London, January 27 : The President of Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR), Dr Syed Nazir Gilani, has ripped apart the assertions made by the British Member of Parliament, Virendra Sharma, of Indian origin, in the form of complaint to Director General in respect of BBC’s position on the status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Syed Nazir Gilani in a letter to Tim Davie, Director General British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) while acknowledging the support given by BBC in its news and programmes to the rights movement of the people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, said MP Sharma who is Chair of Indo-British All-Party Parliamentary Group, does not qualify as an expert and his complaint has no merit.
“He (Sharma) would not have the scant understanding of the jurisprudence of UN Resolutions on Kashmir. Government of India has made a written pledge to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, to the United Kingdom, to the Government of Pakistan and to the United Nations Security Council.”
It is worth mentioning here that Virendra Sharma in a letter dated 18 January 2021 to Director General BBC demanded of him to re-set the BBC’s understanding on Kashmir. Earlier, the BBC had issued a map showing Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory.
Dr Gilani wrote: “The MP has a right to represent his constituents of Indian origin. However, he does not have a no holds barred to cause an offence to British Kashmiris in his misdirected love for Indian interests. There would be constituents of Kashmiri and Pakistani origin in his constituency and in the ultimate he is a member in British Parliament.”
“Mr. Sharma does not seem to have full knowledge of the position of the British Government from 22 November 1947, when Prime Minister of Britain Clement Attlee proposed to Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan that he was willing to help Pakistan in taking the matter to International Court of Justice. (Para 4 of the telegram from British Prime Minister to Prime Minister of Pakistan dated 22 November 1947).”
Following is the complete text of the letter:
Mr. Tim Davie
British Broadcasting Corporation
London, W1A 1AA
Dear Mr. Davie
Jammu and Kashmir – complaint from Virendra Sharma MP
I am writing this letter in response to the merits of a complaint dated 18 January 2021 made by a member of British Parliament Mr. Virendra Sharma of Indian origin, who is Chair of Indo British All-Party Parliamentary Group in respect of BBC’s position on the status of Jammu and Kashmir and his demand to re-set the BBC’s understanding on Kashmir.
Mr. Sharma does not qualify as an expert and his complaint has no merit. He would not have the scant understanding of the jurisprudence of UN Resolutions on Kashmir. Government of India has made a written pledge to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, to the United Kingdom, to the Government of Pakistan and to the United Nations Security Council.
The MP has a right to represent his constituents of Indian origin. However, he does not have a no holds barred to cause an offence to British Kashmiris in his misdirected love for Indian interests. There would be constituents of Kashmiri and Pakistani origin in his constituency and in the ultimate he is a member in British Parliament.
Mr. Sharma does not seem to have full knowledge of the position of the British Government from 22 November 1947, when Prime Minister of Britain Clement Attlee proposed to Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan that he was willing to help Pakistan in taking the matter to International Court of Justice. (Para 4 of the telegram from British Prime Minister to Prime Minister of Pakistan dated 22 November 1947).
Mr. Sharma needs a reminder on the history and jurisprudence of Kashmir case as follows:
- Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru has assured the British Prime Minister on 26 October 1947, before despatching Indian army to the State on 27 October 1947, that, “I should like to make it clear that the question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or State must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view. It is quite clear, however, that no free expression of will of people of Kashmir is possible if external aggression succeeds in imperilling integrity of its territory”.
(1) On 27 October 1947, Governor General of India Lord Mountbatten has assured the Government of Jammu and Kashmir that, “…the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of State, it is my Government’s wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader the question of the State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people”.
(2) On 31 October 1947 Prime Minister of India in his telegram to Prime Minister of Pakistan has assured that, “Our assurance that we shall withdraw our troops from Kashmir as soon as peace and order are restored and leave the decision regarding the future of this State to the people of the State is not merely a pledge to your Government but also to the people of Kashmir and to the world”. (Para 6 of the telegram dated 31 October 1947).
(3) India and Pakistan failed in their engagements under Article 33 of the UN Charter and the matter was referred to UN Security Council in January 1948. The prior agreement between India and Pakistan, on the Kashmir Dispute before coming to UN Security Council has been discussed at the 765th meeting of the UN Security Council held on 24 January 1957.
(4) The British position on Kashmir is that Kashmir was “the greatest and gravest single issue in international affairs”. (284th meeting of UN Security Council held on 17 April 1948 United Kingdom). Britain has argued that “The ultimate objective of a fair and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations ….has been written into solemn agreements by the two Governments and endorsed by this Security Council. These agreements have been affirmed and reaffirmed by the two governments many times.” (UK representative Sir Gladwyn Jebb at the 606 meeting of the UN Security Council on 6 November 1952).
(5) The territorial boundaries and the integrity of the State contours are well defined in the caution given in the UN Security Council resolution 91 of 30 March 1951. This caution is addressed to Jammu and Kashmir Government and the Government of India.
(6) Mr. Sharma would appreciate to note that until 31 March 1959 an Indian citizen needed a visa (Entry Permit) to visit any part of Kashmir. The visa requirement was unlawfully rescinded by the Prime Minister of Kashmir at the special request of Prime Minister of India. The former was elected from only a part of the State.
(7) UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld visited Srinagar in March 1959 (20-22 March) to assess the political and economic condition of the people.
(8) According to British proposal the Plebiscite should have been completed by October 1948 and according to the UN Plebiscite Administrator, it was scheduled to be completed by 01 November 1950
(9) The two UN Reports of June 2018 and July 2019 on Human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir have reiterated the that India and Pakistan should respect the right of self determination as provided under international law.
(10) Unfortunately, on 5 August 2019 India decided to use 900,000 army personnel to aggress against the unarmed people and has re-occupied the State. The population remains under a siege since then.
(11) The merits of Indian aggression of 5 August 2019, need to be matched against a request made by India at the 608 meeting of the UN Security Council on 8 December 1952 Indian representative Mrs. Pandit said that, “…after careful examination and assessment by its experts, the Government of India had come to the conclusion that a minimum force of 28,000 was required to carry out its responsibilities.” Indian representative added, “However, on complete disbandment and disarmament of the Azad Kashmir forces, and as a further contribution towards a settlement, the Government of India is prepared to effect a further reduction of 7,000 to a figure of 21,000 which is absolute and irreducible minimum…. It should further be emphasised that this force will have no supporting arms such as armour or artillery.”
(12) Mr. Sharma needs to understand that on 5 August 2019 India has committed a “very grave offence” against the “solemn agreements by the two Governments”. It has been settled by the UN SC that “The party that would dare to violate an agreement thus reached would load upon itself a very grave offence against the other party, against the United Nations, and against the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self determination, a right which, in other contexts, both parties have so often and so eloquently defended.” India without doubt has “loaded upon itself a very grave offence.” This offence has been committed against three parties namely, “the other party (Pakistan), United Nations, and against the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self-determination.”
(13) On 15 January 1948 India has surrendered Accession at the United Nations for a UN supervised vote. India has conceded at the 230th Meeting of UN Security Council on 20 January 1948 that “We hope to be able to convince the Security Council that once we have dealt with• the Kashmir question, there will probably not be anything of substance which will divide India and Pakistan to the extent of endangering international peace and security”.
(14) UN SC has argued at the 773 Meeting of Security Council held on 20 February 1957, that “pending the holding of a plebiscite, neither India nor Pakistan can claim sovereignty over the State of Jammu and Kashmir.”
I sincerely hope that this detailed explanation would assist the BBC in resolving that the complaint of Virendra Sharma MP has no merit. In fact his understanding is incorrect and constitutes an offence to British Kashmiris, British Pakistanis and all people who have respect for equality of people and right of self-determination.
Jammu and Kashmir has never been “a fundamental and integral part of India”. Resolution E/CN.4/sub.2/1997/L.21 dated 15 August 1997 presented by British Expert Mrs. Palley at the 49th Session of UN Sub Commission on Human Rights would make a good reading for Mr. Sharma and it would be a useful reference for BBC as well. I hope that these details would help the MP to correct his animus towards a people waiting for a UN supervised Plebiscite.
We acknowledge the support given by BBC in its news and programmes to the rights movement of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
With profound regards
Dr Syed Nazir Gilani,