Does Kashmir really matters to Pakistanis?

Does Kashmir really matters to Pakistanis


  • Under Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikhs annexed Kashmir in 1819.
  • In1846, after the Sikh got defeated in the First Anglo-Sikh war, the Treaty of Lahore was signed and upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh became the new ruler of Kashmir.
  • The rule of his descendants, under the paramountcy of the British Crown, lasted until 1947, when the former princely state became a disrupted territory, now administered by three countries :India, Pakistan and the people’s Republic of China.
  • Under the partition plan provided by the Indian Independence Act, Kashmir was free to accede to either India or Pakistan. The local ruler, Hari Singh, initially wanted Kashmir to be independent but in October 1947 he chose to join India, in return for its help against an invasion of tribesmen from Pakistan.
  • However, India faces unsatisfactory and provocative response from the dysfunctional Pakistan state. And particularly after Pathankot terror attack in January 2016- India shifted decisively to muscular mood.
  • Pakistan refuses to end Kashmir obsession, focuses on proxy war with India. Pakistan has always sabotaged peace moves.
  • India has always shown its inclination to move on the path of peace , prosperity and development but Pakistan has always sabotaged the peace initiatives by sponsoring terror activities.
  • Chinese interference is increasing with each passing day as it has woven a debt trap around Pakistan.

What about Pakistani army and public –

  • Pakistan’s army does not want the Kashmir issue to be resolved as this would pose a serious challenge to their existence and their dominance in the country’s political setup.
  • However, a large body of opinion in Pakistan favours a stable relationship with India. The focus of the people at large, like people everywhere else, is on their daily needs and economic opportunities.
  • The question in front of Pakistani public is – should Pakistan allow the Kashmir issue to hold its relations with a neighbouring country of 1.3 billion people hostage, especially since the disputed territory has never expressed any explicit determination to be a part of Pakistan.
  • More importantly, there is no evidence to show whether the people of Pakistan have any deep attachment to the cause of Kashmiris and whether the dispute has any resonance for the broad majority of the country.
  • What is overlooked is that amidst the millions of Pakistani citizens, in Sindh, rural Punjab and Balochistan, there is no wish to see Kashmir as a part of Pakistan -rather they are fixated on issues like poverty, education, jobs, healthcare, electricity, police excesses, water supply, irrigation, roads, sanitation , corruption in government departments and social injustice.
  • Never in Pakistan have the peasants, artisans , traders, students, nationalists and liberals taken to the streets demanding that Pakistan continue to press for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
  • People living in Pakistan – occupied Kashmir primarily see themselves as being of Kashmiri origin and not Pakistanis.
  • Kashmir came to play a role in the respective domestic politics of both states – but especially Pakistan. For Pakistan leaders, both civilian and military, Kashmir was a useful rallying cry and a diversion from the daunting task of building a nation out of disparate parts.


The problems of India-Pakistan-Kashmiri relations are too complex to understand with full clarity, An initial strategy of conflict-amelioration, moving across a broad range of issues, is suggested as the best things to be done. Some of the problems may not be amenable to solutions. However , one thing is clear , Pakistanis themselves have no stakes in Kashmir, its Pakistan deep state and Army that is hanging on the dispute for its own survival.

Sodhi Gautam

Sodhi Gautam

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