(POK) Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is an fragmentary agenda of Separation
Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is an fragmentary agenda of Separation (POK)
India must reclaim Gilgit-Baltistan to free its people from oppression
(POK)Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif in a recent address to students reiterated Pakistan’s longstanding position on Kashmir describing it as ‘an unfinished agenda of Partition’. Terming J &K & Pakistan as inseparable, he called for a plebiscite as per Kashmiri people’s aspirations in the light of United Nation’s resolution on Kashmir. The viewpoint is a reflection of Pakistani elite’s six decade long Kashmir obsession which has earned the country three wars and seamless international infamy over promotion of terrorism.
This brings into sharp focus the dark days of October, 1947. The independent princely states of Jammu & Kashmir which had the option of joining India or Pakistan or remaining independent mulled over the last option and even entered into a stand-still agreement with Pakistan. Jinnah and Liaqat Ali Khan, immediately on entering office, began plotting an illegal war to seize the princely state. A stupid statement by Deputy Prime Minister of Kashmir-that the state will remain independent till either India or Pakistan use force to goad it think otherwise- provided the clue and alibi. Hardly two months into partition, in an act of aggression reminiscent of China of today, Pakistan bared its expansionist designs as around twelve thousand tribal militants-mainly Pathans- invaded Kashmir from north; unleashing looting, plunder, rape and killings in the process. They were supported by army trucks and heavy ammunitions but Pakistan maintained that they were jihadis. Thus, no sooner had the state been born, it had formulated religious fundamentalism as an avowed instrument of statecraft. Now it has graduated to a centre of world terrorism and religious fundamentalism. The template for state sponsored terrorism set from the day of birth sticks even after three defeats. The instances of parallels of the then Pakistan with that of present days establishes that the country is yet to learn how to live among the comity of civilised nations. Firstly, it has always depended on barbaric militants, religious fundamentalists to espouse its cause, unfolding all nefarious designs under their facade. In Kashmir terrorists and religious fundamentalists were encouraged to unleash unprecedented violence on Pundits. Terrorism has remained an integral part of Islamabad’s machinations. Secondly, it has always tried to alter the demography of the territories it rules. In Bangladesh it unleashed hell as Hindus and minorities were looted, tortured. The remnants of those fundamentalist elements are even today responsible for whatever ills happening in that society. In Kashmir it forced mass exodus of around 1.5 to 3 lakhs of Kashmiri Brahmins for a probable favourable plebiscite in future. Same thing with the Shia majority in Gilgit-Baltistan as hordes of unruly, barbaric Sunnis are being settled there to upset demographics to the utter disgust of original inhabitants.
Thirdly, it degrades the minority living regions to a colony of Islamabad. Pakistan treated Bangladesh as its colony heaping all types of abuses on the land which constituted a part of its geographic entity. It meted out inhuman treatment to Bangladeshis through exploitation of mineral resources solely for Pakistan’s development emphatically suppressing dissent through torture, extortion and persecution. It is repeating mistakes of 1971, treating Gilgit-Baltisatn as a colony and resorting to resettlement of Sunni Punjabis in the region. That Pakistan’s minister for Kashmir affairs is also the governor of Gilgit-Baltistan truely confirms that G-B is a colony of Pakistan. Fourthly, it is a case of devil citing its own scriptures which lacks logic. Pakistan does not honour the instrument of accession of king of an independent state, holding people’s opinion against it, since it does not suit its purpose. It does a volte face on Afghan border wherein it holds Afghan Amirs agreement on Durand Line as sacrosanct, and plays no heed to popular Pashtun agitations. That King Hari Singh’s instrument of Accession was subsequently ratified through people’s opinion in 1952 when overwhelmingly people favoured accession to India renders Pakistan’s contention hollow. Fifthly, Pak stance on plebiscite is ambivalent. Pakistan vacating the occupied territory was pre-condition for plebiscite which the country did not do thereby stalling the process then and there while blaming India for such violations.
And now the answer to Raheel Sharif and all those in Pakistan stuck to the Kashmir dream. Kashmir joined Indian Union and not the dominion of Pakistan voluntarily. Pakistan’s violation of stand-still agreement was bad in ethics and use of force in violation of the treaty of accession was bad in law. The operation to occupy Kashmir by force began in October 1947 and continues to this day as the terror state tries all tricks of force and deceit to maintain illegal occupation. POK, in fact, is an unfinished agenda of Partition. India has so far not been sincere to vacate invaders from Kashmiri soil. It should plan in right earnest to reclaim territories under forcible occupation of Pakistan for last sixty seven years. India rightly objects to polls in Gilgit-Baltistan which it views as Islamabad’s ‘attempt to camouflage its forcible and illegal occupation of the region which was part of J&K before 1947. Pakistan’s psyche, which still dwells in the violence ridden Arabic society of seventh century, is awfully out of sync with times. World and India have moved on to multicultural states and societies. Promotion of religious fundamentalism prevents it learn the ways of living in multicultural and multi-religious societies which are current realities.
It is said in Gita that as and when the earth is burdened with irreligious activities, God takes his incarnation to redeem the helpless. When Bangladesh was reduced to a colony of Pakistan and Bangladeshi people to third grade citizens, Indian intervention restored honour and dignity to people in Bangladesh at a great cost to self—both economic and human. Persistent settlement of fundamentalist camps have rendered Gilgit-Baltistan region a hell for peaceful residents.Bangladesh and Giltgit-Baltistan buttress one fundamental truth- Shias and Hindus are not safe in Pakistan. Can India step up to the plate and liberate the people of this area from the social rupture caused by Sunni fundamentalists?
India must reiterate its claim on Pak Occupied Kashmir to remind the international community that dispute is not about Kashmir valley but also those areas under Pakistan occupation-Ajad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Aksai Chin-Greater Kashmir in short. Countries occupying Greater Kashmir must vacate the areas for promotion of democratic values to sustain multicultural societies which constitute the spice of living in today’s world. Bangladesh is already put on the road to tolerance, development and prosperity. Similar peace and prosperity will usher in Gilgit-Baltistan region once it is freed from the evil clutches of Pakistan. And that will complete the unfinished agenda of partition.