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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 44 New Delhi October 19, 2019

“Independent Jammu and Kashmir” — a Crying Hoax

Sunday 20 October 2019

by M.M. Khajooria

Prominent Muslim leaders like Ali Shah Geelani and his Jamaat-i-Islami colleagues solemnly take oath in the name of Allah “to preserve and protect the integrity of India” at the time of filing nomination papers for election to the State Assembly as well as while entering the legislature after winning the election. They also draw pension from government treasuries. And still they profess to be not Indian citizens. When questioned about this contradiction they shamelessly claim that the oath was taken as part of a political strategy. In an international seminar I inquired of participants from occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Diaspora, why couldn’t they adopt the same strategy? They were scandalised and retorted in one voice, “Such persons are Kafirs. It is blasphemy to call them Muslims. No worldly profession can tempt a true Muslim to swear falsely by Allah.”

According to AK_ICA 1974, the J&K Interim Constitution of 1974, a person may contest elections and seek government employment only if he or she “believes in the ideology of Pakistan” and the concept of the “State’s accession of Pakistan”. A huge chunk of population in ‘AJK’ therefore refuse to enroll as voters. The leaders struggling for casting away the yoke of Pak slavery do not contest elections as they cannot and would not in good conscience take the oath of allegiance to the idea of Pakistan.

Now listen to this one. I was named Chairman of the Drafting Committee to record the pro-ceedings of a seminar. While dictating the proceedings, I had to refer to the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir. I thought it may be considered partisan on my part to describe the area of the State controlled by Pakistan as occupied territory. So I opted for the international parlance that described AJK as Pakistan-administered area. As soon as I uttered the word “administered” a young member stood up and vehemently protested. He said: “We are an occupied territory. There is no administration there. Sir, I insist that this be recorded.” As too happy to accommodate him, I did not make any comment. He said: “You don’t believe me” and pulled up his shirt to show his back which was crisscrossed: “Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir”. As no one contested his assertion, he said: “It was with deep healed wounds of brutal caning.” Shocked, I hastily said: “Of course I believe you and have complied with your demand.” “Thank you,” he said and took his chair muttering: “Many others have suffered worst fate.”

To meet the requirements of the UN resolutions Pakistan has ostensibly treated AJK as a territory whose final status is yet to be decided. According to Article 257 of the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan’s sovereignty shall extend to AJK:

“When the people of the State of J&K decide to opt for Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and the State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people.” Article 1(d) also refers to “such States and territories as are or may be included in Pakistan by accession or otherwise”. The word ‘otherwise’ obviously seeks to provide cover for both external ‘aggression’ like tribal invasion, cross-border terrorism and Kargil intrusion and internal ‘subversion’ through over- ground proxies and local terrorists operating under the garb of ‘freedom struggle’. The issue of accession appeared to have been deliberately left ambivalent. This position is blatantly fraudulent. Because Pakistan had taken numerous measures to ensure that ‘AJK’ remained a colony of Pakistan. As stated above, under AK_ICA 1974, a person may contest elections and seek government employment only if he or she “believes in the ideology of Pakistan” and the concept of the “State’s accession of Pakistan”. This is certainly not commensurate with the assertion that the AJK’s status will be “determined in accordance with the wishes of people of the State”. “Moreover the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs remained all- powerful and treated AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan as its fie. On top of it you have a five-member Supreme Council of which three members represent the Government of Pakistan including the most powerful Minister of Kashmir Affairs. The Council is chaired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. All important decisions are taken in this forum.

The Pak facade is further demonstrably exposed when we refer to Article 31 (3) of the AJK_ICA which ceded the many functions to the Government of Pakistan. These incude:

“1. The responsibilities of Pakistan under the UNCIP Resolutions.

2. The defence and security of AJK

3. The current coin, or the issue of notes, bills or other paper currency and (iv) the external affairs of AJK including foreign trade and foreign aid.”

Additionallly there are more than 52 matters under the Third Schedule in conjunction with Article 31.

This flip-flop has neither served the people of AJK well nor served the cause of Pakistan. In fact a prominent Pak journalist, Aijaz Haider, was of the opinion that this could become a trap for Pakistan if ever the issue were to be referred to be a third party. He claimed that Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, a top lawyer and a political leader of eminence, had told him: “Our position (on AJK) under international law is different from our position under domestic law. (‘View from Pakistan’ by Aijaz Haider—Friday Times). He had obviously toned down the comments of Aitzaz Ahsan.

Now a word about the much trotted ‘Jihad-e-Kashmir’.

I can’t recall the exact date but it happened in Kotli or Paladeri Jamia Masjid some time back. After the sermon was over, one amongst the congregation asked the Imam for enlightenment on the their obligations as Muslims towards the ongoing Jihad in “occupied Kashmir” and the ‘struggle for independence’ in Azad Kashmir! The Imam was somewhat flabber-gasted. He remained quiet and appeared to be pondering over the question. And then, he spoke. “You have asked a very important but embarrassing question. I am obliged to speak the truth and only the truth, which I must. Lying from the ‘Mumber (the holy pulpit)’ would be a cardinal sin. As I cannot but tell the truth so listen carefully,” the Imam began “Jihad is solely and purely authorised in service of Allah and His Rasool in accordance with the guidance of the Holy Quran. The so-called Jihad in occupied Kashmir and the struggle in Azad Kashmir are aimed at gaining territory which were totally alien to the concept of Jihad. Number of hills in occupied Kashmir are virtually littered with slogans in huge words: ‘Azadi Ya Sahadat’. (Independence or martyrdom). You may draw your own conclusion. ‘Azadi from whom? Yes, Azadi from what is trotted as ‘Azad Kashmir’. Isn’t it hilarious?”

It may be recalled that after the instrument of accession to India was signed, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the then Head of the Emergency Administration, had Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah and Ch. Ghulam Abbas, President of the Pro-Pakistan Muslim Conference, locked up in prison with the option to be released and stay in J&K as Indian citizens or be ‘pushed back’ to Pakistan. Both opted for Pakistan and were accordingly pushed across the border to Pakistan. There they were joined by K. Khurshid, former Secretary to Mohammad Ali Jinnah. All three of them in time became Presidents of AJK. Each one of them was rudely disillusioned and left in disgust. Khurshid committed the blunder of taking the “Independence” of AJK literally and seriously. In a bid to modernise AJK battalions, he directly contacted the Government of China for supply of sophisticated weapons. The Chinese informed the Pakistan Government. Khursid was unceremoniously booted out and left AJK in disgust. A totally disillusioned          Mirwaiz Moulvi Yusuf Shah wanted to return to Kashmir to die in peace. The Government of India was inclined to accommodate him. Infact, he came to Amritsar awaiting permission to go to Srinagar. However, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, the then Prime Minister of J&K, did not agree. He felt that return of the aged and sick former Mirwaiz would have upsetting effect on the even tenor of perfectly normal and fast developing State. The Moulvi returned to AJK and died a frustrated man.

The electronic media and some of our top government leaders have recently woken up and begun to assert their determination to retrieve the Pakistan-occupied territories. The Vice-President has joined the chorus and innocently asked Pakistan to “hand over PoK to India”. Whatever their motivation, the cause these leaders espouse needed to be pursued. In fact, the 1994 Resolution of the joint session of Parliament mandated the Government of India to retrieve the territories of Jammu and Kashmir under the forcible and illegal occupation of Pakistan. The million dollar question is: how do we go about complying with the Parliament mandate? The first step that seems to be feasible as well as necessary is “to reach out to the people of occupied J&K, identify their problems and woes and vigorously project them in the international fora”. We must demand that the Pakistan Government immediately put a stop to the abominable violations of human rights and yield to the people of the occupied territory their fundamental right of self-governance. The rest can and should fellow. 

The author, a Director General of Police (retired), is the Director, Centre for Good Governance and Police Accountability, Jammu.

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