A.G. Noorani belongs to a class of so-called thinkers/writers who thrive through pervert intellectualism and seek to stay relevant through outrageous postulations from time to time. The tone and tenor of Noorani’s discourse at a workshop held at Islamabad is yet again a manifestation of the same mind-set where he has once again resorted to his favourite Kashmir theme with anti-India overtones.
This is not the first time Noorani has expressed such views viz-a-viz Jammu and Kashmir but has infact been doing so for the last over three decades. This indulgence of his has endeared him to the separatist constituency in Kashmir valley as well as to the India baiters abroad.
Noorani’s self-righteous observation at the Islamabad workshop that “the right of the people of Kashmir to a plebiscite is an inherent right” is devoid of the understanding of political realities that have emerged in the Indian subcontinent after independence and partition.Just a four point rebuttal will suffice…
1) The reference to “plebiscite” or “referendum” made by Nehru to Liaqat Ali Khan, according to Noorani, was turned down then and there by Liaqat Ali himself.
2) Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India under the provisions of same Instrument of Accession and same legalities which were applicable to other princely states of the subcontinent. Thereafter, the acceptance of the constitution of India by the then Regent of J&K in November 1949 followed by endorsement of the same by the Constituent Assembly of J&K in February 1954 signified culmination of the process of determining the will of the people.
3) The UN resolution on “plebiscite” laid down two pre-requisites a) cease-fire and b) truce. When Pakistan failed to fulfill these pre-requisites, the UN Security Council in December 1948 stated that if Pakistan was not abiding by these conditions,the resolution was no longer a binding on India.
4) India is a federation and,according to International Law, “secession’ is not an option available in any federation.
Even as Noorani seeks to suggest new nomenclature of East Kashmir and West Kashmir for Indian part of Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) respectively, he conveniently remains oblivious of the fate of erstwhile East Pakistan and West Pakistan with the birth of Bangladesh quite in negation of the “two nation theory” which had inspired the concept of Pakistan.
Noorani is factually incorrect when he says that after, what he describes as “Agra rebuff”, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had nothing to offer Pakistan. The truth is that NDA regime under Vajpayee had relentlessly endeavoured to improve the relations between two countries despite a series of deterrents including the Kargil war.
Noorani’s suggestion that a peaceful solution to the so-called Kashmir problem must include India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir is nothing but an echo of the separatist rhetoric which has since been rejected.
As far as India is concerned, the only pending agenda over Jammu & Kashmir, as also endorsed by the 1994 unanimous resolution of the Indian Parliament, is to retrieve back the area of the State which continues to be under illegal occupation of Pakistan.
Noorani, would do well to understand the fact that end of hostility and export of terrorism is the basic prerequisite for ensuring peace in the region, and to that extent, he could have used his Pakistan visit to prevail upon the powers-that-be in Islamabad to stop sponsoring militancy on the Indian soil.