By Hammad Husain
Executive Director, Republic College
Pakistan’s new map policy is a masterstroke.
The shift from the 70-year old sympathy stance to an offensive stance by formally claiming ownership of the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Junagarh is timely and brilliant.
Junagarh had acceded to Pakistan in 1947 when the Nawab of Junagarh had signed the instrument of accession and it was accepted by Mr Jinnah. But the Indian Government orchestrated riots in the princely state and then forced a plebiscite on the people of Junagarh which was not sanctioned by UN, nor approved by Pakistan, which, by then, was the legal owner of Junagarh after the accession.
Despite protests from Pakistani prime minister Liaqat Ali Khan, the Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru went ahead with the controversial plebiscite. With a Hindu majority population in Junagarh, the result of the forced plebiscite (with a low turnout) was in favour of India and the Indians forcefully occupied it.
Now, by joining the two cases, and claiming BOTH Kashmir & Junagarh, the Pakistan Government has played a masterstroke that will legally checkmate India.
A clear comparison needs to be made between the Kashmir and Junagarh cases. Kashmir had a Hindu ruler and a Muslim population. Junagarh was the other way around: A Muslim ruler and a Hindu population. In both cases the rulers decided AGAINST their population’s will. (The Maharaja of Kashmir was forced by Nehru into choosing India). Nehru later committed on the floor of the United Nations that a plebiscite will also be held in Kashmir. It never happened.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE NEW POLICY
So here is the REAL deal. If it was the ruler’s prerogative to choose which country to join, then Junagarh should have come to Pakistan. If it was the population’s prerogative, then Kashmir would have joined Pakistan! Whichever rule was applied, ONE of the two states would legally belong to Pakistan. But India illegally annexed both!
Now, by joining the two cases, and claiming BOTH Kashmir & Junagarh, the Pakistan Government has played a masterstroke that will legally checkmate India. This new move will clearly highlight and internationalise the Kashmir issue & its illegal occupation by India.
Pakistan’s 70-year old “sympathy for Kashmiris” policy seeking UN and international intervention had become outdated and stale. Notions like sympathy, plight and human suffering are not effective in international relations, as seen in the cases of Palestine and Myanmar. Tough actions get more attention. This new policy of Pakistan is based on a strong legal footing backed by an overt, tough & logical stance. A lethal combination.
It will surely alter the course of history!