The partition plan of British India approved by the British Parliament on 3rd June 1947 was responded variedly by the political leadership of erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Maharaja Hari Singh and his Prime Minister, Pandit Ramchandra Kak, wanted to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Jammu and Kashmir to continue the Dogra autocracy in the state.National Conference led by Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah wanted to abolish Dogra autocracy and establish democracy in the state with the help of Indian National Congress led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Muslim Conference led within Kashmir by Mirwaiz Mohammad Yusuf Shah wanted defeat the designs of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah by allying with Indian Muslim League led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who was trying to allure Maharaja Hari Singh to have accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with Pakistan.The tribal invasion in Kashmir from Northwestern Frontier Province on 22nd October 1947 forced Maharaja Hari Singh to request Government of India for military assistance on 24th October 1947 to drag out the Pakistani raiders from Kashmir. Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah rendered his political support to Maharaja Hari Singh in his move to seek military assistance from India. The deployment of Indian troops in Kashmir on 27th October 1947 was responded by Pakistan by sending its army to open a front against the enemy forces, resulting into a war between the two newly created countries.The reference of Kashmir conflict to United Nations on 31st October 1947 helped in implementing the Cease Fire Line between India and Pakistan by United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan on 1st January 1947.
The Government of India led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru supported Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah to establish democracy, abolish landlordism and institutionalise the internal sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir by incorporating the Article 370 in the Construction of India implemented on 26th January 1950.The opposition of Hindu nationalists led by Dr Shama Prasad Mukherjee to the Nehru-Abdullah Accord reached on 24th July 1952 made Abdullah apprehensive about the political future of his Muslim dominated state. On13th July 1953 while addressing a public gathering at Martyrs graveyard at Srinagar Abdullah declared his revolt against the Indian rulers and threatened an Algerian type armed struggle by the Kashmiri youth. Soon after this Abdullah was sacked from Prime Ministership and put behind the bars on 9th August 1953.The dismisal of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and his arrest annoyed his loyalists who started strong agitation against the Indian establishment. Mirza Mohammad Àfzal Beigh launched the Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front on 9th August 1955 to demand the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions calling for two-option plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir State. Although twenty years later the Plebiscite Front was dissolved following the signing the Beigh-Parthasarthy Accord in early 1975 the seeds of anti-India sentiments sown by Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and the Plebiscite Front leadership remained almost dormant for a decade because of the defeat of Pakistan in 1971War with India. The rigging of elections against the Muslim United Front candidates by National Conference-Congress alliance in 15 Assembly segments within Kashmir on 23rd March 1987 became the internal cause for rise of militancy in Kashmir. The defeated candidates and repressed political workers of the Muslim United Front started their armed struggle under the banner of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front against the Indian control over Jammu and Kashmir State on 31st July.For the last three decades one lakh people have lost their lives; thousands have been injured, miamed, blinded and disabled; property worth billions of rupees has been destroyed; and the normal life has been completely disturbed because of the ongoing war like situation in the conflict-ridden Jammu and Kashmir State. The people of Jammu and Kashmir State want an honourable exit from this destructive phase of state’s history to live a peaceful and dignified life. Every person in Kashmir is presently concerned about the likely political options in the troubled state.The present paper has been therefore devoted to the discussion on future political options in Jammu and Kashmir State.
There are four likely political possibilities in Kashmir. The first option is that the Government of India would restore the maximum possible autonomy to the Jammu and Kashmir State and convert the Line of Control between lndia and Pakistan in to an international border with some minor changes here and there. Such a scenario is possible under the conditions India has a upper hand during the negotiation process. The second option would be that the Jammu and Kashmir Statetate would be partitioned on the basis of religion .Under such a situation the Muslim majority areas including Kashmir Valley, Chenab Valley, Pirpanjal region, Kishenganga Valley and Suru-Shingo Valley are put on the Pakistan side to finalize the international border between India and Pakistan. Such a solution is possible under a scenario in which Pakistan is having the upper hand in the conflict resolution process. The third possibility is that the Muslim Region comprising of Kashmir Valley and its adjoining Muslim majority districts and tehsils are recognized as a buffer state between India and Pakistan. The consensus on buffer state is possible under a scenario in which both the countries abandon their stated position on Jammu and Kashmir State and respect the wishes of the people of the state. The fourth possibility is that both India and Pakistan would allow the unification of Kashmir and Azad Kashmir and have a joint control on the disputed territory. The creation of a confederation of India, Pakistan and the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir would be possible under a scenario in which South Asian interests will have priority over the national interests of India or Pakistan.The presence of pro-independence, pro-India and pro-Pakistan political forces in Kashmir can lead the Kashmir to a situation of either a Buffer State of Kashmiristan or Indo-Pak if not South Asian Confederation. The solution of Kashmir conflict in the foreseeable future would be the restoration of internal sovereignty of the conflict-ridden state. However, the transmission of the world order in favour of Pakistan in the long term can pave the way for the partition of Jammu and Kashmir State on the basis of religion. In such a situation Kashmir would become an autonomous province of Pakistan.
Prof.G.M.Athar can be reached at email@example.com