Alastair Lamb paid tribute for shedding new light on Kashmir conflict
Alastair Lamb who died this March was a Chinese-born British historian who authored several books on Sino-Indian relations. His book ‘Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy, 1846–1990’ debunks Indian claims. Dr Khan was addressing an event as chief guest on ‘Remembering Alastair Lamb: a tribute to an eminent scholar’ organised here by Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS). The Foreign Secretary praised the life and unmatched scholarship of Alastair Lamb, a historian of modern Kashmir. He said that Alastair Lamb’s writings helped raise awareness about the historical context, legal complexities and human rights implications of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and encouraged a more informed discourse on the subject. He emphasised that it was the right time to recognise the scholarly contributions by Alastair Lamb as India was using its position as a G20 Chair and convening a meeting in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
He added that India was clearly trying to mislead the international community by peddling the fake narrative of “normalcy” in the Occupied Kashmir in complete disregard to the UNSC resolutions and in violation of the principles of UN Charter and international law. In his introductory remarks, Sohail Mahmood, DG, ISS, said that Alastair Lamb was the first academic who examined British archives on Kashmir and, through his meticulous research on the genesis of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and demolished the Indian case about the legitimacy of the State’s “accession” to India. Alastair established beyond any doubt that the Maharaja could not have signed the so-called ‘Instrument of Accession’ on 26 October 26, 1947, as he was on road to Jammu and that there was no evidence of any contact between him and Indian emissaries on that day. Muhammad Farooq Rehmani, former convener, All Parties Hurriyat Conference, AJK, paying rich tributes to Alastair Lamb as a historian of modern Kashmir said that he was a great political historian and the people of Kashmir were indebted to him in many ways. He also underscored the importance of familiarising the youth with the history of the Kashmir dispute and all aspects related to it.
Dr Salma Malik from Quaid-i-Azam University stated that the work of Alastair Lamb was widely acknowledged and, at the same time, segments in India had sought to make him a ‘controversial figure.’ This was because he spoke the truth and challenged the Indian narrative while debunking many of the myths advanced by India. She continued that many people did not realise the importance of the work done by Lamb. She suggested that in order to promote Kashmir studies, his research on Kashmir and cartographic work should be taught at universities. Kashmiri journalist Iftikhar Gilani regretted that despite having 5,000 years of documented history of Jammu and Kashmir, the events of 1947 had been clouded in mystery. However, work by writers like Joseph Korbel and Alastair Lamb provided a clear picture on events relating to the genesis of Kashmir dispute. Alastair Lamb’s major contribution was to challenge the date of the signing of alleged Instrument of Accession after meticulous research. Khalid Mahmood, chairperson, BoG and Dr Arshad Ali also spoke on the occasion.