When the first surgical strike was conducted by Indian Army in Narendra Modi-1, we for the first time responded to Pakistan’s policy of bleeding India with a hundred cuts to finish what the Pakistanis call the unfinished agenda, with action, straight, strong and brutal. Then Pulwama happened in which Pakistan trained terrorists martyred Forty-Eight of Indian soldiers in a suicide attack. This was again responded to swiftly and unhesitatingly by India with Balakot Air Strikes deep in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. While these two actions made it clear to the world at large and to Pakistan, in particular, that India will go beyond condemnations in case of such misadventures; the initiatives still remained with Pakistan.
You can hit back strong, and stronger but the fact about hitting back is that it is essentially reactive. This meant that Pakistan, with its inherent shamelessness, obvious to the world ever since the tribal raiders were pushed in by Pakistan in 1946, will continue to have the initiative, as far as violence towards India was concerned. But this amendment to Article 370 has first time deprived Pakistan of the benefit of initiative. Pakistan was used to engineering terror attacks and India going around complaining to the world and threating reaction to Pakistani action. This was the first time in seventy years that India acted and Pakistan has run out of options to respond. Since Pakistan does not have a moral right over Kashmir, they have run out of any option for the legitimate protest to what India has done in her territory. In helplessness and desperation, Pakistan has gone to the two of the most dangerous forces for support- A fanatic faith and cruel communism, latter being more fanatic than the former.
Pakistan had the usual tools to antagonize India. Terror attacks, violent protests in Kashmir- the two were mail tools Pakistan used. This time with a strict vigil by Indian forces, Pakistan is unable to do either. Overt war is thoroughly impossible given the economic state of Pakistan. Pakistan faces double-digit inflation, the growth rate is 3.3 percent. India is nine-times bigger than Pakistan in terms of size of the economy (2.6 Trillion against 305 Billion of Pakistan). In a crazy belligerence to prove itself equal to a much larger India militarily, impoverished Pakistan spends 17% for defence against Indian military allocation being 8% of the budget (although in absolute terms the Indian Defence budget is much higher at USD 44.6 Billion, as against Pakistan’s 7.52 Billion, the percentage allocation illustrates the focus of government). Pakistan central banks have Forex reserves of USD 7 Bn. To get a perspective, India has the Forex of more than 426 Bn USD, and Bangladesh sits at a reserve of USD 33 Bn.
Having run out of all these options, all that Pakistan is left with is a war of misinformation. Communists on this side have long been their partners-in-crime against India waging war for the balkanization of India. Now it seems, Congress too has joined in desperately grasping at whatever little hope of coming back to power comes in its way. Let us look at the hollowness of the Pakistani claim which they are now putting forth with all the elaborate and erudite sophistry which is available with them.
Kashmir’s accession to India rests on Article 370
Kashmir Acceded to India through Letter of Accession signed on 26th of October 1947. Article 370 came much later, and section 35A came even later. Since Kashmir became a part of India earlier than Article 370 came into being, this propaganda is fake, false and irrational. Some claim that the Article of Accession signed by the Maharaja was distinct in the way that for it to remain effective, Article 370 was a necessary provision and had to be brought in. The fact remains that the Article of Accession signed by the Maharaja of Kashmir was identical to the ones signed by other princely states. Each of the 140 princely states which signed the Instrument of Accession, signed exactly the same document, identically worded. It is a myth carefully and consciously propagated by the separatists that Kashmir became part of India under a condition different from other states and had special provisions. This is a lie.
The conditional nature and Article 370
Article 370 was never a necessary condition for IoA to be applicable. IoA was already applicable to Kashmir, defining it as an integral part of India when Article 370 came into being in 1952. On multiple objections raised by Honourable Members of Parliament like Shri KT Shah and Maulana Hasrat Mohani as to why was Kashmir being treated differently from other states, Shri Gopalaswami Ayangar had responded that in some time this article will fade away and eventually Kashmir will become a part of India like any other state. The article was a temporary provision, by definition and intent both.
Kashmir has a distinct culture and heritage
Truth- Kashmir has always been a part of mainland India. The state historically was founded by Emperor Ashok of Magadh (modern-day Bihar). The state had pre-dominantly Hindu culture. Dogra kings ruled over the province even before the 1846 Amritsar Treaty which made them ruler over the state till perpetuity. Even before that when Punjab was ruled by Khalsa king, Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, the State of Kashmir and Punch were under the rule of Dogra Kings who ruled as the representative of the Sikh King. It was with the consent and approval of Sher Singh, the son of Ranjeet Singh, that the treaty with Ladakh was signed which became a part of Jammu and Kashmir State. India is a nation rich with a variety of culture, literature and art. A cultural heritage distinct to the state is nothing unique to the state and all states from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka to Gujarat to Assam to Bihar to Bengal have a unique heritage which is not a logic to have an independent constitution within the state of India.
While Pak-Occupied Kashmir is Azaad or Independent, Indian Kashmir is under illegal annexation
The whole of Kashmir which was under the rule of Maharaja Harisingh acceded to India. This was done through a legally valid process. PoK was annexed by Pakistan when raiders attacked with the support of Pakistan Army. This participation of Pakistan Army from behind the front line of invasion was inadvertently accepted by Pakistani negotiator, Sir Zafarullah Khan to the UN Commission in 1949. While UN continued to have the sympathy of underdogs towards Pakistan, being a smaller nation, this fact made the UN Commission rule that first step for Plebiscite was to get the whole of Kashmir cleared off the Pakistani invaders, put it under Indian administration and then consider people’s will. The PoK wanting and intending to annex Indian Kashmir is the case of the tail trying to wag the dog. Indian Kashmir is around 60% of the total area of the region ruled by Maharaja of Kashmir. The people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir carry Pakistani Passport. In 1949, the so-called Azad Kashmir government signed Karachi agreement with the then Government of Pakistan, wherein all the land rights of Gilgit-Baltistan were passed on to Pakistan. The agreement reportedly was signed by Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani ((Minister of Kashmir Affairs), Sardar Mohammad Ibrahim Khan (President of Azad Kashmir) and Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas.
In this agreement, Azad Kashmir handed over the entire administration of Gilgit-Baltistan to Pakistan (which gave away the part of the region to China). It is from this region that Pakistan handed over 5000 Square Kms (Shaksgam valley) to China to buy their friendship. Sardar Ibrahim later claimed that his signatures were forged by Muhammad Din Taseer (Grandfather of Journalist Aatish Taseer who wrote a piece denouncing Modi recently). These charges recently came to the note of common masses when raised by the exiled Spokesperson of United Kashmir People Nationalist Party (UKPNP) who also wrote to UN International Human Rights Council on Human Rights violations by Pakistan in PoK in June, 2018 (Appeal to the UN on extrajudicial Killings, enforced disappearance and custodial tortures). While PoK is a mess as it is, Pakistani propaganda which begins with Islamic proclamations and promises to liberate Kashmir end with the Pakistani hope of unfurling Pakistani flag over Kashmir.
The Founding Fathers wanted Kashmir to be part of Pakistan
On the 5th of November, 1951, on the floor of Constituent Assembly, Sheikh Abdullah said:
“The problem may be posed in this way, firstly was Pakistan’s action in invading Kashmir in 1947 morally and legally correct, judged by any norm of international behaviours? Verdict Sir Owen Dixon’s verdict on this issue is perfectly plain. In unambiguous terms be declare Pakistan an aggressor. Secondly was Maharaja’s accession to India legally valid or not? The legality of the accession has not been seriously questioned by any responsible or independent person of authority. These two answers are obviously correct. Then where is the justification of treating India and Pakistan at par in matters pertaining of Kashmir? In fact, the force of logic dictates the conclusion that the aggressor should withdraw his armed forces, and the United Nations should see that Pakistan gets out of the State.”
Pakistan President, Imran Khan, who some time back claimed that Japan shared boundaries with Germany, also now is suddenly missing Pandit Nehru, possibly emboldened by the utterance of the current members of Nehru Family. The truth can be discomforting to a man as delusional as Imran Khan. Nehru was curt and clear about his opinion on Pakistan when UN Commissioner Joseph Korbel dithered on the outright condemnation of Pakistan for its loutish aggression on Kashmir and had said, “You seem not to understand our position and our rights. We are a secular state which is not based on religion…Pakistan is a medieval state with an impossible theocratic concept.” Also, given the control Nehru had over his government, it is unlikely that Sir Girija Shankar Bajpai spoke without his approval when he said ‘If the future of Jammu and Kashmir was to be determined by the arbitrament of sword, then, without in any way wishing to utter a threat, or in the language of menace, I should like the commission, as realists, to recognize that the offer of plebiscite could not remain open.’
I do not think both Imran Khan or Rahul Gandhi would have liked to have Pandit Nehru in the throne at this time. As early as 27th of November 1963, the matter of Article 370 came up in the Lok Sabha. On the question regarding final integration of J&K with the mainland raised by Shri LM Singhvi and others, the Minister of State of Home Affairs, Shri Hazarnavis, responded quoting Amendment to Article 370, via Presidential order dated 25thof September, 1963 that- “Since this article was incorporated in the constitution, many changes have been brought to the state of Jammu and Kashmir in line with the rest of India. The state is fully integrated into the rest of India.” It was pointed out that Pakistan had made some protests on the changes to the Constitution of Kashmir made earlier and Mr Gulzari Lal Nanda responded, “Jammu and Kashmir is completely and fully integrated with and is part of India. Nobody else has anything to say about this matter (the changes in 370).”Regarding the claim by Ghulam Bakshi Mohammad who had claimed Article 370 to be permanent in nature, in contrast to Nehru’s claim of it being temporary in nature, the question was asked. Nehru responded, and Imran Khan, Manish Tewari and Rahul Gandhi, all may note, “Article 370, as the house will remember, is a part of transitional provisional arrangements. It is not a permanent part of the Constitution. ..There is no doubt that Kashmir is fully integrated.” I would say it is pretty black and white and not enough of grey.
Abrogation of Article 370 is a blow to Democracy and Secularism
There are many states in India which are not under Article 370, and democracy thrives perfectly well there. There are many nations in the world which take pride in democratic values. How many of these nations have separate constitutions for their states as was provisioned in Article 370, where even legislations was not in the concurrent list. This meant even the benefits of reservations which were available to the oppressed class elsewhere, were not available to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. It is absolutely surprising that those who claim to represent Dalit rights in India are standing with those who do not want these laws to be applicable in Kashmir. Democracy is a great idea and in times of crisis, liberties will be curtailed. As HL Mencken wrote in his essays on Democracy, “The fact is that liberty, in any true sense, is a concept that lies quite beyond the reach of inferior man’s mind.” I’d even add that inferior minds will hide their evil designs behind the façade of democracy.
In a democracy, there could be space for Gandhi but not for Gandhians with guns of Arundhati Roy. Secondly, when the supporters of the Islamic State of Pakistan start talking about Secularism, it becomes absolutely amusing. There are political leaders in Pakistan who want Islamic world to stand for keeping Kashmir out of India, who consider Annexation of Kashmir into the Islamic state a part of just Jihad, who are votaries of violence as just mean to break the state away and they will wear sherwani and speak in accented language about Kashmiris to become part of Islamic State of Pakistan. They too know this myth of Azad Kashmir is a fictional hoax to circumvent public opinion. It is the time, the whole world knows that and we have the example of Pak-occupied Kashmir in front of them, a Kashmir which is totally deprived of its history and culture.