Issue of Kashmir and Role of Pakistan

Last Updated: 28 Jan 2021
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The Quaid was not given to making rhetorical pronouncements. He was a realist; not an idealist. As a pragmatist and a jurist, he chose his words with care before uttering them; and he was a man of his word. The jugular vein and the body are mutually inter-dependant. Pakistan’s life-blood – water – passes through Kashmir. Kashmir’s life force – its commerce, its people’s very livelihood, its cultural heritage – all lay through its contacts with what is now Pakistan. Both Kashmir and Pakistan have suffered all these years because of artificial man-made barriers between the two.

Regrettably, the Quaid-e-Azam did not live long enough to influence the events that followed. The question that presents itself begging for an answer is: if he had lived for a few more years would he have allowed this issue to linger on for so long? We may do well to give this aspect some thought. Regrettably, the leadership that followed the Quaid singularly failed to live up to his ideals. Several issues - the Kashmir issue among them - that should have been tackled betimes and were not are a testimony to this. This is neither the time nor the occasion to go into the history of this issue.

Suffice it to state that after the Quaid, successive leadership appear to have missed the bus. The struggle of the people of the State predates the partition of what was then British India. Even before the British left, the people of the State had already asserted, through a valiant struggle, their inalienable right to decide their own future. When the matter landed in the Security Council of the United Nations, the World Body went on to put its stamp of approval on this fundamental right of the people of the Jammu and Kashmir.

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The right of self-determination of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir was guaranteed by the United Nations. As a result of the resolutions of the world body, four parties to the dispute were explicitly recognized: 1) The government of India; 2) The government of Pakistan; 3) The people of the State; and, by implication, 4) The international community, through the United Nations. Any movement towards a final settlement of the issue should, therefore, need to be endorsed by all the four parties. No one party has the right to unilaterally impose a settlement nor, in deed, to move the goal posts.

This remains the internationally recognized position. In 1947, British rule in India ended with the creation of two new nations: the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, while British suzerainty over the 562 Indian princely statesended. According to the Indian Independence Act 1947, "the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian States lapses, and with it, all treaties and agreements in force at the date of the passing of this Act between His Majesty and the rulers of Indian States",so the states were left to choose whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent.

Jammu and Kashmir, the largest of the princely states, had a predominantly Muslim population, while having a Hindu ruler (Maharaja Hari Singh. ) On partition Pakistan expected Kashmir to be annexed to it. In October 1947, Muslim revolutionaries in western Kashmir and Pakistani tribals from Dir entered Kashmir, intending to liberate it from Dogra rule. Unable to withstand the invasion, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession that was accepted by the government of India on 27 October 1947.

The resulting war over Kashmir, the First Kashmir War, lasted until 1948, when India moved the issue to the UN Security Council. Sheikh Abdullah was not in favour of India seeking UN intervention because he was sure the Indian Army could free the entire State of invaders. The UN had previously passed resolutions for setting up monitoring of the conflict in Kashmir. Following the set-up of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNCIP), the UN Security Council passed Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948.

The resolution imposed an immediate cease-fire and called on Pakistan to withdraw all military presence. The resolution stated that Pakistan would have no say in Jammu and Kashmir politics. India would retain a minimum military presence and "the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations. " The ceasefire was enacted on 31 December 1948.

The Indian and Pakistani governments agreed to hold the plebiscite, but Pakistan did not withdraw its troops from Kashmir, thus violating the conditions for holding the plebiscite Over the next several years, the UN Security Council passed four new resolutions, revising the terms of Resolution 47 to include a synchronous withdrawal of both Indian and Pakistani troops from the region, To this end, UN arbitrators put forward 11 different proposals for the demilitarization of the region. All of these were accepted by Pakistan, but rejected by the Indian government.

Resolutions passed under the UN charter are considered non-binding and have no mandatory enforceability, as opposed to the resolutions passed under Chapter VII. In 1965 and 1971, heavy fighting broke out again between India and Pakistan. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 resulted in the defeat of Pakistan and the Pakistani military's surrender in East Pakistan. The Simla Agreement was signed in 1972 between India and Pakistan. By this treaty, both countries agreed to settle all issues by peaceful means using mutual discussion in the framework of the UN Charter.

In 1989, a widespread popular and armed insurgency started in Kashmir. After the 1987 State legislative assembly election, some of the results were disputed. This resulted in the formation militant wings after the election and was the beginning of the Mujahadeen insurgency, which continues to this day. India contends that the insurgency was largely started by Afghan mujahadeen who entered the Kashmir valley following the end of the Soviet-Afghan War. Pakistani and Kashmiri nationalists argue that Afghan mujahideen did not leave Afghanistan in large numbers until 1992, three years after the insurgency began.

Yasin Malik, a leader of one faction of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, was one of the Kashmiris to organize militancy in Kashmir, Since 1995, Malik has renounced the use of violence and calls for strictly peaceful methods to resolve the dispute. He developed differences with one of the senior leaders, for shunning the demand for an independent Kashmir and trying to cut a deal with the Indian Prime Minister. Pakistan claims these insurgents are Jammu and Kashmir citizens, and are rising up against the Indian army in an independence movement.

Pakistan accuses the Indian army of committing serious human rights violations in Kashmir. Pakistan denies that it has or currently is supplying weapons and ammunition to the insurgents. India claims these insurgents are Islamic terrorist groups from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Afghanistan, fighting to make Jammu and Kashmir part of Pakistan. They claim Pakistan is supplying munitions to the terrorists and training them in Pakistan. India states that the terrorists have been killing many citizens in Kashmir and committing human rights violations.

They deny that their own armed forces are responsible for human rights abuses. On a visit to Pakistan in 2006 current Chief Minister of Kashmir Omar Abdullah remarked that foreign militants were engaged in reckless killings and mayhem in the name of religion. Indian government has said militancy is now on the decline. The Pakistani government calls these insurgents "Kashmiri freedom fighters", and claims that it gives only moral and diplomatic support to these insurgents, though Indiabelieves they are Pakistan-supported terrorists from Pakistan Administered Kashmir.

In October 2008, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan called the Kashmir separatists terrorists in an interview . these comments by Zardari sparked outrage amongs many Kashmiris, some of whom defied a curfew by the Indian army to burn him in effigy. There has been a "purely indigenous, purely Kashmiri"peaceful protest movement alongside the insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir since 1989. The movement was created for the same reason as the insurgency; it began with the disputed rigged elections of 1987.

The Kashmiris have grievances with the Indian government, specifically the Indian Military, which has committed human rights violations, according to the United Nations. In mid-1999, insurgents and Pakistani soldiers from Pakistani Kashmir infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir. During the winter season, Indian forces regularly move down to lower altitudes, as severe climatic conditions makes it almost impossible for them to guard the high peaks near the Line of Control. The insurgents took advantage of this and occupied vacant mountain peaks of the Kargil range overlooking the highway in Indian Kashmir that connect sarinagars and Leh.

By blocking the highway, they wanted to cut off the only link between the Kashmir Valley . This resulted in a high-scale conflict between the Indian Army and the Pakistan Army. Fears of the Kargil War turning into a nuclear war provoked the then-United States President Bill Clinton to pressure Pakistan to retreat. Faced with mounting losses of personnel and posts, the Pakistan Army withdrew their remaining troops from the area, ending the conflict. India reclaimed control of the peaks, which they now patrol and monitor all year long.

Pakistan's claims to the disputed region are based on the rejection of Indian claims to Kashmir, namely the Instrument of Accession. Pakistan insists that the Maharaja was not a popular leader, and was regarded as a tyrant by most Kashmiris. Pakistan maintains that the Maharaja used brute force to suppress the population. Pakistan accuses India of hypocrisy, as it refused to recognize the accession of Junagadh to Pakistan and Hyderabad's independence, on the grounds that those two states had Hindu majorities.

Since he had fled Kashmir due to Pakistani invasion,Pakistan argues that even if the Maharaja had any authority in determining the plight of Kashmir, Pakistan claims that Indian forces were in Kashmir before the Instrument of Accession was signed with India, and that therefore Indian troops were in Kashmir in violation of the Standstill Agreement, which was designed to maintain the status quo in Kashmir From 1990 to 1999, some organizations reported that the Indian Armed Forces, its paramilitary groups, and counter-insurgent militias were responsible for the deaths 4,501 Kashmiri civilians. Also from 1990 to 1999, there were records of 4,242 women between the ages of 7–70 being raped.

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