|EXCERPTS OF THE SPEECH BY SHEIKH MOHAMMED ABDULLAH IN THE UN SECURITY
COUNCIL MEETING NO. 241 HELD ON 5 FEBRUARY 1948
I have heard with patience, attention and respect the statements made
by the representatives of Pakistan and members of the Security Council,
as well as the statements made on various occasions by the members of my
own delegation... I have heard patiently to the debate in the Security
Council, but I feel that I am rather confused. After all, what is the point
in dispute? The point in dispute is not that the sovereignty of the Prince
is in question, as the representative of Pakistan stated yesterday.....
The subject of the dispute before the Security Council is not the maladministration
of the Princely State of Kashmir... the dispute revolves around the fact
that Kashmir acceded legally and constitutionally to the Dominion of India...
the tribesmen across the border have poured into my country. They have
been helped and are being helped by the Pakistan Government, with the result
that there is the possibility of a greater conflagration between India
and Pakistan. But (the representative of Pakistan) completely denied that
any support was being given by the Government of Pakistan to either the
tribesmen or those who are in revolt within the State against the constituted
But then this simple issue has been confused... Today Pakistan has
become the champion of our liberty. I know very well that in 1946, when
I raised the cry of "Quit Kashmir," the leader of the Pakistan Government,
who is the Governor-General now, Mr.Mohammad Ali Jinnah, opposed my Government,
declaring that this movement was a movement of a few renegades and that
Muslims as such had nothing to do with the movement.
The Muslim Conference, which has been talked about so much, opposed
my movement and declared its loyalty to the Prince. The representative
of Pakistan now says that Sheikh Abdullah, once the supporter of "Quit
Kashmir," has joined hands with the Maharaja of Kashmir....side..... But
the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and its people, kept calm....
Why was that so? It was because I and my organization never believed
in the formula that Muslims and Hindus form separate nations. We do not
believe in the two-nation theory, nor in communal hatred or communalism
itself. We believed that religion had no place in politics. Therefore,
when we launched our movement of "Quit Kashmir" it was not only Muslims
who suffered, but our Hindu and Sikh comrades as well....
The situation was worsening day by day and the minority in our State
was feeling very nervous. As a result tremendous pressure was brought to
bear upon the State administration to release me and my colleagues. The
situation outside demanded the release of workers of National Conference,
along with its leader, and we were accordingly set free.
Immediately we were liberated from the prison we were faced with the
important question of whether Kashmir should accede to Pakistan, accede
to India, or remain independent... We could not decide this all important
issue before achieving our own liberation, and our slogan became "Freedom
before accession." Some friends from Pakistan met me in Srinagar. I have
a heart-to-heart discussion with them and explained my point of view....
While I was engaged in these conversations and negotiations with friends
from Pakistan, I sent one of my colleagues to Lahore, where he met the
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr.Liaquat Ali Khan, and other high dignitaries
of the West Punjab Government. He placed the same point of view before
them and requested that they should allow us time to consider this vital
question, first helping us to achieve our liberation instead of forcing
us to declare our decision one way or the other. Then, one fine morning
while these negotiations were proceeding, I received news that a full-fledged
attack had been carried out by the raiders on Muzaffarabad, frontier town
in the Kashmir Province....
While the raiders came to our land, massacred thousands of people --
mostly Hindus and Sikhs, but Muslims too -- abducted thousands of girls,
Hindu, Sikhs and Muslims alike, looted our property and almost reached
the gates of our summer capital, Srinagar, the result was that the civil,
military and police administration failed. The Maharaja, in the dead of
the night, left the capital along with his courtiers, and the result was
absolute panic. There was no one to take over control. In that hour of
crisis, the National Conference came forward with 10,000 volunteers and
took over the administration of the country. They started guarding the
banks, the offices and houses of every person in the capital. This is the
manner in which the administration changed hands. We were de facto in charge
of the administration. The Maharaja, later on, gave it a legal form....
I was explaining how the dispute arose -- how Pakistan wanted to force
this position of slavery upon us. Pakistan had no interest in our liberation
or it would not have opposed our freedom movement. Pakistan would have
supported us when thousands of my countrymen were behind bars and hundreds
were shot to death. The Pakistani leaders and Pakistani papers were heaping
abuse upon the people of Kashmir who were suffering these tortures.
Then, suddenly, Pakistan comes before the bar of the world as the champion
of liberty of the people of Jammu and Kashmir....
I had thought all along that the world had got rid of Hitlers and Goebbels,
but, from what has happened and what is happening in my poor country, I
am convinced that they have only transmigrated their souls into Pakistan...
If Pakistan comes forward and says, "We question the legality of the
accession," I am prepared to discuss whether or not the accession of Jammu
and Kashmir to India was legal. However, now they say, "We want a plebiscite;
we want to obtain the free and unfettered opinion of the people of Kashmir.
There should be no pressure exerted on the people and they should make
the free choice as to the State to which they wish to accede."
Not only is this the offer that was made by the people of Kashmir to
Pakistan long, long ago, but it is the offer made by Prime Minister of
India at a time when, I think, he had not the slightest need for making
it, as Kashmir was in distress.
We realized that Pakistan would not allow us any time, that we had
either to suffer the fate of our kith and kin of Muzaffarabad, Baramula,
Srinagar and other towns and villages, or to seek help from some outside
Under those circumstances, both the Maharaja and the people of Kashmir
requested the Government of India to accept our accession. The Government
of India could easily have accepted the accession and could have said,
"All right, we accept your accession and we shall render this help." There
was no necessity for the Prime Minister of India to add the proviso, when
accepting the accessiion, that "India does not want to take advantage of
the difficult situation in Kashmir. We will accept this accession because,
without Kashmir's acceding to the Indian dominion, we are not in a position
to render any military help. But once the country is free from the raiders,
marauders and looters, this accession will be subject to ratification by
the people." That was the offer made by the Prime Minister of India.
That was the same offer which was made by the people of Kashmir to
the Government of Pakistan, but it was refused because at that time Pakistan
felt that it could, within a week, conquer the entire Jammu and Kashmir
State and then place fait accompali before the world, just as happened
some time ago in Europe....
After all, we have been discussing the situation in Kashmir. I should
say we have been playing the drama of Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark....
The Security Council should not confuse the issue. The question is
not that we want internal freedom; the question is not how the Maharaja
got his State, or whether or not he is sovereign. These points are not
before the Security Council. Whether Kashmir has lawfully acceded to India
-- complaints on that score have been brought before the Security Council
on behalf of Pakistan -- is not the point at issue. If that were the point
at issue then we should discuss that subject. We should prove before the
Security Council that Kashmir and the people of Kashmir have lawfully and
constitutionally acceded to the Dominion of India, and Pakistan has no
right to question that accession. However, that is not the discussion before
the Security Council....
Pakistan, the Security Council must send a commission to the spot to
see whether the complaint brought before the Security Council is valid
or invalid.... Therefore, somebody must go to the spot. Then at that time
it would be for us to prove that the charges we have brought before the
Security Council are correct to the last word. That is the only help, we
want, and no other help.
Source: United Nations