Facts about Kashmir

By Shabir Choudhry

In a recent article, ‘Division of Kashmir must be opposed’, I said that India and Pakistan want to impose a decision on Kashmiris and divide Kashmir. Some readers thought Kashmir was already divided, and they did not fully understand the point I was trying to make.

I thought most people with average common sense would be able to distinguish the difference between the present ‘divide’ and the division that I said India and Pakistan wanted to impose. Perhaps I was wrong to make this assumption. It is too subtle for some to grasp it. The present borders are the result of the cease - fire that took place between India and Pakistan on 1 January 1949. The phrase cease – fire line clearly indicates that this is a temporary position that resulted after ceasing hostilities. This is by no means a permanent border or an international boundary line.

With regard to Kashmir, all the parties concerned understand this position, including the international community. If this was the permanent division then why negotiate with each other. Why ask the members of the world community, or local Members of Parliament to help to find a solution or mediate. The division that I was referring to, and which most people understood, would be:

One can see from the above the difference between both divisions, I hope people would understand it better now.

Please DO NOT make another assumption that I am in any way supporting this line of approach., if anything I am strongly against this. Through out my life I have worked for the unification and independence of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and God willing I will continue my struggle. I am sure other nationalist would also oppose this. In my writings and through my politics, I always encourage the nationalists of Kashmir to forget their differences and unite; even if that means agreeing on some minimum points.

There were other people who want to think that Kashmir is part of Pakistan. One can think whatever one wants, as there cannot be any restriction imposed on some one’s thinking. But the reality remains that Kashmir is not part of Pakistan, and the constitution of Pakistan makes that very clear. Kashmir is a disputed State and the majority of its population wants to be independent. The UN resolutions accept the disputed nature of the State, but fail to provide a practical solution as they deprive the people a right to determine their own future. But the resolution of August 1948 can be used as a base to put forward another resolution which can take in to account new ground realities. The Kashmiri people need to work on this as well, instead of pulling each other’s leg.

It must also be made clear that the two nations theory, whatever its value after the fall of East Pakistan, was not applicable to Kashmir. And it is wrong claim that Mohammed Ali Jinnah said Kashmir was a ‘jugular vein’ for Pakistan. The truth is Mr Jinnah very clearly said that the Kashmiri people could remain independent. He also showed with his action that two nations theory did not apply to the Princely States. He accepted the accession of Junagadh even though it had a non - Muslim majority, and according to rules of the two nations theory only Muslim majority areas were to form part of Pakistan. This clearly meant that the two nations theory did not apply to the Princely States. I hope this explanation would be sufficient to all those who still believe that Kashmir belongs to Pakistan.

Shabir Choudhry
Director, Institute of Kashmir Affairs

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