Revisiting Quaid’s vision of Kashmir | By Dr Muhammad Khan

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Revisiting Quaid’s vision of Kashmir

AS a visionary leader, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had special affiliation and attachment with the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir.

This great leader of 20th century regarded Jammu and Kashmir as the most significant for the economic, strategic and political security of Pakistan.

In the same context, Quaid said, “Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan and no nation or country would tolerate its Jugular vein remains under the sword of the enemy”.

Today, once India is consolidating its occupation over the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) after revoking its special status, the vision of the Quaid can be understood in its true perspective. From the historical records, it is revealed that, Quaid-i-Azam visited Kashmir four times.

The first visit of the Quaid was in 1926; in fact a private visit to spend few holidays in Kashmir; indeed a probe-in visit to have the first-hand knowledge about the state, its inhabitants, their socio-economic conditions and the cruel Dogra Rule, imposed over State. At that time there was no political awakening in the State, nor could Kashmiris form a political forum. Indeed, under the cruel and inhuman Dogra Rule, the people of the state were deprived from their basic human rights. The Quaid uneasily watched this situation and later, got a special resolution passed in the All India Muslim League Working Committee session held in Lahore in 1926. The unanimously passed resolution drew the attention of the Maharajah’s Government towards the educational and economic backwardness of the Muslims of Kashmir and requested him to improve the living standard of the Kashmiri Muslims.

The second visit of the Quaid to Kashmir was in 1929. During this visit, he met with some local leadership of the state to know further details about the living conditions of the masses. Nevertheless, both visits of Quaid were low profile, aimed to comprehend and envisage the ground realities in the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir. Despite Dogra repression, the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir were able to establish their first political forum in the form of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference by 1932. This political forum of Kashmiris was primarily aimed at attaining the political and social rights of Kashmiris from oppressive Dogra Rule. It was the first step towards right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir from Dogra Rule.

The Third visit of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to Kashmir was a very formal and as a leader of Indian Muslims. Quaid visited the heavenly State in 1936 where he was given a landmark reception by the Kashmiri leadership of Muslim Conference under Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas. During this visit Quaid told Kashmiris: “Oh yes Muslim! Our Allah is one, our Prophet is one, our Quran is one, and therefore our Voice must also be one”. Unfortunately, All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference was renamed as All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference by Sheikh Abdullah in 1939. Later as a result of split among the Kashmiri leadership, Muslim Conference re-emerged in 1941 with a clear deviation from the policies of National Conference and Sheikh Abdullah. Division among the Kashmiri leadership was a tragic development in the history of the Kashmir. In its later history, the National Conference acted as an unofficial offshoot of the Indian National Congress, providing an excuse to India for its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir in October 1947.

In 1944, Quaid-i-Azam visited Jammu and Kashmir for the fourth time. He stayed in various parts of the state for over a month during this visit. He made this visit on the joint invitation of Muslim Conference and the National Conference and addressed with Kashmiris under two parties separately. He met with the leadership of both political parties of Kashmir and attended functions, meeting with workers, students, lawyers, common people and journalists. His stay in Kashmir being the last but the most important had a great impact on the future politics of Kashmir. Quaid’s love for the people of Kashmir can be imagined from the fact that, during his visit of Kashmir in 1944; he picked up a newly graduate Kashmiri youth, K H Khurshid as his personnel secretary.

K H Khursid remained as the personnel secretary of the Quaid from 1944 to 1947. K H Khurshid later acted a special representative of Quaid on Kashmir and visited the state after; it was illegally occupied by India. Upon illegal invasion of Indian forces in the Kashmir on 27 October 1947, Quaid-i-Azam issued orders to the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army to dispatch troops to Jammu and Srinagar. Unfortunately, the British Commander in Chief of Pakistan did not implement the orders of the Governor General. Earlier, smelling a rat Quaid-i-Azam tried his best to create circumstances, which could stop Indian annexation of Kashmir. Unfortunately, after the death of Qauid-i-Azam no meaningful efforts could be made to regain Kashmir from the illegal Indian occupation.

In August 2019, India acted unilaterally and illegally by revoking the special status of IIOJK and annexing it with India as its union territories in complete disregard to UN resolutions and all international norms. Besides, India is undertaking major demographic changes in entire IIOJK while simultaneously undertaking massive human rights violations which include; killings, fake encounters, detention, torture and illegal arrests of innocent Kashmiris with total immunity. Unfortunately, the incumbent Government of PTI under Prime Minister Imran Khan has not taken any tangible action to counter the illegal act of Indian Government and to stop the Indian human rights violations and demographic changes in IIOJK. This act of the Government is against the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah about Kashmir and the popular sentiments of the people of Pakistan. Indeed, Kashmir is the dispute of Pakistani security, thus warrants all out efforts by Government to restore its pre August 5, 2019 status and the grant of right of self-determination to Kashmiris.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.

 

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