Independent Kashmiristan

The ultimate solution of Kashmir problem

Dr G.M. Athar
February 17, 2017 OPINION 446 Views
Independent Kashmiristan

The 21st century is the age of human rights and democracy. The creation of sovereign nation-states from the debris of colonial empires has been a universal reality of the contemporary world. The people of Jammu and Kashmir had reached the harbor of their freedom after a slavery of about four centuries in mid-August 1947 but the Pakistan-sponsored tribal aggression in Kashmir on 22nd October 1947 dashed their hopes and aspirations to the ground. The newly created Muslim nation in the immediate neighbourhood of Kashmir became the enemy of Kashmiri Muslims and their quest for freedom from foreign rule. The Kashmiri nationalists struggled for freedom from autocracy under the banner of Muslim Conference and National Conference from 1932 to 1947 but their top leadership including Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah allied with external powers to overthrow the autocratic ruler Maharaja Hari Singh to assume political power in the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The net outcome of the short-sighted policy of both Mirwaiz and Sheikh Abdullah was that Kashmir became a zone of perpetual conflict between India and Pakistan.
A question of political ethics is involved in demanding complete aazadi from India by the Kashmiri nationalists, because Kashmir was independent from 15th August to 25th October 1947 but the Pakistan sponsored tribal raid in Kashmir ended the option of total freedom for the erstwhile princely state. Although the Kashmiri people were reluctant to join Pakistan or India in 1947, yet the Pakistani aggression compelled them to approach India for military help. India accepted the Maharaja Hari Singh’s accession of a territory which he had already been lost to the tribal raiders, so the Indian army conquered the territory through a war with Pakistani tribal warriors and regular soldiers. The pro-Pakistan Kashmiri people are justified in demanding Pakistan but the Kashmiri nationalists have no moral justification to demand complete freedom from India to become an independent nation. The Instrument of Accession between the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Government of India was a historical necessity and the sanctity of this legal document must be respected by both the Kashmiri nationalists as well as the people of India. The proposal of establishing the Indian Protectorate of Kashmiristan on the basis of Maharaja Hari Singh’s limited accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with Indian Union on 26th October 1947 has been therefore suggested to uphold the spirit of accession.
The Indian Protectorate of Kashmiristan can prove only an immediate solution of the Kashmir problem, because the spiritual bond of Kashmiri people with the Indian soil can’t take place as long as the Kashmiri people consider themselves as a distinct nation. The logical response of the political class in both Kashmir and India should be therefore the complete integration of Kashmir with India. If it is necessary that the Muslim dominated Kashmir has to be fully integrated with the Hindu dominated India to create a spiritual bond of Kashmiri people with India as their motherland, why not then to integrate it fully with Muslim dominated Pakistan, with which it shares a common religion and civilization. So if Muslim dominated Kashmir has to be liberated from Hindu dominated India and then integrated with Muslim dominated Pakistan to develop a sense of Pakistani nationality among Kashmiries, why not then to recognize it as a sovereign nation to fulfill the national urge and the geographic instinct of the freedom loving people of Kashmir to gain their much cherished aazadi. So the Indian Protectorate of Kashmiristan can prove only as a short term solution of the Kashmir dispute between the Government of India and the Kashmiri nationalists. In order to find out a long term durable solution of the seven decades old Kashmir problem, the popular perception of Wattan (motherland) and Qoum (nation) in Kashmir has to be respected by both India and Pakistan. As a law of nature, the people of Kashmir like the people of other independent nations of the world can be truly loyal only to their own motherland and their own Kashmiri nation. So it is quite unnatural for both India and Pakistan to expect any loyalty from the Kashmiri nation. Those politicians in Kashmir who advance their own political interests in the state with the help of India or Pakistan are indulging in hypocrisy, duplicity and deception. The popular perception about the motherland and nation is always based on the political socialization of an individual within the given framework of national history, geography, culture, language and ideology. The Kashmiri nation has well defined geography and a long history as an independent country during the ancient and medieval periods, so the quest for national freedom is quite natural for the enlightened people of Kashmir.
The freedom of Kashmiristan has to be achieved in a phased manner by adopting a realistic and an innovative approach to the Kashmir problem. The Muslim dominated Pakistan and Hindu dominated India are both reluctant to fulfill the national urge of Kashmiri people, so the difference in their demographic composition does not make them different from each other when it comes to their response to Kashmiri demand for complete aazadi. In fact the response of Muslim dominated Pakistan can be tougher than the Hindu dominated India, because Pakistan perceives Kashmiri Muslims closer to Muslim dominated Pakistan than the Hindu dominated India. So, it becomes very essential that before demanding complete freedom from India a ‘buffer zone’ is created between Pakistan and Kashmir. The territory of Azad Kashmir and Baltistan adjoining Kashmir has to be first carved out as an independent nation as a buffer between Pakistan and Kashmir. The demand for recognizing Azad Kashmir and Balitistan as an independent country by Pakistan has to be the first step in the Kashmiri struggle for an independent nation. The second logical step has to be the demand for simultaneous and phased demilitarization of the Indian Protectorate as well as the independent Azad Kashmir and Baltistan by India and Pakistan respectively. The third logical step has to be the unification of the divided Kashmir to convert it into a ‘Buffer State’ between India and Pakistan. The genuine concerns of the people of Hindu majority districts and tehsils of Jammu region as well as the Buddhist majority Leh district and Zanskar tehsil have to be addressed as per the wishes of the majority population there. The religious minorities in all regions need to be empowered socially, economically and politically on the basis of proportional representation in education, employment and governance.
It can be concluded that the Kashmir problem can be resolved in a phased manner by adopting an innovative approach to this seven decades old territorial dispute between India, Pakistan and China; and a political dispute between the people of Kashmir and the Government of India as well as between the people of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and the Government of Pakistan. The parties to Kashmir dispute need to be quite realistic and pragmatic to resolve this issue amicably without any further bloodshed and human sufferings in the troubled state. The logical sequence of events in the political process for achieving complete aazadi of Kashmir can be the status of sovereign protectorate for Kashmir and total freedom for Azad Kashmir and Baltistan as a ‘Buffer State’ between Pakistan and Kashmir; followed by simultaneous and phased demilitarization of divided Kashmir by India and Pakistan; and finally the unification of the divided territory to convert it into a ‘Buffer State’ between India and Pakistan.

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