The Kashmir issue has been the bone of contention between Pakistan and India since the independence of the two countries in 1947 and is one of the oldest of the issues present in the agenda of the United Nations. From the Pakistan’s point of view, this issue of Kashmir is a human rather than a territorial problem, involving the lives of about 13 million Kashmiris.
Many international declarations, as well as the resolutions of the United Nations have declared the right of self determination of the Kashmiri people. The involvement of the Kashmiris in deciding their own fate is therefore must. What remains is the presence of flexible leadership of the region. Pakistan has demonstrated her maximum flexibility in this situation.
OVERVIEW OF THE KASHMIR ISSUE
Having an area of 84471 square miles, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is surrounded by India, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan. The valley of Kashmir is often referred to as “A Paradise on Earth”. Over centuries, the people of the world have been enthralled and entranced by its breathtaking and scenic beauty. However, the history of the people of this beautiful land is a woeful tale. Their lives were governed and ruled by poverty, oppression, tyranny and subjugation. The famous scholar, Vincent Smith wrote, “Few regions in the world can have had worse luck than Kashmiris in the matter of government.”
Beginning of the Kashmir Problem
The Kashmir issue is an unsolved problem that aroused from the partition of the subcontinent. The state of Jammu and Kashmir was one of the 584 princely states of the sub continent which had to be divided between the independent India and Pakistan. Keeping in concern the wishes of the people of these states and the geographical location, they were given the liberty to either join India or Pakistan.
Indo Pak War of 1947
The Muslim militants of the Western Kashmir and the tribesmen of Pakistan advanced in the Barmalla sector after the rumors that the Maharaja supported the accession of Kashmir to India. As those were just the tribal fighters, officially there was no proof that Pakistan was involved. When the Pakistani tribesmen reached the border of Srinagar, the Maharaja required military assistance. India only agreed to do so if the Maharaja signs the agreement to accede to India. This agreement was signed by the Maharaja and Lord Mountbatten which ceded the state of Jammu and Kashmir to India. The resulting war over Kashmir lasted till 1948, when India took the issue to the UN. The UN passed a resolution asking for immediate cease fire and withdrawal of all Pakistani military force. It further stated that Pakistan had no business with the political issue of Kashmir and this issue will be resolved by a plebiscite according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir.
The people of Kashmir had two solid reasons to wish to join Pakistan:
i. The Muslims constituted 80% of the population.
ii. Being geographically contiguous to Pakistan.
This was agreed to, but the...