Published On: Mon, Apr 15th, 2013

Yasin Malik versus Omar Abdullah – Part I

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik has challenged the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, to “have an open public debate”. Malik has offered Omar Abdullah to “choose a place of his own choice and have a public debate on the issue of Liyaqat Shah”.

The invitation has substantive merits.  It could  be the beginning of evolving an indigenous  narrative on Kashmir. There should be a public demand for a broader debate and the civil society should edge forward to conceptualize the parameters of an interaction between all the three opinions, namely pro India, pro Pakistan and pro-independence.

Right Time

In the last 23 years we have tried united politics (Hurriyat), a fully blessed militancy, sentiment lead common man’s resistance, Stone pelting, Hartal calls by Hurriyat, Hartal calls by Coordination Committee (CC), recent Hartal calls by Muttahida Majlis-e-Mashawarat (MMM) and have now decided to shift to social sites like face book. All this time we have been oscillating between various other half-hearted prescriptions, like occupying people’s interest in fighting social evils, formulating economic policy to save economic exploitation and defend the natural resources.

There is no issue with the honesty of people busy in this lavish indulgence but there is undoubtedly an issue with the wisdom of these political flings. We can’t leave it to a no holds barred politics. Therefore it is right time that a debate as proposed by Yasin Malik is encouraged and enlarged to listen to all the three opinions. In this Column I shall address the pro Pakistan view and other views in the next Column.

Pro Pakistan View – Death Warrant

Evaluating the merits and scope of this point of view in Kashmir, one has to examine the role of Pakistan. Although Government of Pakistan stated at the UN in 1947 that “the accession of the State to the Indian Union would be tantamount to the signing of their death warrant”, Kashmir has never been the core issue or the issue of right of self-determination as “equal people” for the Governments of Pakistan. Pakistan Government diluted the Kashmir Question at the UN and brought in the question of accession of Junagadh, Manavadar and some other States in Kathiawar, with it to the UN. Over the years it gave up on its claims of accession with these States.

Pakistan effectively gave up on the Hyderabad question at the UN from 24 May 1949 and on Kashmir from 5 November 1965. There has always been a gap between the Kashmiri policy of the Government in power and the common sentiment of the people of Pakistan. Government wants the people of Kashmir to wage a war against the world’s third largest army and defeat it to be able to accede to Pakistan.

The results of the military engagements in 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 Kargil War do not add up in favour of this wishful thinking. Pro Pakistan view in Kashmir unless driven by subterranean interests would not guarantee to defeat India through a rag tag force of Kashmiri youth. No right minded military general or a politician would see sense in winning a war if around 100,000 (one hundred thousand) human souls are killed and there are others who wish to surrender and be rehabilitated.

Treatment after Accession

The second disappointing evidence is the treatment of other States namely States of Kharan, Mekran and Lasbela which acceded to Pakistan in March 1948. In just 10 years and only a day or so before the imposition of Martial Law in Pakistan on 7 October 1958, Khan of Kalat made an attempt to break away from Pakistan. There is some ground for thinking that there was reluctance on the part of these States to accede – they were among the last to do so and that they were influenced in this by the Khan of Kalat.

Instruments of Accession were executed and accepted and three years later, the four States were brought together into a Baluchistan States Union of which the Khan of Kalat became the Khan-i-Azam.

As time passed, he showed himself increasingly dissatisfied. He promoted a sense of local patriotism and a separatist tendency. He complained that in the Sibi negotiations of 1948 (in the presence of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah) he had been misled and placed under unfair pressure. In September 1958 Khan lowered the Pakistan flag, raised his personal standard and offered armed defiance. There was an army action. A brief action ensued, the Khan surrendered and was hurried away to confinement. Baluchistan has continued to remain up in flames ever since.

What would be the manner of any such accession with the Republic of Pakistan, if there were one in the future? What would be the future of the people living in all the territories of the State on either side of LOC has to be debated as part of any future debates among all the political leaders and the people. Yasin Malik has raised his finger in the right direction.

Violence and fraud

In her reply to Indian complaint and counter claim at the UN  Government of Pakistan has maintained, “The Pakistan Government have not accepted and cannot accept the accession of Jammu and Kashmir State to India. In their view the accession is based on violence and fraud. It was fraudulent in as much as it was achieved by deliberately creating a set of circumstances with the object of finding an excuse to State’s accession”.

Practice in AJK

In practice Pakistan did not allow the Provisional Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (which it has referred as Azad (Free) Kashmir Government in its UN counter complaint) to function and disturbed it by installing a Government of its own arrangement on 24 October 1947. It is further disappointing to point out that Government of Pakistan did not allow the second Government to work in accordance with its Provisional Declaration. In April 1949 Government of Pakistan under Karachi Agreement forced the AJK Government and Muslim Conference to surrender Gilgit and Baltistan into the administrative controls of the Government of Pakistan.

Over the years Government of Pakistan has reneged on the terms of this agreement and for a long time has continued to treat the area as a colony. It has continued to disregard the 8 March 1993 judgement of the AJK High Court on the status of Gilgit and Baltistan. The judgment among other directions, directs, “the Azad Government to immediately assume the administrative control of the Northern Areas and to annex it with the administration of Azad Jammu and Kashmir”.

Violation of UNCIP Resolutions

The Governments in AJK and Gilgit and Baltistan are not established as provided in UNCIP Resolutions. The areas were to be administered by Judicial officers under the supervision of the United Nations. Government of Pakistan has committed itself to a colonial temperament by disbanding the Azad Kashmir army and taking away the departments of defence and foreign affairs from the control of the AJK Government.

It has caused a serious offence to the sense of free will and political independence by approving a Constitution for the people living in these territories and has acted as a colonial master by  sub-ordinating and “authorizing the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to introduce the present bill in the Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir for consideration and passage”.

In addition to a full regime of other inroads to maintain its control in the area, under article 56 Government of Pakistan reserves an absolute right to send any freely elected Government home. At the common people’s level article 4.4.7 of the Constitution would not allow “a person or political party to propagate against, or take part in activities prejudicial or detrimental to, the ideology of the State’s accession to Pakistan”.

Contradictions and Opportunism

The history of Pakistan’s Kashmir policy is fully of contradictions and opportunism. Government of Pakistan in its 24 November 1947 telegram addressed to British Prime Minister called Sheikh Abdullah “a paid agent of Congress” and many others as “some gangsters whom he has purchased with Congress money…has no following among Muslim masses”. It had to revise its policy and give him a hero’s reception in 1964. It also discouraged the British Prime Minister from consulting the International Court of Justice on the question of Kashmiris right to self-determination.

In 1948 Pakistan proposed to India to wage a joint war if “they (Kashmiri fighters) did not obey the order of cease fire immediately, the forces of both Dominions would make war on them”. It needs an explanation as why in 1990, Pakistan revised its stand. Why was it necessary to author and support militancy in Kashmir. Why did the Kashmiri leadership share a flawed strategy, which killed a generation and killed the right of self-determination?

It is right time that a debate begins amongst the various opinions of politics in Kashmir. Malik Yasin has raised his finger on one issue, let it snow ball into a public debate on all opinions.

Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.  He is on UN register as an expert in Peace Keeping, Humanitarian Operations and Election Monitoring Missions. He could be reached on email dr-nazirgilani@jkchr.com


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