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Oh Kashmir!

Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

THE issue of Muslim Kashmir is thorny which emerged after the British Parliament on July 17, 1947, passed a law on Indian independence, ending the British rule over the jewel in the crown of the British Empire.

The partition resolution decided that the Muslim-majority states to be organized by Pakistan and that the Hindu-majority states would join India and as such affiliations if any were at the discretion of the people.

The decision to divide India between India and Pakistan was passed without much difficulty in all the states except three – Hyderabad, Junagadh and Kashmir. The Muslim ruler of the princely state of Junagadh decided to join Pakistan although a majority of the population was Hindu.

Facing opposition from a majority the Hindus opted for a referendum which resulted in annexing that state to India and the same happened with Hyderabad, where Indian troops intervened in September 1948, forcing it to bow to the wishes of the people who had shown their desire to join India.

The situation in Kashmir was different from the aforementioned states. Its Hindu ruler decided to join India, ignoring the desire of the Muslim majority to join Pakistan and ignoring the former British ruler governing partition. But the fear of the reaction of the Muslim street prompted him to offer a treaty to the two countries to maintain the status quo. Pakistan accepted the treaty while India rejected it.

This is a historical background to the state of Kashmir, which we have heard of and which has been the focal point of unrest from time to time. The unrest comes from India, which aspires to take over that state, which is rich in water and natural resources and is of strategic importance.

India considers Kashmir is of a strategic security depth in the face of China and Pakistan, and sees it as a geographical extension and an important natural barrier for Pakistani rule, which it considers is based on religion, which threatens the internal situation in India.

What is surprising on the issue of Kashmir is the deafening silence from Indian Muslims, Arabs, Persians and others in terms of their compatriots – (Kashmiri Muslims) who are brilliant men who can be called excellent. Add to this the beauty of the Kashmiri women who are blond unlike the Hindus and others living in other parts of India.

The wealthy Arab countries were rushing to the aid of Afghans who are Muslims when they were in harmony with the Soviet Union. We saw how they sent billions in money and thousands of men to countries like Syria and Iraq to rid them of their rulers.

We also saw their blatant interference in the Arab-Israeli conflict and supporting the militias in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere, but when it comes to Muslim majority Kashmir they appear like cold graves of dead men.

This majority has been arbitrarily abused by the Indian government and prevented them from joining Pakistan, as stipulated by the laws and resolutions of the British Parliament when that great country abandoned the rule in the Indian subcontinent.

Therefore, we as Muslims, who feel the pain and sympathize with our brothers in Islam, can do nothing for the people of Kashmir but raise our voices and cry aloud … Oh, Kashmir, while the cloud of grief continues to hang over that State.

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

Former Oil Minister

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