Proposals for resolution of the Kashmir issue

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday 26 July—–August 1, 2008

By Abdul Hamid Khan,
It would be an honor if I may be given an opportunity to put forward a new formula to resolve Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) including Balawaristan conflict peacefully.”The report of the UN Commission sets forth three most important obstacles which blocked its efforts to reach an agreement: (a) Disposal of Azad Kashmir forces, (b) Withdrawal of regular forces from the state, and (c) The northern area.” Besides UN the approach of India, Pakistan and the people of this disputed region to solve J & K issue is quite different with respect to UNCIP resolution. Some UN member countries including UNSC permanent members give their suggestions and advise India and Pakistan to settle J & K issue by mutual consensus according to the will of the people. Some people of J & K demand complete withdrawal of Indian forces from Indian occupied Kashmir while the rest are silent about Pakistani forces deployed in Gilgit Baltistan and the so-called Azad Kashmir. Some people demand third option (for the whole J & K) while other parts of J & K seek their own independence. While the people of Gilgit Baltistan demand freedom.All these demands do not coincide with the resolution of UN. UNCIP resolution demands India to withdraw bulk of its forces. It means India has the right to keep 3 Lac (0.3 Million) of its forces in whole state J & K (including Gilgit Baltistan) by withdrawing 5 Lac (if Pakistani claim of 8 Lac (0.8 Million) Indian forces is accepted). While Pakistan has to withdraw all its forces and civilians who have entered the state (Pakistani controlled Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir) after 1947.There is also flaw of leadership in this long-standing issue because of the lack of communication, consensus and mutual understanding among all the parts of the disputed region. The state of J & K (85000 Sq. miles) mentioned in UN resolution has been occupied by three countries (India, Pakistan and China). Furthermore, the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir psychologically, culturally and ethnically are divided into 3 parts viz Jammu (Hindu dominated area, Kashmir (Muslim dominated area) and Ladakh (Buddhist dominated area). Pakistan occupied areas are divided into 2 i.e. Gilgit Baltistan consisting of 28000 Sq. Miles Area with the mix population of Shia, Suni, Ismailia and Noor Bakhshi Muslims) and Azad Kashmir of 4000 Sq. miles consisting of Suni Muslims. Pakistan further divided Gilgit Baltistan into 2 by ceding 2500 Sq. Miles area of Shimshal, part of Hunza to China for its personal interest in 1963. All the above-mentioned parts of disputed J & K have different ideas, theories and concepts to solve the issues according to their own experiences and will. There are many grievances of other parts of J & K against Pakistan and India. But you can judge it yourself and compare the hardships we the people of Gilgit Baltistan are facing. I think we must take an advantage of this dialogue process stepped forward by India, so as to create mutual consensus at least on minimum points by maintaining the will of the people of our respective parts by accepting the large differences of each part. This is a moral duty of our large populace Kashmir (valley) to accommodate all 4 parts of J & K by endorsing their demands and apprehensions as far as the future is concerned, otherwise this conflict will never be resolved if only Kashmir (Valley, consisting of 80 Km in length, 28 Km width) is considered.There is no single party or amalgamation of parties, who represent all the parts of J & K including Gilgit Baltistan. Keeping in view the current unrest in the Valley (Kashmir) particularly, APHC has become popular due to encouragement by Indian and Pakistani media and governments. But this conglomerate has also lack of representation in other 4 parts of this disputed area. The other conglomerates which exist in Pakistani occupied parts is called APNA and GBDA, which also lack representation in Indian occupied J & K. In such ambiguous situation and lack of one leadership, the nationalist parties of all the 5 concerned parts of J & K (including Gilgit Baltistan), who have different stand, should be engaged in dialogue process to finalize the different proposals and suggestions.After occupation by both India and Pakistan for 61 years or so, keeping in mind the different views of the people of J & K, besides India and Pakistan, multiple options should be adopted to solve the issue. Before the commencement of settlement of J & K issue, non-local, temporary/permanent residents must be sent back to their respective countries or places who have entered the part of the disputed land after 1947 by violating State Subject Rule (which was imposed by Maharaja of J & K in 1927 to protect the culture, history and resources of the whole J & K) and UN resolutions. There has been grave violation of State Subject Rule in Gilgit Baltistan.China should be asked to hand over the 2500 Sq Miles area of Shimshal to Hunza, Gilgit and 14000 Sq Miles area of Aksai Chin to Ladakh, so new agreement could be signed between China and the new government of Balawaristan (Gilgit Baltistan) and Ladakh to decide the future of the areas. All the 5 parts of disputed J & K must be controlled by UNO/ European Union or both Pakistan and India at least for 5 years. Defense, law and order and judiciary must be tackled by existing British law of both the countries (Pakistan and India) by active involvement of local people of the concerned parts of J&K including Gilgit Baltistan. This is the period where both the rival parties (Pakistan & India) and the people of all the concerned disputed parts must be allowed to campaign freely and peacefully to protect their own interest. In case India and Pakistan jointly control the disputed parts, UN or impartial observers from any country must be stationed there to watch the irregularities of both the countries and their supporters to make atmosphere conducive for peaceful, transparent and freely franchise of their right in the referendum/election to decide the future of all the parts of J & K. Defense, law and order and Judiciary should be handled by both the countries with the active participation of the indigenous people of the respective areas. A high ranking general from any impartial country from UN forces should be given the command of the joint forces of both Pakistan and India to avoid any flaw in the future. To run the administration smoothly, both Pakistan and India should share budget equally. Both the currencies (Pakistani and Indian rupee) must be accepted as legal currency for 5 years till the final settlement of the dispute.The following options can be achieved phase-wise. In the first phase, the people of all the parts of J & K (including Gilgit Baltistan) should be asked two questions, (1), whether they want to merge in Pakistan or India or for freedom. If the people vote for annexation with India or Pakistan in the first phase from the whole or one or more parts that part/parts obligation is done and next phase will not come. For example if say one part Ladakh votes for India and remaining parts vote for freedom, then the next phase for Ladakh for any other option is exhausted and the other 4 parts will be asked next phase question, ie whether they want to remain individually independent or merge with any one part, 2nd or 3rd part for freedom. This process will not deprive or compel any part of remaining with one country or another or remain with one particular part/parts of J & K dispute. To impose the views of 1 part of J&K dispute on the other will be more dangerous to the region in future, what we face today.Pakistan and India must take the following steps to avoid any turmoil among the people of Gilgit Baltistan before the will of the people is ascertained by Election/Referendum.1. Establish new independent and impartial judicial system in Gilgit Baltistan like other parts of J & K dispute. 2. Re-establish the administration purely on indigenous basis of Gilgit Baltistan from the local indigenous people (ethnic groups, tehsils and districts) giving the opportunity on population basis, so no group or area is left deprived. 3. Re-establish police force purely on indigenous basis of Gilgit Baltistan (recruited from all ethnic groups, Tehsils and districts) giving the opportunity on population basis. 4. NLI must be deputed in Gilgit Baltistan to help the Pakistani and Indian forces for the safety of the borders. 5. Political prisoners must be released and political cases must be withdrawn in all parts of J & K including Gilgit Baltistan. 6. Those who have been dislodged or forced to flee their homes must be repatriated/settled in their respective homes without discrimination. 7. Those who have been effected by militancy or by firing/shelling or otherwise on both sides of LoC and other areas must be compensated. 8. Freedom of speech, writing and peaceful political activities must be allowed without discrimination in all parts of J & K includingGilgit Baltistan. Now, I would like to conclude my submission and grievances by putting forward the above mentioned formula below in a simple manner to solve J & K long outstanding issue according to the will and wishes of all five parts {i.e. Kashmir (Valley), Jammu, Ladakh, POK and Gilgit Baltistan: as per the guidelines of UN and democratic norms and values of the world.Phase I.To vote for merger or freedom.a). To vote for Pakistanb). To vote for Indiac). To vote for freedomPhase IIa). To vote for the whole J & K state ( 85000 Sq. miles app.)d). To vote for merging one part with other one, two, three or four partsc). To vote for their own part (individual part).. Elections/referendum should be held stage wise.. Each and every part of J & K unit (i.e. OGB, POK, Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu) should be considered as individual voter (to vote for Indian, Pakistan or to merge with any 1, 2nd, 3rd or all parts) as well as candidate (to convince other part to vote for merge). But both Pakistan and India should be considered as candidates only (candidate means Pakistan & India can convince the people of all the parts like a candidate of any parliament to vote for Pakistan or India. Both Pakistan & India should not have the right to grab the whole J & K or any part/parts of J & K by their own vote. It means both India and Pakistan cannot vote for themselves. After withdrawal of armed personnel and foreign citizens, a plebiscite/referendum should be held in the presence of both Indian and Pakistani forces under the supervision of UN after 5 years of joint occupation. Within the period of 5 years India and Pakistan should be allowed to campaign by media only, but the people of all 5 regions of disputed J & K should be allowed to campaign by all peaceful means. I think this formula will lead towards peace and tranquility among the people of all 5 parts of Jammu & Kashmir particularly, India and Pakistan and the whole region generally, if this is implemented.ANNEXTUREDOCUMENTS S/1430/ADD.3Addendum to the third interim report of the UNCIP minority report of the Czechoslovak delegation 16th December 1949 The Government of India accepted the Commission’s resolution. The Government of Pakistan attached conditions – mainly relating to part III of the resolution – which the Commission was forced to conclude were tantamount at that stage to a refusal. It should be borne in mind that of the problems which have since become obstacles to the implementation of the truce two were not dealt with in the resolution: provisions for the administration and defence of the sparsely populated and mountainous region to the north and the question of the disarming and disbanding of the Azad Kashmir forces. The Commission made a further attempt to narrow the differences between the two governments. These were principally connected with the schedule of withdrawal of troops, the status of the Azad Kashmir forces, and the question of the mountainous, sparsely populated northern areas in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The positions taken by the two governments, however, remained far apart. Both as regards the disbandment and the disarming of the “AzadKashmir” forces and the question of the northern areas. B. In respect of part II of UNCIP resolution it was agreed that the following proposals for the implementation of part II of the UNCIP resolution should be referred by theCommanders-in-Chief for approval to their respective governments:(i) In order to create an atmosphere in which it will be possible forUNCIP to proceed with part III of their resolution, the suggested planis that:(a) All raiders should be withdrawn as soon as possible from the stateof Jammu and Kashmir.(b) The Azad Kashmir forces should be relieved in the forward areas byPakistan regular forces and concentrated in the rear areas. Pakistaninationals in the Azad Kashmir forces would then be withdrawn from thestate of Jammu and Kashmir. At the same time Pakistan Army wouldadjust their dispositions so that only the barest minimum of regulartroops were left on the existing ceasefire line, the bulk beingwithdrawn.(c) It was agreed that both the Indian and Pakistan armies would giveall facilities to the UNCJP required for the establishment of observerteams in the area of Jammu and Kashmir. It was suggested that observergroups should be formed consisting of neutral observers appointed byUXCIP, each with one Indian and one Pakistani officer.(d) Regarding withdrawal of Pakistan Army, see UNCIP resolution partII, paragraph B 1.Withdrawal of troops (paragraphs II A, B and C)8. The withdrawal of troops is the central feature of part II of theCommission’s resolution of 13 August 1948, which calls for the following action:(i) Withdrawal of tribesmen.(ii) Withdrawal of such Pakistan nationals who entered the stateof Jammu and Kashmir for the purpose of fighting.(iii) Withdrawal of Pakistan troops and of the bulk of Indian troops in accordance with a synchronized program.The commission stated in its first interim report that it had come to the subcontinent uncertain how it would be received and whether it would acquire the necessary cooperation of both governments. This lack of confidence in its mission, however, can be seen throughout its labours. Instead of taking a firm stand on definite issues, where it was necessary, the commission preferred toresort to clarifications and promises, thus compromising its own position and achieving on the whole nothing positive.The failure of the commission’s mission is therefore not solely ascribable to the intransigence of the governments of India and Pakistan, both of which understandably tried in the course of repeated negotiations to gain the most advantageous position; the reasons must be also looked for in the activities of the commission per se, with a proper light thrown on the substance of the whole problem of Kashmir.The report of the commission sets forth the three most importantobstacles which balked its efforts to reach agreement:(a) Disposal of Azad Kashmir forces,(b) Withdrawal of regular forces from the state, and(c) The northern area.
The writer is Chairman Balawaristan National Front (BNF).



  1. Saranjam Baig

    Not very inspiring. old and rotten story. Something that is not practical. Gilgit-Baltistan needs a practical and an immediate solution. The most immediate solution is give the northern areas a status of provincial set up wit all powers vested in the elected reprensenatives. One thing is very clear that we the people of Gilgit Baltistan are not intereted in a united struggle for our rights. The day we learnt to unite, that day will be the day of gaining our basic and human rights. Not the, nationalist and leftist politics can bring change, its only the mainstream which has the real power of masses. We need “leaders” not politicians.

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