Byline: Imtiaz Rafi Butt
On 5th August, 2019, the Government of India revoked Article 370 and 35A of its Constitution, thereby, annexing and removing the stately existence of Jammu and Kashmir. This agonizing development brings back memories not just from the 70 years of freedom struggle for Kashmiris but a historical legacy of pain and torture even before 1947.
This development is the darkest hour for Pakistan and Kashmir since the takeover of the Muslim majority valley since independence. As the world watches, while the resolutions of the United Nations prove to be mere paper work and the economic interests of significant nations obstructing them to do the right thing, this is the last chance for Kashmir. Yet again, might is destroying the right. Pakistanis with their own internal challenges are caught in a fix to stand with their Kashmiri brethren in this fight for freedom and existence.
It is a scholarly mistake to analyze Kashmir with the origin occurring in 1947. Conversely, the story of Kashmir and its exploitation goes back much farther. Briefly, in 1589, the Mughals conquered and annexed Kashmir as a land stretching 86,000 square miles to their dominion. After the bloody battle for Kashmir, the Mughals did nothing for the Kashmiris other than the beautification of gardens so that they could convert Kashmir into a summer vacation spot.
After the Mughals were gone, Kashmir was ruled by the Afghans and then by the Sikhs since 1819. The Sikhs were defeated in the Anglo-Sikh War and as a result, the Kashmir region was sold to the Dogra family, who had assisted the East India Company to win wars in the sub-continent. Gulab Singh, a Dogra prince, paid 7.5 million rupees for all lands, resources and people in Kashmir to the British Government.
This arrangement between the British Raj and the Dogras continued will the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947. Hari Singh, the then, prince of Kashmir wanted to maintain autonomy even when Kashmiris, being majority Muslim, wanted to join Pakistan. This was in contiguity of religious, cultural and linguistic ties that the Kashmiris had with Pakistanis. Hari Singh in his hesitation delayed the decision to join either India or Pakistan. When the news came that he was bargaining on the future of Kashmiris with the Government of India with the threat of Indian Army taking over. The Government of Pakistan moved its armies backed by tribesman to thwart the scheme. As a result, Hari Singh, signed the...