Kashmiris’ Right of Self Determination
Is it outdated, impracticable and unacceptable?
A PAGE FROM HISTORY BY AMANULLAH KHAN
13th August 2010 marks the 62nd anniversary of the resolution on Kashmir Issue adopted on this day in 1948 by the UN Commission on Kashmir (UNCIP) with the consent and approval of the governments of India and Pakistan. The resolution provided for a UN supervised plebiscite (referendum) to determine the future political and constitutional status of Jammu Kashmir State. The resolution also contained a detailed four phase road-map to implement it. These four phases included:
(1) Appointment of the Plebiscite Administrator and his staff
(2) Ceasefire in Kashmir and demarcation of ceasefire-line (CFL)
(3) Withdrawal of all Pakistani armed forces and tribesmen and bulk of Indian forces from Kashmir.
(4) Plebiscite in the entire Jammu Kashmir State to determine its future in the light of the result of the plebiscite.
Fire was ceased on January 1, 1949 and ceasefire line was demarcated in July 1949. But India and Pakistan did not agree on the quantum of armed forces to be retained by them in Kashmir. India insisted on total Pakistani withdrawal and Pakistan refused to do so for many reasons. That blocked implementation of the resolution and that position continues to date.
For those who don’t know much about the background of Kashmir Issue, let me briefly narrate the history of Kashmir and the real background of Kashmir Issue before starting its present position and the stands of its stakeholders.
Surrounded by Pakistan, India, China and Afghanistan, Kashmir has been a free and independent country for most of 5000 years of its recorded history. Out of the twenty two dynasties of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians, who ruled Kashmir till 14th century AD when Muslims entered its political arena, 18 were native during whose rule Kashmir was an independent state. Muslims ruled Kashmir whose frontiers have continuously been expanding and shrinking, for 480 years (1339 to 1819 AD) which included 246 years of its independence. It was during this period of independence (Zainul Abedeen Budshah’s rule 1420-1470) that Kashmir reached the zenith of its prosperity and glory. The independence of Kashmir came to end in 1586 when Mughal emperor Akbar the Great, occupied it but not before getting two defeats at the hands of Kashmiris. Mughal rule continued for 166 years and was followed by 67 years of Afghans rule who were defeated by Sikhs of the Punjab who ruled Kashmir for just 27 years. The war between Sikhs and the British rulers of northern India resulted in the defeat of the Sikhs and Punjab along Kashmir fell into the lap of the British. The British rule on Kashmir lasted for just a week before they sold Kashmir to one Raja Gulab Singh, a feudal lord and a minister of the Sikh dynasty who had helped the British secretly against his own Sikh masters, for a sum of rupees 7.5 million to be paid in installments. This ignominious sale of human beings like a commercial commodity by the British took place on 16th of March 1846. Gulab Singh and his successors ruled Kashmir for 100 years till 1947. In 1947 British rule in India came to an end and before leaving the sub-continent the British divided it into two independent State of Muslim Pakistan and secular India on the demand of All India Muslim League. The semi-independent states of the sub-continent including Kashmir were left at the mercy of their hereditary and autocratic rulers who had to determine their future. Kashmir became a problem with a Hindu ruler but overwhelming majority of its people being Muslims. Keeping in mind the interests of the ruler and of the majority of his people, both the Maharaja and his Prime Minister Mr. R. C. Kak, a native Hindu wanted Kashmir to become an independent country having friendly relations with both India and Pakistan. But Indian leaders pressurized Maharaja to accede to India and he dismissed his pro-independence Prime Minister only four days before India got freedom and replaced him by Mr. M.C. Mahajan as Prime Minister.
Both India and Pakistan wanted to make Kashmir their part. Seeing that some elements in India were trying to make Kashmir part of India, some elements in Pakistan encouraged the militant Pakistani tribesmen to enter Kashmir to keep their Muslim brethren from falling into the lap of Hindu dominated India. This provided an excuse to the Hindu ruler of Kashmir to bring about State’s accession to India and before India had officially accepted it, her armed forces landed in Kashmir. Later Pakistani forces also joined tribesmen and a revolutionary government called Azad (Free) Kashmir Government was established in liberated areas. Thus a sort of regular war started in Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
India took the Issue to the United Nations accusing Pakistan of aggression in Kashmir and assuring the world body that she (India) would let Kashmiri people themselves decide whether they should join India or Pakistan or become an independent nation and seek UN membership. Pakistan accused India of hatching conspiracies in Kashmir to bring about its accession to India. UN Security Council appointed a Commission on Kashmir Issue which after continuous discussions with both India and Pakistan, adopted the-afore mentioned resolution which still remains un-implemented. In 1951 the UN Commission declared its failure to make India and Pakistan agree on the quantum of armed forces each should retain in Kashmir and resigned. This was followed by appointment of four UN representatives, one after the other, but they also failed. In 1957 India got a UN Security Council resolution providing for right of self determination to Kashmiris, vetoed by the then Soviet Union and another resolution was vetoed in 1962. This was in consideration of Indian indirect support to Soviets in Hungary and former Czechoslovakia, where the Soviets were crushing popular independence movements with utmost cruelty. Thus Kashmir became a victim of dirty international political games too. The India-Pakistan war of 1971 resulted in defeat and disintegration of Pakistan. That compelled Pakistan to accept Kashmir issue as a territorial dispute and bilateral issue and as such, no mention was made about Kashmiris’ inherent, internationally recognized and pledged right of self determination nor were Kashmiris accepted as a party to the issue in the Simla Agreement of July 1972 between India and Pakistan. India is now claiming that Kashmir is her integral and constitutional part, the UN resolutions are outdated and that they are unacceptable to India. Pakistan seems to have deviated from what she used to call her “principled stand” on Kashmir based on the demand of right of self determination to Kashmiris and is sort of chasing the looter to share the booty.
The excuses made by India to backout of the pledges and commitments to concede their inherent and internationally recognized right of self determination to the people of Jammu Kashmir State are baseless, immoral, totally unjustified and undemocratic. For instance India’s refusal to fulfill her pledges of conceding right of self determination to Kashmiris because Pakistan has not fulfilled her part of UNCIP resolutions, is immoral, totally unjustified, undemocratic and inhuman. Why should India punish Kashmiris and deprive them of their most important human right just because Pakistan had not fulfilled her promise. Moreover India herself violated a number of provisions of UN resolutions. The excuse of UN resolution on Kashmir being outdated and obsolete is equally devoid of any moral and legal weight as the law of limitation does not apply to matters based on human rights and humanitarian values. As far Kashmir being an integral and constitutional part of India, the excuse is also baseless as the only thing that could make Kashmir as integral and constitutional part of India was the occasion of the States accession to India by the ruler of kashmir which was signed on October 27, 1947 but India declared in the Security Council on January 15, 1948 over two and half months later that India was fully prepared to let Kashmiris decide whether they want to remain with India, join Pakistan or become independent with a right to seek admission as a member of the United Nations. This declaration of India was tantamount to accepting that Kashmir was not a part of India as no country lets its integral part to join any other country or to become independent. Moreover India accepted dozens of UN resolutions including Security Council resolution No. 47,51,80,91 and 122 of August 21, June, 3 1948, march 14, 1950, March 30, 1951 and Jan 24 1957 (the last one as late as about 10 years after Kashmir rulers’ so called accession to India) and UNCIP resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949 which accepted that the final constitutional and geographical status of Jammu Kashmir state was yet to be determined. As such, Indian claim of Kashmir being her integral part, terming UN resolutions outdated and punishing Kashmiris for violation of UN resolution by Pakistan as unjustified, immoral, illegal and undemocratic rather inhuman.
As for Pakistan, although relatively reasonable, her attitude towards Kashmiris’ right of self determination has been one of hypocrisy. Whereas none of the agreements signed since 1972 by India and Pakistan carries any reference to Kashmiris’ right of self determination or of their being a party to Kashmir Issue, Pakistani governments go on befooling Kashmiris by doing otherwere. During General Musharraf’s rule, Pakistan publicly abandoned her basic and original stand on Kashmir.
Kashmir issue concerns the most important of human rights i.e. the inherent, internationally recognized and pledged right of self determination of as many as over 17 million people, more in number than the individual populations of as many as 134 UN member nations and is being denied to them now by the ‘greatest democracy’ on earth and ‘the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’. We Kashmiris appeal to those nations, governments, organizations, media persons and intellectuals who believe in human rights and humanitarian values, to extend their support to our just cause of our national emancipation.
At present we are in pain and anguish to see total apathy of international community towards our cause based on human rights and humanitarian values. As one of the greatest fighters for human rights and humanitarian values, Dr. Martin Luther King has said “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but silence over that by the good people”
Amanullah Khan is Patron-in-Chief, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastupdate on : Sat, 14 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 14 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 15 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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