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  • Writer's pictureBasak Gizem Yasadur

Innocent People Are Dying in Azad Kashmir!!!

The issue of Azad Kashmir has been ongoing for many years and has resulted in numerous deaths. It has been subjected to disproportionate intervention by both the Pakistani and Indian governments. This problem has been in existence since 1947, when the British withdrew from their colonies in the Indian region. The withdrawal left the Indian region in great turmoil, resulting in a major border dispute. With the departure of the UK, two new states, Pakistan and India, were established. However, a joint decision could not be reached on which country borders Kashmir, a region located between India, Pakistan, and China, at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains in South Asia. Although it may seem natural that this region, which boasts incredible beauty and natural resources, cannot be shared, there are more important reasons behind the ongoing conflict.

Photo by Praneet Kumar on Unsplash

When Britain withdrew from the region, it left the principality of Kashmir to decide whether to join Pakistan or India. Although the majority of the population in the Kashmir region was Muslim, it was ruled by a Hindu, Hari Singh. Initially, Singh did not join either country and sought independence. However, Pashtun tribal forces from Pakistan invaded the region, and Singh's military was not strong enough to stop them. He then sought help from India, and although Indian Prime Minister Nehru was willing to send troops, Lord Louis Mountbatten, a British Governor of India who led India's independence process, advised Singh to join India before receiving military assistance. So, Singh signed the Certificate of Accession on October 26, 1947, and the Kashmir principality became a part of India. This led to wars between India and Pakistan.

In the first war in 1947, India won and kept most of the Kashmir region, while Pakistan only captured a small part. However, this decision sparked riots and protests because the majority of the people in the region were Muslim. Despite India's repressive policies to discourage these riots, they continued.

Before discussing the 1965 war, it's important to note that in 1962, China defeated India in a war and captured the Aksai China region. Pakistan also showed support to China by handing over a region of Kashmir claimed by India to China in 1963. China's involvement in the Kashmir problem became significant, even though it wasn't dominant. India, recognizing its military weaknesses after the war with China, worked to improve them. In 1965, the second Kashmir war began when Pakistani soldiers entered the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir region with the Gibraltar operation and started an uprising. Both sides achieved minor victories but were unable to gain the upper hand. The war caused significant losses on both sides.

To prevent the conflict from spreading to other regions, the Tashkent Declaration was signed with the intervention of the United States and the Soviet Union, and the war ended. The United Nations had previously recommended a plebiscite in the region, but the Indian government did not accept it since the majority of Muslims lived there. The world public opinion on this problem is noteworthy.

While the USSR took a neutral stance, the US supported Pakistan, and the Kashmir issue gained global attention. In the UN Council, the USSR supported India by not accepting a plebiscite in Kashmir. As a result, the United Nations was unable to resolve the issue.

In 1971, a civil war erupted in Pakistan's East region, which later led to India's intervention. After India's independence in 1947, the Bangladesh region, with a Muslim majority, was attached to Pakistan as East Pakistan. However, India's lands cut off the connection between East Pakistan and Pakistan. As a result, East Pakistan remained neglected and underdeveloped. The people of East Pakistan began to feel exploited by the government in West Pakistan, which led to a rise in political discontent and nationalist movements in East Pakistan. In 1971, a significant rebellion broke out in East Pakistan that was eventually suppressed by West Pakistan's military force. This led to around 10 million Bangladeshis fleeing to India, which triggered a war between India and Pakistan. The war changed dimensions and turned into border conflicts between the two countries, resulting in significant losses for both sides. On December 15, 1971, East Pakistan surrendered to Indian forces, and Bangladesh declared its independence from East Pakistan. This war heightened tension between India and Pakistan and resulted in serious hostility between them. The last war between the two countries was the Kargil War in 1999, which began due to Pakistan's border violations and ended without significant consequences.

Photo by Hamid Roshaan on Unsplash

The Kashmir problem, which has become an important problem since the two states declared their independence, is important for the whole world. Because these two countries are nuclear powers. Any hot conflict between them is likely to turn into nuclear war. The involvement of the United Nations in this incident seemed to bring a solution, but no result. On January 1, 1948, India applied to the United Nations because "part of its territory is under foreign occupation". After that, Pakistan claimed that India was committing genocide against Muslims living in the region and proposed a referendum under the auspices of the United Nations. The United Nations Council, with its decision number 38, which was first taken on 17 January 1948, called on both countries to improve the current situation and take the necessary measures, not to allow bad events and prevent these bad events. In addition to the government of both states; Consultation was requested when it was concluded that the situation would change significantly during this period when the council was examining the issue.

Stating that the United Nations could investigate all kinds of conflicts and situations that would threaten international peace and security with the decision number 39 taken on 20 January 1948 following this decision, he stated that the relations between them were investigated.

According to this decision, this situation will be examined by a commission consisting of 3 states that are members of the United Nations organization. Pakistan would choose one of the three states in this commission, and India would choose the other. The third state in the commission would be chosen by these 2 states by joint decision. The task of this commission was to mediate without interrupting the work of the Security Council. After these decisions, the most important decision to solve the Kashmir problem was the decision number 47 taken on 21 April 1948. The United Nations stated that the continuation of this conflict will put international peace and security at risk. Therefore, it offered friendly initiative and mediation to both states. Overall, this resolution made some demands from both states, but as a result the United Nations Security Council deemed it appropriate to hold a referendum in Kashmir.

India did not agree with the decision made in resolution 47 regarding the Kashmir problem. This is due to the fact that 93% of the Kashmir population was not taken into account. As a result, the Kashmir problem still remains unsolved. Furthermore, India is currently violating some of the claims mentioned in this resolution. Despite the fact that the Azad Kashmir area should be a demilitarized zone, it is still under heavy pressure from the Indian government, causing a problem for Pakistan and China, who are also involved in the Kashmir problem. If this issue remain resolved, it could potentially jeopardize world peace, as we happen to see many wars already going on.

I strictly believe that the world public opinion and political leaders need to acknowledge this problem before it turns into a war and show action as much as they do for Russia-Ukraine or Israel-Hamas wars. There are many innocent civilians that are still dying in Azad Kashmir.


- Selcen Erdal Çözümsüzlügün Adı: ‘Birlesmis Milletler’e Ragmen Kesmir  (Public and Private International Law Bulletin, 38(1): 85–106)


-  Indo Pakistani War and Conflicts



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