Malaysia-MAPIM and Kashmir issue

By: Atiq-ur-Rehman

In a series of my columns on different personalities and organizations, this is the third one and it has been penned down on Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Dr. Tun Mahathir Muhammad, Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organization (MAPIM), its head Cikgu Muhammad Azmi Abdul Hamid and its chief strategist Datuk Mohammad Tahir Khan’s role in raising the Kashmir issue. Malaysia, a South East Asian country with a predominantly Muslim majority spans 127, 724 sq. miles area. It has thirteen States and three Federal Territories having a population of 32 million. Famous for its towering buildings, it got independence on 31st August 1957 from UK; almost ten years later then Pakistan. Its nominal GDP is 381.5 billion dollars and it possesses a federal parliamentary constitutional electoral system. It is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country. It has a newly industrialized market economy ranked third largest in South East Asia and 33rd largest in the World. It is a founding member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit (EAS), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the commonwealth and Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). The trade relation between Pakistan and Malaysia comprises US$ 232.19 million exports and US$ 955.2 million imports of Pakistan. Diplomatically, Pakistan has cordial relations with Malaysia. Malaysia has always supported Pakistan internationally on core issues like the Kashmir dispute. Last year in September, the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad while addressing the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) categorically and vehemently raised Kashmir issue and condemned Indian aggression and illegal occupation of Jammu & Kashmir. While speaking he said that despite UN resolution on Jammu & Kashmir, Kashmir had been invaded and occupied. “There may be reasons for this action but it is still wrong. India should work with Pakistan to resolve this problem. Ignoring the UN would lead to other forms of disregard for the UN and the Rule of Law”, he said. Recently, Mahathir Muhammad while addressing an event marking a year of Military siege in Indian illegally occupied Jammu & Kashmir held in Kuala Lumpur said, “I had chosen to speak out despite being aware of the potential backlash. To my mind, keeping quiet is not an option. I offer no apology for what I had said”. Putting to rest Indian media’s assertions, he said, though his remarks had affected Malaysian palm oil exports to India but “I don’t know if that is a high price to pay for speaking out against such injustices”. This event was organized by MAPIM-an Umbrella Organization of over 200 civil societies and Islamic NGO’s headed by its dynamic leader Mohammad Azmi Abdul Hamid President of MAPIM. MAPIM was established in 2012 in Malaysia and the idea for its formation was conceived in 2006 in the Muslim Congress of Malaysia and finalized in 2008 in Malaysian Conference of Islamic NGOs. Its initial aim was to become a consultative forum to address the many issues and challenges of the Ummah, subsequently, it evolved into a platform to voice the concerns of the Ummah both nationally and internationally. It serves as an entity on its own and also as a convener of organizations to address many issues confronting the Ummah and humanity. It focuses on fundamental principles of unity, justice and peace in the Ummah. It also works for the liberation of the oppressed populations of the Ummah from oppression, economic dependency, promoting education and knowledge advancement, moulding cultural and Islamic lifestyles, strengthening Muslim Community initiatives in various fields of endeavours, organizational and leadership development. MAPIM carries a vision base on the following verses of the Quran and Hadith. “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (Al-Raad: 11). “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which God (Stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves….” (Al-Imran:103). “Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not quarrel among yourselves lest you lose heart and your momentum disappears. And be steadfast. Allah is with the steadfast” (Al-Anfal:46). “You are the best Ummah singled out for mankind: you enjoin what is right (mahroof), forbid what is wrong (munkar), and believe in Allah”. Al-Imran: 104). Inspired by these Quranic verses MAPIM aims to galvanize resources of the Ummah both at the human level and also materially. MAPIM under the well spirited and zestful leadership of Muhammad Azmi Abdul Hamid, President of MAPIM, had visited Pakistan and Azad Kashmir many times to understand firsthand the issues faced by the Kashmiri People. Last year in November, CikguAzmi led an ASEAN delegation comprising parliamentarians from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand and Cambodia to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, during which they held high profiles meeting in Islamabad and Muzaffarabad. They also met with President AJK Sardar Masood Khan, who apprised them of the recent situation in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJK) particularly after India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019, bifurcating Kashmir into two federal union territories and unlawfully annexing them with India. President Masood briefed the delegation that after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A of India’s Constitution, Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi, BJP and RSS led Government abolished the special status of Kashmir, imposed a military seige and double lockdown curtailed all civil liberties and imposed a total communication and media blackout in IOJ&K. He told the delegation that India had in fact re-occupied and invaded Kashmir. President Masood further added that India has hatched a nefarious plan of disfranchising Kashmiris from the ownership of their lands, rights of their jobs and changing the demography of Kashmir by converting them into a minority through settling millions of non-Kashmiri Hindus from all over India. Sardar Masood Khan asserted that deployment of more than 900,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces have made IOJK the world’s most highly militarized area on Earth. In the joint press conference with President Masood Khan the delegation condemned India’s recent illegal action vis-à-vis Kashmir and demanded India to reverse these unlawful steps. They also called upon India to implement the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir and hold free and impartial plebiscite to allow the Kashmiris to decide their political future. It is worth mentioning that last year in February during President AJK Sardar Masood Khan’s visit to Malaysia, MAPIM along with Pakistan’s High Commission in Kuala Lumpur arranged meetings of the President AJK with the then Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr. Tun. Mahathir Muhammad at his office in Putrajaya, Malaysia. During this meeting Mahathir Muhammad had reiterated his stance on Kashmir which he took during his address in UNGA earlier in September 2019. President Masood during this meeting expressed his deep gratitude on behalf of people of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan to Mahathir Muhammad for speaking out so courageously for the rights of Kashmiris. Readers! It is a famous saying that “victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan”. Behind Malaysia’s vigorous support for Kashmir cause, its pursuance of Malaysian leadership for realizing the plight of Kashmiris, the role MAPIM, Cikgu Muhammad Azmi Abdul Hamid and its chief strategist Datuk Muhammad Tahir Khan has been remarkable. Muhammad Tahir Khan who is a Pakistan origin Malaysian national, a founding President of Pakistan community in Malaysia, Chairman Board of Governors “PUSAT Bahasa Awesome” and an author of the famous book “Count Down to 09/11, Islam Under Siege” is no less than an asset for Pakistan. His role and contributions in building cordial relations between Pakistan and Malaysia have been unmatched. It would not be an exaggeration to say, that Tahir Khan had deliberated and persuaded the MAPIM leadership as well as Malaysia’s top echelon and engaged them for raising support on Kashmir issue.  Long live Malaysia-Kashmir friendship, Long live Malaysia-Pakistan friendship

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