Heart of Asia, with historical links to both South and Central Asia. Surrounded
by Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and India
86,000 square miles, more than three times the size of Belgium, the Netherlands
and Luxembourg combined. Kashmir is also larger than 87 sovereign countries.
Azad Kashmir and Indian-occupied
In 1947, following India's independence from British colonial rule, the mostly
Muslim population of Kashmir had already revolted against its Hindu ruler. He
was overthrown by the Kashmir Liberation Army in October 1947 and a provisional
government for Azad (Free) Jammu and Kashmir was set up.
Subsequently, the Indian
army moved in and ultimately occupied two-thirds of Kashmir. The region is still
under Indian occupation. The other one-third of the state currently exists as
Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmir has a population of some 13 million people including 1.5 million refugees
in Pakistan and 0.4 million Kashmiris living abroad. The Indian-occupied part
of Kashmir has a population of about 7.7 million while Azad Jammu Kashmir's
population is 2.58 million (1990 figures).
Historically, Kashmir has been independent. There have been periods of time
when the area has been controlled by other powers; such as in the late 18th
and the first half of the 19th centuries or when it was incorporated into the
vast empires of the Mauryas (3rd century BC), the Mughals (16th to 18th centuries)
and the British (mid-19th to mid-20th centuries). The British transferred control
of the territory to a feudal chieftain, the Maharajah, in 1846 through a deed
of sale called the Treaty of Amritsar.
Cause of Dispute:
India's claim over Kashmir is based on the Instrument of Accession document
signed by the Maharajah in order to obtain India's military help against a popular
insurrection. The accession, however, was conditional on the results of a popular
vote to be held under impartial supervision. That vote has yet to be held. The
Indian claim to the region is rejected by the people of Kashmir, challenged
by Pakistan, has never been accepted by the United Nations nor has it been legally
The only solution to the strife in Kashmir is the total demilitarization of
the region immediately followed by a plebiscite, under impartial control, to
determine the future status of Kashmir.
Security Council Resolutions:
When the dispute was first brought to the United Nations, the Security Council,
with the firm backing of the United States, urged the above solution to the
dispute. At the time, the Soviet Union did not dissent from it. Later, the Soviet
Union blocked every resolution of the Security Council calling for the implementation
of the settlement plan.
There are two possible outcomes to the situation in Kashmir: either the international
community can push for a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the Kashmiri
people and act accordingly or the situation can remain as it is. Kashmiris will
continue to live with violent repression and the carnage and bloodshed will
Since 1990, Indian forces have engaged in a sustained campaign of "slaughter,
rape, arson, and destruction." This campaign has resulted in more than
Immediate Help Needed:
The intervention of the international community is required to bring the violence
in Kashmir to a quick end. The only way to set the stage for peace is to initiate
a political dialogue among the representatives of the people of Kashmir, the
government of Pakistan and that of India.
Date/Time Last Modified: 6/18/2002 8:05:43 AM
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