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Vol. 15, No. 5, 2016
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All creatures on earth are territorial in some way shape or form, none more so than humans. Over our entire history, this impertive has resulted in millions of needless deaths, destruction of livelihoods and property, and a tragic repetition of this cycle to avenge loss of territory or even worse, loss of pride.

In rare instances, relinquishing a territory voluntarily may just result in a lasting peace; then again it may not. Here is a synopsis of the situation in Kashmir.

First the history, then the fix.

In 1947 Kashmir had a Hindu Raja and an 85% Muslim majority population. The Raja had a choice to join India or Pakistan but dithered, dreaming of an independent Himalayan Switzerland (1946-1947).

Pakistan’s leader Jinnah encouraged a Jihadist movement with Pashtun/Afghan/Khyber tribes to liberate Kashmir’s Muslim brethren from the Hindu Raja’s despotic rule, specifically after a massacre of Muslims in Jammu in 1947. The Pakistani army secretly supplied arms to internal Muslim revolts throughout Kashmir, hoping to force Kashmir’s union with Pakistan.

With half the state overrun, the Raja appealed to India for help to fight the raiders. India agreed, on condition that the Raja legally join (accede) his princely State to India, thus making Kashmir part of India, which he did. However the veracity and date of this document of accession has been disputed repeatedly by Pakistan and the original has never been found.

India airlifted troops to Kashmir to fight the raiders and began pushing them back (October 1947). Regular Pakistan troops entered the battle to support the raiders who were retreating (November 1947). In early 1948, India lodged a complaint against Pakistan to the newly formed United Nations (U.N.) in an attempt to declare Pakistan as the aggressor.

The Pakistani Ambassador to the U.N., Sir Mohammed Zafrullah Khan (an Ahmaddiya Muslim), made a brilliant presentation to the U.N. convincing the Security Council and the five powers that the wishes of the Kashmiri people were paramount and that they should be given a choice to choose between India or Pakistan. The U.N. Security Council agreed much to India chagrin and passed a resolution requiring the armies of Pakistan to vacate territory of the State of Kashmir, to be followed by a U.N. supervised plebiscite for the Kashmiri people to choose between joining India or Pakistan. It also contained a provision to maintain Indian civilian control to maintain law and order, and to allow the plebiscite to be held. By the provisions of the India Independence Act that was passed in the U.K. parliament in 1947, there was no provision for Kashmiri independence.

In January 1949, the UN established the current cease fire line partitioning Kashmir into two parts (Pakistan administered Kashmir and Indian administered Kashmir) after a year of war between the two countries.

In India, Nehru has always been blamed for taking the case to the UN when the Indian army had the Pakistani army on the run in December 1948. Fearing a loss of control and a loss of the plebiscite vote, Pakistani troops never left. Using this as an excuse, India has consistently refused to hold the plebiscite.

In 1965 Pakistan started a war to liberate Kashmir, but the expected pro-Pakistan Muslim uprising never happened. The war ended in a stalemate.

In 1971 India supported the secessionist movement in East Pakistan (soon to be Bangladesh) which meant sheltering approximately ten million Hindu refugees who were fleeing massacres and persecution by the Pakistani Army. Approximately two million Bangladeshi intellectuals (mostly Muslim) were also killed by the Pakistani Army in 1971.

Bangladesh became independent in 1972. Since then, Pakistan has made it primary goal to strip India of Kashmir in a quid pro quo.

In 1973, all Ahmaddiyas were labelled as heretics in the new Islamic Pakistani constitution and were henceforth classified as a non-Muslim community and stripped of their rights. This allowed the majority Sunnis in Pakistan to systematically oppress all non-orthodox Muslims including the 20% Shia minority scattered throughout Pakistan.

Beginning in 1980, with the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, the aid and arms given to Pakistan to fight Russia were for a significant part sent to Indian Kashmir to foment trouble resulting in India pouring in 500,000 – 800,000 troops to control the Kashmir Valley (pop. 6,800,000). As is wont to happen in military occupations, the army made a mess, interned people without legal warrant, killed others indiscriminately, raped women, (indisputable facts that continue to be denied by most Indians) resulting in the entire population turning against India.

Meanwhile US arms (to fight the Russians, and later the Taliban after 9/11) were still being funnelled into Indian Kashmir; the supply continues unfettered to this day.

India’s attempts to have agencies Lakshar-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizb-ul-Ujahideen declared as terrorist organizations have been stymied until recently by the USA and China (Pakistan’s allies). So today, the 1949 U.N. cease fire line, renamed in 1971 as the Line of Control, still, divides Kashmir into two parts.

Both countries claim Kashmir in its entirety but cannot go to war because of the threat of nuclear retaliation. The restive Muslim population of 6,800,000 in the Kashmir valley does ‘not’ want to be part of India.

The Hindu (Jammu) and Buddhist (Ladakh), parts of Kashmir both want to stay in India. They have a 30% and 40% Muslim minority population respectively.

All Hindus and Buddhists were forced to flee the areas of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan in 1949. Approximately 300,000 Hindus were expelled from the Kashmir Valley beginning in 1989 in an ethnic cleansing operation by the valley’s Muslims even though it was under Indian control. The Hindu and Buddhist presence in the Kashmir valley predates the advent of Islam in 1300 CE in this area by nearly 2000 years. Kashmir had been a major Buddhist center of learning along with parts of Afghanistan (see Bahmian Buddha).



In 2016, it is pointless for India to try and convince the 6.8 million Muslims that India is their champion. There is no goodwill left for this to happen. India must have a supervised plebiscite in the Kashmir Valley, and if needed in Jammu and Ladakh – the three areas currently being administered by India.

If a plebiscite were to be held, the Kashmir valley will vote to join Pakistan, and Jammu and Ladakh will vote to remain in India. In respect to the latter two, of course Pakistan will not recognize the results and will continue to covet the territory of the non-Muslim parts of state. This is somewhat akin to Yasser Arafat’s PLO and today’s Mahmoud Abbas wanting all of Israel to be part of the PLO’s Palestinian state!

But by doing this, India, however belatedly, will have held the much vaunted U.N. plebiscite, which will legally oblige it to cede the most valuable part of K(c)a$hmir (equivalent of Jerusalem if you will), but in the spirit of democracy and human rights it will be able to declare to the world that the people of Kashmir have made their choice, and that India will re-draw the border accordingly.

Finally, this brave and unprecedented granting of independence (willingly ceding territory for a higher cause) will appease nearly seven million Muslims in Kashmir, now reunited with their Muslim brethren in Pakistan, and hopefully the malcontent terrorists among them, presently funded by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

Once this agreement becomes fact, and the two Muslim entities are reunited; only time will tell if Kashmir’s Muslims will want to become independent from Pakistan.

Addendum: There is one area of Pakistan administered Kashmir, the region known as Baltistan at the foot of K2, the second highest mountain in the world. It is predominantly (90%) Shia and the people speak Balti, a Tibetan based language similar to Ladakhi. Baltistan was severed by the 1949 line from the Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh.

Pakistan has been trying to dilute the 90% Shia majority in this region by encouraging Sunni immigration. This undeclared policy has already resulted in thousands of deaths of the indigenous population due to the Sunni religious intolerance of Shias.

If Pakistan truly professes its desire to champion the Kashmiri people’s cause for a choice between the two countries, a plebiscite held this region would most likely result in a vote to join India, even though they are Muslim.

Final thought: If both sides lift the veil of darkness, they will realize that with this solution the Muslim Sunnis in Kashmir will live in an Islamic Pakistan, the Shias and the non Muslim people (the Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus) in a secular India. There will be no majority repressing any minority. Lastly, the will of the 'people of Kashmir' will be heard and recognized under international law. All Kashmiris will have finally the opportunity to live in peace on their ancestral lands.


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Thank you Ajit Sarma. I am a Muslim and I thank you for reaching out.
I commend the clarity of this article but disagree with blame assigned to India. Where we are now and not where we were is where we must begin on the rocky road to solutions.











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