|A COMPREHENSIVE NOTE ON JAMMU & KASHMIR (GOVERNMENT OF INDIA)
2. Geography & History
4. The Accession
5. Tribal Raids and the Accession
6. The United Nations
7. Pakistan's aggression against India
8. Pakistan's aggression: 1984-1998
9. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir
10. The Northern areas
11. Indian Position
12. Pakistan's anti-India propaganda
In recent years Jammu and Kashmir has been the subject of international
focus. Unfortunately, discussion on the issue has largely been flawed by
misunderstanding of the State’s history and its present situation. Pakistan,
in promoting its own territorial ambitions, has deliberately sought to
project a distorted version of developments in the State since 1947 when
the State joined the Union of India, in an attempt to disguise its own
sustained effort at undermining the tranquillity of this "Eden of Bliss".
Pakistan continues to look upon the issue of Jammu & Kashmir as
one that lies at the very core of India’s relations with Pakistan. This
is manifested by Pakistan’s pronouncements and its repeated aggression
against India, initially in the form of conventional wars and then by sponsorship
of terrorism. This strategy is born of Pakistan’s non-acceptance of the
accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India, made with the full support of
its people then led by Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. The fact that the two
communities had coexisted for centuries, that a sizeable section of India’s
Muslims chose to live in India, that a princely state with a sizeable Muslim
population like Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India of its own volition,
and that the Muslim majority wing of Pakistan separated and became independent
Bangladesh, are aspects of history that challenge the principle that peaceful
and beneficial co-existence was not possible.
Jammu and Kashmir became an integral part of the Indian Union in 1947
through final accession in accordance with the legal framework determined
by the British Parliament for the independence of the Indian subcontinent.
This was sought to be undermined by the use of military force in 1947,
which though successfully resisted by the Kashmiris with the support of
India’s army, resulted in a portion of the State remaining under Pakistan’s
occupation. Again, in 1965 Pakistan sought to capitalise on local disturbances
to foster insurgency, but on failing to suborn the local Kashmiri population,
infiltrated armed personnel into the State leading to war with India, ending
with the Tashkent Declaration of 1965. In 1971, under threat of an insurgency
in its own eastern wing Pakistan again sought to divert world attention
and extend the conflict into Jammu & Kashmir. This brought about defeat
and the loss of its eastern wing with the emergence of independent Bangladesh.
In complete contravention of the Tashkent Declaration of 1965 and the
Simla Agreement of 1972, signed after two wars, Pakistan, still addicted
to its quest to wrest Jammu and Kashmir by force, changed strategy and
embarked on a programme of sponsoring terrorism in the State. Since 1989,
with over 20,000 people killed, Pakistan continues its proxy war against
India. Even after the Kashmiris voted for democracy and again elected their
own government in 1996, signalling their disenchantment with terrorist
violence, Pakistan has not given up its policy of trying to disrupt the
free democratic polity of Jammu and Kashmir. Disappointed with the response
of the Kashmiris to its calls for what it sought to promote as a "holy
war" in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has taken recourse to sending in battle
hardened Pakistani, Afghan and other mercenaries who have distinguished
themselves only by drenching the soil with the blood of the very people
whose interests they claim to champion in the name of religion.
India remains committed to dealing with all matters pertaining to its
relations with Pakistan, within the bilateral framework of the Simla Agreement.
Solutions that entail a rewriting of history or a redrawing of geographical
boundaries and possible population transfers can, however, never be countenanced.
GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY
The terms "Kashmir" and "Muslim" are often loosely, and erroneously,
used when referring to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan has deliberately
fostered this misrepresentation to stake its claim to what it terms a "Muslim
Indeed, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has a Muslim majority but is
by no means a homogenous religious or ethnic entity. Like the rest of India,
it represents a mosaic of different religions, different ethnic groups
and cultures as do many other States of India. In its entirety, the State
consists of Jammu to the south, Ladakh in the northeast and geographically
the smallest segment Kashmir, comprised mainly of a river valley, surrounded
by lofty mountains. All three segments are distinguished by their diversity.
Jammu has a majority Hindu population(60%), but with substantial Muslim
and Sikh minorities. Poonch, Rajouri and Doda, three of its six districts
have Muslim majorities. Variations of Punjabi like Dogri and Pahari, are
the languages most widely spoken , together with a smattering of Kashmiri.
Ladakh has two districts; one, Leh, overwhelmingly Buddhist and the other,
Kargil, overwhelmingly (73%) Shia Muslim. The languages there are Ladakhi
and Balti. Kashmiri is not indigenous to this geographically largest constituent
of the State. The Kashmir Valley itself is predominantly Muslim, with small
components of Hindus and Sikhs. Kashmiri is the predominant language, but
with entire regions speaking Shina and Pahari.
The constituent units of the State of Jammu and Kashmir still retain
many of their distinctive religious, ethnic and linguistic features. This
heterogeneity was not lost even when they were incorporated in one or the
other empire - Maurya, Kushan, Mughal, Sikh or British, and today it reflects
the ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious diversity of India.
Ancient Kashmir is steeped in legend. It is said that the Kashmir Valley
was once the great lake Satisar (the Lake of the goddess Sati, also known
as Durga), home to ferocious demons. Responding to the penances of the
great sage Kashyapa, the grandson of Brahma himself, the gods destroyed
the demon of the lake, with a pebble divinely caste, which today stands
as the hill upon which towers the fortress built by the Mughal Emperor
Akbar, and known today as Hari Parbat. The water of Satisar was drained
through a breach in the mountains at what is now the mouth of the Valley,
beyond the northern town of Baramulla (or the Sanskrit name of Varaha Mukh,
the visage of the boar). From then on the Valley has carried the name of
its founder. Like that of the rest of India, the ancient history of the
State lacks detailed documentation although stuff and legend have been
indistinguishably mired in the work of Rajatarangini by Kalhan whose identity
remains a source of conjecture. In the 3rd Century BC, the state was incorporated
into the Maurya Empire under Asoka, founder of the city of Srinagar. Buddhism
became the principal religion which continued into the times of the Kushanas
(1st and 2nd centuries AD), the names of many of whose rulers several towns
in the Valley were named and continue to be borne by several towns in the
Valley, such as Kanispora after Kanishka, and Hushkora after Huvishka.
It was in Kanishka’s time that the 3rd Great Buddhist Council was held
in Srinagar, formalising the split between the schools of Hinayana and
Mahayana Buddhism. Thereafter Buddhism declined in the Valley though it
retained its vibrancy and continues to thrive in Ladakh.
In the 8th century, Kashmir rose to become the centre of a great kingdom
, spanning much of North India and parts of Central Asia under Lalitaditya
Muktapida, who was builder of the Martand (sun) Temple, and founder of
the Valley’s irrigation canal irrigation system which has survived for
centuries, helping water rich harvests of the finest rice, a variety of
temperate fruit and exotic crops such as saffron.
Islam came to India through traders, warriors and missionaries from
the eighth to the twelfth centuries. The faith came to Kashmir through
the Sufi saint Bulbul Shah in the early fourteenth century, finding wide
acceptance. The ruling monarch Rinchen Shah converted to Islam and assumed
the name of Sadruddin in 1327 AD. Thereafter, beginning with his former
general Shahmir, a series of Muslim dynasties ruled the State with brief
interludes of annexation into neighbouring States, to become a part of
the Mughal Empire in the late 16th century, under its greatest ruler Akbar.
The State was fully incorporated into the systems of administration and
land settlement which long remained a legacy of that Empire in India, well
after its own disintegration.
All through this period the religious activity of the Shaivites and
Sufis continued to flourish, and fed the vibrant stream of Kashmiri culture.
Lal Ded, Kashmir’s great poetesses was also among her foremost Shaivite
ascetics and mentor to one of Kashmir’s greatest Sufi saints, Sheikh Nooruddin,
whose school of Sufism is called ‘Rishi’ and who is revered by Hindus as
Nand Rishi. The songs of Habba Khatoon, queen to the last Sultan of Kashmir
before it fell to the Mughals, who retired to the life of a hermit in the
hills of Gurez after her husband’s deportation, still resonate with the
peasant women harvesting rice in Kashmir’s fields.
The rule of the Mughals has been coloured by romance, the modern remnants
of which are to be found in the masterful architecture and layout of their
world famous gardens in Kashmir: Shalimar, Nishat, Chashme Shahi, Chinar
Bagh. A graphic account of the pomp and panoply of the Emperor’s cavalcade
to Kashmir has been left to us by the French physician Francois Bernier
who was in the court of the Emperor Aurangzeb.
The Imperial Court called on the Kashmiri Pandits, famed for their
scholarship, to man courtly positions in Delhi. Thus it was that the ancestor
of the Nehrus was recruited by the Emperor Farrukhsiyar in the early 18th
century to serve as imperial scribe.
The defeat of the Empire at the hands of the Afghan brigand Ahmed Shah
Abdali forced the ceding of Kashmir to the Afghans in 1753 AD, leading
to a period of unmitigated brutality and widespread distress, which remained
cruelly etched on the public memory, reinforced by the happenings of 1947.
The greatest of the Sikh rulers Maharaja Ranjit Singh won Kashmir in 1815.
On the defeat of the Sikhs by the British, the latter annexed and then
sold Kashmir to the local feudatory Gulab Singh, who then assumed the title
of Maharaja. His dynasty continued to rule the State under British paramountcy
till the events described hereafter.
Indian Independence Act 1947 - Section II
Territories of the New Dominions
1. Subject to the provisions of sub-sections (3) and (4) of this section,
the territories of India shall be the territories under the sovereignty
of His Majesty which, immediately before the appointed day, were included
in British India except the territories which under sub-section (2) of
this section are to be the territories of Pakistan.
2. Subject to the provisions of sub-sections (3) and (4) of this section
the territories of Pakistan shall be (a) the territories which on the appointed
day, are included in the Provinces of East Bengal and West Punjab as constituted
under the two following sections; (b) the territories which, at the date
of the passing of this Act, are included in the Province of Sind and the
Chief Commissioner's Province of British Baluchistan; and (c) if, whether
before or after the passing of this Act but before the appointed day, the
Governor General declares that the majority of the valid votes cast in
the referendum which, at the date of the passing of this Act, is being
or has recently been held in that behalf under his authority in the North-West
Frontier Province are in favour of representatives of that Province taking
part in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, the territories which, at
the date of the passing of this Act, are included in that Province.
3. Nothing in this section shall prevent any area being at any time
included in or excluded from either of the new Dominions, so, however,
that--(a) no area, not forming, part of the territories specified in sub-section
(1) or, as the case may be, sub-section (2), of this section shall be included
in either Dominion without the consent of that Dominion; and (b) no area
which forms part of the territories specified in the said sub-section (1)
or, as the case may be, the said sub-section. (2), or which has after the
appointed day been included in either Dominion, shall be excluded from
that Dominion without the consent of that Dominion.
4. Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section
(3) of this section, nothing in this section, shall be construed as prevention,
the accession of Indian States to either of the now Dominions.
"TRIBAL RAIDS" AND THE ACCESSION
Pakistan then sent tribal invaders and ostensibly decommissioned Pakistan
Army officers into Jammu and Kashmir. While Pakistan has always claimed
that its government was not behind the raids and that these were spontaneous
expressions of Muslim sentiment following reports of killing of Muslims
in Jammu and Kashmir, the facts are revealed by Major General Akbar Khan,
the officer given responsibility for organising the raids: He states in
his book "Raiders in Kashmir" ‘..I wrote out a plan under the title "Armed
Revolt inside Kashmir". As open interference or aggression by Pakistan
was obviously not desirable it was proposed that our efforts should be
concentrated upon strengthening the Kashmiris internally—and .. to prevent
arrival of armed civilian or military assistance from India into Kashmir..."
. Margaret Bourke-White describes the plunder by the raiders:
"Their buses and trucks, loaded with booty, arrived every other day
and took more Pathans to Kashmir. Ostensibly they want to liberate their
Kashmiri Muslim brothers, but their primary objective was riot and loot.
In this they made no distinction between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims".
"The raiders advanced into Baramulla, the biggest commercial centre
of the region with a population then of 11,000, until they were only an
hour away from Srinagar. For the next three days they were engaged in massive
plunder, rioting and rape. No one was spared. Even members of the St. Joseph’s
Mission Hospital were brutally massacred."
Unable to prevent the raiders’ brutal advance which was marked by large-scale
killings, loot and arson, the Maharaja, on October 24, 1947, appealed for
military assistance from the Government of India. The Indian Government
felt that only if the state had acceded to India could there be the legal
basis for India to intervene, whereupon the Maharaja signed the Instrument
of Accession on October 26, 1947. A simultaneous appeal for assistance
and for the state’s accession to the Indian Union was also made by Sheikh
Abdullah, leader of the National Conference, and the undisputed leader
of the people, who had for his views been imprisoned by the Maharaja’s
government into September ’47 and released only under pressure of India’s
On receipt of the signed Instrument of Accession from the Maharaja,
preparations were made to fly Indian troops to the State. The formal letter
of acceptance of the Accession was signed by Lord Mountbatten on October
27 making Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India even as Indian forces
were airlifted to Srinagar.
The Accession of Jammu and Kashmir was final and unconditional. It
was offered and accepted in the same manner and according to the same legal
stipulations as the Accession of princely states, to Pakistan: the decision
was made by only the ruler of the princely state as required under the
India Independence Act. In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, there was further
endorsement of the accession by the largest Kashmiri Party, the National
Conference, and subsequently the State’s own popularly elected Constituent
THE UNITED NATIONS
The United Nations Security Council first took cognisance of the Jammu
and Kashmir issue in 1948 after the accession of the State to India, and
at India’s behest. A distortion of the nature of the Security Council’s
involvement has been fostered over the years by Pakistan to try and project
that it was the status of Jammu and Kashmir that was the subject under
It was India that approached the Security Council on January 1, 1948
with the request that the Security Council intervene to vacate Pakistan’s
aggression and illegal occupation of Indian territory of the state of Jammu
India approached the Security Council of January 1, 1948, and said:
"Such a situation now exists between India and Pakistan owing to the aid
which invaders, consisting of nationals of Pakistan and of tribesmen from
the territory immediately adjoining Pakistan on the North West, are drawing
from Pakistan for operations against Jammu and Kashmir, a State which has
acceded to the Dominion of India and is part of India...The Government
of India request the Security Council to call upon Pakistan to put an end
immediately to the giving of such assistance which is an act of aggression
against India." India was the complainant before the Security Council against
aggression by Pakistan.
The United Nations Security Council appointed a United Nations Commission
for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). Initially Pakistan continued to deny any
role in the tribal raids maintaining that it was a natural response of
the martial tribes to reports of killings of Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir.
Later, however, in July 1948, Sir Zafarullah Khan admitted to the UNCIP
that three regular Pakistani Brigades had been fighting in Kashmir territory
since May 1948.
The UNCIP taking note of the developments adopted a resolution on August
13, 1948, divided into three parts. The first part called for a cease-fire.
The second part called for Pakistan to withdraw its nationals and tribesmen
and to vacate the territory occupied by it. Then after the above stipulation
had been implemented India was to withdraw the bulk of its forces from
the State leaving an adequate number behind to ensure that the Government
of Jammu and Kashmir maintains law and order and peace, a clear indication
that the UNCIP believed that Jammu and Kashmir was a part of India. Part
(3) of the Resolution to be implemented after parts (1) and (2) stated
that both India and Pakistan had reaffirmed their wish that the future
status of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the
will of the people.
Yet the ensuing months, after the adoption of the resolution, saw Pakistan
brazenly advancing deep into Baltistan and Ladakh, hundreds of kilometres
to the east while the so-called Azad Kashmir forces, which were to be disbanded,
were expanded and consolidated and formed what the UNCIP Military Adviser
described as a "formidable force".
A subsequent resolution was adopted by the UNCIP on 5, January 1949
on the same issue. However, this resolution was to be binding only if the
stipulations of the resolution of August 14, 1948 had first been met. India
accepted this resolution also. It is noteworthy that while India accepted
the two resolutions, Pakistan balked at implementing even the first one
and has still , even after the passage of fifty years, not vacated the
territories of Jammu and Kashmir seized by it. Indeed, the portion of the
State now called the Northern Areas, has been declared a part of Pakistan,
separate to the entity named "Azad Kashmir"
It is very significant that during the debates in the UN Security Council
and in the wording of the two resolutions the sovereignty of India over
Jammu and Kashmir was taken as accepted.
Speaking in the Council of February 4, 1948 the representative of the
United States of America, Warren Austen said "..The external sovereignty
of Kashmir is no longer under the control of the Maharaja.. with the accession
of Jammu and Kashmir to India, this foreign sovereignty went over to India
and is exercised by India and that is why India happens to be here as a
The UNCIP Resolution of 5 January, 1949 stated that "..The Secretary
General of the United Nations will .. nominate.. a Plebiscite Administrator..
He will be formally appointed to office by the Government of Jammu and
Kashmir.. The Plebiscite Administrator shall derive from the State of Jammu
and Kashmir the powers he considers necessary.."
Subsequently, on 26 January 1957 at the 765th meeting of the Security
Council the representative of the Soviet Union stated "The question of
Kashmir has been settled by the people of Kashmir themselves. They decided
that Kashmir is an integral part of the Republic of India".
The last time that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir came before the UN
Security Council was in the aftermath of the 1965 India Pakistan war. The
perfunctory passing reference to Jammu and Kashmir, with no reference to
the resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949 demonstrates that,
for the world community, the Kashmir issue was no longer of any consequence
and would have been forgotten if it was not for the war forced by Pakistan
on India in 1965.
The irrelevance of the 1948 and 1949 resolutions to the contemporary
situation was highlighted by the President of the Security Council, Gunnar
Jarring in his report to the Council in 1957 when he said ".. The Council,
will, furthermore, be aware of the fact that the implementation of international
agreements of an ad hoc character, which has not been achieved fairly speedily,
may become progressively more difficult because the situation with which
they were to cope has tended to change.."
Dr. Frank Graham, the UNCIP’s representative stated in March 1958 "..
the execution of the provisions of the resolution of 1948 might create
more serious difficulties than were foreseen at the time the parties agreed
to that. Whether the UN representative would be able to reconstitute the
status quo which it had obtained ten years ago would seem to be doubtful.....".
If, in 1957 and 1958, Mr. Jarring and Mr. Graham felt that the resolutions
of 1948 and 1949 could not be implemented because of the changed situation,
the sheer implausibility of these resolutions having any meaning today
is self-evident. The State of Jammu and Kashmir to which these resolutions
applied does not exist any longer with a part of the territory having been
handed over to China by Pakistan and demographic changes having been effected
in Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas.
The changed situation in terms of peoples’ representation in Government
is nowhere more evident than in the part of Jammu and Kashmir with India.
India became a Republic in 1950, with the will of the people. Pursuant
to the Accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India the Constitution of India
made provision to accord to State of Jammu and Kashmir a special and protected
place in the Indian polity, under Article of 370 of the Constitution. In
1951, the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly was elected by secret
ballot, for which all J&K State subjects were eligible. It adopted,
in 1956, the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir which declared that the
State of Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, and that Accession
to India was final and irrevocable.
The Accession of the State to India had never been an issue for the
Kashmiris. In the 1947, 1965 an 1971 wars, even according to disinterested
international commentators, the people of Jammu and Kashmir actively blunted
Pakistan’s attempts to incite insurgency and participated vigorously cooperation
with the Army to ensure victory. In 1975, Sheikh Abdullah, the undisputed
leader of the Kashmiris, and the Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi
concluded the Kashmir Accord with both sides accepting the validity of
the Constitution of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, reiterating the status
of Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of the Indian Union. A little
over a year later, in 1977, elections were held. These elections are internationally
endorsed as free and fair including by the International Commission of
Jurists. In these elections, the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India
was not questioned. It was a non-issue. Sheikh Abdullah who in 1947 had
supported the accession and then endorsed it again in 1975, won the elections
handsomely, even though arrayed against him was India’s then ruling party,
the Janata, supported by a range of local parties including Mirwaiz Farooq’s
Awami Action Committee and the Jama’at Islami. The Congress was not a serious
contender. If any signal was needed, there could be no clearer indication
that Abdullah’s policies, including his belief in the legitimacy of the
Accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India, had the support of the people
of the State.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir have participated in elections to Parliament
and the State Assembly many times. It is an expression of their will, expressed
through the ballot box, that the National Conference, a supporter of Jammu
and Kashmir’s accession to India, remains the dominant political party
in the State, first under Sheikh Abdullah’s leadereship and, following
the latest Assembly and Parliamentary elections in 1996, and 1998 under
his son Dr Farooq Abdullah.
It is ironical that after itself being responsible for non-implementation
of the Resolutions at the time when they were adopted, Pakistan today seeks
to capitalise on the situation of violence created by it in the State of
Jammu and Kashmir. It is incongruous that Pakistan seeks the implementation
of out of date resolutions in some parts of the State, when even the state
of Jammu and Kashmir does not exist as it did in 1947, thanks to Pakistan’s
‘generosity’ in unilaterally ceding to China part of the territory of the
State, and occupying another part.
Pakistan’s bid today to revert to the Resolutions of 1948 and 1949
is merely a ploy to camouflage its continuing activity to destabilise Jammu
and Kashmir and to capitalise on the situation that it has created through
the use of terrorists and mercenaries.
PAKISTAN’S AGGRESSION: 1984-1998
Pakistan’s policy with regard to India and other neighbours like Afghanistan,
is not determined only by the civilian government. It has always been the
prerogative of the armed forces and, more particularly, the Inter Services
Intelligence (ISI), even during periods of civilian rule.
The ISI is often referred to as a state within a state. The ISI received
a boost when it served as the front-line conduit for the training, arming
and support of the Afghan Mujahideen during the war against the erstwhile
Soviet Union. It was associated with the use of the heroin trade to finance
the Afghan Mujahideen’s operations and the present Prime Minister of Pakistan,
Nawaz Sharif, had once told the Washington Post that his top army brass
had approached him for approval to use drug money to finance the ISI’s
operations against India. The ISI is closely associated with the Taliban
movement both in imparting training and in battlefield strategy and operations.
India has always remained a prime focus of the ISI’s activities and
with regard to Jammu and Kashmir, the ISI has been pivotal in organising
operations of mercenary outfits like the Harkat ul Ansar, declared and
subsequently banned, as a Pakistan-based terrorist outfit by the United
States of America. Jane’s Intelligence Review in its October 1997 issue
carried an article on the Harkat ul Ansar that detailed the organisation’s
operations and said "..the complicity of the ISI is more than merely passive.
The Harkat ul Ansar owes its considerable arsenal in large measure to the
generosity of the Pakistani Government, or, more specifically, its intelligence
service.." Instructors in the camps run for the Harkat ul Ansar, some of
which were bombed by the United States of America after the attacks on
the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, train not only extremist
Pakistanis and Kashmiris, but also cadres for operations in Tadjikistan,
Bosnia, Myanmar and even the Uighers of Xinjiang Province of the People’s
Republic of China. Alumni of these training camps have also been identified
with terrorist activities in the USA, France, the Philippines, Egypt, Algeria
The present ongoing phase of Pakistan’s aggression was initiated in
1984, exploiting the vulnerability of a public bereaved by the passing
away of their great leader Sheikh Abdullah and subsequent political uncertainty
brought on by leadership squabbles in the ruling National Conference. As
the situation deteriorated, civil grievances which are normal in any society
but which are open to resolution, were exploited to breed disaffection,
with some sections then being brain-washed, armed, financed and instigated
into violence. This brutal exploitation of a peaceful people has been marked
by over 20,000 killings, the disruption of society and the calculated destruction
of basic health, education and economic infrastructure. The blackest mark
on this period will remain the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits and many
Muslims driven by an enveloping fear through use of terror, which was deliberately
fanned by those who would see an end to the age old tolerance of the Kashmiri
A selective killing of prominent persons Hindu, Muslim and Sikh, to
spread fear and suffocate differences of opinion, and to paralyse the economy,
press, judiciary and administration, since 1989 has been the strategy of
the terrorists. Those killed included Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq,the revered
Muslim clerics and Imam of its Jama Masjid or Cathedral mosque, Maulana
Maudoodi, a 90 year old scholar, veteran of the freedom movement, former
lieutenant of Sheikh Abdullah and among the most respected of the leaders
of the Gujar community, Qazi Nissar Ahmed, the Mirwaiz of South Kashmir,
Mir Mustafa, a legislator, Lassa Kaul, Director of Doordarshan, Srinagar,
H.L. Khera, General Manager Hindustan Machine Tools, Professor Musheer
ul Haq, Vice Chancellor Kashmir University, Nazir Ahmed Wani, Member of
Kashmir’s Legislative Council and countless other officials and defence
personnel. Any person who represented the State’s authority, considered
unfriendly to the militant’s cause, or held in esteem by the local people
and thus able to influence their thinking towards peaceful resolution of
conflict and opposed to militancy and Pakistan’s machinations, became a
Despite well documented evidence to the contrary, Pakistan persists
in claiming that it is only providing "moral, political and diplomatic
support" to what it calls an indigenous Kashmiri uprising in Jammu and
Kashmir. But the truth behind the latest phase of Pakistani sponsored violence
has been spelt out in the book ‘Fateh’ the biography of the former Chief
of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence, General Akhtar Abdul Rehman.
His biographer Brigadier Haroon Rashid states "..The plan which General
Akhtar Abdul Rehman had made for Kashmiris movement for independence was
to come into effect in 1991. It appears that this plan was made with the
struggle for the liberation of Afghanistan in mind, which it was thought
would be achieved by spring 1989... However the Kashmir plan was inaugurated
in 1984.. The Kashmiris were provided with some arms which were not suitable
for the Afghan Mujahideen.
The year 1984, mentioned by Haroon Rashid, is significant as it was
in 1984 that an Indian diplomat, Ravindra Mhatre, was murdered in Birmingham(UK)
by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front. Amanullah Khan, Chairman of
the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), sought refuge in Pakistan
and still lives there and conducts his anti-India activities openly. Hashim
Qureshi, an associate of Amanullah Khan, now resident in the Netherlands,
has in his book "Kashmir: Unveiling the Truth", laid bare the plotting
of the murder and the horrors that were to follow in Kashmir. Terrorism
escalated in the Kashmir Valley starting in 1989. Pakistan first used the
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, with its pro independence ideology,
to mobilise a mass movement. The period between 1989-90 was marked by the
targeted killing of Government officials, media personnel, members of the
judiciary, and members of the minority Kashmiri Pandit (Hindu) community
and Kashmiri Muslims who dared question the terror tactics and excesses
of the terrorists. One immediate effect, between January and April 1990
was the resignation of the duly elected State government, the massive exodus
of nearly 2,50,000 Kashmiri Pandits and over 50,000 Kashmiri Muslims from
the valley with the Pandits settling in refugee camps in Jammu, Delhi and
other cities in India. The objective of creating terror and mayhem, paralysing
the State administration had met therefore with what would have seemed
quick success. This in turn led Pakistan to distance itself from those
seeking independence, who it had earlier sought to cultivate to instigate
disaffection in the State, and increasingly seek to encourage those that
favoured joining Pakistan.
A tactic used to telling effect by the militants was to attack the
security forces from the cover of crowded market places and civic facilities,
so as to have a human shelter or embroil civilians into crossfire. The
State’s response inevitably led to clashes with both militant and civilian
casualties. The deaths of civilians then became the substance of campaigns
orchestrated by Pakistan and the militant groups alleging oppression of
the Kashmiris and violation of their human rights by the government. Because
in each case of such allegation, government would immediately seek to investigate
the truth through its own administrative infrastructure, it was established
that while in some cases there might have been overreaction by the security
forces working under enormous threat and pressure, other cases were wildly
exaggerated. In each case of established excess, legal action against personnel
implicated, was initiated by government.
Cordon and search operations to flush out the militants provided militants
and their supporters the ground to accuse the security forces of mass rapes.
Such was the case in March 1991 in Kunan Poshpora Village of Kupwara District,
in which a mass rape of 23 women was alleged. The allegation was enquired
into by a team of senior civilian and military officers, on the site of
the supposed occurrence with interviews with alleged victims. The allegations
were found to be groundless.
A sustained propaganda campaign to highlight alleged human rights’
abuse was used by Pakistan as an instrument to internationalise the Jammu
and Kashmir question. The context in which incidents occurred and the environment
of violence created by the terrorists was conveniently glossed over. Exaggerated,
and often fabricated, instances of human rights’ violations were used as
a tool of psychological warfare and were accepted at face value by gullible
observers with little or no perspective on the ground situation. In response,
and to deal with specific cases of excess, the Government of India strengthened
supervision and set up a National Human Rights Commission in 1993, whose
functioning has been lauded by all human rights groups with which it has
interacted. This is an autonomous commission, free from the dictates of
government and staffed by retired judges and eminent persons. After restoration
of a democratic government in the State in 1996, the State has set up a
similar Commission at the State level under the Chairmanship of a highly
respected Kashmiri judge.
On its part the Government and the security forces investigated all
allegations of human rights abuses and, where substantiated, punishment
was meted out to the erring personnel. It is, however, ironic that the
security forces whom the militants accused of human rights violations,
continue till today to be deployed to provide security to the leaders of
the secessionist and militant groups, whose lives have been threatened
because of their resolve to abjure violence in seeking their political
Since the ideology favouring independence of Jammu and Kashmir could
not be countenanced by Pakistan, the period starting 1990 witnessed the
creation of groups determined to install an extremist Islamic regime in
Jammu and Kashmir, and to ensure its accession to Pakistan. The major responsibility
to execute this strategy was given by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence
(ISI) to the Hezbul Mujahideen, whose present Supreme Commander, Syed Salahuddin,
continues to reside in Pakistan. Other groups that proliferated, primarily
to blunt the hold of Pakistan’s opponents in the militancy, included Hezbullah,
Allah Tigers, Al Barq, etc. This period witnessed increasing internecine
warfare with extremist groups seeking to suppress the Jammu and Kashmir
Liberation Front. The thrust of their campaign was to invoke religion to
seize legitimacy. As a result they sought to impose a blinkered version
of Islamic tenets at the point of the gun, resulting in the destruction
of schools, cinemas, restaurants, and a ban on all forms of entertainment.
Women were particularly affected since some extremist groups, defying the
very grain of Kashmir’s culture, tried forcibly to confine them to indoors
and the veil, akin to what the Taleban have done in Afghanistan, but without
success. To teach a lesson some Muslim girls were in fact attacked and
injured. This in fact generally alienated womenfolk from the movement,
although many had earlier been supportive of the secessionists through
organisations like the Dukhtaran-i-Millat.
This period witnessed the media in the Valley constantly attacked by
the militants, even though these same elements had been initially supportive
of militancy, and demanded that anti-terrorist articles not be carried;
government announcements be boycotted; the "martyrdom" of the militants
be eulogised, as also the campaign posing as "liberation". Attacks on newspaper
offices and printing presses and the killing of eminent journalists and
editors became frequent. Among other incidents the ‘Srinagar Times’ was
attacked; the ‘Aftab’ was bombed; the editor of Al Safa, Mohammed Shaban
Vakil , a respected journalist and leading critic of government, was shot
dead in his office. Some journalists from the national publications, who
wrote against militancy, had their papers banned from entering the Valley
at various times. In short, a determined effort was made to strangle freedom
of the press, surely a basic tenet of liberty. Only the BBC was spared
The effort of Pakistan’s surrogates to establish their ascendancy in
the movement reached its peak in October 1993, with the siege of the shrine
at Hazratbal, considered the holiest in Kashmir by its people, the administration
of which had provided the launching pad for the career of Sheikh Mohammed
Abdullah, whose sermons there were the bedrock of his movement for freedom.
This was an effort to provoke a confrontation between the JKLF militants
and the military by feeding provocative and misleading information to each,
so that the shrine would become a battleground, thus simultaneously shaking
the foundations of the Sufi tradition of Kashmir, not palatable to the
narrow minded, who consider the religious practices therein heretical,
decimating the pro-independence JKLF, and bringing the Indian army into
disrepute. Simultaneously, the All Party Hurriyat Conference emerged, partly
as a defensive mechanism to control internecine conflict, and partly to
give political voice to what had degenerated into a violent terrorist campaign
with few remaining pretensions of liberty.
The Hurriyat leaders like to refer to themselves as the "true representatives
of the people of Jammu and Kashmir". They have sought legitimacy not by
public acclaim through the acknowledged process of elections, but through
fear as many of their leaders are affiliated with one or the other militant
group. The irrelevance of the Hurriyat to the people of Jammu and Kashmir
and the situation in the state, became visibly apparent during the elections
held in 1996. The Hurriyat leaders conducted a house to house campaign
calling on people to boycott the elections. Despite their threats and pleas
the people turned out in large numbers to vote in most parts of the state
except in some pockets which were known to be in thrall of the militants.
The failures of the Hurriyat internationally and in the Valley led
Pakistan’s ISI to create the Shoora-i-Jehad in 1996 as the coordinating
authority to undertake both militant and political activities. The move
was aimed at ensuring continuing ISI control. The growing disenchantment
of the Kashmiri people with violence as a form of grievance redressal,
this move also met with little success, and added to mutual distrust and
The extremist ideology of groups like the Hezb ul Mujahideen and their
open insistence on Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan, finally made Kashmiri’s
realise that Pakistan had neither their freedom nor their interests at
heart, but had been cynically manipulating them to fulfil its own territorial
ambitions. The increasing criminalisation of the militant groups contributed
further to Kashmiri disenchantment and fear. The philosophy of tolerance
and co-existence, embodied in the culture of Kashmiriat, had become the
prime target of the extremist groups, and was seen to be in danger of being
submerged in a frenzy of fanaticism.
By the end of 1993, however, it became more clear that, after nearly
five years of violence, the Kashmiris were thoroughly disillusioned. With
the decline in numbers of Kashmiri youth willing to be indoctrinated and
trained as terrorists, Pakistan took recourse to sending in battle-hardened
mercenaries from Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries, including many
veterans of the Afghan war. They came under the banner of the Harkat ul
Ansar and Lashkar e Tayyaba to bolster the fighting ability of the pro-Pakistani
militant groups. Their disregard for the Kashmiri psyche, and their depredations
in the Valley, further strengthened the resolve of Kashmiris against violence
and against the Hurriyat and its constituents who had willingly invited
these foreigners into what the people had been led to believe was a Kashmiri
movement to right political wrongs. With facts coming through more and
more through propaganda, and peaceful resolution of the siege at Hazratbal,
with the civil and military authorities working closely together to ameliorate
the difficulties of the people contributed, with other developments to
a perceptible change in mood, with increasing numbers of people returning
to work with government and security agencies in restoring order.
In 1994 the Mirwaiz of South Kashmir, Qazi Nisar Ahemd, was killed
in Anantnag. His widow and the local people blamed the Hezb ul Mujahideen,
and processions and demonstrations condemning the militant group and Pakistan
took place in the town. In the same year the Harkat ul Ansar kidnapped
Kim Housego and David Mackie, two British tourists. The action was widely
condemned by the people of Jammu & Kashmir leading to the militants
capitulating and their release.
In 1995 mercenaries of the Harkat ul Ansar and the Hezb ul Mujahideen
led by a Pakistani national Mast Gul, seized another revered shrine in
Charar e Sharief resulting in the mindless destruction of both the shrine
and the surrounding township. Mast Gul was given a hero’s welcome in Pakistan
and paraded through the streets by the Jama’at e Islami the mentor of the
Hezb ul Mujahideen. The Harkat ul Ansar issued press releases stating that
its cadres had been in the shrine which further aggravated the divide between
the centuries old Kashmiri ethos of harmonious co-existence and the extremist
orthodoxy being sought to be imposed by the pro-Pakistani groups.
Also in 1995 the Al Faran, a front for the Harkat ul Ansar, kidnapped
five foreign tourists and beheaded one of them, a Norwegian named Hans
Christian Ostro. In light of widespread public disapprobation, the Hurriyat
was constrained to condemn this act of wanton killing. The hostages remain
untraced till today. Surprisingly, the hue and cry in countries abroad
was muted. One American made a daring escape from his terrorist captors
and was rescued by a vigilant team on a government helicopter. His adventure
was largely ignored by foreign media. John Donald Chiles does not appear
to have been interviewed in print or on the electronic media.
The period 1993-96 thus witnessed a changing mood in the Kashmir Valley
against militancy and towards seeking some solution to the crisis. The
media became more vocal in its criticism of the activities of the militant
groups and the "guest militants" as the mercenaries were called by the
Kashmiri militant groups. The release through judicial process of prominent
jailed suspected militant leaders like Shabir Shah and Yasin Malik, the
formation of political fronts by former militants disillusioned with Pakistan
and militancy, and the revival of political activity by known and established
parties in the face of threats from Pakistan, the Hurriyat and the mercenaries,
bolstered the mood in Kashmir. The restoration of the democratic process
was seen as a way out after years of violence. Pakistan made desperate
attempts to prevent these developments but to little avail.
Responding to the changed public mood, the Government of India organised
Parliamentary and Assembly elections in 1996 in Jammu and Kashmir. The
large participation of the people in the elections despite calls for boycott
by the Hurrriyat and Pakistan, despite threats from the militants and mercenaries
and the continued targeted killing of political activists and the Kashmiri
Muslims holding different views, was a clear manifestation of the desire
of the Kashmiris for peace. The Kashmiris voted back to power with a two-third
majority, their own old party, the National Conference, with Dr Farooq
Abdullah at its head. Some sections of the foreign media gave undue weight
to the presence of security forces needed to maintain order in the face
of terrorist threats to disrupt the Parliament elections. This criticism
was, however, more subdued with the Assembly elections following Parliament
elections, with an even bigger voter turnout.
Since the installation of the elected Government in October 1996, there
has been significant change in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Life
has, more or less, returned to normal in the capital Srinagar. Markets
are open, festivals and marriages are celebrated in the age old manner
with song, music and dance, tourists are coming back to the Valley, trade
is beginning to flourish again, the houseboats are no longer idle, winter
sports and cultural programmes have been held and the process of reconstruction
of the infrastructure has begun. Leaders formerly aligned with the Hurriyat
like Shabir Shah have formed new political parties and have begun to talk
in terms of participation in the elections, though with reservations. Umar
Farooq revived his slain father’s Awami Action Committee. Differences have
cropped up between him and the Hurriyat, and he organised separate meetings,
without consulting the Hurriyat, to commemorate the tragic day of his father’s
assassination by the militants. His meeting drew large crowds and the Hurriyat
was compelled to go along with him.
Parliamentary elections were held in again in February/March, 1998.
There was overwhelming participation in the Valley despite calls for a
boycott by the Hurriyat and by Pakistan, and dire threats from militant
groups against voters, candidates and electoral officers. The period had
been preceded by targeted attacks against political workers. In the elections,
the local Jammu and Kashmir government staff manned polling booths, and
officials did not require to be called in from outside the State; there
was overwhelming participation despite inclement weather. One significant
if little noticed aspect was the participation, as candidates, of people
like Muzzaffar Beg, a Supreme Court lawyer, who had always represented
the Hurriyat, and the widespread participation of youth in campaign rallies
and the election process. Elements from within Hurriyat affiliated groups
are believed to have quietly supported the candidates even as the Hurriyat
officially boycotted the election. A close aide of Shabir Shah, Naeem Khan,
who had broken with Shah, spoke in favour of the democratic electoral process.
Such sentiments were also expressed to the media by ordinary people in
Jammu and Kashmir who crave a return to normalcy. The Hurriyat call for
strikes failed. There were no reports of coercion and almost no untoward
incidents, save a few stray cases of violence.
Internecine squabbles continue within the Hurriyat. Syed Ali Shah Geelani
of the Jama’at e Islami was made the Chairman of the Hurriyat in place
of Umar Farooq, a development that drew an adverse response both from Umar
Farooq and many other constituents of the Hurriyat because of Syed Ali
Shah’s known predelictions on Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Separately,
G.M. Bhat the leader of the Jamaat e Islami claimed that the Jama’at did
not believe in violence and that the Hezbul Mujahideen was not the armed
wing of the Hurriyat - a claim disputed by Syed Salahuddin the Pakistan
based ‘supreme commander’ of the Hezb who claimed that the Hezb was the
armed wing of the Jama’at-e-Islami. Bhat’s attempts to move the Jama’at-e-Islami
away from violence earned him the ire of Geelani’s supporters.
On the militant front, there is growing evidence that Kashmiri involvement
in the militancy has ceased. Violence does recur sporadically, but is now
largely the work of mercenary groups comprising Pakistanis, Afghans and
others operating in the Valley under the Lashkar e Tayyaba and the Harkat
ul Ansar. This has given a new dimension to the nature of militancy. Pakistan’s
role in sponsoring terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir is well documented by
the international media, independent observers and even the US State Department.
The latter has identified the Harkat ul Ansar as a terrorist outfit operating
from Pakistan. Some functionaries in Pakistan have shed all pretence and
senior Ministers of the Government and a Stat eGovernor have openly visiting
the training camps of outfits like the Lashkar e Tayyaba endorsing their
calls to ‘jehad’ against India. Virtually discomfited in the Kashmir Valley,
the ISI has sought to move terrorist operations to Poonch, Rajouri, Doda
and Udhampur sectors, with the objective of targeting Hindus in the hope
of inflaming communal passions and inciting communal conflict. No such
backlash has occurred.
The Government of Pakistan has now shed the fig leaf of denials of
supporting the terrorists. In November 1997 the Lashkar e Tayyaba held
an open congregation at its headquarters at Muridke near Lahore in which
it called for a continuing jehad against ‘Hindu India’, cynically forgetting
the secular nature of India with 140 million Muslim citizens, and extolled
the activities of its ‘fighters’ in Jammu and Kashmir. Shortly afterwards
on January 25, 1998, the eve of India’s Republic Day, terrorists massacred
over 29 Kashmiri Pandits, men, women and children, at village Wandhama,
only a few miles from Srinagar. Then, in April 1998 Pakistan’s Minister
for Information, Mushahid Hussain, along with the Governor of Punjab, visited
the Muridke Camp of the Lashkar and, in the presence of the media, blatantly
commended their activities. This is what Pakistan calls moral support.
The next day twenty three Hindu civilians were killed in Prankote Village
in Jammu division, by militants from the Lashkar e Tayyaba and Hezb ul
Mujahideen. Another massacre took place in June 1998 at Champanari village
in Doda district when 25 Hindus, all civilians, were murdered.
PAKISTAN OCCUPIED KASHMIR (SO-CALLED "AZAD KASHMIR")
In terms of territory, the area of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is
222,236 sq kilometers while the area illegally occupied by Pakistan is
78,114 sq. kilometers.
The areas occupied by Pakistan comprise so-called "Azad Kashmir" (referred
to hereafter as POK for Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) and the Northern Areas
of Gilgit, Baltistan and Hunza, etc. Pakistan does not trust the administration
of POK to handle the Northern Areas which Islamabad considers strategically
vital. The Northern Areas which have been incorporated into Pakistan, are
five times the size of the area designated as ‘Azad Kashmir’.
As a constitutional enigma POK is unique. It has been given the trappings
of a country with a President, a Prime Minister and a Legislature of its
own. But POK is neither a country or a even province.
From the time of the Karachi Agreement (April 28, 1949) the POK President
and the Prime Minister have enjoyed only titular power. The Karachi Agreement
between Pakistan, POK and the Muslim Conference handed over matters related
to defence, foreign policy, negotiations with the then UN Commission for
India and Pakistan (UNCIP) and co-ordination of all affairs relating to
Gilgit and Ladakh areas to Pakistan. Residual powers were kept vague. Pakistan
retained control of the following subjects :
2. ‘foreign policy’ of POK
3. rehabilitation of refugees and
4. control over all affairs of Gilgit and Ladakh.
The POK government was saddled with overseeing:
1. policy with regard to administration
2. general supervision of administration, and
3. publicity of its own activities. The charter of the Muslim Conference
was restricted to publicity on the plebiscite and ‘general guidance of
the POK government’. The Karachi Agreement was a landmark in that it sought
to institutionalise Kashmiri subservience to Pakistan and put POK in its
It was the Chief Plebiscite Officer of the Pakistan Government who
controlled all the levers of power in the initial stages. On the ground,
the power vested in the officers deputed by Pakistan’s government to POK.
The Chief Plebiscite Officer was notified as the Chief Advisor to the
Government of Pakistan, ex officio. He was a Joint Secretary in the Central
Government but in actual terms right from 1949 to 1968, he was the de facto
ruler of POK. He owed nothing to the POK Government as he was appointed
by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs, which was formed in 1952 under the
general supervision of the Home Ministry. In 1963 Ayub Khan transferred
it to his Presidential Secretariat.
When Gen. Ayub Khan took power and unseated President Iskander Mirza,
political activities in POK were banned. Once Ayub felt confident enough
to release the pressure of the army’s stranglehold on Pakistan, he conceived
the idea of ‘Basic Democracies’. This system was more in tune with colonial
thinking and practice, providing that only people who fulfilled certain
criteria like basic education, or income levels, should be allowed to exercise
their franchise. The Basic Democracies were extended to the POK in 1960
through the Azad J&K Basic Democracies Act.
For the first time, the POK President and the POK Council were to be
elected, through the indirect means of ‘Basic Democracies’. The Council
remained a mere advisory body. The President was elected in 1961 through
an electoral college of 1200 indirectly elected basic Democrats in POK
and another 1200 who represented Kashmiri refugees in Pakistan. K.H.Khurshid,
was the first President of POK and was dismissed in 1964 because he began
asserting himself. He wanted POK to be a party to the Indus Waters Treaty,
a treaty which he clearly opposed.
The ‘Outlook’ of Karachi wrote on August 14, 1964: "The uncomfortable
truth is that the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs has acquired a vested interest
of its own. It treats ‘Azad Kashmir’ territory and Gilgit-Balistan areas
as its own domain which a Joint Secretary controls as Chief Advisor. His
overlordship is supreme and without such checks and balances as are applicable
to areas of Pakistan. The possibility of friction between the ‘Azad Kashmir’
government and the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs has always been there. The
Ministry likes to deal with puppets, not with the Presidents who take their
position too literally".
In 1968, an attempt was made to soft-pedal POK for a while. Some cosmetic
reforms were introduced abolishing "the practice whereby the Presidents
of Azad Kashmir were selected, in effect, by the Minister of Kashmir Affairs.
In future they would be chosen by a State Council of twelve individuals,
eight elected directly through Basic Democracies, and four nominated by
the President of Pakistan.
A new Interim Constitution of POK was promulgated on November 5, 1975
during the time of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, which made the Prime Minister the
executive head instead of the President of POK. As a result of this, a
13-member Azad J&K Council was formed, with the Pakistan Prime Minister
as Chairman and the POK President as Vice-Chairman. Islamabad could nominate
six members to the Council who had to be either Pakistani Federal Ministers
or Members of the Pak National Assembly. The Chairman, along with these
six federal nominees, gave the Government of Pakistan a majority in the
Along with this constitution, the Presidential Election Bill was also
passed on August 25, 1974 providing for the direct election of the President
through adult franchise, and of the PM by a majority in the Assembly. Later
there was a switch, through an amendment, which envisaged that the PM was
to be the head of the executive in place of the President.
Power, however, still rested with the officials of Pakistan, and the
Ministry of Kashmir Affairs in Islamabad with regard to all legislation
and appointments, questions of general policy, budget, internal security,
matters involving heavy financial commitment, public debts and loans, taxes
and important matters relating to civil supplies.
General Zia-ul-Haq dissolved the POK Legislative Assembly on August
10, 1977. On July 31, 1979, Zia issued a martial law order suspending all
political activities in POK. Political activity in POK remained suspended
till June 17, 1985 when Sikandar Hayat took over as Prime Minister and
Abdul Qayyum took over as President after an election, restricted only
to ‘registered’ parties, thus disqualifying the Pakistan People’s Party
For POK, self determination, as inscribed in the constitution, relates
to the ultimate accession of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan. Part 2 of Section
7 of the POK Constitution states: "No person or political party in Azad
Jammu and Kashmir shall be permitted to propagate against, or take part
in activities prejudicial or detrimental to, the ideology of the State’s
accession to Pakistan".
Under Section 5(2) (vii) of the POK Legislative Assembly Election Ordinance
1970, a person would be disqualified for propagating any opinion or action
in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, the ideology of
State’s accession to Pakistan or the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan.
The same caveat applies to anyone who "defames or brings into ridicule
the judiciary of AJK of Pakistan or the Armed Forces of Pakistan".
In the 1996 elections in POK parties and candidates who wished to participate
on the platform of independence and refused to sign the declaration calling
POK’s accession to Pakistan an article of faith, were denied the right
to field candidates.
While guaranteeing freedom of speech, Article 9 of the POK Constitution,
imposes "reasonable restrictions in the interests of the security of AJK
and friendly relations with Pakistan". The oath of office for the President,
PM, Minister, Speaker, MLA or MLC of POK clearly includes the following
clause: "That I will remain loyal to the country and the cause of accession
of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan".
Section 56 of the Constitution gives the Pakistan Government all the
rights. Nothing shall "prevent the Government of Pakistan from taking such
action as it may consider necessary or expedient for the effective discharge
of those responsibilities". The responsibilities are defined under Section
31 and include UNCIP resolutions, defence and security of POK, currency
and issue bills and the external affairs of POK. Islamabad has the right
to dismiss the POK Government under this clause.
The events in and political configuration of POK during the earlier
regimes in Pakistan show that:
· POK was devoid of franchise till 1960, since no election was
held till then;
· From 1960 to 1975 the only elections held were indirect, through
the ‘Basic Democracies’ of Ayub Khan;
· POK has been effectively governed through the Ministry of
Kashmir Affairs in Islamabad and through a Chief Advisor of the rank of
a Joint Secretary;
· Since Bhutto’s Constitution in 1974, the main executive authority
in POK rests with the Council of which the Pakistan PM is the Chairman
and which he dominates with his six nominees; and
· Each executive head of Pakistan, be it General Ayub Khan,
President and then Prime Minister Bhutto or General Zia, did exactly what
he wanted in POK, brought in martial law or the form of government which
he desired, suspended political activities when he chose, and sacked the
President/Prime Minister he disliked. The latest victim was Prime Minister
Mumtaz Rathore, who was dismissed, arrested and flown by helicopter to
a Pakistani prison in 1991. After the elections in June 1996, the President
of POK, Sikander Hayat Khan, was removed through a voice vote in the Assembly.
THE NORTHERN AREAS
The Northern Areas have no status. They are neither a province of Pakistan
nor a part of "Azad Kashmir". They are ruled directly from Islamabad through
a Northern Areas Council which is headed by Pakistan’s Minister for Kashmir
Affairs. A chief executive, normally a retired Pakistani army officer,
appointed by Islamabad is the local administrative head. The Northern Areas
Council is headed by the Minister of Kashmir and Northern Areas and meets
only when the minister convenes it.
This mountain outback has been split into five districts, viz. Gilgit,
Skardu, Diamir, Ghizer and Ghanche. Its population of 1.5 million inhabits
a vast area of 72,495 sq. kms. Sparsely populated as the area is, the ethnic
groups are varied - Baltees, Shinas, Vashkuns, Mughals, Kashmiris, Pathans,
Ladhakhis and Turks. It numbers many languages like Balti, Shina, Brushaski,
Khawer, Wakhi, Turki, Tibeti, Pushto and Urdu.
The Northern Areas are a story of deprivation of a people and their
land devoid of any development and denial of basic fundamental rights.
There is no adult franchise, no assembly and the people have never participated
in an election or sent representatives to the National Assembly. The prestigious
Pakistani magazine the ‘Herald’ has termed the Northern Areas "The Last
The literacy rate is 14 per cent for males and 3.5 per cent for women!
There is just one doctor for 6,000 people. Piped water supply is non-existant.
So is electricity for more than two thirds of the population of the area.
Except for some brick kilns there is no ‘industry’ in the area. An area
of 72,495 sq. kms. had in 1993, according to the Pakistan daily, ‘Muslim’,
(December 13, 1993), mettled roads extending merely to 162 kms.
There are only two colleges in the area. There is not a single polytechnic
in this seventy thousand square kilometer land. The only paper K2 carries
on its mast head the legend "Voice of a constitutionless land". There is
no radio or TV station.
Seeing no economic prospects in Pakistan, the Mirpuris who inhabit
POK migrated in large numbers to the countries of the West. But the people
from the Northern Areas are not even afforded this concession. They need
an exit visa for going abroad, which is given only in the rarest of cases.
The reason why the Northern Areas have been kept by Pakistan in its
own bear-hug is unilateral ceding of an area 2,700 sq. miles to the Chinese
through an agreement on March 2, 1963. The entire area belonging to Hunza,
south of the Mintaka Pass, was handed over to the Chinese. The border agreement
which related to the alignment of the entire boundary line between China’s
Sinkiang and the contiguous areas under the actual control of Pakistan
was ceded: "The two parties have agreed that after the settlement of the
Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan the sovereign authority concerned
will reopen negotiations with the government of the People’s Republic of
China on the boundary as described in Article II of the present agreement
of Kashmir so as to sign a boundary treaty to replace the present agreement
Had the Northern Areas had an elected assembly of their own, the above
issues would surely have been discussed in the legislature there as well.
The Northern Areas have remained deprived of a High Court and of the
facility of writ petitions against arbitrary State action. Even a death
sentence is confirmed by the court of Judicial Commissioner. The Gilgiti
cannot appeal to the Supreme Court. The Northern Areas have not had the
benefit of any legislature or legislative representation for decades. Under
Dogra rule, members from Gilgit and Baltistan were represented in the State
None of the constitutions of Pakistan, adopted in 1956, 1962, 1972
and 1973 - recognised that Northern Areas are part of the Pakistan territories.
Conversely, the 1974 Interim Constitution of POK also did not include Gilgit
and Baltistan. This resulted in the passing of the ‘Legal Framework Order’
which placed the Northern Areas under the total control of the Kashmir
Affairs Ministry. In 1982 General Zia ul Haq proclaimed that the people
of the Northern Areas were Pakistanis and had nothing to do with the State
of Jammu and Kashmir.
A writ petition under Section 44 of the POK Interim Constitution Act
of 1974 was filed by some residents of the Northern Areas. They jointly
invoked the writ jurisdiction of the POK High Court claiming that the petitioners
were bonafide citizens of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and hence eligible
to approach the court for redress. They challenged the Pakistani view that
the Northern Areas were not a part of Kashmir but were a part of Pakistan.
They also contended that even the Sino-Pakistan Agreement of 1963 conceded
that the Northern Areas were a part of the State of J&K. The Government
of Pakistan took the specious plea that the Government of Pakistan "was
not functioning or operating within the territory of Azad Jammu & Kashmir
(and) as such it was not amenable to the jurisdiction of this court". Pakistan
also denied the well-known Karachi Agreement of April 28, 1949 "whereby
the administrative control of Northern Areas was delivered to the Government
of Pakistan". The high Court of POK however decided that the so-called
Northern Areas were a part of POK. Pakistan, of course, never implemented
the POK High Court decision and had it vacated by the Supreme Court of
POK which said that the POK High Court had no jurisdiction to issue any
order giving the Northern Areas to POK.
In another case when the Al Jihad Trust and others filed a petition
before the Supreme Court of Pakistan demanding that fundamental rights
be accorded to them including representation in the Federal Legislatures
and the right of self-determination, the Government of Pakistan held that
the Supreme Court of Pakistan had no jurisdiction since the Northern Areas
were not, in terms of Pakistan’s constitution, a part of Pakistan.
No political activity is permitted. Some political parties like the
United Jammu and Kashmir People’s National Party and the Balawaristan National
Front and others have been raising the slogan of self determination only
to see their demonstrations crushed and their leaders arrested. Demonstrations
by students in Gilgit seeking employment have been crushed brutally. The
Gilgit Baltistan United Action Forum for Self Rule has been demanding the
right to self-rule under the UNCIP resolutions on Gilgit and Baltistan.
India has remained committed to developing and maintaining close and
friendly relations with all its neighbours. It has promoted regional cooperation
in social, cultural, political and other fields through the SAARC mechanism
and in other ways. This would be the best guarantor of an improvement in
the living standards of the people of India and its neighbouring countries.
With Pakistan, India has remained committed to the establishment of a cooperative
relationship based on mutual respect and a regard for each other’s concerns.
There is much that the two countries can do together in the fields of trade,
agriculture, industry; in environment; in the promotion of cultural and
people to people contacts. India will work towards the resolution of all
outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, through a direct bilateral
dialogue process as mandated in the Shimla Agreement. There is no place
for any third party involvement of any nature whatsoever in such a process.
Any discussion on improving relations cannot, and should not, envisage
a re-writing of history. Relations have to move forward from the present
to a brighter future. With regard to Jammu and Kashmir there can never
be any question of any discussion on the status of the state or on the
question of its accession to the Indian Union. These are unalterable facts
of history which cannot be re-opened or questioned. India has concerns
about continuing Pakistani support to and instigation of terrorism in the
State of Jammu and Kashmir as well as its illegal and forcible control
of Part the State’s territory since 1947.
India’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of the issue is reflected
in its agreeing to uphold the status-quo as has existed since 1947. It
is significant that the Cease-Fire Line was changed to the Line of Control
in 1972. This was not merely a change of nomenclature but a consequence
of an agreement, seeking to adhere to the status quo by all means. Pakistan’s
attempts over the past nine years to alter the status quo through proxy
war are headed for failure as its earlier attempts through open hostilities
and war failed in 1948, 1965 and 1971.
It is a fact universally acknowledged that a democratic polity is best
equipped to enable the people to fulfill their aspirations and govern their
own destiny in an atmosphere of freedom. Participatory government where
the people choose their own representatives and leaders is the most effective
instrument for the social, economic, political and cultural development
of a nation providing also for the preservation and strengthening of the
identity of the various ethnic, religious and racial communities that constitute
today’s nation states.
India has been regarded as the world’s largest functioning, stable
and secular democracy since its independence over five decades ago. And
the democratic tenets that govern the rest of India have also held sway
in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In this lay the rationale for Sheikh
Abdullah’s decision to call for, and repeatedly endorse, the accession
of Jammu and Kashmir to India. Since the accession the people of Jammu
and Kashmir have participated in elections while the Constitution of India,
in terms of article 370, provides the framework that guarantees the special
identity and status of Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian Union.
If indeed the desire of the world community is to ensure peace and
stability and to permit the people of Jammu and Kashmir the right to determine
their own destiny in an atmosphere of freedom, this can only be achieved
under the democratic framework of modern India and not under the kind of
extremist, obscurantist polity that the ideology of the terrorist and mercenary
groups seeks to impose on the people of the State.
Accordingly, the Indian position, in the face of Pakistan’s propaganda
over the years has remained consistent.
· The accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir took place
as per the provisions of the India Independence Act and is final and legal
and cannot be disputed. The States that acceded to Pakistan did so in the
same manner and the rulers decision was accepted. Pakistan made no attempt
to ascertain the will of the people of these states. If there is any "unfinished"
business of partition it is the requirement that Pakistan relinquish control
of that part of Jammu and Kashmir that it illegally occupies.
· The UN Resolutions calling for the will of the people to be
ascertained are no longer tenable because Pakistan has not fulfilled the
precondition of withdrawal from the territory it occupied through aggression.
This resulted in a long delay in the implementation of the Security Council
Resolutions and led Mr. Gunnar Jarring, the Representative of Sweden on
the UN Security Council and the President of the Council, who had been
requested by the Council to explore options of arriving at a solution through
discussions with India and Pakistan, to observe in his 1957 report to the
President of the Security Council that "...The Council will, furthermore,
be aware of the fact that the implementation of international agreements
of an ad hoc character, which has not been achieved fairly speedily, may
become progressively more difficult because the situation with which they
were to cope has tended to change ..." In the meantime, the will of the
people of J&K has been repeatedly determined through elections in India.
· After Pakistan’s attempts to alter the status quo by force
of war in 1965 it has forfeited the right to invoke the UN Resolutions.
The fact that the Council stopped recalling the resolutions of 1948 and
1949 underscored the irrelevance of those resolutions with the passage
· The will of the people does not need to be ascertained only
through a plebiscite. Democratic elections are a recognised means of ascertaining
the wishes of the people and the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir
have repeatedly participated in such elections. The same cannot be said
of the parts under the occupation of Pakistan where, in the Northern Areas,
adult franchise has still not been granted.
· Kashmir is not an Islamic or a religious issue and the two
nation theory has been seen to be irrelevant. A sizable Muslim community
chose to live in India at the time of partition rather than move to Pakistan.
The most prominent Kashmiri political party, the National Conference, headed
by a popular Muslim leader, Sheikh Abdullah sought and endorsed the accession
of Jammu and Kashmir to India. The emergence of Bangladesh as an independent
nation proved conclusively, if further proof were needed, that the notion
that all Muslims of the sub-continent would wish to be a part of Pakistan,
which is the basis of Pakistan’s claim to Jammu and Kashmir, was a fallacy.
· The extremist structure that Pakistan wishes to impose on
Kashmir is alien to the Kashmiri ethos which has been one of tolerance
and coexistence with its origins in the Sufi expression of Islam that is
· The problem of Kashmir today is one of terrorism sponsored
by Pakistan. The targets are Muslims in Kashmir, belying Pakistan’s argument
that it is concerned about the welfare of Muslims in Kashmir. The international
community must impress upon Pakistan to desist from such terrorism so that
the democratic political process, which India has restored to the state,
is not held hostage by terrorists who, even now, continue to target political
leaders, the majority of whom are Muslims.
· The internal situation of Jammu and Kashmir is, by the will
of its people, strictly India’s affair and there is no call for any international
· India wants to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan
and has started a dialogue for this purpose. However the integrity and
sovereignty of India cannot be a matter for discussion. India is committed
to protecting the human rights of all its citizens and for this purpose
militancy must be eradicated.
· Every State has the duty to protect the life and property
of its citizens and cannot countenance their security being threatened
by armed terrorists. Any discussion of the question of human rights must
take into account the environment in which the state authorities have to
function. Jammu and Kashmir has been a target of Pak sponsored terrorism
for years and this aspect is fundamental to any discussion of human rights.
The Indian Government has sought to maintain transparency in the state.
International and Indian media personnel, foreign diplomats, the International
Committee or the Red Cross, all have free access to Jammu and Kashmir.
The National Human Rights Commission of India and the Jammu and Kashmir
State Human Rights Commission are performing a stellar role in taking cognisance
of, and enquiring into, allegations of human rights violations. The NHRC
has undertaken, at its own discretion, investigations into incidents where
human rights were reported to have been violated and where these have been
substantiated, it has called for punitive action.
PAKISTAN’S ANTI-INDIA PROPAGANDA
The same media and human rights organisations that once appeared to
be captive to the Pakistan point of view have begun to report not only
on conditions within Pakistan but also produced evidence of Pakistan’s
support to terrorism.
Pakistan’s claim to Jammu and Kashmir based on the two nation theory
has been debunked by history itself. The eastern wing of Pakistan, predominantly
Muslim and carved out on the basis of the two nation theory, is today the
independent nation of Bangladesh, liberated after a war of independence
from West Pakistan. Even today India has a larger Muslim population than
Pakistan, a clear indication that religion is not the sole basis for a
The plight of the minorities in the Valley who were specifically targeted
for extermination by the extremist groups, has now been well-documented
internationally. The increasing criminality of many of the terrorist groups
owing allegiance to Pakistan has resulted in repression of the Muslims
in the Valley and expressions of outrage which have taken the form of demonstrations
against the extremist militant groups as well as Pakistan. The Srinagar
press is increasingly reporting intra-group clashes, rape, extortion and
murder by different militant groups and statements from some of the groups
highlighting the abuses by other groups.
Pakistan’s denial of the third option of independence to the Kashmiris
,and the repeated references to the "unfinished business of partition"
with its territorial connotations, has caused concern to people in the
Valley who, by and large, sided with groups espousing an independent Jammu
and Kashmir. It has also exposed the fact that Pakistan has cynically exploited
Western sensibilities and used human rights as a ploy to further its territorial
Pakistan’s role in providing sanctuary and training to mercenaries
who are involved in violence in France, Egypt, Tunisia and even the USA;
their links with the extremist terrorist groups in Kashmir and the increasing
fear of the spread of Islamic extremism in the West with which Pakistan
is being associated has caused many countries to look askance at Pakistan’s
protestations of innocence with regard to terrorism in Kashmir and its
sole concern for the human rights of the Kashmiris.
There has been increasing activity on the part of people of POK and
the Northern Areas as well as the Mohajirs and the Sindhis who are highlighting
in the media and at international fora the repression that they have been
suffering at the hands of Pakistan Government. For the first time since
Pakistan began its propaganda war against India on the Kashmir issue, it
is being made answerable for its own repression of its citizens.
At international fora also terrorism and human rights are getting increasingly
linked. The UN has passed resolutions recognising terrorism as a major
threat to human rights. Even Islamic countries have identified Islamic
extremism and terrorism as a major threat. The links with Pakistan of persons
and groups accused of crimes like the World Trade Centre bomb blast; the
bombings of the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; incidents in
France, Egypt, and the Philippines, has made many foreign interlocutors
wary of buying the Pakistani line on Kashmir.
The focus on the terrorist groups operating out of Pakistan and Afghanistan
has sharpened after the United States bombing of terrorist camps in Afghanistan
following the attacks on US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The American
missile attacks on the camps proved that groups like the Harkat ul Mujahideen,
the Harkat ul Jehad Islami and the Jamiat ul Mujahideen, which are active
in Jammu and Kashmir, were also training cadres for groups which had targeted
the United States and considered the West a legitimate target for their
"jehad" or holy war. In the wake of the destruction of the camps, leaders
of these groups in Pakistan have openly called for revenge attacks against
the United States.
The target of Pakistan’s propaganda has indeed been India and the Indian
people. Its victims are increasingly the people of Pakistan, fed on falsehoods
and rendered vulnerable to the voices of extremism.