By M.J. Aslam
[Who was precisely responsible for the deadlock in arriving at final settlement on demilitarization plan???? MYTH EXPOSED]
In chapter 43 titled “Super-powers’ Chessboard”, SMA/Sheikh M Abdullah, writes at pages 335-336 that it was Pakistani authorities in UN that on many occasions when solution to Kashmir-issue was “almost finalised” or “within reach”, stumbled which , to him, seemed their “intellectual bankruptcy” or “politicking”. In support of his contention, he refers to two such occasions. First, when Pakistan made disagreement with the presence of specific number of the Indian troops to remain in Kashmir at the time of plebiscite which was proposed to be 27, 000 total that too for “security purposes” “within barracks” only; but, on this “trivial matter” Pakistan was not ready for allow presence of more than 24, 000 troops in Kashmir at the related time. Second, when India agreed to holding of “limited plebiscite”, as was proposed by Sir Owen Dixon, it was Liaquat Ali Khan https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/ Liaquat _Ali Khan, who, somewhat trivially & childishly, insisted that he would not agree to the proposal till “I (SMA) was removed from my premiership”.
Albeit SMA isn’t specific in details regarding the passing-reference–type- statements, they prod the mind of a reader to know more about them. We will refer to them one by one below:
To reach to the truth of the aforementioned contention raised by SMA, capitalised by India, propagated by his successors & coterie regarding Pakistan’s disagreement with the presence of specified number of Indian soldiers, it is necessary to dig more into the facts surrounding this argument. As winter was set in Kashmir making it difficult for the Indian troops to repel the “aggressor”, on 1st January, 1948, India lodged a complaint under Articles 34 & 35 of the UN Charter against Pakistan’s alleged support for tribesmen with the “certain” hope that Pakistan was going to be decaled “aggressor” by the UN. But to the utter dismay of India, after exemplary advocacy of Pakistan’s case by Sir Zafrullah Khan, the UN SC did not declare Pakistan “aggressor”. Rather, it was convinced on 20th January, 1948 to pass Resolution 39 whereby United Nation’s Commission for India and Pakistan/UNCIP was set up which “succeeded in stopping the fighting & had secured a cease-fire which became effective on 1st January, 1949”. (Danger in Kashmir, Josef Korbel, (1954), Foreword). “The Indian press was highly critical of the SC Resolution for not having condemned Pakistan as aggressor, insisting that reports were still coming in of her complicity in building the military strength of the Azad revolutionaries……[India] sent a letter of protest to the UN and refused cooperation in any implementation of the resolution”. (Ibid, page 112, citing New York Herald Tribune, 25th April, 1948 news that Nehru declared Resolutions unreasonable & which India can neither execute nor accept).
But sadly “it took UNCIP 11 months to assemble in Geneva by which time India had already launched its summer offensive” against Pakistan. (Kashmiris-Fight-For-Freedom by M Y Saraf (2009) vol. II, page 1060). First demand for ‘withdrawal from the State of J&K of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting’ came in the UN SC Resolution 47 adopted on 21st April, 1948. This Resolution also required India to reduce its troops to the “minimum strength” after which “the question of accession of the State to India or Pakistan” should be decided through an impartial plebiscite to be held under the UN auspices. (Kashmir in Conflict, Victoria Schofield. (2003 edition by I. B.Tauris & Co Ltd, 6 Salem Road, London & 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010). The UN demand for settlement of issue & withdrawal of soldiers “simultaneously” ( this point is explained in last paragraphs of this column) was repeated in UN Resolution of 13th August, 1948 (Part II, Truce Agreement) https:// www. mtholyoke. edu/ acad/ intrel/ uncom1.htm
Despite delay in taking immediate action, UNCIP laid the groundwork for demilitarisation & plebiscite, as envisaged in aforesaid Resolutions. It, however, failed to bring agreement between Pakistan & India to many of its points. More so, as there was division of opinion on several issues among its 05 members, it suggested to the UN that entire issue of J& K should be handed by “one man” only. Pursuant to the report of the UNCIP followed by elaborate discussions in December, 1949, the UN SC passed Resolution 80, on 14th March 1950, which terminated UNCIP. In place of UNCIP, the UN during the discussions appointed “informal mediator” or special representative General A.G.L. McNaughton to assist the two nations in demilitarising Kashmir as a prelude to finding a permanent solution to the dispute. “Although Pakistan agreed to his proposals, India did not”. (Ibid, Kashmir in Conflict, page 82). Thereafter, on 27th May 1950, UN appointed “formally” an Australian jurist, Sir Owen Dixon, as one-man successor to UNCIP. After extensive travel of all parts of the State (Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgat, Baltistan, Azad Kashmir) & meeting SMA too, Sir Owen Dixon made recommendations to the UN on 15.09.1950 that included conducting “zonal plebiscite”, region by region, & replacement of the local government of Indian-backed-SMA by independent officers of UN to prepare & arrange for holding fair & impartial “zonal plebiscite”. These recommendations were again accepted by Pakistan but rejected by India. (Ibid). On the question of demilitarization, he made the following noteworthy suggestion:
“I became convinced that India’s agreement would never be obtained to demilitarise in any such form or to provisions governing the period of the plebiscite of any such character, which would in my opinion permit the plebiscite being conducted in conditions sufficiently guarding against intimidation and other forms of influence and abuse by which the freedom and fairness of plebiscite might be imperilled “. (Ibid)
In the meanwhile, in a clandestine manner, on 27th October, 1950, “General Council of All J&K National Conference”, with a view to frustrate the UN Resolutions, Dixon recommendations and render them redundant, passed a resolution, recommending the convening of a Constituent Assembly for determining the “The Future shape and affiliation of the State of J&K”.
The UN SC vide Resolution 91 dated 30-03-1951 rejecting such clandestine moves of NC & re-affirmed that “final disposition of the State will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free & impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the UN”. https:// www. mtholyoke. edu/ acad/intrel/kashun91.htm
Foregoing was a brief look into the facts & circumstances surrounding the contention of SMA which has been hereditarily adopted & repeated by his party & family. “To this day I fail to understand why we in India feel so apologetic that this UN referendum never took place. The onus wasn’t on India to create the conditions for that referendum”. This was stated by Omar Abdullah in October 2016 at a seminar titled ‘India & Pakistan: A Sub-continental Affair’, which was arranged by the New York University students on their campus. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/india-pakistan-are-not-at-the-brink-of-war-omar-abdullah-3096384/ This contention which correspond to that of India http://mea.gov.in/in-focus-article. htm? 18971/ he+Jammu+and+Kashmir+Issue is like: that plebiscite was conditional upon Pakistan fulfilling Part (II) of the UN SC Resolution of 13th August, 1948 which required Pakistan to withdraw its troops & that as Pakistan did not withdraw its troops from the State, normal conditions under which a plebiscite could have been conducted did not exist. In simple words, the conditions for holding plebiscite were not created by Pakistan, is the SMA-India claim. Some Western and Indian scholars also believe that Pakistan’s failure to withdraw its troops from the State led to non-implementation of the UN Resolutions for holding a UN- supervised-plebiscite in JK. Such assertion is totally incorrect & it has been deliberately distorted to misguide the world opinion with respect to the principle of Plebiscite in J&K and is also damaging for the academic community within & beyond India.
The actual facts about the assertion of demilitarisation are to be found & weighed in the light of the discussions that UN representative, Dr Frank P Graham, held with Pakistani & Indian representatives in New York on 16-07-1952. In his proposals before both the sides, he suggested that 6,000 “Azad Kashmir” forces and 3,500 Gilgit and Northern Scouts should be left on the Pakistani side of the cease-fire line, while 18,000 Indian forces and State armed forces and 6,000 State militia should be left on the Indian side. Pakistan accepted the proposal but India rejected the proposal by holding that it was impossible for it to reduce “absolute minimum” figure of 21,000 Indian soldiers. Hence, the deadlock. ((Kashmiris-Fight-For-Freedom by M Y Saraf (2009) vol. II, page 1087; http:// web.stanford.edu/group/tomzgroup/pmwiki/uploads/2626-1952-10-K-a-AJG.pdf
But who was precisely responsible for the deadlock in arriving at final settlement on demilitarization plan, same UN representative who held several rounds of discussion in this regard with both countries’ representatives in a significant UN Mediatory Report on Kashmir submitted by him (Dr Frank P Graham) to UN in 25th October 1967 exposes the whole myth woven around by SMA-India. The report has never been cited anywhere before. This is the only single UN document available to date which explains the deadlock involved in the withdrawal of forces and the reason for Pakistan’s failure to withdraw all of its forces from the State. It reads at page 14 as under:
“………. the UNCIP found that they were unable to achieve an agreement by India and Pakistan on the terms for the implementation of the truce agreement, as a precondition for a plebiscite. The Commission and their several successors as mediators were unable to achieve an agreement by India and Pakistan on the provisions of the two UNCIP resolutions for two stages in demilitarization, namely: (l) on the withdrawal of the bulk of the Indian forces in relation to the withdrawal of all the remainder of the Pakistan forces after Pakistan had made the beginning of withdrawals, as provided in the 13 August 1948 resolution and (2) on the final disposal of the Indian and State armed forces and the final disposal of the “Azad Kashmir” forces as provided in the 5 January 1949 resolution. In the provisions of part II of the 13 August 1948 resolution, the requirement for the withdrawal of all the Pakistan forces was related to the required withdrawal of the bulk of the Indian forces in stages to be agreed upon by India and the UNCIP. As noted above, such an agreement was not reached with India by the UNCIP or by the several successor UN mediators. This failure of India and the UNCIP and the UN Representatives to reach such an agreement, as relatedly provided in part II, became the continuing grounds for the failure of Pakistan to withdraw all of its forces from Kashmir, which, in turn, was held by India to be a reason for not accepting proposals leading toward a plebiscite.” (Emphasis added).
From the foregoing discussion, it is manifestly clear that India was not sincere in withdrawal of its troops or implementation of UN SC Resolutions for plebiscite. Rather, it wanted Pakistan vacate its retained part of the State so that its forces were able to reach easily to them also. It is just malicious & mendacious propaganda of SMA-India to throw blame on Pakistan for these failure for which , nonetheless, millions of people of JK & subcontinent suffer till date.
NOTE: OPINION EXPRESSED IS PERSONAL & NOT OF THE ORGANISATION THE AUTHOR WORKS FOR.
(To be continued)