22nd February Parliament Resolution – Time to ensure Pakistan vacates illegally occupied POJK #SankalpDiwas

| Daya Sagar
(Image courtesy: Jammukashmirnow.com)
  • Parliament resolution on 22nd Feb 1994 demanded that Pakistan must vacate POJK and it was for the GOI to execute the same
  • Unless that is done return of peace & stability in the J&K may not be possible for some more decades
  • Pakistan continues illegal activities for destabilizing the development process and disturbing the peace in J&K through indirect means
  • This day ‘WE’ must remind ‘OURSELVES’ that it is now 75 years of POJK lands are under enemy/foreign occupation

The February 1994 Resolution of the Indian Parliament had demanded that Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression; and resolves that all attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely. In reply to Rajya Sabha unstarred question NO.†2957 (MEASURES TAKEN TO LIBERATE POK) for 21-03-2018 by  SHRI JAVED ALI KHAN MP, “ Will the Minister of HOME AFFAIRS be pleased to state : (a) whether Government is still committed to the resolution on Jammu and Kashmir passed by the Parliament on 22nd February 1994; and (b) if so, the measures taken to liberate Pakistan Occupied Kashmir from Pakistan”>  MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (SHRI HANSRAJ GANGA RAM AHIR) had replied < ” The Government of India’s principled and consistent position on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Indian Union. A part of the territory of the State is under the forcible occupation of Pakistan. This position has been reaffirmed by the Resolution on Jammu & Kashmir adopted by the Parliament of India on 22 February 1994. India is committed under the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration, to resolve all issues with Pakistan peacefully through bilateral discussions”. But Government had said in reply to the question that  India is committed under the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration, to resolve all issues with Pakistan peacefully through bilateral discussions without telling what had been the progress. 

The reply was no different than it was to Q No 2957 of 21-03-2018  when in reply to Lok Sabha Q* NO.32 ( ILLEGALLY OCCUPIED AREAS ) of December 12, 2018, by MP  DR. KIRIT SOMAIYA: (a) whether the Government has asked Pakistan at the diplomatic level to vacate all illegally occupied areas of Kashmir; (b) if so, the details thereof; (c) the details of the areas in Kashmir under illegal occupation of Pakistan till date;(d) whether Pakistan has reverted and taken initiative to vacate the illegally occupied areas of Kashmir; and (e) if so, the details thereof? The MINISTER FOR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS (SHRIMATI SUSHMA SWARAJ) had tabled the reply as <” India’s consistent and principled position, as also enunciated in the 1994 Parliament Resolution adopted unanimously, is that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir has been, is, and shall be an integral part of India. Pakistan has been in illegal occupation of approximately 78,000 sq. km of Indian territory in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Under the so-called ‘Boundary Agreement’ signed between China and Pakistan on 2 March 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq .kms of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir to China. We have repeatedly and consistently called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation, most recently on 30 November 2018. Pakistan continues to be in illegal and forcible occupation of a part of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir.“ Minister did not tell where & when India had asked Pakistan to vacate occupied areas by a nominated date? 

The question had been once again asked on 11-03-2020  in Parliament in reply to a Lok Sabha unstarred Q. No  2977 for a reply on 11-03-2020 regarding  22nd Feb 1994  RESOLUTION ON POK from SHRIMATI MALA ROY asking: a) whether the Government is aware of a Parliament resolution on PoK; (b) if so, the details thereof and the steps being taken to realize the resolution; and (c) the details of steps taken till date on PoK?  the MINISTER OF STATE MEA SHRI V. MURALEEDHARAN said in a written reply“. The government’s consistent and principled position, as also enunciated in the Parliament resolution adopted unanimously by both Houses on 22 February 1994, is that the entire Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are, and shall be an integral part of India. Government monitors all developments taking place in the territories of India including in territories that are under the illegal and forcible occupation of Pakistan. We have consistently called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal and forcible occupation, and to put an end to the human rights violations and desist from continued attempts to bring material change in these territories.” But here too, no specific details were given of steps taken after 22-02-1994  on PoK vacation. 

After 1994 once again war was initiated by Pakistan in 1999 along the Ladakh region of J&K but that too ended in only throwing out the Pakistan intruders/forces from areas intruded in 1999, the 1947 POJK areas remained not vacated by Pakistan and 22nd Feb 1994 resolution of Indian Parliament which demanded that  Pakistan must vacate POJK too remained unexecuted by Government of India. 

To be brief, the status of the Demand that the Indian Parliament made on Pakistan on the 22nd of Feb 1994  could be well-read from the replies as given by the government of India in parliament to 3 questions listed hereinabove. Since somewhere around the 22nd of Feb is being observed as Sankalp Divas every year. Many leaders/ societies/associations/ institutions, particularly concerned with affairs related to the Indian state of J&K, talk of the 22nd Feb 1994  Parliament Resolution every year and observe the day by holding seminars / public functions. Some in their wisdom appear to use the occasion to only express that J&K has been and is an integral part of India as the theme of the 22nd Feb 1994 resolution.

Whereas, while reiterating/ declaring (Art-1 of Constitution of India 1950 / Section-3 of J&K Constitution) on 22nd Feb 1994 that The State of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is, and shall be an integral part of India and resolving that any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means; it was demanded that Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression. So, this day is to remind ourselves that the people of India had demanded through a parliamentary resolution about 3 decades back on 22nd Feb 1994 that Pakistan must vacate the occupied areas of J&K & resolution of Parliament has to be Executed by the Government of India. It is now more than 3 decades of the said Resolution and 7 decades since about 40000 families facing communal genocide were displaced from the areas of the Indian (princely) State of J&K which have been in 1947 occupied through aggression by Pakistan, which has not been even given the claims of the properties/assets left behind in POJK  by the government of India unlike 1947 refugees in India are still hopefully hoping to return to their ‘ancestral’ hearths as promised by India government.

To be brief it has been mainly due to 75days delayed offer for accession made by the then Princely State of and that too after the then  Princely state was openly attacked by ‘Pakistan’ on 22nd Oct 1947 from Muzaffarabad side that nearly 40 % of the area of the Indian State of J&K was unauthorisedly occupied by Pakistan in 1947-1948 and more than 40000 displaced families had to run for life leaving behind almost all of their physical assets, almost some member of every household losing a parent / becoming a victim of rape / losing a kin / living in relief camp separated from others family members. No regular registration count was made by GOI nor the State government after POJK DPs managed to reach safer areas in J&K /other Indian states. Many of these families who were denied claims of properties left behind were not given a meagre ex gratia relief of even the equivalent of Rs.3500 per family in the 1960s. Not only that some of the families who were though recorded as from POJK areas ( Mirpur/ Muzaffrabad/’Poonch’/ Kotli/ Bhimber /GB etc ) but had reached in Indian states other than J&K had been disowned as residents of ‘J&K state’ even by the J&K Government. What to talk of giving the property / monetary asset’s claims to POJK DPs these ‘1st.Victims’ of Pakistani atrocities/ aggression have not been giving any type of socio-economic support like reservations in education/ services, concessions in trade, etc. These families too were hoping after 22 Feb 1994 Parliament Resolution that at least ‘now’ GOI will be getting POJK areas vacated & they shall be returning to their ancestral lands

So, this day ‘WE’ must remind ‘OURSELVES’ that it is now 75 years of POJK lands are under enemy / foreign occupation, the 1947-POJK DP families which might have grown to at least 1,50,000 family units by now have remained without claims of the properties left behind for nearly 75 years  since as per government of India policy their properties in POJK  are to be  restored to them  and it is now nearly 3 decades since Parliament of India had demanded that Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir occupied through aggression and ‘IT’ is the duty of Government of India to execute the Demand of Parliament made on Pakistan so that whenever now after 22nd Feb 2022  a question in reference to 22nd Feb 1994 comes for reply in Parliament GOI is able make a specific pointed reply as regards (a) GOI having asked Pakistan  to vacate all illegally occupied areas of J&K by an appointed date (b) if so, Pakistan has reverted and taken initiative to vacate the occupied areas (c) if not what action next. 

When the Instrument of Accession was signed on 26th Oct 1947 by the Maharaja of Indian princely state of J&K with India dominion the Pakistani ‘raiders’ had already launched open attack since on 22nd October 1947 on the J&K borders on Pakistan side, India had just attained independence in August 1947 and, the Indian defence forces were still under the ‘half commands’ of the British officers and like must be kept in immediate focus while studying the odds of the circumstances under which Indian army/air force had to fight after being despatched to Kashmir on 27th October where PVC Maj Som Nath Sharma (1st PVC) made the extreme sacrifice to defend Srinagar/ Budgam  Airport thereby enabling Indian troops to still save a large part of Kashmir Valley (72%) & Ladakh Region ( 59% ) and PVC Naik Yadu Nath Singh ( 2nd PVC) too made the extreme sacrifice that enabled the Indian troops to save around 72.5 % of the Jammu Region from Pakistani occupation. In the interest of common peace and both India & Pakistan had just become independent dominions through a letter dated 1st January 1948, addressed to the President of the UN Security Council the Representative of India to UN had conveyed placed a complaint against Pakistan saying <  that Government of India had instructed him to transmit to him ( President of Security Council) the complaint, as received via telegraphic communication, the para -1 of which said: “1. Under Article 35 of the Charter of the United Nations, any Member may bring any situation whose continuance is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security to the attention of the Security Council. Such a situation now exists between India and Pakistan owing to the aid which invaders, consisting of nationals of Pakistan and tribesmen from the territory immediately adjoining Pakistan on the north-west, are drawing from Pakistan for operations against Jammu and Kashmir, a State which has acceded to the Dominion of India and is part of India. …. The Government of India requested the Security Council to call upon Pakistan to put an end immediately to the giving of such assistance, which is an act of aggression against India. If Pakistan does not do so, the Government of India may be compelled, in self-defence, to enter Pakistan territory, to take military action against the invaders. The matter is, therefore, one of extreme urgency and calls for immediate action by the Security Council for avoiding a breach of international peace”. After 1st January 1948  complaint and ceasefire of 01-01-1949  there was 1965 Pak initiated Indo- Pak War and then was again 1971 Indo -Pak war wherein Indian forces did enter  Pakistan and although a new republic of Bangladesh was created out of Pakistan made by the then Prime Minister of India Mrs Indira Gandhi.

Pakistan continued ill activities for destabilizing the development process and disturbing the peace in J&K through indirect means/ methods supporting the anti-India elements/militancy across J&K .Till 1994 India had not directly asked Pakistan to vacate POJK and if at all it was, it was indirectly through UN desk route. It was on 22 February 1994 that Parliament of India noting with  deep concern the illegal occupation of some areas of Indian state of J&K by Pakistan and  Pakistan’s role in imparting training to the terrorists in camps located in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir/ Pakistan providing material assistance to foreign mercenaries/ facilitating infiltration  into J&K appeared like sending direct message to  Pakistan  saying  that  such activities /plans on the part of Pakistan were violation of the Shimla Agreement/ internationally accepted norms of inter-State conduct and by declaring that (a) The State of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means; (b) India has the will and capacity to firmly counter all designs against its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity; and ‘demanding’ that  (c) Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression; and resolves that – (d) all attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely. 

Pakistan continues to harbour terrorists and their training camps in illegally occupied areas of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

It was the DEMAND that Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which Pakistan has occupied through aggression that needed to be taken serious note of. The demand of Parliament made through a resolution on 22 Feb 1994 was to be executed by the Executive/ Government of India. No doubt the resolve that all attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely too was for GOI to execute but it was not necessarily involving some direct material action. But as regards “ Pakistan must vacate occupied areas” even after 22-02-1994 nowhere on record  GOI has even formally asked Pakistan to vacate POJK by a particular date. Even the UN has not been able to get occupied areas of the Indian state of J&K vacated from Pakistan and the position has not changed even when we have landed in 2022. Over 7 decades have passed, how long we wait, some solution has to be arrived at without losing more time. As far as declaring that The State of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India it can not be taken as a resolution for execution since it was just a reiteration of Art-1 of Constitution of India / Section-3 of J&K Constitution.

Many of the leaders talk of the Parliament Resolution every year on 22nd February and are observing it regularly as a ‘day’ after 2010 or so, where most of them introduce the resolution more as Parliament resolving that The State of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India whereas that day it was reiterated that State of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India (Art-1 of Constitution of India / Section-3 of J&K Constitution) instead of reminding GOI that Pakistan must be asked to Vacate the occupied areas by an appointed date is the real operative part of Feb 22nd, 1994  resolution.

The political leaderships have been using the 22nd Feb 1994 Parliament of India resolution more to “trumpet” how much they are concerned about the erstwhile State of J&K as Indian territory. For instance, a senior political leader was quoted as having said on 22-02-2020  in  Delhi that abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution was a step towards fulfilling the objective of “Akhand Bharat”  (integral India)  and “Our next objective is to take back the Indian land which is under illegal occupation of Pakistan”. The referred statement was surely received very pleasantly by ‘some’ but even 2 years after that there has been no reference in the public domain where GOI India has asked pointedly asked Pakistan government to vacate occupied areas of Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir Regions of erstwhile Indian State of J&K by an appointed date. Still, the common man keeps on hoping that as UNO has failed, one day India will surely set a firm date before Pakistan for vacating the POJK 1947 areas since unless that is done, return of peace and stability in “the J&K” may not be there for some more decades. Of Course, the present NDA-III government did make fair use of Art-370 in 2019 and has the mandate & moral support of the Indian people to decide between executing the 22nd Feb 1994 Parliament Resolution keeping also in view the questions and replies in parliament on 22nd Feb 1994 Parliament Resolution.

(Daya Sagar is a senior Journalist and analyst of J&K Affairs. The views and opinions expressed are the author’s own)

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