Refuting the position of Alastair Lamb on Pakistan's 'leigitimacy' over Kashmir


Senior Member
Feb 23, 2009
The following is a brief response I penned to a pakisthanie friend who argued on the legitimacy of Pakisthan's position over Kashmir on the basis of Alastair Lamb's argument. Alastair Lamb, in his 'seminal' book: "Kashmir a Disputed Legacy 1846-1990" argues that the Indian position of sovereignty over Kashmir is untenable because: a) the Indian Government apparently 'falsified' the date on the Instrument of Accession (Alastair provides no proof except alluding to "recent research and archives"; and b) that there were rebellions in Kashmir in the Gilgit and the current Northern Areas where people sent a telegram to the Government of Pakistan expressing their wish to join, and that, as "limited numbers" of Indian troops were covertly operating within Kashmir prior to the 1947-48 war, this constitutes an act of invasion, and therefore by the 'right of self-determination' and premeditative aggression violating the Independence of India Act of 1947, the state of Kashmir legitimately belongs to Pakistan.

This short rebuttal focuses on the latter aspect, and debunks the argument by proving that the "Gilgit revolt" was not infact a popular insurrection, but was engineered by British officers who were sympathetic to Pakisthan on the issue of Gilgit, was neither internationally binding nor legally valid under the laws of international relations since no autonomous, transient government was established to address the cause of secession as required by the Independence Act as a factor of consideration, and that furthermore, even if it were granted there was a covert Indian military presence in Kashmir existed prior to the War, that was superceded and preempted by Kashmir's propulsion into a state of ownerless anarchy through the seizing of all administrative and state capacities by British Commandants and a representative from Peshawar, rendering Gilgit a 'Pakistani colony':

As far as the Northern Areas are concerned, the Pakistani argument, and the one proposed by Alistair Lamb is that the Northern Areas rose up in revolt against Dogra rule before the annexation signed between the Dogras and India; ergo this makes them independent of the rest of Kashmir and the Accession document does not apply to them. This argument however is invalid since the Northern Areas did not form an autonomous government that ceded to the state of Pakistan following the revolt and prior to Maharaja Hari Singh's secession

It is pertinent to note also that the entire August 1 insurrection of the Gilgit scouts against the Dogras was instigated, animated and inflamed by British officers (Major William Brown and his adjutant, a Captain Mathieson ) who misled them into belieiving that an independent "Gilgit Republic" would be formed that would have nothing to do with Pakistan. Even more pertinent is the fact that the 'revolt' was not a mass uprising, rather a seditious rebellion (more aptly inurrection) by the Gilgit scouts and elements of the Kashmir Infantry: seditious because the Governor's house was surrounded after a long stand-off by the Governor and his personal staff and and he was handed down an ultimatum to surrender, failing which all Hindus and Sikhs would be put to death.

Concomitant of that was the correspondence between the British Commandant and a Pakistani resident of Peshawar and the invitation transacted therewith (possibly under duress from his commander Col. Baron based in Peshawar), the latter arriving forthwith to sieze all administrative and state capacities, rendering Gilgit and the Northern Areas a 'colony' of Pakistan. Under international norms again therefore, the revolt being little more than a mutiny by a section of the state paramilitary, aided and abetted by British counterparts in an act of treachery far more against its purveyors and residents than against its erstwhile administration, and the subsequent occupation and usurpment of administrative capacities by representatives acting on behest of Pakistan, makes the entire affair much less a popular rebellion than a scheming military insurrection with covert approbation and support.

Gilgit's ordinary people had not participated in Brown's coup which carried their fortunes into the new Pakistan, and to this day would appear to remain without legislative representation. It was merely assumed that since they were mostly Muslim in number they would wish to be part of Pakistan, which also became Liaquat Ali Khan's assumption about the entire J&K State as a whole in his 1950 statements in North America. What the Gilgit case demonstrates is that J&K States descent into a legal condition of ownerless anarchy open to military decision had begun even before the Pakistani invasion of 22 October 1947 (viz. Solving Kashmir, The Statesman, 1-3 December 2005). Also, whatever else the British said or did with respect to J & K, they were closely allied to the new Pakistan on the matter of Gilgit.

While it is true that the Act itself did not stipulate geographical contiguity as a factor to accession, it is however true that the Executive to the Independence of India Act, 1947 explicitly qualified to the two Dominions that geographical contiguity to either State and/or the predominant religion of the region would govern this option. This was the basis for the accession of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of Khairpur to India and Pakistan respectively, having there been no discrepancy nor potential dispute on that basis and in that regard.

Mountbatten may not have been Governor General of Pakistan, but he certainly was the last Viceroy of British India, and the salubrity of heeding to his monition was self-evident- particularly since the results in the aftermath of Indian independence and the Bangladesh war have all too amply demonstrated. Without dwelling too much on the topic, the war of 1971 was a disaster for Pakistan (and whould have been for any other state) primarily and fundamentally due to the logistical complications inherent of the then Pakistan's divorced convicinity.

Furthermore and contrary to the secondary argument made by most Pakistanis of the right to self determination, the Independence of India Act 1947 made no allusion imprimatur to any of the princely states to declare independence [Reference: Section II (3)]. Notwithstanding that that position held by Pakistan is itself untenable and a manifestation of double-speak. The Hindu Maharajah of Kashmir in fact temporized on accession in the hope that he might win independence. And that provision having been precluded from the India Independence Act, it was likely that he would have ceded to Pakistan if Pakistan had infact not indulged in an irregular invasion commandeered by regular troops. And to those who deny this last fact, the presence of Pakistan's regular troops is infact attested by UNCIP documents. (UNCIP First Report, S/1100).


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