Under –Kajab Politics in Kashmir -1

A High Time for Soul Searching By Kashmiri Leadership

Dr G.M. Athar
November 13, 2017 OPINION 290 Views

The India-Pakistan belligerence in Jammu and Kashmir has converted the former Dogra princely state in to a common graveyard for the armed forces of the two countries as well as the civilians living in the conflict-ridden state. The collaborators of India and Pakistan within the state are primarily responsible for this seven decades old bloodshed in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The partition of the British India on the basis of religion did cast its shadow on the technically independent princely states including the state of Jammu and Kashmir as well. The autocratic ruler of the state Maharaja Hari Singh exercised the third option provided by the Indian Independence Act, July 1947 to stay away from both India and Pakistan. Accordingly he sent the Standstill Agreement to both India and Pakistan through an identical telegram on 12th August 1947. Pakistan accepted the agreement in principle, pending details, whereas India asked for deputing some cabinet minister to New Delhi to work out the details of the agreement. Due to trust deficit between the Pakistan Government and the Jammu and Kashmir Government the tribal groups from Northwestern Frontier Province of Pakistan raided Kashmir on 22nd October 1947. Had it been either a planned exercise by the Government of Pakistan or a voluntary effort of the tribal warriors, the political forces within the state could have collectively resisted the external aggression.
The struggle for power by the mutually competing pro-India and pro-Pakistan political forces against the autocratic Dogra establishment resulted in their anti-national collaboration with external enemies of the state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The prominent leaders of Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference like Sardar Mohammad Ibrahim Khan and Mirwaiz Moulvi Yusuf Shah supported Pakistan’s military intervention in Jammu and Kashmir; whereas the leader of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah supported the deputation of Indian troops to Kashmir. In1858, the British Crown had signed a treaty with the rulers of the princely states to not annex their territories. The Imperial Force of British India was responsible also for the protection of the princely states. The Jammu and Kashmir was having its own State Forces but given the long border of the state, the Maharaja had to acquire the external military assistance. So Maharaja Hari Singh intended to seek assistance from Afghanistan but Meher Chand Mahajan, his Prime Minister objected to that. Maharaja Hari Singh ultimately sent his Prime Minister to New Delhi on 24th October 1947 for military assistance and on 26th October 1947,the Maharaja signed Standstill Agreement with India and the next day early in the morning the Indian troops landed at Srinagar Airport to make the beginning of a long drawn Indo-Pak armed conflict in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir State.
Historically, the political power in Jammu and Kashmir State was enjoyed by the Jammu based Dogra dynasty, however, the appointment of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah initially as the Emergency Administrator of Jammu and Kashmir on 29th October 1947 and subsequently as the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on 17th March 1948 paved the way for Kashmiri politicians to enjoy the political power with help of New Delhi. New Delhi however, misused them one after the other as an instrument to integrate the state with the Indian Union .In addition to Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the other Kashmiri leaders misused by New Delhi to work against the Kashmir Cause were Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad, Ghulam Mohammad Sidiq, Syed Mir Qasim, and Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beigh. The role played by all these pro-India politicians in promoting the New Delh’s interests in Jammu and Kashmir is well documented. After the death of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on 8th September 1982, the other politicians who were purposefully cultivated by New Delhi in Kashmir include Ghulam Mohammad Shah to weaken National Conference, and Farooq Abdullah and Mufti Mohammad Syed to weaken the ongoing political struggle in the state. Mr Umer Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are partly the products of dynasty rule in Kashmir and partly the best bet of New Delhi in Kashmir. Sajjad Ghani Lone is the product of political fatigue and pessimism among the pro-Pakistan forces in Kashmir who have been ditched by Pakistan time and again.
Like New Delhi, Islamabad too has remained preoccupied with its centralization in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. However, for Pakistan, its mission is incomplete in Jammu and Kashmir. The Muslim dominated areas of Indian controlled Jammu and Kashmir which include the Pirpanjal region, Chenab Valley, Kashmir Valley, Gurez Valley, and Suru-Shingo Valley should have been according to Pakistan within that country created in the name of Islam, but due to geostrategic, ethnic and ideological reasons these areas were put east of the Cease Fire Line on 1st January 1947. Pakistan fought three unsuccessful wars with India to take control of these Muslim dominated areas but every time her hopes were dashed to the ground. Traditionally Pakistan has banked upon the Islamist political forces in Kashmir to advance its geopolitical interests in the state. The organizations like Jammu and Kashmir Jamat-e-Islami, and Jammu and Kashmir Jamiat-ul-Tulba were the two important organizations supported by Pakistan because of their pro-Pakistan orientation. Following the rigging of Jammu and Kashmir State Legislative Assembly elections on 23rd March 1987, by the National Conference-Congress alliance against the Muslim United Front candidates in 15 assembly segments in Kashmir Valley, the political desperation of the defeated candidates and their party workers created the ideal situation for Pakistan to fish in the troubled waters.
Mr Amanullah Khan, the pro-Independence leader of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front who had been deported from United Kingdom following the killing of Indian Assistant High Commissioner Ravinder Matrey in London in September 1985 was living in Pakistan during 1987. Amanullah Khan wanted to promote his pro-independence agenda in the Indian controlled Jammu and Kashmir, so four youth code named ‘Hajy’ Group were trained in Azad Kashmir to launch armed freedom struggle in Kashmir. In 1988 the police commissioner of the state Mr Ali Mohammad Watali became the first target of the JKLF violence. Justice Neil Kanth Ganjoo who had announced death sentence to Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, the founder of JKLF in Kashmir was killed thereafter. Later prominent politicians of National Conference, Congress and other Indian mainstream political parties became the soft targets of the militants in Jammu and Kashmir State. The threat perception of the Indian mainstream politicians increased to such an extent that the lower rung politicians either left the politics or fled to Jammu and elsewhere. Some top level politicians were provided with proper security. In certain situations, the mainstream politicians sent their children and relatives for arms training to ensure their life security. By and large the Indian mainstream politicians either operated under state security or left Kashmir for years together.

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