On the eve of Partition, the
princely states were given the option to accede to Pakistan or
India. There was no other option of remaining independent.
Moreover, it was the princes who were to decide, without any
need for ratification or plebiscite. They were, however, to be
guided by the principle of contiguity. Thus, Hyderabad had no
other choice, but to accede to India. J&K could opt for any
of the two nations. So could tiny Junagadh. Some writers have
questioned the inclusion of Gurdaspur District, despite its
Muslim majority, with India as a favour to make J&K’s
accession possible. This is a needless controversy as even
without Gurdaspur, J&K would have been contiguous with
India. All it did was to make the road and rail connection
raged over the question whether Pakistan was behind the
invasion. Pakistan insists it was a tribal attack and the
Pakistan army had yet to be remoulded and created into
regiments. Also, some officers may have taken part in the attack
without authorisation, given the chaos and unsettled conditions.
Lord Birdwood stated, that while there was no plan of control by
the Pakistan Government at the highest level, there was
knowledge and tacit consent.
however, evidence that there was a measure of high-level
control. Major General Akhbar Khan in his book, Raiders in
Kashmir, describes how he drew up the plan and leaves little
doubt that Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan were involved.
controversy recently raised by one author is about the date of
accession. This writer brings out that V.P.Menon went to
Srinagar on October 25, and returned on October26, with a letter
dated October 26, from Hari Singh, along with the Instrument of
Accession. There can be no issue about the legitimacy that the
Maharaja’s signature carried.
occupied Kashmir too had its share of political instability.
Gilgit and Baltistan were separated from Azad Kashmir in 1972
and directly administered from Islamabad. In 1974, the former
princely state of Hunza was merged with Gilgit and Baltistan. At
critical moments, Muslim Conference Leaders have denounced the
constitutional status of Azad Kashmir, as bogus.
It was the 1984
dismissal of an elected government by Jagmohan and the rigged
1987 election that are regarded as critical turning points in
Jammu and Kashmir.
The discontent was exploited by
Pakistan to foment terrorism. It saw induction of war veterans
from Afghanistan. In the writer’s words, "The most
dramatic use of such left overs by Pakistan was to occur in
Kargil, in May 1999, when the Indian Army discovered over 600
Mujahideen well on the Indian side of the LOC, ironically housed
in India’s own security bunkers abandoned for the
winter". Kargil was just that and nothing more. The book is
immensely readable and revealing.