Kashmir conundrum


Muhammad Javaid

INDIA announced to eliminate Articles 370 and 35-A from its Constitution which was aimed at
securing the Kashmir status by protecting their land and jobs. In the past, attempts were made to delete these special Articles but couldn’t succeed due to the agitation of Kashmiris. Kashmir freedom struggle has entered third generation. In Pakistan, the youth have not clear view of Kashmir mystery which may be due to not highlighting it since 1965 particularly after the Simla Agreement. It became flashpoint for a short while when General Parvez Musharraf occupied some strategic areas of Kargil. Now after winning the election Indian Prime Minister Modi has declared to withdraw these special status Articles from Indian Constitution resultantly Kashmir issue has emerged an international issue for the first time in the last 50 years. Before going into the details what options/priorities/actions are available with Pakistan it would be better to have a historic perspective of the issue.
At the time of partition of the sub-continent some states such as Indian Hyderabad Deccan, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) were being ruled independently. They were given option to decide about their future. The Nawab of Hyderabad Deccan opted for Pakistan while Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir opted for India irrespective of the fact that in Hyderabad Deccan’s majority population was Hindu and in Kashmir majority belongs to Muslims. On this pretext the decisions of both rulers were not logical also due the geographically existence of states. On the call of the Quaid, the tribal lashkars entered J&K. Indian Prime Minister Mr. Nehru rushed to UN Security Council and pledged that let the people of J&K decide their fate through a Plebiscite. A Resolution was passed by UN Security Council which is still pending. India never had the Intention to go by the UN resolutions. To calm the Kashmiris India introduced Articles 370 and 35-A into its Constitution. The thrust of these Articles was to satisfy Kashmiris of India-occupied J&K by securing their rights and status. Kashmiris were satisfied with the status they were given securing their land and jobs. Everything was going well for India so it ignored the UN resolutions and all the requests of Pakistan for a Plebiscite. Another historical perspective is being discussed nowadays that in 1947, Pakistani leadership could not take appropriate decisions on Kashmir. It is pertinent to note that Congress leadership proposed that Kashmir go to Pakistan in exchange for Hyderabad-Deccan.
Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, took Patel’s offer to Pakistan on the exact day the Indian Army landed in Srinagar to push back intruders from Pakistan in October 1947. But Liaquat Ali Khan turned down the proposal on the plea that Hyderabad is much larger than Punjab and he cannot give up Hyderabad for the sake of Kashmir. Most of Muslim League leadership was from India and their considerations were on Hyderabad, Kashmir was not on their mind and were not aware its strategic importance. Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan and Kuldip Nayar have mentioned in detail in their books on this topic. However, we lost Kashmir as well as Hyderabad, Junagarh because of inappropriate decisions of the then leadership and the refusal of the then Commander in Chief of Pakistan Army (British National) to obey Jinnah’s orders of military action against Indian offensive in Kashmir.
On the 5th August, Modi considered best time to act by deleting Articles 370 and 35-A from the Constitution so that Muslims are converted into minority and then go for a Plebiscite if needed according to Security Council Resolutions. The inclusion of Article 370 and its deletion has nothing to do with Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir but since its aftereffects are bound to disturb the population of Jammu & Kashmir therefore Pakistan is on the right path to challenge India diplomatically and legally. Pakistan government along with its arned forces is fully aware of the seriousness of the Kashmir issue and is taking appropriate steps on every forum. The situation for India is aggravating day by day. For the first time in seventy years, under the feet of India, the ground has been heated and their faces blackened by heat. However, it is strange to note that some of our prominent anchors, political and religious leaders, political workers of opposition parties are targeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and Armed Forces as Indian Army occupied Kashmir on 5th August. Was it free before 5th August? It is to remind to such Facebook/Social Media Mujahideen that India’s proposed legislation did not make any difference to Kashmir’s controversial position on the global front or in the UN. India has done nothing but increased the Kashmir fire and this fire can penetrate deep into India.
Pakistan has two options (i) diplomatic and legal battle (ii) war which may be converted into a nuclear war. What is the third option in the mind of these “intellectual Mujahideen”? These people think that attack on Kashmir is easy and will liberate Kashmir immediately and Indian Army will leave Kashmir easily. These people are not aware of the impact of war. These people have limited and immature vision as perhaps done by our leadership in the past. They always criticize armed forces and government and if they do not fight/act as they wish, then propagate that Pakistan Army is useless, the ruler is ineligible, missile tanks, artillery are useless etc. These intellectuals rest assure on the capability of our armed forces and government. It is for the first time that both are on one page and will not disappoint the nation and Kashmiris. Every step being taken so far is very calculated. There are many visible and invisible steps involved in such situations. In this case, the visible and invisible role of the Pak Army cannot be ignored. God bless Pakistan, Kashmir and all Muslims in the world.
—The writer is ex-Chief, Planning Commission of Pakistan.