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Pakistan's half-truths and lies on J&K

August 20, 2003 14:12 IST

As stated in this column yesterday, paragraphs number 9, 10 and 11 of Ashraf Jahangir Qazi's speech are half-truths and lies on India's position on J&K and, instead, paint Pakistan as the saint sinned against.

Let's start with para 9 of Qazi's speech in which he stated, briefly, that

  • While Pakistan has adhered to its obligation to the UN Security Council of holding a plebiscite in J&K, it is India that has not kept that promise it made to the world;
  • India's claim to J&K rests on a 'so-called' Instrument of Accession and
  • If India did indeed have an unconditional IoA, why did it all agree to a plebiscite?

Now, it's a blatant lie that Pakistan adhered to the obligation of a plebiscite in J&K and that India did not. This lie has been exposed in the book The Kashmir Story (Asia Publishing House, 1967) by B L Sharma, Officer on Special Duty for Kashmir Affairs in the Indian Foreign Office, who accompanied the Indian delegations to the UN between 1948 and 1965 as advisor.

Below are excerpts from that book which reveal facts about which even today's journalists are sadly ignorant.

  • If Pakistan were serious about a plebiscite, all it needed to do was to pull its troops out of the state as demanded by the UN resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949. A plebiscite would then have become inevitable, as the basic condition of the UN resolution would have been fulfilled. Instead, Pakistan persisted in all kinds of accusations against India, including condemnation of the democratic changes in Jammu and Kashmir resulting from people's aspirations which India was not at all obstructing.
  • At every meeting of the (Security) Council, the Indian representatives complained that Pakistan had not honoured its unconditional commitment of withdrawing from J&K territory which they had invaded. It was not until 1957 that India's attitude changed, its moral duty towards the people of Kashmir having been discharged meanwhile -- with the enactment of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • When, at the instance of Pakistan, the issue came up again in the Security Council in 1964, the context had changed. It had gifted away over 2,000 square miles of Pak-held Kashmir to China in a formal agreement. It was the then education minister of India, Mahomedali Currim Chagla, who told the Council that the resolutions of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan had lapsed and that on no account would India agree to hold a plebiscite. As Chagla asked in the Council, did Pakistan expect that while Pakistan continued its intransigence, India would sit with folded hands and do nothing whatever in Kashmir to improve the lot of its people? A plebiscite, he said, is only one mechanism for ascertaining the wishes of a people; there are other methods that are equally efficient, he said.

By the way, what has been Pakistan's idea of a plebiscite in J&K? Speaking in the Security Council on February 18, 1957, the foreign minister of Pakistan 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.'

As Sharma observes, these words revealed that what Pakistan was after was not a peaceful plebiscite but a religious holocaust. Don't Qazi and his boss really want that even today?

Qazi dubs the Instrument of Accession signed by the Maharaja of J&K as 'so-called' and wonders why then did India accept a UN plebiscite that might have nullified the accession. That such a man is its ambassador to the US reflects Pakistan's standard of gutter diplomacy. Qazi surely knows that the IoA is a very authentic document, photo copies of which, incidentally, were given by India's external affairs ministry to a host of foreign newspapers two years ago.

He must also know that the British Parliament's Indian Independence Act, 1947, did not even mention 'plebiscite' or 'will of the people' when it left the sovereign rulers of those states to independently decide whether to accede to India or Pakistan, geographical contiguity of the state being the only guideline. He must know, moreover, that on August 15, 1947, only three princes remained undecided:

1. Hyderabad, an enclave in the midst of the Dominion of India,

2. Junagadh in Kathiawar (today's Saurashtra in Gujarat) and

3. J&K.

While the J&K ruler wanted time to take a decision, the rulers of Hyderabad and Junagadh demurred; India thereupon suggested a referendum to ascertain the popular will of the people in both the states, but Pakistan rejected this approach. If, despite the IoA of the J&K maharaja, India agreed to the UN resolution on plebiscite in that state, it is because India has always been, from times immemorial, a country that is humane and civilised.

Now come to para 10 above of Qazi's speech in Washington.

He wanted his audience to believe that the International Commission of Jurists that met at Geneva in April 1994 did nothing else but rap India for preventing the people of J&K from exercising their right of self-determination.

The above statement is only a half-truth. A search on reveals that the Reuters report on the ICJ statement made the following points:

  • ICJ basically condemned India, Pakistan and militant groups for alleged human rights violations in J&K
  • ICJ urged Pakistan to stop the smuggling of weapons across a porous border and halt training of militant groups.
  • ICJ urged Islamabad to give full democratic rights to the 1.2 million inhabitants of the Pakistan-controlled northern areas of J&K.
  • ICJ said the people of J&K had acquired a right of self-determination when India was partitioned and that the right was neither exercised nor abandoned.
  • ICJ cautioned that holding a single, statewide referendum could lead to outright civil war.
  • Indian government slammed the ICJ statement as having a "blatant bias".

While all the above points only confirm Qazi's selective speech-making, what they also confirm is that the ICJ was ignorant that:

  • democratic elections based on adult franchise were held in J&K in 1951 for constituting a state Constituent Assembly;
  • in 1954 this Assembly ratified the state's accession to India;
  • this Assembly formulated a separate constitution for the state of J&K in 1957;
  • Section 3 of this Constitution laid down that 'The whole state of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India,' and, finally
  • this Constitution itself prohibits any amendment of its Section 3.

An important aside here is the concept of 'self-determination.' International law recognises the right to 'self-determination' for 'colonised peoples' or people otherwise oppressed while also respecting the principle of 'territorial integrity' of a state.

In its advisory opinion of 1998 on the issue of secession by Quebec, the Supreme Court of Canada denied that the Quebecers were justified in claiming the right to unilateral self-determination from international law; it held that view because the Quebecers, it said, do participate fully and equally in the governance of Canada and are by no means oppressed. Exactly the same can be said about the people of J&K who, since the 1957, have been governed by a constitution formulated by representatives they themselves elected in 1951.

Finally, there's para 11 of Qazi's speech wherein he pooh poohs India's official claim to J&K, contends that Pakistan makes no claim to J&K but only wants the exercise of 'self-determination' by the people of J&K as mandated by the UN, and that India's accusation of Pak not withdrawing its troops from the state as a pre-condition of the plebiscite envisaged in the UN resolution doesn't hold good in view of a later UN resolution that permitted the stationing of a certain number of troops on either side of the cease-fire line.

The truth is different -- as usual whenever a Paki opens his mouth.

Firstly, there is the opinion of Alan Campbell Johnson, the aide of Lord Mountbatten. In his book Mission with Mountbatten (Robert Hale Ltd., London, 1951) Campbell-Johnson writes, 'The legality of the accession (of J&K to India) is beyond doubt... It should be stressed that the accession has complete validity both in terms of the British Government's and Jinnah's expressed policy statements.'

Further, the US State Department's secret archives reveal that George Marshall, secretary of state, was unwilling to challenge the validity of J&K's accession to India and that his assistant, Dean Rusk, upheld the legal validity of that accession. (Narendra Singh Sarila's article on the edit page of The Times of India, Mumbai, August 14, 2000).

And nobody but nobody in the UN councils challenged the legality of the accession. Pakistan simply dubbed it as a fraud perpetrated by on the people of Kashmir by its ruler, but didn't refute its legality. If the world hasn't accepted India's claim, it is for the same reason that the USA and the UK don't accept the proven truth that Pak is the epicentre of terrorism. Vile international politics where truth has no value -- that's the only reason why India's right to the whole of J&K has been so cussedly, cruelly denied.

Pakistan not staking a counter claim on J&K is a joke, Mr Qazi. In all rounds of negotiations with India, Pakistan has always pitched for securing the Kashmir valley for itself.

In Karachi on February 10, 1963, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bhutto bluntly told the Indian delegation that India could keep Kathua, touching Himachal Pradesh, and give the rest of the valley to Pakistan. As India's representative pointed out in the Security Council years ago, Pakistan believed in possession, not in plebiscite. Sharma tells us in his book that President Ayub Khan, speaking at the National Press Club, Washington, on July 13, 1961, said, 'Kashmir is important to us for our physical and as well as economic security.'

Finally, there's Qazi's contention that the Security Council resolution of December 23, 1952 'expressly permitted' Pakistan to keep a certain number of forces on its side of the cease-fire line. False, totally false.

The Council only 'urged' India to enter into agreement with Pakistan on that issue; it did not mandate so. This is in total contrast to the status of the Council resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949; both these resolutions stipulating that Pakistan withdraw all its forces from J&K as a pre-condition for conducting a plebiscite had been accepted in writing by Pakistan. In contrast, India never accepted that Council 'urging' of December 1952, and was therefore not bound to accept it.

Ashraf Jahangir Qazi's speech at Washington represented what Jamali the other day said was Pakistan's unchanged stand on Kashmir. What exactly then is the 'Peace with Pakistan' that millions of Indians are being made to believe is on the cards?


Arvind Lavakare