Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Recently I came across copy of the judgement given by the High Court of Judicature Azad Jammu and Kashmir on 8-03-1993 on a petition filed on 16-10-1990 by one Malik Muhammad Miskeen and Haji Amir Jan, both residents of Tangir. This document has prompted me to share my views [based on the written views of GOP as well as the historical accounts reproduced on different blogposts CLICK]. 

Image of the written Instrument of Accession to Pakistan rendered by the Mir of Hunza

Image of the written Instrument of Accession to Pakistan rendered by the Mir of Nager on a plain paper in Urdu characters.

Image of the written Instrument of Accession to Pakistan rendered by the Governor of Puniyal on a plain paper in Urdu characters.
The administrative status existing in the area at the time of the events in 1947 were as under:

  • Gilgit Wizarat  - Gilgit proper with its immediate surrounding district is known as the Gilgit Sub-division, and up till 1935 the Sub-division was administered by Kashmir. The Gilgit Sub-division should not be confused with the Gilgit Agency. The former is about one tenth the area of the latter. In 1935 the British Government appreciated the necessity for the Sub-division being included in the Agency and coming under the direct control of the Political Agent owing to the increasing infiltration into Chinese Sinkiang of Russians. The Sub-division was therefore leased from the Maharaja of Kashmir for a period of sixty years and the entire area was taken under the absolute control of the Political Agent.

  • Chilas & Republics of Darel and Tangir - Administered by the Assistant Political Agent in Chilas with a native "Raja Ardal".
  • Political Districts of Punial, Gupis/Koh-e-Ghezir, Yasin and Ishkoman - Each headed by an appointed native Governor with restricted autonomy and under considerable control of the Political Agent.
  • Mirs of Hunza and Nager - Hereditary and almost independent with only limitation of conducting foreign affairs in which consultation with the Political Agent in Gilgit was a requirement.

Gilgit Scouts

Gilgit Scouts can be identified with part time force recruited through the local rulers from the Agency populations considered friendly, loyal and reliable by the British officials of the agency as Levis in 1889. The force was established as a regular entity by the British officials in Gilgit Agency when the Gilgit Wazarat (SAT-MAQSU) came in the direct control of British Political Agent after lease in 1935 towards administration, security within the Agency and the borders against threats from Russia. This force played a key role in fighting the war of liberation against Dogra / Indian Forces operating in the region in 1947/1948 and won independence for the people of Northern Areas (now Gilgit-Baltistan).
Official history of liberation: Ian Stephens - the man made responsible by President Ayub Khan to compile the official history of Pakistan - describes the the relevant history as follows:
“This was not locally liked, but it was tolerated in the belief that, as Kashmir was a Muslim majority state, the Maharajah, despite his personal will, would soon act along the lines of Lord Mountbatton’s advice to the Princes generally in July, and accede to Pakistan. When the startling news came on 26 October of the Maharajah’s accession of Kashmir to India, the locals of Gilgit were outraged and so were the Muslim officers posted to Gilgit scouts and a few to the Maharajah’s army located at Bunji. Mullahs in the villages started preaching ‘JEHAD’ against the Dogra regime. Reports came that the neighboring Princely states of Swat and Chitral, which had joined Pakistan, were about to invade; Muslim soldier in the predominantly Sikh garrison at Bunji, on the far side of Indus, caused a disturbance; on the other hand, local Sikh and Hindu traders in Gilgit Bazaar were known to have arms. By the evening of 31 October, tension locally became such that, in the scout commandant’s view mutiny and slaughter, resulting in general chaos, could only be forestalled by prompt acceptance of what unquestionably was the prevailing popular will. He therefore sent a platoon to request the Hindu Governor to come to the Scout’s lines for protection and simultaneously ordered his colleague (Captain Matheson) detachments from Chilas (headed by Subedar Sher Ali of Yasin), as well as those from Gilgit (headed by Subedar Safiullah Beg) to hold the Indus River Crossings and prevent 6th Kashmir Infantry troops from Bunji getting over to Gilgit and undo the coup.
Some casualties ensued at the crossings and indeed on the Gilgit Residency’s moonlit lawns too, because the governor resisted custody and fired on the scouts and their sympathizers from his windows, killing one soldier from Hunza. But within a few hours, the affair was effectively over; and on 2nd November the Pakistan Flag was run up amidst public acclaims”.

Thus Major Alexander Brown ‑ British commandant of Gilgit Scouts ‑ in the light of popular will of the people in general (and with the help of the dissatisfied group of five junior commissioned officers from Hunza and Nager in particular), compensated for the machinations perpetrated by his fellow British in the past. The officer, for these services, has belatedly been honored by the government of Pakistan after his death, by awarding Sitara‑e‑Pakistan in 1993. Consequently Gilgit acceded to Pakistan and Sardar Alam Khan arrived as the first Political Agent from Pakistan.
After the events starting on the evening of 31st October and 01st November both the Mirs and the Governors of the Political Districts  excecised their option to accede to Pakistan [obviously in consonance with the wishes of the populations]  their territories and communicated the same either in writing or verbally to Major William Brown, Commandant GILGIT SCOUTS - the leader of rebellion - and obvious authority in Gilgit at that time, who in turn communicated it through wireless messages to Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, the Prime Minister [CM] NWFP Peshawar as well as Col Bacon PA Khyber [the last British Political Agent in Gilgit] with an additional request to post a Pakistan Government Political Agent expeditiously.
GOP Record

 In the light of this voluntary accession to Pakistan this petition and the judgment given by the High Court appears to be out of place for the majority of regions constituting GB of today.

"Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose."- Lyndon B. Johnson

In the follow-up talks with Mir of Hunza [and other delegates from Hunza as well as Nager and other regions of Gilgit Agency] at Karachi in 1950 with PM Liaqat Ali Khan it was agreed that the two states of Hunza and Nager [and the Political Districts] would continue with their historical autonomous status with the further surety of enjoying the privileges associated with Pakistan Citizenship. This commitment of the government of Pakistan was however dishonored by PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1974 without resolving the new “Constitutional Status” vis-à-vis Pakistan.
Emotional manipulation
Historically local rulers with the consent of populations have acceded to Pakistan in November 1947. There was no constitution, first one adopted in 1956 followed by another one in 1960 and then the current one in 1973. However ZAB squashed the conditions of accession and introduced a Constitutional limbo which is being exploited by the countries historically poised as enemies of Pakistan using the emotionally charged slogan through indigenous cohorts.
It is a travesty of justice and history to link GB with the Kashmir dispute.
In the first place the distinction between the Gilgit WAZARAT (SAT-MAQSO) and Gilgit agency has been confused. In 1935 SAT-MAQSO was taken on lease by the British from Kashmir. In 1947 when the decision was made to partition India into two countries the WAZARAT was returned to Kashmir, The Maharaja appointed Brigadier Gansara Singh as the governor of Gilgit WAZARAT in August 1947. Gilgit Scouts rebelled on the night of 31st October 1947, deposed the Governor and acceded to Pakistan. The local rulers in the GILGIT AGENCY responded and decided their accession to Pakistan through Quad-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. 
Quaid-e-Azam accepted the accession and asked the Prime Minister to issue "a simplified Instrument of Accession" on the 6th of November 1947 - see MOST IMMEDIATE minute no 380-G initiated by Liagat Ali Khan. Mir of Hunza, Jamal Khan as well as Mir of Nagar, Shaukat Ali Khan, signed this instrument on 19th November 1947.

The coming governments in Pakistan need to resolve this limbo and satisfy the younger generations whose emotions are being exploited by the ill-wishers of this country by harping on the appealing slogan of “Constitutional Status”.
NOTE-1: Update: Read on this link: COMMITTEE
NOTE-2: The delegates from Hunza for parleys in Karachi were:

· Mir Muhammad Jamal Khan HI [Hon Maj Gen]
.  Prince Ayash Khan - brother and secretary to  the Mir
· Wazir Inayatullah Beg
· Trangfa Inayat Ali
· Haji Qudratullah Beg [Nazim-e- Umur]

This was the same delegation from Hunza which had gone for the inconclusive discussions with Maharaja Kashmir in the month of Jul 1947, prior to the developments in Gilgit in the months of October and November that year. 
A picture of the Mir and some of those accompanying him to  Kashmir can be seen in this rare picture:

Interestingly, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan then a child of 8 years and me a mere 5-years old also visited Karachi – for the first time in our lives – in accompaniment of our parents. A family picture taken in a Karachi studio is appended:

NOTE-3: In order to grasp the relation of the "for information" [col R.N. BACON/H.R.H AGA KHAN] addressies in this instrument of accession, as well as the approach to government of Pakistan through CM [ Khan Abdul Qayum Khan] NWFP the readers need to know the background in following account: 

·        “Khan Abdul Qayum Khan, Premier of the North West Frontier Province, gave a radio broadcast last night which was heard in the Gilgit Bazaar. He pledged the support of all Pathans in liberating the people of Kashmir from Dogra domination. This rousing speech has had a profound effect on the people of Gilgit.”
·        “I want you to speak to the Mir of Hunza on the telephone in Burushaski. Ask him whether he and his people wish to accede to India, Pakistan, or remain independent. Also ask him whether the Governor has telephoned him in this connection in the last twelve hours.”  
·        “Tell the Commandant Sahib,” the Mir said, “that I am a Muslim and my people are Muslims. Are we unbelievers that we should join India or stay aloof by remaining independent? There is only one way for us to go and that is to Pakistan and we shall join Pakistan.
·        I accompanied the Bacons as far as Jaglote. The Colonel, I discovered, was a remarkable man. With only my sketchy outline of conditions in the Sub-agency, where he had never previously served, he appreciated the situation immediately and gave shrewd and astute observations and suggestions on how to get the situation under control. His success in getting the utmost out of his juniors lay in his ability to pass on instructions in the form of suggestions and not as dictatorial orders; and yet they were always carried out. He would enter into the spirit of any scheme with great enthusiasm and discuss it in a matter of fact manner for hours until it was reduced to the simplicity of routine action rather than a major problem.
·        We then chatted about things in general for a bit and as the bar emptied he suddenly turned to me and said, “ Listen to this one, William, but keep it under your hat,” and this is the information the Colonel gave me. “On 1 August this year the entire Gilgit Agency will be handed over to the ‘‘ Maharaja of Kashmir and we shall withdraw entirely. I have just flown from Gilgit to Srinagar to discuss this matter, with the Resident and with the Maharaja. As yet I have not approached the matter with the Mirs, Governors, and people, so I cannot give you their reactions but they will all naturally be very sad to see us go. It is unlikely that the Maharaja will employ a British Officer as Political Agent and he will in all probability send up one of his own staff as Governor of the country. The Maharaja, however, is aware of the difficulties which will arise from officering the Scouts with Hindu, or Muslim Officers for that matter as they have never before served under anyone but British Officers It is therefore probable that he will employ a British Officer as Commandant and possibly one both as second in command and Assistant Political Agent, Chilas These officers would serve on a private contract until the transition from British to Kashmiri had been effected gradually. The officers wouId, of course, have to relinquish their commissions and be taken on in an entirely private capacity. They will always be in a very awkward position; they will have no redress for grievances, and at all times they will have to use the utmost diplomacy in dealing with Kashmiri officials. It will be nothing like the old days and I know that none of the officers at present in the Scouts would ever dream of staying on. In fact think the Maharaja will have great difficulty in getting British Officers who are prepared to accept this mercenary appointment. I don’t suppose you would think of going back as Commandant under these conditions, would you?”
·        All that Gilgit wanted was the peace and security afforded under the Pax Britannica, and the method by which this could have been continued, despite partition, would have been have made the Gilgit Agency an Agency of the North-West Frontier Province, directly under H.E. the Governor. This would have ensured a continuity in administration, peace, security and unity: unfertile ground for Soviet seed. My duty was obvious. I must return to Gilgit and lead, advise and help the people over the transition period.
·        So when Colonel Bacon put the question to me I replied, “Yes, I would like to go back, very much, Sir.”
·       “Right. William,” he said. “When I get back to Srinagar tomorrow I shall put forward a strong recommendation on your behalf as I consider you are the right man for the job and you are fully aware of what you are in for and the difficulties and obstructions you will meet, I think the chances are that H.H. the Maharaja will probably agree, but anyway let’s wait and see.”
·         I immediately realised that Colonel Bacon had kept his promise and that I am going back to Gilgit.

·        To:              BROWN
From:         ABDUL QAYUM          100900
Mohammed Alam being sent to you as soon as possible with instructions.
·        The news was then announced in the Bazaar by beat of drum, and orders were issued that a royal welcome should be accorded to the Representative of the Dominion of Pakistan who was arriving on the morrow. I meanwhile had telephoned the news to the Mirs and Rajas. They were overjoyed to hear it, and promised they would make all haste to Gilgit.[he arrived on 16th November]

Celebration - Governor House on 01 November 1947
The document in question can be accessed by cliking this link  COURT VERDICT ON GB 1990 while two pages containing the judgement are placed below for the information of the readers of this blog.

RELATED:  gb-indepedance-day-keynote-speech
گیلگیت  کا  انقلاب  ١٩٤٧
صفحه ٧٤
کرنل  بکن  جمعدار  صفیءالله  بیگ  کی  صفحه  مین  لیکهتی  هین  " جمعدار  صفیءالله  بیگ  هنزا  کی  وزیر خاندان  سی  تعلق  رکهتای  هین  وه هنزا  کی  پارتی  کیساته  حزهایناس  آغا  خان کی  دایمند  جبلی  مین  شریک  هوا  " لنترویو  کیا  ١٦-٤-٤٦, ٢٠-٤-٤٦,
قدرتءالله  کی  حقیقی  بهائی  هین


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Hisamullah Beg SI(M) said...

Because accession was advised by Imam at the occasion of DJ 1946 through my father to Mir of Hunza, Col Bacon extracted this information from my uncle Safiullah through the two interview on return of Bombay visit. Later Safiullah Beg penned the agreement between five VCOs, having convened the first meeting in our gilgit property. Thus the Commandant Gilgit scout was confident of reliable support from Hunza as well as Ghazar towards pre-planned action by the British, success in rebellion and accession. It is part of belief and it will happen. Nevertheless it is not a serious issue despite inimical success in over-sensitizing a portion of our youth.