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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Jethmalani offers Sharif a discussion on Musharraf’s Kashmir proposal

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, August 6: Veteran Indian jurist and former union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani has offered Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a discussion on former President Pervez Musharraf’s Kashmir proposals that failed to reach a logical conclusion during Prime Ministership of BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Apparently provoked by Mr Sharif’s recent outbursts, including his country’s unrealized dream of annexation of Jammu and Kashmir and his extolling Hizbul Mujahideen’s slain combatant Burhan Wani as “an influential Kashmiri leader whose sacrifice has given a new life to the freedom movement”, 93-year-old political maverick Jethmalani has claimed in an open letter to Sharif that Musharraf had sent his 4-point Kashmir resolution proposal to him through a friend and the owner of a Pakistani brewery after it was 'rejected' by then head of the NDA Government Mr Vajpayee.

Outspoken and often politically incorrect, India's top ranking lawyer Jethmalani developed differences with BJP in 2003 following which he contested Lok Sabha elections unsuccessfully against his own Prime Minister Vajpayee in Lukhnow. He had previously contested and won elections on BJP’s ticket for 6th and 7th Lok Sabha from Mumbai. Once Chairman of Bar Council of India, Jethmalani was elected as President of Supreme Court Bar Association in 2010. In the same year, he joined BJP back and was elected as a member of Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan. However, in May 2013, BJP expelled him for six years for an “anti-party statement” following which he filed a defamation suit against the party.

Jethmalani served as the Union Home Minister for 17 days in May-June 1996. Later he was inducted by Vajpayee as India's Urban Development Minister in March 1998. Again he served in Vajpaee's Cabinet as Union Minister of Law and Justice from July 1999 to July 2000.
It is not clear whether his letter is his personal initiative in the backdrop of the month-long turbulence that has left 55 people dead and thousands injured in Kashmir after militant Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8 or he has any brief from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP-led NDA government.

Significantly, Jethmalani was head of Vajpayee’s ‘Kashmir Committee’ that initiated an informal dialogue process with the Kashmiri separatist leaders in the year 2002. Eminent lawyer Shanti Bhushan, academic Madhu Kishwar and journalist-turned-BJP spokesman M.J. Akbar were other members of the committee. With some new members, including Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra, who is now PDP's youth wing chief, Jethmalani's Kashmir Committee surfaced after years of hibernation in 2010 but separatists like JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik refused to meet it, alleging that in 2002 it had been used by the Centre to split the united Hurriyat Conference. Jethmalani supported Afzal Guru and defended alleged Hawala handler Ghulam Mohammad Bhat but his committee did not cut much of ice while promoting Musharraf's 4-point Kashmir formula which was strongly rejected by hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani despite his positive wavelength with Jethmalani and another BJP leader Shatrugan Sinha. 

In the open letter to Sharif, which Jethmalani has among others mailed to this correspondent, the veteran legal and constitutional expert has claimed that India in the Congress rule had conceded obligations to Pakistan through Tashkent Treaty and Shimla Agreement. He has claimed that a country, that had lost half of its area and population due to her Kashmir obsession, would never be able to separate Jammu and Kashmir from India and engineer its annexation particularly when, according to him, it was on the side of ISIS and international terrorism.


Dear Prime Minister,

I don’t claim that you regard me as a friend but I claim that I am the friend of Pakistan including you. I have been born and brought up in Pakistan until I was compelled to become a refugee in India not because of any Muslims of Sindh but angry Muslims who reached Sindh from Outside India looking mainly for Hindu properties.
Sindh has been the land of Sufis and we had developed such a wonderful synthesis of Islam and Hinduism there. When I was young I used to get my new clothes on Eid day and Muslims children brought them on Deepawali.

From 1941 to 1948, I practiced law in Karachi in a firm called Brohi and Co. in which my only other partner was the Allah Bukhsh Brohi, a man whom I loved and whose memory I respect. People of Pakistan know him very well so do some people in India because he was the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Delhi for a couple of years. We were both products of the Bombay University and both of us had Masters Degree from that University. His degree was in Philosophy as Buddha and Kant as his special philosophers. I had constitution and International Law for my Masters degree in Law. Today I am running my 93rd year but throughout my long life which might come to an end any day I have not given up my love for Pakistan and affection for its people. Though a Hindu I believe that the Prophet of Islam was one of the greatest and unmatched in some ways. Pardon me for reminding you of the essence of his greatness. He is the one who told his followers that when you walk in search of Knowledge you walk in Path of God; the ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr. When Muslims followed this teaching they became the masters of the civilized world. In the 13th century, it is the misfortune of the Muslims that you produced a Khalifa who told you to burn all books except the holy Quran. Since then following this suicidal teaching you became the slaves of those whom you had educated to become civilized. I regret that tragedy persists and treat this as my dying declaration.

Let me first cure you of your long suicidal path in the matter of acquiring political control of Jammu and Kashmir. While most Indian leaders including a small fraction of Muslim leaders were busy fighting for India’s independence majority of Muslims represented by the Muslim League was not interested in Indian independence but in the creation of Islamic State of Pakistan. India paid the heavy price and of course you got a truncated Pakistan but you rejoiced that you had at least got a new Islamic State. It is strange but significant that while the majority of Indian intellectuals talked of sovereignty reverting to the people of India the Muslim League insisted that sovereignty must descend to the rulers of Indian States. You thought that Kashmir will be no problem for Pakistan. You can capture it by force anytime. Your sights were trained at time on Hyderabad, a Hindu majority state but ruled by the Muslim Nizam and his ruthless army of Razakars . Your conquest of Hyderabad was frustrated by the timely action of Sardar Patel and in Kashmir whit its Hindu ruler you relied upon your army disguised as tribal raiders marching in with forcible occupation in view. They had almost succeeded in reaching the gates of Srinagar but fortunately they wasted sometime with raping some Christian Nuns on the way that gave time to the Maharaja to sign the instrument of accession with India. The Indian army got there in time drove back the raiders until you sued for peace and foolish Nehru with the kind Hindu in him was content to with half of Kashmir leaving the other half in the control of criminal gangsters. That was their status in law. You might respect them as patriots.

This was the not the end of the problem. In the 1960’s you planned a war of aggression. Fortunately the brave Indian army frustrated this act of naked aggression on the part of Pakistan. You were lucky that India was ruled at that time by Lal Bahadur Shastri whom I regard as the best Prime Minister India has ever had.  You should be grateful to his memory for he gave you a magnificent gift the Tashkent Declaration. It had two Clauses which produced a perennial peace and a liberal settlement from a victorious enemy to a defeated one. These Clauses were

1. Neither Party shall disturb the present status quo by force or war; and
2. Neither Party shall carry on any propaganda for changing it.

It is a matter of shame that you have forgotten this magnificent compromise and the Indian generosity which left half of Jammu and Kashmir under your control despite your act of criminal aggression. I hope you realize that your claim to what India call Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is based on the generosity of the Tashkent Declaration .Unfortunately gratitude does not seem to be an ingredient in the character of Pakistan leaders.
After this Pakistan lost Bangladesh, a Muslim majority state which came to you at the time of partition of India in 1940’s.  If you could not retain a Muslim majority province and you have permanently reconciled to that loss with what justification can you lay any claim to the half of Jammu and Kashmir which India retains as a result of a valid instrument of accession by Maharaja of Kashmir. 

I hope you recall that the Bangladesh disaster left 93000 Pakistani soldiers in Indian custody. Your Prime Minister Bhutto in words with their own significance was licking the feet of Indira Gandhi. He saved that army by signing the Simla Agreement of perpetual peace.

I suggest if Pakistan is a self respecting country you should develop utmost love and affection for the generosity of Indians. Instead of that you have let loose a reign of terror in Jammu and Kashmir and the satanic organization ISIS is threatening the security of the whole world. Ask yourself Mr. Prime Minister are you not on the side of ISIS in this unholy war against the rest of the world.

You are endangering the existence of Islam on this planet. Of course there is going to be widespread destruction of millions on this planet and humanity might have to surrender the planet to the cockroaches. But you are not going to succeed in capturing Jammu and Kashmir. You should be ashamed that you are turning young boys from the age of 10-13 as terrorists and girls of a slightly longer age 15 years maximum. These youngsters don’t understand that you are using them to win some sympathy from the world but the world knows that it is the cowardice of the older people who want to sacrifice these innocent youngsters in your unholy war which is now being waged against Jammu and Kashmir and against the whole civilized world.

Lastly, Mr. Prime Minister when Musharaff ruled Pakistan he came with proposals for settlement. I regret that the then government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee rejected the proposals. After his return to Pakistan, Musharaff sent his proposals to me through his friend, the famous owners of a brewery in Pakistan. You know the name. I am suffering from a slight loss of memory. I will speak to you further about these proposals if you are in a mood to hear a little more.

Do I ask Mr. Prime Minister that you will consider this as an appeal from a genuine friend of Pakistan and admirer of the Prophet of Islam.

You don’t mind this letter being published.

       Yours Affectionately

      Ram Jethmalani

[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

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