February 5, 2002


 Search the Internet

E-Mail this column to a friend
Print this page Best Printed on HP Laserjets
Recent Columns
Web of lies
Pak lies continued...
More Pak lies: on
    J&K this time
Pakistan's lies on
    Junagadh, Hyderabad
The climbdown

Arvind Lavakare

Pak's hypocrisy on plebiscite

Hardly a week passes by without someone in Pakistan, or its Indian lackeys like the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference, calling for a solution to the J&K question via the plebiscite route recommended long ago by the United Nations. Why, even some of our byline journalists who've not even read the UN resolutions have cavalierly referred to India's unkept commitment to that plebiscite.

It's no surprise then that the package of lies in the anonymously written article 'Jammu & Kashmir Dispute' on the Pakistan foreign ministry's Web site contains the allegation that "despite the decision of the UN Security Council for the holding of a plebiscite... India... refuses to allow the Kashmiris to decide their own future". And to illustrate how, in stark contrast, Pakistan is the angel, the Web site article avers that "a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions remains on top of Pakistan's foreign policy agenda".

First of all, there are two fundamental, conceptual errors below in the above assertion.

i) Those resolutions of August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949, recommending the proposal of plebiscite and its preceding essentials to resolve the J&K question were adopted by the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan and not by the UN Security Council. The latter's resolution (adopted on March 14, 1950) was one merely "commending the Governments of India and Pakistan for their statesmanlike action in reaching the agreements embodied in the United Nations Commission's resolutions... through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite". Again, the Security Council's resolution adopted on March 30, 1951, was one of merely "observing that the Governments of India and Pakistan have accepted the provisions of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan resolutions ...that the future of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be decided through... plebiscite".

ii) A primary condition laid down by the UNCIP for holding the above recommended plebiscite in J&K was that "the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State" and also "secure withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting". (Paragraphs numbered A(1) and (2) of Part II of UNCIP resolution of August 13, 1948.) Pakistan's failure to fulfil these two prerequisite steps in the last 54 years has been the basic obstacle in carrying forward the plebiscite proposal. Thus, it is not India that has thwarted the plebiscite idea of the UN.

Let's now see whether Pakistan itself has really been keen on a plebiscite as it proclaims to the world from the rooftops. The hypocrisy and perversity of Pakistan's talk on plebiscite are clear from The Kashmir Story (Asia Publishing House, 1967) authored by B L Sharma, officer on special duty for Kashmir affairs, Indian foreign office, who, as adviser, accompanied the Indian delegations to the UN between 1948 and 1965 and also attended the Tashkent conference in January 1966.

The following excerpts from the chapter titled 'How Pakistan Avoided Plebiscite' in Sharma's book expose Pakistan's plebiscite stand for what it is -- yet another diabolical prevarication.

  • Speaking in the Security Council on 18 February 1957, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan revealed that what Pakistan was after was not a peaceful plebiscite but a religious holocaust. He said: 'It would be perfectly legitimate in the case of a plebiscite to draw attention to religious, cultural, linguistic, economic, geographic, strategic and other ties, affinities and considerations that might sway the choice... whereas in an election it is the duty of a Government to see that it is free and no religious arguments are brought in.'
  • In 1960, Pakistan changed its tune. President Ayub Khan and Foreign Minister Manzur Qadir began to refer to methods other than plebiscite. On 22 March 1961 he reiterated that Pakistan would be prepared to consider an alternative to plebiscite.
  • On the following day, he said at Dacca, "Plebiscite is the only solution..."
  • Similarly, the Pakistan Foreign Minister, Manzur Qadir, stated on 26 March 1961 that Pakistan was willing to consider fresh proposals for solution of the Kashmir problem.
  • Pakistan switched back to plebiscite when the joint talks between the two countries began in December 1962, a posture which was abandoned during the second round of talks, after which the delegation of two countries devoted their time and energies to considering other forms of settlement. Once again it was clear that Pakistan favoured plebiscite no more than a hungry man worships his hunger.
  • Pakistan is fully aware that plebiscite in any shape or form is no longer feasible or practicable. The elected representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir framed and promulgated a democratic constitution which might serve as a model for Pakistan... the State has been keeping step with the other States of the Indian Union in economic and social development. Besides, there has been progressive extension of provisions of the Constitution of India to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. None of these developments is reversible. As Benegal Rau pointed out in the Security Council, Pakistan believed in possession, not plebiscite.
  • President Ayub Khan left no one in doubt about that. In December 1959, he said: 'Kashmir is vital for Pakistan, not only politically but militarily as well. Kashmir is a matter of life and death.' Speaking at the National Press Club, Washington, on July 13, 1961, he said: 'You might say, "Why can't you give up Kashmir?" Well, we cannot give up that dispute not because we are bloody-minded but... for example, for the reason that Kashmir is connected with our physical security. Thirty-two million acres in Pakistan are irrigated from rivers that start in Kashmir. Kashmir is important to us for our physical as well as economic security.'
It should be obvious to the blind, such as the Blairs and Bushes of the world, that, in respect of J&K, Pakistan believes not in plebiscite, not in UN resolutions, and not in "talks", but in possession.

It's indeed a tragedy of modern times that these blind "leaders" of the Western world have also been muted on

  1. the pogrom that has resulted in over 300,000 Kashmiri Pandits being forced to flee the valley,
  2. covert infiltration from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir over the last 50 years,
  3. J&K's phenomenal decennial projected population growth (1981 to 1991) of 28.9 per cent (higher than the all-India rate by 5.1 per cent for the period), and
  4. the fear of Pak-generated terror that has tended to drive away non-Muslims from J&K to the rest of India.
All these have been factors that have altered the state's demography radically from what it was at the time of the 1947 Partition when, according to Alice Thorner, though public opinion in Kashmir was "sharply divided along political and religious lines, both India and Pakistan had substantial support". (Issues in Kashmir, "Far Eastern Survey" No 15, August 11, 1948).

One can only hope, therefore, that, after Ashok Pandit, a Panun Kashmir activist, screened his 15-minute documentary on the Pandits' plight to the House of Commons three weeks ago, Tony Blair has become sober about his view that "Pakistan has a strong position on Kashmir" or some such balderdash.

The pack of Pakistani lies in the article on its Web site have been bared in this column for six consecutive weeks. And the exercise can go on for another six. But the point, one believes, has been driven home. First is that the maharaja of the State of Jammu & Kashmir having signed the Instrument of Accession to India on October 26, 1947, as per a provision of The Indian Independence Act, 1947, "the legality of the accession is beyond doubt... the accession has complete validity both in terms of the British Government's and Jinnah's expressed policy statements" (Alan Campbell-Johnson, Mountbatten's press attaché, in his book Mission with Mountbatten, London, Robert Hale Ltd, 1951, p 225).

Secondly, Pakistan, from Jinnah to Musharraf, has prevaricated and therefore cannot be trusted -- not yet, whatever the firangi world may say to the contrary. Indeed, as we shall see next week, being influenced by foreigners like Josef Korbel is what constitutes for India the threat in his book titled Danger in Kashmir.

Tailpiece: Even congenital liars oft vomit the truth, albeit unconsciously. Thus, it is that the Pakistani Web site article under scrutiny refers to APHC -- the conglomerate of several political parties in J&K headed by Abdul Gani Bhat or some such bloke -- as "the all Pakistan Hurriyat Conference". A rare case of Satyamewa jayate, what?

Arvind Lavakare

Tell us what you think of this column