A Summary of Citizen’s Charter Jammu Kashmir & Allied (areas) JKA ;
1) The aspiring citizens of this territory acknowledge that India, Pakistan and other countries have genuine constituencies here but they also understand that no one constituency can command a majority of support from the inhabitants here. There may or may not have been merit in the division of British India on grounds of religious identity but importing/exporting those divergent themes in/to JKA has devastated this society since 1947. The cost of imposing mono narratives on either side of the imposed divide has negatively impacted the right to assembly, association, legal recourse, movement and speech of the people here.
Likewise, the latter also conclude that Indo-Pak bilateralism has failed to resolve the
enduring conflict over water and geography in this territory with the passage of 75 years.
Additionally, the international community has also failed to meaningfully engage the
inhabitants here or procure practical solutions to ensure the ‘will of the people’ – as
referenced by the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, the United Nations, the United States of
America and China – materialises. Back door diplomacy has not and will not produce results.
2) The local ‘citizens’, ‘people’ and ‘public’ are all terms used interchangeably to refer to the
inhabitants here as described in the State Subject Rule (SSR) invoked in 1927. The latter
rule remains the converging feature that the majority of inhabitants throughout the divided
territory have an un-announced consensus on – not least for the demographic protection it
guarantees – over what they can describe as arguably the most strategic and precious
territory in the world. They would consider any move to de-link any part of the erstwhile
princely State from the other constituent parts (namely AJK, Aksai Chin, Gilgit Baltistan,
Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and Shaksam Valley) aggressive, unconstitutional, undemocratic
and unethical. It would also be against all the terms of reference adopted consequent to
the transfer of power negotiated with the outgoing British Indian empire, including the UN
conflict resolution framework. The journey from autocracy to democracy of the inhabitants
pre 1947 abruptly took on far more complicated dimensions post 1947, whereby both the
hitherto ‘ruler’ and ‘ruled’ were gradually but practically distanced from sovereignty.
3) The people legally recognise that they constitute the ‘entitled’ while neighbouring
countries constitute the ‘claimants’. No such agreement or contract has emerged with any
country that the majority of people here could consider as their collective reference or
indeed duly consulted on at a local level. They believe that forced migration of minorities
from various parts of the territory based on religious identity in 1947 and subsequently have played a significant part in developing India & Pakistan’s respective constituencies here. For example, many Hindus and Sikhs of what became AJK in 1947 would consider India their saviour while many Muslims of Jammu would consider Pakistan as their saviour. The Kashmiri Pandits of the Valley would have experienced similar emotions post 1990.
4) The public makes a distinction between the heavy contestation of external narratives
relative to the myriad of internal narratives that the forced division of the territory has
conjured up. This citizen’s charter is borne out of all the realities cited above and will not
conflict with the United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or any aspect of international law –
rather it aims to strengthen the efficacy of the aforementioned with a local hands-on
practical context – to ensure that the rights, security, dignity and self-determination of the
inhabitants is fully secured. The human cost of contest over this land necessitates that the
local victims navigate a way out. All countries involved including local politicians here have
a share of responsibility to assist and not hinder in this regard. The people here believe
that the golden rule of co-existence should apply in all matters viz. “treat others the way
you want to be treated.” If all the countries aforementioned in this charter possess a right
to sovereignty, so does JKA. The rest of the world can ensure our security and neutral
status. We are willing to pay for that. It will be far less expensive than what we have
endured for 75 years and the gains for humanity will more than compensate us all.
1) This citizen’s charter is drafted after extensive travel and interaction throughout the
divided State, meeting over 100,000 people one-to-one over the course of almost 18 years,
with uninterrupted and undivided attention to resolving this geographic conflict from the
entitled yet ignored people’s perspective, with extensively documented collection of public
opinion, possibly unrivalled elsewhere in the world. Resolution would necessitate an
approach that is democratic, ethical, legal and peaceful of the highest order. This cannot
be achieved if our majority is partial to any country, religious identity or economic
ideology. We will always fail at the first hurdle if we cannot individually overcome the
temptations of self-interest where it conflicts with public interest. If we are not willing to
commit ourselves to accountability, inclusion, meritocracy and transparency in governance;
no country or institution in the world is inclined to pay attention to our legitimate goals.
Introspection is key to our success. Sharing problems is necessary but not sufficient. We
have to create solutions ourselves or be permanently divided between other countries.
2) Given the complexities of our ‘sovereignty dilemma’ we have to take a plural and fully
inclusive approach to conflict resolution. This entails us incorporating all strands of opinion
throughout the territory and giving them proportional political representation, in an
internally created political process viz. ‘Public Assembly’. In short, we cannot confine
ourselves to the prevailing assemblies in Gilgit or Muzaffarabad and we can’t discard them
either. We have to hold them to account as well as deliver on what they are unable to
deliver. The aforementioned assemblies were born out of rebellions using the people’s
reference. The government in Muzaffarabad even cited inclusion of all religious
communities in governance and having equally conducive relations with India & Pakistan, in
their 24 October 1947 declaration. This didn’t transpire and thus, among other factors they
have no grounds to oppose this charter.
3) Our operational deficiency is not legal or political, it is administrative. We have an
abundance of political parties and sufficient legal resources at our disposal but we don’t
have an administrative structure to practically carry out the necessary measures needed to
achieve our justifiable goals. Who is going to identify appropriate human capital for each
public interest goal at hand? Who is going to motivate and protect them? Who is going to
create and implement reward and punishment mechanisms in society? Who is going to
mobilise the financial capital needed for each and every task? All these questions have
been mulled over for years before emerging with the concept of ‘Public Agency’ in 2016.
Engaging all our co-citizens – both at home and in the diaspora – to ensure they participate
according to their relative capacity in terms of time, energy/skills/determination and
resources is a full-time dedicated endeavour, which requires hundreds of people working
simultaneously to reach the whole population. Communications technology is now available
to make this possible and a citizen’s app (bespoke mobile software application) should be
specifically designed to capture census details, public opinion in real time and provide all
the necessary services that our prevailing structure of governance cannot.
4) Our distinct existence at the crossroads of historic silk routes and civilisations should find utility of purpose for the rest of the world. We need to proactively avert future water
wars and geographic hegemony. All the aforementioned is not possible without geopolitical
neutrality (a la Switzerland) and world class competence over human/data, soil, waste and
water management. If every inhabitant of India & Pakistan – downstream of us – can access clean drinking water, there is no viable rationale for those countries to extend themselves northwards. Our structure of governance should incorporate methods of direct democracy to ensure each and every citizen has the means to influence the constitution and legislation. A strict separation of powers between the judiciary, executive and legislature with provisions for a 5 tier mode of governance from division down to district, subdivision, union council and village level would accelerate our development to world class levels. We have been effectively isolated from the world and have more than sufficient incentive to take the initiative to transform this region from a conflict economy to a (pro-life) peace economy via Ownership Building Measures (ref. https://tinyurl.com/2p8etnm8) on security, governance, economy and culture. The latter will kick start the preceding three….end….
#Kashmir #JammuKashmir #KashmirRights #Citizen’sRights #CharterofJammuKashmir #India #Pakistan