In the annals of history, October 27, 1947, stands as a somber reminder of a pivotal moment that forever altered the destiny of the Kashmir region. Just two months after the hard-fought independence of Pakistan, India, in a surreptitious alliance with Lord Mountbatten, executed a move that marked a dark chapter in the Kashmir saga.
On this ominous day, tribesmen from FATA, who had strategically seized locations like Muzafarabad and Chakothi, were on the cusp of camping at Baramula on October 26. The Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, had fled to Jammu, leaving the capital city, Srinagar, vulnerable to annexation.
The ground access to Kashmir had been reshaped by the Radcliffe Award, granting India the Muslim-majority Gurdaspur District and depriving Pakistan of crucial Ravi and Sutlej Headworks. Questions about the legitimacy of the Standstill Accession Agreement signed by Hari Singh on October 26, 1947, were raised by Western authors, including Alistair Lamb.
Mountbatten facilitated India’s control over 565 Princely States, including those with a desire to join Pakistan. The boundaries agreed upon in the June 3, 1947, partition plan underwent significant alterations through the unjust Radcliffe Award, leading to the ceding of East Punjab to India, among other changes.
The saga of Kashmir continued, with India attempting to absorb Jammu and Kashmir. However, resilient resistance from tribal forces, Azad Forces, and a Pakistani army brigade prevented the fall of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and possibly Gilgit-Baltistan.
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In November 1948, as the tide turned in favor of Pakistan, Jawaharlal Nehru rushed to the UN, seeking a ceasefire. Despite pledging to grant the right of self-determination to Kashmiris and hold a fair plebiscite, India had already annexed significant portions of Jammu and Kashmir by the time the ceasefire took effect.
Subsequently, Nehru backtracked on his promises, adopting delaying tactics and sidelining 11 UN resolutions. The Simla Accord of 1972 changed the ceasefire line to the Line of Control (LoC), with both countries agreeing to bilateralism and excluding third-party involvement. This marked a period of relative dormancy until the Kashmiris reignited their struggle in October 1989.
Inspired by events like the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Afghan Jihad, Kashmiri youth, led by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) under Syed Geelani, initiated an armed uprising. However, unlike India’s exploitation of the Mukti Bahini rebellion in East Pakistan in 1971, Pakistan refrained from capitalizing on the Kashmiri insurgency due to geopolitical constraints.
General Zia-ul-Haq, envisioning the liberation of Kashmir, was poised to support both the Kashmir and Khalistan movements. However, his untimely demise in 1988 shifted the dynamics. The Kashmiris continued their struggle against brutal Indian forces, facing atrocities and human rights abuses.
The political landscape in Pakistan witnessed significant shifts, with various regimes adopting different approaches toward Kashmir. Benazir Bhutto’s era saw a reversal of gains in Afghanistan and Kashmir, while Nawaz Sharif pursued diplomatic initiatives with various Indian leaders. The post-9/11 era brought new challenges, as Pakistan faced allegations of supporting terrorism.
The Indo-Pak peace treaty of 2004 failed to materialize, and General Pervez Musharraf’s out-of-the-box solution proposal faced skepticism. The Mumbai attacks in 2008 strained diplomatic relations, shifting the narrative toward terrorism rather than the Kashmir issue.
The narrative intensified India’s efforts to paint itself as a victim of terrorism, with global powers supporting its stance. The 20-year war on terror bled Pakistan economically and politically, but its successes in countering terrorism received little recognition.
Following the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, Pakistan’s response to India’s actions in Kashmir remained tepid. The PTI government’s reluctance to capitalize on the international stage and its failure to take bold actions reflected internal weaknesses and compromises.
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Looking forward, we outline key steps for Pakistan to recalibrate its Kashmir policy:
- Cease the policy of compromise and appeasement.
- Revive armed resistance in IOK, turning it into a bleeding wound for India.
- Galvanize separatist movements within India, offering a tit-for-tat response.
- Adopt an offensive defense policy, proactive diplomacy, and a media strategy.
- Highlight India’s war crimes in Kashmir and present evidence to international bodies.
- Utilize AJK as a forward operational base for Kashmir.
- Establish a government in exile for J&K in Muzaffarabad.
- Formulate a comprehensive and consensus-driven Kashmir policy with well-defined objectives.
- Keep the hopes of Kashmiris alive.
- Consolidate the home front.
- Include China as the fourth stakeholder in Kashmir.
- Expose India’s ulterior designs, which have no soft corner for Pakistan.
In conclusion, the urgency for Pakistan to reassess its Kashmir strategy is underscored. We advocate for proactive measures, both domestically and internationally, to safeguard Pakistan’s interests and support the rightful cause of Kashmir. As we navigate through the complex tapestry of Kashmir’s history, Zorayskhalid.com remains committed to shedding light on the untold narratives that shape our understanding of this critical region.