October 22 raiders invasion: How Pakistan distorted history on Kashmir

On October 22, 1947, Pakistan unilaterally broke the Agreement and launched an invasion to forcibly capture Jammu and Kashmir using tribal raiders.

New Delhi: If there is a 'Black Day' in Kashmir it has to be October 22 when its history was permanently distorted by Pakistan.

This was the day when the princely state became an 'issue' and a 'question', this was the day when the truth was masked to further the Pakistani agenda, this was the day when Pakistan deliberately destroyed the unity, integrity and civilizational ethos of Kashmir and this was the day when a deceitful and conniving Pakistan betrayed the people of Kashmir but projected itself as the champion of their rights.

“For too long has Pakistan got away with a false narrative, hiding its culpability in the tribal invasion. That's why it is so necessary to sensitize people, especially the youth in Kashmir who may otherwise not be aware of the history of the event. They need to be reminded of the brutalities that Pakistan had subjected their forefathers to and what Pakistan's real intentions were then and are even today,” according to Tilak Devasher, member National Security Advisory Board and author of three books on Pakistan.

Pakistan had entered into a Standstill Agreement with the Maharaja of Kashmir on August 12, 1947. On October 22, 1947, Pakistan unilaterally broke the Agreement and launched an invasion to forcibly capture Jammu and Kashmir using tribal raiders. The raiders, as is well known, looted the state with a ferocity till the Indian army came to the rescue.

Pakistan has managed to spin a narrative that concealed its role in the 1947 invasion calling it a 'spontaneous' attack by the tribals in response to the communal killings in J&K. In addition, it has sought to throw doubts about the genuineness of the accession of J&K to India, labelling the entry of Indian troops on October 27, 1947 in Kashmir as illegal. Pakistan has observed this day as a 'Black Day' for decades in Pakistan, in Pakistan occupied J&K (POJK) and in the diaspora in order to bolster its narrative.

The Pakistan narrative for the first time is being challenged in last seven decades and October 22 being observed as the Black Day including in Srinagar.

However, there is documentary evidence in terms of eyewitness accounts of the tribal invasion that demolishes its case. One such is of Akbar Khan (later a Maj. General and involved in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case) whose book 'Raiders in Kashmir' leaves no doubt about how Pakistan planned the invasion and was directly involved in it, according to Devasher.

Akbar Khan was then Director, Weapons and Equipment at GHQ. He devised a plan to use a previous government sanction for the issue of 4,000 military rifles to the Punjab Police and have the rifles transferred from the police to the raiders. Likewise, old ammunition was secretly diverted for use in Kashmir. He even devised a plan titled 'Armed Revolt inside Kashmir' to strengthen Kashmiris internally and at the same time taking steps to prevent the arrival of armed civilians or military assistance from India into Kashmir, either by road or air, recalls Devasher.

Humayun Mirza who revealed in 'From Plassey to Pakistan' that his father Iskander Mirza (later Governor-General of Pakistan) was tasked by Jinnah to raise a tribal Lashkar in February 1947 to wage a jihad against the British if they did not concede Pakistan. Mirza identified the tribesmen from Waziristan, Tirah and the Mohmand country for this purpose. He asked for a sum of Rs one crore (or Pounds 750,000 at the then exchange rate) to achieve this objective. Jinnah gave him Rs 20,000 for immediate expenses and told him that the Nawab of Bhopal would provide the rest.

As Pakistan was created courtesy British, the plan did not have to be put into action. However, by October 1947, Iskandar Mirza was Defence Secretary and his earlier experience with the tribesmen would have come in use to organize the invasion. The book also reveals that Jinnah was very much in the know about the events in Kashmir.
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