The word Kashmir was derived from the ancient Sanskrit language was referred to as Kasmira. A valley between the great Himalayan range and Pir Panjal mountain range, Kashmir is a place of beautiful simplicity and pristine natural beauty. Kashmir is painted with a unique culture that keeps you intrigued throughout the journey, from Srinagar to Somagar and Gulmarg to Pahalgam. Kashmir has a variety of terrains ranging from lakes, snow-capped mountains, and coniferous kissed hills to glaciers fed rivers. Kashmir is covered with wild untouched terrain and on others, there are fields of saffron and orchards of apples awaiting their full bloom. There are a variety of flowers, some people compare Kashmir with Switzerland.
The Kashmir issue is a territorial conflict primarily between India and Pakistan and China as the third-party role over the Kashmir region. The conflict started after the partition of India in 1947 as both India and Pakistan claimed the entire of the former princely state of Jammu Kashmir with Pakistan recognizing Chinese sovereignty over the Trans Karakoram tract and Aksai Chin since 1963. The region escalated into three wars between India, Pakistan and several other armed skirmishes. India controls 55% of land area of the region that includes Jammu, Kashmir valley, most of Ladakh, the Siachen glacier and 70% of its population. Pakistan controls 30% of the area includes Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan while China controls the remaining 15% of the land area that includes the Aksai Chin region, the mostly uninhabited Tran-Karakoram track and Demchok sector.
From 1846 to 1947 partition of India Kashmir was ruled by Mahajras of Ghulab Singh Dogra dynasty as a princely state under the British Paramountcy. According to the 1941 census, the state’s population was 77 percent Muslims, 20 percent Hindus and 3% others Sikhs and Buddhist. The princely rule was an overwhelming a Hindu-dominated state. According to 1947 India Independence Act states were left to choose whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Jammu and Kashmir, the largest of princely state had a predominantly Muslim population ruled by Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh. He decided to stay independent because he expected that the state’s Muslim will be unhappy with accession to India and the Hindus and Sikhs would become vulnerable if he joined Pakistan. Pakistan made various efforts to persuade the Maharaja of Kashmir to join Pakistan.
The Indo-Pakistan war 1948
Rebel forces from the western districts of the state and Pakistan Pakhtoon tribesmen made rapid advance into the Baramulla sector in the Kashmir valley, National conference volunteers worked with the Indian Army to drive out the raiders. The Pakistan army made available arms, ammunition and supplies to rebel forces who were dubbed the “Azad Army''. Pakistani army officers were conveniently on leave and the former officers of the Indian national Army were recruited to command the forces. In May 1948, Pakistan army officially entered the conflict to defend the Pakistan border .Prime Minister Liaquat Ali khan and to refer the dispute to The United Nations under the article of 35 of the UN charter, which allow the member states to bring Security Council attention way to endanger the maintenance of International peace. On 21 April 1948 UN Security Council passed resolution 47. The measure called for an immediate cease-fire and called on the Government of Pakistan to secure the withdrawal from the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 led to loss for Pakistan of a military and surrender in East Pakistan. Bangladesh was created as a separate state with India’s support and India emerged as a clear regional power in South Asia. Accordingly, the Simla Agreement was formulated and signed by the two countries whereby the countries resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations and to maintain the sanctity of line of control. It was decided that the negotiations will be made by both sides not by the UN.
The 1999 Kargil Conflict
In mid-1999 alleged instruments and Pakistani soldiers from Pakistan Kashmir infiltrated Jammu and Kashmir. During the winter season, Indian forces regularly move down to lower altitudes to serve climatic conditions makes it almost impossible for them to guard the high peaks near the line of control. This results in a large-scale conflict between India and Pakistan armies. Fears of Kargil turning into a nuclear war provoked the United States President Bill Clinton to pressure Pakistan to retreat. The Pakistan army withdraws their remaining troops from the area; ending the conflict India regains control of Kargil peaks.
21st Century developments
India continues to assert its sovereignty or rights over the entire region of Kashmir, while Pakistan maintains that it is disputed territory. Pakistan argues that the status cannot be considered as a solution and further insists on a UN sponsor Plebiscite. In 2005 General Musharraf sought to resolve the Kashmir issue through the Chenab Formula road map. The Chenab formula assigns Ladakh to India, Gilgit-Baltistan to Pakistan, proposes a plebiscite in the Kashmir valley and splits Jammu into two halves.
According to the government of India Home ministry 2008 was the year with the lowest civilian casualties in 20 years with 89 deaths compared to a high of 1413 in 1996. In 2009 protest started over the alleged rape and murder of two young women in Shopian in South Kashmir. Suspicion pointed towards the police as predators. A judicial inquiry by a retired high court official confirmed but a CBI inquiry reversed their conclusion. The 2010 Kashmir unrest was a series of protest in the Muslim majority Kashmir valley in Jammu and Kashmir which started in June 2010. The protest involved the “Quit Jammu And Kashmir Movement”.
The attack by four militants on an Indian army base on 18 September 2016 also known as the 2016 Uri attack resulted in the death of 19 soldiers as well as the militants themselves. Although no one claimed the responsibility for the attack, the Indian authorities suspected the involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group. Indians blamed that Pakistan was involved, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association decided to suspend work with Pakistan. The Pakistani government “denied any role in cross border terrorism and called on the United Nation and the International community to investigate atrocities it alleged have been committed by security forces in an Indian ruled Kashmir.
Article 370 India gaining control over Kashmir
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, it is the region located in the northern part of Indian Subcontinent. From 1954 to 2019 India administered a large region of Kashmir which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan and China since 1947. On 5 August 2019, the government of India issued a constitutional order superseding the 1954 order, and making all provisions of the Indian constitution applicable to Jammu and Kashmir based on the resolution passed in both houses of India’s parliament with 2/3 majority. After this the people in Kashmir started protesting in response to stop this large scale protest the Indian government imposed lockdown till now it has been 11 months to the lockdown. During lockdown more than thousands of people have lost their lives and women are brutally raped. Recently the Indian soldiers in front of a three year old boy killed his grandfather.
Abdul Moeez Mirza