BB supports an independent Kashmir
Shabir Choudhry 29 November 1999
President JKLF UK& Europe
Tel: 0208 597 4782 email:email@example.com
When I first read this news I thought this was a misprint and simply ignored it. But the following day there were people criticising Benazir Bhutto for saying that the Kashmiri people can also become independent. It was at time that I read the previous day’s newspaper with interest. After reading this, I waited for a week before making any comments on it as I was expecting a denial from either BB or from one of her stalwarts.
As a Kashmir nationalist, I think it is remarkable news. I only hope that this is not one of those statements, which politicians make when they are in Opposition, and especially when they are in deep problems themselves. In the past People Party and especially BB has been strongly opposed to the idea of an independent Kashmir.
It was during her government when this idea was seriously discussed in many political circles around the world. People increasingly came to this conclusion that for the peace and stability of South Asia the Kashmir issue has to be resolved. The respective stands of both governments were appreciated, but it was realised that no progress could be made if something new is not introduced, and both governments agree to go beyond their stated public stands. At that time it was due to her strong opposition to the idea of an independent Kashmir that Kashmir was not resolved.
I am pleased that like many other Pakistani politicians she has understood that Kashmir issue cannot be resolved bilaterally and on the bases of UN resolutions. The people of Kashmir are the main party to the dispute, and it is their decision which must be respected, irrespective of the desires of the both governments. Benazir Bhutto is the first popular leader, after the Qaaid e Azam who have acknowledged the concept of an independent Kashmir. Qaaide Azam, realist and visionary leader as he was, very clearly said that Kashmiris could become independent. In a statement
Mr Jinnah ( Qaaid e Azam) said on 17 June 1947:
" After the lapse of paramountcy the Indian States would be constitutionally and legally sovereign states and free to adopt for themselves any course they wished. It is open to the States to join the Hindustan Constituent Assembly or decide to remain independent. In my opinion they are free to remain independent if they so desire.
Mr Jinnah not only made the above statement like other politicians, but he proved it with his actions as well. He was a man of principle and renowned lawyer of his time. He knew exactly what he was talking about - the "Two Nations Theory" did not apply to the Princely States. He demonstrated this when the Muslim ruler of Junagadh decided to accede with Pakistan; Mr Jinnah accepted this accession, even though he knew that the State had non-Muslim majority. Had the "Two Nations Theory" being applicable to the States, he would not have accepted this accession. Similarly he supported the Nizam of Hyderabad's right to remain independent. This Muslim ruler also had non- Muslim majority in the State, and if rules of the “Two Nations Theory” were applicable to the Princely States, then he should have acceded to India.
Had the Pakistani rulers followed the advice and principles laid down by Qaaid e Azam, Pakistan would have been much stronger, stable and prosperous country, and of course still one country. The people of East Pakistan still would have been Pakistanis, and I am sure the Kashmir issue would have been resolved according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
It is still not too late. If the Pakistani leaders acknowledge the changed ground reality, and fast changing political and economic situation in the world then they can still put their house in order. This will help them to make Pakistan stable and prosperous and they can play a leading role in international arena. And if God forbid they still continue with the old way of social and political life, then they will surely miss the bus, and with that the misery of the Kashmiri people would be lengthened.