Was Provisional government of Kashmir Legal? Dr Shabir Choudhry
29 March 2015
The man was angry and strongly criticised me for not supporting the Provisional Government of Jammu and Kashmir. He was my old colleague from the JKLF; and met after many years. He said Maharajah Hari Singh was deposed on 4th October 1947; and after that he had no right to rule or take any decision about the future of Jammu and Kashmir.
I requested him to cool down and then we can discuss this matter. He said there is nothing to be discussed. We have been observing 4th October for many years. So were we wrong? You also observed it; however, you have changed over the years. I want to know why you have changed and why you are undermining this historic day and achievement.
After cooling him down I told him that I have not changed; however, my knowledge on the Kashmir dispute and on the subject of Provisional Government has changed. With increased knowledge and experience, I am able to differentiate between fact and fiction; and I can tell what is propaganda of those who occupy us, and how they fool us in name of Islam and brotherhood. As a loyal son of soil it is my duty to pass on my knowledge and educate people about hidden and bitter facts of the Kashmir dispute that they can make informed decisions.
As I paused, he sarcastically said, so all others who observed 4th October were wrong and only you are correct.
I requested my guest to let me put forward my view point and then we can discuss it further. I said people make decisions in light of their knowledge and experience; and those who made the decision about observation of 4th October were correct under the given situation; but now that we have more knowledge on the subject is it not appropriate that we make decision in light of new knowledge.
I asked him can you tell me who President of Syria is. He looked perplexed, as he was trying to understand logic of my question. When I repeated my question he said, Bashar Assad. I asked him who is President of Afghanistan. He got bit irritated, and said Abdul Ghani, but what has this got to do with Provisional Government of Jammu and Kashmir.
So in your view Syrian President is Bashar Assad, even though he has no control over most of the Syrian territory; even he does not control all of his capital, Damascus. Same is the case with Afghanistan; and you regard Abdul Ghani as President of Afghanistan.
Then question arises how could Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir lost his right to rule just on strength of one statement that was issued by a middle ranking political activist of Muslim Conference, second largest party of the State; and that was published in a newspaper of a country which is responsible for our miseries and which also occupies us?
Ghulam Nabi Gilkar before he issued this statement did not consult the leader of the Biggest Kashmiri political party, Sheikh Abdullah. He did not even consult senior leaders of his own party; and some of senior leaders were also present in Rawalpindi when he issued the statement.
People with common sense ask what is the legal value of this statement which was not approved by leaders of his own party; and the leaders of the biggest party in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In any case, what authority did Ghulam Nabi Gilkar have to depose the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir? Who entrusted this authority to this individual who was not much known before this statement?
Furthermore, he belonged to Qadiani sect of Muslims; and had closer relationship with the Qadiani leaders. Before he announced this so called Provisional Kashmiri Government, he had a meeting in Lahore with very senior Qadiani leaders; and it should also be remembered that Foreign Minister of Pakistan was also a Qadiani.
My guest tried to interrupt me but I requested him to be patient for a few more minutes. I said in Pakistan there is a civil war going on in Balochistan, as some tribal leaders don’t want to be part of Pakistan. Also there is a civil war going on in various parts of FATA. What if some middle ranking person go to a neighbouring country and declares that he has deposed government of Nawaz Sharif; and from now onwards no one should obey orders of this deposed government.
Tell me honestly will anyone take any notice of such a statement; and stop obeying orders of Nawaz Sharif government and his army? I want to ask why when it comes to Jammu and Kashmir we only rely on one statement and believe that after that the Maharajah lost his right to rule and don’t consider that the statement had no legal and constitutional standing; and had no military support or widespread political backing.
My guest clearly looked bewildered; but still asserted that we had Azad Kashmir Army before the 4th October was announced; and this army was behind this statement and they were fighting the Maharajah government.
I said there was no such thing as Azad Kashmir Army on or before 4th October 1947. Yes, there were some disturbances in some parts of Poonch, mainly because of heavy taxes and oppression; but no area of the State of Jammu and Kashmir was in hands of the people protesting against the Maharajah.
You are an educated person and have been part of the Struggle for many decades; tell me name of Commander in Chief of your army or name of any other General? He looked disorientated; and unsure as to what to say.
I said, yes there could be army behind this statement, and it could be the army of Pakistan; and not that of so called Azad Kashmir. He was clueless. He said if what you have told me is correct, then it means we were under the propaganda of Pakistan and we were misled. However, question arises why our leaders, including you observed 4th October and demanded the restoration of the Azad Kashmir army.
I said, in my opinion, all those who observed 4th October, did so sincerely believing that it was true and that this demand was helping the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir. Now that we have new knowledge on the subject we need to formulate policies in light of this; and must not do anything that the world community regard our activities as our attempt to propagate interests of Pakistan, who in reality is also an occupier of Jammu and Kashmir.
We concluded our discussion on this positive note that we people of Jammu and Kashmir must be loyal to our motherland, Jammu and Kashmir that existed on 15 August 1948; and that in order to be a loyal Kashmiri we don’t have to express our loyalty to either India or Pakistan. We must promote a Kashmiri interest and let India and Pakistan defend their interests.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.Email:email@example.com
Sunday, 29 March 2015
Friday, 27 March 2015
Why Pakistan may be a reluctant ally in Saudis’ Yemen campaign
Saudi Arabia’s new policy of uniting Sunni Muslim powers against Iran’s Shia regime has resulted in an impressively broad coalition joining its military campaign against Yemen’s pro-Tehran Houthi rebels.
Along with five Gulf countries, and the poorer monarchies of Jordan and Morocco, it also enlisted the support of itsEgyptian strongman ally, general-turned-president Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Even plucky Sudan has dispatched three fighter jets.
Differences over issues such as the Muslim Brotherhood were suppressed in the interests of building a broad anti-Iran coalition that extended beyond the Arab world. Turkey announced on Thursday that it supports the Saudi-led offensive, with President Recep Tayyep Erdogan issuing a spirited harangue that branded Iran’s actions a source of “annoyance.”
But perhaps the biggest surprise has been the reported inclusion of Pakistan. Al-Arabiya, the Saudi-owned broadcaster, said Islamabad was providing military support. The habitually evasive Pakistani Foreign Office said simply that they were mulling a Saudi request for troops, while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed Thursday to retaliate against any threat to Saudi Arabia’s "integrity."
A senior member of Sharif’s cabinet told Al Jazeera that Pakistan will not be involved in any action “in Yemen” itself but will provide support to the Saudis on their own soil “if they are threatened.” On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported Pakistani and Saudi forces were carrying out a joint exercise near the Yemeni border, and quoted a U.S. official as saying the move was designed to serve as a warning to the Houthi rebels.
Unlike the Turks, who are incensed by Tehran’s involvement in propping up the regime of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, Pakistan has no active dispute with Iran. The Saudis and Turks have made common cause in Syria and now Yemen despite backing rival factions in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
Pakistan, by contrast, has remained distant from the Syrian conflict, facing a compelling threat at home. Since the December massacre of Peshawar schoolchildren, it has renewed its resolve to eliminate the Pakistani Taliban — a notoriously sectarian organization that has terrorized Pakistan’s Shia population, the largest outside Iran. Around one in five Pakistanis is Shia, as was the country’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Still, it now finds itself drawn into a geopolitical alliance with a strongly sectarian pallor.
This isn’t first time Pakistan has been dragged into the poisonous Saudi-Iranian rivalry. After the 1979 revolution that brought the Ayatollahs to power, Pakistan became a battlefield in a proxy war between the two countries. The Iranians established armed Shia groups in Pakistan; the Saudis countered by sponsoring anti-Shia groups — a tradition that continues to this day, with millions of dollars funneled from the desert kingdom into thousands of Pakistani madrassas teaching extreme ideas.
For the Saudis, the appeal of Pakistan is obvious. It shares a border with Iran and, crucially, already has nuclear weapons. The Saudis want Pakistan to act as a counterweight to Iran, and have long cultivated a close relationship with its military. Since the late 1960s, Pakistani soldiers have been permanently garrisoned in Saudi Arabia. In 1969, Pakistani pilots slipped into Saudi jets to carry out sorties in South Yemen against a rebel threat at the time.
For Pakistan, Saudi Arabia is not only a long-standing source of aid but a principal source of foreign exchange through much-needed remittances. Just last month, for example, $453 million flowed into Pakistan from the exertions of more than 1.5 million often poorly treated migrant workers. The intimacy of the two countries’ ruling elites notwithstanding, the migrant workers are weighed down by debts they owe to exploitative recruiters. Pakistanis are also disproportionately found in Saudi Arabia’s jails and on death row.
The relationship, however, is one-sided. “We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants,” Saudi Arabia’s current ambassador in Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, boasted in 2007, according to a leaked State Department cable. Its clout extends to the realm of politics, where the Saudis have keenly backed military rulers and right-wing politicians — Prime Minister Sharif lived in exile in Jeddah after the Kingdom persuaded then dictator Pervez Musharraf to release him from prison.
As Prince Waleed ibn Talal once told to the Wall Street Journal, “Nawaz Sharif, specifically, is very much Saudi Arabia’s man in Pakistan.” The Saudis last year injected $1.5 billion into Pakistan’s treasury, boosting its liquidity at moment when it is still strapped to an exacting IMF loan package.
Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party is seen within Pakistan to favor Sunnis, and as having ties with sectarian groups. It has few Shia parliamentarians and few Shia voters.
Pakistan’s army, however, has never had a sectarian reputation. It has included many Shia generals, although their numbers have thinned over the years. Some of the worst victims of the Pakistani Taliban’s savagery were Shia soldiers, who were murdered in captivity. Becoming an overtly Sunni army would compromise the Pakistan military’s proud claim of being a force of cohesion for the country, and risk alienating many Shia Pakistanis, at a time when there is a clamor for unity against the Taliban at home.
This may also be a bad time for Pakistan to pick a fight with Iran. In recent years, relations between the neighbors have veered between periods of economic cooperation and cross-border tensions, particularly over Sunni armed groups targeting the Iranian regime from Pakistani territory in Balochistan.
But as it battles the Pakistani Taliban along the Afghan border, Islamabad is trying to facilitate a postwar settlement across the border by bringing to bear its considerable influence over the Afghan Taliban. Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president, has developed closer relations with the Pakistani leadership than his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, had ever managed to achieve. But any eventual settlement in Afghanistan will inevitably involve Iran, whose influence in the country was such that even the U.S. sought Tehran’s cooperation during and after its 2001 invasion to topple the Taliban.
Being drawn into the Middle East’s sectarian battles, then, carries greater domestic and regional risk for Pakistan than it does for most of the Saudis’ other partners.
Thursday, 26 March 2015
The recent twin terror attacks at Kathua and Samba have evoked a strong public outrage against Pakistan-both its Army and civilian establishment. The legislative assembly of the state currently in session has also passed a unanimous resolution condemning the unfriendly neighbouring country. Unhappy with the formation of an alliance government in partnership with the Bharatiya Janata Party, Pakistan is hell bent upon fomenting trouble in the state. Apart from spreading terror, the aim of these twin attacks appears to be to foment the communal tension and hit Jammu’s economy. Hence, the time chosen for the terror attacks coincided with the Navratra festivals that are not only celebrated with great devotion by the locals but also attract large number of pilgrims from rest of the country to the holy shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji. It is to the credit of the people of Jammu that they have not fallen prey to the nefarious designs of the enemy. Pakistan must realise that t Indians are resilient and wont be provoked by such cowardly acts which in fact make their resolve to fight terror even stronger.
Pakistan continues to use terror as an instrument of state policy to further its so called “national interests”. Despite having been militarily defeated and diplomatically snubbed it continues to be obsessed with the idea of Kashmir being its “umbilical cord”. Having realised that it cannot defeat India militarily it has adopted the policy of “thousand cuts” to keep India bleeding. It continues to classify the terrorists in Pakistan as “good” and “bad” terrorists. All those terrorist organisations that carry out terror attacks against India are termed “good” and their leaders enjoy the patronage of the government despite being declared as proclaimed international terrorists by the United Nations, USA and many western countries. The likes of Hafiz Sayeed, Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, Dawood Ibrahim etc. are termed as “strategic assets” by the Pak Army, ISI and the establishment. No international rules, restrictions or bans apply to them because they are key players in the plan to bleed India. Thus, Pakistan’s double talk on terror continues unabated. The recent twin terror attacks thus need to be viewed in this light.
Of late, Pakistan has preferred the International Border (IB) sector over the Line of Control (LC) sector for carrying out infiltration for terror attacks. There are many reasons for this, of which weather is one such reason but very minor. The major reason is the proximity of NH 1 to the IB which runs at a distance of 5-15 km from the border. NH provides a target of strategic importance within striking distance that can draw immediate media attention. ‘Striking Distance’ being the distance within which they have the capability to carry out a one-night operation ,ie, infiltrate and strike on the same night thus reducing the chances of being intercepted after crossing the border. The terrain in this sector in form of broken ground and numerous nullahs (running East-West) also assists infiltration. A number of brick kilns and mobile towers along the NH provide good navigational land marks at night.
There are many lucrative targets both military and civilian available within the striking distance as compared to the LC sector. Another important factor is the density of troop deployment. The density is much less as compared to the LC sector which apart from a strong anti-infiltration deployment also has a very effective counter-terrorist grid in the hinterland. The Pak authorities also hope that a strike in this sector may rouse communal passions leading to communal riots thus damaging the harmonious social fabric of the state to further its failed agenda of “Two Nation Theory”. Pakistan’s insistence on terming the IB as “Working Boundary” and thus refusing to accept it as an accepted international border is also a reason for preferring this sector so that it can claim the entire Jammu & Kashmir as disputed territory. Such terror attacks can also be used as a diversionary tactics to aid infiltration of bigger groups to the Bhaderwah- Doda belt via Basholi-Banni. In the past this route has been used by the terrorists both for infiltration/exfiltration as well as for rest and recoup. Thus the area of Banni-Macheddi in the depth also assumes importance.
It is worth examining as to how the terrorists manage to cross the border despite the claim of the BSF that it is well guarded. The aim is not to point finger at any particular force. All security forces are carrying out their assigned roles to the best of their abilities within the given resources. Is it then the question of resources? I have already highlighted the aspects of terrain. Another important point to note is that the border fence has been erected against the lie of the ground and hence easily gets damaged during the monsoons or periods of heavy rain thus creating gaps. Naturally to cover these gaps greater strength of man power for deployment is needed affecting deployment elsewhere. Moreover, it is not difficult to breach a linear deployment like the current pattern on the border. For the counter infiltration deployment to be effective, it needs to be an all-weather multi-layered deployment in tiers. A counter smuggling and a counter infiltration deployment cannot follow the same pattern. It has to be dynamic rather than static. The first tier of deployment should be based on all-weather, 24x7 surveillance radars, sensors, hand-held thermal imagers, night vision binoculars and alarm systems. It must be complimented with physical deployment based on threat assessment and terrain.
The night ambushes should be laid on a dynamic grid pattern rather than static linear deployment. The vulnerable areas like nullahs and gaps need to be covered with adequate deployment. Each border out post (BOP) must have an operational command post manned by a team led by an officer which should monitor the data being received from the surveillance grid with authority to redeploy ambushes under its operational control. The entire deployment needs to be backed by a reliable and secure communication system.
The second tier needs to be deployed between the IB and NH based on high grounds or dominating ground. A similar dynamic grid of ambushes equipped with night vision devices and night sights need to be established in the second tier also. This tier also needs to be complimented with police nakkas. However, the aspect of communications needs to be coordinated and rehearsed. The third tier needs to be based on the NH and areas immediately in depth. Village Defence Committees (VDCs) should be incorporated in this tier. VDCs need to be properly armed, well trained and highly motivated. Long range Surveillance Radars (LSRs) along with surveillance command posts could also form part of the third tier. The readers would agree that the ultimate question is of availability of resources. But then no price is heavy for a nation when it comes to ensuring peace for her citizens. There is a saying “If you want peace be prepared for war.” The unified command must put its heads together to make the IB sector impregnable in order to beat the nefarious designs of the troika that rules Pakistan and is determined to keep the pot boiling in J&K to ensure that the citizens of this state are denied the dividends of peace.
Looking inwards, those advocating revocation of AFSPA must rethink whether the time is ripe for it or by insisting for its removal they may be helping the troika in Pakistan. To sum up, a pro-active approach towards border management, surveillance and infiltration is the need of the hour. To achieve this, an integrated, professional and well trained intelligence network is a pre-requisite. This network should not rely only on electronic intelligence (ELINT) but should also be backed up by human intelligence (HUMINT). The training camps and launch pads need to be under constant surveillance. Since a large number of army camps are also located in the area, there should be a seamless integration between BSF, police, intelligence agencies and the army. The issue of command and control should be unambiguous. There should be no duplicity at all. The coordination between neighbouring units deployed on the border should be flawless since inter unit and inter formation boundaries are always vulnerable. It needs to be understood that till such time we make our borders impregnable we will continue to be the victims of cross-border terror because Pakistan is not going to relent from bleeding India.
(The author is a Jammu based security and strategic analyst. The views expressed in the article are entirely personal. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Friday Times, Lahore, 20 March 2015
Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah has been turning in his grave for decades. All his life Mr Jinnah fought for the rights and protection of the Muslim minority community in India, eventually succeeding in creating a separate homeland for them called Pakistan. Indeed, in his famous speech to the Constituent Assembly of the new state of Pakistan, he pledged to protect the rights of non-Muslim minorities unequivocally as “equal citizens of the state”.
Unfortunately, however, the history of Pakistan shows that the principles of humanitarian Islam that were expected to guide the new state in safeguarding minorities have been distorted by the practitioners of Islam in Pakistan to erode the writ of the state in general and target the minorities in particular.
The suicide attack on two Christian churches in Youhanabad, a working class suburb of Lahore last week in which fifteen people lost their lives is part of an orchestrated campaign of attacks on sects and minorities like the Shias, Hindus, Christians, Hazaras, Ahmedis, etc, by “Islamists” with avowedly sectarian agendas. During 2012-14, there were 108 attacks on Shias (736 killed), 14 attacks on Hindus (2 killed), 54 attacks on Christians (135 killed), 50 attacks on Ahmedis (27 killed). From 1989 to 2015, there were 2979 sectarian attacks in which 5059 persons were killed and 9713 injured. These attacks have been carried out by various “Islamist” groups of the Taliban or the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The remarkable thing is the ruling classes and state institutions of Pakistan have turned a blind eye to such acts and remain completely unsympathetic to the plight of the victim communities. It is rare for the state and government to crack down on such Islamists or to successfully capture and prosecute the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity, almost as if there is an unspoken conspiracy between the organs of the state like the police, bureaucracy, judiciary and civil society to “cleanse” the Islamist state of such deviants.
This is quite extraordinary since the definition of a “terrorist” in the Anti-Terrorist Act is focused squarely on “religious” cause and effect: “Terrorism means the use or threat of action where the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a religious, sectarian or ethnic case …involves serious violence against … a public servant”.
A prime example of the unspoken conspiracy in the bowels of the state to condone or dissemble “religious” motives regardless of their criminal nature and content was provided recently by a judgment of the Islamabad High Court that has dumbfounded all. The court has declared that Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed assassin of ex-Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer, is not a terrorist. The court has completely ignored or denied the definition of a terrorist in the ATA as given above. It is also quite extraordinary how the judges came to the conclusion that the act of mowing down Mr Taseer in broad daylight in a public place did not create a sense of harassment and fear in society at large despite the public statement of the murderer that he meant to send exactly such a message to people like Mr Taseer and those who sympathized with his point of view. Mr Taseer was murdered for arguing that a Christian woman accused of blasphemy had been wrongly judged and sentenced to death by courts fearful of violent mullahs.
Until now, the conservative PMLN governments of Nawaz Sharif have been as lax in defending the rights of minorities as the pseudo-secular governments of the PPP. Indeed, the military establishment is actually guilty of protecting such Islamist groups because of their readiness to fight the military’s jihadist causes in Kashmir and Afghanistan. But the new military leadership under General Raheel Sharif has vowed to confront and undo all manner of terrorists who have laid Pakistan low, whether of the “Islamist” kind in FATA or the ethnic kind in Karachi. In the latter case, we have witnessed a ferocious crackdown on criminal elements in the MQM, raids on that holy of holies Nine Zero and confessional outpourings of MQM terrorists on death row. We’ve seen a new resolve to try and unravel the 2012 barbarous burning of Karachi’s Baldia factory in which 289 people lost their lives, and bring the perpetrators to book.
Why then, it needs to be asked, has General Sharif not used his righteous clout to degrade the sectarian terrorists who have besieged our minorities and are ruthlessly targeting them? When will the clean-up operation start against the killers of Shias, Christians, Hindus, Ahmedis, Hazaras etc? When will the special laws designed to combat terrorism like the ATA, PPA and military courts spring into action and deliver on the promise and dream of the Quaid-e-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah? If the current military leadership’s policies are truly a departure from the dissembling, compromises, conciliations and criminal neglect of its predecessors, surely the time has come to tackle terrorists of all hue.
Sunday, 22 March 2015
Which Jinnah - Which vision? Hassan Naqvi
Winston Churchill once quipped, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”.
Sadly, that approach doesn’t work. Nowhere on this planet is this more glaringly evident than it is in Pakistan. This country, built upon the broken dreams and bloodied bones of those that gave their lives for its creation, is, today, the center of militancy and extremism. Today, we are pointed out, by name, as an engine that creates ignorance and strife in the world.
One has to wonder if the man who is, mostly, singularly credited with the creation of Pakistan actually knew what he was doing. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the poster-child for Westernized Muslims – is painted as a paragon of virtue, competence and dedication; why is it, then, that his creation has gone the way of Frankenstein’s Monster?
Or is something missing from this picture?
I am of the opinion that there is. And it is of vital relevance in terms of explaining what has become of this country in the last six decades.
The Narrative – Then
I mentioned a bit about narratives in the introductory part of this article. These narratives are like creation myths. They explain where we come from; what our purpose is; what we dedicate our efforts and skills towards. One only has to have a casual glance at the events between 1910 and 1947 to realize that the narrative that Pakistan has set for itself as State mandated policy is so twisted and misaligned with history that little in the way of truth has survived.
The power struggle, between major population-based stakeholders, to find a dominant narrative had been going on in the subcontinent since the advent of the British Raj, at the very least (though that is not to say that the Hindu majority that found itself being ruled by a Muslim minority didn’t have such a struggle in place already). In this struggle, the Khilafat movement saw its eventual demise; even other pan-islamicist movements saw little in the way of success. In this flurry entered a young Jinnah and, through the use of his intellect, insight and foresight, he quickly climbed the ladder of merit.
This, to me, proves that even back then the Muslims of the subcontinent – as oppressed as they are portrayed to be – did not really give much credence to the capability of a theologically oriented State apparatus, rather preferred a modern, National State system. In Jinnah, they had found pretty much everything that they wanted to emulate. Brazen, confident, well dressed, well spoken, educated, successful professional – Jinnah was the Brown Muslim’s celebrity. The ‘Pakistan movement’ may have been rooted in the Muslim identity – but it is the evolution of that identity that was selected as the basis of unified action rather than a strict, orthodox and syncretic rendition.
The Narrative – Now
Today, we see a very different picture of Jinnah hanging on our walls. Gone is the suited, cigar smoking Jinnah replaced by a Sherwani clad Quaid-e-Azam. Today, no State channel repeats excerpts from Jinnah’s speech of August 11th, 1947 which can have its spirit summed up thusly:
You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. As you know, history shows that in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. August 11th, 1947
For the last many decades, such quotes that can enlighten even the contemporary Pakistani, are replaced by either procedural or nationalistic or the outright mundane. For example:
1) “There is no power on earth that can undo Pakistan”.
2) “Think 100 times before taking a decision but once that decision is taken stand by it as one man”.
3) “I have full faith in my people, that they will rise to every occasion worthy of our past Islamic history, glory and traditions”.
4) “United India could have never worked”.
The list is endless. These are some of the examples of what the State wants us to know about Jinnah’s thought processes… and it does very little in the way of explaining anything.
This begs the question: Why are they lying to us?
Fact or Fiction
A greater than cursory study of history reveals that a struggle had been waged for Muslim independence well before Quaid-e-Azam arrived at the scene. But there was another feud, of even greater relevance to Pakistan’s independence that was brewing for some time. Congress had decided to enforce a land ceiling in order to curb greater feudal influence in Hindustani society. But the largest land holdings were situated in West Punjab due to its highly developed agricultural resources (due largely to the canal system). The Punjab Unionist Party – a grouping of the largest and most influential feudal elite – literally drained itself into the Muslim League in the early 1930s – incidentally, very close to the time Jinnah, himself, joined the Muslim League. There are some historians, such as Dr. Mubarik Ali, who claim that the chief motivator for a separate Muslim homeland was not differing identities or traditions, rather the need to escape this anti-feudal measure.
Could it be that an elite that wanted to preserve its financial and agricultural interests, then through subterfuge, is the same elite that, today, holds onto the reins of power?
The Two Jinnahs
While there is reason and evidence to suggest that what is portrayed as the reason for the existence of Pakistan is problematic, it is not to say that Jinnah himself was a simple man with simple motivations. The passage from his speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan is exemplary, by any standard.
But what of his other speeches which were directly in contradiction with that one?
I cannot understand the logic of those who have been deliberately and mischievously propagating that the Constitution of Pakistan will not be based on Islamic Sharia. Islamic principles today are as much applicable to life as they were 1300 years ago.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Speech to Karachi Bar Association, January 25th, 1948.
The tragedy is that were this quotation only from a speech directly after his address to the constituent assembly, it could have been explained in terms of a changed or perhaps even evolved point of view. But, reference to Pakistan as a country firmly rooted in religious doctrine 10 years before the constituent assembly was even formed simply leaves one dumbfounded.
When we say this flag is the flag of Islam they think we are introducing religion into politics – a fact of which we are proud. Islam gives us a complete code. It is not only religion but it contains laws, philosophy and politics. In fact, it contains everything that matters to a man from morning to night. When we talk of Islam we take it as all-embracing word. We do not mean any ill. The foundation of our Islamic code is that we stand for liberty, equality and fraternity.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Speech to Gaya Muslim League, January 1st, 1938
The facility with which Jinnah could play to the gallery; identify his target audience and mold his message accordingly is one of the key reasons, in my opinion, that Pakistan never really formulated a strong enough national narrative at the time of partition because everyone was gaining his or her independence for a different reason. And, sadly, each one of them had the support of Jinnah in that reasoning.
Culmination: The Islamic Republic of Pakistan
It is understandable that at independence-time leader of a fractured and beaten community should and must gather ‘the flock’ under the banner for salvation. I, personally, don’t see a problem with that fact. But the fact that he passed away so soon after the creation of Pakistan without having the time to visibly translate his actual vision for the country into reality compounded this contradiction several fold. While the educated political intelligentsia, that inherited the administration of the country after Jinnah’s death, is labelled as incompetent and unworthy (Khotay Sikkay in Jinnah’s own words), it failed to establish a dominant modern narrative for the people. And in that vacuum religious demagogues and clerics – who had initially shunned the very proposition of Pakistan as preposterous and ‘Kufar’ – gained that opportunity to establish, strengthen and eventually destroy any alternate version of the independence-time history.
By doing so, not only has the new generation lost its essential and real foundation but also become poisoned by layers upon layers of poisoned chronicles. ‘India is the enemy’ is considered an obvious truth. ‘The west is out to destroy Islam and our civilization’ is considered the mantra of the pure.
While it would be purely academic to speculate on which side of the argument Jinnah would have eventually taken a stand on, had he lived long enough, I strongly believe that the speeches and quotations of Jinnah that are shared today, and the way in which they contradict one another, have done little service to the new generation.
Would Pakistan have been different with regards to militancy if Jinnah’s vision had seen fruition? Perhaps.
But my question is: Which Jinnah? And, more importantly, which vision?
Author is a journalist based in Lahore
Jammu & Kashmir govt presents Rs 46,473 cr budget; discards 'old structure'
Thursday, 19 March 2015
Maharaja Gulab Singh and State of Jammu and Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry 19 March 2015
Some people of Jammu and Kashmir State want to observe 16 March as a ‘national day’ of Jammu and Kashmir, because to them it was on this date (16 March 1846) State of Jammu and Kashmir came in to being; and they also regard Gulab Singh as a father of ‘Kashmiri nation’. It appears that they overlook the fact that geography of Jammu and Kashmir State that we claim and which was part of Jammu and Kashmir State on 16 August 1947 is different to what was in 1846.
This is very contentious topic, and may not help us to move forward to achieve our goal of unification and independence. Because of inherent dangers and low level of tolerance of some people, I was advised by some friends to stay out of this debate because it could further divide people; and I may end up making new enemies, as if I was short of them already.
All great men and conquerors are controversial figures – some admire them and some oppose them. What these people do or propose to do is not in everyone’s interest. In other words they challenge the status quo, and it is only natural that those who benefit from the existing system will oppose new ideas and invasion which will change the system or beneficiaries.
Maharajah Gulab Singh may not fall in to the category of great men; however, he made a valuable contribution to the politics of the region, and cut out a powerful role for himself. A lot of negative things are associated with him to belittle him and to present him as an evil man and a cruel ruler. Most of things are untrue and were levelled against him because of his religion and ethnicity. If he was undemocratic, unkind and cruel ruler, then question is which ruler of that time was pro people, democratic and kind?
I acknowledge I was also influenced by this propaganda and like other people in the JKLF my nationalism was also not fully matured when I did my Mphil research – Kashmir and the Partition of India - in late 1980s. Like many other nationalists of the time, perhaps I was also more of a Muslim nationalist than a Kashmiri nationalist; and was rather unfair to him. Prime objective of most students is to get thesis approved, and perhaps I was no different. Later on in life when I read some books by some non Muslims, and then I compared Gulab Singh in light of the new information, he looked a different man.
Anyhow, Gulab Singh came from a very ordinary background; and it is wrong that Gulab Singh’s family ruled Jammu for ‘centuries’. His father Kishore Singh was a poor man, but he belonged to a Dogra Rajput tribe of Jammu. The Raja of Jammu, Jeet Singh, was also a Dogra Rajput and was a distant relative of Gulab Singh’s father. Gulab Singh was born on 18 October 1792; and when Maharaja Ranjit Singh invaded Jammu in 1808, Gulab Singh was only 16 years old teenager; but he was very ambitious and brave. He and his tribe fought in defence of Jammu.
Even though young Gulab Singh lost his first war; but he gained a valuable experience from this war. After the invasion, the Raja of Jammu only had internal autonomy; and Jammu was a principality of the Sikh Empire. At the age of 17 he left Jammu in search of employment and new opportunities. He worked for various Rulers, including a Raja of Bhimber Sultan Khan who was a Chib Rajput. Gulab Singh joined his army as a soldier and received 3 rupees per month. 1
State of Bhimber
District Bhimber now is part of Pakistani Administered Kashmir known as Azad Kashmir; and in many ways is not that significant in politics of Azad Kashmir or in the nationalist struggle. However, Bhimber had an important role because of its geography and rulers.
Briefly, Raja Chib Chand was the first Raja of Chib dynasty; and when Ibrahim Lodhi ruled Delhi Raja Dhram Chand ruled this area. Ibrahim Lodhi had some serious illness; and he heard that Raja Dhram Chand could treat him. Ibrahim Lodhi summoned him to Delhi, and after the treatment Ibrahim Lodhi urged him to convert to Islam and stay in Delhi. He married daughter of one of his Minister to Dhram Chand who became Raja Shadab Khan after becoming a Muslim. 2
He had a Hindu wife Rani Thakiaal waiting for him in Bhimber but he was unable to leave Delhi due to strict supervision. When he eventually escaped Commander Haibat Khan Qandari chased him and in a battler near Bhimber both lost their lives. Royal troops which came from Delhi claimed that he was a Muslim, so Raja Shadab Khan was buried as a Muslim; and is now known as Baba Shadi Shaheed, a famous shrine in Azad Kashmir; and Hindus regarded him as Seedh Shadi. 3
Author of History of Chhabal, Major Thakkar Singh claims that Raja Shadab Khan had two sons from the Muslim wife, and they stayed in Delhi and never came to Bhimber. Furthermore, he claims that he had four wives with six sons. 4 This claim is refuted by Mohammed Fazal Shoq, who asserts that Raja Shadab Khan had only two wives, one Muslim and one Hindu which he married before he converted. From Rani Thakiaal he had Raja Dhram Chand and Bhoop Chand; and from Muslim wife he had Mull Khan and Gul Mohammed Khan.
Controversy ensued as to who should rule, sons of both wives claimed to become Raja; result was division of the State of Bhimber. Western part of the State was given to Bahoop Chand and Eastern part to Raja Mull Khan. 5 Area given to Raja Mull Khan was named as a State of Khari Kahriali. This was also later on occupied by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1810. 6 I will explain later on as to what is the significance of this detail in formation of this area.
After death of his father Raja Suleman Khan in 1772, Raja Sultan Khan became the ruler and expanded his rule to Barnala, Kharian, Gujrat, Noshera, Mirpur and Kotli. After death of Maharaja Ranjit Dev of Jammu, he declared his independence.7 As a result of some differences with his wife who interfered in affairs of the government, Raja Sultan imprisoned his Minister Sojan Singh; who later on escaped to Lahore and encouraged Maharaja Ranjit Singh to attack Bhimber. Raja Sultan Khan defeated the Sikh army, but Ranjit Singh sent a large force and arrested Sultan Khan and imprisoned him in Lahore for seven years
Ranjit Singh released him on promise that he would help to invade Kashmir. This was his third attempt to invade Kashmir and he took all the precautions. He ensured that all the local chieftains from Bhimber to Shopian were on his side that he could have safe and peaceful passage and that his rear was also safe. Referring to Raja Sultan Khan’s alliance with Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a famous Kashmiri historian, Yousaf Saraf comments:
‘It is unfortunate that a chieftain who had, only seven years back, rallied considerable support and given a resolute battle to the Sikhs had made a hero in the area, should have been so demoralised by seven years captivity as to readily agreed as his collaborator. He took oath on Kalmia to support the invasion and faithfully adhered to his commitment.’ 8
I can’t give too many details of this expedition as the article will become too long, but the fact is that without active support and know- how of the area by Raja Sultan Khan, Raja Aghar Khan of Rajouri and other chieftains of the region there was no way the Sikh army could have invaded Kashmir. In other words some constituent parts of the present day State of Jammu and Kashmir actively helped invasion of Kashmir.
Gulab Singh becomes Raja of Jammu
Gulab Singh joined Lahore Darbar as a running footman in court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1810. After a few years his father Kishore Singh, his brothers Dhian Singh and Sucheet Singh also joined the Lahore Darbar. They all played important role in strengthening the Sikh Empire; however Gulab Singh graduated in art of warfare and leadership and became among the most fearsome and bright generals of the Sikh army.
Some people in order to discredit Gulab Singh present him as a low class hypocrite, cheat and sycophant; and claim that he achieved his status in Lahore Darbar due to deceit and flattering. Fact is that Gulab Singh was among the very best Generals of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and one cannot become a brilliant general by flattering.
These critics won’t tell that Gulab Singh distinguished himself in many military expeditions. As a general of the Sikh army, he invaded Multan in 1816. In 1816, he, on his own initiative, invaded an important hill town of Riasi. He also played a leading role in invasion of Dera Ghazi Khan. Also he invaded Rajouri from Aghar Khan and Kishtwar from Raja Tegh Muhamamd Singh in 1821. Apart from that he even fought and defeated his own clansman, Mian Dido Jamwal in Trikota. Mian Dido was a Dogra warrior who led many military expeditions against the Sikh rule in the region.
Maharaja Ranjit, after another conflict with Raja Jeet Singh of Jammu, annexed Jammu. Because of great services rendered to the Sikh empire by family of Gulab Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh appointed Kishore Singh, father of Gulab Singh, as the Raja of Jammu. After death of Raja Kishore Singh in 1822, Gulab Singh became Raja of Jammu; but he was still an ally of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and not recognised as an independent ruler.
After becoming a Raja of Jammu he continued with his conquests and in 1824, he conquered fort of Samartah, which was near Mansar Lake. He continued to serve the Sikh Empire faithfully; and Maharaja Ranjit Singh even entrusted him to administer areas of northern Punjab with salt mines and also towns like Jhelum, Rohtas and Gujrat.
When the Afghan armies attacked Sikh Fort of Jamrud, which is between Peshawar and Lundi Kotal, Maharaja Ranjit Singh again had to rely on services of Dogra brothers and he sent Gulab Singh and his brother Raja Dhian Singh as reinforcement. On hearing that the reinforcement was on the way, Prince Akbar Khan fled back to Kabul. Apart from Akbar Khan there were other tribal leaders like Painda Khan Afridi who rebelled against the Sikh rule, but on orders of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh he brutally crushed the rebellion of Muslim tribesmen and killed tens of thousands of people, plundered the region and enslaved women.
Treaty of Amritsar
Those who dislike Gulab Singh they will never be won over to admire him. I am not claiming that he was a very kind ruler. He was a warrior and adventurer. Like warriors of his time he also committed human rights violations. Tell me a war where human rights are not abused, it even happens in 21st Century. Human rights violation is a serious crime, but it is considered as a collateral damage, a part of the warfare.
Some Kashmiri leaders, either due to innocence or due to influence of Pakistani propaganda claim that Gulab Singh’s family had no right to rule Jammu and Kashmir after lapse of the British Paramountcy. They claim that the Treaty of Amritsar was a kind of lease which expired after 100 years; or after end of the British Raj in India. Full text of the Treaty is produced below and thinking people can decide for themselves that it was not a lease; and it did not limit in anyway the right of Maharaja Hari Singh to rule after the British left India.
Treaty of Amritsar March 16, 1846
The treaty between the British Government on the one part and Maharajah Gulab Singh of Jammu on the other concluded on the part of the British Government by Frederick Currie, Esq. and Brever-Major Henry Montgomery Lawrence, acting under the orders of the Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hardinge, G.C.B., one of her Britannic Majesty's most Honorable Privy Council, Governor-General of the possessions of the East India Company, to direct and control all the affairs in the East Indies and by Maharajah Gulab Singh in person - 1846.
Article 1/ The British Government transfers and makes over for ever in independent possession to Maharajah Gulab Singh and the heirs male of his body all the hilly or mountainous country with its dependencies situated to the eastward of the River Indus and the westward of the River Ravi including Chamba and excluding Lahul, being part of the territories ceded to the British Government by the Lahore State according to the provisions of Article IV of the Treaty of Lahore, dated 9th March, 1846.
Article 2/ The eastern boundary of the tract transferred by the foregoing article to Maharajah Gulab Singh shall be laid down by the Commissioners appointed by the British Government and Maharajah Gulab Singh respectively for that purpose and shall be defined in a separate engagement after survey.
Article 3/ In consideration of the transfer made to him and his heirs by the provisions of the foregoing article Maharajah Gulab Singh will pay to the British Government the sum of seventy-five lakhs of rupees (Nanukshahee), fifty lakhs to be paid on or before the 1st October of the current year, A.D., 1846.
Article 4/ The limits of territories of Maharajah Gulab Singh shall not be at any time changed without concurrence of the British Government.
Article 5/ Maharajah Gulab Singh will refer to the arbitration of the British Government any disputes or question that may arise between himself and the Government of Lahore or any other neighbouring State, and will abide by the decision of the British Government.
Article 6/ Maharajah Gulab Singh engages for himself and heirs to join, with the whole of his Military Forces, the British troops when employed within the hills or in the territories adjoining his possessions.
Article 7/ Maharajah Gulab Singh engages never to take to retain in his service any British subject nor the subject of any European or American State without the consent of the British Government.
Article 8/ Maharajah Gulab Singh engages to respect in regard to the territory transferred to him, the provisions of Articles V, VI and VII of the separate Engagement between the British Government and the Lahore Durbar, dated 11th March, 1846.
Article 9/ The British Government will give its aid to Maharajah Gulab Singh in protecting his territories from external enemies.
Article 10/ Maharajah Gulab Singh acknowledges the supremacy of the British Government and will in token of such supremacy present annually to the British Government one horse, twelve shawl goats of approved breed (six male and six female) and three pairs of Cashmere shawls. This Treaty of ten articles has been this day settled by Frederick Currie, Esq. and Brever-Major Henry Montgomery Lawrence, acting under directions of the Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hardinge, Governor-General, on the part of the British Government and by Maharajah Gulab Singh in person, and the said Treaty has been this day ratified by the seal of the Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hardinge, Governor-General. (Done at Amritsar the sixteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, corresponding with the seventeenth day of Rubee-ul-Awal (1262 Hijree).
(Signed) H. Hardinge (Seal)
(Signed) F. Currie
(Signed) H.M. Lawrence
Treaty of Amritsar analysed
Article 1/ makes it absolutely clear that it was not a lease and that, ‘The British Government transfers and makes over for ever in independent possession to Maharajah Gulab Singh and the heirs male of his body all the hilly or mountainous country with its dependencies..’ Also it is clear that the word ‘sold’ which is commonly used to demean the Treaty and humiliate the Maharaja Gulab Singh was not part of the text. It stated that the territories were transferred.
Many people forget that Jammu and all the territories conquered by Raja Gulab Singh before the Anglo Sikh war were technically part of the Sikh empire; and the British could have annexed those areas under the control of Raja Gulab Singh as well.
Many people accuse Raja Gulab Singh for stabbing the Sikh Empire. This is far from truth. He and his family very faithfully served the Sikh Empire. They extended boundaries of the Sikh Empire and defended it with their sweat and blood.
After death of Maharajah Ranjit Singh situation changed dramatically, and the Sikh Empire plunged in chaos and civil war due to internal conflicts. Dogra brothers were still loyal to the Lahore Darbar; but those who were challenging the rule of young Maharajah Dalip Singh were not happy with role and influence of the Dogra brothers which they exhibited in defence of the Lahore Darbar.
As a result of this prolonged civil war in Punjab Gulab Singh’s family suffered immensely. He lost two brothers, Dhian Singh and Sucheet Singh. He also lost his nephew, Hira Singh, and his two sons, Udham Singh and Sohan Singh. Despite this sacrifice if people accuse him for the downfall of the Sikh Empire then it is totally unfair and historically incorrect.
Some writers place responsibility of the defeat of the Sikhs on their civil war that greatly weakened them; and cowardliness of some Sikh commanders like Lal Singh, Tej Singh, and Ranjoor Singh, who abandoned the war and ran away from the battlefield. According to historian Ashq Hussain Bhat, ‘Lal Singh ran away from Mudki battlefield on December 18, Tej Singh from Ferozshahr on December 21, and Ranjoor Singh from Aliwal on December 28.’ 9
Raja Gulab Singh was in Jammu when the war was going on, and the Sikh army was demoralised and on the run. So Rani Jindan requested Gulab Singh for help, but he only reached Lahore on 27 January 1846, where he was received as a de facto Chief Minister.
The final battle between the Sikh army and the British was fought on 10 February 1846 at Sobran, where the Commander in Chief of the Sikh army Tej Singh fled the battlefield. When a commander loses heart and runs away no army can continue the war. From then onwards it was a question of getting the best deal from the British in negotiations and save the remaining Sikh Kingdom. Raja Gulab Singh as a Chief negotiator of the Lahore Darbar met the British in Kasoor on 15 February 1846.
Because the war was regarded as ‘unprovoked aggression’ against the British, the Lahore Darbar was asked to pay war indemnity of 15 million rupees. The British were privy to the information through Dina Nath, a Finance Minister of the Sikh government, that there was only 5 million rupees in the Lahore Treasury. So to make up for the loss of the war they demanded the Lahore State to cede certain territories and also recognise Gulab Singh as an independent Ruler. These details were formalised in Treaty of Lahore and Treat of Amritsar.
Raja Gulab Singh was a Statesman and a shrewd General. He manoeuvred the prevailing situation to get best for himself and for his family. He cleverly saved his ‘little empire’; he won recognition as an independent Ruler and he got additional territory, as explained above.
Here, it would be appropriate to mention Treaty of Lahore, which was negotiated between the Sikhs and the British and signed on 9 March 1846. Article 4 of the Treaty of Lahore reads:
‘The British Government having demanded from the Lahore State, as indemnification for the expenses of the war, in addition to the cession of territory described in Article 3, payment of one and half crore of Rupees, and the Lahore Government being unable to pay the whole of this sum at this time, or to give security satisfactory to the British Government for its eventual payment, the Maharajah cedes to the Honourable Company, in perpetual sovereignty, as equivalent for one crore of Rupees, all his forts, territories, rights and interests in the hill countries, which are situated between the Rivers Beas and Indus, including the Provinces of Cashmere and Hazarah’.
And Article 12 of the Lahore Treaty reads:
In consideration of the services rendered by Rajah Golab Sing of Jummoo, to the Lahore State, towards procuring the restoration of the relations of amity between the Lahore and British Governments, the Maharajah hereby agrees to recognize the Independent sovereignty of Rajah Golab Sing in such territories and districts in the hills as may be made over to the said Rajah Golab Sing, by separate Agreement between himself and the British Government, with the dependencies thereof, which may have been in the Rajah's possession since the time of the late Maharajah Khurruck Sing, and the British Government, in consideration of the good conduct of Rajah Golab Sing, also agrees to recognize his independence in such territories, and to admit him to the privileges of a separate Treaty with the British Government’.
Many people wrongly think that Mahraja Gulab Singh acquired the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir from the British after paying 75 Lakh Rupees or Nanak Shahi.
It is clear that according to the Treaty of Amritsar vast areas of Hazara were also given to the Maharaja Gulab Singh. Chamba was also included in the Treaty. Hazara is now part of Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa; and Chamba is now part of Indian Himachal Pradesh.
Gulab Singh, as a General of the Sikh Empire fought many wars in the area now known as Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa. He knew very well what kind of rebellious people lived there. He was a prudent and far sighted ruler; he knew it would be extremely difficult to keep control over tribesmen who lived in Hazara from centre of his power base. So in 1847 he made a deal with the Lahore Darbar, and exchanged large areas of Hazara for a smaller State of Khari Khariaali, which was occupied by the Sikhs in 1810. Details of Khari Khariali state were discussed earlier, when it was explained how and why Bhimber State was partitioned. He knew people of this area were rather peaceful; and also the area was adjacent to other areas under his control in Mirpur and Bhimber.
Chamba was established as a state around 550 AD. It was ruled by various Rulers, but between 1809 and 1846 it was a tributary of Jammu. Although it was included in the Treaty of Amritsar, however, later on it was taken as a British Protected State. Tikka Lakshman Singh was the last Raja of Chamba, and in 1948 he acceded to India.
There is no need to discuss and explain position and status of
Poonch because it is agreed by all that it is part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. However, I feel there is still a lot of ambiguity about areas of Gilgit Baltistan and Ladakh, so I will briefly explain the satiation of these areas.
Raja Gulab Singh, as noted earlier was a man with vision; and he knew importance of Karakorum trade route, especially for shawl wool, and his General Zorawar Singh, who was appointed Governor Kishtwar, conquered Suru Valley and Kargil in 1835. Zorawar Singh continued with his military expeditions and conquered Astor and Baltistan in 1840.
Mahraja Gulab Singh then turned his attention to conquer Tibet. It was important for him to conquer Tibet in many ways; but after some initial successes his Commander General Zorawar was overpowered in a place where height was more than 12,000 feet and snow had already had started falling making it very difficult for his troops. Lhasa army also cut off his supply route which was hundreds of miles away in Ladakh. The battle began on 10 December 1841 and after two days of fight the Dogra army was defeated. General Zorawar was killed in the battle. 10
When the Dogra army was fighting very difficult battle hundreds of miles away from Jammu, Gulab Singh was fighting on behalf of the Sikh Empire in Peshawar; and it is here he was informed the Dogra defeat. Despite this some people claim he stabbed the Sikh Empire.
The Tibetans encouraged by their earlier victory tried to take over Ladakh, but they were defeated at the battle of Chushal. The subsequent Treaty of Chushul demarcated the boundary between Ladakh and Tibet. Treaties, of Amritsar and Chushal defined the borders of the Kingdom of Jammu in the east, south and west; however, the northern border was still undefined.
The Gilgit region, which includes Nagar, Hunza, Punial, Yasin, Ghizer, Chilas, Darel, Tangir, Harban and even Chitral; and they all had separate rulers, each conspiring against the other. On request of Karim Khan, brother of Raja Shah Skander of Gilgit who was murdered by Gur Rehman, Raja of Yasin and occupied Gilgit, the Sikhs sent a force under the command of Colonel Nathu Shah to capture Gilgit in 1842. Although after the invasion Karim Khan was installed as the Raja, but effective power was in hands of Col Nathu Khan.
When the Maharaja Gulab Khan acquired Kashmir, Nathu Khan expressed his loyalty to the Maharaja Gulab Singh and he was allowed to continue to administer the area. But, Gur Rehman who was early defeated by Nathu Khan conspired with Rulers of Hunza, Punial and Yasin and defeated Nathu Shah and Gulab Singh lost this region. However, he soon sent a force to punish Gur Rehman and captured the lost region. Rebellion of Gur Rehman continued and he recaptured Gilgit again in 1852, however, in 1860, Maharaja Ranbir Singh established his rule over the entire region. 11
Gulab Singh or Gulabo as he was called was born to an ordinary house in Jammu with no future. He was not born with a golden or even a silver spoon in his mouth. As a teenager he had to leave his home with no future in mind. Throughout his life, he struggled and fought against the odds, and overcame most difficult situations.
And when he died on 30 June 1857, he was known as the Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu and Kashmir. He left an empire for his dynasty. Many historians, especially Muslim historians have treated him unfairly. I can agree that he did not adhere to democratic values; and that he was not kind to his subjects; but don’t judge him with the moral values of 21st century.
Those who call him deceitful, greedy and flatterer, need to understand that a deceitful and flatterer are not brave people; whereas Gulab Singh established his bravery and brilliance in art of warfare in many battles. He was a wise leader and a brilliant General. We need to understand that all Generals and warriors have to be ruthless in order to win wars and establish fear that his subjects do not rebel against his rule. I agree he imposed many unjust and harsh taxes; but question is which ruler of that time didn’t impose taxes. What about rulers of today? Are we not facing harsh unfair treatment, and heavy and taxes and bills where we live today?
If it was not for Gulab Singh and the Treaty of Amritsar we could have been part of some districts of India or Pakistan, with no identity as a citizen of Jammu and Kashmir. We owe our Kashmiri identity and our sense of belonging to a nation to prowess of Maharaja Gulab Singh.
Indeed we are forcibly divided, but our struggle is for unification and independence of the State which Gulab Singh established; and those who call him a father of Kashmiri nation have every right to do so. I fail to understand why some people want to compare Maqbool Butt with Maharaja Gulab Singh.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.Email:email@example.com
1. Jammu Kashmir ke Pahari Riastain, part 1, Mohammed Fazal Shoq, page 353.
2. History of Kashmir, volume 5-6, Syed Mehmood Azad, page 422
3. Ibid, page 423
4. Ibid, page 425
5. Mohammed Fazal Shoq , page 53
6. Ibid, page 57
7. Ibid, page 55
8. Justice Yousaf Saraf, Kashmiris Fight for Freedom, volume 1, page 75
9. How Gulab Singh backstabbed Sikh state and purchased Kashmir from the British, by Ashq Hussain Bhat www.Thekashmirreader.com 09 March 2015
10. Justice Yousaf Saraf, page 110
11. The Other Kashmir – society, culture and politics in the Karakorum Himalayas K Warikoo, page 102/103
It is difficult to liberate fools who respect their chains, Voltaire