Kashmir: The British Blunder by Dr Zia ul Haque Shamsi

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No other community has suffered the pain of partition of British India as much as the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir have, and continue to do that. And, make no mistake, it is due to a deliberate British ploy or a blunder.

Historically, both India and Pakistan have had stated stances on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). India maintained that J&K is an integral part of India, whereas Pakistan was of the view that J&K is the disputed territory and needs to be resolved under the relevant UN Resolutions, giving the Rights of Self-Determination to the people of J&K. India always maintained that J&K is its internal issue and it would not accept any third party mediation or arbitration. Whereas, Pakistan insisted that J&K is a disputed territory, and Pakistan would welcome any outside help that may resolve the long-standing issue to eliminate the miseries faced by the people of J&K.

However, India’s unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, have decolonized the decades-old Kashmir conflict. India abrogated its Constitution’s Article 370 and 35A, which gave special status to the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and therefore, decolonizing the issue of J&K. India’s leadership feels emboldened from its actions and now openly threatens to annex by force Pakistan’s part of Azad Kashmir. India has released new maps of its political boundaries showing Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as its Union Territories (India Today, November 2019). Therefore, Pakistan is well within its right to respond to India’s preparation, which is evident from the aggressive overtures of India’s leadership.

The term decolonization refers to, ‘the process in which a country that was previously a colony becomes politically independent.’ The ruler of the State of Kashmir at the time of British India’s partition, Raja Hari Singh acceded to India only on three subjects; defense, external affairs, and communications. Also, the “ruler had earned an assurance that the people of J&K through their own Constituent Assembly would draft their constitution.” The ‘instrument of accession’ was signed between Hari Singh and India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on October 26, 1947. The same was accepted by the Governor General of India Lord Mountbatten on the following day. Therefore, India’s August 5 actions have decolonized the issue of J&K by repudiating the historical agreement which led to the incorporation of Article 370 in India’s Constitution.

India’s actions and subsequent rhetorical statements of its senior ministers have defied its status quo position on J&K, thereby decolonizing the issue. Because the phrase ‘Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the partition’ remains a punch line for not only Pakistan but also other stakeholders.

India has come out of its age-old strategy of pendency on matters related to J&K. Under the subject strategy, India maintained the status quo on all its disputes with Pakistan in general and J&K in particular. This paradigm shift in India’s strategy of dealing with the issue of J&K has transformed the dispute to a different level, particularly after the recent decision by India’s Supreme Court. In its unanimous verdict, the five-member Supreme Court bench said the special status given to Kashmir was a “temporary provision” and held that its 2019 removal by the Hindu nationalist government was “constitutionally valid.”

India’s insistence on the correctness of its August 5 actions, followed by extremely aggressive statements of its senior leadership, and the Supreme Court’s decision is indicative of its calculated strategy. India’s assumption that the international community would not make much hue and cry on the issue has proven to quite an extent.

Be it for Kashmir or Palestine, the international community appears as if these matters do not relate to Human Rights or the Rights of Self-Determination as promised in several UN Resolutions. The indifference and the quietness of the international community on the systematic genocide of Kashmiris and the Palestinians is the product of the British blunders of the previous century. However, these deliberate acts of the British are well supported by the US and its European allies, and therefore, cannot be absolved of their role in the genocide of poor Palestinians and Kashmiris.

Kashmir and Palestine remain the most challenging issues the international community is faced with, particularly because of the inability of the international institutions to give justice to the poor people of these disputed territories. India and Israel, over the years, have turned into criminalized states, which have the full support of the so-called developed societies, particularly the governments of these developed states. However, one must not take the credit away from the people of these developed countries who continue to voice their concerns in favour of Palestine and Kashmir, perhaps more than the people of the Islamic states.

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Disclaimer: Kashmir: The British Blunder by Dr Zia ul Haque Shamsi - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view

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