Yasin Malik writes open letter to Sushma Swaraj

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By Fast Kashmir on 31/12/2017.

Text of JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik open letter to Indian 

foreign minister Mtr.Sushma Sawraj

Date: 31st December 2017

Respected Sushma Suwaraj Jee

Minister for Foreign Affairs, India.

Madam Sushma Jee:

In public life, from time to time, it becomes necessary to converse 
one’s insights, apprehensions and worries to others in public life 
on the imperative issues of our time in an open and honest manner. 
It is in this long tradition of public communication between 
individuals and in a spirit of honesty and frankness, that I 
address your good self through this open letter. I am penning down 
these lines not as a political campaigner but as a common 
individual, a prisoner, who has served many years of his life in 
Indian jails and is still forced to endure this torment on daily 
basis here in Jammu Kashmir. On 28th December 2017, I was listening 
to your emotional speech you made in Indian parliament wherein you 
in your own words illustrated the ordeal of Indian prisoner 
Kulbushan Yadhav’s meeting with his family in Pakistan on 25th 
December. Madam Suwaraj, believe me, your words touched the chords 
of my heart and as a person who has seen the miseries of jail life; 
I could envisage the tribulation Yadhav’s wife and mother had to go 
through. A human being has feelings and he/she displays these 
feelings in melancholies as well as in his/her exhilarations. This 
is what makes us distinct from the animal world. Being an advocate 
of human dignity, rights of prisoners and ascendancy of kindness 
over cruelty, I stand for the rights of Kulbushan Yadhav too. No 
matter who he is and what he has done or what he has been condemned 
for, he is a prisoner, a captive and every religion, international 
covenants and human norms endow him and his family certain rights 
which no one can and should deny. Allow me to use this occasion to 
call upon Pakistani authorities that Pakistan being a Muslim state 
has to be more heedful as the Holy Book of Islam and hundreds of 
sayings of our Prophet (PBUH) on the rights of prisoners and 
welfare of their families, their right to mutual meetings and a 
fair trial are well established facts that need to be pursued in 
letter and spirit.

Madam: as a prisoner, I can comprehend the pain of Yadhav family 
and when during your speech you said that Yadhav’s mother wanted to 
hug her son after 22 months of long separation but was not allowed 
to do so, my eyes got wet. My old wounds got scratched too by your 
poignant lexis. It recalled me of my old mother’s ordeal, who not 
once but many a times, in the same manner, after her repeated 
pleadings to jail authorities, was denied a chance to hug me, her 
only son, at many Indian jails especially at Tihar Jail . This 
reminded me of the tears of my sister who could not tolerate to see 
me from behind a glass wall, talking on an intercom just like 
Yadhav. Her plea to touch me was also discarded on the pretext of 
security reasons. I recollect my little sisters’ tears rolling down 
her cheeks at Indian notorious Jhodpur jail in 1999, when the then 
superintend of jail rejected her plea with a strange argument that 
only blood relation was allowed a meeting and brother sister 
relation was not a blood relation in his view. As a dignified woman 
you can envisage the trauma my little sister “Aamina†had to pass 
through when she had to leave and travel thousands of miles again 
back to home without meeting her brother.

Madam: I and everyone who has some empathy left in him went into 
tears when you quoted Yadhav’s mother saying that on seeing her 
without Mangalsutra her prisoner son asked about the welfare of his 
father assuming that he might have died because mother was without 
a Bindiya on her forehead and Mangalsutra. I could visualize the 
situation as hundreds of times during my jail Yatra these kinds of 
thoughts haunted me too.

Madam: the ordeal of Indian prisoner and his family is painful for 
them but allow me to remind you that the records of your country in 
this context are also not so dazzling. It is India that hanged 
Kashmiri freedom fighter Muhammad Maqbool Butt without allowing him 
a last meeting with his family members. His younger brother late 
Ghulam Nabi Butt, who wanted to travel to Delhi to receive his 
elder brothers corpse, was arrested at Srinagar airport. Maqbool 
Butt in absence of his family members was buried inside the Tihar 
jail. It is India that, without proving his guilt and just on the 
pretext to ‘satisfy the collective conscience of India masses, 
hanged another Kashmiri youth, Muhammad Afzal Guru in 2013. It is 
on record that he not only was denied a last chance of meeting his 
12 year son, 80 year old mother and a wailing young wife but even 
his proper burial was denied by the Indian authorities. The 
families of these two Kashmiris are still waiting for their mortal 
remains to be handed over to them. Isn’t it a grave Be-Adabi of 
humanity too? Moreover, Madam Suwaraj; there are thousands of 
Kashmiris who have disappeared after being picked up by Indian 
forces from their residences and their families are yet clueless of 
their whereabouts. Their wives have been named as ‘half widows’ (a 
newly introduced terminology) by well reputed international human 
rights organizations. The continued agony of these families is too 
worth consideration.

Madam: you raised some legitimate questions in your speech about 
the rights of a prisoner and his family and I also agree with you 
especially about the right to hug a mother, to touch his wife and 
to see his children. But this principle should hold same for every 
prisoner be he a political prisoner, a freedom fighter, a criminal, 
or any other lawbreaker. I recently met with the families of some 
prisoners from Kashmir who are in Tihar jail, held for their 
political beliefs. During my meeting with their kids and wives, 
they narrated before me the stories of same malice and 
humiliations. Daughter of one of these asked me to do something so 
that she is permitted to touch her father’s face. Innocent heart of 
her other sister is wrecked to the extent that she no longer longs 
for a meeting with his father through glass wall. This is what poor 
families of your prisoners have to face; A meeting with their loved 
ones behind a glass wall, a chat on intercom, without mother’s hug, 
without a physical touch by a daughter and without a close meeting 
of a wife with her husband, pains a lot. Stories of Syed Shabir 
Ahmad Shah to that of Ayaz Akbar, from Altaf A. Shah to Shahid-ul-
Islam and from Peer Saifullah , Raja Meraj-ud-Din to Farooq Ahmad 
Dar @ Bitta Karatay and Zahoor Ahmad Watali to Naeem A. Khan and 
many others remains the same. Madam, I wish to put names of all 
those here who are languishing in Indians jails from many years 
,whose families are facing a continued persecution, but lack of 
space and time is impeding me from that but believe me, Jails from 
Kashmir to Kanya-Kumari share same kind of horridness and tyranny.

Madam, as I have held before, I did not write this letter as a 
politician but as an eyewitness to miseries of jail life. I 
remember that in 2004, I was sent to Tihar Jail for I had failed to 
attend few hearings of my case at a Delhi court. The jail 
authorities removed all my attire and asked me to remove my 
trousers for a shameful rectum check-up. I resisted this 
undignified torture which was not meant for me alone but for every 
prisoner. My refusal to accept torture was reciprocated with an 
attack on me with bamboo sticks and Gun-butts which fractured my 
right arm. My sympathies with every prisoner are for these kinds of 
revulsions and miseries and I will always stand for the welfare of 
inmates whosoever and wherever they are. In-fact it was this 
conviction which enthused me to go against tide and plead in favor 
of late Sarabjit Singh at a time when I was sitting on hunger 
strike in Islamabad in 2013 against Muhammad Afzal Guru’s illegal 
and merciless hanging by India.

Madam, the tale of thousands of young Kashmiris and students, who 
are facing the wrath of your state from last many years, is also 
worth consideration. During recent months and years I as a prisoner 
got a chance to witness the ordeal of these young Kashmiris at 
various police stations. I witnessed tribulation faced by these 
young boys and their families. Arrested during peaceful protests, 
these youthful Kashmiris are beaten ruthlessly in police stations 
and whilst their mothers and sisters visit them at police stations, 
the abusive language used by police officers against them and 
profanity faced by their mothers and sisters is actually beyond 
description. Regrettably this torment and mortification is 
responsible for pushing many of these young Kashmiris to a hard 
line path.

Madam: when you lashed out at a section of Pakistani media who 
according to you harassed Yahdev family in Islamabad Pakistan by 
asking unethical, provocative and abusive questions, I too felt 
dismayed. The family of a prisoner should not be harassed in such a 
manner. This is against normal human instincts, against Islamic 
ethics and our sub-continental morals. How could we be such cold-
blooded? But madam! Let me remind you that this kind of unethical 
behavior is also not cartel of anyone alone. I was in Delhi with my 
wife and two year old daughter, to see them off. We had made a 
prior hotel booking but as we entered hotel premises, management 
refused to let us in. I pleaded with the hotel management but they 
refused to take a Pakistani (my wife and her little daughter) in. I 
was thrown out of hotel with my little daughter in my lap. I 
repeatedly contacted DIG Kashmir of that time Mr.Ifhadul Mujtaba, 
asking him for help. He assured me of aid and shifted my plea to 
ADG-CID with no respond. I contacted authorities in Delhi but how 
could they help me, as we had been thrown out of hotel at their 
behest. I along with my family had to take shelter at Dargah Nizam-
ud-din for hours before a friend could host us for a night. It was 
not the first harassment; earlier your party activists also 
attacked me and my family at late Khawaja Abdul Gani Lone’s 
residential flat in Delhi. We were even not spared during our visit 
to Ajmer Shareef shrine. I got injured while saving my wife from 
stones thrown by the same people who stand with a slogan ‘’Ateethi 
Devo Bawa†(guests are like gods). In fact these nonstop attacks 
have left inerasable scars on the hearts and minds of my family and 
may haunt us forever and this is why I strongly feel for the 
unfortunate Yadhev family too.

Madam, antagonistic attitude towards each other has actually taken 
away humanity and humility from humans. Human’s especially the 
divergent states often lay blame on one another for tyrannies and 
cruelty. In fact the whole world has turned a blind eye on human 
rights and human dignity now. How can one ignore Abu Ghareeb and 
Guantanamo bay jails set out by the mighty human rights champions, 
where humans dignity and pride was trampled callously, setting out 
a bad example for the rest of the world.

Madam: as a human being I stand for the ascendance of humanity in 
every aspect of life. Someone has rightly said that “failure will 
never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough 
and that no success is final and no failure fatal, it is courage to 
continue that counts†. Let us take a leaf out of this present 
disappointment and tread a path that can make our lives more 
civilized. Difference in political perceptions, ideologies and 
endeavors of life shall not turn us away from what makes us 
distinct from flora and fauna. We have our religious teachings, 
international covenants and pledges, moral and social bindings that 
govern our individual and public lives. Let us all pledge to follow 
these promises and regulations at least in case of prisoners and 
make their lives and the lives of their families’ better. This 
couplet of Allama Iqbal’s describes this yearning fabulously and I 
hope one day this will become every human’s desire;

“Khuda kay banday tou hain hazaroon Banoo main Phirtay hain Maray 

Main us ka banda banooga jis ko khuda kay bandoon say Piyaay Hoga†

Thank you

Muhammad Yasin Malik