Copyright. All rights reserved. Ram Jethmalani. 2017.
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Yes, even the holy festival of Id-ul- Fitr did not prevent the ugly fighting on our international border. Both leaders through their joint secretaries while in Russia condemned terrorism in all its forms and agreed to cooperate with each other to eliminate this menace from South Asia.” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated his invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit Pakistan for the SAARC Summit in 2016. Prime Minister accepted the invitation. This was clearly too much for the Pakistani army to swallow, and the guns went firing again at innocent civilians.
Now what should be India’s firm response? This is my answer and not necessarily of Modi ji or Sushmaji. So long as Pakistan will remain an Islamic state India will not compel a single Indian citizen in any part of Jammu & Kashmir to be a citizen of a non secular state. Pakistan must recall the famous speech of Quaid Azam Jinnah Saheb the day Pakistan came into existence. Obviously Pakistani leaders have totally forgotten it and reduced it to a cruel joke. But there was one person who was an honorable exception. Paradoxically, he too happened to be a military dictator. I think he was and is more sensible than many in Pakistan with whom we have had to deal with from time to time. I want to reproduce briefly the Quaid-e-Azam’s forgotten wisdom:
He spoke of the unprecedented happening in the political life of the Sub-Continent. ‘There is no parallel in the history of the world’ he said. “This mighty Sub-Continent with all kinds of inhabitants has been brought under a plan which is titanic, unknown, unparalleled. And what is very important with regard to it is that we have achieved it peacefully and by means of an evolution of the greatest possible character.”
He then dealt with the first duty of the Government of Pakistan. It is not merely to maintain the rule of law but also to fully secure the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects. Then he referred to the curse of corruption in both India and Pakistan – black marketing, evils of nepotism and jobbery.
Then he dealt with the question of minorities. I quote his exact words, “Now, if we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor. If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed. If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make”
Referring to the British example, he proceeded and said “Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”
I believe that General Musharaf always wanted to act on this and bring peace between India and Pakistan. I have the testimony of eminent journalist Tavleen whom I greatly admire and respect. She had met the General at Davos about ten years ago and she frankly asked the general what he meant by his ‘out of the box’ solution for the two nations. The General patiently explained to her what he had in mind. Nothing in General’s proposal meant independence or redrawing the borders but it only meant self governance for Kashmir with security guarantee by a Managing Council consisting of Indians, Pakistanis and Kashmiris. The General was concerned about wasting of national resources on a futile conflict which must be stopped to make Pakistan prosperous. He was determined to terminate terrorist activity in the state.
Therefore the moderate Hurriyat leaders and the Kashmir committee evolved five principles of a permanent solution:
1. Terrorism and violence are taboo.
2. A lasting and honorable peaceful resolution must and can be found.
3. The resolution must be acceptable to all political elements and regions of the state.
4. Extremist positions held by all for the previous five decades have to be and will be abandoned.
5. Kashmiri pundits will be rehabilitated with honor and rights of equality.
I must confess that when General Musharraf came to India and negotiations for settlement were going on in Agra, President Musharraf had come determined to solve the problem. Unfortunately the talks failed and the failure was the result of Indian obduracy. The General was sad and angry, but he did not give up his noble effort. I got from him through his friend Mr. Bhandara his draft proposal for a settlement. With his permission I made some changes which he gladly accepted. I published them as proposal of the Kashmir Committee. These occupy more than a full page in my book ‘Maverick Unchanged, Unrepentant’.
The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir framed by its independent Constituent Assembly should be accepted by all rational politicians as the end of the Pakistani ambitions in that State. Its preamble reads:
‘We the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, having solemnly resolved, in pursuance of the accession of the State to India which took place on the twenty-sixth day of October, 1947, to further define the existing relationship of the State with the Union of India as an integral part thereof, and to secure to ourselves
‘Justice, social, economic and political; liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
‘Equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among us all; Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation.
‘In our Constituent Assembly this seventeenth day of November, 1956, we do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.’
Then came the elections of 2011 in the State. These elections were watched closely by press reporters from all over the world. Without any dissent from any responsible quarter elections have been declared as totally fair and free. There is no evidence that any vote was cast in favor of Kashmir becoming a part of Pakistan or seceding from India. International law and a Judgment of Supreme court of Canada rule out any right to secede.