A naked obsession with Kashmir

Sandeep Bamzai
India wants the world to see Pakistan for what it is: A terror and toxic ideology exporting factory with an assembly line of distasteful conductl; throwing into stark relief for the umpteenth time, Pakistan’s dual obsession of Kashmir and India
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi nailing Pakistan’s lies at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, calling ‘a terrorist a terrorist’ and a sponsor of terrorism, India tactfully used the platform to send out an incontrovertible message to the world that Pakistan is an agent of terror. This was obviously important for Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif intended to use the forthcoming 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York to highlight India’s so-called excesses in Kashmir. In an obvious redrawing of moral lines, India wants the world to peer beyond the looking glass and see Pakistan for what it is. A terror and toxic ideology exporting factory with an assembly line of distasteful conduct. Throwing into stark relief for the umpteenth time, Pakistan’s dual obsession of Kashmir and India. Strangely, time stands still, for Pakistan is caught in a time warp. Birthed by deceit and chicanery on an edifice of theocracy, nothing about it has changed in 70 years.
Soon after October, 1947, once the princely State of Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India, Pakistan was ready with its litany of excuses. On April 20, 1948, Commander in Chief of Pakistan Army Douglas Gracey submitted an appreciation of the Kashmir situation to his political masters. It showed that India was set to launch a summer offensive directed at the very existence of Pakistan. The premise then given for movement of troops was self defence and prevention of the advance of the Indian Army towards the frontiers of Pakistan. Gracey’s thought process was guided by the fact that eight brigades backed by the Air Force were deployed in Jammu & Kashmir. The summary of deductions by Gen Gracey was as follows:
That a general offensive is being planned by the Indian Army in the north and the south, is a certainty. Their objectives are likely to to be as follows: south – Bhimber-Mirpur, Poonch; north -Muzzafarabad-Kohala.
Judging from what has happened in Rajouri, an advance by the Indian Army in any of the above areas is almost certain to create a big refugee problem for Pakistan which is already saturated. Refugees will be an extremely serious strain…(hence) one needs to prevent the Indian Army from gaining any of the above objectives:
Occupation of Bhimber and Mirpur will give India the strategic advantage of having crossed two major obstacles – rivers of Ravi and Chenab, and of coming right upto the Pakistan border, thereby sitting on our doorstep, threatening the Jhelum Bridge which is so important for us. It would also give them control of Mangla Headworks thus placing the irrigation in Jhelum and other districts at their mercy;
#Occupation of Poonch by the Indian Army is certain to have a most serious effect on the morale of the Poonchis in the Pakistan Army and this in turn will adversely affect the morale of other troops
#The loss of Muzzafarabad or Kohala will have the most far reaching impact on the security of Pakistan. It would enable the Indian Army to secure the rear gateway to Pakistan through which they can march at will.
This is corroborated by an earlier assessment dated May 16, 1946, by the commander-in-chief of British forces in India, Field Marshall Claude Auchinleck prepared a report on the possible repercussions of the proposed creation of Pakistan, and its inclusion into the British Commonwealth. Auchinleck wrote: “Assuming that it [Pakistan] will absorb or at any rate dominate Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan cannot be seriously threatened from the north, protected as it is by the Himalayas…..Pakistan would however be open to attack from the north west [Afghanistan] and the south east [India].”
Despite the UN sponsored Truce signed on January 1, 1949, operations continued. The IB report suggested that the Pakistan Govt was purchasing arms from UK with both General Sir Frank Walter Messervy and Colonel Azam Khanzada of the Ordnance Corps representing it. The report stated: Pakistan has at present six military divisions plus one airborne division, their location is Peshawar, Abbotabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Quetta.
The report very succinctly and presciently added – If Pakistan won the Plebiscite, well and good, otherwise Pakistan will fight India. Another IB report dated March 27, 1949 addressed to Vishnu Sahay, secretary Kashmir Affairs on breaches of cease fire provides food for thought: All along the north west and south west sectors of our border, a systematic attempt is being made to construct bases for brewing trouble at an opportune time.
Some of the locals in these areas are corrupted by money and falsehood, and lured into bearing arms and building secret dumps of ammunition, and deadly explosives. Some of the communal minded young men whose allegiance Pakistan owns, are surreptitiously smuggled out into the Azad areas, where they are given intensive military training. Under these circumstances, we are constrained to presume bad faith on the part of Pakistan.
Even as Pakistan continues to make a song and dance about Kashmir over which India has legal, moral and constitutional validity, imagine a contrarian scenario where Bahawalpur State had acceded to India. As the Chamber of Princes deliberated on which way to dive, it was assumed that Bahawalpur (larger at the time than Denmark or Belgium) would quietly accede to Pakistan. In Divide and Quit, Sir Edward Penderel Moon (Revenue and Public Works Minister in Bahawalpur State) writes, “Our discussions with Muslim League leaders in Lahore and our engagement of Pakistan’s counsel Zafarullah to represent our interests also before the Boundary Commission clearly implied that this was our intention. I was astounded therefore when Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani (Prime Minister of the State) informed me that the Nawab General Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V was being advised in certain quarters to acceded to India. Gurmani himself seemed hardly less astonished and perplexed. The reason for this perverse advice was not far too seek. The Muslim League leaders had been offering tempting concessions to some of the Hindu Rulers in the hope of inducting them to join Pakistan. In the case of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, they very nearly succeeded. Some people thought that the Nawab might extract similar concessions from India if they agreed to India instead of Pakistan.
These calculations were quite unfounded. The Congress leaders were not interested in enticing Bahawalpur into the Indian Union (but just suppose it had done so and been duplicitous like Pakistan was with Kashmir and Hyderabad).
Moreover, since Bahawalpur was a Muslim State with a Muslim Ruler and lay right astride the rail and road communications between Lahore and Karachi, its accession to India would have been a deadly blow to Pakistan and would produce violent Muslim reaction. Penderel Moon told Gurmani that he thought the Nawab would be promptly assassinated if he attempted such a course and Gurmani better warn him of this contingency.
Moon, incidentally went to work in Bahawalpur at Gurmani’s request and after partition returned to India joining the Planning Commission on Pandit Nehru’s initiation for an eight year term.
If the Congress strategists
at the time had thought of conspiring with the Nawab of Bahawalpur and managed to win him over to the Indian Union, then there would have been hell to pay and Jinnah’s construct of a Muslim Pakistan would have received a rude jolt.

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