Better To Plan Kashmir’s Future Than Lament the Past 

Like all the others pieces written by Secretary General World Kashmir Awareness Forum, Dr G N Fai, the one titled “The ostensible accession of Kashmir to India is a fiction: Ambassador Yusuf Buch” too makes a sensational claim which if true would change the entire discourse on Kashmir. Unfortunately, just like all his other claims the latest one regarding the “ostensible” accession of Kashmir to India being a “fiction” is based on personal presumptions rather than facts. Dr Fai tells us that this is the view of Ambassador Yusuf Buch who was former senior advisor to the United Nations Secretary General and whom Dr Fai aptly describes as “a living encyclopedia on Kashmir.”

Mr Buch considers Kashmir’s accession to India “a fiction entrenched in the Indian position.” According to him, “The fact that the act (signing instrument of accession) was performed by a feudal ruler who had fled his capital in the face of popular revolt is well established in the official record of the (Kashmir) dispute.” In his recent piece (“The U.N. should not remain passive in the face of human wrongs in Kashmir”) Dr Fai too has mentioned that “Faced with the insurgency of his people, the Maharaja fled the capitol, Srinagar, on October 25, 1947 and arranged that India send its army to help him crush the rebellion.” With two experts on Kashmir airing similar views regarding the dubious nature of accession, there are reasons for optimism because if what Mr Buch and Dr Fai are claiming is really true then Kashmir’s accession to India is perhaps the greatest fraud in modern history! 

However, Mr Buch has neither given any details of which “official record of the dispute” he’s referring to that (as per him) conclusively proves that the Maharaja of J&K left his capital due to an internal uprising and not an invasion of tribals from Pakistan. Nor has he explained why he didn’t bring this evidence to the notice of the UN Secretary General when Mr Buch was serving as his senior advisor. Dr Fai too has not offered any proof in support of his claim that “Faced with the insurgency of his people, the Maharaja fled the capitol, Srinagar, on October 25, 1947 and arranged that India send its army to help him crush the rebellion.” 

Mr Buch has made another point that is very interesting. He says that “If India were as certain of the legal strength of its claim (over Kashmir) as it professes to be, would it not agree to the whole question being examined by the World Court? A process lasting a few months would vindicate its position and bring it resounding victory. But India knows that an impartial investigation would be fatal to its claim.” Without meaning any offence to Mr Buch, I would like to remind him that it’s only the aggrieved parties that seek legal recourse to remedy what they perceive to be wrong. By passing resolutions on Kashmir without questioning or commenting on the legality of J&K’s accession the UN has accepted India’s stand on the Kashmir issue. Thus, when India has no problems regarding its rights over J&K, then why and on what issue should it approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ)? 

There is also a counter-argument to Mr Buch’s view on this matter that cannot be ignored as it concerns the ‘self determination’ movement.  Islamabad’s official stand is that the instrument of accession has no validity and so India is in “illegal occupation” of Kashmir. Thus, when Pakistan is fully convinced that India has no legitimate claim over J&K, then why hasn’t it taken up the accession issue with the ICJ for over seven decades? And it’s still not too late for Pakistan to do so even today. So, if India can approach the IJC to challenge the capital punishment awarded by a Pakistani military court to one of its national (Kulbhushan Jadav), then why is Islamabad reluctant to take up the issue of J&K’s accession (which concerns millions), with the ICJ? This is the question that the Hurriyat and civil society should be rightfully asking Islamabad! 

Niloofar Qureshi

[email protected]

New Delhi

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