Misleading avowals about plebiscite in Kashmir

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Dr Muhammad Khan

For decades, India has been misleading the Kashmiri masses, people of India and Pakistan and world community at large that Pakistan did not withdrew its forces from Kashmir as demanded by UN resolutions, therefore, plebiscite could not be held. This is factually a misleading Indian assertion to cover up its reluctance to hold the plebiscite in the disputed state. For the clarity of all those who still believe Indian narrative, it is submitted that two resolutions of United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) formed the basis for the plebiscite in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. These resolutions were adopted by UNCIP on 13 August 1948 and 05 January 1949. These resolutions outlined the detail procedure for the organization and conduct of the plebiscite in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. UNCIP resolution of August 13, 1948 asked withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan however, raised a query over the unilateral pull-out of the Pakistani forces, describing the uncertain situation in the state, since it was a temporary ceasefire. Therefore, Pakistan approached the UN Security Council for the reconciliation as far as the presence of forces on both sides of ceasefire was concerned.
The Pakistani request for the reconciliation was debated and finally through United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC)-98 adopted on 23 December 1952, a new force level for the maintenance of law and order on either side of ceasefire was established. UNSC resolution proposed a certain number of troops on either side of the ceasefire line. As proposed by the UN Representative 3000-6000 forces from Azad Kashmir Regular Forces and 3500 troops from the Gilgit and Northern Area Scouts will be deployed to ensure security along the ceasefire line on Pakistani side and 18000-24000 Indian forces along with 6000 local state forces (ex Dogra forces) will be deployed on Indian occupied side of state.
UNSC urged the Governments of India and Pakistan to enter into immediate negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Representative for India and Pakistan in order to reach an agreement on the proposed number of troops on either side of cease-fire line at the end of the previously established period of demilitarization. It was a unanimously adopted resolution without any opposition, though Pakistan demanded equal number of troops on both sides. This UNSC (S-2883) entitled India-Pakistan Question while thanking the UN Representative for his efforts and also asked India and Pakistan for compliance within 30 days after the adoption of this resolution. UNSC also asked the UN Representative to keep the Council informed of any progress.
Unfortunately, India kept delaying implementation of UNSC resolution-98, since it never wanted to hold the plebiscite in the state. The main character of this entire episode was Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, the Prime Minister of Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IoK). According to A G Noorani, the famous Indian writer, on 08 August 1953 Sheikh Abdullah was sacked from the office of Prime Minister of IoK and put behind the bars along with some colleagues. The Nehru-Abdullah rift marked a turning point in the history of Kashmir. It is said that Nehru was constantly pressurizing Abdullah to finalise the accession of Kashmir with Indian Union, which the latter was reluctant. Another reason was the Jan Sangh-supported agitation in Jammu province of the State.
Under pressure Sh Abdullah came clear against Nehru on 10 April 1952 at his famous speech at Ranbirsinghpura. He said that, “Kashmir’s accession to India would have to be of a restricted nature as the communal spirit still existed in India. He further said, “So far as Kashmir was concerned, it wanted to preach the mission of secular democracy, both to India and Pakistan.” Nehru took note of Abdullah’s speech. However, later, there was a temporary phase of reconciliation, the way Nehru wanted. On 24 July 1952, Nehru and Abdullah concluded the famous Delhi Agreement on Kashmir’s closer integration with the Indian Union. The relationship between the two, however, remained tense and unfriendly until dismissal of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah.
Through dismissal of Sheikh Abdullah and other measures, Nehru was delaying the plebiscite in the IoK. He, however, was careful too since UNSC resolution 91 of March 30, 1951 did not allow accession of the State with Indian Union. This resolution reminded the governments and authorities that the final disposition of the State will be as per United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan resolutions of 13 August 1948 and 05 January. It will be in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite, conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.
Indeed, this resolution came in order to stop the All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference from any attempt to decide the future of Kashmir in favour of India. The resolution says, “The future shape and affiliation of the entire State or any part thereof would not constitute a disposition of the State in accordance with the above principle.” This resolution was reiterated by another UN resolution on 24 January 1957. Indeed, India never wanted a plebiscite in Kashmir due to obvious reasons that Kashmiris will never vote for India. Therefore, not Pakistan, but India is responsible for delaying and creating stumbling blocks towards a final resolution of Kashmir dispute. The world community must emphasize India for the conduct of plebiscite in Kashmir as per UN resolutions.


The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.

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