Muhammad Sohail Ahmed
IN 1944, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, while addressing the students of Muslim Aligarh University, said that Pakistan came into existence the moment first Hindu embraced Islam, as the Muslim nationhood lies in the ‘Kalma’ (there is no God but One) and not on the basis of region or ethnicity. In 1954 India had illegally annexed Kashmir in its territory to hoodwink the world community, it introduced Article 370 in the constitution, thereby claiming that it had given autonomy to the Kashmiris. This clause acknowledges special status in terms of autonomy to the locals to formulate laws of the State. In the subsequent years, the Indian leadership continued to vow that the right of self-determination in the light of UN Security Council Resolutions will be given to the Muslims of Kashmir, (as done by the other federating units of the subcontinent). Despite religious difference, Indian Establishment wanted water of the rivers for irrigating Rajasthan desert. Indira Gandhi canal, a 678 km water canal, was therefore built in 1958-1963. The canal runs from north-east of the Ravi to the south-west along the Pakistan-India border. This diversion of water not only dried up Ravi, Sutlej and Bias rivers and created a drought-like situation in southern Punjab. The Indus Waters Treaty was also for this purpose.
India obtained loans from world financial institutions to supposedly turn its desert to green pastures. The loan obtained from world financial institutions was to be paid from the income of ‘desert converted to green pastures harvest’. The expertise of making a canal in desert is quite challenging as in Sudan from the Nile, particularly, the problem of seepage of water in the desert terrain continues to pose challenge as India has recently obtained a loan of 250 million dollars from ADB and 400 million from Russia to improve the water management and water transportation through Indira canal.
Over the last 65 years the water continues to be wasted and the objective of Indian constitutional amendment is to drain water from Jhelum and Chenab) which is a clear violation of the Indus Waters Treaty. Pakistan has always upheld the UN Resolutions on Kashmir, as Article 257 of the Constitution states, “when the people of state of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and that State shall be determined by the wishes of the people of that State”. Although it doesn’t include the states of Hyderabad Deccan, Junagarh, Manawadar, which had opted to join Pakistan and the Indian army forcefully occupied them. Provision of the demand of these states needs to be made part of Pakistan’s Constitution.
Similarly Gurdaspur, a Muslim majority region, was wrongly annexed to India and needs to be rectified. With the unending appetite for resources such as water, dams, rivers, electricity and green pastures, fuelled with the Indian hegemonic designs efforts to build maximum dams will increase day by day. One of the interesting aspects is that India is obtaining loans from international monitory agencies like World Bank, IMF etc, for diverting the water of these rivers. External debt of India stands at a staggering amount of 521.3 billion dollars as on 31 Dec 2018 it increases at the rate of 2.6 percent per annum.
Expensive loans on cost-prohibitive terms, implemented illegally while annoying neighbouring countries and creating disenchantment among masses is a unique feature of Indian establishment and those politicians who do not possess financial, legal or professional credentials. Whether India can survive or not without Kashmir is clear? Last 72 years analysis suggests that India can survive only without Kashmir. However, Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah called Kashmir as the jugular vein of Pakistan, hence Kashmir remains the unfinished agenda of independence of Pakistan. Diverting all the rivers flowing through Indian occupied Kashmir may deprive Pakistan of the mandatory water reservoirs. It will not only environmental degradation but will turn into a calamity depriving Pakistani people of grain, rice and all crops.
What if Pakistan decides to launch strikes against illegally constructed dams to get water supply restored? What if a nation devoid of food launches weapons of appropriate destructive power, close Banehal Tunnel to disconnect India from Kashmir for good? What if the people of Kashmiris drive Indian security forces like the masses of Bastille during the French revolution? What if an environment-friendly government of Pakistan scraps the Indus Waters Treaty to restore imbalance? caused to the environment. How will the Indian govt return the loan of billions of dollars with Indira canal drained out for want of water?
It is also necessary to examine Article 103 of UN which states, “in the event of a conflict between the obligations of the members of the UN under the present charter and their obligations under any other international agreement their obligations under the present Charter shall prevail”. If Indian government thinks that with revoking Article 370, it can enter into a bilateral agreement for any project in India-occupied Kashmir, it is mistaken due to the Article 103 of UN. It can, therefore, be concluded that Articles 370 and 35-A are aimed to destroy Pakistan and kill its population.
Pakistan must exercise all options including, diplomatic, political, financial, legal and military to safeguard its interest. The Government of Pakistan should announce support for establishing govt of Kashmir in exile. Following points merit consideration for presenting case from Pakistan: (a) Sanctions on India for violation of UN charter by revoking article 370 and declaring a disputed territory as its own. (b) All international tenders in Indian occupied Kashmir should be challenged in the ICJ in the light of art 370/35 of Indian constitution read in conjunction with art 103 of UN. (c) Demand return of Junagarh, Manawadar and Hyderabad to Pakistan.
—The writer is a freelance researcher and (Retd) Commodore of Pakistan Navy.