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Should Pakistan Relinquish Kashmir After More Than 60 Years of Dispute?

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Minahil Javed


Saba Pirzadeh

SS 100 Writing and Communication

21 December 2016

Should Pakistan relinquish Kashmir after more than 60 Years of Dispute?

        Kashmir has been in question amongst India and Pakistan since the time of partition in 1947. It is a bone of contention between both countries and was “born out of the discontents of the twin processes of decolonization and territorial integration by India and Pakistan.” (“The pursuit of Kashmir”) When British ended their rule in the subcontinent, they gave a choice to the 562 princely states to become a part of either of the states. Jammu and Kashmir, the largest princely state at that time, had Muslim majority but was ruled by a Hindu Maharaja, Hari Singh, who wished to remain independent. This was not tolerable to both India and Pakistan and hence both states formed strategies to lay claim to Kashmir. Pakistan and Jinnah, both, believed that Jammu and Kashmir belonged to Pakistan and as stated by Sumantra Bose “The Pakistanis knew that geographical contiguity and religious demography favored J&K’s accession to Pakistan” (33). Jinnah made countless efforts to convince Maharaja Hari Singh to join Pakistan but each and every one of these talks failed.

In early October, the Kashmiri Muslims openly revolted and “by late October, 1947, the tribesmen-led rebellion succeeded in capturing several towns” (The pursuit of Kashmir”) In order to preclude this attempt to overthrow him, Maharaja Hari Singh turned towards India for military aid which he received only after promising the annexation of Kashmir to New Delhi. This intervention of India on the request of Hari Singh led to the first India-Pakistan war over Kashmir. So, the question that stands is that should Pakistan relinquish Kashmir after more than 60 years of dispute? Despite the fact that Kashmir is a strategically crucial region, Pakistan ought to give up Kashmir because, once it does, the weight on the military budget would be diminished, the state would be enabled to address more local socio-political issues and the general population of Kashmir would at last be free of the hardships that they face due to the ongoing war between India and Pakistan.

        Kashmir issue has led to an Indo-Pakistani war three times in the span of 68 years and not only these three major wars, several other significant crisis and conflicts have hindered our military resources such as the 1982 conflict on the Siachen glacier. These conflicts and wars led to no significant territorial changes and the budget invested in fighting these wars could have been used elsewhere for a far more productive practice. However, both of these wars were of low intensity and for a short duration but if the issue prolongs further, a future war could have devastating consequences. Sumit Ganguly described “Furthermore, owing to the quasi-nuclear status of both states and the noticeably greater possession of armaments, another Indo-Pakistani war not be as limited as past conflicts” (168). As both countries have nuclear power, so if this issue prolongs further, another war could result in dire consequences.  According to Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, in his first interview after taking office for the third time, “Both Pakistan and India have wasted so much money on military hardware, building up their defenses against each other…I think this must come to an end. The money wasted in defense should have gone into social sectors-it should have gone into education, it should have gone into healthcare.” (Blair, “Arms race between India and Pakistan ‘must end’ says Nawaz Sharif”).

Moreover, the continuous violence in Kashmir is causing substantial damage to the lives of the innocent Kashmiris, especially to their psyche. The hatred and resentment that has developed in the hearts of the people of Kashmir over the past decades have caused many of them to stand up and revolt. This mindset of retaliation and the thirst for revenge is one of the root causes behind terrorism. These very people who have lost everything, from their family to their property, are now standing against the Pakistan army in the form of “Jihadis” or “Talibans”. And, it is no secret that Pakistan army annually spends billions of rupees on the war against terrorism. DG ISPR, Asim Bajwa, said, “The entire nation has borne the cost of the war against terrorism, which tallied up to $106.9 billion” (“'War against Terror Cost Pakistan $107bn': DG ISPR Asim Bajwa Briefs on Progress under Operation Zarb-i-Azb.”) If Pakistan decides to let go of Kashmir, it can utilize this amount of money on internal grave matters as these additional expenses invested in the training and maintenance of the army will be spared.

        Moreover, Pakistan is facing greater challenges within the country which are of serious importance than the Kashmir issue. This conflict hardly allows the government to allocate funds in budget for other sectors whereas it has pertinent social, political and economic problems that pose a grander contest than issue under discussion. As stated by Yaqoob Khan Bangash, a renowned historian of Modern South Asia, “It is ludicrous to hope to incorporate a large territory, with a different development trajectory over the last six decades, when parts of our own country are not under the government’s control, and when most people in Pakistan are worrying about its dire economic and security situation.” (Bangash).  If the income per head is taken as $1.25 then 27.4 percent of Pakistan’s population is under poverty line and due to this severe inadequacy children are unable to attend school that leads to the deterioration of our education system. As Rustam Shah Mohmand states “Approximately, 27.4 percent Pakistanis live in severe poverty, with there being more than seven million children who [do not] go to school; 40 percent of children in Pakistan drop out of primary classes” (Mohmand).

Pakistan needs to understand that education is extremely important for the states progress. With the arrival of the globalization, education has become a key factor for survival and growth but ironically the education sector is the most neglected sector in Pakistan as only a small amount of the GDP is allocated for the improvement and development of the said sector. As a very famous saying goes, ‘If you want to destroy the future of any nation, no need to wage war with them; defunct their education, they will remain no more live on the map of the world.’ Despite this, “the average spending on education budget in Pakistan has hovered around 2 percent of the GDP.” (Desk, “Govt to Lose Challenge of Spending 4% GDP on Education Budget.”) 



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