Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani
At a time when the BJP Government in India has given the green signal to its army in Kashmir to conduct an ‘all out’ offensive against the resistance (Kashmiri youth) – which Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has described as a ‘wipe out’ plan – there is need to flag the role of Pakistan as a party to the dispute. Pakistan could re-organise and upgrade the role of its constituency in Kashmir, Azad Kashmir, GB, in the Diaspora, in Muslim world and at the UN in protecting the life, honour and property of these people and in realising their right to self-determination. It is important that Pakistan returns to the drawing board and flags for the attention of the world the creation of RSS and the communal march of 20 December 1931 on the streets of Lahore, against the Muslims of Kashmir. It needs to take due notice of the fact that after 87 years, RSS has succeeded to sneak into Kashmir and take over the administration in the disputed State.
Muslims of Lahore in British India were the first to organise support for the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir, who were reeling under the grinding poverty and injustice under the Hindu ruler. Anjuman-i-Kashmiri Mussalmanan-i-Lahore was established in 1896. The first meeting was held in February 1896 and was attended by Allama Sir Mohammad Iqbal. He read out his famous poem at this meeting. Iqbal expressed his satisfaction on the establishment of the ‘association’ and urged upon the unity of ‘tongues’ among Kashmiris. Iqbal was emotionally involved in the Movement for Muslim advancement in Kashmir. In all his poetic works, he expressed to his feelings and drawn a vivid picture of the sufferings of his Kashmiri brethren under the tyrannical rule of the Dogras.
From early 1909, when Iqbal was the Secretary of the Association, the sphere of activities widened and it was renamed as Anjuman-i-Kashmiri Mussalmanan-i-Punjab. By 1920 the Association had established contacts with Kashmiri Muslims living outside Punjab. Therefore, its name was changed to All India Muslim Kashmiri Conference. Some members of the Association started publication of newspapers devoted to the cause of uplift of Muslims in the State. Sheikh Jan Mohammad Ganai, who owned a book shop, started publication of weekly newspaper, “Kashmir Gazette” from Lahore. Before 1909, Munshi Mohammad Din Fauq started publication of another weekly named “Kashmiri Magazine” and another Weekly “Kashmiri” started publication in 1926 from Lahore.
The campaign helped in creating a strong public opinion both inside as well as outside the State which Dogra Government could not ignore for a long time. The Association also set up a publicity cell known as “Kashmir Publicity Board” which published pamphlets about the inequalities and discrimination suffered by Kashmiri Muslims under the Dogra rule. The Association gave financial assistance to private Maktabs run by local Muslims in some parts of the valley. Interest free loans were also given to promising students who were unable to pursue their studies on account of poverty. There is evidence that in the year 1924-25 twenty scholarships amounting to Rs. 3,000 were sanctioned by the Committee. Funds were raised through voluntary donations from amongst members and non-members but exclusively from the Kashmiri Muslim community living in northern India. It was due to the efforts of the Association that the Government of India deputed its Educational Commissioner Mr. Sharp to Srinagar in 1916 to look into the grievances of Muslims in the field of education. The cause of Muslims of Kashmir was taken up by leading Muslim newspapers of the sub-continent particularly ‘Inquilab’, ‘Al-Fazal’, ‘Siyasat’, ‘Al-Aman’, ‘Sun Rise’, ‘Eastern Times’, ‘Muslim Outlook’, ‘Zamindar’ and ‘The Light’.
Hindus did not remain unconcerned to the Kashmir situation. On 20 December 1931 about six-thousand Hindus, including a batch of “Hindu Defence Force Volunteers”, paraded the streets in Lahore as a demonstration of sympathy with the Maharaja of Kashmir and his Government. They raised slogans like, “Dogra Raj Zindabad”, “Hari Singh Zindaabad” and “Hindu Dharam Ki Jai”. A para-military organization was created by the Hindus of Lahore. They were given training in the use of fire-arms at secret hide-outs in predominantly Hindu localities. The idea was to dispatch them to the State to augment the State forces so as to maintain the Hindu dynasty in power. The organization spread to other parts of Punjab and ultimately became the nucleus of notorious Rashtriya Sevak Sangh (RSS).
The Hindu media urged, “Kashmiri Pandits, Dogras and other sections of Hindus should in this emergency get together and adopt a common programme in consultation with Hindus from outside (the State) to safeguard not only themselves but also their (Hindu) State”. In 2018 it is after 87 years that Kashmiri Muslims are faced with the same situation, rather somewhat worse. RSS after 87 years of its first organization and interference in Kashmir, was able in 2014 to negotiate with PDP an entry into the disputed State and take a major share in the rule.
A volume of misinformation, disinformation and inaccurate information is held against the Muslims of Kashmir, right of self-determination of all people and role of Pakistan in the Kashmir dispute. Very little is said or it is rarely flagged that Pakistan is the first sovereign State which agreed to have a Stand Still Agreement with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir in August 1947. Pakistan took over the administration of Post and Telegraph and Transport in the State. India landed in Kashmir after 2 months and 12 days in October 1947. At the time of Indian temporary admission into Kashmir, people of the State had set up a provisional Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on 04 October 1947 and the same was re-constituted weeks after on 24 October 1947.
A lot of untenable misinformation about Pakistan, like invasion or part played in the invasion of Kashmir is answered by two telegrams addressed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to British Prime Minister Clement Attlee on 26 October 1947 and to Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan on 28 October 1947. In para 3 of his telegram to Attlee, Nehru writes, “ I should like to make it clear that question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or State must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view. It is quite clear, however, that no free expression of will of people of Kashmir is possible if external aggression succeeds in imperilling integrity of its territory”.
Nehru in his telegram of 28 October 1947 addressed to Liaquat Ali Khan Prime Minister of Pakistan writes, “I wish to assure you that action Government of India has taken has been forced upon them by circumstances and imminent and grave danger to Srinagar. They have no desire to intervene in affairs of Kashmir State after raiders have been driven away and law and order established. In regard to accession also it has been made clear that this is subject to reference to people of State and their decision. Government of India have no desire to impose any decision and will abide by people’s wishes, but those cannot be ascertained till peace and law and order prevail. Protection of Kashmir from armed raids thus becomes first objective and in this we trust we shall have your cooperation”.
In addition to highlighting this record, we have been arguing very little, to prove that Indian case even before going to United Nations, remains weak and unconvincing. Well before 26th, 27th and 28th October 1947, the people of Jammu and Kashmir had set up a provisional Government on 4 October 1947. It was re-constituted on 24 October 1947. Therefore, the ‘grave emergency’ and ‘grave situation’ pleaded by Maharaja of Kashmir in his letter to Governor General of India and in his telegram by Prime Minister Nehru to British Prime Minister Attlee respectively, don’t address the situation correctly. A non-communal Provisional Government had already been established on 24 October 1947.
On 1st January 1948 Indian Government invoked article 35 of the UN Charter and took the Kashmir accession to the UN Security Council. On 15 January 1948 at the 227th meeting of UN Security Council Government of India surrendered the temporary accession for a UN supervised vote and recognised the unfettered right of the people of Kashmir. Ever since 15 January 1948 there is no accession of the kind argued by India on 27 October 1947. The “grave emergency” and “grave situation” pleased by maharaja and Nehru have been reversed, after the UN brokered a cease fire between India and Pakistan on 1 January 1949. Indian army at this point has over stayed its mandate and is an occupation army. It has violated the bilateral and UN restraints placed on its presence. Its engagement with the people of Kashmir, constitute war crimes. Therefore, it is the need of the hour for Pakistan to return to the drawing board and play its role internationally in resolving the Kashmir dispute.
The author is the President of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He is on UN Register as an Expert in Peace Keeping, Humanitarian Operations and Election Monitoring Missions. He is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court. Author could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org