“The accession of Kashmir to India was not a bona fide one since it rested on fraud and violence and would never be accepted by Pakistan – accession was the end of the long intrigue”. Quaid – e – Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah
INTRODUCTION• The history of Kashmir is a torturous web of conspiracy, blackmail and treachery. Enslaved for centuries by Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs and Dogras, Kashmiris consider that they have never been free people. The legacy of contemporary enslavement of Kashmiris dates back to 13th July 1931, when the killing of 22 Muslims in front of Sirinagar Jail set off the sentiments of liberation movement and sparked a fury into the entire Muslim populace of the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) against the ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.
• A year later, Muslim Conference emerged as a collective voice of the Kashmiri Muslims, which laid the foundation of their belief that independence from the oppressive rule of Maharaja was the only way to relieve their sufferings. Nevertheless, their slavery continued as the Maharaja was coerced to proclaim the State’s accession to India through a much suspicious ‘Instrument of Accession’. This unfair accession is the legacy of following fifty five years of misery and intimidation for the Kashmiri Muslims.
• Today once again the question of Kashmir stands at the cross-roads in the backdrop of prolonged military stand-off between India and Pakistan and the post 11th September scenario. The armed struggle in Kashmir since last one and half decade, nuclearization of South Asia, Kargil conflict, failure of Lahore and Agra Summits and post September 11 scenario have added new dimensions to this Issue. Pakistan’s support to US in her war against terrorism and Indian subterfuge to brand Kashmir Freedom Struggle as terrorism are the major challenges that Pakistan’s policy planners are fraught with
Geographical Over View• The state of Jammu and Kashmir before 1947 had an area of 84,471 square miles. It is located in the extreme NW corner of Sub-Continent. where borders of five countries converge, i.e. former USSR, China, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Strategically, the importance of this area cannot be over emphasized as it lies at the intersection of the great Himalayas, Hindukush and Karakoram ranges. It borders in north and east for about 600 miles with Sin kiang and Tibet provinces of China and in the south and west for about 750 miles with Pakistan. A thirty miles stretch of Wakhan, an Afghan territory separates it from Tajikistan, whereas towards south, it forms a border with India. The terrain configuration, from semi to snow capped mountains, deprives it to have a homogeneous entity
• a. Kashmir Valley. Also known as the Vale - with its capital at Sirinagar, is the demographic and economic heartland of the state of J & K. It has 95% Muslim population and forms 65% of the entire population of the State under Indian control.• b. The Jammu Region. Located on the Tawi River, Jammu is situated in an agricultural area. It was conquered by the religious community of the Sikhs, under their leader Ranjit Singh in 1819. From 1846 until the partition British supremacy was recognized in Jammu. Its Population according to census in 1991 was 63% Hindus.• c. Poonch District. NW of Jammu having a Muslim majority. Some portion of Poonch District is with Pakistan.• d. Ladakh. Ladakh, having a land mass of 480 km from northwest to southeast and about 240 km in width is under Indian control.
• The eastern boundary is poorly defined. It is extremely mountainous and rugged. The main population centres are located along the Indus River. The largest towns such as Leh (the capital), Khalatse and Tolti are towards Indian administrated areas whereas, Skardu lies in Pakistani controlled part of the region. After the British departure, Pakistan gained control of northern Ladakh, while India occupied the rest. The Chinese seized Tibet in 1950, which later resulted into Sino-Indian War and other border disputes.• e. The Gilgit Region. Also formerly known as Gilgit Agency, is part of Northern Areas of Pakistan since 1947.• f. Baltistan. It is a predominantly Muslim majority area under Pakistan’s control.
Demography• The current number of inhabitants of the state including refugees in Pakistan and abroad is around 12.8 million. At the time of partition, the population of the State according to the census report of 1941 was 4.21 million, Muslims constituting 77.11% whereas the Hindus made 21.2% of the total population. In the vale of Kashmir, more than 90% were Muslims. As per the census report of 1981 issued by the Government of India, the Muslim population has decreased to 64.19% in Indian Held Kashmir; particularly in Jammu, the Muslim population has been reduced substantially.
• Kashmir – Implications on Pakistan The importance of Kashmir to Pakistan as the lifeline of Pakistan can be well -understood by having a look at the map of Pakistan. Three out of six rivers, which run through Pakistan, originate from Kashmir namely Rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab where as remaining three Rivers Ravi, Sutlaj and Biyas originate from India. Economically, the waters of the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab, which originate through Kashmir, are vital to the agricultural life of Pakistan. Assuming that Kashmir was to accede to India, the same would also apply to the other three rivers, and not only the water of the rivers which flow from India to Pakistan but also that of the rivers which flow from Kashmir into Pakistan would be denied to Pakistan.
• Millions of acres of cultivated land would be turned into wasteland and millions of people would be faced with starvation• b. Kashmir also assumes added importance for Pakistan from military point of view. Without Kashmir, Silk route to China will be greatly endangered and there will be no link with China-a time tested ally and friend of Pakistan.• c. There will be no ground defense of Pakistan if the rivers and canals of Pakistan are dried up.• d. The strategic location of the state, close proximity of its SE borders to 180 miles long vital road and rail route between Rawalpindi and Lahore.
Kashmir – Implications on IndiaIf critically analyzed, the presumed strategicimportance of Kashmir as per Indian viewpointis more based on desire to having hegemony inthe region rather than based on securitycompulsions, as is the case with Pakistan. It isexactly what was termed by Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan,the Late Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1951 as“luxury to India” and a “vital necessity ofPakistan” if judged from the securitycompulsions of both the countries.
Kashmir – Implications on Pakistan• Three out of six rivers, which run through Pakistan, originate from Kashmir namely Rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab where as remaining three Rivers Ravi, Sutlaj and Biyas originate from India.• Kashmir also assumes added importance for Pakistan from military point of view. Without Kashmir, Silk route to China will be greatly endangered and there will be no link with China-a time tested ally and friend of Pakistan.• There will be no ground defence of Pakistan if the rivers and canals of Pakistan are dried up.• The strategic location of the state, close proximity of its SE borders to 180 miles long vital road and rail route between Rawalpindi and Lahore.
UN Mediation• Consistent Indian delays and inflexible attitude to agree on any viable course to hold plebiscite eventually led the UN to employ seasoned mediators• Total four solution reports were presented by the UNO Mediators• In almost all the cases the story was same, acceptance by Pakistan and an emphatic rejection by India• In all the cases India readily rejected every bill on Kashmir issue from education to human rights• For lat 4 decades India is violating Human Rights ignoring all the International Human rights
How dangerous is the Kashmir dispute?• It is potentially one of the most dangerous disputes in the world and in the worst-case scenario could trigger a nuclear conflict.• In 1998 India and Pakistan both declared themselves to be nuclear powers with a string of nuclear tests.• In 2002 there was a huge deployment of troops on both sides of the border as India reacted to an armed attack on the national parliament in Delhi the previous December. Tension between the two countries has rarely been so high.• India said the attack was carried out by Pakistani-based militants assisted by the Pakistan government - a charge always denied by Pakistan.• For much of the last two decades, separatist militancy and cross-border firing between the Indian and Pakistani armies has left a death toll running into tens of thousands and a population traumatised by fighting and fear.
Conclusion• Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of Partition of the Sub- continent. It has caused two of the three wars between India and Pakistan. Notwithstanding, the UN Resolutions, India has been firm in defying the will of Kashmiri people for the last fifty-five years.• The undercurrents of over decade long uprising of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, nuclearization of SA, post 11th September situation and military stand-off in Kashmir has made the region a potential flash point of nuclear conflict.• On the other hand, the Indian effort of branding the movement as cross-border terrorism appears to have some effects on the movement. The prospect of the Freedom Struggle and Pakistan’s strategy for a favourable resolution of the Issue thus needs to be evaluated in its futuristic context.