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Pakistan fighting losing battle on Kashmir

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Pakistan continues to breed terrorist groups which claim innocent lives in Kashmir, and pretext that Kashmiris desire to be a part of Pakistan. But Pakistan's repeated attempts proved futile as the people of the region understood Pakistan's dirty games.

Pakistan's evil designs on Kashmir now have been exposed by the people of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. It was October 22, 1947, the Pakistan Army-backed Tribal let off the hook the reign of terror in Jammu and Kashmir. The intervening night of October 21-22, 1947 is now being observed as the "Black Day" in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, which has left an indelible mark on the fate of the region. The tribal invasion of October 22, known as Operation Gulmarg, resulted in the death of thousands of innocent people and changed the course of Jammu and Kashmir.

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On this day protests, demonstrations, and seminars were organised at various places in PoK to register and vent their feelings against Pakistan and its army. In spite of ISI pressure, people of the region in slogans made the world know the lies and duplicity of Pakistan on the Kashmir problem. The protesters held black flags and anti-Pakistan banners with "Black Day" written on them.

Kashmiris remember October 22, 1947, as the day of the commencement of hell, till Indian soldiers landed to protect them. On October 22, 1947, Pakistan's Pashtun tribal militias crossed the border of the state. It was called Operation Gulmarg and launched on the intervening night of October 21-22, 1947. Over 2,000 Pathan tribesmen first captured the bridge spanning the Kishanganga (Neelam) River on the Hazara Trunk Road linking Muzaffarabad with Abbottabad without a fight. By morning, the first major J&K border town of Muzaffarabad was captured. The horrors that have been unfolded by Pakistani journalist from Muzaffarabad, Zahid Chaudhry in his book, has described three days of havoc and the way invaders indulged in killing non-Muslims, looting, plundering, and burning their houses at the behest officer-in-charge of the attack, Major Khurshid Anwar. Writers and commentators have estimated the number of the Hindus and Sikhs massacred during these three days in Muzaffarabad to be 4500 to 5000, and the number of kidnapped women to be more than 1600.

These local tribal militias and irregular Pakistani forces advanced to take the capital city of Srinagar. But on reaching Baramulla, they again started looting. They were challenged initially by the Jammu and Kashmir State Forces and by militias. It was the daring deed of a young 19-year-old boy Mohd Maqbool Sherwani who single-handedly frustrated the advance of thousands of raiders (Kabailis) from Baramulla, thus giving valuable time to the Indian Army to land in Srinagar on October 27, 1947 and defended the summer capital in the decisive battle of Shalteng on the outskirts of Srinagar. On November 7-8 1947, the Indian army pushed back raiders.

The raiders captured Maqbool and put him on a wooden cross, nailed him, and fired upon him 10-15 times. He remained like that for two to three days. His body was brought down only when the Army reached the place.

Maqbool Sherwani's patriotic role he played will remain in the pages of the history of Kashmir. He misguided the infiltrators and put them on the wrong routes and made them lose four precious days so that the Indian army could reach Srinagar for its defence. When Maqbool was captured by raiders, the Amir of raiders softly told Maqbool "You are a promising young man. We will forgive you if you yourself join us. As proof positive of your change of heart, you must tell us the secret position of the militia (state force) and Indian troops in Shalteng and also show us the shortest route to the Srinagar aerodrome". "No, that shall not be," was the firm reply of the saviour Sherwani. Amir wrote "Sherwani is the traitor; his punishment is death" on a piece of paper in Urdu and pasted it on his forehead. Amir ordered his men, "Tie his ears and his drooping head and arms straight to the posts so that every passer-by can see him.. Fire ..."

On the 8th of November, 1947, raiders were driven out of Baramulla. One of the first acts of the freed people was to reclaim the dead body of Sherwani and to bury it in the graveyard of Juma Masjid of the town with full military honours. Every year, on its Infantry Day, the Indian Army commemorates the saviour of Kashmir Mohd Maqbool Sherwani. It has also constructed a Memorial Hall in his name in Baramulla town.

Earlier also, when Mohammad Ali Jinnah visited Kashmir and spoke at Baramulla on his 'two-nation' theory, Sherwani forced him to come down from the platform and stopped his speech.

After accession, the Indian part of J&K followed the democratic path of the Indian constitution while the area under Pakistani occupation was bifurcated into two- PoK and the 'Northern Areas,' known as Gilgit-Baltistan. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is that part of Jammu and Kashmir (India) which was invaded by Pakistan in 1947.

Since 1947, PoK has been governed under the PoK Interim Constitution Act passed in 1974. PoK claims to have a self-governing legislative assembly though it is a known fact that it is under the control of Pakistan.

The leaders of PoK surrendered the Northern Areas to Pakistan under the Karachi Agreement of 1949. The Karachi Agreement, which governs the rule of Pakistan over Gilgit-Baltistan, was signed between the president of PoK, the Muslim Conference, and a minister without portfolio from Pakistan, Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani.

Pakistan continues to breed terrorist groups which claim innocent lives in Kashmir, and pretext that Kashmiris desire to be a part of Pakistan. It hired anti-national elements with illicit funds to incite violence and turned religion into a dividing factor. But always eat humble pie. Like in Bangladesh in 1971, Pakistan failed miserably and was compelled to surrender before the Indian Army. Pakistan's repeated attempts to secede from Kashmir proved futile exercise because the people of the region understood Pakistan's dirty games.

(R C Ganjoo is a senior journalist and columnist having more than 30 years experience of covering issues concerning national security, particularly Kashmir. He has worked with several prominent media groups and his articles have been published in many national and international publications.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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