Stop Targeting Those Who Stand Up For Democracy And Peace               

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Pakistan-Sponsored Militancy Is Destroying Our Life

The Global Community Needs To Take Note Of This

Mareaya Fayaz

I am an ordinary Kashmiri woman who spends most of her time reading and writing, and working on my thesis. I never had a firm political opinion earlier. But the more I read about politics and the more I started dealing with people invested in politics, my opinions changed. I became more open to having political debates and discussing politics.

But this new awareness has left with me deep sadness. I have learnt that those journalists who expose Pakistan’s involvement in disturbing the peace process in Kashmir are threatened by militants. I have learnt that the young leaders who are trying to work democratically are threatened by those whose only motive is to derail Kashmir and disturb the democratically-established environment here.

The Deeply Damaging Impact Of Threats

The threats received by those Kashmiris who uphold democracy impacts their daily life and their work. It impacts the well-being of their loved ones. I am writing about this to tell you the story of the other side. I want to tell you of people whose their lives and loved ones are threatened just because their political opinion differs from the rest. I want to tell you about how the threats issued by militants leave people close to them panicked and shattered. I am going through the same. That is why I want to write about it to make you feel how I am feeling.

I was recently talking to a Kashmiri friend with whom I am very close. He has been associated with politics for a very long time because his father is an active politician. In 2019 he started getting involved in politics, for which he left his job. Working as a political leader may be great in the peaceful areas of the world. In a place like Kashmir, it is not a good idea. Those who invest in peace – their every breath is watched and calculated by those who want to sabotage peace. But we still have some brave young hearts like my friend who want to beat all the odds to achieve something. My friend was telling me about his daily routine. We are discussing this and other matters when he received a message on his phone. The colour of his face changed. I asked him what the problem was. What happened? He showed me the letter he received on WhatsApp. What I read is making me feel dizzy even now. I cannot stop thinking about it. The message read: “We know who you work for. You have been under our target for a very long time. We know what you do and where you go.” The letter said one particular thing which was deeply disturbing. It said: “When you go to the washroom increase your security. “Hum tumhe kute ki maut marenge” (We will kill you like a dog). I was shivering and in shock by the time I finished reading the note that my friend had received on his phone.

We Are Being Targeted Because We Want Peace

The threat had been given from an international number. I was so deeply distressed. For some time both of us could not speak. Then I asked my friend – how do you feel about this? Then he responded to me in a gentle and soothing voice, perhaps trying to calm me, “Everybody has to die someday.” I have not been able to sleep peacefully since then. How easy it is for someone who does not even belong to this country to threaten a citizen of this country. How easy it is for Pakistan to sabotage peace here and destroy lives. Though the political leaders are provided security, it is very difficult for them to live a peaceful life. The threat that my friend has received is not an isolated incident of its kind. It has become the trend to threaten journalists, police, politicians and anybody who belives that democracy is the solution to the long-lasting conflict, and the fact that Kashmir needs young leaders who will work with the government to bring peace to the valley. Threats issued by the anti-national elements do not stop with the individual threats. They also threaten the families of their targets. Such barbarism is difficult to process.

The Devastating Pain Of Violence

The messages on my friend’s phone were pretty graphic. I cannot repress the memory of it. It keeps on haunting me. I am panicked to think of the consequences if the threats ever come true. It shall devastate me that a person so close to me, such a good human being is no more. Equally, I cannot get over the feeling of despair regarding people who lost their loved ones who were killed by militants. I feel so helpless, so full of fear. You cannot do anything. You can just sit and pray that your worst fears are not realised. You just sit and pray that those we hold close are not threatened or killed by those who do not agree with them. The people who have the guts to challenge the status quo in Kashmir want to work in a democratic set-up. We want peace and harmony. We want freedom from all violence.

Constant Assault On Peace In Kashmir

For decades now, militants have killed police officials, media personalities and political figures to constantly undermine democracy here. The global community needs to take note of this. Is it fair that Kashmiris should be killed because they are associated with one political party or another? Is it fair that Kashmiris should be killed because they work for the police or the security agencies? Why should Kashmiris be targeted and killed for any reason? How many of us should die before Pakistan will stop its devious games here? So many families in Kashmir suffer the pain of watching their loved ones die. The lists go on and on. At some time, these people may have been threatened by the anti-human and anti-peace elements. May be they would have thought that it is just a threat. No one is so bad that he will kill another human being. Maybe like my friend they accepted the fact that everyone has to die sooner or later. Why do we Kashmiris have to suffer this pain? My heart is so much in pain that I want to scream, I want to cry, I want my pain to my heard. Why is it okay that Kashmiris should be killed for following some political ideology? Why are those people targeted who uphold the Constitution of India, and uphold the integrity of our nation? Why?

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