Dr Syed Nazir Gilani,

Jammu and Kashmir since the first enumeration of 1873 has commonly been called at home in official records and abroad in books as “The State of Kashmir”. It comprised of the provinces of Jammu, Kashmir and the Frontier Districts. The provinces were governed by Governors and the Frontier Districts by Wazirs.

On 12 April 1901 the Frontier Districts were re-organised under the Ladakh and Gilgit Wazarat. It would be unhelpful to argue that Gilgit-Baltistan have never been part of The State of Jammu and Kashmir and therefore deserve a different dispensation as requested by the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly in its resolution of 9 March 2021.

GB has a strong case of an aggravated grievance against Government of Azad Kashmir, Muslim Conference and Government of Pakistan since April 1949. The three parties entered into a 21 item agreement amongst themselves to promote the case of self-determination and serve the people of the State living in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. It appears that all the successive Governments of AJK, political parties in AJK and Governments in Pakistan turned their backs on the life and habitat of GB and used it for a quid pro quo in their unworthy interests.

Indian action of 5 August 2019 should not throw us into a disarray and land us into a cul de sac of confusion and frustration. Hitler conquered France in June 1940 and divided Paris into two. Germans changed the national motto of France – “liberty, equality and fraternity” into “work, family and fatherland.”Seemingly it was an end of French political and cultural way of life. Circumstances did not take long to change the manner of war and Hitler was defeated. France regained itself and it reclaimed its motto of “liberty, equality and fraternity”.

There is confusion in Kashmiri and Pakistani schools of politics in regard to finding the right salvo to fire back at India. Rather than finding a “proportionate and pointed” anti-dote to Indian action we have started to find unmeaningful short cuts. Indian end, in its controlled part of the “Kashmir State” would be no different to Hitler’s end in France. The end is embedded in the jurisprudence of Kashmir case and resistance of people.India would soon find that her trousers were on fire.

Government of AJK, political parties of all manner in AJK, Government of Pakistan and political parties of all manner in Pakistan should offer an apology to the people of GB for failing them all these 72 years from April 1949. A serious wrong done to them needs to be repaired and it may involve paying them well considered damages and reparation by the two Governments. The remedy should be found within the existing agreements, court judgements and the jurisprudence of UNCIP Resolutions. The solution proposed in the assembly resolution has not been carefully thought out. It even fails on the merits of its construction. It is not a solution.
It would be a serious error of judgement if Pakistan nudge passes its positionson GB as stated at the 228th meeting of the UN SC held on 16 January 1948. If Pakistan accepts the request made in the GB assembly resolution, it would be at variance to the position taken by it in her letter dated 9 October 1963 (S/5437) addressed to the President of the Security on Indian plans to grant Jammu and Kashmir representation in the Indian Parliament. Government of Pakistan has duly relied on the UN SC Resolution of 30 March 1951.

We should not join theschool of opinion which encourages Pakistan to admit GB as a “provisional province” and to accredit the text of the “resolution of 9 March 2021”. This school does not have a clue of the jurisprudence of UN Resolutions on Kashmir, Pakistan’s position at the UN, Pakistan’s role in AJK and GB and about the Hurriet Constitution adopted on 31 July 1993.

Pakistan is a sovereign and a nuclear country. Nuclear capability of Pakistan cancels out Indian size and military might. It rules out any military threat from India unless the Indian politicians and military leaders would want to leave a different India (may be unrecognizable habitat) to their future generations. Pakistan would equally consider the dividends of peace and the destruction of war. Therefore, there would be no war and the two countries have to co-exist and shall have to remove the irritants. Kashmir is not an irritant but an obligation under article 1 (2) of UN Charter. The two countries have commitments to honour.

In this regard Pakistan has taken upon to represent the people of Kashmir ever since 15 January 1948 at the UN SC. Pakistan in its document II submitted to the UN SC on 15 January 1948 has rightly stated that, “the accession of the State to the Indian Dominion would be tantamount to signing of their death warrant.”

India on her part has assured the UN SC on 20 January 1948 that “We hope to be able to convince the Security Council that once we have dealt with the Kashmir question, there will probably not be anything of substance which will divide India and Pakistan to the extent of endangering international peace and security.” The Kashmiri leadership was unfairly hurried at the UN SC and they have said very little at the UN.

The representation of the people of Kashmir has been in the form of the speech made by Sheikh Abdullah on 5 February 1949, letter of 8 July 1948 from President of AJK Sardar Ibrahim Khan and the meeting of UNCIP with AJK leaders in September 1948. Sheikh Abdullah has said, “After all, we are not logs of wood, we are not dolls. We must have an opinion one way or the other. The people of Kashmir are either in favour of Pakistan or in favour of India.” (241st meeting of UN SC held on 5 February 1948). Sheikh Abdullah added, “…we could not decide this all important issue before achieving our liberation and our slogan began – “Freedom before accession”.

Dr. Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai has rightly argued that “Kashmir is internationally recognized as a disputed territory whose final status is yet to be determined by the people. Both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons and have fought three wars during the past 73 years. This is a matter that urgently needs to be put on a road to find a just and viable solution.”

All opinions in Pakistan and Kashmir should flag the statement made by Netherlands at the UN SC on 10 November 1951. It has stated, “The lack of agreement therefore, does not concern this right of self-determination. It concerns the ways and means and procedures to establish the conditions for a fair expression of the will of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir who want to make their choice free from any kind of fear or intimidation.”

GB people are part of this aggregate free will of the people and a very important number to defeat all Indian unlawful designs aimed at effecting a demographic change by transporting non-Kashmiris into the State. The best option for Pakistan is to help AJK and GB to assume their selves as provided in UNCIP Resolutions. Pakistan has to trust and support its constituency. India does not have a strong and a comparable constituency.

The advocates of Pakistani constituency in the Valley, AJK, GB, among 2.5 million refugees in Pakistan and in the diaspora, need to have a reliable understanding, of the Kashmir case and how Kashmiris have been defined in paras 60 and 61 of the report (S/2448) of UN Representative for India and Pakistan. Confusion and frustration are no solution. We have to find an anti-dote to Indian action of 5 August 2019 and beyond.

 

(The writer is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations)

 

 

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