Hard Truth with Anant Mishra: Kashmir: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

January 12, 2015 OPINION/NEWS



Anant Mishra

Right from the partition, India and Pakistan have debated on numerous occasions for the territorial rights over the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Despite the tremendous rivalry between the two nations, there have been attempts to resolve the conflict through cease fires and diplomatic talks; however the efforts turned out to be failing. With both nuclear power nations on both sides, and increasing political instability in Pakistan, it is imperative that the resolution for the situation in Kashmir is achieved to prevent any further conflict in the region.


History: A Princely state

The concept of creating two separate nations on the basis of religious differences was first introduced by Chaudhuri Rahmat Ali in 1933; with a lot of yes and no’s he suggested that Pakistan would comprise the whole north-western province of India consisting of a majority of Muslims along with the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan is basically an acronym in which “P stands for Punjab, A stands for the Afghanis in the north western frontier, K is for Kashmir, S for Sind while Tan stands Baluchistan. In Urdu, the word means “Land of the Pure”.

In 1947, Great Britain, under intensive pressure, agreed for the partition of India. Approximately 560 princely nations were asked to decide to join either of the nations, or remain Independent, depending upon the states geographical condition alongside the number of inhabitants within the state. Kashmir was dominated by a Muslim population; According to the consensus of 1947, “Kashmir had 77% Muslim population”, thus it was very much anticipated that the then Maharaja would accede to Pakistan.

However the time given to the Maharaja was quite less than a week. Seeing the Maharaja’s inability to decide, Pakistan launched a series of guerrilla attacks in an effort to pressure the Maharaja on his decision. Instead he appealed to Mountbatten to intervene in this sudden crisis, hence the governor general agreeing to assist on the condition that the “ruler will accede to India”.

On October 26, 1947 Maharaja Singh signed the Instrument of Accession and Kashmir was effectively aligned with India. As per the agreement, Indian soldiers entered Kashmir, occupied territories and drove Pakistani troops out of the area.

Later on, the Resolution 38 was passed by the United Nations Security Council which “called both the Governments of India and Pakistan to immediately take measures within their power (including public appeals) and resolve this issue, making no such statements and preventing any acts or promoting people to aggravate this conflict.” The then President of United Nations Security Council “immediately called for a peace dialogue between the two nations”. With no immediate outcome, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 39 on January 20, 1948. The Security Council proposed for a commission with three representatives, one representative of India, one of Pakistan, and the third member would be chosen unanimously by the two governments. This commission would open talks between the two governments on a common ground, ensure free and fair investigations, and ensure the implementation of Security Council resolutions in future.

On April 1948, the United Nations passed Resolution 47. This stated that “both India and Pakistan desire that the question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite.” It further stated that “Kashmir needs a political representation for the inhabitants” hence, the resolution 47 calling for the withdrawal of all illegal Pakistani residents; “those resident who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting and to prevent any intrusion into the State of such elements and any furnishing of material aid to those fighting in the state.” The United Nations summoned India to reduce its military presence in the region to allow “peaceful talks”. Additionally, citizens were asked to return to their homes, which were previously displaced during the conflict and were encouraged to take part in the peace dialogues. However the Resolution 47 guidelines stated that the peace dialogues were to be supervised under the presence of UN personnel.

The first Indo-Pak war took place on May 1948, “when the Pakistani troops were called in to protect the Pakistani boundaries. Fighting intensified at the end of the year when Pakistani irregulars joined their campaigns against the Indian troops.”  Some say Nehru saw this fighting as an excuse not to have a peace talk. In an interview to BBC he said “Pakistani presence in Kashmir violated the terms of the UN Security Council Resolution and therefore there could not be such a vote”. On January 1, 1949, the UN interfered and a cease fire line was drawn. A resolution was passed in the UNSC which indicated the presence of Peacekeeping soldiers of the UN formally known as UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan).

No referendum ever took place. The Jammu Kashmir’s own state constituency was formed in 1954 which ratified the accession of its state to India and by 1957 its own constituency was approved. If you look in the west of  the ceasefire line, Pakistan controls almost one third of the state. Pakistani refers to this region as Azad (Free) Jammu and Kashmir, and we call it Pakistani occupied Kashmir (POK). The larger part of the area includes former kingdoms of Hunza and Nagar, and is termed as the northern region. This region is under the direct administration of Pakistan.

The second Indo Pak war began when Pakistan launched unprecedented attacks across the ceasefire line forcing India to retaliate with its strong army. The UN again interfered and called for an immediate ceasefire through the Tashkent agreements. Both the nations agreed for a peaceful resolution. Tensions escalated again in 1971 when India assisted Bangladesh or East Pakistan’s secession by Pakistan, which was gripped in civil war. The Security Council again intervened and passed Resolution 307, calling for an immediate ceasefire in the province.

Between the 1980s and 1990s, Kashmir saw a rise in Islamic militant groups. “1989 was a period which security experts refer to as “rise of militancy in Kashmir”. Muslim political parties thundered with the acquisition against then central parties claiming the “1987 state legislative elections were rigged and another effort of the central governments propaganda against Muslims”; this marked the beginning of militant wings. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a statement that “these militant groups were sponsored (supplied and trained) by Pakistan and demanded that it stop sponsoring cross-border terrorism”. This being said, it is without doubt that Pakistan was involved and currently is involved in sponsoring terrorist activities across the border. We have yet not forgotten the 26/11 Mumbai attack and recent intrusion of Pakistan’s harboured Islamist militants on the boat that recently came into spotlight. It is also difficult to understand the proxy war by Pakistan 365 days, battling on the fronts of Samba sector. It is hard to understand how a foreign minister of this sovereign nation claims “to teach India a lesson” when it starts unprovoked firing and later shows the white flag on its towers. Now, people would say, is it relevant? Dragging Pakistan on the issue when it’s focussing on Kashmir? Yes absolutely, state sponsored terrorism has been a cause creating fire among Kashmiris looking for a peace plebiscite.

However it is equally important to ensure a free, legal and fair plebiscite, into the accounts of each Kashmiri individuals. This is how a democracy works. Every Kashmiri has a right to decide his own fate, his own land, his own government.


Current Situation 

Nuclear Arms Race 

In 1988 both nations signed a treaty that neither would attack one another’s nuclear facilities; however it is highly likely as the situation has escalated ever since. In May 1998, India tested its first nuclear missile launch in Pokhran Rajasthan, which Pakistan retaliated by conducting over six nuclear tests in Baluchistan. Pakistan tested its Ghauri missile, a long range ICBM which could destroy targets across 932 metres. Since then both nations have conducted numerous tests, however both nations are banned from conducting any further nuclear tests. Both nations have now become nuclear powers and have denied signing the Non Proliferation Treaty. The use of nuclear weapons by either of nation could create another horrific incident in South Asia.


New Ceasefire 

It will be wrong to say that ceasefire agreements have been violated by both nations on numerous occasions. In 1999 a platoon of Pakistan Rangers were caught on the mountain ranges in administrated portion of Kashmir, India retaliating this incursion with air strikes. Pakistan was told to withdraw its troops from the Indian Administrated Area.

However after the interference of the UN new cease fire agreements were made, it was then clear that both nations had failed to follow those made previously. Since then the state has been gripped with insurgents as an attack on Kashmir’s legislative assembly shocked the world.


Self determination: A mandate 

Still the Security Council Resolution 47 has not been followed, which makes this situation more alarming in the international community. The United Nations focuses on the importance of self determination among civilians living in the region and appeals for a peace accord between the two nations. While Pakistan predominantly supports its loyalist parties through cross border terrorism and arms smuggling, India stresses the existence of Kashmir as part of its own, legally through the Instrument of Succession.


Pakistan – A Nation in turmoil

The International community openly condemned Pervez Musharaff’s military coup in Pakistan on October 1999 when he ousted the then democratically elected leader Nawaz Shariff, the world nations having become more suspicious of its activities. Musharaff’s support to the United States’ “War on Terror” has been crucial for their relationship.The US has been funding Pakistan to fight against terror; however we all know Pakistan funds it for “War with terror” against the Indian Government.  The Mumbai attacks along with its lone survivor Kasab were clear example of Pakistan’s “State sponsored Terrorism”. Recently Pakistan was given a “clean chit” from the US for its fight against militants. This incident shook everyone for a while.

Musharaff was relected in October 2007’s general elections. This victory of his was challenged in the Supreme Court as he was the then supreme commander of the armed forces and President at the same time. In response to this he declared an emergency in the state of Pakistan to assume power. However, now he has been kept under house arrest by the current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but his actions too have created controversies. The Islamist militant Lakhvi, mastermind of the Mumbai attack still roams free in the state mocking the US “war on terror”. Amid the political instability, no nation wants to get their hands dirty by intervening in the state, however, the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been seen in a few instances. The international community must be very careful in dealing with Pakistan as any actions against the current regime could undo the fight thus far against terrorism in Pakistan and this could eventually create a backlash on the Middle East.


International Stand

United States

The United States acts very cautiously with the governments of Pakistan and India. Its nature of dual diplomacy is known very well throughout the world. During its talks with newly elected Indian premier Narendra Modi, Obama promised strong actions against terrorism and terrorist organizations operating in Pakistan. Secretary of State John Kerry, a few days before his visit for the summit of Vibrant Gujarat, declared that Pakistan has a “victim of insurgencies” and gave a clean chit along with the bonus of financial aid. It seems to enjoy a strong relationship with Pakistan and the so called “War on Terror”.

Surprisingly no nation from North or South America has shown an interest towards the resolution of this issue, however a peaceful plebiscite is what they would agree.






Anant Mishra

Anant Mishra is a former youth representative for United Nations. Almost 4 years of experience, he has served in number of committees including United Nations Conference for Trade and Development and United Nations General Assembly primarily focusing on international trade, education, finance, economics. food crisis And disputes. He is available on [email protected]







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