In 1947, when the British granted India its independence, Mohammed Ali Jinnah wanted a separate country for Muslim majority ares of India. So the erstwhile British Empire of India was split into West Paksitan, India and East Pakistan. There were around five hundred princely states in India that were given the choice of joining the Paksitani union or the Indian union. Kashmir was ruled by a Hindu King of the dogra dynasty, and was given a choice to join either state. While he was dithering between joining India or becoming an independent country, the Pakistani army attacked Kashmir from the west, thinking it would be a quick battle.
But the King of Kashmir asked India for help. India agreed to help on the condition that Kashmir would be part of the Indian Republic. The king hastily signed a document agreeing to join the union of India. The Pakistanis felt that he had no right to do that since the majority of his subjects were Muslim and would have sided with Pakistan and appealed to the international community to restore Kashmir to Pakistan, or let the people have their say. However, in the eyes of the world, Pakistan had forfeited any moral high ground because of their treacherous attack on an unguarded kingdom.
So though they tried hard to get the United Nations involved later, they never mustered any international backing to thier cause. IT left them feeling bitter and frustrated and they felt the whole world was against them and had unfairly sided with India. After the 1947 war, India controlled the best parts of the Kashmir valley (Jammu and Kashmir) and Pakistan occupied the rest, which is mostly uninhabitable. The recent devastating earthquakes in 2006 were almost entirely on the Pakistani side of Kashmir. Pakistan’s founding politicians were so bitter that they swore a ‘thousand year struggle’ to get Kashmir ‘back’ from the Indians.
Though, in the intervening sixty years, most Pakistanis have lost any hope of getting it ‘back’, and also have lost all fervor to get Kashmir to join Pakistan, no politician can openly say it is time they gave up and moved on. It is analogous to the US-Cuba situation. But in case of Paksitan the cost of this unending quarrel with India is enormous. They are forced to invest horrendous amounts of money in a fight with an enemy who is many times larger in terms of population, many times larger in terms of land and has grown into an economic powerhouse many times larger than Paksitan.
In their desperation to harm India the Pakistani military tried twice to invade India (1965 and 1999) and was beaten back. This obsession with Kashmir and India has had serious and crippling consequenses to Pakistan’s democracy. Military coups became a common place in Pakistan and democratically elected rulers were murdered, or usurped and put in prison by the military generals. The military became the dominanat institution in the country and destroyed democratic institutions and encouraged religious fanaticism. In 1971, to add insult to injury East Pakistan broke away from West Pakistan to become Bangladesh.
In the ensuing years, Paksitanis have invested Billions in a nuclear bomb, untold amounts in a vast Military machine and also spawned various ‘Jihad’ outfits which have come back to haunt Pakistan in the form of uncontrolled domestic terrorism. The western countries try to get the Kashmir issue solved in the hope that Pakistan will then focus on the terrorists that have made Pakistan their home. But the hatred of Hindus runs deep in the Pakistani establishment and there is no end in sight to this issue.
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