Pakistan and Kashmir Issue
Q.4. Write a detailed note on Pakistan and Kashmir Issue
Kashmir, the last of the defiant states, was the reverse of Hyderabad. It had a Hindu Ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, but his subjects were mostly Muslims, accounting to 77 percent of the total population. The Maharaja was reluctant to join either India or Pakistan. But Lord Mountbatten urged him to take a decision to join either of the states before August 15, 1947. The Maharaja asked for more time to consider his decision. In the meantime he asked the Indian and the Pakistani government to sign a “standstill agreement” with him. Pakistan consented but India refused.
War of Kashmir 1947
The local population of Poonch began to press the Maharaja to accede to Pakistan. In August 1947, they held a massive demonstration to protest against the Maharaja’s indecisiveness. The Maharaja panicked. He asked his Hindu paratroopers to open fire and within a matter of seconds, several hundred Muslims were killed. Rising up against this brutal action, a local barrister called Sardar Mohammad Ibrahim immediately set up the Azad Kashmir government and began to wage guerrilla warfare against the Maharaja. By October 1947, the war of Kashmir had begun in earnest. The Pathan tribesmen from the Noth West Frontier Province, wanting to avenge the deaths of their brothers, invaded the valley. On reaching the valley of Kashmir, they defeated the Maharaja’s troops and reached the gates of Srinagar, the capital.
Maharaja’s Coalition with India
The Maharaja sensing his defeat took refuge in Jammu whence he appealed to India to send troops to halt the onslaught of the tribesmen. India agreed on the condition that Kashmir would accede to India. On October 26, 1947, the Maharaja acceded to India. Lord Mountbatten accepted the accession on behalf of India. On October 26, 1947, India began to airlift her troops to Srinagar and launched a full-scale attack on the tribesmen. Pakistan was stunned. Despite her scant military resources, Pakistan was prepared to send in her troops but the British General Gracey, Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army, was against it. Jinnah proposed an immediate ceasefire and later on a fair and free plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmir Dispute and United Nations
In January 1948, India took the dispute to the Security Council. There it accused Pakistan of aggression and demanded that Pakistan withdraw her tribesmen. But Pakistan held that the accession of Kashmir had been brought about by force. The government requested the Security Council to arrange a cease-fire and asked both the tribesmen and the Indian troops to withdraw so that a free impartial plebiscite could be held to ascertain the wishes of the people of Kashmir.
Indo-Pakistan War 1948 and United Nation’s Involvement
While the Kashmir issue was still on the table, the Indian troops launched a full-scale attack and drove the tribesmen right back to the Pakistani border. Pakistan rushed her regular troops into Kashmir and a full-scale war with India ensued. She took control of the Azad Kashmir Army. But the Security Council on August 13, 1948 called for an immediate ceasefire the withdrawal of all Pakistani and Indian troops and holding of plebiscite under United Nation’s supervision. Both the Indian and Paksitani government accepted the resolution.
In January 1949, the resolution began to be implemented. In July 1949, the ceasefire line was demarcated. Pakistan’s side of Kashmir consisted of some parts of Jammu, Poonch, some areas of Western Kashmir, Gilgit and a great chunk of Ladakh territory near the Chinese border in the North. India kept the valley of Kashmir, Jammu and the remainder of Ladakh territory near the Tiber border. The cease-fire has remained in existence since 1949. No plebiscite has been held and thus the Kashmir issue still remains disputed and unresolved.
The 1965 War
In April 1965, a clash between border patrols erupted into fighting in the Rann of Kutch, a sparsely inhabited region along the south-western Indo-Pakistan border. When the Indians withdrew, Pakistan claimed victory. Later full-scale hostilites erupted in September 1965, when India alleged that insurgents trained and supplied by Pakistan were operating in India-controlled Kashmir. Hostilities ceased three weaks later, following mediation efforts by the UN and interested countries. In January 1966, Indian and Pakistani representatives met in Tashkent, U.S.S.R., and agreed to attempt a peaceful settlement of Kashmir and their other differences.
The 1971 War
Indo-Pakistani relations deteriorated again when civil war erupted in Pakistan, pitting the West Pakistan army against East Pakistanis demanding autonomy and independence. In December India invaded East Pakistan in support of the East Pakistani people. The Pakistani army surrendered at Dhaka and its army of more than 90,000 became India prisoners of war. East Pakistan became the independent country of Bangladesh on 6th December 1971. Following the 1971 Indo-Pakistan conflict, President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi met in the mountain town of Shimla, India in July 1972. They agreed to a line of control in Kashmir resulting from the December 17, 1971 cease-fire, and endorsed the principle of settlement of bilateral disputes through peaceful means.
Indian Troops and Siachen Glacier 1984
India’s nuclear test in 1974 generated great uncertainty in Pakistan and is generally acknowledged to have been the impetus for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development program. In 1983, the Pakistani and Indian governments accused each other of aiding separatists in their respective countries, i.e., Sikhs in India’s Punjab state and Sindhis in Pakistan’s Sindh province. In April 1984, tensions erupted after troops were deployed to the Siachen Glacier, a high-altitude desolate area close to the China border left undemarcated by the cease-fire agreement (Karachi Agreement) signed by Pakistan and India in 1949.
Tensions diminished after Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in November 1984 and after a group of Sikh hijackers was brought to trial by Pakistan in March 1985. In December 1985, President Zia and Prime Minister Gandhi pledged not to attack each other’s nuclear facilities. In early 1986, the Indian and Pakistani governments began high-level talks to resolve the Siachen Glacier border dispute and to improve trade.
Kashmir Insurgency 1990
Bilateral tensions increased in early 1990, when Kashmiri militants began a compaign of violence against Indian Government authority in Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequent high-level bilateral meetings relieved the tensions between India and Pakistan, but relations worsened again after the destruction of the Ayodhya Masjid by Hindu extremists in December 1992 and terrorists bombings in Bombay in March 1993. Talks between the Foreign Secretaries of both countries in January 1994 resulted in deadlock.
Diplomatic Push 1996-97
In the last several years, the Indo-Pakistani relationship has veered sharply between rapprochement and conflict. After taking office in February 1997, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif moved to resume official dialogue with India. A number of meetings at the foreign secretary and Prime Ministerial level took place with positive atmospherics but little concrete progress. In a speech at the UN, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offered to open talks on a non-aggression pact with India, proposing that both nations strike a deal to restrain their nuclear and missile capabilities.
Effects of 9/11 on Kashmir
If the world and the United States changed after September 11, the center of that change is the region where Pakistan is located. When it came to begin the war against terrorism Pakistan did not hesitate to do whatever it takes to fight against terrorism. United States of America appreciated the efforts of Pakistan which did not please India. So, India blamed Pakistan-based groups for the December 13, 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. In reply, General Parvez Musharraf’s speech of January 12, 2002 which even India’s hawkish Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani termed four days later as “path-breaking”, India was caught on the back foot.
National Kashmir Committee
It is in this context that Pakistan launched a new political initiative on Kashmir to reaffirm its long standing policy of supporting the right of self-determination for the people of kashmir that is enshrined in United Nations resolutions, initially accepted even by India. Musharraf announced the formation of a National Kashmir Committee headed by a veteran Kashmiri politician, and its charter made clear the purposes behind the initiative. The challenge before the government is to promote confidence among the people in Pakistan and Kashmir regarding Pakistan’s efforts to project the Kashmir cause as a popular and indigenous struggle internationally.
Having addressed international concerns regarding terrorism and extremism in Musharraf’s January 12 speech, the United States is now more receptive to Pakistan’s plea and is anxious to see a dialogue on all the issues of Kashmir.
Peace in South Asia and the Kashmir Dispute
Pakistan believes that the establishment of durable peace in South Asia hinges on the resolution of the Kashmir Dispute in light of the security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people. On March 17, 2004 Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali said the Kashmir dispute remains the core issue between India and Pakistan. The two South Asian nations have fought three wars, two of which were over the disputed kashmir region. In January this year, the two leaderships made a decision to open the dialogue process in a bid to resolve all disputes between the two sides.
The Dialogue Process
Pakistan always showed seriousness and sincerity towards resolution of the core issue of Kashmir by adopting several Confidence Building Measures (CBMs). World community. time and again has advised India to decrease the number of its force in Occupied Kashmir and release illegally detained Kashmiri Leadership. India never hesitated from leveling baseless allegations against Pakistan of infiltration and also did not stop massive human rights violations in Kashmir. The need is to initiate vigorous efforts from both sides in resolving the Kashmir issue. The basic important dispute between the two countries is Kashmir issue and with its resolution all the other outstanding issues would be settled very easity. Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali said that
Kashmir dispute should be resolved according to the United Nations resolution and with active participation of the Kashmiris.
Year 2005 – Road to Peace
The Prime Minister said that there wre many difficulties on road to peace but emphasized the need to take measures to promote mutual trust and find new avenues for a peaceful resolution of the lingering Kashmir dispute. The first formal visit of a faction of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and subsequently, though unsanctioned by Indian authorities to Pakistan between June 2-16, 2005 was thus projected as a major event and development in the process of solving the “Kashmir Issue”. Indeed the visit strongly reiterated the fact that the APHC continues to be a faithful Pakistani proxy. After his meeting with the President Musharraf, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq declared that
We want Kashmir to be divided on geographical grounds. We don’t wand Kashmir to lose its identity…. we support his [President Musharraf] approach.
During their meeting with President Musharraf, the APHC leaders once again were assured full political, diplomatic and moral support.
This tour has been helpful in understanding the viewpoint of the Kashmiri leaders. Their quest for a free hand to decide their future is valid. They have been living under brutal Indian occupation since 1948. Despite promised justice by the UN 57 years ago, they have been denied their right of self-determination. It was in fact the denial of justice and unabated Indian State-terrorism perpetrated against Kashmir.
The recent visit of the APHC leaders was a significant development, which can be termed as a milestone in the process of resolving the core dispute of Kashmir between Pakistan and India peacefully. We wish both the governments to show courage, boldness and flexibility in settling the issue.