Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi signed the Simla Agreement on July 2, 1972. The agreement carries vast importance for both countries diplomatic relations as well as for the special status of the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan and India share a history of three wars and Kargil Conflict since their independence from British rule. During the East Pakistan Crises in 1971, India supported Bangladesh and captured Pakistani soldiers. The peace agreement took place after the 1971 war during which both the countries felt the need that all disputes should be settled by bilateral negotiations. As the war of 1971 disintegrated Pakistan, owing 54% of Pakistan’s population delved and the strength of 93,000 soldiers and civilians were under the subjugation of India. In light of all this, both the countries held on the negotiations from 12th January to 30th April 1972. Ultimately, after enough exertion and signing of the agreement on July 2, Pakistan approved the Simla accord on 15 July 1972 while India executed it on 4 August 1972.
The objective of the Simla Agreement
The objective of Simla Agreement as mentioned in its preamble is: “The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan are resolved that the two countries put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations and work for the promotion of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of durable peace in the subcontinent so that both countries may henceforth devote their resources and energies to the pressing task of advancing the welfare of their people.”
So, it is to be noted that this statement is merely a peace expression between two countries where the Kashmir issue is not the subject of concern.
Important Points of Simla Agreement
• It is noted that according to the sub-section I of Section One of the agreement that says: “That the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations [UN] shall govern the relations between the two countries.” So, if we consult the UN Charter, its Article One is about “Equal rights and self-determination of peoples” and Article Two is about “Prohibition of the threat or use of force in international relations.” If the Simla Agreement is being practically implemented, these articles of UN Charter are a big question mark on the current status of self-determination of Kashmiris.
• Section Five of the agreement says: “In Jammu and Kashmir, the line of control resulting from the cease-fire of December 17, 1971 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side.” Section Seven says: “Both Governments agree that their respective Heads will meet again to discuss a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of diplomatic relations.” These sections clearly demonstrate that India admitted that Kashmir is not their integral part and the issue of Kashmir is a pending case.
• Sub-section II of Section one of the Simla Agreement says: “That the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them.” India claims that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral issue and there is no need of the involvement of the UN. However, this section clearly reveals Indian intentions for isolating the Kashmir issue from the international world. The use of “or by any other peaceful means” reflects that this matter can be carried to the UN however, India denies it to prolong the matter.
• Kashmiri people have nothing to do with Simla Agreement. It was signed after 1971 war, to maintain hostile relations between India and Pakistan. They are not signatory of the agreement. Hence, their consistent protests and fight for their right of self-determination is the greatest call for the UN to intervene in the matter.
Does the Simla Agreement practically stand valid?
The Indian move of ending the special status of Kashmir under Article 370 is surely the practical abrogation of the Simla agreement and the violation of the Indian constitution itself. The agreement clearly indicates the special status of Jammu & Kashmir. The presence of more than 900,000 military and paramilitary troops of India in Kashmir is clearly the violation of all kinds of rights of Kashmiris.
Now, it’s high time for Pakistan to officially announce the abrogation of Simla agreement and invoke the UN to mediate and intervene in this matter of human rights violations. Pakistan can do so by legislation in parliament as it’s the only possible solution to end the long and miserable occupation of the Indian government in Kashmir.
Pakistan after Revoking the Simla Agreement
Following are the disadvantages; Pakistan might face after abrogating the Simla Agreement
• International repute of the country would get affected if the agreement is abrogated. Countries might refrain from signing important agreements with Pakistan.
• Pakistan might be diplomatically isolated by India and its allies.
• The relations between two countries may be worsened and a situation of war might arise.
• The question of the POWs that were released post-agreement and the status quo that was maintained at LOC may become a tension between the two countries.
Advantages to Kashmir
Kashmiri people can claim their rights without a mention to this agreement. As India always refers to the Simla Agreement whenever third party mediation for Kashmir is sorted, revoking the agreement may end this pretext once and for all.
Kashmiris Right to self Determination is the prima facie of the ongoing struggle and no bilateral treaty can with-hold this basic entity from them.
• According to the 1941 census, 77% of the Kashmiri population were Muslims. It is to be noted that Kashmiri Muslims started war for their self-determination early in 1947 when the Maharaja Hari Sing went against the majority will and wanted to side with India.
• On January 1, 1949, Cease Fire was signed between two countries and United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan UNCIP gave a proposal to dismiss armies from both sides and to hold a plebiscite. However, the rejection of this proposal by India’s side clearly shows that India never wanted to conduct a plebiscite in Kashmir.
• Popular insurgencies in Indian Occupied Kashmir are proof that people of Kashmir want their right of self-determination.
• Every time Kashmiris shout out for freedom, either they are killed, raped or disabled. In a report of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 2018-19, in Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, where most pellet shotgun injured are treated, 1,253 people have been blinded by the metal pellets used by security forces from mid-2016 to end of 2018. So, human rights protecting agencies should definitely work for the cause of the Kashmiri people.
• (2016, August 17). Kashmir’s 69-year-long history of deadly strife. Dawn News. https://www.dawn.com/news/1278128
• Jabbar J. (2019, August 7). Distorting Shimla. Dawn News. https://www.dawn.com/news/1498549
• Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (2019). Update of the Situation of Human Rights in Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir from May 2018 to April 2019.
• Rashid Q. (2016, August 16). The Simla Agreement and the Kashmir issue. Daily Times. https://dailytimes.com.pk/63237/the-simla-agreement-and-the-kashmir-issue/
• Rashid Q. (2016, October 18). Kashmir and the Simla Agreement. Daily Times. https://dailytimes.com.pk/51398/kashmir-and-the-simla-agreement/
Author: Mujahid Gilani
The Futility of the Simla Agreement