These are only five of several such instances which prove there are elements in the Indian establishment and Islamabad, as also in Indian Kashmir, who are working day and night to ensure implementation of the Musharraf formula, notwithstanding the National Assembly assertion of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi that Musharraf had damaged the Kashmiri cause and that there was no question of the Musharraf formula being implemented. These examples vindicate the stand of the founders of the Forum Against Dixon Plan – Bali Bhagat of BJP, Hari Om of Congress, Ajay Chrungoo of Panun Kashmir and Ch. Abdul Rouf of Jammu State Morcha (Progressive) – that moves are afoot to divide Jammu province along the Chenab River on communal lines.
The outcome of the March 1990 Colombo meeting between the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers; the May 2, 2009 revelations by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the agreement reached with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf; the statements by Pervez Musharraf in 2007 and thereafter in this regard; the April 24, 2010 revelations by former Pakistan Foreign Minister Kasuri; and what Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and well-known India-basher and India-based spokesperson of Islamabad and Kashmiri separatists A.G. Noorani said umpteen times in the past few years, clearly establish that those who call the shots in India and Pakistan had considered, and continue to consider, the Dixon Plan as an ideal solution to the “Kashmir problem”.
Who was Sir Owen Dixon? Who authorized him to visit India and Pakistan to discuss ways and means with the concerned authorities in both countries to resolve the “Kashmir issue”? What did Dixon suggest? What was the attitude of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the Dixon Plan and what exactly did it entail? The answer to the last question first is that Dixon wanted – apart from several other anti-India steps – division of Jammu province on purely communal lines in order to help (at the behest of the United States and other rabidly anti-India countries) Pakistan, the aggressor.
Owen Dixon was an Australian judge appointed by the United Nations as its representative for India and Pakistan (UNRIP) after General A.G.L. McNaughton of Canada, who had been appointed as UN representative for India and Pakistan on December 17, 1949, told the UN on February 3, 1950 that he had failed to resolve the conflict between the two nations. Dixon was appointed UNRIP in March 1950. He reached the sub-continent on May 27, 1950. Immediately after his arrival, he talked to the concerned Indian and Pakistani officials, but separately. He visited Jammu and Kashmir for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation. His basic objective was to see if plebiscite could be organized in the whole State in one go, and if Jammu and Kashmir could be demilitarized.
Dixon took no time to realize that “the chances of a plebiscite for the whole state proving successful were much reduced by the failure of the parties over so long a period of time, notwithstanding the assistance of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), to agree upon in practical measures in pursuance of that course for the solution of the problem…Only if and when I was satisfied that no such agreement could be brought about and that all real chance of it had ended, ought I to turn to some form of settlement other than a plebiscite of the whole state”.
Dixon was fully aware of the difficulties that beset the problem. The attitude of both India and Pakistan had hardened. Pakistan had been emboldened by the support it had received from the United States and a number of Western countries. It was not prepared to relinquish its gains (Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan). New Delhi felt, rightly, that the Security Council dominated by Western countries had all through not only tried to overlook India’s legal, political and moral claims, but willfully created situations to humiliate it and deprive it of its legitimate due. New Delhi therefore looked upon the efforts of the Security Council with misgivings and was not prepared to yield even the smallest ground.
In these circumstances Dixon tried to bring about an atmosphere of cordiality between India and Pakistan, arranging a meeting between himself and the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, at New Delhi, from July 20 to July 24. At the meeting, neither India nor Pakistan agreed for demilitarization of the state. The initiative in this direction was left solely with the UN representative. In his report to the Security Council, Dixon without branding Pakistan as an aggressor, acknowledged that Pakistan violated international law twice, first on October 20, 1947, when hostile forces entered Kashmir, and then in May 1948, when regular Pakistani units moved into the state.
Thereafter, he proposed that the “first step in demilitarization should consist of withdrawal of the Pakistani regular forces commencing on a named day… Then the other operations on each side of the cease-fire line should take place and as far as practicable, concurrently.” Dixon also asked for the disarming and disbandment of the “Azad Kashmir” forces and the Northern Scouts. Pakistan differed from Dixon’s basic approach, but expressed willingness to accept the “sequence of demilitarization proposed by him.”
Dixon asked New Delhi to withdraw its Army and disband the Jammu and Kashmir State forces and State Militia, subject to the need of (a) assisting the civil power in maintaining law and order, and (b) guarding the northern approaches to the Valley against possible incursion (an indirect admission that Jammu and Kashmir was part of India). For the so-called Azad Kashmir, Dixon’s plan was to attach a UN officer to each district magistrate of the area for ensuring fair and impartial administration.
Dixon’s suggestions were not acceptable to New Delhi as the existing district magistrates of the area had been appointed after the invasion by Pakistan. As for Gilgit-Baltistan, Dixon’s Plan was to appoint a political agent or agents of the United Nations in consultation with India and Pakistan. Such agents were to act through the existing channels of authorities.
Dixon also suggested several other alternatives. One was forming a coalition government through meetings of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Choudhary Ghulam Abbas. He intended to place certain portfolios at the disposal of the respective parties. But his proposals had no taker. Another alternative was the creation of a set-up consisting of “trusted persons outside politics, holding high judicial or administrative offices and commanding public confidence.” “The Hindus and Muslims would be equally represented with a United Nations deputed Chairman.” His third plan was to have an “administration containing United Nations representatives.” None of these proposals was acceptable to New Delhi. A coalition government was not possible in view of widening gulf between the different parties of the state at that time.
New Delhi found a contradiction between the position from which Dixon had started and the actual plan he framed. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru asserted, among other things, that “India could not ask the state to disband its militia, which was acting as the police, as it would prejudice the organization of the state, that India could not countenance for a moment the idea of limiting its forces in the area because of the presence of the invading elements within its territory.”
As Dixon could not succeed in obtaining Indian agreement to conditions which, in his opinion, would ensure a fair and impartial state-wide plebiscite, he tried at a conference with the India and Pakistan Prime Ministers to ascertain their reactions to two alternatives: (a) a plan for holding plebiscite by sections or areas, and the allocation to India or Pakistan of each section or area according to the result of the vote therein, (b) a plan for allocation of areas certain to vote for accession to either country, and a plebiscite for the uncertain area of the Valley of Kashmir. The initial reaction of Pakistan was one of total opposition, but India agreed to consider this approach.
Convinced there was no possibility of a “mutual agreement”, Dixon applied himself to the task of preparing a plan and having it either accepted or rejected or modified by agreement. He revived the old idea of administration by United Nations officers, now for the limited plebiscite area. He devised the completely new formula that this administration would be competent to exclude troops of every description, or, if they were found necessary, they would ask the parties to provide them. India emphatically refused to agree to any such provision for it amounted to equating the aggressed and the aggressor.
Sir Owen Dixon left the sub-continent on August 23, 1950, thus ending another phase of United Nations mediation. He filed his report with the Security Council explaining in detail his negotiations and the failure of his mission.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru rejected out-of-hand Dixon’s admixture report immediately after its publication, on five specific grounds. One, implementation of the Dixon Plan “would turn Kashmir into an area of communal bigotry, where plebiscite would be neither fair nor peaceful.” Two, “there could be no question of India abdicating her constitutional rights in Kashmir.” Three, “Pakistan could have no standing in the dispute.” Four, “India had a painful experience of coalition governments – a paralysis results out of an admixture of incompatibles.” And, fifth, “the United Nations could not be a substitute for India, so far as the obligation to safeguard the security of the state is concerned.”
The attitude of the Indian Press to the Dixon Plan was identical to that of Nehru. According to The Hindu (September 22, 1950), Sir Owen Dixon “had not made it even of his secondary aims to establish right over might in Kashmir.” The Hindustan Times (August 25, 1950) described the Dixon Plan “as one more of Alice in the Wonderland developments.” As per Amrita Bazar Patrika (September 24, 1950), “the diplomat in him had got the better of his sense of justice.” The National Herald (August 25, 1950) said, “by this amazing final proposal, Dixon has forfeited the confidence India had in his judicial temper and impartiality.”
It is this archaic out-and-out anti-India and communal Dixon Plan that certain elements in India want to implement to end the conflict over Jammu and Kashmir and conciliate Pakistan and its agents in Kashmir. Obviously, they are oblivious of the grave evils that would follow implementation of the pernicious Dixon Plan, including bloodshed and displacement of people, Hindus and Muslims alike, in Jammu province. It needs to be noted that the immediate fallout of the implementation of the Dixon Plan would the merger of such areas as parts of Udhampur, Doda, Reasi and Jammu districts, including Akhnoor, and the whole of Poonch and Rajouri districts into Pakistan; or their merger with the Muslim Kashmir.
One can understand the support being extended by Pakistan and its agents in Kashmir and other parts of India, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and A.G. Noorani to the Dixon Plan that seeks to divide Jammu province along Chenab River on purely communal lines. After all, implementation of the Dixon Plan helps Pakistan establish physical control over the Chenab River and meet the water needs of Sindh, Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province. Islamabad believes that physical control over the Chenab alone would help preserve the unity and integrity of Pakistan. These three provinces are against Punjab and one reason behind their anger is the water policy the Punjab-dominated government in Pakistan has evolved and implemented. Implementation of the Dixon Plan also helps those in Kashmir who are talking in terms of self-rule, joint-management, supra-state measures, dual currency, demilitarization and theocratic dispensation.
But one fails to understand how parties like the BJP which consistently claims it would not accept any solution that dilutes Indian sovereignty in Jammu and Kashmir, and that it stands for the State’s total merger with India and abrogation of Article 370, can consider the Dixon Plan as a solution to the Kashmir issue. Similarly, one fails to understand why certain elements in the Congress-led UPA government are thinking in terms of accepting the Dixon Plan as a solution to the Kashmir problem.
Both BJP and the UPA government would do well to reject outright any suggestion that divides Jammu on communal lines; facilitates formation of Greater Kashmir comprising Muslim Kashmir and the Muslim and non-Muslim-dominated areas of Jammu province and Ladakh region, and that recognizes Islamabad as one of the most important factors in Indian Jammu and Kashmir. They would do well to remember that implementation of the 1950 Dixon Plan would not only lead to bloodshed and displacement of populations in Jammu province and victory of Pakistan and the Kashmiri communalists, but would also mean no control whatsoever of India over the northern frontiers. It is good that persons like Bali Bhagat, Hari Om, Ajay Chrungoo and Abdul Rouf have come forward to educate the public about the dangerous ramifications of the implementation of the Dixon Plan.
The writer is a resident of Jammu & Kashmir
Sourced from www.vijayvaani.com