Pakistan’s Kashmir Policy

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There are around 195 States and more than 800 nations in the world today. People of the State of Jammu and Kashmir have upped their claim as a nation as well. Up until August 1947 at the time of a Stand Still Agreement proposed to both India and Pakistan, the people of the State had a grievance against the tyrant Maharaja and were struggling for a ‘responsible government’, a constitution and other rights.

The two opposing decisions of The Stand Still Agreement of August 1947 with the Government of Pakistan and the Accession of October 1947 with the Government of India have left the people of Kashmir distributed and without a reliable political identity as ‘equal people’.

Pakistan has occupied a significant role in the political, diplomatic and militant struggle of the people of Kashmir (Valley in particular). Over the years since 1 January 1948 when the matter of Kashmir went to United Nations, the history of the State Machinery in Pakistan has been through many rough seas on its interest in Kashmir.

In my previous column “Pakistan’s Admission” I have dealt with three examples of State opportunism on Kashmir. Para 5 of the statement (making a detailed reference to Kashmir) of the Federation of Pakistan submitted in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the Balochistan Unrest Case has shocked political analysts in Pakistan itself but it has not surprised many of us who have been following the developments in Pakistan’s Kashmir policy since 1947.

In fact Pakistan does not have any national policy on Kashmir. The only reference to Kashmir is in article 257 of the Constitution of Pakistan. The article makes a reference in the manner that, “When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and that State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State”.

It is a self-serving inscription embedding a hope that the people of the State will accede to Pakistan. There is no mention or explanation of any kind in regard to any role that Pakistan will play in regard to this process. In other words the entire donkey work seems to have been left to the people of Kashmir. Pakistan has at a later date in AJK Constitution Act 1974 made a passing reference to its duties under UNCIP resolutions but has left the matter vague again. Its claim in the AJK Constitution Act 1974 has remained at war with its practice. The history of involvement remains full of opportunisms.

After the third opportunism in November 1948 when Government of Pakistan offered to the Government of India to wage a joint war on AJK Government or independent tribesmen, the fourth opportunism surfaced on 24 November 1947. Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan avoided to accept the proposal of British Prime Minister Clement Attlee to “take private soundings from the President of the International Court of Justice” on the question of referendum in Kashmir.

It is regrettable and unfortunate that Liaquat Ali Khan in para 3 of his letter dated 24 November 1947 addressed to Prime Minister Clement Attlee stated, “The India Government are also trying to mislead the world by stating that people of Kashmir asked them through Sheikh Abdullah to send their troops to Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah has been a paid agent of Congress for the last two decades and with the exception of some gangsters whom he has purchased with Congress money he has no following among Muslim masses. It is astonishing that Pandit Nehru, who knows these facts, should proclaim this Quisling to be acknowledged leader of Muslims of Kashmir”.

It was exactly 16 years and 6 months after this in May 1964 that the Government of Pakistan received Sheikh Abdullah with a reception never seen in the history of Pakistan. A special plane had been sent to Delhi to bring him to Pakistan. History may have been different if Sheikh Abdullah had not to end his visit and return on 27th May 1948 hearing about the death of Pandit Nehru.

The most serious opportunism came after the 1971 war when Pakistan traded Kashmir to seek the release of Pakistani prisoners held in India. Against the release of the huge numbers of Prisoners of War taken in the Eastern theatre the cease-fire-line (CFL) was turned into the Line of Control (LOC). Shimla Agreement proclaimed that the Kashmir issue must be settled bilaterally. This was a diplomatic and political coup by India as it meant that the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to be a party to any negotiations were ruled out.

Establishment in Pakistan which has been looking after Kashmir as one of its exclusives, needs to be reminded that it was a trade off on Kashmir that brought back to liberty the ‘Khakis’ who had surrendered in East Pakistan and had been taken as war prisoners. The habitat, natural resources, the people and the right of self-determination of the people, all severally and collectively have been used by the establishment in Pakistan to maintain its power turf and enjoy a status nowhere seen by any ‘Khakis’ around the world.

Establishment in Pakistan could not manage a continued regime of opportunism on the question of Kashmir without finding its own “QUISLINGS AND PAID AGENTS” in the three administrations of Jammu and Kashmir and amongst the Diaspora. Although Liaquat Ali Khan accused Sheikh Abdullah as a “Paid Agent” and “Quisling” of Congress in November 1947, we see that over the years Pakistan has exposed itself in USA, in the Valley and in many other parts of the world to have relied on a similar regime of agents and quislings.

There is a marked difference between supporting the cause of the people to self-determination as ‘equal people’ and an underhand effort to trade off the dignity and independence of the people of Kashmir. The support has remained selective and prejudicial to the merits of the Kashmir case. It has resulted in the death of a generation and the death of self-determination. Valley in particular has been used as a theatre of mini war experiment by the members of the establishment who have yet to stand up to a successful military endeavour in the interests of Pakistan.

The unwarranted adventurism (now abandoned) authored by non-Kashmiris and acted through readily available Kashmiri actors has in fact incurred a criminal liability in the Valley. Kashmir case has been exploited by the establishment without any regard for life, honour, property and the jurisprudence of the case. Initially it succeeded (and has failed) to cause a stir and upset in the Valley and now the abandoned youth are running mad to be recruited in Police, BSF, CRPF and other visible and invisible braches of Indian Security Forces. The stranded youth on the other side of cease fire line (LOC) once proudly named as ‘militants’ are making justifiable pleadings to be allowed to return to their homes and settle down in ‘peace’. They want to live a normal life and no one seems to be interested to find out what has made them to conclude to live so differently in just 22 years of endurance.

Establishment and their Kashmiri recruits have profited and have made personal gains at the cost of the Rights Movement of the people of Kashmir. If the establishment in Pakistan does not revisit its wisdom on Kashmir and continues to trade Kashmir as and when required, the people of Kashmir would be within their rights to ask it, to walk away from their Rights Movement (and leave them alone). It is equally true that any and every Kashmiri who has helped the establishment in this trade off would have to face the justice in a ‘Peoples’ and other established courts in Kashmir.

We should not forget that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has found that Ex-Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg and Ex D G ISI Lt. General M Asad Durrani have acted beyond their Constitutional duties and outside the law and have been recommended to be treated in accordance with law. In the same manner Kashmiri leaders in and outside Hurriyat who have acted beyond the terms of their Constitution and outside the scope of UN Mechanism on Kashmir and have caused the deaths of a generation and self-determination, shall have to face a regime of accountability.

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