Kashmir a beautiful mountain state with clear rivers, evergreen forests and one of the highest death rates in the world. It is at the center of an age-old dispute between Pakistan and India that has dragged on from the independence of both nations over fifty years ago to the present time, with no resolution in sight. The combined population of the two nation totals over a billion, so no conflict between them is of passing importance, especially when nuclear weapons are involved. Pakistan and India share a common heritage, language, and traditions, yet the subject of Kashmir can push them to the brink of annihilation. Fifty years of animosity have built up as a result. A proxy war still brews in Kashmir, claiming dozens of lives every day, running up a casualty total over time into the hundred thousands. Kashmiris have suffered untold horrors and Kashmir has the notorious reputation of being one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints. Pakistan and India both believe they have valid claims on Kashmir. If looked at logically and ethically, only Pakistan's claim can stand up to scrutiny. Successive Pakistani leaders have referred to Kashmir as the "jugular vein" of Pakistan, a fact reported on the Indian Embassy's Note on Kashmir. This refers to the major rivers originating in the Kashmir Valley on which Pakistan is critically dependent. India has little right on Kashmir, as each of their arguments, if not legally, is morally wrong. We can start by recounting history, where the roots of the conflict lie. India was one massive nation made up of several states, ruled by the British. A long and difficult independence struggle culminated with the British choosing to leave India in August 1947. The Muslims of the land decided that instead of just a Free India, they would create a Free Pakistan for themselves as well. They were fearful that as a minority, the Hindu majority would trample their rights and religion. Both countries would be formed as soon as the British handed back control in August. The rulers of each individual state constituting India would chose which country to join, hopefully following the wishes of its people. This idea was fraught with problems. There were quite a few states that had a majority of one religion yet the ruler belonged to another faith. The states of Hyderabad and Junagarh were examples of this. Both had Hindu majorities and Muslim rulers. They both choose not to join India, but as their intentions were made public, the Indian army marched on and annexed the states. They removed the ruler of Junagarh and placed a "Provisional Government" in place, then used the excuse of "restoring law and order" to invade and hold a farcical plebiscite, which choose India. "India sought to justify its aggression
on the plea that the rulers of Junagarh and Hyderabad were acting against the wishes of their people" states the report on Kashmir released by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry. Keep this excuse in mind as you read on; the rulers of the states were acting against the will of the people, so India felt it had the moral right to interfere. In Kashmir, the roles were reversed. The ruler was Hindu with a Muslim majority. Anticipating that the ruler would chose India, the people rose against him, and with the support of Pakistani tribesmen, ousted the ruler and set up their own government. Now the irony of the situation is that while the Indians did the exact same thing in Junagarh, they could not accept the state of affairs in Kashmir. The provisional government of Kashmir chose Pakistan, and a few days later the ousted ruler of Kashmir signed over the state to India, despite no longer being technically in power. The Indian army then invaded, with the Pakistani army following suit, and war broke out between the fledgling nations. The United Nations intervened in 1948 and set up a shaky ceasefire temporarily splitting Kashmir into Indian-held and Pakistani held areas. As the countries were divided in August...
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