ISLAMABAD: The remarks of Indian Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, in the Indian parliament on Wednesday regarding the role of the first Indian prime minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in taking the Kashmir war to the United Nations and agreeing to a ceasefire, sent a wave of anger in Indian Congress and its supporters throughout India.
Amit Shah blamed the first prime minister of independent India Jawaharlal Nehru for losing Azad Kashmir. While replying to questions on the so-called Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill and Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, tabled and later passed by the Lok Sabha, Amit Shah said, “Azad Kasmir is ours.”
He blamed Jawaharlal Nehru’s “two major blunders” i.e. declaring a ceasefire without winning the entire Kashmir and taking the issue to the United Nations. “I support the word that was used here, Nehruvian blunder. Because of the blunder that was committed during the time of Nehru, Kashmir had to suffer,” Shah said.
In his remarks, Amit Shah also alleged that the Kashmir matter was taken to the UN in a hurry. “If at all it had to be taken to the UN, it should have been sent under Article 51 rather than Article 35 of the UN Charter,” he said, asserting he believes that the issue should not have been taken to the UN in the first place. Shah also quoted Nehru as saying later that the ceasefire was a “mistake”. Shah added that it was not Nehru’s mistake but a blunder. “So much land of this country was lost, it was a historic blunder,” the home minister said.
However, former chief minister of Indian Illegally-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and National Conference (NC) President Farooq Abdullah informed the parliament that “Lord Mountbatten and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had also suggested that this (Jammu and Kashmir debate) should go to the United Nations”. Mountbatten was Governor General of India while Patel was then home minister. Farooq Abdullah’s father Sheikh Abdullah was a close friend of Jawahar Lal Nehru.
Abdullah defended Jawaharlal Nehru, correcting Home Minister Amit Shah’s “Nehruvian Blunder” remark. Farooq recalled “...At that time, the army was diverted to save Poonch and Rajouri. If it had not been done, Poonch and Rajouri would have also gone to Pakistan...There was no other way than this, Pakistan would have taken Poonch, Rajouri if...”
The dispute has cropped up when electioneering for May next polls is about to get underway in India. The bills passed by the Indian Lok Sabha seek to change the nomenclature of a section of people who are eligible for quota in appointment and admission. Piloting the bills, Amit claimed, “How can a country have two PMs, two constitutions and two flags? Those who did this, they did wrong. PM Modi corrected it.”
Shah Ghulam Qadir, a leader of PMLN and former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly (LA) of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, told this scribe that Azad Kashmir LA had given representation to the refugees belonging to IIOJK right from the beginning. They have been electing their members of the assembly through democratic free and fair elections every five.
Qadir pointed out that in the house of the LA, 12 members are representing occupied valley and Jammu region, six each. Their representation has been ensured right from the inception of LA, he said. It’s a unicameral legislature of elected representatives of the autonomous state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The sources pointed out that in IIOJK, the so-called representation is being provided through the nomination of one member from Azad Kashmir.
Commenting on the development, spokesperson of Foreign Ministry Mumtaz Zohra Baloch reminded that the bills passed by the lower house of Indian parliament on Wednesday about the IIOJK are yet another farce to perpetuate India’s occupation and to deny the people of Jammu and Kashmir their right to self-determination.
“Pakistan has never recognized India’s occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. It has repeatedly rejected the relevance of Indian Constitution to this disputed territory. We, therefore, categorically reject any measures that perpetuate India’s occupation.
“India’s unilateral and illegal measures of August 5, 2019, and several subsequent steps are aimed at changing the demographic structure and political landscape of the IIOJK. Pakistan strongly condemns and rejects these measures as these would convert Kashmiris into a disempowered minority in their own land. These measures are also a blatant violation of international humanitarian law and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.”
She added: “India must rescind these illegal and unilateral measures, provide relief to the people of IIOJK and create a positive environment for peace and dialogue.” She assured that Pakistan would continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters for the just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UNSC resolutions.