Pakistan had claimed in its written submission to the UN Security Council that it was not involved in the invasion of the state of J&K. However, Col. Akbar Khan, who planned and led the tribal invasion as a serving officer of the Pakistan Army, has mentioned in his memoirs (his book: Raiders in Kashmir, 1992 available on the internet) how the invasion was approved in a meeting chaired by Pakistan’s PM Liaquat Ali Khan.
By Amb D P Srivastava
Pakistan agreed to the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) resolution of August 1948 which asked Pakistan to withdraw its forces as well as Pakistani nationals from the state of J&K. Pakistan’s withdrawal from the territory illegally occupied by it was a condition precedent for holding of the Plebiscite. Pakistan has never withdrawn from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and instead consolidated its hold on the territory.
Pakistan’s apologists claim that its continued hold on POK and Northern Areas now re-named Gilgit-Baltistan based on reference to ‘Local Authorities’ in the UNCIP resolution. This is a complete travesty of truth. The resolution which had asked Pakistan to completely withdraw from the territory illegally occupied by it cannot be cited in support of the continued occupation of the territory. The phrase referred to the administration of the State of J&K which could not be restored as Pakistan never withdrew from the territory occupied by it. A reading of the UNCIP resolution also makes clear that the ‘Local authority’ in the area occupied by Pakistan was to function under the surveillance of the UN Commission for India and Pakistan, not that of Pakistan.
Pakistan signed the Tashkent and Simla Agreements, which constitute valid international obligations of India and Pakistan. Neither of the Treaties accepted by Pakistan made any reference to UN resolutions or on UN Military Observers Group on India and Pakistan’s (UNMOGIP) role.
Pakistan rejected the plebiscite on all three occasions when a formal proposal was made in 1948, 1950, and 1953. The reason for Pakistan’s reluctance was that in 1948, ‘tribals’ had looted, killed, and raped Hindus, Muslims, and Christians in the state of J&K. From 1950 onwards, the Pakistan Army and police were engaged in a military operation in POK which lasted the mid-50s. Pakistan knew that the result of the vote will not go in its favour.
POK High Court’s judgment of 1993 stated that Pakistan’s separation of the Northern Areas in a secret agreement signed with Muslim Conference leaders in 1949 constituted a violation of the UN Security Council resolution. Pakistan had changed the territorial status quo without a plebiscite.
Pakistan has used an ambiguous definition of State Subject in the POK constitution to change the demographic composition of the POK. Article 4(7) (3) of POK’s constitution rules out self-determination and leaves accession to Pakistan as the only choice. Under article 31, the legislative and executive authority was vested in a Council headed by Pakistan’s Prime Minister while the elected legislature and government were left with undefined powers. This was Rule by Proxy. The Under 13th amendment of the POK’s constitution in 2018, Pakistan has assumed direct legislative and executive powers over 32 subjects within POK, while Pakistan’s approval is needed in the case of the remaining 22 subjects as well. In a parallel development, the Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 has abolished the entire list of 61 subjects on which the elected legislature was given limited authority since 2009. Both developments took place a year before India deleted article 370.
Article 370 has no link with the accession issue which was already decided with the Maharaja signing the letter of accession to India. It was a temporary measure provided under the Indian constitution. The people of J&K have enjoyed participating in a plural, democratic order which does not exist on the other side of the Line of Control.
POK receives Rs. 0.15 per unit as water usage charges, while the people of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa receive Rs. 1.10 per unit as ‘Net Hydro-power Royalty’ (NHP). Thus POK receives 1/7 the price given to Pakistan’s provinces. The discriminatory treatment is justified on the ground that POK and Gilgit-Baltistan are not part of Pakistan. Their distinctive status did not come in the way of exploiting their resources; this issue is raised only when it comes to paying a fair and equitable price to them.
This article first appeared in www.vifindia.org and it belongs to them.