Why Junagadh is Part of Pakistan’s new political map
4 comments | by Dr Iqtidar Cheema
The federal cabinet of Pakistan has approved and released the new political map of Pakistan on August 4 which includes territories of Jammu and Kashmir and a part of Ladakh. The map also claims Junagadh, Manavadar and Sir Creek in Indian Gujarat as part of Pakistan.
While many Pakistanis know about Indian occupied territory of J&K; a very little is known to them about Junagadh and Manavadar. Junagadh was the first state to accede to Pakistan and on the very day of the transfer of power, its government announced the decision of the state to accede to Pakistan. It went through all the legal processes on 15 September 1947.
In fact, the State had applied for accession earlier. The Ruler of Janugadh sent Mr Ismail Ibramani, his Secretary for Constitutional Affairs to Karachi-who met the Quaid on 12 August 1947 and communicated to him the decision of the State.It was a state in Kathiawar with 4017 square miles of territory and 8 lakh population and nearly 300 miles from Karachi.
The state was a reverse of Kashmir: Hindu in population but the Ruler was a Muslim. Nawab Sir Mahabat Khan Rasul Khanji, a Muslim, was its ruler at the time of independence who had “freely and voluntarily offered”.The accession of the state to Pakistan.
The Indian Government immediately responded with large scale troop concentrations along the borders of Junagadh and other states in Kathiawar which had acceded to Pakistan. The British chief of Staff of India wrote a joint letter to cabinet stating that the armed forces of India were in no position to undertake a serious campaign and that the British soldiers could not take part in any operation which would involve clashes with another Dominion; so the issue be settled by negotiation. Military action in Kathiawar may lead to war between the two dominions and with the bulk of the army involved no internal security, the army is in no position to wage war.
Mountbatten “strongly disapproved” their measure and put them under great pressure. He called in three officers and sharply rebuked them. The paper was withdrawn and it was made sure that such incidents did not recur again.
On 16th September 1947, the day after the accession, the Prime Minister of Junagadh addressed a letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, making an earnest appeal for help by lodging a strong protest with the Indian Government to prevent the invasion of its areas, by providing actual armed assistance in the form of the immediate landing of a fighter or a bomber with a spare Dakota on its airfields at Keshod and sending a battalion, equipped with modern arms by sea to Veraval.
The Prime Minister of Junagadh also protested over the Indian blockade of his state as its supplies were being cut off, including food and petrol consigned to Jamnagar and other ports for transmission to Junagadh had been withheld. The communications of Junagadh were threatened on all sides and postal and telegraph services endangered. A bi-weekly air service, which Janagadh had with Karachi, was ordered to be discontinued by India.
The Prime Minister of Junagadh also submitted that Pakistan should not allow the Indian Union to take the law in its own hands. On 18th September, the Governor-General of Pakistan sent a telegram to the Governor-General of India stating that there were large troop concentrations along the borders of Junagadh and other States in Kathiawar which had acceded to Pakistan. The former made it clear to the latter that any encroachment on Junagadh sovereignty or its territory would amount to hostile act” and that in no case Indian Dominion troops or troops of States acceding to India should violate Junagadh territory under any pretext whatsoever.
The reply was received on 22 September, stating; Information about large troop concentrations around Junagadh not correct. India however confessed that its Government had sent a small force of troops to its own areas.
The Indian Government tightened the blockade of Junagadh which, despite protests from the Government of the latter had driven (its) people to verge of starvation. It also set up a parallel Government on its own (Indian) territory which the Government of Pakistan considered as unfriendly act towards Pakistan. The Prime Minister of Pakistan pointed out to the Prime Minister of India in his telegram on 2 October, 1947:It is regrettable that subversive activities against Junagadh State are not only being carried out but are actually being encouraged by certain authorities.
Crimes against persons and property of Junagadh State subjects are being committed in adjoining areas of Indian Dominion. To permit your subject or subjects of any State which acceded to the Indian Dominion to carry on these subversive activities constitutes a breach of the Constitutional and international obligations imposed on the government of India.
The Indian Government also stopped food, petrol and all communications, mail, telegraphic, telephonic, between Junagadh State and the outside world in order to starve the State into submission. It refused to recognize Junagadh’s accession to Pakistan, and increased its military and police forces within Junagadh’s territory which caused a great deal of panic among Junagadh’s peaceful population.
Pakistan accepted Junagadh’s accession, but Indian solved the problem in her own favour by a display of force. She blames Pakistan for accepting Junagadh’s accession but claims that her own acceptance of Kashmir’s accession is perfectly justifiable. This does not make sense.
The Prime Minister of Junagadh sent a telegram to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on 25 October 1947 informing the latter about a clear violation of Pakistan territory” as the Indian forces had occupied Amrapur and Khijadia and two or three villages all outlying main Junagadh territory on 24 October. Further telegrams were sent by him on 26 and 27th October and on 2 and 8 November, thereby keeping in touch with the Government of Pakistan and intimating the latter about the incidents of his state.
However, on 8 November, the Dewan (Prime Minister) of Junagadh, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto (father of Zulfiqar ali Bhutto), sent Major Harvey Jones, the Senior Member of the Junagadh State Council, with a letter to Mr. Buch, the Indian Regional Commissioner at Rajkot. This letter requested the Government of India to take over the administration of Junagadh in order to save the State from complete administrative breakdown and pending an honorable settlement of the several issues involved in Junagadh’s accession’.
The letter and Shah Nawaz Bhutto’s behaviour encouraged the Indian Government which promptly occupied Junagadh by force.
Pakistan protested but in vain as the Indian armed forces (equipped with tanks, armoured cars and other modern weapons) took over the administration (of Junagadh) on 9th November, 1947. The Government of Pakistan called it an unjustified aggression on Pakistan territory and refused to recognize it.
Though the Ruler of Junagadh had declared the accession of his State with Pakistan, its Dewan, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, handed over the administration of the State to Indian pending negotiations. The latter stated that this did not mean that Junagadh had joined the Indian Union. On 8 November, he flew to Karachi for important consultations with the Nawab of Junagadh. Reaching Karachi on 11 November Mr. Bhutto told the A.P.I that Junagadh was still a part of Pakistan and the State only asked the Indian Union to help in the maintenance of law and order.
The Indian Government had encouraged neighboring Hindu State which had acceded to India to create trouble on the borders of Kathiawar States, including Junagadh.
The question arises whether Mr. Bhutto (Dewan of Junagadh) was competent to ask India to help the State in the maintenance of its law and order which had acceded to Pakistan? The Government of Pakistan pointed out that the Dewan was not entitled to negotiate settlement. It contended that since Junagadh had lawfully acceded to Pakistan, so neither the Dewan nor even the Ruler himself could negotiate a settlement with India. Therefore, India should withdraw its forces from the State, hand back the administration to the Nawab and refrain from committing acts of violence and subversion against Junagadh. So it lodged a strong protest against the coup d’etat of the Government of India in Junagadh as the Indian action constituted a clear and unwarranted violation of Pakistan territory, a direct act of hostility and a breach of international law.Mountbatten’s biographer confesses: Legally Pakistan was in the right.
Quaid-i-Azam wanted to send Pakistan forces to Junagadh and assist the State. To quote Vice Admiral Jefrord who was then head of Pakistan Navy:
At a Defence Council meeting on this question (Indian invasion and occupation of Junagadh) the Quaid was, naturally keen to go to the aid of the State Government. This would obviously have meant an invasion fleet of transports, escorted by the Navy and with the subsequent landing covered by Naval bombardment. I was forced to tell the Quaid that the only ammunition we had was that carried the ships which could all be fired away in an hour. Without hesitation, the Quaid said: In view of the Admiral’s statement it would be suicidal attempt to intervene. Mr Jinnah was a realist.
So on this crucial question, whether Pakistan should render any military assistance to Junagadh, or reoccupy the State from the Indian hold, the expatriate Britishers, particularly Vice – Admiral Jefford had played a significant role in the foreign policy behaviour of Pakistan.
The Britishers employed in Pakistan followed a ‘policy of inactivity’ towards the state of Junagadh which had acceded to Pakistan.
Dr Iqtidar Karamat Cheema, is an educationalist and analyst based in United Kingdom. He has earned his PhD in International Relations from University of Gloucestershire and authored 3 books and various research papers.