation changed. Golda Meir died. By this time the interviewer had given up the profession of journalism. Meanwhile another correspondent was busy interviewing 20 famous American journalists. In connection with this, he met the journalist who had interviewed Meir as a representative of the Washington Post.

In this interview, he recounted the story of Meir that drew on the life of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

He said he was not ashamed to tell the story. Further, he said, “After this incident I studied the history of Islam, and was astonished to know about the savoir-faire of Arabs. Because I learn t that Tariq bin Ziyad conquered Spain through Gibraltar, while more than half his army did not have complete suit of clothes. They subsisted for 72 hours at time on water and dried bread.

It was then that the interviewer agreed with Meir’s view that history counts victory; it does not count the eggs, jams and butter on the table.”

When the interview with Meir was published, the whole world learned of this entire story.

This astonishing incident is history’s wake-up call to the Muslims of the world. It teaches them a lesson; it reveals how 14 centuries ago, a shepherd, clad in a cloak and worn-out shoes became the leader of the world, and conquered four continents.

Could enormous castles, grand palaces, magnificent gardens, splendid clothes, adorned rest places of silk and sleepless, gold silver, boxes, gems and jewels, spread of savory dishes and the jingle of coins save them? The locust-swarm of Tartar forces did not reach the palace of Musta’sim Billah by trampling over Baghdad. What a terrible and astonishing scene it was in the history of Islam, when Musta’sim Billah was bound in chains, standing like a prisoner before Halaku Khan (grandson of Changiz Khan). And at mealtime, Halaku Khan ate in simple plates, but offered plates of gems and precious metals to Caliph Musta’sim Billah, mocking “Eat from these diamonds, gems, gold and precious metals you have collected!” There stood the Sovereign of Baghdad, helplessness, powerless, lonely, destitute, saying, “How can I eat gold?” Halaku Khan replied, “Then why you have collected all this silver and gold?”

The Muslim, whose religion calls on him to make arms and rear horses, had no reply. Halaku Khan glanced at the palace doors and windows, asking, “Why did you not make iron arrows by melting these iron nets? Why did you collect these diamonds instead of paying money to your soldiers, so they could fight bravely against my forces?”

“It was the will of Allah”, replied the grieved Caliph.

The arrogant Halaku shot back, “Whatever is now going to happen with you is also God’s wish”.

Then Halaku covered Musta’sim Billah in a cloak and crushed him under the hooves of horses, and proceeded to make a graveyard of Baghdad.