Instrument of Accession: The Controversial Document Shaping Kashmir’s Fate

Written by: Muhammad Ehsan

October 27, 1947, a tragic event in the history of India, Pakistan and Kashmir happened which gave rise to one of the world’s longest running conflicts, the Kashmir dispute has been created which still going on. This is marked as the black day in the history of Kashmir, when during partition every princely state was allowed to either join India or Pakistan freely and independently but the Indian military invaded and occupied the territory of Kashmir from which the chapter of in the region’s history has been created. The Instrument of Accession, a document allegedly signed by the state’s then-monarch, Maharaja Hari Singh, was at the heart of this pivotal moment which became the main cause of issue and let Indian Forces to invade Kashmir.

Before explaining any further, we must understand behind the scenes of the event happened. Jammu and Kashmir was a prominent Muslim majority states and strategically located. It was controlled by Maharaja Hari Singh and shared borders with both India and Pakistan, making it an attractive location for both. The fact that the state was mainly Muslim, with a Hindu king, complicated matters even more. The Instrument of Accession is a controversial document in the Kashmir issue. According to the Indian government, on October 26, 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh signed this paper, formally allowing India entry to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Instrument of Accession was a legal mechanism through which princely nations might join either India or Pakistan. However, the circumstances surrounding the contract’s signing have sparked great debate and controversy. Various parties, including India, Pakistan, and the people of Kashmir, have differing perspectives on the Maharaja’s choice to join India.

According to India, Maharaja Hari Singh’s decision  was legal and Indian army’s entry into Kashmir was on the request of Maharaja

While as the many historical have disputed Indian claims . The legal experts argue that Maharaja had lost his authority over state and was not entitled to sign the instrument of accession, and believe that Maharaja did not sign any such instrument, Indian claims are fake , they further argue if there was any such instrument India surrendered it to UNSC when India approached the United Nations with its claim on the territory of Jammu Kashmir.

Indian leaders even the founding father of Indian Gandhi said It is the people of Kashmir not the monarch  to decide the future of state.

And UNSC refused to accept Indian claim over territory and proposed plebiscite under UN auspicious.

Since then, there are majorly  three wars have been fought between India and Pakistan namely 1965 in which both India and Pakistan faced major loses, in 1971 Pakistan lose it eastern part, 1999 India lost the hilly area od Kargil and faced heavy lose. Due to this issue, India and Pakistan went into arms race and after 75 years both states are now highly equipped with harmful, dangerous and destructive weapons which not only cause the security issue between two states but also created an instable in the whole South Asian region. Apart from the conceive measures, the people of Indian occupied Kashmir are also being under the detention of Indian Armed forces which makes Indian occupied Kashmir a biggest open jail in the world. Since 1947, the indigenous people of the Kashmir especially Muslims are under the brutality of occupied forces of India and during the time span of 75 years, thousands of innocent kids, adults, women has been killed, Gail, adducted and detained.

The international communities have also made efforts to mediate in the Kashmir conflict. The United Nations has passed many resolutions calling for a referendum in Kashmir to allow the people of the territory to decide their own fate but this resolution was not able to solve the problem. The United States, China, and other nations have also voiced worry over the situation in Kashmir, calling for a peaceful resolution through talks between India and Pakistan. Even in the recent session of UNGA, many states like KSA, Turkey has shown an emotion of support towards Kashmiri people and the Kashmir issue and stated that the regional piece is only possible if there is a solution of Kashmir issue through peaceful means. In the recent session of UNGA President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the issue of Kashmir and said “Another development that will pave the way for regional peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia will be the establishment of a just and lasting peace in Kashmir through dialogue and cooperation between India and Pakistan”

So, the events of October 27, 1947, including Maharaja Hari Singh’s signature of the Instrument of Accession, continue to throw a long shadow over the area of Jammu and Kashmir. The issue over the legality of the Instrument of Accession remains a source of controversy between India and Pakistan, with Kashmiris caught in the crossfire. By compiling all the arguments and history events, 27 October will remain the black day in the Kashmir history until the Kashmir people get freedom the occupied Indian military and India.

The writer is a student of Strategic Studies at National Defense University, Islamabad and is currently serving as an intern at Kashmir Institute of International Relations.

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