New Delhi: Pakistan-backed tribal invasion of Jammu and Kashmir which began on October 22, 1947 was one of the darkest hours for the region. The claims have been made by Lt. General Ata Hasnain during a webinar on the topic ‘Pakistan’s Invasion of Kashmir October 22, 1947: Darkest Hour in the History of Jammu and Kashmir’.
The event was organised by Usanas Foundation, focusing on the Pakistan-backed tribal invasion of Jammu and Kashmir. Apart from Lt. General Ata Hasnain the other list of speakers included; Professor Amitabh Mattoo, Kashmiri politician Mir Junaid, CD Sahay and Deputy Director of the Woodrow Wilson Centers Asia Programme Michael Kugelman.
Lt. General Ata Hasnain said, “Pakistan has for decades propagated a false narrative regarding the events of the tribal invasion and claims that the dark days of Jammu and Kashmir began on October 26, 1947 when the Maharaja of the region signed the instrument of accession and not the 22nd when the Pakistan backed invasion actually began.”
Lt. General Hasnain stated that India is an innocent, honest and truthful nation that sometimes fails to realise that its neighbors are not as kind and honest. This has allowed Pakistan to create a false narrative surrounding the invasion, this false narrative serves Pakistan’s agenda and makes it out to be a messiah when reality could not be further from that.
The false narratives created by Pakistan are that Kashmir is a Muslim majority region and therefore belongs to Pakistan because it is an Islamic nation and that India used force and coercion to compel the Maharaja to sign the instrument of accession and then in order to make it look legitimate moved in its troops on the October 27, 1947.
Hasnain goes on to add that Pakistan was forced to utilise tribals during its invasion of Jammu and Kashmir because at that time it did not have a cohesive standing army and additionally Pakistan did not want to be formally associated with the invasion due to fears of backlash from the International community. Despite lacking a proper standing army, the invasion of Jammu and Kashmir was highly professional and was well coordinated suggesting that planning and preparation for the invasion began way before October 22.
Professor Amitabh Mattoo stated that before the Indian Army moved into Kashmir in order to liberate it from the tribal invaders, Kashmiri men, women and even teenagers passionately, voluntarily and devoid of materialistic incentive trained themselves in the use of firearms in order to resist the invading tribals.
One of the most important aspects of this was that these patriotic fighters came from all walks of life and from different religions. ‘Hamlavar Khabardar, hum Kashmiri hai Taiyar’, ‘Kadam Kadam Bharenge Hum, Mahhaz pe larenge hum’ were some slogans used by the Kashmiri civil society that took up the defense of their homes.
Professor Mattoo also drew special attention to a Kashmiri youth called Maqbool Sherwani who through guile, false rumours and Kashmiri charm managed to singlehandedly delay the Pakistan-backed tribals. Due to his actions he was tortured and crucified by the invading tribals.
Unfortunately, the life and legacy of Sherwani, as well as the countless civil society members who took up arms against the invaders has been largely forgotten.
Mir Junaid, a young politician from Jammu and Kashmir began by stating that the younger generation has forgotten the truth of the events that transpired on October 22, 1947, therefore discussions such as these are extremely important that the current disputes in Kashmir can be put in a historical context. Junaid added that even though the majority of people in the region were Muslim, Kashmir was still multi-cultural in its core, and this multi-cultural nature made Jammu and Kashmir naturally suited to join India instead of Pakistan which had already declared itself as an an Islamic country. According to Junaid, if the Pakistan backed invasion had never happened then Jammu and Kashmir would have joined India naturally.
The Deputy Director of the Woodrow Wilson Centers Asia Programme, Michael Kugelman stated that there were very few people in the US who wished to get bogged down by the history of the Kashmiri issue. The US administration only cares about the current situation in Kashmir.
In respect to the incoming Biden administration in the US, Kugelman believes that Biden will enter the White House with the same goal as past presidents, to pursue strategic-security partnership with India. And while Biden might be more willing to discuss the Kashmir issue in private than his predecessor, President Donald Trump, Biden is not likely to risk an India-US partnership that enjoys bi-partisan support by recklessly bringing up the Kashmir issue.
In addition, Biden will be entering the White House during a time when the US faces unprecedented domestic challenges and therefore foreign policy is not likely to be a high priority. The only way that Kashmir is currently seen by the US is as a stability issue, Kashmir has been the spark of multiple wars between India and Pakistan.
Kugelman also went on to add that in the event of a Pulwama 2.0, the US administration would be fully behind India. But the US is unlikely to come down hard on Pakistan because of the ongoing Afghan peace deal which will require some dialogue with Pakistan.