Sunday, 15 December 2013

How geography of Pakistan changed with time, Dr Shabir Choudhry

How geography of Pakistan changed with time
Dr Shabir Choudhry       15 December 2013

First, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Muslim League did not get what they wanted or expected. They wanted to get whole of Punjab and Bengal provinces, but they were divided on the principle of ‘Two Nations Theory’. To rub salt in the wounds, certain important Muslim majority areas were ‘rewarded’ to India, hence bitter statement of Jinnah that he was given ‘truncated Pakistan’.

When Pakistan came in to being many parts of the existing Pakistan were not legally part of the country. For example, Chitral was part of the State of Jammu and not part of Pakistan. Chitral was taken over by Pakistan, just like the following Princely States which were not part of Pakistan, but were subsequently taken over by Pakistan:
1.    Lasbaila
2.    Qalaat
3.    Makraan
4.    Kharaan
5.    Khairpur
6.    Bawalpur
7.    Dir
8.    Amb
9.    Swat

Sir Crick and Rann of Kutch in Sindh are still disputed; and Gawadar was obtained by Sir Feroz Khan Noon in 1956 from UAE. Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir are part of State of Jammu and Kashmir; but Pakistani governments are working hard to make these areas part of Pakistan.

State of Junagarr, even though it had non Muslim Majority, legally acceded to Pakistan. In that sense Junagarr was a legal addition to the geography of Pakistan, but because there was no land link between the two territories, India managed to set up a Provisional government of Junagarr, and through a plebiscite take over it. So this was the first territorial loss to Pakistan. It is sad that not many people even know about this or have any association with that or have any sense of loss.

Gilgit Baltistan, as stated above, is not part of Pakistan, but fact remains that Pakistan controls that region and until recently called this region: Northern Areas of Pakistan. In 1963, Pakistan gifted nearly 2200 sq miles of territory of Gilgit Baltistan to China, hence change of geography of areas under Pakistani control.

Also in the war of 1971, certain areas of Azad Kashmir which were conquered by India were not given back to Pakistan. Similarly some small areas of Kashmir which were taken over by Pakistan were not given back to India. This was done in accordance with the rules agreed by both countries in the Shimla Agreement. India took over a large part of Siachin Glacier under the same principle. Nevertheless, all these changes made changes to the geography of the area under Pakistan.

East Pakistan, as the name suggests, was part of Pakistan. However, due to injustice, inequality, oppression and exploitation, there was very strong resentment against the ruling elite of the West Pakistan. The Awami League of East Pakistan won a decisive victory in the general elections of 1970, but the ruling elite with the connivance of the political leadership of  the West Pakistan decided not to hand over power to them. The people of East Pakistan started protests and civil disobedience, however, the government instead of transferring power responded with guns and tanks.

This military onslaught which eventually got India involved as well resulted in death of around three million people, tens of thousands of rapes and death and destruction of East Pakistan. Not to mention surrender of more than 90 thousands Pakistanis and loss of East Pakistan. Indeed it was a big tragedy and sad event of history.

It was a great loss to Pakistan, which not only lost its Eastern wing, more than 57,000 square miles, but it got more than 90,000 people imprisoned, and tremendous loss to its image and world standing. Pakistani geography changed once again. There were many who cried on this humiliation and loss.

However, it was sad to note that there were many who had no sense of loss. Many I heard saying: shukr hai in Bengalioon say jaan chhot gei hai - meaning thank God we got rid of these Bengalis.

Furthermore, it is disturbing to note that the ruling elite did not learn anything from this great tragedy; and they continued to make same mistakes. One can say with certainty that even in 2013 not much has changed and ruling elite its own interests and priorities and welfare of people and national interest of the remaining Pakistan is not close to their hearts.

I hope there are no more geographical changes to Pakistan. What that means is no more disintegration of Pakistan. Also it means that Pakistan must desist from its imperial designs of encroaching territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Many people strongly believe that Pakistan has virtually annexed Gilgit Baltistan, an area legally part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir; and is actively planning to annex Azad Kashmir, also known as Pakistani occupied Kashmir.

The following map clearly shows the areas which were originally part of Pakistan.
Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs

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