On April 28, 1949, between the Government of Pakistan and the then Government of Azad Kashmir, the Karachi Agreement was very much in Pakistan’s favour and deprived the people of PAK of significant powers and responsibilities. The agreement, we get to know that Pakistan was made responsible for the administration of the region, not for the development of the region.
Not even a single point is mentioned about Pakistan establishment developing the region. You took control of a large area and declared 4,000 square miles of area independent (Azad Kashmir), while you gave control of the 28,000 square miles to Pakistan without taking assent of the legitimate local administration.”
Karachi Agreement.Between Government of Pakistan and government of Azad Jammu Kashmir is not bilateral agreement but imposed by Pakistan.aganist the will and representation of Gilgit Baltistan Subjects.
Karachi Agreement is an agreement purportedly executed on 28 April 1949 between the Government of Pakistan and the then Government of Azad Kashmir governing the relations between Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. It set down the division of the powers between the two governments as well as the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference. Through the agreement, Azad Kashmir ceded to the Government of Pakistan complete control over Gilgit-Baltistan (then called the “Northern Areas”), and the control over subjects of defence, foreign affairs and communications in its own area.
The Karachi Agreement is reported to have been signed on 28 April 1949 by:
Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani, Pakistan’s `Minister without Portfolio’, in charge of the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs
Sardar Mohammed Ibrahim Khan, the president of Azad Kashmir
Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas, Head of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference
The agreement was apparently kept as a secret document up to 1990s. It was not reported in the newspaper reports of 1949, the memoirs of Sardar Ibrahim or any other sources. It was revealed for the first time in the Verdict on Gilgit and Baltistan (Northern Area) by the High Court of Azad Kashmir in 1990s, which states that the agreement “appears to have been executed on 28 April 1949.” Later, it was published as the Appendix XVII of The Constitution of Azad Jammu & Kashmir by Justice Syed Manzoor Hussain Gilani in 2008.
The agreement was very much in Pakistan’s favour and deprived the Azad Kashmiris of significant powers and responsibilities.[
Part I of the agreement covered the structure and operation of the `Civil Administration of Azad Kashmir Area’, which laid down the regulations for the Azad Kashmir government. Part II dealt with financial arrangements by which Pakistan would advance money. Part III was titled the `Division of functions between the Governments of Pakistan, the Azad Kashmir Government and the Muslim Conference’.
In the division of powers, the Pakistan government allocated to itself eight important matters including Defence, negotiations with the UNCIP, foreign policy, publicity in foreign countries, coordination of refugee relief and rehabilitation, coordination of all arrangements for a plebiscite, all activities within Pakistan with regard to Kashmir and, finally, all affairs of the `Gilgit and Ladakh areas’ (which were then under the control of the political agent at Gilgit). The last item meant that Azad Kashmir `lost’ Gilgit and Baltistan from its control, essentially permanently. This put paid to Azad Kashmir’s claim of being an alternative government for the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and turned it into a `local authority’ limited to a rump territory of the state. Pakistan obtained the total control over the defence of the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, including the `Azad Army’. It also took complete charge of relations with the Indian government and the Indian-controlled part of Jammu and Kashmir. The Azad Kashmir government no longer had any international role.
The Azad Kashmir government was allocated only five functions, three of which gave it responsibility for policy and administration of Azad Kashmir and fourth to develop its economic resources. The fifth function was to give `advice’ to the Minister without Portfolio in charge of the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs in its negotiations with the UNCIP.
The Muslim Conference was allocated seven functions, six of which gave it responsibility to organise political activities within Azad Kashmir, the “Indian occupied areas of the State” and “among Kashmir refugees in Pakistan”. These included activities for a plebiscite. The sixth function was to give “general guidance” to the Azad Kashmir government. The last function, identical to that of the Azad Kashmir government, was to give “advice” to the Minister without Portfolio in charge of the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs.
The Azad Kashmir government and the Muslim Conference accepted the agreement because they wanted Azad Kashmir to join Pakistan, which they expected to happen soon with the promised plebiscite. In his view, this relationship was similar to Pakistan’s relationship with its other provinces In 1972 the Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly passed a resolution reclaiming Gilgit-Baltistan.However 14th May1993 Sardar Ibrahim khan Former President of AJK denied the signature of Karachi agreement dated 28 April 1949 at Rawalakot in Publice Meeting organised by JKLF on First death Anniversary of Kashmiri Late Leader Sardar Rashid Hasrat at Rawalakot Stadium.He also denied the conformation of sign on many various occasions.
The Azad Kashmir Interim Constitution formulated in 1974 lists Gilgit-Baltistan as being part of Azad Kashmir. In 1992, the Azad Kashmir High Court admitted a petition and subsequently ordered the Azad Kashmir government to take control of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The order was however challenged in the Azad Kashmir Supreme Court, which overturned it even though it maintained that Gilgit-Baltistan was part of Jammu and Kashmir. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan are reportedly incensed with the Karachi Agreement because there was no representative of theirs in making the agreement even thought it decided on the fate of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The 1949 Karachi Agreement was essentially formulated by Islamabad to ratify Pakistan’s administrative control over the region without consulting any shareholder of the region.
Pakistan has since then been perpetrating worst forms of humanitarian crimes on the people of PAK and Gilgit Baltistan.
“When Pakistan took control of this region, then instead of giving people their fundamental, political, social, democratic and national rights, they declared the name of the region as Northern areas. This region was removed from our syllabus and was added to Pakistan and a narrative was built for the people of Pakistan that this region was being added to Pakistan and this is not even remotely connected with the reality,
The people in AJK and Gilgit Baltistan are now demanding an immediate abolishment of the agreement with all rights conferred to citizens in letter and spirit. in fact, the whole Karachi Agreement. Today, the circumstances are completely different from the time when the agreement was signed and if the Pakistani government is really serious about resolving the issues of these two regions (Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan), then it should abolish all laws relates to Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and merge them into one unit appropriate representation from both regions,
The people of AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan have suffered decades of discrimination and persecution, owing to skewed policies and agreements framed by Islamabad.
There have been massive social and economic depredations in the region at the hands of state-sponsored machinery. It is high time that Pakistan takes cognizance of the growing resentment amongst the people of the region before it transmutes into something unmanageable.
Written By :Sardar Naseem Iqbal Advocate,
Chairman Jammu Kashmir International Legal Watch,
Based in Nottingham UK