IS UN REALLY POWERFUL?

My friends are very happy after 128 countries didn’t back America at the UN over Jerusalem. Most of my friends are celebrating this and few see it as unity among world but the question remains, IS UN REALLY POWERFUL ENOUGH? Will America change its decision under Trump Administration? Well, let’s find out the answer and let’s know more about WHAT UN ACTUALLY IS?

Now, before I go any further, I need to say that while I may have some snarky things to say about UN systems and institutions individually, I have the utmost respect for the institution of the United Nations overall, in spite of its flaws. I also have deep respect for many of the professionals who work within the various UN agencies around the world, many of whom are professionals passionate about trying to make the world a better place, and many of whom are close colleagues and friends of mine of whom I am very fond. This post is not meant to disparage any of them, or their work. Infact You all helped me to draft this article well.

Also, a big shout-out to the lovely folks who run the Humanitarian Response Fund, the Central Emergency Response Fund, and our partners in the contracts divisions of UNICEF, UNOPS,UNOCHA,UNDP,UNHCR, WHO,UNDESA, and WFP. Did I mention lately how much we like you guys? Also, about that quarterly report.

  1. The UN is Not a Para-State Actor

The structure of the United Nations is not that of a para-state actor. What does that mean? It means the UN isn’t a separate country, with an economy and a military and a judiciary and an executive branch and territory and so forth. It is not a system of government.

The UN is, at its core, a coordinating organization. In crude terms, it provides a forum and good offices for all the countries of the world to come together and agree on stuff, in order to limit how often they get into fights with each other.

It has sub-organizations that then provide sub-forums to facilitate and support action in particular sectors. For example, the World Health Organization facilitates research into aspects of public health, promotes strategies and courses of action to manage health issues, and works to strengthen individual nations’ Ministries of Health to improve the health of those nations. Individual nations choose to opt into the various programs that WHO, on an entirely voluntary basis, each working bilaterally with WHO on those aspects of health management which are relevant and for which there is budget.

The same is true of countless other UN programs. UNESCO works to support nations in protecting their cultural heritage. The International Court of Justice provides a forum for trying to resolve certain aspects of international law that exceed the jurisdiction of individual nations and where those nations’ laws might be at odds. The International Labour Office creates guidelines around what fair labour practices should look like around the world in discussion with state representatives, and then encourages nations to adopt them, or provides advice on how best to reform their labour sector.

None of these organizations dictates policy to any sovereign nation. They have no power to do-so, nor a mandate. They simply provide the forum for common agreements to be reached between member states, then encourage the implementation of these agreements. The World Health Organization has no authority over any Ministry of Health. It cannot implement a single national-level policy or decision in a single state anywhere in the world. It is completely up to the individual member state to choose to implement (or not) a policy recommendation from the UN.

Understand that each of these organizations that make up the UN are staffed not by some shadowy cadre of placeless, stateless minions operating in some bubble of UN territory deep underground to create policies by which the world might be run. Every UN staff member is recruited from various member states of the UN, based on a policy that aims to ensure a representation of the various countries of the world based on their contributions to the overall UN system. The UN is staffed by people from Germany and India and Swaziland and Britain and Papua New Guinea and 188 other sovereign states. And because the US gives more to the UN than anybody else (debt notwithstanding), it is particularly heavily represented in UN staffing cadres. These people are professionals, technical experts, politicians- many of them formerly civil servants from their own governments before working for the UN.

 

  1. The UN has No Power At All to Enforce Anything

Let’s really drill this home. The UN has pretty much no power. It has no authority or line-management with a single state institution. It cannot, cannot, did I mention cannot make a single nation or head of state do anything.

Let’s take a treaty. For example, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s a broad document that captures a set of statements and ideals that reflect how the various member states feel children should be protected under their individual nations, laws. For example, it influences the age at which a child should be considered an adult, the age at which a child is allowed to vote, the age at which a child can serve in the military or be tried as an adult, or the laws that protect a child from being forced to work. It enshrines the rights of children to play, to have an education, to be with their families, and so forth.

All nations in the world save one have signed up to it. People like kids, and most good people feel kids should be protected. It’s a good thing.

Of course, when a nation signs a treaty, they then need to ratify it. Ratifying is writing the principles of the treaty into the legislation of their own country. So, for example, they have written into law that a child must be 18 years old before they can work at a particular level, and that there are penalties for employers breaking this law.

And of course, even once a treaty has been ratified into law, the country must then enforce those laws. There are a number of countries that have signed the convention on the rights of the child, written into law that children cannot marry before the age of 16, but do nothing to prevent child marriage or convict those who practice it.

The UN cannot make any member state sign a treaty.

The UN cannot make any member state that has signed a treaty ratify that treaty into law.

And the UN cannot make any country enforce those laws even if they have been written into legislation.

Do you really think that most UN representatives (or global governments, for that matter) think it’s a good thing that a 40-year-old man can marry and have sex with an eight-year-old girl in Yemen? Pretty much every country would have that man in prison on charges of pedophilia. But does the UN do anything to Yemen on this front, even though such activity is against the UN-backed convention on the rights of the child, and Yemen has not just signed but also ratified that treaty? It does not, because it has no such power or authority. And recall that Yemen is one of the weaker member states of the UN (Currently in war with Saudi led coalition)

Note that the US is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child but has not ratified it- one of only two nations globally. This is because in the US, minors can serve in the armed forces from the age of 16 (if you include military training), and because the US allows some minors to be tried as and face the same sentences as an adult. The US government is not willing to change its practices in this regards, and claims that it has adequate protections already written into law around other aspects of the convention to protect children, so ratifying the treaty is not necessary. Whatever the perspective on this position, one thing is very clear. The US has never faced any fallout in terms of its sovereignty with regards to this treaty. It has suffered no repercussions. The UN cannot force the US government to do a thing.

 

  1. The UN can take No Unilateral Action without Agreement from Member States

The UN has no direct control over any member state. The UN does have a few options up its sleeve to encourage, influence or impress decisions however. If diplomacy on a critical issue fails, it can apply economic sanctions on a country, in a variety of fashions that may limit certain kinds of imports and exports (see Iraqi oil under Saddam Hussein), or target certain members of national leadership by freezing international assets or disallowing international travel. It can also mandate an international intervention force which will go in with a range of possible responses under it (more on this below). Regardless of the effectiveness of some of these measures the UN cannot implement any of these measures without the approval of the majority of member states.

In fact, just getting to this stage takes weeks, months, sometimes years of diplomacy, conversation, meetings, working groups, recommendations, redrafts and general bureaucratic hamster wheeling.

I’m not going to explain the sanctions approval process here, because I don’t know it in any depth myself. I do know there are committees, that many (all?) UN sanctions have to go through a Security Council sanctions committee of some description, and that some (all?) sanctions or actions also go through the UN General Assembly.

In short, there are checks and balances. Horrible, bureaucracy. Bureaucracy that would bore a sloth. And, like everything else the UN does, decisions are not necessarily enforceable. For example, the UN can place sanctions on a particular country, but it is then up to the other member states of the UN to actually put that into action. The UN Security Council can decide to place export sanctions on Iran, for example, but other nations, if they choose to, can still trade with Iran. Travel restrictions were placed on Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir after the ICC issued a war-crimes arrest warrant for him, but he still travelled to Kenya (ostensibly a nation signatory to the ICC, although that’s another topic of conversation after its recent elections), and Kenya allowed the visit to continue without any fallout.

This is even truer for any military action the UN sanctions. For military action to go ahead, it must first be agreed upon by the UN Security Council, which has 5 permanent members and 10 temporary members drawn on a rotation basis from the other 188 member states. The 5 permanent members- the US, Britain, France, Russia and China- all have veto power, which means if just one of them disagrees with a recommended action to the security council (including sanctions, diplomatic action, military intervention) then they can simply vote ‘no’ and the action cannot proceed.

So again, with the US government being permanently represented on the UN Security Council, there is no way the UN as an organization can do anything major that the US isn’t prepared to tolerate.

  1. The UN has No Standing Army

This is where the talk of ‘UN forces’ gets a little silly. A bit like the whole Black Helicopter discussion. Only, you know, stealth helicopters and black paint both exist, so I’m sure somebody somewhere is using them. But probably not to keep tabs on what you buy at the local 7-11.

Let me say this clearly. The UN has no standing army. Aside from a few armed security guards who keep an eye on UN headquarters and the relatively small UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) which provides security assistance for UN programs.

 

The UN doesn’t ‘deploy’ forces. The UN ‘sanctions’ them. That means, it gives them its blessing. It lets them use the Blue Helmets and take on the title of whichever UN-approved mission this happens to be.

Once the UN Security Council has approved a UN intervention force (not a common thing), it is then entirely reliant on various soveriegn states to provide the necessary personnel, vehicles, weapons systems, logistics support, funding- everything required to field a military force on the ground. This can take weeks, months, sometimes years to scale-up. Once member states have chosen to allocate resources (usually quite patchwork and piecemeal), there is then a system of command and control that the UN coordinates via the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). However even within this, military units that have been ‘seconded’ into a peacekeeping operation still report primarily to their own government and military structure, and only after that to the DPKO. The giving nation can withdraw those forces at any time or countermand orders, and the contingent commander is under no ‘obligation’ to obey the DPKO command structure or Force Commander if their own state hierarchy deems it against their interest.

  1. UN Peacekeeping Forces are Not Staffed with Crack Military Operators

For the most part, western government commit relatively little to actual peacekeeping operations these days. The bulk of front-line troops in forces such as MONUC (in the DRC) or UNAMID (Darfur) are from developing countries. This is because the UN essentially leases troops from state governments for a fee, and for some developing countries, this means their soldiers get paid more than the government could afford to pay them (or at least offsets the costs), and it is therefore profitable both financially and from the experience gained by these troops. Major contributers to peacekeeping forces include Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nigeria, as examples.

Meanwhile the UK, the US and other western nations generally find it against their political interests to send troops to the front lines. No western politician wants to be responsible for troops dying in some war that isn’t directly related to them. They will provide logistics support, some equipment, maybe some technical expertise or high-level staffing. But usually to a limited budget, and often reluctantly. UN Peacekeeping missions typically take from months to well over a year to reach full force, and are often poorly equipped even at that time.

Most UN peacekeeping forces, for example, use old equipment. Cold-war era helicopters (Mi-8s are a mainstay)and armoured personnel carriers (M113s, which date back to the Vietnam War, and BTR-60s, a 1960s Soviet APC) are commonplace. Personnel deploy in soft-skinned Toyota Land Cruisers. Their hardware is light. More advanced systems may be deployed at times today, but not in large numbers. What’s certainly key to note is that no UN-mandated force is deploying with M1A2 main battle tanks, Stryker LAVs (for better or for worse), Apache Longbows and MLRS. The only time a UN-mandated force did deploy like this was Operation Desert Storm in 1991, during the campaign to liberate Kuwait, and the bulk of its force was provided by the US military

  1. The United Nations Secretary General is not a Warlord

In more than 65 years of its existence, no UN Secretary General has attempted- or even exhibited behaviour towards- world domination. There has been no significant changes in the level of power or authority that the UN has. The UN’s various charters, treaties, edicts and so forth have grown deeper and more complex, like a colony of spiders on speed, but they haven’t actually

I have nothing against the UNSG. Nothing particular to say in favour of the man, either. I’m sure he’s doing the best he can under the circumstances. But the reality is that the UNSG’s job is, I imagine, pretty frustrating. He’s a deal-broker, perhaps- somebody who works to find a compromise between disagreeing parties that generally leaves both parties accepting an outcome that neither are fully satisfied with. He has his eyes on a relatively small portfolio of high-level international affairs, gives the occasional speech, smiles for the photo opportunities. Behind the scenes, he may be (I presume is) a skilled negotiator, schmoozer and general agent for keeping things calm and friendly between nations who’d like to park a few warhead on each other’s front lawns.

 

  1. The UN has Checks and Balances- like any other Government

In fact, more checks than you would believe. So much red tape it can be almost impossible to get anything done. And trust me, at times I’ve tried- admittedly from outside the system, but colleagues who work inside it profess the same thing. Every country office of every UN agency has its own way of doing things. An agreement with UNICEF in DRC,CAR may be won in a completely different manner to one in Chad due to the personalities involved and the way systems are applied. What WFP might agree to, UNHCR won’t.

There are councils, steering committees, working groups. Administration out the wazoo. You have seriously not see bureaucracy until you have worked closely with the UN .As I mentioned above, the UN has no real power. There are layers and layers of permissions and protocols to go through before any action is approved and sanctioned, and at every step, buy-in from member states is needed to actually achieve anything, and then those member-states must do the implementing. These checks and balances mean that, far from being a threat to society, the UN’s biggest threat is becoming useless and irrelevant. The UN Security Council is an anachronistic hangover from the end of the Second World War, when the five nuclear powers responsible for carving up what was left of Eurasia needed a forum to ensure that nuclear war didn’t start through some unfortunate misunderstanding among themselves. A reform of the UNSC has been discussed for years, but understandably, none of the permanent member states really want to give up their seat of control- even though there are now another half-dozen nuclear powers (at least) kicking around the table.

Getting the US, the UK, France, Russia and China to agree on anything is such a daunting task that if there’s anything to be gleaned here, it’s that the fact the UN can make even the smallest task happen is in itself a miracle worth celebrating.

These checks and balances tend the UN not towards a radical sweep to global power and evil mayhem, but towards overwhelming inertia.

The United Nations is simply a coordinating body that exists to capture and facilitate the collective will of its 193 member states, imperfectly and skewed in favor of the wealthier and more powerful nations, and specifically, the five permanent security-council members. It does not pose any threat to US even after 128 countries voted against US in the latest UNSC/UNGA session.

 

(References)

If you want to read about just how unwieldy a process UN peacekeeping interventions are, read Dallier’s Shake Hands with the Devil. It will have you alternatively weeping, screaming at the technocrats involved, or wanting to hurl your book/Kindle across the room in frustration. Sheri Fink’s War Hospital is similarly heart-wrenching.

A more damning report again comes from a reading of Shake Hands, in which General Dallier’s request for a relatively small force increment was assessed as sufficient to prevent the genocide that claimed 800,000 lives in Rwanda 19 years ago, but was never approved.

(Author is working as a consultant on World Bank Project in Bangladesh. Views are personal and not from the institution he works for. He can be reached at connectmuzamil.maqbool@gmail.com)

 

 

 

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Procrastination is a “Curse”

Muzamil Maqbool

According to Wikipedia, “Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the “last minute” before a Deadline. Procrastination can take hold on any aspect of life-putting off cleaning the stove, repairing a leaky roof, seeing a doctor or dentist, submitting a job report or academic assignment or broaching a stressful issue with a partner. Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt”.

I wanted to write about Time Management but a friend of mine updated her post as “Procrastination” on Facebook and in comments  i wrote” IS A CURSE”. Since then i am gathering data to write about Procrastination.

According to me, Procrastination is a curse who makes us tedious, lousy and we keep things off for later time. Procrastination seems to become a skill that we use very often as students, Employees and instead of embracing this laziness; we should be trying to find solutions to get rid of this negative habit. As each day goes by, we have various tasks at hand that we decide to push back until the last minute. But why not just get it done and over with? Thousands of people especially students all over the world suffer from procrastination habits daily. If you allow it to, procrastination WILL control your life. Even though I am faced with so many activities to participate in daily, I know I should focus strictly on my Work and important tasks that I need to complete. Being a Consultant, I am faced with many assignments and Challenges to work on, and from experience, lazy and rushed work is never good. Developing the habit of being a procrastinator only seems to make things worse for me as time passes on. Therefore, I must push myself to work hard even when I don’t feel like it.

As human beings, we somehow develop an urge to get lazy or get distracted very often. I am guilty of this, and I couldn’t help but notice how much waiting until the last minute hinders things, rather than helps it. In my life, I find so many other things to do rather than what I am SUPPOSED to do. I would rather go shopping than write a five-page essay, but then again, who wouldn’t?

No matter how hard you try, overcoming procrastination isn’t an easy task. It also seems almost impossible to control. Think of it as a huge cycle that holds you back from the important things in life. Within this cycle, you continuously put important tasks behind until the day they need to be completed, you rush to do it, and you stress yourself out to extreme measures during the process of getting it done. Then, from that point you receive another task, wait until the last minute and the cycle begins all over again. But, you can break this cycle. You can change it by getting a planner, setting reminders, and being more aware of your time management. After many failed attempts, you will become tired of waiting until the last few hours to write essays and study for exams. You’ll also be dissatisfied with the grades produced from cramming. If you can control how much you procrastinate, it can be a huge benefit. You’ll see improvement within yourself and your academics. This can be mastered easily if you start by not telling yourself “I’ll do it later.”

 

Alright, Let’s first understand why do we procrastinate

Definitions are great and all, but why do we procrastinate? What is going on in the mind that causes us to avoid the things we know we should be doing on time?

Behavioral psychology/Life Skills research has revealed a phenomenon called “Time inconsistency,” which helps explain why procrastination seems to pull us in despite our good intentions. Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.   The best way to understand this is by imagining that you have two selves: your Present Self and your Future Self. When you set goals for yourself like losing weight or writing a book or learning a language, you are actually making plans for your Future Self. You are envisioning what you want your life to be like in the future. Researchers have found that when you think about your Future self, it is quite easy for your brain to see the value in taking actions with long-term benefits. The Future Self values long-term rewards. However, while the Future Self can set goals, only the Present Self can take action. When the time comes to make a decision, you are no longer making a choice for your Future Self. Now you are in the present moment, and your brain is thinking about the Present Self. Researchers have discovered that the Present Self really likes instant satisfaction, not long-term payoff. So future self wants to be fit and slim while present self want a milk shake. This is exactly what happens during the moment when we finally move beyond procrastination and take action. For example, let’s say you have a report to write. You’ve known about it for weeks and continued to put it off day after day. You experience a little bit of nagging pain and anxiety thinking about this paper you have to write, but not enough to do anything about it. Then, suddenly, the day before the deadline, the future consequences turn into present consequences, and you write that report hours before it is due. The pain of procrastinating finally escalated and you crossed the “Deadline.”

I work with a World’s leading consulting firm where in we have to send reports on daily, Weekly, Fortnightly and monthly. For Weekly, Fortnightly and MONTHLY,I sit down every evening to fill my excel sheet, Even though, i feel tired, boring and not at all energetic while coming back from office but to evade procrastination i do it on my daily basis.  It not only saves my time but also give me a sign of relief that i don’t have to hurry up like others at the 11th hour. Many of my friends who procrastinate things get into trouble and to finish the work at the 11th hour, they often end up making it more badly.

People also procrastinate because

1: They have very low self control.

2: They fail at estimating the commitments.

3: You are Plain LAZY

4: You see some tasks as Humongous and Complicated.

5: You are scared to fail.

Different scholars, Writers, Authors and Motivational Speakers have shared their experience as “How to avoid Procrastination” I have written down few points which can be very helpful for all of us.

 

 

Option1: Temptation bundling

Is a concept that came out of behavioural economics research performed by Katy Milkman at The University of Pennsylvania. Simply put, the strategy suggests that you bundle a behaviour that is good for you in the long-run with a behaviour that feels good in the short-run.

Here are a few common examples of temptation bundling:

  • Only listen to audiobooks or podcasts you love while exercising.
  • Only get a pedicure while processing overdue work emails.
  • Only watch your favourite show while ironing or doing household chores.
  • Only eat at your favourite restaurant when conducting your monthly meeting with a difficult colleague.

 

Option2: Make the Consequences of Procrastination More Immediate

There are many ways to force you to pay the costs of procrastination sooner rather than later. For example, if you are exercising alone, skipping your workout next week won’t impact your life much at all. Your health won’t deteriorate immediately because you missed that one workout. The cost of procrastinating on exercise only becomes painful after weeks and months of lazy behaviour. However, One day i committed to work out with a friend of mine at 7 am from Monday, I skipped this workout, the cost of skipping this workout become more immediate. I missed this one workout and i looked like a jerk.

 

Option 3: Keep Reminders

If you are too into social media these days then you need to cut off a bit as social media is the biggest reason of procrastination as per the recent research done by Harvard. To help you out here i personally keep sticky notes on my Laptop screen. While doing some important work, i sometimes pick up my phone to check messages and get into long conversation and i only come back when i see a sticky note on my laptop which reads as (Stop wasting your time on FB) A small reminder but a huge impact. In the same way my friend has kept a poster on a wall in her Room which reads as (Stop thinking and start working).

Get a support team, tell your friends, Roommates and Parents to remind you about your work / deadlines or to check up on you. Tell them to remind you about your GOALS.

Option4: Break down your work into easy tasks.

The great way to make tasks more achievable is to break them down. For example, consider the remarkable productivity of the famous writer Anthony Trollope. He published 47 novels, 18 works of non-fiction, 12 short stories, 2 plays, and an assortment of articles and letters. How did he do it? Instead of measuring his progress based on the completion of chapters or books, Trollope measured his progress in 15-minute increments. He set a goal of 250 words every 15 minutes and he continued this pattern for three hours each day. This approach allowed him to enjoy feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment every 15 minutes while continuing to work on the large task of writing a book.

Option5:  Recognize You have a Problem in procrastinating.

We fill out To do List” with unimportant tasks.

We decide to do something else that consider fun instead of working on the task.(ex. Facebook, X-BOX,What’sApp and messenger)

We keep putting important tasks for the next day and next and next.

We easily say yes to anything that takes us away from work.

Option6: Get organized and get started.

As i was going through a Life-Skills module on Time management with my Trainees, I showed them practically the importance of Goals setting. If we set up our short term and long terms Goals, Personal and Career Goals then we won’t have time to even think about procrastination. Goals help us to move further successfully and on time.

There is an old saying that goes as, if you have to eat a frog every day, eat that in morning.

(Brian Tracy says “Frog should be a difficult task on your To “Do “List and the one we most likely procrastinate on.

If we eat this frog in the morning, it will give us energy to do other thing in our entire day. It takes 15 minutes for brain to get started to become engaged. Once you have reached this level of engagement, you will see that it will be hard to stop.

Option 7: Eliminate Distractions

One the biggest distractions these days are your Phone. Keep it away. I keep telling this to my trainees to keep Facebook, cell phones, iPods away when you are doing some important task. Nothing else is important then your career. Distractions can be someone you talk over the phone. YOUR GIRLFRIEND OR YOUR BOYFRIEND OR NEGATIVE COLLEGUE WHO ALWAYS BRAG NEGATIVE THINGS ABOUT YOUR CURRENT ORGANIZATION. Stay away from these distractions for Good.

Option8: Reward Yourself

After reaching mini Goals or your deadlines, Reward yourself with a break, a movie, or a treat to motivate you to continue for your ultimate Nirvana. Whenever we finish our work, we become happy and naturally HIGH as our brain releases a substance called “Endorphin” Lets us make this as our positive addiction. For e.g. after finishing this write-up i will treat myself with a hot bowl of chicken soup. Gosh! I can’t wait. I need to hurry up.

Option9: 6P Formula

Proper Prior Planning prevents poor performance. Before starting any work, do a bit of planning. This will save you many hours. It will also make your work easy because if we don’t have any proper prior planning, it creates a huge confusion which leads to procrastination.

Option10:  Why do you need to Avoid Procrastination and work on it. Start working now.

 

1: You will lose your precious time.

2: You will lose your great opportunities. Ask me i have lost one recently.

3: The biggest interruption in your personal and career Goals.

4: Procrastination could ruin your career.

5: You will end up losing your self-esteem. You will feel not worthy anymore.

6: You will make late, ill and poor decisions. Even after making this decision you will have confusion hanging above your head.

7: You will damage your reputation. In your school/college or at your workplace.

8: You will risk your health. More depression which will lead to other stomach problems.

9: You will become less social and responsible person.

10: You will always have a negative though attack, which will give you sleepless nights.

(Muzamil Maqbool is a Life-Skills Consultant and author of a Book “i AM NOT A STEREOTYPE”. He has worked with many international organizations globally. Views are Personal and not from the organization he works for)

Prophet Muhammad’s Letter To The Monks Of St. Catherine Monastery

In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad (s) granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.

An English translation of that document is presented below.

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.

Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by
Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them.

Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).

 

Source: Internet

Rabia al Basri R.A

Brief History of Hazrat Rabia al Basri R . A

Hazrat Rabia Basri (R.A)

Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya (Arabic: رابعة العدوية القيسية‎) or simply Rābiʻa al-Basrī (Arabic: رابعة البصري‎) (717–801 C.E.) was a female Muslim Sufi saint who is highly regarded and has been conferred the status of Half-Qalander.

Life sketch

She was born between 95 and 99 Hijri in Basra, Iraq. Much of her early life is narrated by Farid al-Din Attar, a later Sufi saint and poet, who used earlier sources. Rabia herself did not leave any written works.

Rabi’a’s parents were so poor that there was no oil in house to light a lamp, nor a cloth even to wrap her with.

She was the fourth child in the family. Her mother requested her husband to borrow some oil from a neighbor. But he had resolved in his life never to ask for anything from anyone except the Creator; so he pretended to go to the neighbor’s door and returned home empty-handed.

In the night Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) appeared to him in a dream and told him, “Your newly born daughter is a favorite of the Lord, and shall lead many Muslims to the right path. You should approach the Amir of Basra and present him with a letter in which should be written this message; ‘you offer Durood to the Holy Prophet one hundred times every night and four hundred times every Thursday night. However, since you have failed to observe the rule last Thursday, as a penalty you must pay the bearer four hundred dinars ‘.

Rabi’a’s father got up and went to the Amir straight with tears of joy rolling down his cheeks. The Amir was delighted on receiving the message and knowing that he was in the eyes of Prophet, he distributed 1000 dinars to the poor and paid with joy 400 to Rabi’a’s father and requested him top come to him whenever he required anything as he will benefit very much by the visit of such a soul dear to the Lord.”  

After the death of her father a famine overtook Basra and she parted from her sisters. Once she was accompanying a caravan, which fell into he hands of robbers. The chief of the robbers took Rabi’a I his custody and as an article of loot, and sold her in the market as a slave. The new master of Rabi’a used to take hard service from her.

She used to pass the whole night on prayers, after she had finished her household jobs. She used to pass many her day observing fast.

Incidentally, once the master of the house got up in the middle of the night, and was attracted by the pathetic voice in which Rabia was praying to her Lord. She was entreating in these terms,

“Lord! You know well that my keen desire is to carry out Your commandments and to serve Thee with all my heart, O light of my eyes. If I were free I would pass the whole day and night in prayers. But what should I do when you have made me a slave of a human being?”  

At once he felt that it was sacrilegious to keep such a saint in his service. He decided to save her himself. In the morning he called her and told his decision that thenceforward he would serve her and she should dwell there as the mistress of the house and if she insisted on leaving the house he was willing to free her from bondage.

She told him that she was willing to leave the house to carry on her worship in solitude. This the master granted and she left the house

Was the door ever closed?
Salih Qazwani always taught his disciples, “Who knocks at the door of someone constantly, one day the door must be opened to him” Rabi’a one day heard it and said,

“Salih, how long ‘will you go on preaching thus, using the future tense, saying ‘will be opened’? Was the door ever closed? It was ever open.

Separation, simply unbearable!
One day, people asked why she kept no knife in the house. Rabi’a replied,

“Cutting asunder is the wok of the knife. I fear it may not asunder the bond between that exist between me and my beloved Lord.”

A fervent prayer
One day she was going on an errand. Whilst passing a street a vagabond pursued her. She ran to save herself from him, and in doing so her foot slipped and she fell down and broke her arm.

She thereupon prayed to the Lord,

“I am poor orphan and a slave. Now my hand too is broken. But I do not mind these things if Thou be pleased with me. But make it manifest to me that you are pleased with me.”

The Divine voice in reply said, “Never mind all these sufferings. On the day of judgment you shall be accorded the status that shall be the envy of the angels even.” Then she returned to her master’s service.

Thanking the Lord
One day Sufyan Thauri went to Rabi’a. She passed the whole night in worship, standing before the Lord. When the morning broke she remarked,

“God be praised that He conferred His grace on us that we could pass the whole night in prayers. As a mark of gratitude, let us pass the whole day in fasting.”

The joy of pain!
A man was crying, “Ah! How great a pain!” Rabi’a approached him and said, “Oh! What a lack of pain” He asked her why she said the contrary. She replied,

Because pain is the privilege of great devotees, who cherish even with the joy even so much anguish that even talking and drawing breath become a matter of strain to them.”

Why no bandage for His blessings?
One day Rabia saw a man passing on the way with his forehead tied with a bandage. She asked him why he put on the bandage. He replied that he was suffering from headache.

“What is your age?” she asked.

He replied that he was thirty.

She asked, “Till today, how have you passed your life?”

He replied, “In perfect health”.

She said, “For thirty years the Lord kept you sound, and you did not fly any colors on your body to express your gratitude for His gift, so that people could ask you the reason for your joy and knowing of God’s blessings on you would have praised Him, but when for your own fault you have suffered from a little headache you have tied a bandage and go about exhibiting His harshness to you in making you suffer from headache. What a base act is yours!”

Neither this nor that world, You are enough for me
O Lord,

If  tomorrow on Judgment Day
You send me to Hell,
I will tell such a secret
That Hell will race from me
Until it is a thousand years away.

O Lord,
Whatever share of this world
You could give to me,
Give it to Your enemies;
Whatever share of the next world
You want to give to me,
Give it to Your friends.
You are enough for me.

O Lord,
If I worship You
From fear of Hell, burn me in Hell.
  

 O Lord,
If I worship You
From hope of Paradise, bar me from its gates.

But if I worship You for Yourself alone
Then grace me forever the splendor of Your Face.

Rabia was in her early to mid eighties when she died, having followed the mystic Way to the end. She believed she was continually united with her Beloved. As she told her Sufi friends, “My Beloved is always with me” She died in Jerusalem in 185 AH.

See Zirkali, al-A`lam, vol. 3, p 10, col 1, who quotes ibn Khalikan as his source. 

 

Source:Multiple

 

Kashmir “Past and Present”.

Kashmir Conflict

(Mandatory Brief History)

Born from the partition of India in 1947, the conflict in Kashmir continues today, involving three nuclear powers – China, India and Pakistan – who are in dispute over the territory. The conflict is set against the backdrop of the Himalayan mountains and valleys and involves a patchwork of languages, religions and ethnicities: notably Kasmiris, Dards, Ladakhis, Dogras, Hanjis, Gujjars and Bakarwals.

The dispute over the region has continued for more than six decades, at huge cost. Since the 1989 insurgency – 42 years after the partition – there are estimated to be at least80,000 dead and 9,000 missing by local human rights groups. Today Kashmiris face life alongside a huge military presence and ongoing militia operations. Although a ceasefire agreement was made between India and Pakistan in 2003, and the 2000s saw internal violence largely give way to non-violent protest, the calm is often punctuated by military and insurgent operations from both sides.

Since the 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistani militants, there have been numerous violent incidents between India and Pakistan along the border, leading to a statement by the Indian defence minister A.K. Anthony that there has been an 80% increase in ceasefire violations compared to the same period last year by Pakistan, pushing the likelihood of successful peace talks even further away.

As of 2013, India administers 43 per cent of the region – including most of Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and the Siachen Glacier. Pakistan controls 37 per cent of Kashmir, namely Azad Kashmir and the northern areas of Gilgit and Baltistan. In addition, China occupies 20 per cent of Kashmir following the Sino-Indian War of 1962. The Shaksam Valley, which China claims, is part of Tibet.

Indo-Pakistani War of 1947

Amidst the tumult of independence the Hindu ruler Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir signed the Standstill Agreement with Pakistan. The Maharaja delayed his decision to accede to either India or Pakistan in an effort to remain independent, but was forced to choose when internal revolt in the Poonch region turned into an organised rebellion of the majority Muslim population. Mass killings of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims throughout the year led to hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing their homes where they were in the religious minority, and culminated in Pathan tribesmen and the Poonch rebels invading Kashmir, killing large numbers in Baramula.

Even though Kashmir had a large Muslim majority, the Maharaja eventually signed the Instrument of Accession putting Jammu and Kashmir under Indian control, allowing India to send in forces to repel the Pakistani presence and kick-start the war. This move was, as suggested and accepted by India, supposed to be temporary until a plebiscite could be conducted which would enable the Kashmiri people to choose who would rule them, though this has never materialised.

The war continued until 1948 when India requested the involvement of the UN Security Council. The Council passed a resolution that imposed an immediate ceasefire and called on Pakistan to withdraw all military presence. In addition, it stated that India could retain a minimum military presence, while Pakistan would have no say in administration and “the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.” The ceasefire was enacted on 31 December 1948, however Pakistan did not withdraw its troops from the region and a plebiscite was not conducted, leading to the beginning of increasing unrest in the region.

 

Sino-Indian War of 1962

The increasing unrest and escalating violence culminated in 1962 when military from China and India clashed in territorial disputes. China quickly overpowered the Indian military and occupied the area, claiming the area under administration and naming the region Aksai Chin. The border dispute between this area and other smaller areas is known as the Line of Actual Control.

China states that Aksai Chin is an integral part of China and does not recognise the inclusion of Aksai Chin as part of the Kashmir region.

China did not accept the boundaries of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu, north of Aksai Chin and the Karakoram as proposed by the British.

  • China settled its border disputes with Pakistan under the 1963 Trans Karakoram Tractwith the provision that the settlement was subject to the final solution of the Kashmir dispute.

 

1965 and 1971 wars

In 1965 and 1971, heavy fighting broke out again between India and Pakistan. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 resulted in the defeat of Pakistan and the surrender of the Pakistani military in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), which led to the signing of The Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan. By this treaty, both countries agreed to settle all issues by peaceful means and mutual discussions within the framework of the UN Charter. However, this form of track-two diplomacy was merely a ‘paper peace’ and did not reflect the situation in Kashmir that had left a bitter legacy of a deadly 20-year war.

The Simla agreement defined the Line of Control (not to be confused with the Line of Actual Control between India and China) separating Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Current construction of a ‘fence’ around the Line of Control has been disputed by both China and Pakistan. India claims that the ‘fence’ reduces insurgent attacks. Until the ceasefire in 2003 the Line of Control was one of the most violence-prone de facto borders in the world and saw daily shelling, mortar fire, and machine gun exchanges between Indian and Pakistani troops and other militant groups.

Militancy

The Simla Agreement had little bearing to events on the ground and there were increasingly organised uprisings. Opposition to the Indian administration, disputed state elections and military occupation led to some of the state’s legislative assemblies forming militant wings, which further created the catalyst for the Mujahideen insurgency, which continues to this day.

The three main militant groups in Kashmir are Hizbul Mujahideen; Lashkar-e-Toyeba; and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. All have to some degree fractured into different, sometimes opposing factions, many of which have different objectives, views on how to resolve the conflict, and opinions on the use of violence. In recent years their membership and influence has diminished. A fourth militant group, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, a secular and nationalist group, has sought full independence for Kashmir from both India and Pakistan, and increasingly found its support reduced over the past few decades.

India claims these insurgents are Islamic terrorist groups from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Afghanistan, fighting to make Jammu and Kashmir a part of Pakistan. They claim Pakistan supplies munitions to the terrorists and trains them in Pakistan. India states that the terrorists have killed many citizens in Kashmir and committed human rights violations whilst denying that their own armed forces are responsible for human rights abuses. On a visit to Pakistan in 2006, former Chief Minister of Kashmir Omar Abdullah remarked that foreign militants were engaged in reckless killings and mayhem in the name of religion. The Indian government has said militancy is now on the decline

The Pakistani government calls these insurgents “Kashmiri freedom fighters”, and claims that it provides them only moral and diplomatic support, although India believes they are Pakistan-supported terrorists from Pakistan Administered Kashmir. In October 2008, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan called the Kashmir separatists “terrorists” in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. These comments sparked outrage amongst many Kashmiris, some of whom defied a curfew imposed by the Indian army to burn him in effigy.

 

The Kargil War of 1999

In mid-1999 insurgents and Pakistani soldiers from Pakistani Kashmir infiltrated Jammu and Kashmir. The insurgents took advantage of the severe winter conditions and occupied vacant mountain peaks of the Kargil range. By blocking the highway, they wanted to cut off the only link between the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. This resulted in a high-scale conflict between the Indian Army and the Pakistan Army. International fears that the conflict could turn nuclear led to the involvement of the United Statespressurising Pakistan to retreat.

Opposing Views

The main opinions of India, Pakistan, and Kashmiris can be summarised as follows:

Indian view

  • India claims that as the Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession in October 1947, handing control of the Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir over to India, the region is theirs, having been validated by the Indian Independence Act and the departing British Empire.
  • India claims that the UN Resolution 1172 in 1948 accepted India’s stand regarding all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan.
  • India claims that Pakistan has not removed its military forces, which India views as one of the first steps in implementing a resolution.
  • India accused Pakistan of funding military groups in the region to create instability, and accuses Pakistan of waging a proxy war.
  • India accuses Pakistan of spreading anti-India sentiment among the people of Kashmir, through the media, to alter Kashmiri opinion.
  • According to India, most regions of Pakistani Kashmir, especially northern areas, continue to suffer from lack of political recognition, economic development and basic fundamental rights.

Pakistani view

  • Pakistan claims that according to the two-nation theory Kashmir should have been with Pakistan, because it has a Muslim majority.
  • Pakistan argues that India has shown disregard to the resolutions of the UN Security Council, and the United Nations Commission in India and Pakistan, by failing to hold a plebiscite.
  • Pakistan rejects Indian claims to Kashmir, centring around the Instrument of Accession. Pakistan insists that the Maharaja did not have the support of most Kashmiris. Pakistan also claims that the Maharaja handed over control of Jammu and Kashmir under duress, thus invalidating the legitimacy of the claims.
  • Pakistan claims that India violated the Standstill Agreement and that Indian troops were already in Kashmir before the Instrument of Accession was signed.
  • Pakistan claims that between 1990-1999 the Indian Armed Forces, its paramilitary groups, and counter-insurgent militias have been responsible for the deaths of 4,501 Kashmiri civilians. Also from 1990 to 1999, there are records of 4,242 women between the ages of 7-70 that have been raped. Similar allegations were also made by some human rights organisations.
  • Pakistan claims that the Kashmiri uprising demonstrates that the people of Kashmir no longer wish to remain part of India. Pakistan suggests that this means that either Kashmir wants to be with Pakistan or independent.

Kashmiri view

  • It is difficult to assess Kashmiri public opinion, and the region contains supporters of various different solutions to the conflict. Alongside those who align more closely to either the Pakistani or Indian government views, there are also those who favour independence for Kashmir. According to one independent survey public opinion:
    • 43% of the total adult population want complete independence for Kashmir.
    • 1% of Azad Kashmir (in Pakistan-administered Kashmir) want to join India compared to 28% in Jammu and Kashmir (in Indian-administered Kashmir).
    • 50% of Azad Kashmir want to join Pakistan compared to 2% in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • 14% of the total population want to make the Line of Control a permanent border.
  • The All Parties Hurriyat Conference represent the main separatist movement in Kashmir. However, it has multiple branches, each holding differing views on how Kashmir should proceed independently, which is indicative of the vast array of opinions that exist across the territory.
  • Whether it be due to religion or region, Kashmir is not a unified voice on the matter of its future. Apart from the unending call for democracy and human rights standards, Kashmiris differ in their opinions all over the territory, and this must be taken into account when discussing solutions.
  • 2008 Kashmir elections
  • Jammu and Kashmir state assembly elections, 2008
  • State elections were held in Indian administered Kashmir in seven phases, starting on 17 November and finishing on 24 December 2008. In spite of calls by separatists for a boycott, an unusually high turnout of more than 60% was recorded. The National Conference party, which was founded by Sheikh Abdullahand is regarded as pro-India, emerged with a majority of the seats. On 30 December, the Congress Party and the National Conference agreed to form a coalition government, with Omar Abdullah as Chief Minister. On 5 January 2009, Abdullah was sworn in as the eleventh Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. In March 2009, Abdullah stated that only 800 militants were active in the state and out of these only 30% were Kashmiris.

2009 Kashmir protests

  • In 2009, protests started over the alleged rape and murder of two young womenin Shopian in South Kashmir. Suspicion pointed towards the police as the perpetrators. A judicial enquiry by a retired High Court official confirmed the suspicion, but a CBI enquiry reversed their conclusion. This gave fresh impetus to popular agitation against India. Significantly, the unity between the separatist parties was lacking this time.

 

  • 2010 Kashmir Unrest
  • The 2010 Kashmir unrest was series of protests in the Muslim majority Kashmir Valley in Jammu and Kashmir which started in June 2010. These protests involved the ‘Quit Jammu Kashmir Movement’ launched by the Hurriyat Conferenceled by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who had called for the complete demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference made this call to protest, citing human rights abuses by Indian troops. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah attributed the 2010 unrest to the fake encounter staged by the military in Machil. Protesters shouted pro-independence slogans, defied curfews, attacked security forces with stones and burnt police vehicles and government buildings. The Jammu and Kashmir Police and Indian para-military forces fired live ammunition on the protesters, resulting in 112 deaths, including many teenagers. The protests subsided after the Indian government announced a package of measures aimed at defusing the tensions in September 2010.

 

  • UN Resolution
  • The United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 was passed by United Nations Security Council under chapter VI of UN Charter Resolutions passed under Chapter VI of UN charter are considered non binding and have no mandatory enforceability as opposed to the resolutions passed under Chapter VII
  • On January 24, 1957 the UN Security Council reaffirmed the 1948 resolution.The Security Council, reaffirming its previous resolution to the effect, “that the final disposition of the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of United Nations,” further declared that any action taken by the Constituent Assembly formed in Kashmir ” would not constitute disposition of the state in accordance with the above principles
  • In March 2001, the then Secretary-General of the United NationsKofi Annan during his visit to India and Pakistan,remarked that Kashmir resolutions are only advisory recommendations and comparing with those on East Timor and Iraq was like comparing apples and oranges, since those resolutions were passed under chapter VII, which make it enforceable by UNSC.
  •  In 2003,then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf announced that Pakistan was willing to back off from demand for UN resolutions for Kashmir.
  •  Moreover, India alleges that Pakistan failed to fulfill the pre-conditions by withdrawing its troops from the Kashmir region as was required under the same U.N. resolution of 13 August 1948 which discussed the plebiscite.

 

  •  Jammu and Kashmir is out of UN dispute list: In Nov 2010 the United Nations has removed Jammu and Kashmir from its list of disputed territories.
  •  It was major setback to Pakistan’s efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue, the United Nations has excluded Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) from its list of unresolved international disputes under the observation of the UN Security Council (UNSC). Pakistan’s acting envoy in the UN, Amjad Hussain Sial, has lodged a strong protest, while Indian authorities welcomed the decision
  • In 2010, United States Ambassador to IndiaTimothy J. Roemer said that Kashmir is an ‘internal’ issue of India and not to be discussed on international level rather it should be solved by bilateral talks between India and Pakistan.
  •  He said, “The (US) President ( Barack Obama), I think was very articulate on this issue of Kashmir. This is an internal issue for India
  • Separatist Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said that, “First of all when they say Kashmir is an internal issue, it is against the reality. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir is an international issue and it should be solved. As long as promises made to us are not fulfilled, this issue will remain unsolved
  • The UN later affirmed that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains on the United Nation Security Council’s agenda and denied claims that the UN had removed Kashmir from the list of unresolved issues.

 

 

 

AFSPA

The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990

The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 was enacted in September, 1990

 

The Act

 

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), are Acts of the Parliament of India that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what each act terms “disturbed areas”.

One such act passed on September 11, 1958 was applicable to the Seven Sister States in India’s northeast. Another passed in 1983 and applicable to Punjab and Chandigarh was withdrawn in 1997, roughly 14 years after it came to force. An act passed in 1990 was applied to Jammu and Kashmir and has been in force since

The Acts have received criticism from several sections for alleged concerns about human rights violations in the regions of its enforcement alleged to have happened.

 Politicians like P. Chidambaram and Saifuddin Soz of Congress have advocated revocation of AFSPA, while some like Amarinder Singh are against its revocation

Irom Chanu Sharmila who is also known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur” is a civil rights activist, who has been in a hunger strike for nearly 15 years. Her primary demand to the Indian government has been the repeal of the AFSPA.

The Articles in the Constitution of India empower state governments to declare a state of emergency due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • Failure of the administration and the local police to tackle local issues
  • Return of (central) security forces leads to return of miscreants/erosion of the “peace dividend”
  • The scale of unrest or instability in the state is too large for local forces to handle

In such cases, it is the prerogative of the state government to call for central help. In most cases, for example during elections, when the local police may be stretched too thin to simultaneously handle day-to-day tasks, the central government obliges by sending in the BSF and the CRPF. Such cases do not come under the purview of AFSPA. AFSPA is confined to be enacted only when a state, or part of it, is declared a ‘disturbed area’. Continued unrest, like in the cases of militancy and insurgency, and especially when borders are threatened, are situations where AFSPA is resorted to.

By Act 7 of 1972, the power to declare areas as being disturbed was extended to the central government.

 In a civilian setting, soldiers have no legal tender, and are still bound to the same command chain as they would be in a war theater. Neither the soldiers nor their superiors have any training in civilian law or policing procedures. This is where and why the AFSPA comes to bear – to legitimize the presence and acts of armed forces in emergency situations which have been deemed war-like.

 According to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in an area that is proclaimed as “disturbed”, an officer of the armed forces has powers to:

After giving such due warning, Fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death, against the person who is acting against law or order in the disturbed area for the maintenance of public order,

  • Destroy any arms dump, hide-outs, prepared or fortified position or shelter or training camp from which armed attacks are made by the armed volunteers or armed gangs or absconders wanted for any offence.
  • To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest.
  • To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests, or to recover any person wrongfully restrained or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it.
  • Stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons.
  • Any person arrested and taken into custody under this Act shall be made present over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with least possible delay, together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest.
  • Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. Nor is the government’s judgment on why an area is found to be disturbed subject to judicial review.
  • Protection of persons acting in good faith under this Act from prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings, except with the sanction of the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.

 

 

 

 

United Nations view

When India presented its second periodic report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 1991, members of the UNHRC asked numerous questions about the validity of the AFSPA. They questioned the constitutionality of the AFSPA under Indian law and asked how it could be justified in light of Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICCPR. On 23 March 2009, UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay asked India to repeal the AFSPA. She termed the law as “dated and colonial-era law that breach contemporary international human rights standards.

 

 

On 31 March 2012, the UN asked India to revoke AFSPA saying it had no place in Indian democracy. Christof Heyns, UN’s Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions said “During my visit to Kashmir, AFSPA was described to me as ‘hated’ and ‘draconian’. It clearly violates International Law. A number of UN treaty bodies have pronounced it to be in violation of International Law as well.

 

 

 

Current Unrest: Ever since Commander Burhan Wani was martyred by Indian Security Forces on July 8th 2016, Entire valley is again in turmoil. Valley is seized under severe curfew and Human Rights violations are happening in every nook and corner. More than 100 unarmed protesters have been killed and thousands injured. More than 100 youth have lost their eye sight due to pellet injuries. There is massive hit to economy and Education. Mental Trauma is increasing each day passing. A peaceful resolution is in need to resolve this political issue of Kashmir once for all. This Political Dialogue needs to include people from Hurriyat, J-E-I Civil Societies and other Non Governmental Bodies of Jammu&Kashmir who can sit together and resolve Kashmir peacefully. Please be aware that this is not possible without bringing India and Pakistan delegates together on a table to discuses. According to various intellectual i have spoken these days gave me an idea as how and what should we do next to resolve Kashmir.  I personally believe that we should start following points

1: Talk to Hurriyat Fractions and Let them come on one moral ground of

Seeking resolution to Kashmir. There should be no second thought .Full Autonomy should be given to the kashmiri people on the both sides by constituting regional assemblies in all the five regions and only the portfolios of defence, Foreign affairs and Currency must be managed by India and Pakistan respectively in their current administrated parts of J&K.

 

2: We have to bring Human Rights organizations on board to discuses Kashmir and violations happening here.

3: There should be withdrawal of Para military forces in entire Jammu&kashmir.

4: There should be revocation of Laws like PPO, PSA and AFSPA from entire J&K, To start with Government can remove the AFSPA from JAMMU CITY AND SRINAGAR CITY   and later on removal can be moved further.

5: There should be immediate halt  to terrorism and Religious Extremism sponsored by rogue elements in Pakistani military establishment and Extremist  parties.

6: All the political prisoners must be released in india and Pakistani administrated Kashmir.

7: Establishment of Judicial enquiry commissions on disappearances and political killings.(An international Human Rights organization to sit in the commission)

8: Opening up of the borders in order to help people to people interaction are immediate steps which could provide relief to the Kashmiri people and initiate an atmosphere of tranquillity for the next step.

9:Rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits according to their own wishes.

10: Institutionalizing Intra-Kashmir Dialogue among all Kashmiris living in the Valley, Ladakh, Jammu, Pakistan Administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

11: Compensation and amnesty to those killed, tortured and injured under rehabilitation policies to be implemented by International NGO’S.

12: Return of power Projects to the state government or yearly share of profit to be given to the state.

 

13: A sustainable economy consisting of models for industrial agricultural and touristic developments should be encourages and invested by both countries.

14: J-E-I has been involved into extremism vis-a-vis sponsored by Pakistan,we must talk to them  and bring them into confidence of accepting ground realities of kashmir in south asian conflict.

15: We must involve  sane voices of j&k, india and Pakistan  for whom people have acceptance of listening and understanding.

Post Unrest or Current Position 

Keeping the current situation in mind, Our youth in particular needs much attention. They have seen worst  times .We must initiate Peace camps, Leadership building and advocacy trainings  innovation and acceleration. With these initiatives, we can pull our young generation out of this Makabra.

 

(Special thanks to Sir, Junaid Qureshi for various inputs and  Zaffar Sahib for brief History)

Muzamil Maqbool is a Peace Educator and Life-Skills Specialist at Various.

He is founder of Rumi Centre for  GLOBAL PEACE.He can be reached at director@globalyouthcorps.org”

Other Inputs: Internet

 

 

 

 

My Beloved!

Last Year, on this day My Peer-o-Murshid left to heavenly abode, The world hereafter.

Noor Din Beigh  commonly  known as “LALA SOB”  to the masses.

He was great human being,mystic,Fakir and way beyond our imagination. He was seeker and lover away from worldly attachments.He had surrendered himself to God and became Sufi. He had dwelled himself into spirituality since his childhood.”Nobody wishes heaven if the price is death. Nobody  will wishes immortality if the cost is death but  this is what love is  “DEATH” from this arises the resurrection of new you, pure virgin and loveful.now the calls of heart gets answered. until the ego is alive , there is no possibility of love to happen. when darkness of ego is blown away with loginess,urgency,search of truth.this becomes possible. For Rumi, it happened when shams Tabrizi arrived and stolen his heart and mind and then love occupied this vacuum. When someone asked shams (whose head was full of ideas and desire) he said, Tell me about the divine mystery. Shams said, i can tell you the mystery. but only to someone in whom i can see myself . This mystery i will tell only  to myself, i don’t see myself in you. I see someone else. The mind has to be emptied, fall attachments, greed , darkness,passion and for this the teacher  The sheikh has to hit lovefully until the mind is shattered. The existence of  the beloved cannot be proven physically nor it is a fantasy. This presence in best have been given many names in different cultures,yet the presence remains nameless. You may call it Allah, Brahman,Reality, Truth or any other name because that is what best mind can try to do. give the name to the nameless. The sheikh is a mirror, a reminder of that presence. Understanding of this mystery comes through the sheikh and transforms all the amenities of the seeker. Rumi says, I have  phrases in whole pages memorized but nothing can be proven. you must wait until you begin to live the love. be patient, utterly patient.The journey which begins with love towards GOD, A moment comes when finally union happens, all boundaries get dissolved. Then this “I ” is no more different from that. As Al-hillaj Mansoor cried out Anal  Haq(I AM THAT) then total emptiness. “I”  is no more then so who will call whom? Just a vast emptiness which is best described by sufi is ” HU” That which was. That which exists and will be. No word can ever contain the infinitude presence once the consciousness arises. After this volcanic experience, one says what happened,

Sufi Replied “Hu” “HU”

 

 

His  distance has made me write this ballad in kashmiri. 

“Durshun Haavum Laalo, Ye ‘Khna Soon’e saaalo. Durshun Haavum Laalo, Ye ‘Khna Soon’e saaalo.  Be paraan say az zaroori, che haavum Roi’e wen door’i. Durshun Haavu Laalo, Ye ‘Khna Soon’e saaalo.”

In your love i have lost my days and nights, i want, i want to embrace you with my love. come close to me! Come Close to me!
While crossing the river, i am stranded in the middle, i am struggling, lead me to the shore, oh! my guide my prophet! Lead me to the shore.
Secrets should be revealed to the compassionate. Why reveal it to the impassive, ‘O’my guide, my prophet!
Come close to me! Come Close to me!
‘o’ little bird, would you say it to this caged creature! what cure can be there for the death, it is trying to break this rattling cage. In your love i lost my days and nights, I want to embrace you with my love. Come Close to me, and Come.

 

May the Peace Prevail.

(Muzamil Maqbool is a life-Skills Specialist  and Peace Educator. He has worked with many international organization  promoting world peace. He can be reached at director@globalyouthcorps.org)

 

 

My “ByGone” Era

Well!! Today is my birthday. I don’t feel anything special about it.Neither i am cutting a cake nor bursting/ blowing balloons and candles.I never celebrated, In fact i was never among those lucky kids whose parents would ask them one month prior to their birthday’s(Son, What present do you want on your birthday? Ahhh!! I want a Lamborghini, And DAD proudly says consider it done and son say(You are best dad ever)!! Neither i got opportunity of my parents walking up to my bed on my birthday(like those of Hollywood scenes)waking me up and wishing me Happy Birthday, Then making me close my eyes and walking with me downstairs to the lawn asking to open my eyes and while i see my present (MY Lamborghini Car) in front of me!!! Hang on!! Lets cut this shit. Shall we, Reality is that was never me.Never!! But yes!! I remember once in 2011 when i was working with Microsoft. Around 11:55,when almost entire Microsoft floor gathered around me and wished me happy birthday. Imagine 65 co-workers taking me up by my arms and legs and bumping me up into the air, kicking my butt and the leaving me down onto the floor. It was all together an unforgettable moment experienced first time ever in my life on that birthday. Later on my friends took me to the cafeteria where we cut the birthday cake. It was my first ever birthday cake that i cut on that day. I felt so special. Today when i remember that moment i laugh at me and see how time has changed me personally and professionally.Through these years,i have learned to live happily no matter what comes to me, spread happiness, avoid negative people and invite positives in your life. I have learned to be strong especially from last 4 years which taught me the real meaning of resistance and Patience. I feel free, without any remorse, without any grudges to anyone, with holding any revenge for anyone. People often talk about torture, injustice, homicide and all but little less we hear about problems at workplace in kashmir. Yes, you heard it right.Kashmir is the only place on this mother earth where people see your Talent less and  praising your bosses  more. IF YOU AIN’T FOOTLOCKER OF YOUR BOSSES(ESPECIALLY KASHMIRIS) YOU AIN’T NOTHING.I was’t one among those Ass’s follower, but A talented rebel who wouldn’t want to be dictated. For them i became an outlaw!!! Despite being a guy, i have faced many challenges, problems, faced real mental traumas at my previous organization. I call that Git-mo, Yes short from for Guantanamo Bay Where my own people(Kashmiris) harassed me, dis-formed me, tormented  me emotionally and mentally. Those who were junior to me decreed me, Those who were near to me ,back stabbed me, Those who were taking, advises, suggestions for both of their personal and professional life left me unswerving like a victim of Vietnam war. Rumors spread, Lies became headlines, Gossips became dillydally and Sympathies charade. I at one point of time thought leaving my job and joining some better one, Even many other pseudo friends of mine suggested me the same, advising that i have talent and can crack any interview in many international organizations. I was very narked of working with many organizations in Bangalore and Delhi and didn’t want to go back to those places. In fact i had come back from Indian states spending almost five years.Slowly the all environment in my organization changed people calling me Muzamil Sir to muza . It was not our closeness of friendship but their attitude on relaxing chairs. Walhaz Yoou’er Became Wala Yoou’er Depressingly  not Humanely, sarcastically but definitely not friendly. One evening, i decided to stay back and accept all with what i had. I went through tough times of people mocking me directly and indirectly. Especially those who forgot that once they were they at very position i was and if luck,boot licking had not favored them then they would have been sharing the same boat i was sailing.

.  Times change,so change minds so change people and their perceptions.One day while sitting in the apple orchard of renowned justice of Baramulla, where my i was stationed. My thoughts rolled down into tears and gave strength to my pen, I wrote the these lines of Misfortune and now my forgettable past. It was my another muzamil, My soul consoling with me, advising me stay put and strong.
“Problems open new doors for you,Problems make you correct,Problems teach us new lessons,Problems reveal your hidden potential,Problems Build up your self-Confidence. You will be attacked, You will be teased, You will be Mocked and cheated. People will lie about you, People will break you,Recess you but you have to stand strong. Best part is in these tough times you stand alone and that is the time when you have to say I AM VERY STRONG!!!! I am not that person which you have heard from others, I am that person what you have to observe and analyse.Sometimes truth remains behind ROCKS and i am sure someone is looking above to remove that debris from my path of success.” Every day in every way i am getting better and better.”

I have programmed my self to be burden free of thinking my past. I roam revenge free and feel like a bird and with this confession of mine i also feel free of hatred, revenge, vengeance and reprisal  from all my four chambers. I seek good to every person who did injustice to me but then a quote of maulana Rumi written on the wall of my room reads as: “Those who dig holes for others, They fell in the same holes. No right in this world was left unrewarded and no wrong was left unpunished” Let me hit the hay now!! Sweet Dreams.

With Love
Muzamil Maqbool

“Muzamil Maqbool is a Peace Educator and Life-Skills Specialist at Various. He can be reached at director@globalyouthcorps.org”