The Other Partition – Kashmir

In 1948 two countries that had been under British rule were partitioned.  Palestine, that had been under a British Mandate to establish a Jewish State, was partitioned by a UN resolution, although the invasion of Israel by 6 Arab armies invalidated that partition plan. But, then the country was de facto divided between Israel and regions illegally occupied by Arab armies (Egypt in Gaza and Jordan in the West Bank).  The other country that was partitioned by the British was India. It was divided into two with the formation of predominantly Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan.  But, then Pakistan seized the northern part of Kashmir.

Every such partition is messy, each side claiming more than it gets.  In the case of Israel it should have got all of the former British Mandate, while India, according to the partition agreement should have got all of Kashmir.  That is because the British gave the hereditary rulers or Maharajahs of various Indian States or regions the right to decide which of the two sovereign countries they would join.  The Maharajah of Kashmir was a Hindu, he chose to join India.  But, the vast majority of Kashmiris were Muslim and they preferred to join Pakistan.  In fact, with the connivance of its inhabitants the Pakistan Army illegally entered Kashmir and managed to occupy about one third of it before the Indian Army could secure the whole of it.  They clashed at what later became the ceasefire line between them, known as the “line of control.”   Ever since Pakistan has illegally occupied this region of Kashmir.  Note that China also occupies a smaller region of what was formerly eastern Kashmir.

Now some might sympathize with Pakistan, because the decision to join either of the two countries was not democratic.  However, at that time there was no provision for a popular vote in each hereditary state and furthermore Pakistan agreed to the mechanism of partition, they signed the document accepting this process.  Just like the Arabs they wanted to go back on the agreement they had made.  But, while Egypt and Jordan eventually accepted that they could not control the regions of Palestine/Israel that they had illegally occupied and were forced to withdraw their forces, in the case of Kashmir the situation has been frozen in time.

Now let’s compare the two situations, the West Bank contains ca. 2.2 million Arabs and Gaza ca. 1.2 million, leading to total of 3.4 million, compared to an Israeli population of 8.6 million (including ca. 1 million Israeli Arabs).  But the population of Indian Kashmir is 12.5 million and of Pakistani-controlled Azad Kashmir is 6.4 million.  The areas of Kashmir are correspondingly at least 10 times those of the Israeli/Palestinian areas.  But, the land of Israel receives about 1 million times more media attention than Kashmir, even though it is clear that Kashmir is a far larger and more dangerous situation.given that both sides have nuclear weapons.

The current focus on Kashmir started recently when an Islamic terrorist organization coming from Pakistani territory attacked an Indian Army post and killed 69 Indian soldiers.  This of course has resulted in accusations from India that Pakistan is deliberately hosting these terrorists, and there have been further clashes between Indian and Pakistani Armed forces.  This is a far more significant and unstable situation than the Israel/Arab clash, and yet the Western media are not interested in Kashmir, presumably because it doesn’t involve Jews.

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