Why Muslim Conference’s accession matters Why instrumental accession (26 October) is a myth?

Each year, on 19 July the Kashmiri on both sides of Line of Control and across the world observe the Accession to Pakistan Day. On this day, they renew their pledge to continue the struggle for freedom from Indian occupation.

First Accession: On this day in 1947, All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference passed a resolution for Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan at the residence of Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan in Srinagar.

The historic resolution recalled that the Kashmiri’s future was inextricably linked with Pakistan because of geographical, cultural and economic relationship with Pakistan. The resolution epitomized the ethos of millions of Kashmiri Muslims whose hearts throbbed with people of Pakistan. This is the first unequivocal resolution by Kashmir aligning his future with Pakistan. It is enshrined in Azad Jammu and Kashmir Constitution also.

The Second Accession: The second `accession’ is touted by India in a mythical instrument of accession’ signed by the Maharajah of Kashmir with India on October 26, 1947.

By scrapping the disputed state’s special status, India itself torn the `instrument’ to shreds. The cartographic annexation of the state (August 5) not only violates the terms of accession’ in the so-called `instrument’ but also violates United Nations resolutions and Simla Accord.

The `instrument of Accession’ was signed before Article 370 came into being. As such, it is the foundation of the state’s special status.

The former chief minister of the state, Omar Abdullah called the revocation of the special status “a total betrayal of the trust that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had reposed in India when the State `acceded’ to it in 1947”.

The removal of special status without consulting the people of the disputed state amounts to compromising the State’s autonomy that was fundamental to the `accession’.

Faizan Mustafa, vice-chancellor of National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, Hyderabad pointed out, `This is a unilateral withdrawal of a promise that was fundamental to Jammu and Kashmir’s relation to India’.

Equivocal accession: The‘Instrument’ of Accession is void for several reasons. The Independence Act required the intention of accession to be absolute and crystal-clear. But, a stray glance at the ‘Instrument’ would make it clear that it is equivocal. The ‘Instrument’ expresses ‘intention to set up an interim government and to ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities’ with the Maharajah’s prime minister. The last sentence in the ‘Instrument’ is ‘In haste and with kind regards’. Handwritten corrections on the text of the ‘Instrument’ speak volubly about the wavering state of the maharajah’s mind. The instrument, extracted under coercion and duress, is untenable under law.

UN’s admonition on `accession’ farce: Subsequent accession resolution, passed by the occupied Kashmir’s ‘constituent assembly’ is also void. This resolution violates the Security Council’s resolutions forbidding India from going ahead with the accession farce.

Aware of India’s intention to get the ‘Instrument of Accession’ rubber-stamped by the puppet assembly, the Security Council passed two resolutions to forestall the `foreseeable accession’ by the puppet assembly. Security Council’s Resolution No 9 of March 30, 1951 and affirmative Resolution No 122 of March 24, 1957 outlaws accession or any other action to change the status of the Jammu and Kashmir state.

Renowned journalist Alastair Lamb also regards the Instrument of Accession, ‘signed’ by the maharajah of Kashmir on October 26, 1947, as fraudulent (Kashmir – A disputed legacy 1846-1990). She argues that the maharajah was travelling by road to Jammu (a distance of over 350 km). How could he sign the instrument while being on the run for the safety of his life? There is no evidence of any contact between him and the Indian emissaries on October 26, 1947.

Actually, it was on October 27, 1947 that the maharajah was informed by M.C.Mahajan and V.P.Menon (who had flown into Srinagar) that an Instrument of Accession is being fabricated in New Delhi. Obviously, the maharajah could not have signed the instrument earlier than October 27, 1947.

The instrument remains null and void, even if the maharajah had actually signed it. The reason, as pointed out by Alastair is that the `signatures’ were obtained under coercion. He points out Indian troops had already arrived at and secured Srinagar airfield during the middle of October 1947. On October 26, 1947, a further airlift of thousands of Indian troops to Kashmir took place. He questions: “Would the maharajah have signed the Instrument of Accession, had the Indian troops not been on Kashmiri soil?” It is eerie to note that India never showed the original `Instrument’ at any international forum. If he was truthful, it should have the temerity to present the document to Pakistan or to the UN.

Isn’t it funny that, in the summer of 1995, the Indian authorities reported the original document as lost or stolen? This fact further beclouds the authenticity of the document.

India took Kashmir issue to the UN in 1948 under article 35 of Chapter VI (Pacific Settlement of Disputes) which outlines the means for a peaceful settlement of disputes. India avoided presenting the Kashmir case under UN Chapter VII which relates to acts of aggression. Obviously, it did so because it knew that Kashmir was a disputed state. And, the issue of its integration with India or Pakistan remained to be resolved.

India’s cartographic aggression: By amending its maps, India has included not only Azad Kashmir but also Gilgit Baltistan within Indian Territory. Pakistan parliament should enact maps to re-stress disputed contours of the Jammu and Kashmir State. These maps should be widely available and distributed. Recently two Pak TV employees were sacked for displaying an Indian version of the map. Kashmir watch published a map showing Aksai Chin as `territory ceded by Pakistan to India’. Following an objection, it replaced the map with a BBC map which shows the territory as `China-controlled’. A. G. Noorani points out, `In truth, China … got no territory. Instead, it was Pakistan which secured from China 750 square miles of administered territory (A. G. Noorani, Facing the truth, June 5, 2020, Frontline, Print edition: October 06, 2006).

India’s aggression to include disputed territories within Indian Union is puerile. AG Noorani rightly points out; Maps are not documents of title. They are of evidentiary value, depending on the circumstances. Published over time as a matter of course and with consistency, they provide good evidence. If they conflict with the state’s claims, they can constitute an admission. Published to create evidence, they are worthless. You cannot claim Mexico by showing it as Indian territory on our maps. The value of foreign maps depends on their provenance, whether in a work of learning or otherwise. Maps in periodicals or books published after a dispute has arisen do not affect either side’s case; only the mental balance of some Indian officials, which is precarious even at the best of times. It is puerile to stamp warnings on issues of foreign magazines. Readers abroad do not enjoy the benefit of the warning, anyway, sadly’ (op.cit.).

How Perfidious Pandit Jawahar Lal Kaul (assumed surname Nehru) backstabbed naïve Sheikh Abdullah: Abrogation of Article 370 about special status and Article 35-A (hereditary rights) was not Narendra Modi’s overnight exploit. It is rooted in India’s perfidious lip-service to plebiscite promise.

Barkha Dutt recalls (This Unquiet Land, p. 154) `In a 1948 speech to the United Nations, Sheikh Abdullah, the most formidable political leader the state of Jammu and Kashmir had ever seen, made a blistering defence of the accession to India. Sher-e-Kashmir (Lion of Kashmir) roared, I had thought all along that the world had got rid of Hitlers…but what is happening in my poor country I am convinced that they have transmigrated their souls into Pakistan…I refuse to accept Pakistan as a party in the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir’.

Dutt says, “Sheikh Abdullah [later] began to talk about the possibility of independent Kashmir…. Soon after he changed his stance he was jailed and dismissed from office and was not able to lead the state for another twenty years’.

India invaded the Valley: `Accession’ was a myth, kept alive through Indian propaganda. The factual position is that India marched its troops into Kashmir without Maharajah’s permission _ an act of aggression. Historian Alastair Lamb, in his book Incomplete Partition (Chapter VI: The Accession Crisis, pp. 149-151) points out that Mountbatten wanted India not to intervene militarily without first getting `instrument of accession’ from maharajah [prince] Hari Singh. Not doing so would amount to intervening in the internal affairs of what was to all intents and purposes an independent state in the throes of civil conflict’. But, India did not heed his advice. Lamb says `timing of the alleged Instrument of Accession undoubtedly affected its legitimacy'(p.172, ibid.). He adds `If in fact, it took place after the Indian intervention, then it could well be argued that it was either done under Indian duress or to regularise an Indian fait accompli’.

Inference: From the foregoing, it is evident that the Instrument of Accession does not exist. The `accession’ of the disputed state, through a resolution of the puppet assembly, is null and void. This `resolution’ violates the Security Council’s directive, forbidding India from taking any unilateral action. Pakistan should amend its history text-books to incorporate the Muslim Conference resolution.

Bio-page

Mr. Amjed Jaaved is editor of the monthly magazine, The Consul. He has been contributing free-lance for over five decades. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies and magazines at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is author of eight e-books including Terrorism, Jihad, Nukes and other Issues in Focus.