HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF KASHMIR ISSUE AND JKLL

 

The Indian subcontinent comprised of two parts, the mainland India (British India) and the “Indian India” The Indian India was comprised of more than 584 states governed by local rulers under local constitutions and agreements with the British Raj governing the mainland India.

Jammu Kashmir (JK) was one of these states that came into existence in its current shape after the treaty of 16th March 1846 between the East India Company (British Government) and Maharaja Ghulab Singh of Jammu termed the “Amritsar Treaty” with a payment of 75 Lakhs rupees (7.5 million Nanak Shahi Sikkay the local currency of Sikh Empire). In 1846 the British defeated Sikhs and state came under the British rule up till 16th March 1846.

Dogra Ghulab Singh a non-Muslim got the powers to rule a state with a large majority of Muslim population. To run day to day affairs of his rule he devised many draconian laws that would not only suppress the majority populations but to generate more revenue for the state as well.

When the movement in the mainland India against the British rule gained popularity and people demanded freedom it had an impact on these states as well. In JK the youth, in particular, became front line runners for raising slogans against the ruler from the minority in Kashmir. Many were imprisoned for their political opinions receiving harsh punishments.

Finally, when the British decided to leave the sub-continent they reached an agreement with two main political parties the All India Muslim League and the Congress. According to the agreement, the sub-continent would be divided with the formation of a new country named Pakistan comprising of Muslim majority areas. The process of this division was agreed and adopted by The British Parliament as an Act termed the Independence Act of India 1947 this was announced by the last viceroy Lord Mountbatten on 3rd June 1947.  According to this Act, subcontinent would be divided into two. New Muslim majority state called Pakistan and India.

On the issue of the states (termed as Princely States) it was agreed that the states would have choice either to stay Independent or join one of the dominions.  There was a difference of opinion on one issue as one party demanded that the decision of the future should be taken after consultation with the subjects while the other party maintained that the rulers of the states should make the decision. The Act also stated that all local agreements that the British rulers adopted for local governance with the rulers of these states would cease to exist on the 15th August 1947.

The State of J&K had a special status due to the Amritsar treaty, as on the 15th August 1947 when the Amritsar treaty ended the local ruler lost his powers to govern the State and in that context the local ruler offered to the heads of the states of both the dominions to sign “Standstill Agreement” so that he would continue to run the affairs as they were for a settlement at a later date to address the question of the future of the State. The Governor General of Pakistan Mr MA Jinnah accepted the offer and on 12th August 1947, the Stand Still Agreement was signed in between Pakistan and state of Jammu Kashmir. While the Indian PM Mr Jawahar Lal Nehru asked the ruler to meet him to discuss further details of the agreement and then it was denied.

With the announcement of the division of Indian sub continent clashes broke out in the subcontinent with large scale migration of Muslims towards Pakistan and of the Hindus towards Indi hundreds and thousands of people were killed and there was chaos everywhere indicative of failure of the British establishment to prevent this genocide at the hands of one towards the other groups.

In the State of JK where people were oppressed by the minority ruler the people revolted against him as a consequence the ruler fled from the Capital Srinagar and the people established a rebellious government on the 4th October 1947. Meanwhile the warriors from adjacent tribal areas entered the State and on the 22nd October 1947 Muzaffarabad was captured by the Pakistan Army. Their intention was to fight the army of the State ruler. As the State army retreated with the public revolt these armed tribal men ended up in lootings killing of non-Muslims.  Meanwhile a rebellious government was formed on the 24th October 1947 in Muzaffarabad a modified shape of already announced government on the 4th of October 1947.

The tribal warriors continued killings and lootings in the State in order to restore law and order on the 25th October the State ruler Maharaja Hari Sigh requested the Indian government to send its troops in order to control the law and order situation which was refused with the condition of accusation and after signing an agreement with the Indian government (a debatable subject). On 26th October 1947 and as a result the Indian forces landed into Kashmir on the 27th October 1947.

On the other hand, the Indian government took the case to the United Nations Security Council on 1st January 1948, the Security Council adopted resolution 39 (1948), in which the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) was established with the purpose to investigate and mediate the dispute. In April 1948, by its resolution 47 (1948), the Council decided to enlarge the membership of UNCIP and to recommend various measures including the use of observers to stop the fighting in Kashmir. In July 1949, India and Pakistan signed the Karachi Agreement establishing a ceasefire line to be supervised by the military observers. These observers, under the command of the Military Adviser, formed the nucleus of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)

The Security Council in its first resolution adopted in the 26th meeting held on the 23rd April 1948 agreed that there must be a cease-fire immediately.

Pakistan Government must ensure withdrawal of all tribesmen and Pakistan Nationals who entered the State for the purpose of fighting and to prevent any intrusion into the State of such elements and any furnishing of material aid to those fighting in the State.

To make known to all concerned that the measures indicated in this and the following paragraphs provide full freedom to all subjects of the State, and that therefore they should co-operate in the maintenance of peace and order.

The Government of India should adopt the following: –

  • When it is established to the satisfaction of the Commission set up in accordance with the Council’s resolution of 20 January 1948 that the tribesmen are withdrawing and that arrangements for the cessation of the fighting have become effective, put into operation in consultation with the Commission, a plan for withdrawing their own forces from Jammu and Kashmir and reducing them progressively to the minimum strength required for the support of civil power in the maintenance of law and order;
  • Make known that the withdrawal is taking place in stages and announce the completion of each stage;
  • When the Indian forces shall have been reduced to the minimum strength mentioned in (a) above, arrange for a consultation with the Commission for the stationing of the remaining forces to he carried out in accordance with the following principles:
  • That the presence of troops should not afford any intimidation or appearance of intimidation to the inhabitants of the State.
  • That as small a number as possible should he retained in forward areas.
  • That any reserve of troops which may he included in the total strength should he located within their present base area.

A further resolution was adopted on 13th August 1948 with similar objectives but with unanimous resolve to support the Right of Self Determination for people of Kashmir in a free and fair manner.

Another resolution adopted by the UN SC on the 5th January 1949 that not only restricted the choice for people of Kashmir between either of the two dominions but it was advisory in nature meaning there by giving powers to the two countries to hold the plebiscite at their discretion. Subsequently, various resolutions were adopted but to no avail. (for details visit www. un.org)

 POST CEASEFIRE EVENTS

After the ceasefire on the 1st Jan 1949, the State stood divided between India and Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan established the “Rules of Business” after signing Karachi Agreement on 28-04-1949 (Nawab Mushtaq Gormani Minister without Portfolio, Ch. Ghulam Abbas and Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, President Azad Kashmir) with the following agreement:

The President of Muzaffarabad would be the person who would be elected by the General Council of Muslim Conference (the only political party at that time)

The Muslim Conference would be the one that the joint secretary of the ministry of Kashmir Affairs would endorse and approve.

This completely changed the status of the rebellious and representative government that was originally formed.

In the meantime, the areas about of Gilgit Baltistan were freed by the local people the government of Pakistan took over the control of those areas about 64817 square kilometers through Karachi agreement.

Thus about 13297 square kilometers of the area that comprised of two and a half districts was left that included two tehsils of Poonch Jagir Pullandri, and Bagh and parts of tehsil Haveli and Mendhar. These areas were converted into Poonch district Mirpur district along with a part of tehsil Kotli and part of Muzaffarabad formed the Azad Kashmir. An area of 101387 square kilometers came under the occupation of India whereas an area of 37555 square kilometers is under control of China and an area of 5180 square kilometers was gifted to China in 1963 by the Government of Pakistan. The total area of the state of Jammu Kashmir 222236 square kilometers.

The electoral college of the President was made subjugate to the Ministry of Kashmir affairs. All powers of the President of Muzaffarabad government were made subjugate to a chief advisor while the President of the state had no say in the nomination of this chief advisor.

The ministry Kashmir affairs prepared lists of the leaders and the workers of Muslim Conference they were given stipend ranging from 50 to 500 rupees. Thus many effective political workers were left at the mercy of Ministry Kashmir Affairs. There was no regular system of Government the entire system was in the clutches of the Ministry of Kashmir affairs. In these circumstances, Mr. KH Khurshid was approached by President of Pakistan Gen Ayub Khan and he was given the offer to become the President of AJK. Mr. Khurshid discussed with Miss Fatima Jinnah sister of the founder of Pakistan Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah and on her advice, he accepted the offer.

 

 Mr. KH Khurshid the President of AJK Government

Mr. KH Khurshid took the oath of the President of AJK on the 1st May 1959 through the existing system of being nominated by the working committee of Muslim Conference.  After assuming the office his first mission was to liberate the AJK from the clutches of the Ministry Kashmir Affairs. To establish a democratic system the existing rules of business must be abolished, but in doing so many of those involved in the power game and were abusing their positions of nominating the President got annoyed and upset. To bring the movement for freedom and self-determination back on its track there was a need for a political platform to reinvigorate the lost will for the objective of freedom and to create a link between hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri refugees living in Pakistan and the region of Azad Kashmir.

After putting a great fight with the establishment Mr. Khurshid succeeded in establishing a democratic system of government in the region with the abolition of the cruel rules of business. As a system of basic democracies was established in Pakistan so the same system was replicated in AJK and for the first time ever on the 7 October 1961, the first elections were held. Mr. K H Khurshid was elected President first elected President. A 12 member State Council was also elected 6 members from refugees living in Pakistan and six members representing the areas of Azad Kashmir.

The government thus formed worked until 5th August 1964 when it was illegally and unlawfully abolished by President Pakistan General Ayub Khan owing to differences on various matters fuelled by the corrupt establishment of the federal government details would follow later.

JAMMU KASHMIR LIBERATION LEAGUE

As mentioned earlier the Muslim Conference leadership had abandoned the cause of freedom of the State and got busy in petty political gimmicks of making and breaking of Muzaffarabad government in collaboration with the joint secretary of the ministry of Kashmir affairs. In this situation, Mr. Khurshid formed a new political party on the 28-29th September 1961. He gave it the name Jammu Kashmir Liberation League. The word liberation represents the freedom for the people of the State and the word league affiliated to Mr. Jinnah’s Muslim League

Mr. Khurshid who gained expertise on various aspects of the Independence Act of India 1947 through deliberations with Mr. Jinnah during the crucial years of division of India 1944-1947 put forward an ideology for achieving the freedom of Kashmir. He asked Govt of Pakistan to “RECOGNISE THE MUZAFFARABAD GOVERNMENT AS REBELLIOUS De-jure GOVT OF MAHARAJA HARI SINGH AND REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PEOPLE OF ENTIRE STATE OF JAMMU KASHMIR”.

Mr. Khurshid asked Govt of Pakistan to recognise the government first and then ask friendly countries to recognise it. This would not only empower the representatives of people to present and plead their own case Internationally but through this process, they would gain more support from the International community for achieving their Right of Self Determination. In 1962 when the Divisions of Indian army were surrounded by the Chinese army this proposal was studied by Pakistan foreign office and the proposal was given a go ahead as viable. Then under American pressure, Pakistan President General Ayub did not go ahead to liberate Jammu Kashmir and lost a golden opportunity to achieve freedom for people of Kashmir. Since his proposal Mr. Khurshid, several times asked from other political parties if any party had a better option to discuss but no one came up with any ideas.

On 05/08/1964 general Ayub Khan unlawfully and illegally dismissed the government of Mr. Khurshid. Since that date, Mr. Khurshid remained in opposition, but never gave up his efforts for freedom of the people of Jammu Kashmir.

In 1970 after General Yahya Khan accepted the demands of joint opposition in AJK for holding elections. A presidential election was held in AJK I recently heard accounts of how the Pakistan government got involved and changed the results of the popular public vote in favour of Mr. Khurshid to help impose a non-entity to the post of the president in AJK in 1970.

After 1972 Simla accord between ZA Bhutto and Indira Gandhi Mr. Bhutto tried to permanently settle Kashmir dispute by dividing the state without taking into consideration the wishes of the people and in this context he pursued Mr. Khurshid through coercive means to amalgamate JKLL in the PPP around end of 1976 but in few months time Mr. Bhutto’s own Government was toppled by Gen Zia UL Haq and martial law imposed in Pakistan.

Mr. Khurshid revived JKLL soon after but this event had a great impact as many of the stalwarts who had benefitted from Mr. Khurshid’s regime did not return to the party although knowing that this is the righteous path. Over the next many years there were no elections Mr. Khurshid kept on challenging the illegal rule of Gen Zia through public meetings in AJK.

In 1985 finally, Gen Zia announced the restoration of democracy in Pakistan simultaneously elections were announced in AJK. Mr. Khurshid formed an alliance of four political parties including Gen Hayat Khan of Tehreek I Amal, Barrister Sultan Mehmood and Jamaat I Islami AJK. The Zia regime introduced a law of proportional representation for this election with the purpose of ousting JKLL from the political scenario (as Khurshid’s opponents had told the authorities JKLL will not be able to secure required votes. The results proved that in spite of all interference by the Pakistan state resources and pressuring tactics the JKLL candidates secured the required votes with four assembly seats.  On the other hand General Hayat Khan’s party that did not qualify the percentage of votes in spite of securing ten seats yet the corrupt dictator of Pakistan never disqualified that party. The opposition parties elected Mr. Khurshid as Leader of the opposition in the AJK assembly.

In 1986 Mr. Khurshid attended the conference of Non-Aligned Movement in Harare South Africa and presented a memorandum to more than one hundred heads of the states including Mr. Rajiv Gandhi details of Harrare Conference.

In 1987 the local elections were held in AJK in which the Muslim Conference government of Sardar Sikander Hayat made widespread rigging.  As a result, the opposition parties launched protest movement in AJK. It gained momentum in leadership of Mr. K H Khurshid who intended to do a long march against the AJK government on 13/3/1988 but a day before the long march Mr. Khurshid while travelling on a public coach from Gujrat to Lahore met with a fatal accident and passed away on GT road near Gujranwala by-pass like his mentor and Quaid Mr. Jinnah died on the roadside in Karachi.

After his demise Mr. Sharif Tariq Advocate became the Party President, in his leadership, the party contested elections of 1990 in alliance with People Party AJK and won two direct seats one of Muzaffarabad and one from Gujrat. Two additional members were elected on the reserved seats one on technocrat and one ladies seat. In early 1991 Barrister Sultan Mehmood merged his political party Azad Muslim conference into Liberation League the number of members of the legislative assembly went up to seven with four ministers in the cabinet.

Unfortunately, the assembly could not continue for more than few months and Mr. Mumtaz Hussain Rathore dissolved the assembly in late 1991 and early elections were called. This proved a big disadvantage to Liberation League as it could only secure two seats in 1991 elections. In 1994 Sultan Mehmood planned to merge Liberation League into Peoples Party AJK. At that juncture, I and few other dedicated party workers called an urgent meeting of the core members of the party and expelled Sultan Mehmood from the party. Mr. K H Khurshid was nominated party leader for the interim period pending the convention.

Meanwhile, Justice Majeed Mallick after his retirement from the job joined Liberation League. I with Justice Mallick toured large part of the AJK people and activists welcomes Justice Mallick we had large public meetings. In December 1994 party convention was held in press club Rawalpindi where Justice ® Majid Mallick was elected President and Dr. Misfar Hassan was elected Secretary General of Liberation League. Party revival continued with me and Justice Mallick traveling far flung villages of AJK as well as met with most refugees living in Punjab and Frontier province (now KPK).

In 1996 the party could not form an election alliance and went into elections independently as is the case all elections in AJK are maneuvered by use of resources from Islamabad all candidates of Liberation League lost.

In the years to follow I as Secretary-General focused on the diplomatic front and updated all diplomats in Islamabad of our party ideology and background. In 1997 I and Justice Mallick got an invitation from Foreign and Commonwealth office London over a dinner meeting where we explained our ideology and the process for achieving Self-Determination for people of Jammu Kashmir. We also visited Paris to meet with in charge of South Asian affairs in the foreign office and discussed with her our policy.

In the year 2000 owing to my family commitments I could not continues with responsibilities of the Secretary General Liberation League as traveled to England for post-graduate studies followed by working in the National Health Service.

The party did not win any seats in 2001 2006 2011 or 2016 elections. Justice Majid Mallick has been involved in Track II diplomatic efforts during 2011 -12 He visited Srinagar few times the process involved talks at the highest level but did not bear any results and the miseries of the people of the region continue.

 

Published by: Dr. Misfar Hassan