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‘The Partition Plan was announced on the 3rd of June 1947, which entailed the division of British India into two separate dominions. The Muslim majority provinces were to form a federation which would be called ‘Pakistan’, while the Hindu majority provinces were to form India, with the Princely States given the choice of accession to either of the dominions or complete independence.
The Plan was followed by the creation of the Radcliffe Commission which was tasked with carving out the borders of the new states. Despite the sweeping victory of the Muslim League in the 1945-46 elections in all Muslim majority provinces of India, the Radcliffe Commission felt it necessary to divide the provinces of Punjab and Bengal in order to cater to their non-Muslim minorities. Fair enough, but a point of contention arises when one considers the significant Muslim populations that had lived in Kerala, Bihar, Assam, UP (then the United Provinces), Madhya and Madras for generations. No such arrangement of partition was made in those provinces for the Muslims. Such was the constitutional problem of India.
The politically motivated partition robbed Pakistan of many crucial districts in both Punjab and Bengal, most of which not only carried military importance (i.e. Murshidabad in Bengal, Ferozepur and Pathankot in Punjab) but also formed significant natural boundaries (i.e. Gurdaspur, Fazilka, Kapurthala in Punjab, Malda in Bengal). It also swelled the flow of refugees into the new state. Even after Independence, India continued to press its unjustified claims on East Pakistani districts (i.e. Lakshmipur, Chittagong, Khulna, Hilli etc). Additionally, a referendum was ordered in the Muslim majority North West Frontier Province, and also in the Assamese district of Sylhet. Both referendums resulted overwhelmingly in favor of accession to Pakistan.
The Princely States of Kashmir, along with Junagadh, Manavadar and Hyderabad had Muslim majority populations as well. While Junagadh and Manavadar opted for accession to Pakistan, Kashmir was signed over to India by its Maharaja, and Hyderabad opted for independence on the same footing as India and Pakistan. The aforementioned states had a common fate, whereby all of them were forcibly annexed by India via military conquest.
Pathan tribesmen, on the call of the Kashmiri rebellion leaders descended on the valley soon after and managed to resist complete annexation by Indian occupying forces. The Pakistani Army did not enter the conflict until early 1948, when the Quaid e Azam’s orders of defending Pakistani territory were finally accepted by its British commanding officers. The Indian Army was pushed out of Rawalakot, Bagh, Poonch and Neelum. Further north, the Balti people of Gilgit, Skardu and Ghanche overthrew the Indian political establishment and forced Indian troops out of the area.
Video Credits: Jamil Dehlavi & Akbar S. Ahmed