Our PoK narrative must change

By K.N. Pandita

“Azad Jammu and Kashmir” of Pakistan is our “Pakistan occupied Kashmir”. Preparations for annexing Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan through force of arms were secretly planned in Peshawar months ahead of the transfer of power on 15 August 1947. NWFP Chief Minister Qayyum Khan and PM Liaquat Khan were the key figures of the conspiracy. General Akbar Khan of Pakistan army, who was controlling the movement of the invading lashkars and Pakistani regulars in civilian mufti into Kashmir, has given a graphic account of how the attack was conducted. Pakistan made the unrest among the disbanded soldiers of WW II from Poonch and Mirpur areas a cover to disclaim involvement in Kashmir incursion. Though the invading tribal lashkars and Pak regulars were ousted from the valley by the Indian troops, yet a part of the State remained under the illegal control of Pakistan which is now called by them as POJK. In 1949 Pakistan illegally separated the northern areas of Gilgit and Baltistan from PoK and took that into its direct administrative control.

Pakistan pretentiously profiled PoK as a free or autonomous region but practically exerted full control of the region for political, economic and geographical purposes. A Constitution given to PoK by Pakistan made it compulsory for the people of PoK to take the oath of allegiance to Pakistan when accepting a government assignment. Commenting in its status, the World Watch Volume 18 of Sept 2006 said,” Azad Kashmir is a legal anomaly. According to a UN Resolution of 1948, Azad Kashmir is neither a sovereign state nor a province of Pakistan but rather a local authority with responsibility to the area assigned to it under a ceasefire agreement with India. It has remained in legal limbo since that time. In practice, the Pakistan government in Islamabad, the Pakistani army and the Pakistani intelligence services (ISI) control all aspects of political life in Azad Kashmir….”

After the clandestine Karachi Agreement of April 1949, to which allusion has been made, Pakistan took the control of Northern Areas direct into its hands. After 2017, Islamabad has been contemplating turning Gilgit-Baltistan (now new nomenclature for Northern Areas) into the fifth province of Pakistan. It came into prominence after Pakistan and China jointly floated the CPEC proposal.

Pakistan’s handling of “AJK” and G-B has been politically, constitutionally and historically untenable and in contravention of international law. Secondly, Pakistan’s decision to cede about five thousand square kilometers of the Aksaichin region of the original state of Jammu and Kashmir to China is a blatantly illegal act which India has rejected outright.

India’s position is reflected in the Security Council Resolution of 1948 in which Pakistan was asked to withdraw its troops and fighting men from the Maharaja’s State and prepare for a plebiscite. Pakistan not only did not withdraw a single troop but reinforced her military presence threateningly. India had accepted ceasefire on 31 Dec 1948 with the clear understanding that after Pak withdrew its troops from Kashmir, the next step of holding a plebiscite would follow. Thus Pakistan forfeited its right to a ceasefire and with that left India free to take whatever action she thinks desirable to re-take her territory.

In 1994, the question of PoK came up in the Indian Parliament and a unanimous resolution was passed declaring that India would retake its territory now under the illegal occupation of Pakistan or China. The resolution holds good even today and much more seriously.

Since 1989-90, the Pakistan army has established clandestine terrorist and jihadist training camps along the LoC to infiltrate the jihadists into Kashmir valley for creating disorder and disrupting civilian life. India has been replying to this perfidy as best which includes the Uri operation and the Balakot pincer attack. Both of these were meant to warn Pakistan that it should put an end to terrorist camps and helping the jihadists to cross into our site clandestinely. Pakistan is not responding to these warnings.

All this entitles India to take such steps including military steps as would ensure peace in the region, exclusion of terrorists and jihadists from the scenario and re-imposition of full control of the area in her own hands.

Pakistan has intensified cross border shelling and firing. Now her guns are targeting civilian habitats besides the border security forces and posts. She has adopted these tactics by way of response to the Indian Parliament passing the Reorganization Act. Now Pakistan is desperate that India should launch an attack so that she runs about the world to tell big powers that her apprehensions of India planning an attack have come true.

Let that be as Pakistan thinks or does. The time has come for India to launch a blitzkrieg on the illegally occupied areas of POJK and G-B. India’s defense department should immediately streamline its plan of re-taking Muzaffarabad and cutting off the Krishnaganga Valley from the rest of PoK. Full control of Neelam Valley means control of northern areas especially Gilgit and Baluchistan. Today the constraint of Anglo-American pressure not to interfere in the region under discussion nor more exists, and India is strong enough to deal with both, Pakistan and China. The entire world knows that Pakistan has been giving away illegal territorial gifts to China.

Pakistan has banned flights by Indian flyers over his air space. This has cussed us strategic and economic losses which we must repair. Gilgit has 116 km long border with the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan. India needs to explore the re-occupation of this area which is her own and establish road and air link via Gilgit to Kabul and then to Central Asia. It is our right to take back our territory and it is our right to manage our land, sea and air connectivity with our neighboring countries.
This is not daydreaming; it is what Pakistan forces us to do and we have no reason not to oblige her.

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