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Kashmir question



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[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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An excellent review.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 09:15:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: Pritam K. Rohila <pritamr@open.org>

EDITORIAL
* The Kashmir conundrum by Pritam K. Rohila, Ph.D.

The Kashmir issue has plagued India and Pakistan for more than 50 years. Yet
it is no closer to solution than it was in 1947!

Kashmir, typically included in Indian empires since at least the 3rd century
B.C., was a part of the Sikh  kingdom until 1846, when the British defeated
the Sikhs and sold Kashmir to Gulab Singh, the ruler of Jammu. After his
death, he was succeeded by Ranbir Singh  in 1857, Partap Singh in 1885, and
Hari Singh in 1925. 

On October 20, 1947, a several thousand tribesmen from Pakistan attacked the
frontiers of his state, presumably with the assistance of Pakistan
government. Six days later, as provided in the Indian Independence Act of
1947 (3), Maharaja Hari Singh decided to accede to the Dominion of India and
signed the instrument of Accession (6). Also, he wrote a letter (5) to Lord
Mountbatten, the then Governor General of the Dominion of India, formally
requesting immediate assistance. His request was accepted and the first
batch of Indian troops landed at Srinagar airport the next day. After
winning the battle of Shaltang on November 7, 1947, and recapturing
Baramulla three days later, the raiders had started retreating. 

On the advice of Lord Mountbatten, India lodged a complaint against Pakistan
to the UN Security Council. In its letter of January 15, 1948, Pakistan
rejected the Indian charges. On August 13, 1948, a cease fire was ordered
(6), and a UN Commission for India and Pakistan was established, and an
agreement to hold plebiscite was accepted by both parties. Several
resolutions have since  been passed by the Security Council, but none has
effectively improved the situation. 

In 957, J&K was formally incorporated into the Indian Union. In 1965, India
and Pakistan fought another war over J&K, which led to Tashkent Declaration
(9 ) signed by the two parties on January 1, 1966. A limited war occurred
again in 1971. It was settled by Simla agreement (10) signed on July 2,
1972. A practical state of war exists currently, in spite of the Lahore
Declaration (11) of February 22, 1999, which like the previous two
agreements binds the parties to settle the matter with bilateral negotiations.

Bordering China, India and Pakistan, J&K occupies an important strategic
location. Also, it is the source of some major rivers. Some of the area have
been annexed by Pakistan and some ceded by Pakistan to  China . Currently
the total area is 151,360 square kilometers. About 63 percent of the
territory is under Indian control, and 37 percent is under Pakistan control.
Pakistan controlled area is called Azad Kashmir, and according to 1990
figures had a population of 2.58 million. The portion under India, is had
the estimated population of 7.7 million in 1991.  There are many refugees in
India, Pakistan and other countries. Buddhists predominate Ladakh area, and
Hindus in Jammu area, while Srinagar Valley is predominantly Muslim.  Many
Pakistanis have settled in Azad Kashmir.

The Indian position on Kashmir has been explained in its government
publications (12, 13) and also can be found on the Web Page of the Indian
Embassy in Washington, D.C., USA. Recently, a series of articles written by
Arvind Lavakare for Rediff on the NeT (1) provided more details about it.
Pakistan's case is described in publications 14-18. Also, it can be accessed
from info@pakistan embassy.com.

Citing several sources (2) and documents,  Lavakare argues that the
accession of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to India initiated on October 27, 1947,
by J & K Maharaja Hari Singh, was in accordance with the procedures
specified in the July 25, 1947 meeting of the Chamber of Princes and was
legal and irrefutable.  Pakistan claims this accession was not legal,
primarily because it did not follow the principle on which the Indian
subcontinent was partitioned. They argue that since Kashmir's majority
population is Muslim, Kashmir belongs to Pakistan. In 1990, Jammu & Kashmir
Liberation Front (JKLF) declared its desire to have Kashmir an independent
state.

Pakistan insists on plebiscite as proposed in the UN Resolutions. According
to India, the question of plebiscite does not arise, since Pakistan has not
so far met the conditions before it could be held, i.e. the withdrawal of
its troops from Azad Kashmir.  Also, Indians may be afraid that it is
Pakistan's way to capture Kashmir after getting the Indian military out of
Kashmir under the pretext of a plebiscite. 

The idea of plebiscite probably appeals to Pakistan because of the hope that
its majority Muslims will want to become a part of Pakistan. But, a survey
done by Alice Thorner (2) as early as August 1948, had indicated that the
public opinion in Kashmir had been "sharply divided along political and
religious lines" and "Both India and Pakistan had substantial support."
Even now, there are significant disagreements among Muslim leaders in
Kashmir Valley. 

Even if India accepted plebiscite, several details will have to be worked
out before it can be implemented. The questions to be answered include, for
example, who will be allowed to  vote? Will the people of non-Kashmiri
origin now living in the area (e.g. the Mirpuris and Pakistanis  in Azad
Kashmir) and/or the Kashmiris living outside the area be allowed to vote?
Who will make the voters list, and who will conduct the election? What
percentage of popular vote will be required for a definitive determination?
Would the fate of each region be decided separately? Or, will  the decision
be made on the basis of statewide majority?  If the latter, would it not,
like in 1947,  lead to massive dislocation, massacre or  disability of
minorities? Would any part be allowed to not join either India or Pakistan?
What will happen to the areas of Kashmir, ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963
or the "northern area" consisting of Gilgit and Baltistan which have been
annexed by Pakistan? What will be the recourse, if everything does not
happen as agreed?

If the principle under which plebiscite is being asked is accepted, how far
can this be taken.  Would that mean that the people of different ethnicity
or sects or religious groupings be allowed to ask for independent countries
of their own. For examples, would not Sindhis and Balochs in Pakistan,
Shias, Buddhists and Parsis in the whole subcontinent also demand
independence. Also, we need to remember that being of the same religion,
ethnicity, sect or other grouping does not necessarily guaranty peace or
prosperity.

Others have suggested alternative solutions.(1) Division of Kashmir between
India and Pakistan along the existing Line of Control; or (2) Giving Hindu
and Buddhist areas to India, Azad Kashmir to Pakistan and declaring Kashmir
Valley independent.  While it may not be as difficult to implement the first
suggestion, the second is not likely to be acceptable to India, on account
of the disintegration of the territorial cohesion of the state. Also, there
is no guaranty that Pakistan will be able to or want to  keep militants out
of Ladakh and Jammu. 

Whatever has happened and is happening in Kashmir is the direct
responsibility of India as well as Pakistan. The successive Indian
governments through their short-sighted and selfish reasons, have alienated
many people of Kashmir Valley. Therefore, Pakistan has been able to find a
fertile land for its seeds of discontent. Also, intoxicated by their size
and military strength, they may have shied away from negotiation and
compromise for too long. On the other hand the dependence of the successive
governments of Pakistan on subversion or military adventurism have led to a
lot of distrust and suspicion among Indians. Since the Kargil affair many
Indian feel betrayed. Besides, the governments in both countries have turned
Kashmir into a matter of so much "national" importance, that, under the
circumstances of the last few decades no government can last for long, if it
makes any significant concession to the other party. 

Kashmir is not a simple matter. A solution to this conundrum, that keeps
everyone happy, would require at the same time Sulaiman's wisdom,
Chanakiya's diplomacy, Akbar's foresight, and Ashoka's piety. It has not
happened, and it cannot happen as long as either party continues, in spite
of all the agreements signed so far, to make overt or covert threats against
the other. 

REFERENCES
1.   Lavakare, A. Kashmir: The real story, Rediff on the NeT (www.rediff.com)
	5/28/99	The real Kashmir story
	5/29/99	A record of international impotency
	5/31/99	The two nation theory: Some misconceptions
	6/01/99	Legality of accession unquestionable
	6/02/99	The plebiscite virus
	6/03/99	Plebiscite commitment is conditional and illegal
	6/04/99	The fact of the state's constitution. 
	6/05/99	Need for a mission statement
2. Anand, A.S. The constitution of Jammu & Kashmir - Its development and
comments, 1980.
	Birdwood. Fortnightly Review, London, U.K., August 1952.
	Jagmohan. My frozen turbulence in Kashmir, 1992.
	His Majesty's Government statement, 6/3/1947
	Korbel, J. Danger in Kashmir, 1954.
	Mahajan, M.C. Accession to India (The inside story)
	Talbott, P. World politics, No. 3. 4/1949	
	Thorner, A. Far Eastern Survey No. 15, 8/11/1948.
3. British parliament. The Indian independence Act, 1947.
4. Government of India. The Instrument of Accession, 7/ 25/ 1947.
5. Maharaja Hari Singh's letter to Lord Mountbatten, October 26, 1947
6. Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State, 10/26/1947
7. Excerpts from Sheikh Abdullah's speech in the UN Security Council meeting
No. 241, 2/5/1948
6. United Nations Security Council Resolution 8/13/1948
7. United Nations Security Council Resolution 3/14/1950
8. UN Commission for India and Pakistan Resolution 1/5/1949
9. Tashkent Declaration, 1/10/1966
10. Agreement on Bilateral Relations between India and Pakistan, Simla, 7/2/1972
11. Lahore Declaration, 2/22/199
12. Government of India. Jammu & Kashmir: An integral part of India
13. Government of India. Plebiscite and Self-determination in Jammu &
Kashmir: Irrelevant concepts
14.Kashmiri American Council. Solution through plebiscite: How and why
15. Kashmiri American Council. Urgency of peace in Kashmir - a message from
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai 
16. Kashmiri American Council. Kashmir: Facts about Kashmir
17. Pakistan Association of Greater Seattle. Unilateral actions of India on
the disputed state of J&K
18. Islamic Center of Seattle. Kashmir and problem of Kashmir
19.  Proxy war in Kashmir: The Mirpur connection. South Asian Observer, 1:3,
Oct-Dec, 1994 

PEACE & HARMONY NEWS


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