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Home / Politics / Farooq Abdullah Doubts India’s Legitimacy Over Kashmir, but Why?

Farooq Abdullah Doubts India’s Legitimacy Over Kashmir, but Why?

November 28, 2016

 

controversial statement by farooq abdullah

It may be a mere coincidence that Pakistan has appointed Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, a known Kashmir veteran as the next Army chief at the time when on the Indian side of the fence, former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Chief Minister (CM) Farooq Abdullah has stirred political controversy by saying that India lacks the guts to take back parts of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan.

“Pakistan is one of the stakeholders which the government of India has itself accepted. There was a resolution on this, which says that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is the part of India. Kya yeh tumhare baap ka hai? (Is this your ancestral property?),” Abdullah was quoted as saying in his address to a rally in Kishtwar district in J&K. Even as the statement was meant for the consumption by people who supported Abdullah and his party, National Conference’s line of thinking on Kashmir, it was loaded with political messages. But by all accounts, it alluded to questioning India’s legitimacy over Kashmir, of which 13,297- square km were taken away by Pakistan in the first India-Pakistan War in 1947.

Does India have a legitimate claim over PoK?

Of course, India has a rightful claim over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). A princely state then, the entire area of Jammu and Kashmir became an integral part of India when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947. A war broke out between newly Independent India and Pakistan over Kashmir. On January 1, 1949, a formal cease-fire was declared between the two sides. But, by then, a large chunk of Kashmir’s area had been occupied by Pakistan.

What is the 1994 Parliamentary Resolution?

On February 22, 1994, both Houses of Parliament passed a resolution unanimously declaring that the state of J&K has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means. The parliamentary resolution declared that India has the will and capacity to firmly counter all designs against its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The parliamentary resolution also maintained that Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian state, which they have occupied through aggression and resolved that all attempts (by Pakistan) to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely.

Why UN resolution on Kashmir became useless?

In 1948, India approached the United Nations for the resolution of dispute over Kashmir. In the same year, after hearing Indian and Pakistani sides’ argument, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on Kashmir, calling for withdrawal of all Pakistani troops from the region, reduction in the number of Indian troops to the minimum for the maintenance of law and order situation and a plebiscite under UN supervision. This UNSC resolution became useless and irrelevant as Pakistan sidestepped the call for the withdrawal of troops from the region, a mandate for the implementation of the resolution.

What is Shimla Agreement?

On July 2, 1972, the Shimla Agreement was signed between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Considered as a comprehensive blueprint for good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan, the Shimla Agreement calls upon the two countries to work towards the establishment of durable peace, friendship and cooperation.

Under the Agreement, the two countries resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means and through bilateral negotiations or by any other means mutually agreed upon between them. The two countries, under the Shimla Agreement, also agreed to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of each other in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

Among other things, India and Pakistan agreed to withdraw their forces to their side of the international border. They also agreed that the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir resulting from the ceasefire of December 17, 1971 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side. Besides, they agreed that neither side shall seek to alter the LoC unilaterally, irrespective of mutual difference and legal interpretations.

Has Pakistan violated UN Resolution and Shimla Agreement?

Undoubtedly, Pakistan has not only violated the UN Resolution, but also the Shimla Agreement. Against the spirit the Shimla Agreement, Pakistan divided occupied area of Kashmir into two parts: Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan. Pakistan has also changed the demographic profile of the region by settling outsiders there. Not only that, it is guilty of imposing a Constitution on them by ignoring legitimate aspiration of the local people.

Role of political leaders in making Kashmir a complex issue

Kashmir has become a rather complex issue today, partly due to vote bank politics and majorly due to Pakistan’s overt interference. Right to self-determination or call for plebiscite was brought in the political discourse of Kashmir by local political leaders of the state. Once used as a tool to serve interests of political parties, these issues have now taken roots in the psyche of a section of Kashmiri population who feel ideologically close to Pakistan. And this is the reason Pakistan feels encouraged in its attempt to abet anti-India sentiment in Kashmir.

To sharpen it, Islamabad shepherds terrorism and its agents like Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar and others. If intelligence reports are to be believed, more than 40 terrorist camps still exist in Pakistan where jihadis are trained to attack in India and its interests. All this poses a major challenge before the country. To counter it, multi-pronged approaches are required, including confidence building measures among the Kashmiris. However, it is not an easy task, because majority of Kashmiri population think in ideological terms, instead of political sense about their existence. In their call for self-determination, neither Kashmiri Pundits nor Buddhists living in the Ladakh region is included. Perhaps, this is the reason, Kashmiri youths’ demands have never been welcomed nor will they be welcomed in future.

Conclusion

Political leaders like Farooq Abdullah are doing no good to the cause of Kashmir and its interests by mouthing out provocative statements. Instead, he should support the parliamentary resolution which was passed in the 1990s. He knows it well that Kashmir is an integral part of India and by that account, if he says PoK doesn’t belong to India or Indian troops have no power to take it back from Pakistan, he is hammering at the very Constitution which considers unity and integrity of the nation sacrosanct.

 

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A journalist who has been covering diplomatic beat for years

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