At the division of Indian Sub-continent, Kashmir was one of hundreds of princely states that had to be won over by either India or Pakistan. The maharajah Hari Singh, wanted independence, but faced with an invasion by tribal Militants from Pakistan he agreed to join India in exchange for military help for the security and safety of its people.
India approached the United Nations, which led to a Security Council resolution that a plebiscite be held to determine whether Kashmiris want to join India or Pakistan. At Pakistan’s insistence, independence was not included as an option.
That plebiscite never took place, and now an unsettled, quasi border called the Line of Control divides Kashmir in two parts.
My question is, if Pakistan insisted that independence should not be included as an option for Kashmiris then why Pakistan always use the slogan; right of self-determination for Kashmiris? As per definition: Self-determination is the free choice of one’s own acts without external compulsion. In politics it is seen as the freedom of the people of a given territory or national grouping to determine their own political status and how they will be governed without undue influence from any other country…
On one hand Pakistan is beating the drum for the right of self-determination of Kashmiris but on other hand Security Council not included Independence option on the insistence of Pakistan, which clearly shows the ambitions and intentions and double track policy of Pakistan towards Kashmir.
Pakistan, eager to wrest the region from India by force, and started an insurgency in 1989. As soon as the struggle for independence, as genuine and native as it might have been, was tainted by Pakistani involvement, Kashmir was cast in a much darker light. During the insurgency 60,000 people died. Kashmiri Hindus, who had once lived comfortably beside Muslim neighbours, fled in droves. Political Islam crept in. Relations between India and Pakistan cratered, and the blowback hit Kashmir.
Furthermore, Pakistan bounded so-called Azad Kashmir by the Karachi Agreement on 1949 and installed a puppet Government in so-called Azad Kashmir with no powers and divided the region in its control in further two parts 1. Azad Kashmir 2. Northern Areas (Gilgit & Baltistan). Pakistan also gifted a part of Kashmir to China back in 1962-63. Now again Chinese troops are reported in Gilgit & Baltistan, which are alarming bells for Kashmiris as well as for the world community, because China is heading to this area with no good intentions.
Pakistan is never faithful to Kashmiris and only used Kashmir as launching pad for proxy war at India and in return Kashmiris have to pay the price with their blood. In early days people of Kashmir thought Pakistan is up for their civil liberty and will help them for independence, but by the time passed Kashmiris understood why Pakistan was interested in Kashmir, which was never been a part of any Pakistan region in past. As Kashmir was always a free and independent state.
If India offers freedom to Kashmir, whether Pakistan will do the same? I am sure the answer would be “NO”. Because at start Pakistan told Security Council that Pakistan is not in a favour of an Independent Kashmir. Therefore, if we want independence then we should start our struggle by getting independence from Pakistan first.
sohail ahmad bagh