The Northern frontiers of India ( POK )

14 Jul 2016 14:13:57


In the name of development, massive efforts are taking place to change the geo-political scenario at high mountains of Himalayan region. Pakistan is playing a major role here because it has an illegal possession on northern frontiers of Indian soil. Chinese also have their interests in this land. Both the countries join hands to exploit this haven on the earth, and made the life of the people living here like the hell.

Among the major development projects in Pakistan in which the Chinese have been involved till now are the construction of an international commercial port cum naval base in Gwadar on the Makran coast in Balochistan and the upgradation of the Karakoram Highway connecting the Xinjiang province of China with Pakistan via the Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan) in the North-West Frontier Province.

The Pakistanis, since the days of General Pervez Musharraf have repeatedly sought Chinese assistance for the construction of a petrochemical complex at Gwadar and oil and gas pipelines and a railway line connecting Gwadar with the Xinjiang province. The Chinese interest in participating in development projects in Pakistan is presently confined to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir including the Northern Areas.

The Karakoram Highway was originally constructed with Chinese assistance with the participation of Chinese engineers. For the last 10 years it has been in a bad state of repairs due to poor maintenance by Pakistani engineers. The signing of an MOU for the construction of a dam at Bunji in the Astore district of the Northern Areas by officials of Pakistan's Ministry of Water and Power and China's Three Gorges Project Corporation. The dam,one of the eight hydel projects short-listed for construction will have a capacity of generating 7,000 megawatts of electricity.

Zardari attended a presentation on small and medium sized dams, water conservation and irrigation by the Zhejiang Design Institute of Water Conservancy and Hydroelectric Power. Li Yueming, the president of the institute, said they had carried out feasibility studies of a couple of medium-sized dams in PoK. Shakeel Durrani, chairman of the WAPDA, who was present on the occasion, said that Chinese companies were already working on a number of hydel projects

in Pakistan, including Neelum-Jhelum and Gomal Zam and the raising of the height of the Mangla dam in PoK. He said the institute would be invited to bid for the construction of 12 smalldams.

The State was partitioned after the war between India and Pakistan and puppet rulers of Pakistani Administered Kashmir signed away vast areas of Gilgit Baltistan to their political bosses in Islamabad; and limited their interest to the area known as Azad Kashmir. Since 1947 bureaucrats and secret agencies of Pakistan ruled Gilgit-Baltistan with an iron fist.

The party (Muslim Conference) that signed that ignominious treaty with Pakistani rulers had no branches or even a single member in the areas of Gilgit Baltistan. One wonders what moral or legal justification they had to sign that treaty and leave the people of 28 thousand Square miles at the mercy of oppressive and imperialist minded bureaucrats of Pakistan.

After signing this agreement, Muslim Conference leaders and rulers of Azad Kashmir almost forgot about the plight of the people of Gilgit Baltistan; and confined their rule and interest to the territory of Azad Kashmir.

For the first time in the past 63 years, rulers of Pakistani Administered Kashmir were allowed to visit Gilgit Baltistan. When there was some ambiguity regarding the legal status of these areas, Islamabad did not allow any ruler of Azad Kashmir to visit Gilgit Baltistan. In September 2009, Pakistan unilaterally and against bilateral and international covenants on Kashmir changed legal status of these areas and drastically made them a province of Pakistan.

So, as far as Islamabad was concerned they have allowed the Prime Minister and the President of Azad Kashmir to visit a 'Pakistani province'.The question is how do people of Jammu and Kashmir and All Parties Hurriyet Conference, who  claim to represent all the Kashmiris think of this? Are they too frightened to speak about Gilgit Baltistan because their political masters in Islamabad could get angry? In any case, the leadership of APHC have myopic view of the struggle and want to see everything with the lenses of religion and their influence is restricted to some sub districts of the Valley.

In this rooftop of the world, as many as 33 peaks rise 24,000 feet, the borders of five countries lie in close proximity-Pakistan, China, India, Russia and Afghanistan. India is concerned about vast logistical network developed by China impinging on the country's security in the western sector through Aksai Chin and PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). As there is no comparable road network anywhere else in the world with such a high degree of military importance, it is not surprising that thousands of Chinese and Pakistani troops are engaged more or less permanently on either side of the Karakoram to maintain it. China is in control of a portion of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir.

The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution Act 1974 oblige all leaders from the President down and all legislators to swear loyalty to the cause of accession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan." Islam is the State religion (Article 3). The President and Prime Minister must be Muslim. The right of freedom of association is restricted. Article 7(2) says:

No person or political party in Azad Jammu and Kashmir shall be permitted to propagate against or take part in activities prejudicial or detrimental to the ideology of the State's accession to Pakistan.

If one go through the documents, the UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) adopted a

resolution embodying its proposals for a settlement. On December 11,1948 the UNCIP offered proposals in amplification of the first to provide for a plebiscite. Both sides accepted it.

They were formally embodied in its resolution of January 5 1949.

According it, while the tribesmen from Pakistan and Pakistan's troops were to be withdrawn

completely, India was to withdraw only the bulk of its forces retaining some "to assist local authorities in the observance of law and order". Accordingly the resolution provided that the government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will safeguard law and order and that human and political right will be respected. This is clear recognition of the legality of Kashmir's accession to India, India's external sovereignty over the State and the legal authority of the Government of the State. Though, the exercise was meaningless because Pakistan refused to withdraw its forces from the occupied territory.

In utter disregard of the UN resolutions by which it swears, Pakistan imposed a new regime on POK on June 21 1952. Rules of Business were presented on October 28. Rule 5 said: The President of Azad Kashmir Government shall hold office during the pleasure of the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference duly recognized as such by the Government of Pakistan in the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs.

POK is firmly riveted to Pakistan's control through the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council. It is presided over by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and comprises his five nominees and The President and Prime Minister of POK with six representatives of the POK Assembly elected by proportional representation. In December 1993 the blasphemy laws of Pakistan were extended to the POK. The northern parts of the State have been dismembered from the POK and their status as part of the state questioned. They are ruled directly through a chief executive, appointed by Islamabad with a 26-member Northern Areas Council. The people have never seen elections or enjoyed human rights.

The State's accession to India has never been challenged by the UN Commission for India and Pakistan or the Security Council. As early as 4 February, 1948, the US Representative in the Security Council declared: "External sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir is no longer under the control of the Maharaja. With the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India, this foreign sovereignty went over to India and is exercised by India and that is how India happens to behere as a petitioner."

Similarly, the representative of the USSR said at the 765th meeting of the Security Council:

"The question of Kashmir has been settled by the people of Kashmir themselves. They decided that Kashmir is an integral part of the Republic of India."

The legal adviser to the UN Commission came to the conclusion that the State's accession was legal and could not be questioned. This fact was further recognized by the UN Commission in its report submitted to the UN in defining its resolutions of 13 August, 1948, and 5 January, 1949. Both these resolutions were accepted by India and Pakistan.

The UN Commission resolutions have become obsolete. This view was expressed by the UN Commission itself as far back as 1949, and has been reiterated by Dr. Jarring and Dr. Graham,both UN representatives. Passage of time, change of circumstances, and Pakistan's repeated and continuing violations, have ruled out all possibility of implementing them.

Pakistan tried to impose a military solution by launching a war against India in 1965. The pattern was familiar. Massive infiltration was followed by invasion of Indian Territory on September 1, 1965.

After the war, bilateral talks were held in June/July 1972. Under the terms of this Agreement, the two countries undertook to resolve all differences bilaterally. Pakistan, through its commitment in the Agreement agreed to shift once for all the entire Kashmir question from the UN to the bilateral plane.

Gilgit and Baltistan of Pok are gateway to central Asia for India and southeastern countries

similarly it is gateway for central Asian countries to India, South east Asia and China.

Basically it is a strategic junction full with natural resources. Demography of POK has been systematically changed over past 6 decades with more of punjabis residing there along with retired Pakistan Army personnel’s.

The dignity of the Indian state would never allow it to compromise with any dilution of its integrity. India has kept the doors open to a dialogue with Pakistan, despite the latter's obduracy. But the offer of a dialogue should not in any way lead Pakistan into believing that India and its people do not have the innate strength and resilience to confront any territorial ambitions that Pakistan may nurture in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan ought to realize that the contours of a solution after six decades will necessarily be different than those that were envisaged in 1948-49 given Pakistan's concept of selective self-determination. Neither plebiscite nor independence can now be contemplated. It is not beyond the wit of man to devise a solution which satisfies the aspirations of the people within the Indian Union, and redresses the wrongs, if any, they have suffered.

 

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