Home / Valley Express / State of Jammu and Kashmir Peace and human rights, speech of Dr Shabir Choudhry in a Conference

State of Jammu and Kashmir Peace and human rights, speech of Dr Shabir Choudhry in a Conference

Mr Chairman, friends and colleagues, peace and blessings on all of you.
When we say Jammu and Kashmir or Kashmir, we mean the State of Jammu and Kashmir that was established by the Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1846, and which existed on 15 August 1947.
Constituent parts of this Princely State are Gilgit Baltistan, so called Azad Kashmir, Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. Some areas of this State are under illegal occupation of China too.
In August 1947, when the British granted independence to India; and Pakistan came in to being, Jammu and Kashmir was ruled by the Maharaja Hari Singh.
Despite all political, economic and religious pressures he insisted that he wanted to remain independent. This was disliked by Pakistan. In order to teach a lesson to the Maharaja Hari Singh, and to occupy the State of Jammu and Kashmir by force, they arranged invasion which is known as Tribal Invasion.
Because the tribesmen were busy in looting, plundering, kidnapping and raping women they lost valuable few days, and the Indian troops landed in Srinagar after securing Instrument of Accession.
Those who planned the tribal invasion did not succeed in capturing the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir. However, they managed to capture Gilgit Baltistan and the territory that is known as Azad Kashmir.
It must be pointed out that the Pakistani proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir did not start in 1998, it started in 1947. The first proxy war resulted in the forced division of our motherland, and in death and destruction.Pakistan’s obsession to capture Jammu and Kashmir by force did not stop after their failure in 1947. They started the second proxy war in 1965, with disastrous results. The last one started in 1988, and still continues to kill and bleed people of Jammu and Kashmir.
One is not sure if those who plan these military attacks, and proxy wars are helping people of Jammu and Kashmir; or they are taking some kind of revenge, because these attacks bleed people of Jammu and Kashmir and add to their miseries.
Of course, we people of Jammu and Kashmir want peace, and enjoy our fundamental rights. But how can we enjoy our rights when there is a gun culture, and people are intimidated, harassed and killed.
The first prerequisite for peace is silencing of guns. Once Pakistani sponsored militancy stops; the authorities can formulate strategies to create a conducive environment where people feel safe and they take part in everyday life without any fear and intimidation.
Legal Status of Jammu and Kashmir?
Mr Chairman
I want to discuss about the legal status of Jammu and Kashmir, a question which people frequently ask me; and which I have been ignoring.
Before I do that, I want to state clearly what I want. I want united and independent Jammu and Kashmir, with a secular and liberal society. I have been very sincerely working for this objective. That is my desire, it is my wish, and that is my ultimate goal.
I strongly believe that my party United Kashmir Peoples National Party is also working for the united and Independent Jammu and Kashmir. It is because of this common agenda and shared values that we are working as a team.
Mr Chairman
It is sad that some people of Jammu and Kashmir are bewildered, as they fail to distinguish between desire, propaganda, fiction and fact.
I am going to present some facts. They may be disliked by some because they have been influenced by false propaganda of those who occupy us and who have brutally distorted our history.
Like other people I also have some desires, ambitions and goals; but these are different to the irrefutable facts I am going to present. I urge people to formulate policies in light of these facts.
As pointed above, the Maharaja Hari Singh wanted to remain independent Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir State. The following points must be considered:
1.   After lapse of the British Paramountcy Jammu and Kashmir became independent. This fact was agreed even by Mr Jinnah and Mountbatten. 1
2.   It was acknowledged that the Maharaja Hari Singh was the legitimate Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.
3.    Furthermore, it was recognised that the Two Nations Theory did not apply to the Princely States.
4.   It is because of this fact, Mr Mohammed Ali Jinnah accepted accession of State of Junagarh to Pakistan, knowing that the State had more than 80% non-Muslims, and it had no land link with Pakistan.
5.   If the Two Nations Theory was applicable to the Princely States then automatically Junagarh would have gone to India.
6.    Apart from that, it was admitted that Rulers of the Princely States can decide future of their states.
In view of the above facts, the Maharaja expressed his intention to maintain his independence.
However, after the unprovoked Pakistani aggression in Jammu and Kashmir, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir had no option but to seek help from the other neighbour, India. He requested India to save life, liberty and property of his people, and his State. 2
India was under no compulsion to help Jammu and Kashmir, a country that was not part of India; and endanger lives of their soldiers, and risk a war with Pakistan.
The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir was asked to sign an Instrument of Accession that help can be sent immediately to save his people and his State.
The Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession, according to which India was to be responsible for Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications.
Apart from these three subjects, the State was to remain independent.
Nowhere in the Instrument of Accession it stated that the Agreement was ‘provisional’.
The word ‘Provisional’ was added by Mountbatten, in his letter to the Maharaja Hari Singh. It must be noted that Mountbatten, at that time, was a Governor General of an independent India; and his post was ‘provisional’, meaning temporary.
In other words, a man who held a temporary (provisional) post, added the word ‘provisional’ in his letter to the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. The Maharaja Hari Singh did not say he was acceding to India provisionally.
The agreement between India and Jammu and Kashmir State was the Instrument of Accession, and not what Mountbatten or other office holders of India subsequently stated.
Also, it must be noted that there were 562 Princely States, some very small and some large States like Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad, Kalat, Mysore etc.. Majority of these States acceded to India, but none of them acceded provisionally, as that option was not available in the document.
I wonder, why a man with a temporary post, and who was not an Indian, stated in his letter that he accepts accession provisionally?
As pointed out above, the Maharaja Hari Singh did not express in his letter or added in the Instrument of accession that he wants to accede provisionally.

Right of self determination
Mr Chairman
Many political activists and political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, belonging to the Muslims community demand that the UN must honour their pledge to give us a right of self – determination.
I have thoroughly studied the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and the UN Security Council Resolutions. I have not come across any document where the UN Security Council promised that they will give people of Jammu and Kashmir a right to self-determination.
What is available in the UN Security Council Resolutions is a right of accession, which means we have a right to choose if we want to become a Pakistani or an Indian.
In the Security Council Resolution of 13 August 2019 stated:

The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan reaffirm their wish that the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people and to that end, upon acceptance of the Truce Agreement both Governments agree to enter into consultations with the Commission to determine fair and equitable conditions whereby such free expression will be assured.  3
The phrase future status was used, which could possibly mean:
·      accession to India;·      accession to Pakistan;·       or an independent Jammu and Kashmir.
After realising this danger, the Pakistani government suggested that this phrase ‘future status’ should be replaced; and people of Jammu and Kashmir should be only given two choices. India did not oppose this. In the next UN Security Council Resolution that was passed on 5 January 1949, the following text was agreed:
The question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite; 4
In other words what was promised to us was a plebiscite with two choices, it can be called a right of accession, and not a right of self-determination.
Pakistan assumed a self-appointed role of ‘an advocate’ of people of Jammu and Kashmir, and propagated this as a right of self – determination. Under this propaganda, many of us thought we have a right of self-determination.
Also, Pakistan propagated that India refused to honour the UN Security Council Resolutions. Fact of the matter is, it was Pakistan who refused to honour these Resolutions.
The Security Council Resolution of 13 August 1948, clearly stated that Pakistan should withdraw all troops from the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Also, all the tribesmen, and all other Pakistanis who entered the State for the purpose of fighting must withdraw.
After this withdrawal is completed and the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan is satisfied with that,  ‘the Government of India agrees to begin to withdraw the bulk of their forces from the State in stages to be agreed upon with the Commission.’  5
After completion of this process, the UN nominated ‘Plebiscite Administrator’ ‘will be formally appointed to office by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.’
The appointed ‘Plebiscite Administrator shall derive from the State of Jammu and Kashmir the powers he considers necessary for organising and conducting the plebiscite and for ensuring the freedom and impartiality of the plebiscite.’ 6
What this means is, the UN Security Council, all the legal experts and analysts regarded Pakistan as an ‘aggressor’, and regarded Pakistan’s presence in Jammu and Kashmir ‘illegal’. That is why they demanded Pakistan to withdraw all troops and withdraw all tribesmen and withdraw all other Pakistanis who went there for the purpose of fighting.
India, on the other hand, was not regarded as an aggressor; and Indian entry and presence in Jammu and Kashmir was not regarded as illegal.
In nutshell, Pakistan entered Jammu and Kashmir:
·      By violating a written agreement – Standstill Agreement;·      Against the wish of the Ruler;·      With intention to occupy the State by force;·      Attackers were allowed to kidnap, loot and plunder.
India entered Jammu and Kashmir:
·      On request of the Ruler;·      After a written agreement;·      With intention to safeguard life, liberty, property and honour of citizens;·      To drive out the invaders.
In view of the above:·      How can we say, India is an occupier;·      Or India is an aggressor?·      How can we say India’s presence in Jammu and Jammu and Kashmir is illegal?
India had two kinds of responsibilities towards people of Jammu and Kashmir:·      Responsibilities assumed under the UN Security Council Resolutions;·      Responsibilities assumed under the Instrument of accession.
I agree, India has failed to honour pledges made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Also, I agree that the para military troops have committed human rights abuses. I condemn that, and demand that the culprits must be held accountable.
It is responsibility of India to provide security and protection to all citizens of Jammu and Kashmir State. I am not trained to fight militants or terrorists. I don’t use gun. I use pen. It is a job of the Indian government and their infrastructure.
If India cannot or does not have the will to protect life, liberty, property and liberty of all citizens of State of Jammu and Kashmir, then they should publicly declare that.
My purpose is to correct the historical records, and tell people what facts are. They have a right to accept these facts, or reject this narrative by providing a counter narrative with facts.
I hope the debate which may ensue will educate people and empower them.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Reference:
1.    Mountbatten Viceroy of India’s address to Chamber of Princess, 25 July 1947.2.    Maharaja Hari Singh’s letter to Government of India on 26 October 1947.3.    UN Security Council Resolution of 13 August 19484.    UN Security Council Resolution of 05 January 19495.    UN Security Council Resolution of 13 August 19486.    UN Security Council Resolution of 05 January 1949

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