Excerpts of the speech by Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah in the UN Security Council Meeting No.241 held on 5 February 1948


I have heard with patience, attention and respect the statements made by the representatives of Pakistan and members of the Security Council, as well as the statements made on various occasions by the members of my own delegation... I have heard patiently to the debate in the Security Council, but I feel that I am rather confused. After all, what is the point in dispute? The point in dispute is not that the sovereignty of the Prince is in question, as the representative of Pakistan stated yesterday.....

The subject of the dispute before the Security Council is not the maladministration of the Princely State of Kashmir... the dispute revolves around the fact that Kashmir acceded legally and constitutionally to the Dominion of India... the tribesmen across the border have poured into my country. They have been helped and are being helped by the Pakistan Government, with the result that there is the possibility of a greater conflagration between India and Pakistan. But (the representative of Pakistan) completely denied that any support was being given by the Government of Pakistan to either the tribesmen or those who are in revolt within the State against the constituted authority...

But then this simple issue has been confused... Today Pakistan has become the champion of our liberty. I know very well that in 1946, when I raised the cry of "Quit Kashmir," the leader of the Pakistan Government, who is the Governor-General now, Mr.Mohammad Ali Jinnah, opposed my Government, declaring that this movement was a movement of a few renegades and that Muslims as such had nothing to do with the movement.

The Muslim Conference, which has been talked about so much, opposed my movement and declared its loyalty to the Prince. The representative of Pakistan now says that Sheikh Abdullah, once the supporter of "Quit Kashmir," has joined hands with the Maharaja of Kashmir....side..... But the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and its people, kept calm....

Why was that so? It was because I and my organization never believed in the formula that Muslims and Hindus form separate nations. We do not believe in the two-nation theory, nor in communal hatred or communalism itself. We believed that religion had no place in politics. Therefore, when we launched our movement of "Quit Kashmir" it was not only Muslims who suffered, but our Hindu and Sikh comrades as well....

The situation was worsening day by day and the minority in our State was feeling very nervous. As a result tremendous pressure was brought to bear upon the State administration to release me and my colleagues. The situation outside demanded the release of workers of National Conference, along with its leader, and we were accordingly set free.

Immediately we were liberated from the prison we were faced with the important question of whether Kashmir should accede to Pakistan, accede to India, or remain independent... We could not decide this all important issue before achieving our own liberation, and our slogan became "Freedom before accession." Some friends from Pakistan met me in Srinagar. I have a heart-to-heart discussion with them and explained my point of view....

While I was engaged in these conversations and negotiations with friends from Pakistan, I sent one of my colleagues to Lahore, where he met the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr.Liaquat Ali Khan, and other high dignitaries of the West Punjab Government. He placed the same point of view before them and requested that they should allow us time to consider this vital question, first helping us to achieve our liberation instead of forcing us to declare our decision one way or the other. Then, one fine morning while these negotiations were proceeding, I received news that a full-fledged attack had been carried out by the raiders on Muzaffarabad, frontier town in the Kashmir Province....

While the raiders came to our land, massacred thousands of people -- mostly Hindus and Sikhs, but Muslims too -- abducted thousands of girls, Hindu, Sikhs and Muslims alike, looted our property and almost reached the gates of our summer capital, Srinagar, the result was that the civil, military and police administration failed. The Maharaja, in the dead of the night, left the capital along with his courtiers, and the result was absolute panic. There was no one to take over control. In that hour of crisis, the National Conference came forward with 10,000 volunteers and took over the administration of the country. They started guarding the banks, the offices and houses of every person in the capital. This is the manner in which the administration changed hands. We were de facto in charge of the administration. The Maharaja, later on, gave it a legal form....

I was explaining how the dispute arose -- how Pakistan wanted to force this position of slavery upon us. Pakistan had no interest in our liberation or it would not have opposed our freedom movement. Pakistan would have supported us when thousands of my countrymen were behind bars and hundreds were shot to death. The Pakistani leaders and Pakistani papers were heaping abuse upon the people of Kashmir who were suffering these tortures.

Then, suddenly, Pakistan comes before the bar of the world as the champion of liberty of the people of Jammu and Kashmir....

I had thought all along that the world had got rid of Hitlers and Goebbels, but, from what has happened and what is happening in my poor country, I am convinced that they have only transmigrated their souls into Pakistan...

If Pakistan comes forward and says, "We question the legality of the accession," I am prepared to discuss whether or not the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India was legal. However, now they say, "We want a plebiscite; we want to obtain the free and unfettered opinion of the people of Kashmir. There should be no pressure exerted on the people and they should make the free choice as to the State to which they wish to accede."

Not only is this the offer that was made by the people of Kashmir to Pakistan long, long ago, but it is the offer made by Prime Minister of India at a time when, I think, he had not the slightest need for making it, as Kashmir was in distress.

We realized that Pakistan would not allow us any time, that we had either to suffer the fate of our kith and kin of Muzaffarabad, Baramula, Srinagar and other towns and villages, or to seek help from some outside authority.

Under those circumstances, both the Maharaja and the people of Kashmir requested the Government of India to accept our accession. The Government of India could easily have accepted the accession and could have said, "All right, we accept your accession and we shall render this help." There was no necessity for the Prime Minister of India to add the proviso, when accepting the accessiion, that "India does not want to take advantage of the difficult situation in Kashmir. We will accept this accession because, without Kashmir's acceding to the Indian dominion, we are not in a position to render any military help. But once the country is free from the raiders, marauders and looters, this accession will be subject to ratification by the people." That was the offer made by the Prime Minister of India.

That was the same offer which was made by the people of Kashmir to the Government of Pakistan, but it was refused because at that time Pakistan felt that it could, within a week, conquer the entire Jammu and Kashmir State and then place fait accompali before the world, just as happened some time ago in Europe....

After all, we have been discussing the situation in Kashmir. I should say we have been playing the drama of Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark....

The Security Council should not confuse the issue. The question is not that we want internal freedom; the question is not how the Maharaja got his State, or whether or not he is sovereign. These points are not before the Security Council. Whether Kashmir has lawfully acceded to India -- complaints on that score have been brought before the Security Council on behalf of Pakistan -- is not the point at issue. If that were the point at issue then we should discuss that subject. We should prove before the Security Council that Kashmir and the people of Kashmir have lawfully and constitutionally acceded to the Dominion of India, and Pakistan has no right to question that accession. However, that is not the discussion before the Security Council....

Pakistan, the Security Council must send a commission to the spot to see whether the complaint brought before the Security Council is valid or invalid.... Therefore, somebody must go to the spot. Then at that time it would be for us to prove that the charges we have brought before the Security Council are correct to the last word. That is the only help, we want, and no other help.


Source: United Nations

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