The Valley of Tears


Fearless days, comfy nights. Happy hours and nice moments. This is our story. Being a young Pakistani we are living a very reasonable life. A life that really means a lot to us. In a country, where the economy has its own challenges to be dealt with, where law and order situation is trying to keep up with the flow influenced by external and internal factors, but still we have our basic rights. Majority can follow our religion, sect and school of thought. We can do business, studies and jobs with our own choice. We are breathing fearless air and have every significant thing needed for a better life.

Sadly, but not everyone has these basic rights in this region. I am living in Islamabad, Just four hours’ drive from here some people are living in fear. They do not have their basic rights, even they cannot follow their religion. They cannot go to their businesses, schools or anywhere due to the curfew imposed by the state .There people are living with fear every day and night, and generations have gone by under the same dilemma.

Yes, I am talking about ‘Kashmir’. Probably the most beautiful place in the world. People used to call it Heaven but now it is “A Valley of Tears”. The valley where no one is safe. People surrounded by armed forces all the time and they are living like prisoners. And when Youngsters like Burhan, try to stand for their rights, against the occupation and their right of self-determination, every time they get false promises and nothing more. And when they pick up guns, they get martyred. In Kashmir, Indian authorities have answers to every problem, they respond on time but not with relief but with bullets. They torture them till they get silent. Almost 72 days of curfew have been passed, more than 100 Kashmiris have been martyred by Indian forces and more than 10,000 injured. There is a famine-like situation due to closure of shops and all other businesses which has resulted in acute shortage of edibles, medicines etc. Is this the fruit of the so-called world’s best democracy?

Today I will not talk about the stats of the people who got martyred, kidnaped, sisters who have been raped, missing persons and the term ‘half widows’. We are hearing all this for decades and watched enough documentaries or reports about the Indian brutality in Kashmir. Today, we will ask ourselves that what we have done for them? What are we doing for them? And what will we do for them? Can we even imagine a single day of such brutal occupation? If our children live in fear? If Sisters get raped? Youngsters get murdered? One Night of fear? The answer is no, because we are the lucky ones who are living in a Free State since our births. Living in a free country is one of the greatest blessings of Allah. Think about it.

Hannan Malik is a renowned freelance journalist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. You can reach him on Twitter @Hannanmalic.

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