The so-called dispute vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir has two aspects to be analyzed historically and scientifically. Firstly, the external factor which involves Pakistan and China both though Bangladesh as a splinter off Pakistan is also a shareholder in the so-called dispute. Secondly, the internal insecurity prevailing in the Indian State of J&K because of the regional imbalances and discrimination at various levels of politics, recruitments and development.
The entire State of J&K as it existed on 26th October, 1947 under the rule of Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh acceded to the Union of India when the Governor-General of India, Lord Mountbatten accepted the Instrument of Accession which was signed by the Maharaja on 26th October, 1947 at his residential Amar Singh Palace in Jammu. The State of J&K with its internationally established area of 84,471 sq. miles comprised of entire Jammu Pradesh, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh region & Baltistan-Gilgit region (under illegal occupation of Pakistan) including Hunza & Chitral. Pakistani-sponsored invasion of J&K took on 20th October, 1947 a month after Pakistan had signed Standstill Agreement with the Govt. of the Maharaja. Pakistan continues to occupy 33,958 sq. miles of our territory in utter violation of UN Resolution of 13th August, 1948. It was the only Mr. Krishna Menon who exposed Pakistani claims on the floors of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1957. Indian leadership failed to take a cognizance of several violations of the UN Resolutions by Pakistan vis-à-vis J&K. Indian leadership as well as its mighty Army under the leadership of General Kariappa was capable enough to liberate all occupied territories immediately after J&K acceded to India. Another unforgiveable blunder was committed by the Congress by piloting Article 306A as a draft proposal vis-à-vis J&K. This proposal was piloted by Shri Ayyangar who was Incharge of J&K Affairs. This was most unfortunate that there was not a single representative in the Constituent Assembly from Dogra land nor from Ladakh or Gilgit. This proposal which was inserted in the Constitution of India as Article 370 recognized Shri Hari Singh as the Maharaja of J&K, though, for ulterior motives to ensure a platform for Sheikh Abdullah’s dynasty. Another blunder committed by the Congress leadership in Delhi was that the Govt. of India kept silent when Pakistan signed Karachi Agreement with China leasing out J&K’s territory in Karakoram measuring 4500 sq. miles on 99 years’ lease to build a National Highway connecting Beijing (China) with Peshawar (Pakistan). This was another grave violation of the UN Security Council Resolution. Earlier, Pakistan had refused to withdraw J&K’s occupied territories as per mandate of the UN Resolution, 13th August, 1948. Pakistan did not care to withdraw its Armies from the occupied areas of J&K. On the other hand Pakistan had occupied Mirpur (former District of Jammu) and Kotli, presently included in the so-called ‘Azad Kashmir’ (POK). On 25th of November, 1947 exactly a month after the Accession of the State, Mirpur fell in the hands of Pakistani Army. India stood helpless. Gilgit-Baltistan fell in November, 1947.
China had grabbed 9,171 sq. miles of J&K’s territory in 1962 and continued expanding its occupation. Roughly, 20,000 sq. miles of our territories is under the Chinese occupation. The national leadership irrespective of political affiliations and status in the Parliament have literally ignored these hard facts. There is no public awareness either. Thanks to the political parties and the politicians who are more interested in power game and revenue collection than attending to the national issues confronting Bharata today. Pakistan has been bluffing the entire world vis-à-vis J&K. Pakistan has illegally grabbed 28,000 sq. miles of J&K’s territory in Gilgit region which is integral part of the Union of India by virtue of J&K’s Accession to the Union in accordance with the Act of British Parliament. Indian leadership failed to create awareness in the international fraternity on the grave violation of UN Resolutions by Pakistan. This was also a tragedy of the time that Anglo-American Bloc joined hands together to destabilize India. Pakistan was a strategic partner of the Anglo-American Bloc. USSR had highly important role in the United Nations regarding J&K. The international situation has taken a very important turn with the emergence of new, pragmatic and courageous leadership in Russia after Vladimir Putin took over as President of the Russian Federation. Syria would have turned into Iraq had Vladimir Putin not acted promptly and boldly for the sake of peace in the Middle-East.
Whatever may be the reasons, soft or compelling for Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief to wake up the so-called J&K ‘dispute’ in the White House during his recent visit, this has to be accepted that the extremist elements have a powerful voice within Pakistan to create a situation disturbing democracy in Pakistan. Equally, this is very important for the politicians in the sub-continent to understand that the White House leadership has undergone a sea-change during four decades, may it be, Afghanistan or Persian factor or US internal situation which does not allow the US to take a further plunge abroad. The economy of the US has been sinking and the leadership is not unified. The US has discovered India as its most profitable market in all respects. The US needs profitable customers and a growing market to sell their outdated stuff. Dr. Manmohan Singh’s closing international voyage to China via Moscow on the eve of elections to the Parliament of India deserves a special attention of the politicians, intellectuals, historians, critics as well as friends and foes of India. The external factor relating to J&K needs a strong, committed, courageous, secular and nationalist leadership at the Centre. Pakistani Army has been over ambitious and tasted power without any responsibility towards its people. General Kayani is not happy to retire on 23rd November, 2013. It is the Army which is looking for any excuse to take over power. That is possible only if there is a reason to create a national emergency. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief has no control over General Kayani. Nawaz Sharief might have pleaded with US President Obama to save his government from the wrath of his own Army. The J&K external factor has to be addressed by the Indian leadership. India needs a uniform foreign policy and a common policy vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir. Nobody can separate J&K from rest of the country. After all J&K forms integral part of the Union of India.
The internal factor that is caused insecurity rather disturbed the internal security from time to time needs to be addressed by the Parliament of India. The internal conflict is created by the blunders of Indian leadership. The Parliament of India is fully competent under Article 368 of the Constitution to amend any part of the Constitution. Article 370 is a temporary provision. Is there any example in the Constitutional history of any democratic country in the world that temporary would last for more than half a century? Article 370 recognizes Maharaja Hari Singh as the ruler or head of the Govt. of J&K. The provision of Article 370 became infructuous, the day, the Constituent Assembly of J&K terminated Monarchy in J&K on 20th August, 1952. The very purpose as Ayyangar put it before the Constituent Assembly of India to introduce Article 370 was to contain the ruler of J&K as desired by Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah. Those who have been arguing to retain Article 370 as permanent feature in fact are advocating for the restoration of Monarchy in J&K. The latest claim of the J&K Chief Minister that J&K had acceded to the Union of India and not merged is highly mischievous and reactionary for the reason that whatever powers Maharaja Hari Singh had retained for himself and allowed by the Constituent Assembly for ulterior purpose came to an end with the termination of the powers of Maharaja Hari Singh on 20th August, 1952.
It is the Parliament alone which is responsible for the internal chaos in J&K as the Parliament committed one more blunder by abdicating its authority to legislate in respect of defence, foreign affairs, communications etc., the subjects which were expressly transferred to the Union of India by Maharaja Hari Singh. For 63 years, the Parliament has never cared for the people of J&K to legislate in respect of the Central Subjects enumerated in the List-I. There was no occasion to empower President of India as the viceroy of J&K with a mandate to issue Presidential Orders in case of emergency to introduce Central Laws subject to the approval of the government headed by the Maharaja of J&K (read Article 370). This is another unfortunate obstacle in the process of the integration of the State with rest of the country that Article 370 empowers the President of India to legislate by issuing Presidential Order rather the President of India has powers to amend any provision in Article 370 provided such a legislation is recommended by the Constituent Assembly of J&K. Does it mean that the Govt. of J&K is enjoying power superior to the President of India even? Is President of India or the Parliament under the control of the Govt. of J&K? Neither Maharaja is there nor Constituent Assembly. Does it mean that Parliament of India has no power even to amend Article 370 in order to integrate J&K further with the rest of the country? That’s why reorganization of J&K is inevitable and the only way to strengthen National Integration and ensure end of regional imbalances and discrimination at all levels. The Parliament must respect the popular will of the people of J&K who acceded to the Union 66 years’ back.
Bhim Singh (Chief Patron, National Panthers Party, Member, National Integration Council & Sr. Executive Member, Supreme Court Bar Association)