Dipak Basu, Japan
August 16, 2004
Kashmir problem is with the world since 1947, the year of the partition of
India. Now the world is facing a possible nuclear war between India and
Pakistan over this issue. The UN and the U.S want both sides to start
discussions, but the important question is on what basis the discussion
can take place. Foreign Minister of Pakistan Khurshid M. Kasuri, on 1st
June, 2004 has issued a statement referring to the four points raised by
India that: “Borders cannot be altered; No plebiscite; Relations will be
guided by the Simla Agreement; and The Sino-India model should be
followed”. He said, ” A solution based on the ‘line of control’ is not
acceptable. The status quo is a part of the problem not part of the
solution. The unresolved status of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute has
pushed us to three wars in addition to three minor ones and might well
have triggered a wider and more sinister war between the two countries in
2002, if diplomacy, realism and commonsense had not prevailed.” The
positions of the two contending sides do not have any common ground so
far; as a result, solution is alluring them.
The Background of the
Problem has started in 1947 when British was diving India into two parts
to separate out Muslims, who had demanded a separate homeland for
themselves and the non-Muslims. Pakistan had refused to give a chance to
the old princely state of
Jammu and Kashmir
and attacked in the guise of tribal Pathans on 20th October 1947. The
Maharaja asked India for help and joined India on 26th October 1947.
However, by that time Pakistan has already occupied about half of the
Kashmir. The U.N Security Council resolution of April 1948 had suggested
a plebiscite for the people of
after it would be vacated by
Pakistan; India would
be allowed to maintain some forces to maintain the law and order.
Pakistan never vacated the area and as a result, the referendum could not
happen. During the last fifty years a lot of demographic changes took
place, the most notable one is the expulsions of the non-Muslim
communities both from the Pakistan occupied Kashmir and also from the
Srinagar valley of the Indian held Kashmir. Non-Muslims were driven out
from the Pakistan occupied areas of Baltistan, Skardhu, Hunza and Gilgit,
the four semi-independent kingdoms associated with the state of the
Jammu and Kashmir;
there are large-scale infiltrations of Muslims into traditional Buddhist
area Ladakh and the Hindu areas of
In the current demographic characteristics, there are nine million people
in the Indian Kashmir, about six millions are Muslims, the rest three
millions are Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. While Kashmir valley is now
almost all Muslim, in Ladakh Buddhists are still in majority. Muslims are
still a minority in Jammu. Indian part of the
is about 45 percent of the original Kingdom of the
Jammu and Kashmir,
about 35 percent is now in Pakistan, and China has occupied the other 20
percent in 1962. Skardhu, Gilgit, Hunza, and Baltistan are now the
Northern Area Province of Pakistan.
The dispute is mainly on the Indian part of
wants it on the ground that Muslims are the majority of the population in
that part. India although theoretically still claims the whole of the
original kingdom, it had never pressed any demands for the Pakistani and
the Chinese parts seriously.
UN declaration of
The UN declaration, on 13th August, 1948, in the chapter for the ‘TRUCE
AGREEMENT’ categorically said:
“Simultaneously with the acceptance of the proposal for the immediate
cessation of hostilities as outlined in Part I, both Governments accept
the following principles as a basis for the formulation of a truce
agreement, the details of which shall be worked out in discussion between
their Representatives and the Commission.
A. (1) As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State
of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since
it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security
Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from
(2) The Government of
will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of
Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistan nationals not normally
resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting.
(3) Pending a final solution the territory evacuated by the Pakistan
troops will be administered by the local authorities under the
surveillance of the Commission.”
never withdrawn its army and the tribesmen from the occupied
That was the reason the UN declaration could not be implemented.
There are significant demographic changes in
The minorities of
Kashmir, Hindu, Sikhs
and Buddhists were evicted from Kashmir since 1947. A large number of
them, about 200,000, are now living in various refugee camps in Jammu, the
rest were dispersed in other parts of
and the world. At the same time, a large number of Muslims came from
other parts of Pakistan (who include the family of Nawaz Shariff, the
former prime-minister of Pakistan) and other parts of the world to
The UN declaration did not say anything about the future of the minority
non-Muslims in the state of the
Jammu and Kashmir.
Now there are three million non-Muslims, who cannot possibly stay in a
Muslim country if
given the record of Pakistan regarding its treatments of its minorities.
The most important issue is the question of accepting the theory that
Muslims cannot stay with the people of other religions. If the UN accepts
the demand of Pakistan and of the Muslims of Kashmir it implies acceptance
of the ‘Two-Nation’ theory put forward by the founding fathers of Pakistan
that Muslims and Hindus are two different nations and must live
separately. In that case there would be no justification for the presence
of another 110 millions of Muslims in the rest of
who according to the principle of the partition in 1947 should have left
long ago, but are allowed to stay in India only because India does not
accept the ‘Two-Nation’ theory. Strangely, now Pakistan does not want to
accept the Muslims of India, although it was created by the ‘Two-Nation’
position is equally illogical. It declared itself as the secular country,
yet it had accepted the partition of India and recognizes both Pakistan
and Bangladesh. That logically means, India also believes in the
‘Two-Nation’ theory, which is diametrically against the declared ideal of
secularism of India.
If the principle of self-determination is valid for the Muslims, it should
be valid also for the Buddhists in Chittagong Hill Area in Bangladesh,
where 97 percent of the people were Buddhists in 1947, at the time of the
partition. Several princely states in Baluchistan and the people of the
North-West Frontier Province wanted to be independent in 1947, but were
forced to join Pakistan. However, the UN had never considered these
issues. As a result UN declaration of 1948 was unrealistic, one-sided and
has lost all relevance after more than fifty years.
The Right of Self Determination:
The UN Resolutions on
have nothing to do with the ‘right of self determination’ for the
Kashmiris, because there are only two obvious options: Join India or join
There no third option for ‘the independence’. In January 29, 1994, the
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKIF) leader, Amanullah Khan, speaking
in Muzaffarabad, reminded Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto that
Pakistan's persistent rejection of the third option of independence for
Kashmir is "tantamount to denying the very right of self-determination"
Pakistan has been harping about a right which, he asserted, cannot be
limited, conditioned or circumscribed. However, Pakistan's espousal of
the right to self-determination has always been self-servingly conditional
The ‘right of self-determination’ has many edges. Why should this right
be only for the Muslim Kashmiris, when no other people in the undivided
India in 1947 had that right? Ideally, it should be applicable for all
religions, tribes, sub-tribes, linguistic groups, etc. In that case,
there will be hardly anything left in
(or in India or Bangladesh).
Also where should it start, is it for the whole country, every provinces
of the British India, every princely states, every districts, every city,
villages. There is no clear limit, which is not arbitrary. This is
reason the most countries do not want to acknowledge the ‘right of self
determination’ as a fundamental right, because it will destroy the
foundations of all nation states, including Pakistan.
Various Proposals so far:
India wants to
convert the line of control in Kashmir as the international border and
keep everything as it is. It was the basis of the Simla Conference in
1972, which took place after the defeat of Pakistan in its war against
India in 1971. Although Indian politicians do not say it in public, but
is prepared to forgo the Pakistan occupied part of Kashmir; that is the
maximum it is prepared to go.
However it is not acceptable to Pakistan, as it has already gained that
part, it wants additional gains, which is the remaining part of the
Kashmir valley. Like India, Pakistan also can compromise on Ladakh and
Jammu and leave these to India.
cannot agree with it, as it destroys the fundamental basis of the current
constitution, secularism. Thus, Indian and Pakistani positions will never
match and any future discussions within that premises would definitely
The alternative solution was proposed by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation
Front (JKLF) which is not supported by either Pakistan or India. It
supports independence for the whole area of the state of Jammu and
Kashmir, when all armies from both India and Pakistan should vacate the
area, the UN would take over and run the administration for the next
fifteen years and organize the referendum afterwards to decide whether the
area will join India or Pakistan or to stay independent. It is silent
about the area occupied by China.
does not buy this proposal, as it is against the idea of an independent
Thus, this proposal so far has not got off the ground.
Exchange of Population
as the Solution:
The problem between
and Pakistan (and Bangladesh) remains because what was natural after a
partition of a country, the exchange of population, never took place.
Pakistan and Bangladesh has driven out most of their non-Muslim
population, but Muslims are still in India, even after their homeland was
created. This is the most unnatural event in the world. In other cases
of partition elsewhere in the world, there were always exchange of
populations. The cases of Greece-Turkey, Germany-Czechoslovakia,
Bulgaria-Turkey, Poland-Germany, Bosnia-Serbia, Croatia-Serbia, are the
recent examples where full-scale exchanges of population were organized
along with the partition. In fact, it is unnecessary to partition a
country if the populations are not to be exchanged.
Exchange of population between the proposed state of Pakistan and India
was mentioned in the plan of the partition of
made by Rajagopalacharya in 1943 in collaboration with Mahatma Gandhi.
Dr.B.R. Ambedkar has mentioned in detail in 1945 the ways and means of
that exchange of population in his book, ‘Pakistan or Partition of India’,
(AMS Press, New Delhi, 1945). He said, “Assuming it does become a
problem, will it be a baffling problem? Experience shows that it is not a
problem, which it is impossible to solve. To devise a solution for such a
problem it might be well to begin by asking what are the possible
difficulties that are likely to arise in the way of a person migrating
from one area to another on account of political changes…….. The
difficulties can be easily removed by the two States of Pakistan and
agreeing to a treaty..”
It is the responsibility now for the two governments to think about such a
treaty after wasting 60 years since 1945.
The Proposed Solution:
solution is valid if it can take into account of the existing reality and
offer something to all sides. UN declaration has failed because it could
not satisfy that criteria. The reality is that China cannot be dislodged
from its position. Thus, 20 percent of Kashmir has to be forfeited and
does not come into the discussion.
Proposed Solution should be package with the following items:
1. Pakistan and Bangladesh will take all Muslims living in India
(including Kashmir), India will accept all remaining non-Muslims from
2. India will give up the Kashmir valley excepting the link road to Ladakh
and will keep only the Ladakh (all Buddhists) and Jammu valley (mainly
Hindu). The Pakistan occupied Skardhu, Hunza, Baltistan, and Gilgit,
where very few Muslims used to live in 1947 should come to India.
3. Chittagong Hill District (which was 97 percent Buddhists in 1947) will
have a referendum, to join either Burma (Myanmar) or India or to stay
independent. Muslims population there will go back to Bangladesh.
4. Migrants will be allowed to take away their assets; destitute should be
compensated by the government of the country displacing them.
5. In order to avoid the holocaust that took place in 1947-48, the whole
of the subcontinent should be under the jurisdiction of the UN, for about
one year, during which this exchange of population would take place.
The purpose of the partition was to create a homeland for the Muslims of
India. When it
was done, the logical question is: why are Muslims still in India and if
they really want that much to stay in
why should Pakistan or Bangladesh exist at all? As it is unrealistic to
think about the united
once again, as it was before 1947, a realistic solution is to exchange
populations, which should have taken place in 1947 as a logical
consequence of the partition.
There is no other solution, which can satisfy both sides. In a solution
that can work, both sides have to gain something. In the proposed
solution, everyone gains something. India gains in terms of reduced
population and perhaps lasting peace. Pakistan gains Kashmir, what it
always wanted. Bangladesh has still considerable number of non-Muslims
who according this proposal will go away to India. Thus, even accepting
the Bengali Muslims from India the net increase in population in
Bangladesh will not be an unviable figure. It will also gain peace from
the insurgency of the Buddhists tribes in the Chittagong Hill Area.
suffering from a delusion that if it can have an alliance with the United
States, pressures on India to compromise on Kashmir will evaporate. An
alliance with the US may not be possible however much India wants it
because the Middle-East, not
has the supreme importance in the geopolitical strategy of the US. The
Middle East is the major oil supplier for the western world. Given the
religious affinity of Pakistan and the Middle-Eastern countries it is
highly unlikely that the US will ever prefer India. Recent situations in
Afghanistan and Iraq should provide a good lesson for India, when Pakistan
was bailed out from economic bankruptcy, and is now a major non-NATO ally
of the U.S. India’s overtures are so far rebuffed.
Furthermore, an alliance with the US does not provide any guarantee for
India that the US will support India’s position on Kashmir. In 1974,
neither Britain nor the US has supported Greece when Turkey had invaded
and occupied north Cyprus. From 1995 to 1999, despite of strong
opposition from Greece, Anglo-American and other NATO forces have
destroyed Yugoslavia and handed over Kosovo to the Albanians, the mortal
enemy of the Greeks.
should learn from that experience that an alliance with the US might give
undue advantages to Pakistan, which already has alliance with the
The problem of Kashmir remains because none of the countries is arguing
logically. If Pakistan only insist that it has the right to absorb the
rest of the
of religion and if
India insists on its
secularism and as a result refuses to consider any alternative solution,
there is no common ground where these two sides will meet. Thus, any
discussions just like those before will be futile.
It is thus essential to change the mindset of these countries so that they
can think about the ‘unthinkable’ taboo that has prevented them to reach a
logical compromise. That ‘unthinkable’ taboo is the remains of the
illogical and asymmetric system imposed by India on itself, by not going
through the logical steps required at the time of the partition in 1947.
If the exchange of population would have taken place in 1947,
problem could not have emerged. Just like
Bengal and Punjab in
1947, Kashmir would have been partitioned long time ago. Time has come to
take these logical steps, which can solve the problem once for all and
remove the fear of a nuclear war in the subcontinent.
Dipak Basu, Japan
Do you wish to reach IndiaCause readers?
Write @ IndiaCause
Copyright and Disclaimer:
The author is solely responsible for the contents of the
opinion/column/letter. IndiaCause does not represent or endorse the
accuracy, completeness or reliability of any opinion, statement, appeal,
advice or any other information in the article (Kashmir Problem - A
Solution, Pakistan Occupied J&K). Our readers are free to
forward this page URL to anyone. This column may NOT be transmitted or
distributed by others in any manner whatsoever (other than forwarding or weblisting page URL) without the prior permission from
IndiaCause and the author of - Kashmir
Problem - A Solution, Pakistan Occupied J&K