The roots of Kashmir issue lie in the partition of British India when Islamic separatists led by Jinnah were given some Indian territory so that they can create an Islamic State called Pakistan for Muslims. The new Islamic rulers tried grabbing Kashmir militarily, but Kashmir signed the treaty to join the Indian republic. However, the ongoing Jehadi violence has more recent origin and it is all purely a Pakistan sponsored jihadi violence in order to internationalize the issue. At a deeper level, it is connected with Pak’s shameful loss of 1971 war and loss of East Pakistan, to form Bangladesh.
The Kashmir “Issue”
In 1947, the British India was partitioned to create a separate Pakistan for Muslims. Under the Indian Independence Act of 1947, the supremacy of the colonial British on 565 princely states ended and they were free to join India or Pakistan or stay sovereign – the last option was problematic and impractical. The royal rulers of these princely states were in reality mere tax collectors for the British and served at British pleasure. 12 million Hindus and Muslims fled from one area to another and a million people lost their lives in the ensuing communal riots. But Kashmir remained free of violence because of its unique Sufi-Rishi culture – a hybrid mix of Hindus’ universal spirituality and Sufi Islam – that doesn’t divide people on religious lines. This unique cultural identity is what defines the “Kashmiriyat” of Kashmiris. However, it is under constant attack since 1989 by Pak sponsored jihadi violence.
Shortly after independence, Sardar Patel, the then Indian home minister, started the process of integrating princely states into India. Many saw parallel with what Otto von Bismarck did in the Germany in the late 19th century to unify it. However, Bismarck used “blood and iron” to integrate 39 states, but Patel integrated hundreds of states without bloodshed. It was an impractical idea to allow dozens of tiny independent ‘Nations’ who would quarrel and weaken each other for rest of the future.
Logically speaking, since the country was partitioned along religious lines India should have been a Hindu India. But it chose to remain a multi-cultural democracy, in stark contrast with the monotheist Pakistan.
After getting Pakistan under their belt, Islamic separatists in Pakistan did their best to encourage the Muslim rulers of several princely states like Bhopal, Hyderabad, Jaisalmer, and Travancore to stay out of India Union. But given the geographic realities and Sardar Patel’s determination to unify them, they all ultimately joined India; Hyderabad took the longest. Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was also one among these princely states. Jinnah was hoping that Muslim dominated Kashmir would “automatically” accede to Pakistan, but Raja Hari Singh wanted to remain sovereign.
Invasion of Kashmir and UN Involvement
Seeing Hari Singh’s reluctance, the just created Pakistan ran out of patience and along with 5,000 tribesmen its troops suddenly invaded Kashmir on 20 October 1947. It was operation “Gulmarg”. The invaders quickly captured most of the State, but in place of consolidating their gains they went on to loot, kill, destroy and rape – a typical characteristic of Muslim invaders, as history tells us. They massacred about 11,000 – 14,000 residents of Baramullah and destroyed the Mohra power station that supplied electricity to Srinagar. When they came dangerously close to the capital, Srinagar – just five km away – Hari Singh panicked and sent out frantic request for help to India, but Delhi demanded that Kashmir join India first. Hari Singh agreed and signed the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947. New Delhi soon dispatched troops to Kashmir.
Despite the dominant Muslim population, ordinary Kashmiris enthusiastically welcomed Indian Army and cooperated with it. Humane Kashmiris are closer to Hindus despite their Muslim tag. Within two weeks, Indian troops captured Baramulla and major parts of J&K and the intruders were on the run. Prime Minister Nehru, against advice from Patel, declared cease fire and decided to take the matters to the U.N. Security Council to complain about Pak aggression.
The Security Council set up a UN Commission in India and Pakistan (UNCIP), headed by Dr. Josef Korbel, father of former U.S. secretary of state Madeline Albright. Pakistan initially denied any involvement and blamed local tribes, but later admitted that its army was involved in the aggression. On August 13, 1948, the UNCIP passed a resolution asking Pakistan to withdraw its troops and tribesmen from J&K. “Once Pakistan withdraws them, the administration by the local authorities needs to be restored, India will reduce its troops to the barest minimum and then a plebiscite will be held to ascertain the wishes of the people of the state.”
India backed the resolution within days but Pakistan had several reservations and evaded acceptance until 20 December 1948 – most probably because given the prevailing sentiments it was afraid of plebiscite. When both sides signed the resolution, a third of Kashmir was in Pakistan’s hand. The cease-fire went into effect on January 1, 1949. The cease-fire line became the Line of Control (LoC) which continues to this date!
Since Pakistan never withdrew it troops, no progress has been made and the UN resolution remains on paper. Regarding the last part: since the Indian Independence Act the rulers had the complete authority to decide which way to go, there is no question of holding any referendum. The ruler of Kashmir had already signed the papers to join India, so Kashmir belongs to India. Yet, Pak leaders keep referring to this resolution, ignoring their occupation of what is called today the Pak Occupied Kashmir (POK).
It was clearly a political blunder to go to the UN. If he had given some more time to the army, all of J&K would have been freed. By going to the UN, he internationalized the issue and made Pakistan a party. By signing the Instrument of Accession, Maharaja Hari Singh had already made J&K part of India which was completely legal under the Indian Independence Act of 1947, signed by both India and Pakistan. It is a perfectly valid interpretation that was affirmed by representatives of several nations.
Nehru’s understanding of international relations appeared unrealistic; that’s why he never suspected China and lost the 1962 war. It gave him a shock from which he never recovered and died.
China Grabs a Part of Kashmir
In the 1962 war, China grabbed about 35,000 sq km in Aksai Chin. It got another 5,000 sq km in Balistan from Pakistan under a treaty signed in March 1963. Thus, the original Kashmir has been divided in 3 parts: 45% with India, 35% with Pakistan, and 20% with China.
For argument’s sake if Kashmir were made a sovereign state, how would it protect itself from three mighty neighbors in a hostile neighborhood? Separatists, who demand a sovereign Kashmir, have to think realistically. They must note that even India lost big chunk of land to China in the 1962 war.
The J&K has 3 major regions: The Kashmir Valley which is predominantly Muslim, Jammu which is Hindu dominated, and Ladakh which has largely Buddhist population. The POK has a Muslim majority. The bone of contention is just a 100-mile-long valley, which is only about 9 percent of the original J&K territory. Surprisingly, no one talks of China Occupied Kashmir (COK), perhaps because the “China phobia” still hovers in Indian minds!! Indians have to face and get over this fear now, before it is too late.
What is the relevance of 1948 UN resolution on Kashmir?
It has completely lost relevance due to several reasons. For instance
- The UNSC Resolution 47 was passed under chapter VI of UN Charter, which are non-binding and have no mandatory enforceability. This fact was also stressed by the UN General Secretary Kofi Annan in March 2001 during his visit to Indian and Pakistan, when he said that the Kashmir resolution was only advisory and can’t be compared with those on East Timor and Iraq which were passed under chapter VII, which make them enforceable by UNSC. Doing so would be like comparing apples and oranges.
- Even if one considers the 1948 UN resolution, its suggestion for a plebiscite was conditional upon Pak withdrawing its military presence, which obviously never took place. On the contrary, it has been fueling further aggression by sending trained Islamic Jehadis to Kashmir Valley since 1989.
- The 1948 UN resolution no longer applies because the original boundaries have been changed. China grabbed some parts of J&K in 1962 and took some more territory from Pakistan. Furthermore, demographic changes have taken place on both sides of Kashmir: in the Pak administered Kashmir non natives have been allowed to settle while in the J&K Pak sponsored militancy has forced over 300,000 Kashmiri Hindus to flee.
- The elected Constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, reaffirmed in 1952 its accession to India. Moreover, Kashmiris have been participating in successive national and state elections that make all talk of plebiscite groundless.
- More recent Shimla Agreement of 1972 and Lahore Declaration of 1999 offer the bilateral framework for resolving all disputes between and India and Pakistan. In 2003, the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf announced that Pakistan was willing to back off from demand for UN resolutions for Kashmir.
- In November 2010, the UN excluded J&K from its annual list of unresolved international disputes which are kept under UNSC’s watch
The 1971 War – Birth of Bangladesh
It is important to talk about the 1971 war because it tells why Pakistan is betraying Kashmiris by promoting jehadi violence. The 1971 India-Pak war is something Indians love to talk about and Pakistanis wish to forget. It ‘symbolizes’ betrayal of East Pakistan by the politically dominant West Pakistan – and ended up losing it forever. The humiliating defeat of what cocky Generals call ‘highly fierce Islamic army’ at the hands of India badly hurt Pakistan’s Islamic pride. Islam is the only reason behind its birth and existence!
In December 1970, a general election for Pak National Assembly was held. The result went in the favour of East Pakistan based Awami League led by Sheikh Mujib ur Rahman. It bagged 167 seats compared to just 82 seats for West Pakistan’s Pakistan People’s Party, out of a total of 313 seats in the National Assembly. But rather than being invited to form a new government, Mujib was arrested. It led to widespread civil unrest in the East Pakistan. Politically dominant West Pakistan used military to curb the unrest. It made matters worse and a civil war engulfed the entire East Pakistan. The ‘highly fierce Islamic Pak army’ was resisted by Bengalis under the banner of Mukti Vahini that had hardly any arms or arms training. What ensued was a large scale genocide and rape, and exodus of millions of Bengali Muslims into India.
Roots of the genocide was traced by none other than Lt. General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, head of the Pakistani Eastern Command who surrendered before the Indian forces on December 16, 1971. In his book The Betrayal of East Pakistan, he wrote
“On the night of March 25-26, 1971, General Tikka Khan (of the Pakistani Eastern Command) turned the peaceful night into a time of wailing, crying and burning…. The military action was a display of stark cruelty, more merciless than the massacres at Bukhara and Baghdad by Changez Khan and Halaku Khan, or at Jallianwala Bagh by the British General Dyer.”
The ‘highly fierce Islamic army’ slaughtered over three million people and raped countless Bengali women before surrendering to Indian army to save their own lives! Truly brave cowards !! In July 2017, the behavior of the ISIS Islamists after fall of Mosul city in Iraq mirrors it exactly – these ‘highly fierce’ Islamic killers were found wearing lipstick and women costume after shaving their Islamic beard!
Among the chief culprits, was power hungry Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who, along with some generals, wanted to negate the election results to stay in power and got Mujib arrested. What followed was the civil war, arrival of over 1 crore refugees in India that led to Indian intervention and creation of Bangladesh. It was also a logical outcome of the West Pakistani Islamic mindset that always looked down upon the East Pakistani Bengali Muslims as lowly and inferior.
However, the 1971 war has not yet ended for the Pakistanis! They are still waging it in Kashmir through Islamic jehadis! This war will continue until Pak gets wiped out from the world map!! While producing jehadis suicide bombers in the terror factories for over 3 decades, Pakistan appears to have put on a suicide jacket too!!
During the 1971 war, the Americans issued a nuclear threat to India to protect its ally. It left a deep impact that motivated India to soon acquire nuclear capabilities. And India tested its first nuclear device in 1974, and the insecure Islamic Pakistan accelerated its nuclear weapons program too! In 1998, both states got nuclearized.
Shimla Accord: Did India Miss Another Opportunity?
In a midnight drama on 2 July 1972, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi signed the Shimla Agreement according to which both sides agreed “to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them.” The two countries also agreed that they will not unilaterally try to alter the Line of Control in Kashmir. And India returned the Pak troops and the captured Pak territory.
Experienced political analysts saw it a great blunder – with so many prisoners of war (POW) and a vast chunk of Pak land under its belt India should have settled the Kashmir issue forever. At that time, Atal Bihari Bajpai had called the agreement a “sell out”. Clearly, Indira Gandhi fell for Bhutto’s emotional drama and verbal promise of converting the LOC into an international border at a future date and threw away the great advantage provided by Indian army.
How the Idea of Using “Jehadi Violence” Against India was Born
On the Christmas Eve of 1979, the Russian troops landed in Kabul and took control of the country. The ground work was already created by installing a communist regime in Afghanistan during the previous year. The puppet government was opposed by religious leaders who fled to the mountains with arrival of Russian army.
The US naturally came to oppose the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and defend its ally Pakistan that could be the next target of the Russians. So, Pakistan set up training camps in Afghanistan to produce Islamic Jehadi fighters – the Afghan Muzahideens. The US liberally funded and armed the fundamentalists. The US was determined to make the Afghanistan a ‘Vietnam’ for the Soviet. However, towards late 80s the Communists realized their folly and withdrew in early 1989.
When the Russians left, Pakistan was already basking in glory of having helped its ‘Islamic’ Afghan brethrens drive away the communist occupiers. It was a great victory of its “Islamic” Ideals. (The myopic US or Pak leadership never thought of disarming the Islamic fundamentalists and absorbing them in civil society.)
Pak dictator Zia ul Haq conceived the brilliant idea of applying the same tactics against India. He knew that Pak can’t win a direct war with India. So, Pakistani started directing the trained jehadis into Kashmir. Thus, since 1989 the Kashmir Valley was turned into another hotspot Islamic violence. Cocky Americans remained totally unconcerned; they woke up only after the 9/11 attack when monsters of its own creation stung it badly.
Soon Kashmiri Hindus became the target of violence and they had to flee the Valley in masses. New Delhi sent army with extra powers. In order to destroy the Hindu-Muslim unity, Pak trained Jehadis started targeting Sufi-rishi shrines and their annual Urs celebrations across the valley. Jihadis also attacked the shrines in POK and Pakistan, apart from targeting the Shias and other minorities. They did not spare even the Data Darbar in Lahore and the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi, the patron saint of Karachi.
Pak Design Vs Kashmiri Aspirations
Pak’s design in Kashmir must be distinguished from the aspirations of some Kashmiris who genuinely dreamed of a sovereign state. Pakistan’s agenda is promotion of jihadi violence in Kashmir and then using it for international propaganda against India, as if Indian forces are oppressing Kashmiris. Pak ISI is merely inciting Kashmiri against India and using them as pawns to carry out its own anti-India policy. Today, there are several Pak created jehadi groups fully devoted to continue violence in Kashmir in the name of Islam and Allah.
Do Kashmiris want to join Pakistan?
The answer is a clear NO. Why? There are several reasons.
- Kashmir Muslims mostly practice Sufi Islam which over the centuries mutated into what is called the Sufi-Rishi tradition. It sees oneness in humanity like Hindus’ universal ‘dharma’. It is an amalgamation of Sufi and Hindu spiritualism. It promotes fraternal love among different faith and acceptance of all people. Thus, what Kashmiris believe is entirely different and in fact opposite of what Pak calls Islam. They are Kashmiri first, Muslim latter. They can’t ever allow their land which they call “Pir Vaer” (garden of Pirs, fakirs and saints) to become “Devil Vaer” (garden of devil and satan).
- Kashmiris have been a part of India’s democratic processes which are free and fair. Such freedom is impossible in Pakistan where radicals dictate the society. Moreover, if they become part of Pakistan they will be treated as inferior Muslims like the Ahmediyas or Bengali Muslims (now Bangladeshis).
- Pakistan was born in 1947 in the name of religion – Islam. But its Islam could not keep the country united beyond 1971 when East Pakistan became sovereign Bangladesh. Why would Kashmiris fall for such a self-destructive country? They are already experiencing the impact of Pak’s violent meddling in the Valley on their life.
- Few Muslims alone can’t decide what to do. Majority of Kashmiri Muslims want to live as Indians. Moreover, over one-third population of J&K is non-Muslim. Even in their wildest dream, they would never opt for Pakistan which is more like a jihadi underworld.
Sovereignty is also an impractical option in a turbulent region, sandwiched between two traditional enemies. Then there is the communist China that has also grabbed a part of Kashmir. Moreover, Kashmiri youth don’t carry the baggage of India’s partition. All they want is development, jobs, prosperity and a violence-free society.
The Way Forward
The Kashmir issue was never a Hindu-Muslim problem. Kashmir is in reality an ‘Islamic problem’ for Pakistan. Its policy is clear: If I can’t get Kashmir in the name of Islam, I will destroy it in the name of Islam! It has already destroyed the centuries old symbols of the Sufi-Rishi culture of Kashmir – Kashmiriyat.
Today, Kashmiris are fed up with the Pak sponsored jihadi violence. Indian government would have to seal the LoC more effectively, perhaps with state-of-the-art automatic surveillance system from Israel. Plug all routes of funding to local terrorists and stone-pelters.
An important step would be to abolish Article 370 and 35A that would allow integration of J&K with rest of the country. This can be done only by the Bhartiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi. The only hurdle is to have the right majority in the parliament. Indian agencies should actively encourage separatism among Balochs, Pakhtuns, Sindhis and other ethnic groups so that Pak army remain busy there. Ultimately, it would be best to push Pakistan to become a Chinese colony (CPEC debt) or simply fragment into pieces. This country is a paradise of jihadi criminals and a disgrace on both Islam and humanity.