The government of Pakistan should revive the accession case of Junagadh state at various international forums, including the United Nations, as the instruments of accession are still intact.
This was stressed by speakers, including included the Nawab of Junagadh State Nawab Jahangir Khanji and former minister for law Ahmer Bilal Soofi, at a round-table titled “Accession of Junagadh to Pakistan: An Analysis” in Islamabad.
They pointed out that historically and legally Junagadh is a part of Pakistan. However, the matter has not only lost its importance in the international arena, but also in the country itself.
The speakers highlighted that the Indian occupation of Junagadh was illegal and violated the instrument of accession that the then Nawab of Junagadh had signed with Pakistan. They said this case is unique as the Nawab lost the territory, but has all the legal rights.
With the case is currently pending at the UN, speakers emphasized that Pakistan has all moral and legal rights to defend their stance. They lamented that as the state slowly faded away from the memory of those in power in Pakistan, it had adversely impacted case’s progress at the UN.
At the time of partition, Lord Mountbatten had initially declared that the states would be independent to decide which side they choose. According to the June 3 Plan, Nawab Mahabbat Khan signed the instrument of accession with Governor General of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Pakistani flag was raised in the princely state.
However, when the Nawab came to Karachi to discuss matters with Jinnah, civil unrest was orchestrated in the princely state by India who ultimately sent in troops to occupy Junagardh, leaving the Nawab in exile.
With successive governments failing to present the case of Junagadh in front of the media and international forums, Pakistan now needs to build a strong narrative for Junagadh and fight the case proactively, speakers urged.
They added that the Junagadh case should be taken forward along with Kashmir and other such cases. “We should fight the case of Junagadh and highlight the issue. The Nawab of Junagadh is leading the cause and we should support him as he remains the legal heir,” said one of the speakers.
They urged the government to build monument over Junagadh in Islamabad and make a committee to inform the international community about its illegal occupation by India. Diplomats, academicians, politicians, journalists, researchers and people from different walks of life participated in round table discussion.
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