Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that well before the creation of Pakistan, on 19 July 1947, participants from all over Kashmir who had gathered under the banner of the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference at the residence of Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan unanimously vowed to join Pakistan and subsequently in August, September and October, that year, a war of independence was fought by the people of Azad Kashmir wherein they drove away the Dogra forces and liberated the area we now know as Azad Kashmir.
The President made these remarks while speaking to the participants of a one-day conference on ‘Kashmir’s Prolonged Military Occupation: Lessons from History and the Way Forward’, organized by Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices of Kashmir (LFOVK). The event was also addressed by Chairman Parliamentary Kashmir Committee Shehryar Afridi and former Chief Justice of Gambia Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan.
Masood Khan refuted India’s BJP-RSS sponsored propaganda in which they claim that on 22nd October 1947, the tribal forces entered Jammu and Kashmir via Mansehra and started Pakistan’s ‘invasion’ of the State. India, he said, has crafted a myth that the Pakistan government-sponsored the tribal forces, although these tribals were volunteers who stepped forward to help their Kashmiri brothers and sisters. The truth, he said, is that between the months of August and October, India moved forces from Kapurthala, Patiala and other areas of Punjab, and made them the supplementary force of the Dogra army, thereby taking direct part in the occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that October 22 is not a day off infiltration or invasion but a day that marks the solidarity and true love between the people of Pakistan and Kashmir. ‘If there was an instance of infiltration, it was from the Indian side. This took under the tutelage of Jawaharlal Nehru, the planning of Sardar Patel and it was duly sanctified by Gandhi’, he said. The AJK President said that we must have talks on Kashmir but the key is to include Kashmiris in the talks. Any and all talks, he maintained, should take place under the auspices of the United Nations and the in line with the resolutions passed by the Security Council on Jammu and Kashmir. He added that the legality of the whole issue stems from the fact that the people of Kashmir are a key party to the dispute and it is the Kashmiris that have to decide their political future.
‘Even a slight hint of talks under the bilateral framework with India would be tantamount to legitimizing the illegal actions that were taken by India on August 5’, he said. He said that all measures taken by India are violations of article after article of the Geneva Conventions, ICC statutes, several UN SC resolutions and customary international law. India, he said, deserves to be a target of coercive measures under the laws, be it laws of ethnic cleansing, genocide or war crimes.
The AJK President said that Resolution 47 passed by the UN SC was rejected by Pakistan for the reason of it proposing to be implemented unilaterally. He said that later in a consultation process undertaken by General McNaughton it was proposed for a proportional withdrawal of troops both by India and Pakistan, on both sides. This proposal was accepted by Pakistan but rejected by India. He also highlighted Resolution 122 of the UN SC whereby the Council rejected attempts by India to shape the future of the Jammu and Kashmir State through a Constituent Assembly; and also maintained the disputed status of Kashmir. Masood Khan said that we can involve legal experts and adopt a path of lawfare.