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Save Kashmir, Save Humanity: Hold Promised Plebiscite in Kashmir

Save Kashmir, Save Humanity: Hold Promised Plebiscite in Kashmir

The Indian Independence Act and the partition plan of 3 June, 1947, envisaged the division of the Indian sub-continent into two sovereign states of Pakistan and India. There were more than five hundred princely states in India at the time of partition ruled by the native rulers who enjoyed autonomy in running the affairs of their states. These states were given the option to join any of the two dominions keeping in view the demographic realities and their geographical proximity.

    Ruler of Hyderabad who was a Muslim wanted to join Pakistan, but the Indian government annexed the state using its military might on the plea that since majority of the population of Hyderabad was Hindu it could not accede to Pakistan. Kashmir having 87 percent Muslim population was ruled by a Sikh ruler.The sikh ruler of Kashmir was not able to form a decision so he wanted to take time to make a final decision and for that extent he signed standstill agreement with the Government of Pakistan. He then wanted to sign the standstill agreement with india as well but india refused to do so which alarmed the establishment of Pakistan.

    The people of Kashmir were desirous of joining Pakistan due to its geographical proximity and their historic, religious and cultural bonds with the people of Pakistan. However the Indian government coerced the Sikh ruler to join the Indian dominion. That was a classic example of the Indian double standards and its betrayal of the principles enshrined in the partition plan and negation of the reasons it employed to capture Hyderabad.The muslims of Jammu area were killed by the Dogra army with the help of Hindus and Sikhs. it is said that more than 4 lakh muslims were killed at that point of juncture.

    Later Pashtun Muslims invaded kashmir because they wanted to save the Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir and wanted to make kashmir as the part of Pakistan. The sikh ruler sought india's help to fight the Pashtun tribals and indian army landed into Kashmir. The sikh ruler signed the instrument of accession with india but it was made conditional. Kashmiri people were promised that they will be will given chance to decide their future as soon as the situation gets normal. The presence of Indian Army in kashmir fueled the conflagration and eventually led to war between Pakistan and India.

    The Indian government approached the UN on 1 January, 1948, for help in the matter. A number of resolutions were adopted by the UN emphasizing the need for immediate cessation of hostilities, demarcation of the ceasefire line, demilitarization of the territory and deciding the question of accession through a plebiscite under the auspices of UN.

    With the passing of the resolutions, a ceasefire came into effect and a demarcation line was also drawn which partitioned Kashmir into Azad Kashmir and Indian-held Kashmir. On the question of demilitarisation of the valley, no headway could be made due to the Indian intransigence.

    The head of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan Sir Oven Dixon, an eminent Australian jurist, quit his job in protest against non-cooperation by India. However, the Indian leader Jawahar Lal Nehru in the correspondence exchanged with Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his statements in the Indian parliament kept reiterating his commitment to abide by the UN resolutions and allow the people of Kashmir to settle the question of accession through their free will.

    Kashmir's right of self-determination and is intact ,genuine and legal in the eyes of international law. There is striking resemblance between UN Resolutions of 13 August 1948 and in Text of Mountbatten's conditional acceptance of doubtful instrument of Accession of Hari Singh.

    Resolution of 13th August 1948 said that the "future status of the state shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people. The letter of Mountbatten dated 26 October says - special circumstances mentioned by your Highness my Government have decided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. Consistently with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question if accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State.

    The more likely outcome is that Kashmir will become independent, if this option is available. In a recent poll, almost 75% of Kashmiris, including Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists, favored independence. There is no reason why Kashmir, like India before it, could not opt for secularism, thus protecting all three religions equally.

    Kashmir is waiting for plebiscite promised to them by the international society in 1948 and have laid uncountable sacrifices for their right to self determination.

    In the wake of 1971 war, India and Pakistan signed Simla Agreement committing themselves to resolve all disputes including Kashmir through bilateral negotiations. Under the Simla Pact ceasefire, the line was changed into line of control. It does not say Kashmir dispute is solved or self-determination kept on hold. A further clause of Simla agreement says - That the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between India and Pakistan.

    This keeps UN resolutions on Kashmir live. But unfortunately the Indians never responded positively to Pakistan’s overtures for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Frustrated by this continued stalemate, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front launched an armed struggle against the Indian occupation of Kashmir in 1989. India responded by inducting more than seven Lac troops, who let loose a reign of terror in the valley. The international community which initially recognized the move as a freedom struggle has shown criminal indifference to the cause of Kashmiris after 9/11.

    Especially Since 1989, Indian forces are committing heinous crimes against Innocent kashmiris. Kashmir is the most militrilized zone in the world.

    It is for all these reasons, the Kashmir people deserve a referendum. The people of Kashmir have made it obvious that they want freedom. There have been daily protests resulting in the loss of many lives. In order to stop the bloodshed, a robust political solution is required. They should have the right to vote on their own independence and freedom.

Fatalities So Far

    Jan. 1989 to 31st December, 2016

    Total Killings  94595

    Custodial Killings 7,078

    Civilians Arrested 139,612

    Structures Arsoned/Destroyed 107,740

    Women Widowed 22,831

    Children Orphaned 107,603

    Women gang-raped / Molested 10,828

    Enforced Disappearances 10,000 +

    Blinded 100s

Author: Advocate Sheikh Arshid

Twitter: @AdvocateArshid
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