India’s focus on retrieving Pakistan-occupied Kashmir gets assertion

While Pakistan is set to rake up the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), India is increasingly turning focus on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) amidst its aspiration to retrieve it “someday”.

Pakistan is desperately trying to internationalise the issue of Jammu and Kashmir but India has made it clear that the only unfinished part of the issue is reclaiming of territories of the undivided state which are under illegal control of Pakistan.

Those territories, including parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, were annexed by Pakistan by sending its Army and irregulars on October 22, 1947.

The Narendra Modi government has asserted that if there are any talks with Pakistan on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, those would be about how to retrieve those parts of the state from Pakistan.

“Our position on PoK is, has been, and will always be very clear. PoK is part of India, and we expect one day that we will have physical jurisdiction over it,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said at a press conference here a few days.

Prior to that, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in Parliament over a month back that retrieving PoK is the only thing that can be talked about with Pakistan.

Citing a 1994 resolution of Parliament which spoke about taking back PoK, Shah said, “We will give our lives” to ensure that.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke on the similar lines some days back.

Such assertions have caused nervousness in Pakistan. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while attacking the Imran Khan government some time back, articulated this nervousness when he said that earlier the talk in Pakistan used to be about claiming Srinagar but now there is an impression that even “Muzaffarabad (capital of PoK) is not safe”.

On October 22, 1947, the Pakistan Army had invaded Jammu and Kashmir in violation of the Standstill Agreement that Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of the state, had signed with both India and Pakistan.

In the wake of the Pakistani aggression, Hari Singh appealed to the government of India for help, which was offered after signing of the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947. The next day, Indian troops landed in Srinagar and started pushing back the Pakistani Army.

The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru approached the UN against the Pakistani action. The UNSC passed a resolution, mandating a ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani armies. In the resolution, the world body enlisted certain steps, first of which was that Pakistan, the aggressor, must withdraw its troops and irregulars from all territories of Jammu and Kashmir. Thereafter, India would keep its minimum forces in the vacated state to allow a plebiscite under the supervision of the UN.

The UNSC Resolution No.47, adopted on April 21, 1948, and which is repeatedly cited by Pakistan, reads: “The Government of Pakistan should undertake to use its best endeavours: (a) To secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting, and to prevent any intrusion into the State of such elements and any furnishing of material aid to those fighting in the State.”

The resolution also said: “The Government of India should: (a) When it is established to the satisfaction of the Commission set up in accordance with the Council’s resolution 39 (1948) that the (Pakistani) tribesmen are withdrawing and that arrangements for the cessation of the fighting have become effective, put into operation in consultation with the Commission a plan for withdrawing their own forces from Jammu and Kashmir and reducing them progressively to the minimum strength required for the support of the civil power in the maintenance of law and order.”

Pakistan, however, defied the UNSC resolution as it never implemented the first step prescribed by the world body.

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