The Quaid was not given to making rhetorical pronouncements. He was a realist; not an idealist. As a pragmatist and a jurist, he chose his words with care before uttering them; and he was a man of his word. The jugular vein and the body are mutually inter-dependant. Pakistan’s life-blood – water – passes through Kashmir. Kashmir’s life force – its commerce, its people’s very livelihood, its cultural heritage – all lay through its contacts with what is now Pakistan. Both Kashmir and Pakistan have suffered all these years because of artificial man-made barriers between the two.
Regrettably, the Quaid-e-Azam did not live long enough to influence the events that followed. The question that presents itself begging for an answer is: if he had lived for a few more years would he have allowed this issue to linger on for so long? We may do well to give this aspect some thought. Regrettably, the leadership that followed the Quaid singularly failed to live up to his ideals. Several issues - the Kashmir issue among them - that should have been tackled betimes and were not are a testimony to this. This is neither the time nor the occasion to go into the history of this issue. Suffice it to state that after the Quaid, successive leadership appear to have missed the bus.
The struggle of the people of the State predates the partition of what was then British India. Even before the British left, the people of the State had already asserted, through a valiant struggle, their inalienable right to decide their own future. When the matter landed in the Security Council of the United Nations, the World Body went on to put its stamp of approval on this fundamental right of the people of the Jammu and Kashmir. The right of self-determination of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir was guaranteed by the United Nations. As a result of the resolutions of the world body, four parties to the dispute were explicitly recognized: 1) The government of India; 2) The government of Pakistan; 3) The people of the State; and, by implication, 4) The international community, through the United Nations. Any movement towards a final settlement of the issue should, therefore, need to be endorsed by all the four parties. No one party has the right to unilaterally impose a settlement nor, in deed, to move the goal posts. This remains the internationally recognized position. In 1947, British rule in India ended with the creation of two new nations: the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, while British suzerainty over the 562 Indian princely statesended. According to the Indian Independence Act 1947, "the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian States lapses, and with it, all treaties and agreements in force at the date of the passing of this Act between His Majesty and the rulers of Indian States",so the states were left to choose whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Jammu and Kashmir, the largest of the princely states, had a predominantly Muslim population, while having a Hindu ruler (Maharaja Hari Singh.) On partition Pakistan expected Kashmir to be annexed to it. In October 1947, Muslim revolutionaries in western Kashmir and Pakistani tribals from Dir entered Kashmir, intending to liberate it from Dogra rule. Unable to withstand the invasion, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession that was accepted by the government of India on 27 October 1947. The resulting war over Kashmir, the First Kashmir War, lasted until 1948, when India moved the issue to the UN Security Council. Sheikh Abdullah was not in favour of India seeking UN intervention because he was sure the Indian Army could free the entire State of invaders. The UN had previously passed resolutions for setting up monitoring of the conflict in Kashmir. Following the set-up of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNCIP), the UN Security Council passed Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948. The resolution imposed an immediate...
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