Non-territorial Settlement: Towards a Second Partition
Mohan Krishen Teng
Engagement with Pakistan, which the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has commended to the Indian People as “a way forward” to establish a relationship of peace, is in real terms a prescription for the second Partition of India. The composite dialogue between the two countries and the long Track Two negotiations held behind the scenes for over a decade now, have centered round the quest for a settlement on Jammu & Kashmir, which is acceptable to the Muslims of Pakistan and the Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir. The Indian Prime Minister’s claim to have formulated proposals envisaging a non-territorial solution on Jammu & Kashmir, which does not involve any territorial adjustments and which would be acceptable to Pakistan and the Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir, is deceptively simple. A Muslim sphere of interest In essence, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s approach underlines the recognition of Jammu & Kashmir as a separate sphere of Muslim interest in the Republic of India. The proposed non-territorial settlement seems to essentially envisage the inclusion of Jammu & Kashmir in the territories of India, but at the same time exclude it from the secular political organization of India. The approach further envisages the exclusion the state of Jammu & Kashmir from the territories of Pakistan, while at the same time including it in the political organization of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The methods and means of balancing the act of the inclusion of Jammu & Kashmir in the territories of India and its exclusion from the Indian political organization and the exclusion of the state from the territories of Pakistan with its inclusion into the political organization of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, are spelt out in the proposals made by General Musharraf, the then President of Pakistan. Gen. Musharraf, by no means a friend of India, had the opportunity of a lifetime, perhaps one he never expected to come his way, to accept the formula of a non-territorial settlement on Jammu & Kashmir which virtually opens the way for the Second Partition of India. Cabinet Mission Part II Musharraf accepted the formula of a non-territorial solution on Jammu & Kashmir exactly the way the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, had accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan. The principles underlying the non-territorial concept as envisaged by Manmohan Singh are identical with the principles which underlined the Cabinet Mission Plan. The Cabinet Mission Plan underlined the recognition of a separate sphere of influence with a separate political organization, constituted of the Muslim majority provinces of British India, within a broad structure of a future confederation of India. Ironically, British historians of the Partition of India later made the startling revelation that the Cabinet Mission Plan was originally conceived by the senior Muslim leadership of the Indian National Congress! When the Muslim League accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan, Jinnah exclaimed that he had accepted the Plan because it recognized the principle of Pakistan. History proved Jinnah right. The Cabinet Mission Plan led straight to the Partition of India in 1947. Musharraf had no reason to be dissatisfied with the non-territorial solution of Jammu & Kashmir. Like Mohammad Ali Jinnah, he was wise enough to understand where the recognition of Jammu & Kashmir into a separate Muslim sphere of interest in India would lead to. India, he must have felt, was the one country where History would repeat itself. The Cabinet Mission Plan was a prescription for the complete balkanization of India. The British officials and men, who were close witnesses of the events in India those days, wrote later that had the Cabinet Mission Plan been implemented, India would have broken into several fragments. The Government of Pakistan must be fully aware that the de jure recognition of Jammu & Kashmir into a separate Muslim sphere of influence in India would disrupt the Sanskrit content of the northern frontier of India, and shift the battlefront from the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir to the Shivalik plains situated to the east of river Ravi. Incomplete final settlement Neither the Prime Minister of India, nor the Indian Foreign Office, have provided the people of India a clear exposition on the content and contours of the non-territorial settlement on Jammu & Kashmir. The Indian Prime Minister has publicly only stressed the necessity to render the Line of Control irrelevant as the basis of their perspective. The Indian Prime Minister has also unambiguously stated that some sort of final settlement had already been arrived at between India and Pakistan during the rule of Pervez Musharraf, which could not be given a practical shape because of the internal instability in Pakistan. However, a clear exposition of the terms and conditionalities of the proposed settlement on Jammu & Kashmir was made by former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. The broad structure of the proposals he made underlined: – Demarcation of the Muslim majority regions of the state including those situated to the west of river Chenab from the Hindu majority areas situated mainly to the east of river Chenab. – Dissolution of the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir. – The demilitarization of the State. – Self-rule. – Joint management of the State by India and Pakistan. Gen. Musharraf left no one in doubt about the fact that the proposals he made formed the broad framework of the negotiations which took place between the two countries, almost up to the time Musharraf was forced to step down from office. Whether the new successor Government in Pakistan accepted to continue negotiations with the Indian Government on the basis of the Musharraf Plan, is not yet clear. It is, however, clear that the Indian Government did not abandon its commitment to implement the proposals Musharraf had made. Integration with Pakistan in 10 years An overall assessment of Musharraf Plan leaves no one in doubt about its import. The plan is an ingenious road map to bring about the unification of Jammu & Kashmir with Pakistan within a period of ten years. Musharraf Plan has specified ten years, after which the whole process would be subject to review. The demarcation of the Muslim majority regions of the state and their reorganization into five Muslim majority zones, and the reorganization of the two and a half districts of Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur into a Hindu majority zone, is aimed to confine the Hindu and Sikh population of the State, nearly four million, towards the east of river Chenab. The dissolution of the Line of Control through the stratagem of creating a porous border and joint management is actually aimed to integrate the five Muslim majority zones of the State with the occupied territories of POK. These occupied territories have been used by Pakistan as a springboard of Jihad against India The demilitarization of the State, which forms the most prominent part of the Musharraf Plan, is aimed at the withdrawal of the Indian security forces from the Muslim majority zones of the state, and their replacement by the militarized separatist forces which have been fighting against India for the last two decades. Deceptive self-rule The most deceptive of the conditionalities envisaged by the Musharraf Plan is the implementation of self-rule in the State. Self-rule underlines the transfer of power in the state to Muslim separatist regimes through the instrumentalities of multiple legislative bodies constituted to fortify Muslim demographic domains. The last, and in fact the least conspicuous part of the Musharraf Plan underlines the transfer of the de facto control over the State to the Government of Pakistan, which after the period of ten years, would be followed by the transfer of de jure control over the State. When the army of the Sikh monarch, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, chased the Durrani Afghans across the river Attock in the north-west of India and fought its way up to Daulat Beg Ouldi in the north of Ladakh, the Sikhs closed the routes of invasion into India from the north. The dissolution of the Line of Control will only shift the battlefront with Pakistan to the Shivalik plains of Jammu situated to the east of river Ravi.
Prof MK Teng is a retired Professor and Head of the Political Science Department of Kashmir University; he has authored many books, including a seminal work on Article 370