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Was Provisional government of Kashmir Legal?

Dr Shabir Choudhry

The man was angry and strongly criticised me for not supporting the Provisional Government of Jammu and Kashmir. He was my old colleague from the JKLF; and met after many years. He said Maharajah Hari Singh was deposed on 4th October 1947; and after that he had no right to rule or take any decision about the future of Jammu and Kashmir.

I requested him to cool down and then we can discuss this matter. He said there is nothing to be discussed. We have been observing4th October for many years. So were we wrong? You also observed it; however, you have changed over the years. I want to know why you have changed and why you are undermining this historic day and achievement.

After cooling him down I told him that I have not changed; however, my knowledge on the Kashmir dispute and on the subject of Provisional Government has changed. With increased knowledge and experience, I am able to differentiate between fact and fiction; and I can tell what is propaganda of those who occupy us, and how they fool us in name of Islam and brotherhood. As a loyal son of soil it is my duty to pass on my knowledge and educate people about hidden and bitter facts of the Kashmir dispute that they can make informed decisions.

As I paused, he sarcastically said, so all others who observed 4th October were wrong and only you are correct.

I requested my guest to let me put forward my view point and then we can discuss it further. I said people make decisions in light of their knowledge and experience; and those who made the decision about observation of 4th October were correct under the given situation; but now that we have more knowledge on the subject is it not appropriate that we make decision in light of new knowledge.

I asked him can you tell me who President of Syria is. He looked perplexed, as he was trying to understand logic of my question. When I repeated my question he said, Bashar Assad. I asked him who is President of Afghanistan. He got bit irritated, and said Abdul Ghani, but what has this got to do with Provisional Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

So in your view Syrian President is Bashar Assad, even though he has no control over most of the Syrian territory; even he does not control all of his capital, Damascus. Same is the case with Afghanistan; and you regard Abdul Ghani as President of Afghanistan.

Then question arises how could Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir lost his right to rule just on strength of one statement that was issued by a middle ranking political activist of Muslim Conference, second largest party of the State; and that was published in a newspaper of a country which is responsible for our miseries and which also occupies us?

Ghulam Nabi Gilkar before he issued this statement did not consult the leader of the Biggest Kashmiri political party, Sheikh Abdullah. He did not even consult senior leaders of his own party; and some of senior leaders were also present in Rawalpindi when he issued the statement.

People with common sense ask what is the legal value of this statement which was not approved by leaders of his own party; and the leaders of the biggest party in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In any case, what authority did Ghulam Nabi Gilkar have to depose the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir? Who entrusted this authority to this individual who was not much known before this statement?

Furthermore, he belonged to Qadiani sect of Muslims; and had closer relationship with the Qadiani leaders. Before he announced this so called Provisional Kashmiri Government, he had a meeting in Lahore with very senior Qadiani leaders; and it should also be remembered that Foreign Minister of Pakistan was also a Qadiani.

My guest tried to interrupt me but I requested him to be patient for a few more minutes. I said in Pakistan there is a civil war going on in Balochistan, as some tribal leaders don’t want to be part of Pakistan. Also there is a civil war going on in various parts of FATA. What if some middle ranking person go to a neighbouring country and declares that he has deposed government of Nawaz Sharif; and from now onwards no one should obey orders of this deposed government.

Tell me honestly will anyone take any notice of such a statement; and stop obeying orders of Nawaz Sharif government and his army? I want to ask why when it comes to Jammu and Kashmir we only rely on one statement and believe that after that the Maharajah lost his right to rule and don’t consider that the statement had no legal and constitutional standing; and had no military support or widespread political backing.

My guest clearly looked bewildered; but still asserted that we had Azad Kashmir Army before the 4th October was announced; and this army was behind this statement and they were fighting the Maharajah government.

I said there was no such thing as Azad Kashmir Army on or before 4th October 1947. Yes, there were some disturbances in some parts of Poonch, mainly because of heavy taxes and oppression; but no area of the State of Jammu and Kashmir was in hands of the people protesting against the Maharajah.

You are an educated person and have been part of the Struggle for many decades; tell me name of Commander in Chief of your army or name of any other General? He looked disorientated; and unsure as to what to say.

I said, yes there could be army behind this statement, and it could be the army of Pakistan; and not that of so called Azad Kashmir. He was clueless. He said if what you have told me is correct, then it means we were under the propaganda of Pakistan and we were misled. However, question arises why our leaders, including you observed 4th October and demanded the restoration of the Azad Kashmir army.

I said, in my opinion, all those who observed 4th October, did so sincerely believing that it was true and that this demand was helping the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir. Now that we have new knowledge on the subject we need to formulate policies in light of this; and must not do anything that the world community regard our activities as our attempt to propagate interests of Pakistan, who in reality is also an occupier of Jammu and Kashmir.

We concluded our discussion on this positive note that we people of Jammu and Kashmir must be loyal to our motherland, Jammu and Kashmir that existed on 15 August 1948; and that in order to be a loyal Kashmiri we don’t have to express our loyalty to either India or Pakistan. We must promote a Kashmiri interest and let India and Pakistan defend their interests.

Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com

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