Farooq Sahib, PoK doesn’t belong to Pak

Straight Talk
K B Jandial

Controversies are neither new to Dr. Farooq Abdullah nor is heaverse to these. Many feel that he deliberately creates these but the fact is that he probably relishes controversies that are almost synonym to him.  The beauty about him is that his controversial observations are usually applauded by the audience wherever he speaks especially when he mixes a heavy dose of his emotions with raised pitch to sound logical and correct, but more often he is not. The recent much talked about his statements on PoK and mocking PM Modi and BJP to dare getting it vacated from Pakistan and hoist Tricolor at Lal Chowk, fall in this category.
Farooq Abdullah is technically and legally wrong when he declared,”I tell them in plain terms – not only to Indians but also to the world – that PoK belongs to Pakistan and this side to India. This won’t change. Let them fight how many wars they want to. This won’t change.” A leader who has the honour of being three times CM of J&K, Union Minister once and MLA and MP for umpteen years is not expected to use this constitutionally wrong position unless he has a design to be at Centre stage, both in the State and national political scene. Constitutionally, legally and even politically he is wrong. By no stretch of any logic, PoK doesn’t belong to Pakistan despite being inhostile possession since 1947.
Constitutionally, a Princely State in British India could have joined either of the Dominions only by an Instrument of Accession. And this power to decide and sign solely vested in the Ruler and no one else. There were 562 princely states in united India before Independence and every Ruler had to execute the identical Instrument of Accession which is the only document mandated by the India Independence Act, 1947 and Government of India Act, 1935 to determine the units joining either of the Dominions. Pakistan in the first place, doesn’t have any such Instrument of Accession in its favour signed by the Maharaja.
Pakistan organised rebellion in Maharaja’s state forces on religious lines and sent armed invaders in to Maharaja’s territory, killed innocent people irrespective their religion and captured substantial territory. Had Maharaja Hari Singh not signed Instrument of Accession in those critical hours of destruction, annihilation and bloodbath, even Srinagar would have fallen in the hands of raiders. Thanks to gallant forces of Indian Army who not saved the Capital from being captured by the invaders but started pushing them and getting vacated town after town till cease-fire was ordered.
Farooq sahib, how can the territory captured by deceit and annihilation belong to the marauders? But for the ill-advised cease-fire on 1st January, 1948, the territory now occupied by Pakistan would have been a part of united Jammu & Kashmir as it existed on 15th August, 1947. Saying that PoK belongs to Pakistan amounts to giving premium to illegal acts of a state like invasion, raids and annexation.
Politically, it is against the make-believe perception that people of Kashmir wants unification of both Kashmir. There have been CMPs and even track two diplomacy that envisages softening of borders with Pakistan, first step towards unification of both Kashmir. There has been proposal to make borders irrelevant.These are basically political statements of political parties and not necessarily, the genuine voice of the people. In our democratic system, the political parties lay down narratives for winning the electoral mandate. If one regularly watches to& fro traffic across the LoC, considered one of the most important CBMs for J&K launched in April 2005, not many people our side used the’Caravan-e-Amen’ weekly bus service. Many times, the bus had left without any passenger from this side. So, those there are few takers of “soft or irrelevant border” between two J&K but its psychological effect in Kashmir could be huge?
One of the major grounds for criticism of Farooq sahib’ adverse discourse is that he has taken a position that is in contravention of 1994 Parliament’s unanimous resolution on J&K. Being now a member of Lok Sabha,the highest temple of democracy, he was expected to respect its Resolution, even when it may not be implementable or he is not a party to it. One needs to go back to 1994 when Kashmir situation was the worst and world opinion was also not favourable to India as by then the world had actually not ‘tasted’ the harsh dose of terrorism. The Resolution was actually reiteration of India’s constitutional position with reinforced strength drawn from the rare unanimity of people’s representatives across the board.
On 22nd February 1994, the Lok Sabha unanimously passed a resolution that condemned Pakistan’s role “in imparting training to the terrorists in camps located in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, the supply of weapons and funds, assistance in infiltration of trained militants, including foreign mercenaries into Jammu and Kashmir with the avowed purpose of creating disorder, disharmony and subversion”.
It called upon “Pakistan to stop forthwith its support to terrorism, which is in violation of the Shimla Agreement and the internationally accepted norms of inter-State conduct and is the root cause of tension between the two countries”.
Significantly, it also expressed “regret and concern at the pitiable conditions and violations of  human rights and denial of democratic freedoms of the people in those areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan”.
Concluding it said, “On behalf of the people of India the House firmly declares that  (a) The State of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means; (b) India has the will and capacity to firmly counter all designs against its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity; and demands that  (c) Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression; and resolves that (d) all attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely.”
There are some important issues in the Resolution. One is that J&K is an integral part of India. Second  is that Pakistan must vacate our territory. And the third one is to send a message to Pakistan that India with full unanimity on Kashmir has the capacity and strength to thwart any threat to India’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. J&K being integral part of India is not because of 1994 Resolution but Section 3 of J&K constitution that has settled this issue for all times to come. Section 4 of the Constitution clearly defiles the territory of the State. The State of Jammu & Kashmir doesn’t mean only the part that is with us but all the territories which on the 15th day of August, 1947, were under the sovereignty of the Ruler of the State.  It clearly means the entire 2, 22,236 sq. kms territory of J&K that was under the Maharaja Hari Singh sovereignty with the lapse of British paramountcy on 15th August, 1947. It also included 78114 sq. kms under illegal occupation of Pakistan, 37,555 sq. kms under illegal occupation of China and 5,180 sq. kms have been illegally handed over to China by Pakistan. Pakistan didn’t have any legal right to keep this territory nor had the power to gift away 5,180 sq. kms of our territory.
Dr. Farooq’s otherwise positive observation rejecting the idea of Independent Kashmir evoked quick retort from Syed Ali Shah Geelani even though this got overshadowed by the controversy on leaving India’s claim on PoK. The important debate on this statement should have been as to whether Farooq’s proposal has any acceptability in Pakistan? Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid KhaqanAbbasirecently at Londonout rightly rejected the possibility of Independent Kashmir. He had said that “This is something floated often but has no basis in reality.”  He was clear in making Kashmir a part of Pakistan. Omar rightly slammed Geelani for sparing Pak Prime Minister’s no to Independent Kashmir but targeted Farooq Abdullah for rejecting idea of Independent Kashmir when views of both of them are identical. Moreover, a PoK leader Tauqeer Gilani hasdisputed Pakistan’s claim over ‘Azad Kashmir’ and challenged the authorities and political leadership to produce any written document to prove that “Azad Kashmir” belongs to Pakistan. In fact, it doesn’t have any and this claim is based only on religion of the majority of population. Rubbishing Pakistan’s claims, Gilani said,”There is a demarcation line to such proclamations”. They accuse the people of the region (PoK) as unreliable and duplicitous.
It is intriguing that no Kashmiri leaders including the Hurriyat raised their voice on growing HR violations of their brethren in”Azad Kashmir” and Gilgit- Baltistan which have remained neglected in the matter of development during the last 70 years. They probably are scared to do so, even when they are fully aware of the atrocities being committed on the people besides lack of development. However, this issue has been repeated raised in UN Human Rights Council, more recently in its 35th session. It was told that”Azad Kashmir” and Gilgit- Baltistan have “remained a colony of Islamabad, with Pakistan`s central government taking all decisions, at times depriving the natives from using their own natural wealth”.  1994 Parliament Resolution did express India’s concern on this situation. Dr. Farooq should have spoken about it as well.
Short of saying that India would get the occupied territory, Parliament’s Kashmir Resolution only says that “Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression.” It is clear that India has no intention of crossing the LoC and violatesthe spirit of Shimla agreement. This is the sustained policy of India, irrespective of which political party is in office in Delhi. It is because of this international commitment to ceasefire linethat India returned to Pakistan under Tashkent agreement the strategic Haji Pir area captured in 1965 war.
So, Dr. Farooq’s mocking at Modi to get PoK vacated, is perhaps to grab some space of Hurriyat by ridiculing India. More recently,his clumsy dare to Indian Govt to hoist Tricolor at Lal Chowk too aims at capturing separatists’ space. Farooq is a unique mainstream leader who has his foot in both mainstream and Hurriyat political space. Even though Farooq’s sarcasm hurts popular sentiments of the people of India including Jammu which would do no good to him or his NC, his rare quality of mixing with people and mesmerizing marriage parties with melodious songs does attract a large number of ‘fans’ at social gatherings in Jammu which he doesn’t miss any when in town.
War has never been an option to settle Kashmir issue and even Parliament Resolution doesn’t talk about ‘getting PoK vacated’ from Pakistan. A stark realityremains – neither India can re-conquer its lost territory (PoK) nor can Pakistanannex this part of J&K notwithstanding how many bloody cuts Pakistan might inflict on Indian nationin pursuit itsavowedunholy agenda.Making LoC as international border as Farooq has been saying,is the only practical solution. It is often said this formula was on the table in Shimla summit in 1972but Bhutto outsmarted Indira Gandhi. But still, Indian nation is not yet ready for it.
(feedback: kbjandial@gmail.com)


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