THE MYTH OF NORTHERN AREAS’ LINKAGE WITH J&K –II (The Muslim dated 30.08.1991)
By Shah Waisey
The Gilgit Scouts in collusion with Muslim officers of the 6th Jammu and Kashmir Battalion stationed at Bunji as well as on deputation with the Gilgit Scouts organised an uprising. A leading role in organizing this revolution was played by Col Mirza Hassan Khan, a son of the soil of Gilgit. The Gilgit Scouts without any external assistance overthrew the Dogra regime at Gilgit on November 1, 1947 by capturing the State apparatus and arresting the Governor.
After wresting freedom from the Dogras, the provincial government of Gilgit decided to join Pakistan and requested Pakistan to take over the administration of the liberated territories. Acceding to the request of the Provisional Government (De facto Sovereign Body) of Gilgit, the Pakistan government sent Sardar Muhammad Alam on 17th November, 1947 to take over the administration as first Pakistani Political Agent of Gilgit.
The historical narration amply demonstrates that the association between the Northern Areas and the Dogra State of Jammu and Kashmir was not voluntary, rather it was an imposed one. It was a relationship between usurper and vanquished. There was nothing in common between the two except religion of the oppressed subject of the Maharaja.
Culturally, linguistically and ethnically the two had , and have vast differences. When the vanquished people of the Northern Areas got a chance to get rid of the Dogra yoke they drew it away by armed struggle and regained their natural independence. They undid what they Dogras had done to them.
The people of the area expressed their self-determination for the first time in their history to join Pakistan through the De facto Sovereign Body of the Provisional Government. This Defacto Sovereign Boldy had the mandate of the people which is evident from the enthusiastic support extended to them by the people during the liberation war of 1947-49.
We are rejecting the Indian claim over Kashmir on the ground that it has forcibly occupied the State of Jammu and Kashmir. By the same logic, the Northern Areas cannot be an integral part of the Dogra State of Jammu and Kashmir simply because part of the Northern Areas was forcibly occupied by that State. Major portions of the Northern Areas like Chilas, Hunza, Nagar, Gahkuch, Yasin, Ishkoman and Gupis were occupied by the British themselves and administered directly by the Federal Government.
The British in their numerous documents never considered them as part of Jammu and Kashmir State. Should these areas now form part of Great Britain? Moreover, the tribal territories of Darel and Tangir were neither occupied by the British nor by the Dogra State of Jammu and Kashmir. They joined Pakistan on their own by amalgamating themselves with Gilgit Agency in 1952. By what logic can one consider Darel and Tangir as an integral part of the Jammu and Kashmir State? History is replete with instances where alien forces occupied different nations and when these nations one after another got their independence, they reverted to their original position. The whole process of decolonization and independence of the Indo-Pak sub-continent is a glaring example.
As a matter of fact, the Government of Pakistan in the hope of getting plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir State mistakenly declared the Northern Areas (part and parcel of Pakistan) as disputed territory before the United Nations. The status quo has been maintained for the last 44 years despite the fact that after liberating their area the people of the Northern Areas have unequivocally and unambiguously voted for Pakistan.
The people of the Northern Areas were very clear in their minds about their position. A free people of their own free will joined Pakistan. The description of Northern Areas in the hollow UNCIP Resolutions, the interim nature of the Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement of 1962 and mention of the area in the map and census of Jammu and Kashmir State are all sequences of the initial mistake committed by Pakistan and the people of Northern Areas are not a party to it.
These figments of imagination do not change the reality on the ground. An area cannot be part of another country by simply showing it on the map with that country. Had it been so, Jammu and Kashmir State would have been part of India which frequently shows it in its maps.
The people of Northern Areas have rendered more sacrifices for their constitutional rights than those of AJK. In 1950, about 7 people were killed in Punial for demanding political rights. In 1971, one person was killed and several person were sent to Haripur Jail for the same demand at Gilgit.