Saturday, October 21, 2017

Braid Chopping! Excuses won’t help, need a way out


Javaid Malik

Braid chopping in Kashmir has become a mystery. Jammu and Kashmir Police have made it clear that they have not got any evidence till date and they are still looking for clues.
The statements of the police officials from top to bottom are on the same line that they are not finding any proof to nail the culprits.

They are claiming that statements of the victims are vague and the “spray theory” sounds strange. Even a few doctors have vindicated the statements of police saying that they (doctors) have not seen such a spray which can make a person unconscious within two minutes.
On the other hand people are not ready to buy the police version and have accused it of shielding the culprits. One fails to understand that if one goes by the police version then there are no braid cutters active anywhere and it’s just a case of “mass hysteria.”
If there are no braid cutters active in Kashmir then who is chopping the braids of the women? Is it that law enforcing agencies want to say that more than 100 incidents which have been reported till date are just “concocted stories?”

Braid cutting episodes have added to the prevailing insecurity. People are feeling insecure even within the four walls of their homes. The suspects, who are caught by people, turn out to be “innocent,” according to police.
Since the day braid chopping incidents have come to fore police have issued numerous statements about innocents presumed as braid choppers being beaten by the people. On the other hand law enforcing agencies have acted tough against a few youth by arresting them on the charges of spreading rumours and inciting violence.

As soon as the word about any braid chopping incident spreads in any area youth take to streets and fight pitched battles with the forces personnel deployed there. It’s all happening in Kashmir. Protests, shutdowns, stone-pelting and arrests but the real culprits i.e. braid choppers appear and disappear in thin air.

Amidst confusion opposition parties, including National Conference and Congress, are leaving no stone unturned to corner the government. Even the separatists have upped the ante. Kashmir’s joint separatist leadership comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik have threatened full-fledged agitation if the braid chopping doesn’t stop. Slowly but surely braid chopping is snowballing into major controversy. It should be a matter of concern for the state government. In Kashmir any small issue can become big and can shake the foundations of any regime.

The 2017 summer passed off without any major shutdowns or stone-pelting incidents and the present regime has been complementing itself for summer in Kashmir passing off “peacefully.” Although militancy related incidents increased manifolds and number of tourists visiting Kashmir witnessed a steep decline but still Kashmir remained calm.
Since the day braid chopping incidents have come to fore the business as witnessed a slump as people are not coming out of their homes in the evenings. The shopkeepers have lost the peak shopping hours and they are raising hue and cry about it.
Some people are of the opinion that a conspiracy has been hatched to ruin the economy of Kashmir. The tourism industry has already taken a hit now small businesses too are taking a hit and are witnessing a sharp decline. Kashmir is being pushed towards stone-age. Is it a ploy to break the backbone of Kashmir’s economy?

If the braid cutting incidents don’t stop it can have far reaching consequences. These attacks are a direct assault on the honour and dignity of our daughters, sisters and mothers. No one can tolerate it.
The Jammu and Kashmir government should realize that it cannot act as a mute spectator and wait for these incidents to get over on their own. If miscreants are doing it they should be identified and booked. Just playing politics over this burning issue won’t help anyone’s cause.
People at the helm cannot hide behind the excuses by claiming that Kashmir is not the only place where it’s happening. Many people at the helm are claiming that braid cutting phenomenon was witnessed in other states too and Kashmir is no exception. These people should realize that Kashmir is a sensitive place and has to be handled with care.

It’s strange that braid cutting is happening in Kashmir, one of the heaviest militarized region in the country. Braid choppers are roaming freely despite government forces keeping an eagle’s eye even over the movement of civilians. How come these vigilant forces personnel have not spotted braid cutters so far?
In Srinagar city only police have placed scores of CCTV cameras in the sensitive areas to track the protesters. If these cameras can catch the protesters then why haven’t these cameras captured the movement of braid cutters till date?
The J&K government has to put all its resources at place to solve this mystery. If it can seek army’s help to control the law and order situation why can’t it do so to catch the braid cutters who are posing a threat to peace? There are many questions which people at the top level have to answer. If they fail to solve this mystery it would prove that “elected representatives” who claim to represent people are not interested in solving the problems of the masses. They are busy enjoying power and have got nothing to do with what people are facing.

Published in Greater Kashmir on Oct 20, 2017

Students are the worst sufferers

The two things which didn’t change in 2017 were internet blockade and the frequent closure of the educational institutions


Javaid Malik

The years 2016 and 2017 witnessed numerous internet blockades and the frequent closure of educational institutions in Kashmir.
During the 2016 summer unrest schools, colleges and universities remained closed for nearly six months and so did the internet, especially the mobile internet. The only hope for net surfers during the 2016 “emergency period” was state run BSNL broadband service. And for school going students, community schools were the only places where they could go and put some sentences together.

The year 2017 was litmus test for the J&K government. As the Durbar is about to move to Jammu the people at the helm are busy patting their backs for ensuring that 2017 summer passed off without any strikes and major stone-pelting incidents. They are happy that 2017 was “ragda” free year.
The two things which didn’t change in 2017 were internet blockade and the frequent closure of the educational institutions. Right from the beginning of this year educational institutions have remained in the news for one or other reason.
In 2016 the government blamed separatists for the sufferings of the students. And in 2017 the government followed the footsteps of separatists by ordering the closure of the educational institutions every now and then at the pretext of “maintaining law and order.”

Recent braid-chopping incidents which have created fear and panic across Kashmir seem to have sent the government into a tizzy. It looks like that panic button has been pressed. The reaction has been on expected lines. It looks like that people sitting at the top believe that by closing educational institutions they can thwart protests and by blocking internet they can stop rumours from spreading. But the fact is that protests against braid-chopping are slowly becoming order of the day and rumours are spreading like wildfire even in the absence of mobile internet services.
The BSNL broadband which had emerged as the lifeline for the people of Kashmir in 2016 seem to have outlived its utility. Despite government not blocking the broadband service it has played hide and seek with the net surfers since the beginning of this year. The speed has been extremely slow. The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited sold broadband connections like hot cakes during 2016 summer unrest as the mobile internet remained snapped. After the company filled its coffers and realized that it has made enough subscribers it stopped bothering about the quality of the service being provided to its clients across Kashmir.
People who depend upon broadband for their businesses and other works have been left high and dry as they have no one to approach and complain to. The BSNL officials most of the times evade queries about the poor service being provided by them. They pretend as if they are puppets and everything is controlled in New Delhi.

Even the BSNL cannot deny that it earns crores from Kashmir as revenue from the subscribers but the service provided by the company is below par. People who are having landline connections and are using internet have been paying 18% extra service charge since the day GST has been implemented in the state. But the question is where is the service, which BSNL had promised, to it’s subscribers?
It’s unfortunate that people of Kashmir especially the students, businessmen and others are being made to suffer just on the pretext that if schools and colleges remain open situation can take an ugly turn and if internet services are not snapped situation again can go out of the hand.
People at the helm should realize that closing schools, colleges and blocking internet won’t solve the problem. Nor would it help in tracking the braid-choppers, who have created fear psychosis across Kashmir. Solution lies in tracing the people who are behind these incidents.
It’s strange that despite Police announcing Rs 6 lakh as reward for anyone providing credible information about braid-choppers not a single suspect has been caught. Even Police have admitted that 100 braid-chopping incidents have been reported across Kashmir during the past one month.
One cannot say anything about the future of internet in Kashmir but if BSNL wants it can at least improve its broadband service as there are only a few thousand broadband subscribers and they can be traced easily.

As far as the students are concerned our leaders should stop playing politics with them. Kashmiri leaders are wise enough to understand that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This is Newton’s third law of motion and the Jammu and Kashmir government has been following it in letter and spirit. At times one feels all the decisions which the people at the helm take are an outcome of an action initiated at some end. This reactionary politics needs to end. We have to spare the students as they are the future of Kashmir.
On the other hand if BSNL fails to improve its services at least the broadband it would suffer in the long run as private players have already started exploring the Kashmir market. In many places across Srinagar private players are active and are providing uninterrupted 24x7 internet service. If BSNL doesn’t wake up then it would itself in dock. Time is running out for the state owned company.

Published in Greater Kashmir on Oct 13, 2017

Anything can happen in Kashmir!

In mid 90s witches haunted Kashmiris, in 2017 braid choppers unleash terror


Javaid Malik

The braid chopping incidents in Kashmir have created panic. Braid choppers are targeting women irrespective of their age. The incidents were first reported in Jammu region then these spread to Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal areas. Now these incidents have reached Kashmir. In the past few days, 15 incidents of braid chopping have been reported in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Kulgam districts, while two incidents were reported in central Kashmir’s Chadoora area in Budgam district. And one incident was reported in north Kashmir’s Bandipora area.
The question, which people are asking who are these braid choppers and why are they indulging in such acts? What are J&K Police doing? Why they are unable to nab the culprits?

Why janbaaz sipahis have not activated their network despite Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asking the Director General of Police S P Vaid to constitute a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to nab the criminals, who are deriving sadistic pleasure by tormenting the women folk. One can easily say that they (braid choppers) are cowards, who first make the victims unconscious and then chop of their braids. They need to be dealt with sternly and punished so that no one dares to indulge in such an act.
People are asking how long would braid choppers keep on unleashing fear and terror. The unfortunate part is that women are being targeted and victims don’t know why they are being punished.
Many people are of the opinion that if J&K Police decide to nab the culprits it can do it within hours. If they can trace militants why cannot the JK Policemen track these braid choppers down?

A common man believes that JK Policemen know everything. Nothing happens without their knowledge and whenever they decide to act, these criminals would be behind the bars. The million dollar question is would JK Police act and live up to the expectations of people.
One fails to understand why all the odd incidents happen in Jammu and Kashmir only. In other places and states such incidents are not even heard off. When people living in other places are made aware about such incidents they laugh at Kashmiris. They ask a simple question is J&K a cursed place? Don’t you people get suffocated? What are law enforcing agencies doing?

The electronic media which keeps a close watch on the developments in Kashmir has ignored the braid chopping incidents and has maintained silence over the issue. It looks like that stories which hit the common man have no news value for these TV channels which believe in highlighting violence and projecting Kashmiris as hate mongers. The so-called champions of women rights across the country seem least bothered about women folk being targeted by unknown persons.

To identify and nab the braid choppers is the litmus test for J&K Police. If it succeeds in tracking these criminals without wasting anytime, its image would get a boost and would prove that people can depend upon men in uniform in crisis.
In mid nineties when militancy was at its peak in Kashmir in many areas of the Valley “witches” became active. “itches” were known as “daens.” They used to appear in mohallas and villages during nights and used to barge inside the houses. These “witches” used to ransack the houses and terrorize the inmates. To counter these “witches” people formed groups of youth who used to remain awake in the night to guard their areas. Another method to counter the “witches” was to beat the roof tops of the houses. People becoming active led to “witches” disappearing from the scene. Jammu and Kashmir Police couldn’t locate who these “witches” were and till today it has not been known from where did these “witches” come and where did they disappear.

It looks like nineties have returned and the “witches” have turned braid choppers. People once again would have to stand on their own feet to stop the onslaught of the braid choppers. They would have to catch a few of them on their own to stop them from harassing the women folk. If J&K Police fail to solve this mystery then people on their own would have to take a lead and identify the culprits and act against them.
Recently the Inspector General of Police-Kashmir range, Muneer Khan claimed that situation is very much under control but they have to ensure that no such incident takes place which can act as a trigger. The people at the helm need to realize that braid chopping incidents have the potential to snowball into a major controversy. If authorities want peace to prevail and situation to remain under control then J&K Police should act and stop these incidents. The J&K Police in the recent past have proved that it can accomplish things. Identifying braid choppers and acting against them should be no big deal for the J&K Police.

Published in Greater Kashmir on Sep 29, 2017...

Poles apart, still together

PDP, BJP have nothing in common


Javaid Malik

The recent statement of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief Mohan Baghwat that Article 370 should be scrapped to pave the way for complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the union of India ruffled Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the coalition partner of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Jammu and Kashmir.
Soon after RSS Chief’s statement Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Dr Nirmal Singh endorsed Baghwat’s statement and echoed his views that Article 370 needs to be scrapped but BJP has been unable to touch it due to party being in alliance with PDP.

PDP reacted sharply to the statements of the RSS Chief and Deputy Chief Minister. The PDP leaders even threatened to “cross the bridge” if J&K’s special status is fiddled with.
After heated exchange of statements, both the parties once again “buried the hatchet” and carried on with their routine business. But the aftershocks of the row over Article 370 were felt in the recently held cabinet meeting as seven BJP ministers skipped it and CAPD and Information Minister and PDP leader Chaudary Zulfikar entered into a heated argument with the Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh over the eviction of tribal families from Samba district. The site where tribal families are living has been identified for setting up AIIMS in Jammu region. After exchanging heated words with Deputy Chief Minister, Zulfikar walked out from the cabinet meeting.
BJP has made it clear that it would get the land identified for AIIMS near Samba evicted at any cost and PDP ministers should not interfere. The CAPD Minister took the BJP head on but it seems he did not get the enough support from his party as the PDP leadership seems in mood to confront its coalition partner BJP.

The fighting among the two coalition partners remains confined to only issuing press statements. And such incidents have proved that there is no threat to the PDP-BJP coalition and it would complete its full term.
More than two and a half year rule of PDP-BJP combine has proved that both the parties have completely different ideologies and the power only is keeping these parties together.

Many people believe that as 2019 is coming near the BJP has once again started talking about Article 370, which provides special status to J&K. History stands testimony to the fact that abrogating Article 370 from J&K has been the party’s election plank for years together. This could be BJP’s poll plank in 2019 parliamentary polls too. The fate of Article 35-A is still hanging in balance as the Apex Court has listed the case after Diwali. There is every possibility about the verdict of the Supreme Court in this regard would come by month end. Even if Article 35-A, which provides special rights to J&K people, is revoked it would be a big victory for the saffron party. The BJP would have something in hand to approach the people to seek votes.

If the special status of the J&K is fiddled with the PDP would be the biggest loser as its critics would get an opportunity to corner the ruling party. As it’s a notion is being created that PDP joining hands with BJP was a “big blunder.” The PDP is trying its best to prove the critics wrong by shifting its entire focus on the development of the state but the unfortunate part is that BJP leaders irrespective of where they are keep on issuing controversial statements which puts the PDP in tight spot and triggers a debate in J&K. The BJP leaders during all these years have paid no heed to the repeated requests of the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to allow her to “handle J&K without controversies.”

As the PDP-BJP coalition is about to complete three years in office the government has not got anything to boast about and claim it as a major achievement. The ruling PDP with its base in Kashmir, has been unable to fulfill the promises which it had made to people prior to elections. On the other hand people in Jammu region are not that happy with the performance of the BJP ministers and accuse them of betraying them.
The BJP leaders are eyeing at least the abrogation of Article 35-A as a face saving measure and are determined to ensure that construction of AIIMS in Jammu starts without any delay. Now the BJP leaders are looking hot issues to lure the voters.
On the other hand PDP is running out of ideas about how to keep its constituencies intact .. There are still 3-years left and many wrongs can be undone if both the parties shift the focus on development and then seek the votes on the basis of their performance. If PDP- BJP have to rule J&K again they would have to do something out of box.

Published in Greater Kashmir on Oct 6, 2017

Talks only can break the ice

Every sane person in Kashmir wants that talks should be held and bloodshed should stop


Javaid Malik

Of late leaders of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party seem to have softened their tone vis-à-vis Kashmir. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who recently visited Jammu and Kashmir for 4-days before his arrival in the Valley had announced that he is ready to hold talks with anyone, and he has come to J&K with an open mind.
During his 2-day stay in Kashmir he met more than 30 delegations from different walks of life but none of the separatist leaders came forward to meet him. He winded up his Kashmir visit with a hope that normalcy would return to the Valley soon.

The BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who met the BJP leaders in Kashmir, told reporters that Government of India is ready to hold talks with the Hurriyat leaders without any preconditions but he was quick to add that Kashmir belongs to India and Kashmiris need to be loved and embraced.
The BJP leaders have changed their tone since the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that “love not bullets” can resolve Kashmir. Since that day many leaders have openly said that Government of India is ready to hold talks. The BJP general secretary reiterated what Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said.
The people sitting in New Delhi need to realize that biggest stakeholders are separatists, whom they have been ignoring since the day BJP led NDA government has come into power at the Center. Now they want to talk. But the question is what would they talk? One thing is for sure that BJP leaders won’t talk Azadi and Pakistan with the separatists. Then what would they talk about? Weather or the possible solutions which could be worked out?

Every sane person in Kashmir wants that talks should be held and bloodshed should stop. But the problem is that there is no meeting point as for New Delhi Kashmir is a settled issue and in no way it’s a dispute. On the other hand for separatists Kashmir is a dispute and it needs to be settled once for all. So both the parties have extreme view points. The only meeting point could be that both India and separatists would have to show flexibility and adopt a midway. Then only talks could be possible.
Separatists should realize that implementing United Nations resolutions at this point of time look like a distant dream and Indian leaders would never agree to it. On the other hand people sitting in New Delhi should stop harping “attot-ang” and give peace a chance by inviting separatists as well as the militant leadership for talks. If the GoI can hold talks with Naga rebels why cannot it hold talks with Kashmiri militant leaders and separatists?
New Delhi has to decide what could be the midway and what all concessions can it give then only talks would be possible. The BJP leaders who these days are claiming that their government is ready to hold a dialogue need to realize that Jammu and Kashmir is not like other states. It has got a special status and it’s a state which shares a common border with Pakistan and China.

Recently Kashmir’s joint separatist leadership comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, issued a statement that they are not averse to the talks provided these are held for resolving the Kashmir issue. There was no immediate response to the statement from New Delhi but for past one month BJP leaders are stating that their doors are open for talks.
One thing is for sure that separatists won’t go and seek the appointment from the people sitting in New Delhi to begin the talks. It’s Delhi which has to show magnanimity and invite the Kashmiri leaders for talks. People at the helm should realize that even their predecessors, including the then Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani, had held talks with Hurriyat leaders. Many people believe that talks are the only way out and until parleys are not held nothing can be achieved. Through force Delhi can enforce peace but there is no guarantee about how long would this enforced peace last.

BJP leaders have to change their approach towards Kashmir and Kashmiri leaders. They have to change their mindset and need to understand that Kashmiri leaders Geelani, Mirwaiz, Yasin Malik and others are not untouchables. They (BJP) leaders fear that if they hold talks with Kashmiri separatist leaders it would be against the “national interest” and they would be labeled as traitors but the fact is that they have to rise above the petty politics being played over Kashmir and have to act like statesmen. It’s Delhi which has to make a beginning to embrace Kashmiris rather than waiting for Kashmiri leaders to knock at their doors.
New Delhi has to break the jinx and come forward rather than talking through media. On the other hand Kashmiri leaders should realize that talking to New Delhi is no sin as India is the main party vis-à-vis Kashmir and its New Delhi which has to concede and give concessions.

Published in Greater Kashmir on Sep 22, 2017

Force alone is no solution

Political, and administrative measures need of the hour


Javaid Malik

The top army commander Lieutenant General Devraj Anbu has made it clear that army alone cannot solve the problems of Kashmir and has hinted that political and administrative measures are important for improving the situation in the Valley.
The Northern Army Commander is not the only person who has underlined the importance of political and administrative measures, which are needed to reach out to the people. The rule of gun cannot prevail forever and bullets are no solution. Even the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his I-day speech said that love not bullets can solve Kashmir.

Is it that people at the helm have realized that “might cannot be right” always and using excessive force is no solution. Since the day Bharatiya Janata Party led NDA government has come into power it has always maintained that Kashmir is a settled issue but many people in Kashmir are not ready to toe New Delhi’s line.
The people sitting in Delhi have started asserting that time has come for complete merger of Jammu and Kashmir with union of India and no stone is being left unturned to get the Article 35A, which provides special rights to people of J&K, scrapped.
If Delhi really wants to embrace the people of Kashmir then it has to show some flexibility and provide people with some breathing space. People at the helm are patting their backs for ensuring that situation in Kashmir has improved and it’s much better than the last year. This year somehow government has been able to “enforce peace” and control the street protests.

The Lieutenant General Anbu expressed concern over local youth joining the militant ranks. He emphasized on the fact that young boys need to be brought in the mainstream and their energies should be channelized in a positive way. At present many young boys are languishing in jails. They need to be given a chance. Recently the Education Minister Altaf Bukhari stated that government would get the students released on bail and give them a chance to pursue their careers. Even the Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief S P Vaid said that minors who are lodged in juvenile homes become more radicalized and even become militants.
Statements of the people holding responsible positions are an indication of the fact that “All is not Well” in Kashmir and lot needs to be done to restore normalcy.
It’s high time for New Delhi to pay some heed towards the emerging situation in Kashmir and take the feedback from the ground. Many people believe that lack of political initiative and entire focus of the government being on law and order has pushed the people away.
The ball at present is in the court of the government as it has to decide whether to release the youth from jails or not. Another factor which the people at the helm have to bear in mind is that they have to ensure that young teenage boys and youths are kept busy. Lack of avenues in Kashmir is one of the biggest problems.
Politicians would have to rise above their political affiliations to make people understand that they are their representatives and they (masses) can approach them anytime. People have a common complaint that politicians visit them when elections are around and after polls get over they disappear. Political initiative doesn’t mean only holding talks with separatists and Pakistan. Elected representatives reaching out to the masses is also a part of the political initiative. It’s the state government which has to take a call on whether to release the youth or not? The people who hold important positions can only suggest. It’s the people at the helm who have to decide and take a final call over the sensitive issues.
The governance during the past few years has taken a hit lot needs to be done to put the system at place and to restore the faith of people in the institutions which run the state. It seems army and police too want that young boys should be counseled. Addressing administrative and political issues is not in the hands of the army and the J&K policemen, who have become the face of the government. Police cannot rely on only using danda. They (cops) need to realize that for the common man they are the first interface of the government. Policemen should understand that have to be polite while handling difficult situations which arise every now and then and danda alone is not the only solution.

Published in Greater Kashmir on Sep 8, 2017

Thank you, Paediatrics SKIMS; Thank you Allah, and thank you doctors for saving my child


Javaid Malik

The worst trauma a parent can undergo is when he sees his child writhing in pain, and doctors ask him to pray rather than rely on their assurances.

I recently underwent the same trauma when my 10-year old son, Zaheeb, complained of cough, cold and chest pain. It was around 11:00 am when I took him to a private hospital. A renowned doctor present there was in a hurry to leave when I entered his room for the consultation. He quickly had a look at my son, and asked me to take him to the ward and get him nebulized as he was complaining of breathlessness. He prescribed some drugs and left in a hurry.
After getting Zaheeb neublized I brought him home and asked his mother to give him the medicine prescribed by the doctor. I told Zaheeb that he would be fine and left for some important work.
Within an hour I got a phone call from my better half. She asked me to return as soon as possible and take Zaheeb to doctor again. I rushed back home and called Dr Javed Chaudary, who has been seeing Zaheeb for the past few months. We rushed to Dr Javed’s clinic. He advised me to take him to G B Pant hospital without wasting anytime. As soon as we reached the G B Pant hospital, doctors admitted him to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and started treating him for Asthma.

I sat close to his bed with the hope that his pain would vanish and we would take him home after a few hours. As the clock started ticking Zaheeb started becoming more restless despite being put on oxygen; he was finding it difficult to breathe. I approached the senior resident present in the ICU and asked him what was wrong with my son. He was not responding to the treatment. He told me that they are trying their best and my son was in a “critical” condition. I was shocked!
I called up our health correspondent Zehru Nissa, my senior colleague Arshad Kaloo and told them to get in touch with the senior consultants of G B Pant hospital. I also called up the President of the Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan, and sought his help.

I stood next to Zaheeb’s bed; shell shocked. Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan suddenly appeared in the ICU and asked the senior resident about the line of treatment. He asked the senior resident to call the seniors. Within half an hour Dr Nisar mobilized all the top consultants of the hospital. They got the X-rays and CT scan done. After hectic consultations they informed me that we should shift Zaheeb to SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. Again I was told that my son is not well and I need to pray for him. I somehow recollected myself and called my Chief Editor, and the senior consultant at SKIMS Dr Saleem Wani, informing them about my son being shifted to SKIMS.

As soon as we reached SKIMS Soura, Dr Nisar was present there and Dr Saleem had asked his juniors to receive Zaheeb. Without wasting much time Zaheeb was moved to Intensive Care Unit of Ward no. 7-A (Paediatrics ward) at SKIMS. I was not allowed to enter the ICU but I was told that Zaheeb has been put on ventilator and nothing can be said about his survival chances. A young medico Dr Muddasir Nazir, along with his team, within in no time put Zaheeb on life saving drugs. The Head of the Department, Dr Wajid Ali also arrived in the ICU and asked his team to ensure that they don’t miss any angle.

My friends, including Arshad Kaloo, Fayaz Wani and Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan, just kept on running away from me as I kept on asking them what’s wrong with my son. They had no answers. Somehow I mustered courage and entered ICU and pleaded before the doctors to let me know what has happened to my son. They told me that I should pray to Allah as survival chances are not more than 30%. My entire world collapsed right then, right there. One of the doctors told me that I should pray to Allah as nothing is in their hands. They can just try. The first night passed off and the second day came. Zaheeb continued to be on the ventilator but doctors at Paediatrics ward didn’t give up hope and kept on fighting. After 48-hours Zaheeb was brought down from the ventilator and he started improving. I had no words to thank Almighty Allah, and the doctors at SKIMS, who didn’t give up hope and ensured that my son got the best possible treatment. I am indebted to all my friends and doctors of the SKIMS Paediatric ward, including Dr Wajid Ali, Head of Department Paediatrics, Dr Saleem Wani, renowned urologist, Medical Superintendent SKIMS Dr Amin Tabish and Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan, President DAK. Thank you Allah, and thank you doctors for saving my child.

Published in Greater Kashmi on Sep 5, 2017

Narratives, slogans punctured

Amid tensions between India and Pakistan, mainstream politicians in Kashmir are trying to look for a space for themselves. Today they don’...