Kashmir in Conflict: India, Pakistan and the unending war by Victoria Schofield
Kashmir in conflict: India, Pakistan and the unending war by Victoria Schofield

Kashmir in Conflict: India, Pakistan and the unending war by Victoria Schofield



Kashmir, one of the most beautiful places in the World, is situated remotely, landlocked, and ranges from the Himalayan mountains. The first period of imperial history begins in the third century BC with the rule Asoka, who introduced Buddhism in the valley, after his ataşehir escort death valley got independence and the era was remarked with intellectual and resurgence when king Kanishka took hold, He loved art and architecture. It was considered to be the GOLDEN AGE. After the 10th-century Hindu rule started which shattered all the prosperity due to isolationistic policies. And the Muslim period begins with king Shahabuddin in 1354 who took the throne. He believed in secularism and married a Hindu girl Laxmi. while his successor gave birth to a non-secular state with the freedom to Hindu communities, where Brahmins hold the administration and Sanskrit was the court language. In 1420-1470, Zain-ul-Abdin grandson of Qutub-u-Din took reign, during his reign the Kashmir valley prospered and Persian became the official language. Mughals conquered the valley in 1586 and incorporated it into Mughal Empire. Later on, liberal policy prevailed when Mughals and Afghans took the reign circa 1586-1819, the valley got prosperity. The valley was beautified with over 700 gardens in the ascendency of Jahangir on the throne in 1605, after whom Shah Jahan took the throne in 1624. With the Mughal empire, the pattern for the government was introduced in which provincial administration was set up. This rule was relatively stable and prosperous. The last of the Mughal emperor was Aurangzeb, who took the throne in 1658.

A significant event happened in 1700 when a merchant brought “Mo-i-Muqadas” of Holy Prophet (SAW) and was displayed in Srinagar and then brought to Hazratbal and remained, in 1963 it mysteriously disappeared. Whereas, Emperor’s end brought conflicts as his three sons started was of succession after 1707 which caused a steady decline of Mughal rule in Kashmir.

In 1751 Afghan Ahmed Shah Durani absorbed Kashmir and brought cruelty especially towards Hindus. After he died in 1772 the rule gradually declined and lasted for 47 years and the shawl industry declined too. In 1802 Ranjit Singh conquered Amritsar and in 1819 took Kashmir.


Kashmiris were treated “little better than cattle’s” in 1831 victor said “It is the most miserable place in the world”. Ranjit Singh never visited the valley until his rule, East India Company maintained cordial relations with Sikh but fell apart afterward.


After that British India took full control in 1905 then local Kashmiris were deprived of education while Hindus prospered in the region. Maha Raja Pratap Singh after 30 years was given full powers in the state on 4 Feb 1921. Then the new executive council was made Hari Singh who was his heir, nephew and became a member.


Pratap died on 25 September 1925, and Hari Singh succeeded. Kashmiris became optimistic but then hopes damped down which increased alienation by bringing “outsiders” in government services and afterward with the rise of suspicion, laws were passed which stopped this process. Even though the top positions were acquired by Dogra Rajputs. Even pandits were raised too but Muslims were left out, and this was all done to suppress them. Sheikh Abdullah after getting a law degree from Aligarh College returned and became “The lion of Kashmir” after protests against oppression, and later on, he was detained too and that’s where he met with others to form a political party called it “Muslim Conference” in 1932 when all were released Abdullah became president and Ghulam Abbas general secretary, and to give a secularistic base to party on 11 June 1939 Muslim Conference became “National Conference”. Secularism brought him closer to Jawaharlal Nehru, who promised a secular and socialist India. Though Kashmir wanted self-determination.

In 1933 the Pakistan movement got speed and Choudhary Rehmat Ali gave a plan that Punjab, NWFP, Kashmir, Sindh, and Balouchistan are recognized as distinct nations and should be one Muslim State named as Pakstan later Pakistan. But this initial plan was opposed by Abdullah and struggled for new Kashmir with a socialist program while G. Abbas broke with him and revived the Muslim Conference. The fire play of politics prevailed over division as Jinnah started the Quit India movement Abdullah started the Quit Kashmir movement. Yet no decision got finalized Maharaja had no support and Political turmoils in the valley continued.


British tried so hard to keep the sub-continent together with the federation which failed miserably with the failure of the Cabinet Mission Plan 1946, and breakdown became inevitable. In March 1947 Wavell who gave a “Breakdown plan” was replaced with Lord Mountbatten, who tried to revive the Cabinet Mission Plan with the Unitary form of Government.

On 3rd June, the British published planned for partition and on 18 July Indian independence act was passed and the independence date was fixed to 15 August 1947. Where Kashmir had unique features with Muslim Majority under Hindu Ruler. Mountbatten wanted a referendum and announced to be held in October which became late, then Sir Conrad Corfield gave a solution that Hyderabad with a Hindu majority and Kashmir with a Muslim majority will be settled by India and Pakistan as balance. While Nehru and Mountbatten wanted to accede to India and Maharaja was still unclear about his turn to where he should accede. Mountbatten told Congress leaders won’t accept accession to Pakistan. Ram Chand, Prime Minister was removed from power, and then Maharaja was pressurized to accede to India. Succinctly, Jinnah stated, “If they want to remain independent they may”. Britain and India wanted strategic advantage over Pakistan at the northeastern border and control headwaters that flow into Indus valley from Kashmir, even to encircle the militarily to Pakistan. Whereas, Afghanistan border is close to Gilgit which may create hostility too. Now Pakistan is sandwiched between India and Afghanistan and Pushtunistan movement will be backed by Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and will intervene through the military.


Mountbatten wanted Maharaja to accede to India but He was reluctant as PM Kak wanted to remain independent, despite that Delhi pressurized and PM was removed who was an obstacle to accession. Even though Maharaja opted for a referendum and made a standstill with Pakistan after 73 days on 12 August, India did not sign the standstill.


The revolt started in Poonch against Maharaja’s standstill by Dogras later on supported by northwest Frontier People even though the army position was still uncertain whether to link with Pakistan or India. Revolt caused Maharaja to call the Indian army. Nehru and other politicians directly involved themselves in the issue. They were building roads to get a supply of troops from India instead of Pakistan via Poonch and created suspicion of accession. Nehru hoped accession before the invasion and wanted to bring Abdullah in the picture. He was released and convinced to join the Indian dominion. Sheikh visited Delhi then showed a willingness to meet Quaid-e-Azam but said the decision will be left on people, they will decide where to accede. While Abdullah was released others were left detained, Ghulam Abbas to seek the opportunity to join India with coup d’état, PM replaced with Mahajan. Who requested arms and ammunition from India. Sardar Patel advised to seek the support of Abdullah and asked immediate supply. After that attack was made possible by tribal raiders from NWFP and headed to Kash. To this Faiz Ahmed Faiz said, “We could see everything was lost”. There were already deteriorating conditions. There ended opportunity of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan, said Faiz “Rest is History” 


Two months of independence deteriorating law and order situation, India was offering material support. Indigenous rebellion in Jammu and Kashmir since 1936 and now armed raiders at the Punjab border, the situation aggravated when Poonches asked Pakistan for help. Tribals were planning since October but Governor NWFP did not support or resist. He even though gave subsidies to remain forward. After that Armed Revolt held in Kashmir” by Muslim conference along with tribes. At first Liaquat Ali khan knew about the invasion but no evidence about Jinnah’s involvement but the perception was developed that revolt has Jinnah’s blessing. Jinnah’s private secretary K.H Khursheed disagreed. Jinnah in a meeting on September 30 said “please convey to our leaders in Kashmir that I do not want to create any trouble for the Maharaja to the movement. I want them to remain calm and we shall deal with the situation later on as it arises”. Defense sec. Iskander Mirza said to Cunningham on 26 October “Apparently Jinnah himself heard of what was going on 15 days ago” but said, “do not tell me anything about it my conscience must be clear”. Raiders, Hari calls help from India, Mountbatten decides for temporary accession which Nehru and Patel (in their perception was not temporary) V.P Menon went to Srinagar to evacuate Maharaja to Jammu palace’ throughout the travel Hari was silent, only said “Kashmir is lost” at Jammu palace.                                                                    


Menon reached Jammu and woke up Maharaja and then to Defence Committee Plan, Hari Singh wrote a letter to Governor-General “The pitiable plight of the state and reiterating his request for military helps”. He said accession is full regret as we wanted independence’ but raiders compelled to seek military help “Naturally they cannot send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to the Dominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so and I attach the instrument of accession for acceptance by your Government”

To set an interim Government, Responsibilities were given to Sheikh. Indian Government accepted accession subject to the provision that plebiscite would be held when law and order prevails. The instrument of accession gave birth to controversies due to different opinions in V.P Menon’ Mahajan, Sardar Patel, and Symon. V.P Menon goes on to say it was signed in Jammu on 7 while Maharaja says was signed in Srinagar on 26 October. While Srinagar to Jammu takes at least 16 hours but Menon with Maharaja’s convoy reached at dawn which started at 2 am. To make claim “Accession before intervention gave the Indians the legal right to be in Kashmir”. If IOC was signed then why not they published in 1948?. White paper documentary Jewel Signed by Hari Singh and Mountbatten with Patel’s edited correspondence published in 1971. Unhappy Hari, never said whether he signed or not, before or after troops landed. 26-27 October is missing in history. Mountbatten’s resistance to accession before assistance is under question. Field Marshall Auchinleck was supreme commander in chief of both forces. M.B met Jinnah in Lahore and asked for Objectives for Plebiscite to which he said “Presence of Indians troops with National Conference’ Shiekh Abdullah in power, Muslims will not bear to vote”. Junagadh smaller compare to Kashmir with Hindu majority Muslim Ruler, decided to accede Pakistan but Nehru rejected and Invaded,( Nawab Sir Muhabat Khan) stated same could happen to Kashmir. Hyderabad was annexed on 11 September 1948, The year Jinnah died.

UNO had one of the first major issues to resolve, It’s 1st session on Jan-1948 and 2nd session, 21 April 1948 (called on Pakistan to withdraw tribesman and Pakistan nationals for purpose accession and to replace forces to minimum strength after that plebiscite will be held. Ceasefire on 1 Jan 1949, last document signed by two Englishman on behalf that line will be monitored by UNMOGIP United Nations Military Observer Group by 5/1/1949. UNCIP reconfirmed, since the truce is signed, the Question of accession will be solved democratically. Resolution favored most the enemy, “said Akbar Khan”. The ceasefire called after fulfilling Indian Interests. Gilgit and Baltistan remained in Pakistan whereas India got Kargil and Pakistan got Skardu.

The roots of the Kashmir dispute are deep (Third and Final report of UNCIP). India referred issue under Article 35 which did not give the UN any mandate to impose a solution, only to make recommendations.

India said I am present with the right, Pakistan stated that Maharaja had no right of accession as he was overthrown and flee from Srinagar.


Valley got special status which is not given to other princely states. India retained external affairs defense and communication. The will of people will be decided under the auspices of the UN. Later, Nehru wanted Hari Singh to quit and hand over power to Abdullah. Maharaja after seeing the misery of people said security council “ I should withdraw from accession, but Nehru and Patel opposed cancellation. On 2/3/1948 Maharaja resigned and Sheikh came. They advised Maharaja and family to leave the city, Maharaja died in Mumbai-1962. Abdullah believed in Socialism, and this was welcomed by Hindu and Muslims. Despite his loyalty with India considered the third alternative, in private in UN 1948, Abdullah said Independency as a solution. 1951 elections, 100 seats, Quarter for Pakistan retained, National conference won unopposed because rest boycotted. Article 370 was accepted in July 1952

Article 370 states that

Valley would have her own flag, but the Indian flag would be supreme, Kashmiris will be citizens of India, President of India is also president of the state, Governor elected by the state legislature but could hold office with presidents assent’s


  1. Plebiscite after demilitarization, to which Pakistan agreed, India didn’t.
  2. Australian PM, Robert Menzies said Commonwealth troops should be stationed (Joint Indo-Pak force) again India rejected.
  3. Again UN, resolution, 13/8/1948,5/11/1949 decided “ The democratic method of free and impartial Plebiscite”. Britain and the US suggested that too. Nehru rejected by saying no third person will decide the fate of 4 million people. 

The US came, policy towards Indo-Pak

  • To enlist Indian support against communism
  • Nehru went for non-alignment
  • Americans main problem was communism while India’s colonialism
  • The US said socialism road to communism
  • Nehru capitalism to imperialism and fascism

1954 Mutual Defense Assistance agreement in which the US-supported. In September Pakistan joined SEATO and then the Baghdad pact (CENTO). Soviet alleged UK and the US to use the Kashmir to control both dominions. Same as the Soviets, China stated they are using for their imperialistic objective.

Abdullah’s Arrest 

By 1953 Abdullah and Nehru became apart in terms of secularism. In India, he saw discrimination against Muslims and in 1947 he was the aggressor against Pakistan now sees India-Pakistan on equal footing, US didn’t intervene and preferred independence. On 8 August was arrested after dismissal from the power. He was procrastinating in confirming the Instrument of accession he even didn’t serve the Indian objective to gain Kashmir. Conspiracy against him was laid by Dehli with his right-hand man Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad. Who soon became CM later on PM for a decade and Abdullah came in politics after 22 years. Abdullah was in favor of self-determination but still renounced allegiance with India. Bakshi ruled as a dictator and was not popular, political dissent was crushed. Shamsuddin succeeded Bakshi. Political turmoils remained.


By now issues has become the International concern because India and China conflict arose too in 1962, which was unilaterally resolved by China, but because of fear India wanted air support and went the USA and the British, United States of America convinced Pakistan that it’s just for Sino-India rivalry but Ayoub Khan raised the question why India is favored even though she has “Non-alignment Policy” and to gain aid Pakistan was pressurized to join CENTO and SEATO. India on the dependence of aid from British and the USA, came to bilateral talks, 1st talk decided to make a ceasefire line International Boundary and the second talk decided the Sino-Pak agreement. After that, another proposal with the support of Britain was made to internationalize the Valley to which India has to withdraw her troops. Six months’ talk, the issue went still unresolved and threatened peace and security. 8th April 1964 Abdullah acquitted and released. Abdullah went to Delhi then Pakistan where talks began but the middle of the talks Nehru died, before that Abdullah insisted on a confederation to which Ayoub rejected, and Abdullah said that the partition seems inevitable.

Abdullah’s visit to Muslim countries, and then to China which aggravated India, then He was arrested even his wife, valley people protested which were crushed by security forces. The issue was fueled due to elections, Ayoub against Fatima Jinnah and the expansion of the Navy, Army, and Airforce made possible by the assistance of the UK, USA, and USSR. President Lyndon Jhonson canceled Ayoub’s visit then Ayoub went to Moscow, where exchanged good views, and then was informed about Indian troops’ movement to the territory of Runn of Kutch.

Operation Gibraltor and Grand Slam, later one held to capture Akhnur bridge which could isolate the rest of India. Valley was not informed before the attack and constantly denied the operation and said its a local uprising. India attacked in defense which was more than Pakistan anticipated, then India attacked the Kargil sector and Uri-Poonch. Operation Gibraltor, Ayob was not informed that General Musa wanted approval through Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Grand Slam was started by Commander in Chief Hussain Malik and was going with the flow but the game changed when Yahya took the charge then operation went into a haze of confusion and loss of communication. Ayob just sent Yahya to wind up. The war continued then the US and UK halted the military assistance but Russia continuously supported India, while the Chinese alarmed Indians about the Chinese-Sikhim border through word war then the US and Britain stated that they will assist India if China intervened. 


It brought a ceasefire on 23 September. In 1966 Indo-Pak delegations met in Tashkent, Soviet PM Alexie Kosygien unofficial mediator, and Shastri and Ayob accepted and said will resolve peacefully, on 10 January 1966 Shastri died, Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi became PM. Though Pakistan lost, due to controlled press patriotic drums were beaten. Later student riots began, Police open fired in which two died and revolt started against Ayob.


An accord with India Gandhi in 1971 brought peace in the valley, Kashmir remained free from central power though Pakistan was also busy in Afghanistan. Valley started preparing, Sheikh became old and gave reigns to his son Farooq Abdullah and died in 1982, few praised role few opposed by saying, he is responsible what has been done till now by believing too much on Nehru. Farooq decided 1983 for elections, Indira asked alliance for the Congress party but rejected by saying it will create resentment in the valley despite that Indira took active part but Farooq won the elections and made Indira angrier and she said the election is rigged and never let him run peacefully. Gandhi was so blinded by her intense dislike with Farooq she supported brother-in-law (Ghulam Muhammad shah) of Abdullah the most corrupt man to be installed in the valley after ousting Farooq with so many propagandas.

Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh Guard to take revenge of Operation Blue Star held in Punjab against Sikhs. Farooq came into politics and power in 1987, GM shah was dismissed in March 1986 in severe communal riots. Jagmohan, Governor who dismissed Farooq too, took exclusive power. Rajiv Gandhi made accord in which Farooq showed approval because he realized Kashmir will not prosper without Dehli’s support, later on, he was made CM of interim Govt in 1986.

In overnight Farooq transformed from hero to traitor who crawls for alliance and accords and killed father’s 50 years legacy. Later he realized that it was a grave mistake.                     


With the deteriorating political situation, the valley became hostile, insurgencies increased and tourism stopped. Militancy ignited, kidnappings, killings and attacks became frequent they were fighting for Azadi. This is all happening due to lack of funds as promised by Rajeev in accord said Farooq which caused unemployment, corruption, and bribes common, so the youth revolted.

Attacks became common, Rajmohan who resigned earlier was again appointed as Governor but he too couldn’t handle and dissolved the assembly and called military action as a solution. Somehow the war has begun which later caused 140000 Hindus to flee outside Jammu saying we can’t handle war. Security forces involved to suppress, killings became routinely. Forces were given extra powers they could kill, search, and detain without a warrant, and human rights organizations were banned.


Girish Saxena replaced with Krishna Rao the second time and declared that the situation goes towards normalization despite that mosque Hazratbal was occupied by militants with so many hostages, fortunately, no blood spill and negotiation succeeded but later on bunkers were made to secure from future attacks. Kashmir became an international concern when Benazir came in power again in 1993, she raised the issue in the United Nations Geneva convention but was also criticized by Farooq Abdullah in a given speech in favor of India by saying Pakistan is involved in militant activities. Dehli was continuously insisting world communities that the situation is getting normalized to held elections in 1994 because the assembly was dissolved by Jagmohan in 1990. Political unrest cannot be stopped with new Government we already had 8 to 9 elections the issue remains the same “ said Muslims conference leader” 

Due to insurgency military troops stationed almost 6 million which is more than the Kashmir’s population. Indian government reassumed that militancy is declined by 1995 because they have lost population support which they had in the early 1900s. Atrocities of militants increased with their own people, they go to an eminent home either ask for money or son for militancy. If you deny you lose life, corruption, drug dealing, and rapes downgraded the militant’s morals although these abuses were condemned and sanctioned by their leaders. Momentum increased as India believed in proxy war especially when the USA supplied weapons to Afghanis and Kashmiris to fight the Soviet but they never returned guns which remained in the valley and caused more damage and the Indian Government created the perception that this is all done by Pakistan Now onwards Kashmiris were under siege whoever had pro-independence Pakistan’s feelings were arrested or tangled.


The conflict has taken unending routes in an ambiguous situation if the plebiscite is to be held then would it be a unitary plebiscite between majority and minority or regional plebiscite in which regions decide about their futures. How could Pakistan let it happen at the expense of Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir or India on the cost of Ladakh and Jammu then how will only Valley survive? No, any International community wanted to derail the agenda with India over Kashmir but some tried action which slowly diminished due to Pakistan’s role in constructing terrorism, and then it further slowed down when Pakistan opposed independence.

But the issue comes into notice during1990s human rights violation and communities criticized India’s role but denied by saying that we are not holding plebiscite because Pakistan has occupied northern area and Azad Kashmir or else if given Independence India’s other states will also ask succession. 


Elections to be held in 1996 to which APHC and National conference boycotted other parties like BJP, Congress, etc won with little margins, a coalition government was held. Later on, Farooq Abdullah was selected again as chief minister to which Pakistan criticized. Benazir wrote a letter to the United Nations to convene a multilateral conference, on the other hand, India criticized Azad 

Kashmir elections. In 1997 Nawaz reelected called the Indian government for talks which was the 1st time after Benazir meet Rajiv Gandi in 1989, these talks became futile too because there seemed no solution. Both sides couldn’t compromise therefore militant acts increased with greater frequency 

The race towards Nuclear bombs started. Firstly Indian government tested nuclear tests in 1998, World communities including the United States sanctioned India economically. Later on, Pakistan did the same, World communities became dissatisfied with both. But slowly sanctions were removed due to the signing of the Comprehensive Test Banned Treaty after that Kargil annexation by militants happens which took international attention, India was blaming there are Pakistani trained militants whereas Pakistan denied.

Nawaz called Vajpayee and told that bombs are not solutions let’s stop to which India refused. Even though the international community’s favored India and pressured Pakistan to withdraw.


The Kargil War started and concern increased, in this situation, Nawaz fled to the US to meet Clinton where Clinton and Nawaz agreed to withdraw infiltrators and go with Simla agreement, later in Pakistan Nawaz in broadcast requested infiltrators to withdraw to which initially they denied and later withdrew slowly with internal negotiation but this act of Nawaz was severely criticized by the domestic community and Islamist parties. Benazir who initially opposed sending infiltrators, in BBC she said Nawaz did this act to divert domestic failures and corruption. After withdrawing it gave both countries a loss of lives and economy and both claimed victory.

After that situation was not de-escalated whenever any side got a chance they never missed. Indian Army hit a training airplane in Runn of Kutch while the insurgency in Kashmir more increased. Later history page changed when Musharaf bloodlessly ousted Nawaz by saying “PM has easily given in to American pressure and assumed the office of the chief executive without declaring martial law.


The beginning of the 21st century brought nothing new, resolution seems to be far away, same futile talks, failed mediation, Regional plebiscite, tripartite dialogue, bilateral negotiations. The reasons are clear physical possession by India is the main hurdle in all solution as she never wants to resolve the issue and claims Kashmir her internal part and no third party mediation is acceptable, and she is reluctant to lose the important strategic part and both countries believe if either one of both got the other will destabilize the region. Now the special status is revoked which was given in 1952. Now Jammu and Kashmir are an internal part claims India.

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