Thursday, October 14, 2010


The Kashmir conflict refers to the territorial dispute over Kashmir, the northwesternmost region of South Asia. The parties to the dispute are India, Pakistan, China, and the people of Kashmir.

India claims the entire former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and presently administers approximately 43% of the region including most of Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and the Siachen Glacier. India's claim is contested by Pakistan which controls approximately 37% of Kashmir, mainly Azad Kashmir and the northern areas of Gilgit and Baltistan. In addition, China controls 20% of Kashmir including Aksai Chin which it occupied following the brief Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the Trans-Karakoram Tract, also known as the Shaksam Valley, that was ceded to it by Pakistan in 1963.

India's official position is that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan's official position is that Kashmir is a disputed territory whose final status must be determined by the people of Kashmir. China's official position is that Aksai Chin is a part of Tibet, which is a part of China. Certain Kashmiri independence groups believe that Kashmir should be independent of both India and Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir: in 1947, 1965, and 1999. India and Pakistan have also been involved in several skirmishes over the Siachen Glacier.

Since 1987, disputed State elections have resulted in some of the state's legislative assembly forming militant wings, creating the catalyst for the insurgency,;[1][2][3] the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been the site of conflict between the Indian Armed Forces, militants and separatists. Furthermore, India alleges these militants are supported by Pakistan. The turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir has resulted in thousands of deaths,[4] but has become less deadly in recent years.[5][6] On the other hand, there have been protest movements in Indian Administered Kashmir since 1989. The movements were created to voice Kashmir's disputes and grievances with the Indian government, specifically the Indian Military.[5][6] Elections held in 2008 were generally regarded as fair by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, had a high voter turnout in spite of calls by militants for a boycott, and led to the pro India Jammu & Kashmir National Conference forming the government in the state.[7][8] According to Voice of America, many analysts have interpreted the high voter turnout in this election as a sign that the people of Kashmir have endorsed Indian rule in the state.[9]

A 2001 report "Pakistan's Role in the Kashmir Insurgency" of US think tank RAND Corporation noted that "the nature of the Kashmir conflict has been transformed from what was originally a secular, locally based struggle (conducted via the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front - JKLF) to one that is now largely carried out by foreign militants and rationalized in pan-Islamic religious terms." Most of the militant organizations are composed of foreign mercenaries mostly from the Pakistani Punjab[10] In 2010 with the support of its intelligence agencies Pakistan has been once again 'boosting' Kashmir militants and recruitment of 'martyrs' in Pakistani state of Punjab has increased.[11][12]




Early history

In the 18th century Kashmir was ruled by the Muslim Pashtun Durrani Empire. In 1819 Kashmir was conquered by the Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh. Following the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1845 and 1846, Kashmir was first ceded by the Treaty of Lahore to the East India Company, and shortly after sold by the Treaty of Amritsar to Gulab Singh, Raja of Jammu, who thereafter was given the title Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. From then until the Partition of India, Kashmir was ruled by the Hindu Maharajas of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu, although the majority of the population were Muslim, except in the Jammu region.

Partition and dispute

In 1947, British rule in India ended with the creation of two new nations: the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan while British suzerainty over the 562 Indian princely states ended. According to the Indian Independence Act 1947, "the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian States lapses, and with it, all treaties and agreements in force at the date of the passing of this Act between His Majesty and the rulers of Indian States",[13] so the states were left to choose whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Jammu and Kashmir, the largest of the princely states, had a predominantly Muslim population while having a Hindu ruler (Maharaja Hari Singh.) On partition Pakistan expected Kashmir to be annexed to it.

In October 1947, Muslim revolutionaries in western Kashmir [14] and Pakistani tribals from Dir entered Kashmir intending to liberate it from Dogra rule. Unable to withstand the invasion, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession that was accepted by the government of India on 27 October 1947.[15]

Indo-Pakistani War of 1947

After rumours that the Maharaja was for the union with India, Muslim revolutionaries from western Kashmir [14] and Pakistani tribesmen made rapid advances into the Baramulla sector. Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir asked the government of India to intervene, However, India and Pakistan had signed an agreement of non-intervention (maintenance of the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir.) Although tribal fighters from Pakistan had entered Jammu and Kashmir, there was no iron-clad legal evidence to unequivocally prove that Pakistan was officially involved. It would have been illegal for India to unilaterally intervene in an open, official capacity unless Jammu and Kashmir officially joined the Union of India, at which point it would be possible to send in its forces and occupy the remaining parts.

The Maharaja desperately needed military assistance when the Pathan tribals reached the outskirts of Srinagar. Before their arrival into Srinagar, India argued that Maharaja Hari Singh must complete negotiations for acceding Jammu and Kashmir to India in exchange for receiving military aid. The agreement which ceded Jammu and Kashmir to India was signed by the Maharaja and Lord Mountbatten of Burma.[8]

The Instrument of Accession of Kashmir to India was accepted by Viceroy Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

The resulting war over Kashmir, the First Kashmir War, lasted until 1948, when India moved the issue to the UN Security Council. The UN previously had passed resolutions setting up for the monitoring of the conflict in Kashmir. Following the set up of the UNCIP the UN Security Council passed Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948. The resolution imposed an immediate cease-fire and called on Pakistan to withdraw all military presence. In addition, the resolution also stated that Pakistan would have no say in Jammu and Kashmir politics. India would retain a minimum military presence and "the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations." The cease fire was enacted on 31 December 1948.

At that time, the Indian and Pakistani governments agreed to hold the plebiscite but Pakistan did not withdraw its troops from Kashmir thus violating the condition for holding the plebiscite.[16] Over the next several years, the UN Security Council passed four new resolutions, revising the terms of Resolution 47 to include a synchronous withdrawal of both Indian and Pakistani troops from the region, per the recommendations of General Andrew McNaughton. To this end, UN arbitrators put forward 11 different proposals for the demilitarization of the region - every one of which was accepted by Pakistan, but rejected by the Indian government.[17] The resolutions were passed by United Nations Security Council under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter.[18] Resolutions passed under Chapter VI of UN charter are considered non binding and have no mandatory enforceability as opposed to the resolutions passed under Chapter VII.[19]

Sino-Indian War

In 1962, troops from the People's Republic of China and India clashed in territory claimed by both. China won a swift victory in the war, resulting in the Chinese administration of the region called Aksai Chin, which continues to date. In addition to these lands, another smaller area, the Trans-Karakoram, was demarcated as the Line of Control (LOC) between China and Pakistan, although parts on the Chinese side are claimed by India to be parts of Kashmir. The line that separates India from China in this region is known as the Line of Actual Control.[20]

1965 and 1971 wars

In 1965 and 1971, heavy fighting again broke out between India and Pakistan. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 resulted in the defeat of Pakistan and Pakistan Military's surrender in East Pakistan (Bangladesh). The Simla Agreement was signed in 1972 between India and Pakistan. By this treaty, both countries agreed to settle all issues by peaceful means and mutual discussions in the framework of the UN Charter.


In 1989, a widespread armed insurgency started in Kashmir, Since after the 1987 State election disputes resulted in some of the states legislative assembly forming militant wings after the election creating the catalyst for the Mujahadeen insurgency, which continues to this day.[21] India contends that it was largely started by a large number of Afghan mujahadeen who entered the Kashmir valley following the end of the Soviet-Afghan War, though Pakistan and Kashmiri nationalists argue that Afghan mujahideen did not leave Afghanistan in large numbers until 1992, three years after the insurgency began.[22] Yasin Malik, a leader of one faction of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front,along with Ashfaq Majid Wani and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karatay, was one of the Kashmiris to organize militancy in Kashmir. However since 1995, Malik has renounced the use of violence and calls for strictly peaceful methods to resolve the dispute. He developed differences with one of the senior leader, Farooq Papa, for shunning the demand for independent Kashmir and trying to cut a deal with the Indian Prime Minister resulting in spilt in which Bitta Karatay, Salim Nanhaji and other senior comrades joined Farooq Papa.[23][24] Pakistan claims these insurgents are Jammu and Kashmir citizens, and are rising up against the Indian army in an independence movement. Pakistan also accuses the Indian army of committing serious human rights violations in Kashmir. Pakistan denies that it has or currently is supplying weapons and ammunition to the insurgents.

India claims these insurgents are Islamic terrorist groups from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Afghanistan, fighting to make Jammu and Kashmir part of Pakistan.[25] They claim Pakistan is supplying munitions to the terrorists, and training them in Pakistan. India also states that the terrorists have been killing many citizens in Kashmir, and committing human rights violations, while denying that its own armed forces are responsible for the human rights abuses. On a visit to Pakistan in 2006 current Chief Minister of Kashmir Omar Abdullah remarked that foreign militants, who had nothing to do with Kashmir, were engaged in reckless killings and mayhem in the name of religion.[26] Indian government has said militancy is now on the decline.[6]

The Pakistani government calls these insurgents, "Kashmiri freedom fighters", and claims that it gives only moral and diplomatic support to these insurgents, though India[27] believes they are Pakistan-supported terrorists from Pakistan Administered Kashmir. In October 2008 President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan called the Kashmir separatists Terrorists in an interview with The Wall Street Journal,[28] these comments by Zardari sparked outrage amongs many Kashmiris, some of whom defied a curfew by the Indian army to burn his effigy.[29]

The peacful protest movement has been a 'purely indigenous, purely Kashmiri'(Quoted by Washington Post from Mirwaiz Farooq a Kashmiri party leader) 'Gandhi style' (stated by Wall Street Journal) peaceful protest movement in Indian-administered Kashmir since 1989. The movement was created for the same reason as the insurgency ;the disputed rigged elections in 1987, Kashmir dispute and grievances with the Indian government specifically the Indian Military that has committed human rights violations. This reinforced by the United Nations that has said India has committed Human rights violations.[5][6][30]

Al-Qaeda Involvement

In a 'Letter to American People' written by Osama bin Laden in 2002 he stated that one of the reasons he was fighting America is because of its support to India on the Kashmir issue.[31][32] In 2002 U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on a trip to Delhi suggested that Al-Qaeda was active in Kashmir though he did not have any hard evidence.[33][34] An investigation in 2002 unearthed evidence that Al-Qaeda and its affiliates were prospering in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir with tacit approval of Pakistan's National Intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence[35] In 2002 a special team of Special Air Service and Delta Force was sent into Indian-administered Kashmir to hunt for Osama bin Laden after reports that he was being sheltered by Kashmiri militant group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.[36] U.S. officials believe that Al-Qaeda was helping organize a campaign of terror in Kashmir in order to provoke conflict between India and Pakistan. Their strategy was to force Pakistan to move its troops to the border with India thereby relieving pressure on Al-Qaeda elements hiding in northwestern Pakistan. U.S. Intelligence analysts say al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives in Pakistan-administered Kashmir are helping terrorists they had trained in Afghanistan to infiltrate Indian administered Kashmir.[37] The leader of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen a major Kashmiri militant group, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, signed al-Qaeda's 1998 declaration of holy war, which called on Muslims to attack all Americans and their allies.[38] In 2006 Al-Qaeda claim they have established wing in Kashmir this has worried the Indian government.[39] However the Indian Army Lt. Gen. H.S. Panag, GOC-in-C Northern Command said to reporters that the army has ruled out the presence of Al Qaeda in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir furthermore he said that there is nothing that can verify reports from the media of Al Qaeda presence in the state. He however stated that Alqaeda had strong ties with Kashmir militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan.[40] In January 2010 U.S. Defense secretary Robert Gates while on a visit to Pakistan stated that Al-qaeda was seeking to destabilize the region and planning to provoke a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.[41]

On September 2009 U.S. Drone strike reportedly killed Ilyas Kashmiri who was the chief of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami a Kashmiri militant group associated with Al Qaeda.[42][43] Kashmiri was described by Bruce Riedel as a 'prominent' Al-qaeda member.[44] while others have described him as head of military operations for Al-Qaeda.[45] It was noted that Waziristan had now become the new battlefield for Kashmiri militants who were now fighting NATO in support of Al-Qaeda.[46] Kashmiri was also charged by U.S. in a plot against Jyllands-Posten the Danish newspaper which was at the center of Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.[47]

Conflict in Kargil

Location of conflict.

In mid-1999 insurgents and Pakistani soldiers from Pakistani Kashmir infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir. During the winter season, Indian forces regularly move down to lower altitudes as severe climatic conditions makes it almost impossible for them to guard the high peaks near the Line of Control. The insurgents took advantage of this and occupied vacant mountain peaks of the Kargil range overlooking the highway in Indian Kashmir, connecting Srinagar and Leh. By blocking the highway, they wanted to cut off the only link between the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. This resulted in a high-scale conflict between the Indian Army and the Pakistan Army.

At the same time, fears of the Kargil War turning into a nuclear war provoked the then-United States President Bill Clinton to pressure Pakistan to retreat. Faced with mounting losses of personnel and posts, Pakistan Army withdrew the remaining troops from the area ending the conflict. India reclaimed control of the peaks which they now patrol and monitor all year long.

Reasons behind the dispute

The Kashmir Conflict arises from the Partition of India in 1947 into modern India and Pakistan. Both the countries have made claims to Kashmir, based on historical developments and religious affiliations of the Kashmiri people. The state of Jammu and Kashmir, which lies strategically in the Northwest of the subcontinent, bordering China and the former Soviet Union, was a princely state ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh, under the paramountcy of British India. In geographical and legal terms, the Maharaja could have joined either of the two new Dominions. Although urged by the Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, to determine the future of his state before the transfer of power took place, Hari Singh demurred. In October 1947, incursions and counter-incursions by Pakistan and India took place leading to a war, as a result of which the state of Jammu and Kashmir remains divided between the two countries.

Administered by Area Population % Muslim % Hindu % Buddhist % Other
India Kashmir valley ~4 million 95% 4%

Jammu ~3 million 30% 66% 4%

Ladakh ~0.25 million 46% (Shia) 50% 3%
Pakistan Northern Areas ~1 million 99%

Azad Kashmir ~2.6 million 100%
China Aksai Chin

Two-thirds of the former princely state (known as the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir), comprising Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, and the sparsely populated Buddhist area of Ladakh are controlled by India; one-third is administered by Pakistan. The latter includes a narrow strip of land called Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas compromising the Gilgit Agency, Baltistan and the former kingdoms of Hunza and Nagar. Attempts to resolve the dispute through political discussions were unsuccessful. In September 1965, war broke out again between Pakistan and India. The United Nations called for a yet another cease-fire, and peace was restored once again following the Tashkent Declaration in 1966, by which both nations returned to their original positions along the demarcated line. After the 1971 war and the creation of independent Bangladesh, under the terms of the 1972 Simla Agreement between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan, it was agreed that neither country would seek to alter the cease-fire line in Kashmir, which was renamed as the Line of Control, "unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations".

Numerous violations of the Line of Control have occurred, including the infamous incursions by insurgents and Pakistani armed forces at Kargil leading to the Kargil war. There are also sporadic clashes on the Siachen Glacier, where the Line of Control is not demarcated and both countries maintain forces at altitudes rising to 20,000 ft (6,100 m).

Indian view

Indian viewpoint is succinctly summarized by Ministry of External affairs, Government of India[48][49]

  • India holds that the Instrument of Accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India, signed by the Maharaja Hari Singh (erstwhile ruler of the State) on 26 October 1947, was completely valid in terms of the Government of India Act (1935), Indian Independence Act (1947) and international law and was total and irrevocable.[49]
  • The Constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir had unanimously ratified the Maharaja's Instrument of Accession to India and had adopted a constitution for the state that called for a perpetual merger of the state with the Union of India. India claims that this body was a representative one, and that its views were those of the Kashmiri people at the time.
  • India does not accept the two-nation theory that forms the basis of Pakistan and argues that Kashmir, despite being a Muslim-majority state, is in many ways an "integral part" of secular India.
  • All differences between India and Pakistan including Kashmir need to be settled through bilateral negotiations as agreed to by the two countries when they signed the Simla Agreement on 2 July 1972.[54]

Additional Indian viewpoint regarding the broader debate over the Kashmir conflict include:

  • India believes that the insurgency and terrorism in Kashmir is deliberately being fueled by Pakistan to create instability in the region.[55] The Government of India has repeatedly asked the international community to declare Pakistan as a sponsor of terrorism.[56][57][58][59]
  • Pakistan is trying to raise anti-India sentiment among the people of Kashmir by spreading false propaganda against India.[60] According to the state government of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani radio and television channels deliberately spread "hate and venom" against India to alter Kashmiri opinion.[61]
  • In a diverse country like India, disaffection and discontent are not uncommon. Indian democracy has the necessary resilience to accommodate genuine grievances within the framework of our sovereignty, unity and integrity. Government of India has expressed its willingness to accommodate the legitimate political demands of the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.[48]
  • India points out at various reports by human rights organizations condemning Pakistan for the lack civic liberties in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.[60][65] According to India, most regions of Pakistani Kashmir, especially Northern Areas, continue to suffer from lack of political recognition, economic development and basic fundamental rights.[66]

Pakistani view

Map of Kashmir as drawn by the Government of Pakistan.

Pakistan's claims to the disputed region are based on the rejection of Indian claims to Kashmir, namely the Instrument of Accession. Pakistan insists that the Maharaja was not a popular leader, and was regarded as a tyrant by most Kashmiris, Pakistan also maintains that the Maharaja used brute force to suppress the population.[67] Pakistan also accuses India of hypocrisy, as it refused to recognize the accession of Junagadh to Pakistan and Hyderabad's independence, on the grounds that those two states had Hindu majorities (in fact, India occupied and forcibly integrated those two territories).[68] Furthermore, as he had fled Kashmir due to Pakistani invasion, Pakistan asserts that the Maharaja held no authority in determining Kashmir's future. Additionally, Pakistan argues that even if the Maharaja had any authority in determining the plight of Kashmir, he signed the Instrument of Accession under duress, thus invalidating the legitimacy of his actions.

Pakistan also claims that Indian forces were in Kashmir before the Instrument of Accession was signed with India, and that therefore Indian troops were in Kashmir in violation of the Standstill Agreement, which was designed to maintain the status quo in Kashmir (although India was not signatory to the Agreement, signed between Pakistan and the Hindu ruler of Jammu and Kashmir).[69][70]

From 1990 to 1999 some organizations report that Indian Armed Forces, its paramilitary groups, and counter-insurgent militias have been responsible for the deaths 4,501 of Kashmiri civilians. Also from 1990 to 1999, there are records of 4,242 women between the ages of 7-70 that have been raped.[71][72] Similar allegations were also made by some human rights organizations.[73]

In short, Pakistan holds that:

  • The popular Kashmiri insurgency demonstrates that the Kashmiri people no longer wish to remain within India. Pakistan suggests that this means that either Kashmir wants to be with Pakistan or independent.[74]
  • According to the two-nation theory which is one of the theories that is cited for the partition that created India and Pakistan, Kashmir should have been with Pakistan, because it has a Muslim majority.
  • India has shown disregard to the resolutions of the UN Security Council, and the United Nations Commission in India and Pakistan by failing to hold a plebiscite to determine the future allegiance of the entire state.[75]
  • The Kashmiri people have now been forced by the circumstances to rise against the alleged repression of the Indian army and uphold their right of self-determination through militancy. Pakistan claims to give the Kashmiri insurgents moral, ethical and military support (see 1999 Kargil Conflict).
  • Recent protests in Indian administered Kashmir show a large number of people showing increased anger over Indian rule with massive rallies taking place to oppose Indian control of the state.[76]
  • Pakistan also points to the violence that accompanies elections in Indian Kashmir[77] and the anti Indian sentiments expressed by some people in the state.[78]
  • Pakistan has noted the wide spread use of extrajudicial killings in Indian-administered Kashmir carried out by Indian security forces while claiming they were caught up in encounters with militants. These fake encounters are common place in Indian-administered Kashmir and the perpetrators are spared criminal prosecution. These fake encounters go largely uninvestigated by the authorities.[79][80]
  • Pakistan points towards reports from the United Nations which condemn India for its human rights violations against Kashmiri people.[30]
  • Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari stated in October 2008 that Kashmiri 'freedom fighters' were terrorists. However his remarks met with widespread condemnation across Pakistan and Kashmir, including prominent politicians.[81]
  • The Chenab formula - This was proposed in 1960's, in which Kashmir valley and other Muslim dominated areas north of Chenab river will go to Pakistan, and Jammu and other Hindu dominated region will go to India.[82]
  • Pakistan points towards the numerous Human rights violations which occur within Indian-administered Kashmir and the many reports by Human rights organization strongly condemning Indian troops for widespread rape and murder of innocent civilians accusing these civilians of being killed in encounters.[83][84][85]

Chinese view

  • China did not accept boundaries of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu north of the Aksai Chin and the Karakoram proposed by the British.[14]
  • China settled its border disputes with Pakistan in the Trans Karakoram Tract in 1963 with the proviso that the settlement was subject to the final solution of the Kashmir dispute.[86]

Cross-border troubles

The border and the Line of Control separating Indian and Pakistani Kashmir passes through some exceptionally difficult terrain. The world's highest battleground, the Siachen Glacier is a part of this difficult-to-man boundary. Even with 200,000 military personnel,[87] India maintains that it is infeasible to place enough men to guard all sections of the border throughout the various seasons of the year. Pakistan has indirectly acquiesced its role in failing to prevent "cross border terrorism" when it agreed to curb such activities[88] after intense pressure from the Bush administration in mid 2002.

The Government of Pakistan has repeatedly claimed that by constructing a fence along the line of control, India is violating the Shimla Accord. However, India claims the construction of the fence has helped decrease armed infiltration into Indian-administered Kashmir.

In 2002 Pakistani President and Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf promised to check infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir.

Water dispute

Another reason behind the dispute over Kashmir is water. Kashmir is the origin point for many rivers and tributaries of the Indus River basin. They include Jhelum and Chenab which primarily flow into Pakistan while other branches - the Ravi, Beas and the Sutlej irrigate northern India. Pakistan has been apprehensive that in a dire need, India (under whose portion of Kashmir lies the origins and passage of the said rivers) would use its strategic advantage and withhold the flow and thus choke the agrarian economy of Pakistan. The Boundary Award of 1947 meant that the headwaters of Pakistani irrigation systems were in Indian Territory. The Indus Waters Treaty signed in 1960 resolved most of these disputes over the sharing of water, calling for mutual cooperation in this regard. But this treaty faced issues raised by Pakistan over the construction of dams on the Indian side which limit water to the Pakistani side.

Human rights abuse

Indian administered Kashmir

In Jammu and Kashmir, India, the violent Islamic insurgency has specifically targeted the Hindu Kashmiri Pandit minority, violated their human rights and 400,000 have either been murdered or displaced.[89] US Congressman Frank Pallone stated "The conflict in Kashmir cannot be separated from the global war against terrorism, over the past fifteen years militant forces, including elements of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, have used violence against the Kashmiri Pandits in an effort to institute Islamic rule in this region".[89] However the Indian Army Lt. Gen. H.S. Panag, GOC-in-C Northern Command has told reporters that the army has ruled out the presence of Al Qaeda in Jammu and Kashmir and that there is nothing that can verify reports from the media of an Al Qaeda presence in the state.[90] This violence been condemned and labeled as ethnic cleansing in a 2006 resolution passed by the United States Congress.[91] In 2009 Oregon Legislative Assembly passed a resolution to recognize 14 September 2007, as Martyrs Day to acknowledge ethnic cleansing and campaigns of terror inflicted on non-Muslim minorities of Jammu and Kashmir by militants seeking to establish an independent Islamic Kashmir.[92] The CIA has reported about 300,000 Pandit Hindus and over 100,000 Kashmiri Muslims from Indian Administered Kashmir are internally displaced due to the insurgency.[93][94] The UNHCR reports that there are roughly 1.5 million Refugees from Indian-administered Kashmir in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and in Pakistan.[95]

Claims of human rights abuses have been made against the Indian Armed Forces and the armed militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir.[96] A 2005 study conducted by Médecins Sans Frontières found that Kashmiri women are among the worst sufferers of sexual violence in the world, with 11.6% of respondents reporting that they had been victims of sexual abuse.[97] Some surveys have found that in the Kashmir region itself (where the bulk of separatist and Indian military activity is concentrated), popular perception holds that the Indian Armed Forces are more to blame for human rights violations than the separatist groups. According to the MORI survey of 2002, in Kashmir only 2% of respondents believed that the militant groups were guilty of widespread human rights abuses, while 64% believed that Indian troops were guilty of the same. This trend was reversed however in other parts of the state.[98] Off late Amnesty International has called on India to "unequivocally condemn enforced disappearances" and to ensure that impartial investigation is conducted on reality of mass graves in its controlled Kashmir region. As the Indian state police confirms as many as 331 deaths while in custody and 111 enforced disappearances since 1989.[99][100][101][102] Amnesty again criticise Indian Military in an incident on 22 April 1996, when several armed forces personnel forcibly entered the house of a 32-year-old woman in the village of Wawoosa in the Rangreth district of Jammu and Kashmir. They reportedly molested her 12-year-old daughter and raped her other three daughters, aged 14, 16 and 18.When another woman attempted to prevent soldiers from attacking her two daughters, she was beaten. Soldiers reportedly told her 17-year-old daughter to remove her clothes so that they could check whether she was hiding a gun. They molested her before leaving the house.[103]

Several international agencies and the UN have reported human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir. In a recent press release the OHCHR spokesmen stated "The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is concerned about the recent violent protests in Indian-administered Kashmir that have reportedly led to civilian casualties as well as restrictions to the right to freedom of assembly and expression."[30] A 1996 Human Rights Watch report accuses the Indian military and Indian-government backed paramilitaries of "committ[ing] serious and widespread human rights violations in Kashmir."[104] One such alleged massacre occurred on 6 January 1993 in the town of Sopore. TIME Magazine described the incident as such: "In retaliation for the killing of one soldier, paramilitary forces rampaged through Sopore's market setting buildings ablaze and shooting bystanders. The Indian government pronounced the event 'unfortunate' and claimed that an ammunition dump had been hit by gunfire, setting off fires that killed most of the victims."[105] In addition to this, there have been claims of disappearances by the police or the army in Kashmir by several human rights organizations.[106][107] Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978:[108][109] Human rights organizations have also asked Indian government to repeal[110] the Public Safety Act, since "a detainee may be held in administrative detention for a maximum of two years without a court order."[100]

A soldier guards the roadside checkpoint outside Srinagar International Airport in January 2009.

Many human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) have condemned human rights abuses in Kashmir by Indians such as "extra-judicial executions", "disappearances", and torture;[101] the "Armed Forces Special Powers Act", which "provides impunity for human rights abuses and fuels cycles of violence. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) grants the military wide powers of arrest, the right to shoot to kill, and to occupy or destroy property in counterinsurgency operations. Indian officials claim that troops need such powers because the army is only deployed when national security is at serious risk from armed combatants. Such circumstances, they say, call for extraordinary measures." Human rights organizations have also asked Indian government to repeal[110] the Public Safety Act, since "a detainee may be held in administrative detention for a maximum of two years without a court order."[100] A 2008 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees determined that Indian Administered Kashmir, was only 'partly Free'.[99]


Pakistan administered Kashmir

Pakistan, as an Islamic Republic, imposes multiple restrictions on peoples religious freedom in areas of Kashmir under its control.[113] Shias and Ismailis are subject to discrimination and have been targets of sectarian violence.[113] The majority of population of the Northern Areas is Shia unlike rest of Pakistan which is majority Sunni.[114] The constitution of Azad Kashmir specifically prohibits activities that may be prejudicial to the states accession to Pakistan and as such regularly suppresses demonstrations against the government.[113] A number of Islamist militant groups operate in this area including Al-Qaeda with tacit permission from Pakistan's intelligence.[113] As in Indian administered Kashmir there have been allegations of Human rights abuse in Pakistan administered Kashmir. The Balawaristan National Front has stated its goal of seeking independence from Pakistan. Abdul Hamid Khan Chairman of Balawaristan National Front states that 'The Pakistani administration has also been involved in efforts to alter the demographic profile of Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan, reducing the indigenous people to a minority.' The Gilgit-Baltistan area is administered directly by Islamabad. The population here, primarily Shia Muslims, was brought under one federally administered territory administered by Pakistan on 16 November 1947, in the name of Islam.'[115] Other groups like Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement are demanding full autonomy for the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan. On 8 January 2005 11 people were killed following an armed attack on a Shia leader.[116] A 2-day conference on Gilgit Baltistan was held on April 8–9, 2008 at the European Parliament in Brussels under the auspices of International Kashmir Alliance. Here several members of the European Parliament (MEPs) expressed concern over the human rights violation in Gilgit Baltistan and urged the government of Pakistan to establish democratic institutions and rule of law in this area of northern Kashmir. Abdul Hamid Khan, Chairman Balawaristan National Front speaking at the same conference said "no democratically elected representative (from Gilgit Baltistan) was included when Karachi Agreement was signed between Pakistan and Muslim Conference leaders in 1949."[117] According to Shaukat Ali chairman of International Kashmir alliance "On one hand Pakistan claims to be the champion of the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people, but she has denied the same rights under its controlled parts of Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan"[117] Gilgit Baltistan region has been described a 'simmering cauldron of discontent.[118] Continued deprivation of human rights has driven people to desperation.[118] Many people think that they are under the colonial rule of Pakistani government and have boycotted independence day celebrations. Since independence Pakistan government has made no attempts to provide basic human rights in this region and no democratic setup exists.[118]

A report 'Kashmir: Present Situation and Future Prospects' which was submitted to European Parliament by Emma Nicholson, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne was severely critical of the lack of human rights, justice, democracy & Kashmiri representation in Pakistan National Assembly in Pakistan administered Kashmir.[119] International Crisis Group has stated "Almost six decades after Pakistan's independence, the constitutional status of the Federally Administered Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan), once part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and now under Pakistani control, remains undetermined, with political autonomy a distant dream. The region's inhabitants are embittered by Islamabad's unwillingness to devolve powers in real terms to its elected representatives, and a nationalist movement, which seeks independence, is gaining ground. The rise of sectarian extremism is an alarming consequence of this denial of basic political rights".[118] However in 2009 Pakistan government implemented an autonomy package for the people from Gilgit-Baltistan. This package was rejected as an "eyewash" by Balawaristan National Front whose spokesperson stated "It's meant to detract the international community from the violation of human rights in this region."[120] Manzoor Hussain Parwana, chairman Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement stated "The so-called provincial setup aims at concealing the human rights violations and continue the colonial control over the region."[120] The 'first step' is an election to elect a Gilgit-Baltistan assembly, amidst criticism of this move by Pakistan. Reuters U.S has reported that many of the people from the region would rather join Pakistan as a province than integrated into Kashmir, but many people protested the elections, with some carrying banners reading "Pakistan's expansionist designs in Gilgit-Baltistan are unacceptable"[121] In December 2009 activists of nationalist Kashmiri groups staged a protest in Muzaffarabad to condemn the rigging of elections and 'State Terrorism" by Pakistani forces.[122]

According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence operates in Pakistan administered Kashmir and is involved in extensive surveillance, arbitrary arrests, torture and murder. Generally this is done with impunity and perpetrators go unpunished.[113] A 2008 report by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees determined that Pakistan administered Kashmir was 'Not Free'.[113]

Map issues

United Nations' map of Jammu and Kashmir, accepted by the Kashmiris and the Pakistani government

As with other disputed territories, each government issues maps depicting their claims in Kashmir as part of their territory, regardless of actual control. It is illegal in India to exclude all or part of Kashmir in a map. It is also illegal in Pakistan not to include the state of Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territory, as permitted by the United Nations. Non-participants often use the Line of Control and the Line of Actual Control as the depicted boundaries, as is done in the CIA World Factbook, and the region is often marked out in hashmarks, although the Indian government strictly opposes such practices[citation needed]. When Microsoft released a map in Windows 95 and MapPoint 2002, a controversy was raised because it did not show all of Kashmir as part of India as per Indian claim. However, all the neutral and Pakistani companies claim to follow UN's map and over 90% of all maps containing the territory of Kashmir show it as disputed territory.[123]

Sources from: UN: The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on the map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. Dotted line represents approximately the Line of Control of Jammu and Kashmir agreed upon by the Republic of India and the Government of Pakistan since 1972. Both the parties have not yet agreed upon the final status of the region and nothing significant has been implemented since the peace process began in 2004.

Islamabad: The Government of Pakistan maintains un-provisionally and unconditionally stating that the informal "Accession of Jammu and Kashmir" to Pakistan or even to the Republic of India remains to be decided by UN plebiscite. It accepts UN's map of the territory. Also the designations and the presentation of the Kashmir's regional map based on United Nations Organization practice, do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Commonwealth Secretariat or the publishers concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. There is no intention to define the status Jammu and/or Kashmir, which has not yet been agreed upon by the parties.

New Delhi: The Government of India states that "the external artificial boundaries of India, especially concerning the Kashmir region under its jurisdiction created by a foreign body are neither correct nor authenticated".[citation needed]

Recent developments

India continues to assert their sovereignty or rights over the entire region of Kashmir, while Pakistan maintains that it is a disputed territory. Pakistan argues that the status quo cannot be considered as a solution. Pakistan insists on a UN sponsored plebiscite . Unofficially, the Pakistani leadership has indicated that they would be willing to accept alternatives such as a demilitarized Kashmir, if sovereignty of Azad Kashmir was to be extended over the Kashmir valley, or the ‘Chenab’ formula, by which India would retain parts of Kashmir on its side of the Chenab river, and Pakistan the other side - effectively re-partioning Kashmir on communal lines. The problem however is that the Population of Pakistan Administered portion of Kashmir is both ethnically and linguistically and culturally different from that in Kashmir Valley India. The Azad Kashmir population being on the most part ethnic Punjabis. Therefore a Partition on the Chenab formula is opposed by most Kashmiri politicians from all spectrums, though some, such as Sajjad Lone, have in recent months suggested that non-Muslim part of Jammu and Kashmir be separated from Kashmir and handed to India. Some political analysts say that the Pakistan terrorist state policy shift and mellowing down of its aggressive stance may have to do with its total failure in the Kargil War and the subsequent 9/11 attacks that put pressure on Pakistan to alter its terrorist position.[124] Further many neutral parties to the dispute have noted that UN resolution on Kashmir is no longer relevant.[125] Even the European Union has viewed that the plebiscite is not in Kashmiris' interest.[126] The report also notes, that the UN-laid down conditions for such a plebiscite have not been, and can no longer be, met by Pakistan.[127] Even the Hurriyat Conference observed in 2003, that "Plebiscite no longer an option"[128] Besides the popular factions that support either parties, there is a third faction which supports independence and withdrawal of both India and Pakistan. These have been the respective stands of the parties for long, and there have been no significant change over the years. As a result, all efforts to solve the conflict have been futile so far.

The Freedom in the World 2006 report categorized the Indian-administered Kashmir as "partly free", and Pakistan-administered Kashmir as well as the country of Pakistan "not free".[129] India claims that contrary to popular belief, a large proportion of the Jammu and Kashmir populace wish to remain with India. A MORI survey found that within the Kashmir Valley, 9% of respondents said they felt they would be better off as Indian citizens, with 78% saying that they did not know, and the remaining 13% favouring Pakistani citizenship.[130] According to a 2007 poll conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, 87% of respondents in the Kashmir Valley prefer independence over union with India or Pakistan.[131]

The 2005 Kashmir earthquake, which killed over 80,000 people, led to India and Pakistan finalizing negotiations for the opening of a road for disaster relief through Kashmir.

Efforts to end the crisis

The 9/11 attacks on the US resulted in the US government wanting to restrain militancy in the world, including Pakistan. US urged Islamabad to cease infiltrations, which continue to this day, by Islamist militants into Indian-administered Kashmir. In December 2001, a terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament linked to Pakistan resulted in war threats, massive deployment and international fears of nuclear war in the subcontinent.

After intensive diplomatic efforts by other countries, India and Pakistan began to withdraw troops from the international border 10 June 2002, and negotiations began again.[citation needed] Effective 26 November 2003, India and Pakistan have agreed to maintain a ceasefire along the undisputed International Border, the disputed Line of Control, and the Siachen glacier. This is the first such "total ceasefire" declared by both nuclear powers in nearly 15 years. In February 2004, Pakistan further increased pressure on Pakistanis fighting in Indian-administered Kashmir to adhere to the ceasefire. The nuclear-armed neighbours also launched several other mutual confidence building measures. Restarting the bus service between the Indian- and Pakistani- administered Kashmir has helped defuse the tensions between the countries. Both India and Pakistan have also decided to cooperate on economic fronts.

On Dec. 5, 2006, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told an Indian TV channel that Pakistan would give up its claim on Kashmir if India accepted some of his peace proposals, including a phased withdrawal of troops, self-governance for locals, no changes in the borders of Kashmir, and a joint supervision mechanism involving India, Pakistan and Kashmir, the BBC reported.[132] Musharraf also stated that he was ready to give up the United Nations' resolutions regarding Kashmir.[133]

2008 Militant attacks

In the week of 10 March 2008, 17 people were wounded when a blast hit the region's only highway overpass located near the Civil Secretariat– Indian-controlled Kashmir's seat of government– and the region's high court. A gun battle between security forces and militants fighting against Indian rule left five people dead and two others injured 23 March 2008. The battle began when security forces raided a house on the outskirts of the capital city of Srinagar. The Indian Army has been carrying out cordon-and-search operations against militants in Indian-administered Kashmir since the current armed violence broke out here in 1989. While the authorities here say 43,000 persons have been killed in the violence, various rights groups and non-governmental organizations have put the figure at twice that number.[134]

According to Govt. of India Home Ministry, 2008 marks the lowest civilian casualties in 20 years with 89 deaths, compared to highest of 1,413 in 1996.[135] 85 security personnel died in 2008 compared to 613 in 2001, while 102 militants killed. Human right situation improved with only 1 custodial death and no custodial disappearance.

2008 Kashmir protests

Massive demonstrations occurred after plans by the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir state government to transfer 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land to a trust which runs the Hindu Amarnath shrine in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.[136] This land was to be used to build a shelter to house Hindu pilgrims temporarily during their annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath temple.

Indian security forces and the Indian army responded quickly to keep order. More than 40 unarmed protesters were killed[137] and at least 300 were detained.[138] The largest protests saw more than a half million people waving Pakistani flags and crying for freedom at a single rally according to Time magazine.[139] Pro-Independent Kashmir Leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq warned that the peaceful uprising could lead to violent upsurge if India's heavy-handed crackdown on protests were not restrained.[140] The United Nations expressed concern on India's response to peaceful protests and urged to investigate and bring to justice Indian security personnel who had taken part in the crackdown.[30]

Separatists and workers of a political party were believed to be behind stone pelting incidents which led to retaliatory fire by the police.[141][142] Autorickshaw laden with stones meant for distribution was seized by the police in March 2009.Furthermore, following the unrest in 2008, which included more than 500,000 protesters at a rally on 18 August, secessionist movements gained a boost.[143][144]

2008 Kashmir elections

State Elections were held in Indian held Kashmir in seven phases starting 17 November and finishing on 24 December 2008. In spite of calls by separatists for a boycott an unusually high turnout of almost 50% was recorded.[145] The National Conference party which was founded by Sheikh Abdullah and regarded as pro India emerged with maximum seats and will form government in coalition with Indian National Congress.[146]

2008 marks the lowest civilian casualties in 20 years with 89 deaths, compared to highest of 1,413 in 1996.[147] 85 security personnel died in 2008 compared to 613 in 2001, while 102 militants were killed. Many analysts say Pakistan's preoccupation with jihadis within its own borders explains the relative calm.[148]

2008 marked the greatest number of anti India protests since 1980 due to the Amarnath land transfer controversy with several hundred thousand protesters spilling out onto the streets of Indian-administered Kashmir demanding freedom from India the protests were suppressed by the Indian army with attacks on protesters leading to the deaths of 40 unarmed civilians.[149] However the elections which were held subsequently led to almost half of the Kashmiris ignoring the boycott call by separatists and voting Pro India party National Conference into power.Separatists insist that this was so because people were looking towards their well being and voting for whatever could get them 'bread and clothing',and the turnout did not necessarily reflect the feelings of the Kashmiris towards India.On 30 December Congress and the National Conference agreed to form a coalition government, with Omar Abdullah as Chief Minister.[150] On 5 January 2009 Omar Abdullah was sworn in as 11th Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.[151] In March 2009 Omar Abdullah stated that only 800 militants were active in the state and out of these only 30% were Kashmiris.[152]

2009 Kashmir Protests

In 2009, protests started over the alleged rape and murder of two young women in Shopian in South Kashmir. The finger of suspicion pointed towards the police. After some administrative action, a judicial enquiry by a retired High Court also confirmed the suspicion. But a CBI enquiry reversed their conclusion. It gave a fresh lease of life to the popular agitation against India. Significantly, the unity between the separatist parties was lacking this time.[153]

Obama on Kashmir Conflict

In an interview with Joe Klien of Time magazine in October 2008 Barack Obama expressed his intention to try to work with India and Pakistan to resolve this crisis in a serious way.[154] He said he had talked to Bill Clinton about it ( being a mediator). In an editorial in The Washington Times, Selig S Harrison,[155] director of Asia Programme at the Center for International Policy and a senior scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International called it Obama's first foreign policy mistake.[156] The Australian in an editorial called Obama's idea to appoint a presidential negotiator "a very stupid and dangerous move indeed"[157] In an editorial in Forbes, Reihan Salam associate editor for The Atlantic noted "The smartest thing President Obama could do on Kashmir is probably nothing. We have to hope that India and Pakistan can work out their differences on Kashmir on their own".[158] The Boston Globe in an editorial called the idea of appointing Bill Clinton as an envoy to Kashmir "a mistake".[159] India has long regarded Kashmir as an Integral part of India and resisted outside intervention considering Kashmir to be an integral part of India and the conflict a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan. President Obama appointed Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan.[160] President Asif Ali Zardari had hoped that Holbrooke would help mediate to resolve Kashmir issue.[161] Subsequently Kashmir was removed from the mandate of Richard Holbrooke .[162] "Eliminating … Kashmir from his job description … is seen as a significant diplomatic concession to India that reflects increasingly warm ties between the country and the United States," The Washington Post noted in a report.[163] Brajesh Mishra, India's former national security adviser, was quoted in the same report as saying in reference to the territory's Indian-administered sector "No matter what government is in place, India is not going to relinquish control of Jammu and Kashmir", "That is written in stone and cannot be changed."[164] According to The Financial Times India has warned US President Barack Obama that he risks "barking up the wrong tree" if he seeks to broker a settlement between Pakistan and India over the disputed territory of Kashmir.[165]

In July 2009 US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake, Jr. stated categorically that United States had no plans of appointing any special envoy to settle the long standing dispute of Kashmir between India and Pakistan calling it an issue which needs to be sorted out bilaterally by the two neighboring states.[166] According to Dawn in Pakistan this will be interpreted as an endorsement of India's position on Kashmir that no outside power has any role in this dispute.[167]

See also

Further reading

  • Drew, Federic. 1877. The Northern Barrier of India: a popular account of the Jammoo and Kashmir Territories with Illustrations.&;#8221; 1st edition: Edward Stanford, London. Reprint: Light & Life Publishers, Jammu. 1971.
  • Dr. Ijaz Hussain, 1998, Kashmir Dispute: An International Law Perspective, National Institute of Pakistan Studies
  • Alastair Lamb, Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy 1846-1990 (Hertingfordbury, Herts: Roxford Books, 1991)
  • Kashmir Study Group, 1947–1997, the Kashmir dispute at fifty : charting paths to peace (New York, 1997)
  • Jaspreet Singh, Seventeen Tomatoes– an unprecedented look inside the world of an army camp in Kashmir (Vehicle Press; Montreal, Canada, 2004)
  • Navnita Behera, State, identity and violence : Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh (New Delhi: Manohar, 2000)
  • Sumit Ganguly, The Crisis in Kashmir (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Cambridge : Cambridge U.P., 1997)
  • Sumantra Bose, The challenge in Kashmir : democracy, self-determination and a just peace (New Delhi: Sage, 1997)
  • Robert Johnson, A Region in Turmoil (London and New York, Reaktion, 2005)
  • Hans Köchler, The Kashmir Problem between Law and Realpolitik. Reflections on a Negotiated Settlement. Keynote speech delivered at the "Global Discourse on Kashmir 2008." European Parliament, Brussels, 1 April 2008.
  • Prem Shankar Jha, Kashmir, 1947: rival versions of history (New Delhi : Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • Manoj Joshi, The Lost Rebellion (New Delhi: Penguin India, 1999)
  • Alexander Evans, "Why Peace Won't Come to Kashmir", Current History (Vol 100, No 645) April 2001 p170-175.
  • Younghusband, Francis and Molyneux, E. 1917. Kashmir. A. & C. Black, London.
  • Victoria Schofield, Kashmir in Conflict I.B. Tauris, London.
  • Victoria Schofield, Kashmir in the Crossfire, I.B. Tauris, London.
  • Andrew Whitehead, A Mission in Kashmir, Penguin India, 2007
  • Muhammad Ayub, An Army; Its Role & Rule (A History of the Pakistan Army from Independence to Kargil 1947-1999). Rosedog Books, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA. 2005. ISBN 0-8059-9594-3
  • Kashmir Conflict, Homepage Washington Post.


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