The history of bilateral negotiations pertaining to Kashmir between the leaders of India and Pakistan at the state level can be traced back to November 1947. The meeting of the Joint Defense Council was scheduled at Delhi only four days after the occupation of Kashmir by the Indian forces. The venue of the meeting was changed from Delhi to Lahore. The Governor General and Prime Minister of the two countries were supposed to attend the meeting. However, to avoid direct talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Jawaharlal Nehru declared himself ill and his deputy, Sardar Patel, refused to come to Lahore, stating that there was nothing to discuss with the Pakistani leadership. This left Mountbatten alone in his visit to Pakistan.
Mountbatten came to Lahore on November 1, 1947, and had a three and a half hour long discussion with the Governor General of Pakistan. Mountbatten made an offer to the Quaid that India would hold a plebiscite in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, provided Pakistan withdrew the Azad Kashmiri forces and their allies. He also made it clear that the Indian forces would remain in the valley and Sheikh Abdullah in the chair. Quaid-i-Azam opposed the unjust plan and claimed that the State of Jammu and Kashmir, with its massive Muslim majority, belonged to Pakistan as an essential element in an incomplete partition process. He was also convinced that plebiscite under the supervision of Sheikh Abdullah and Indian regular army would be sabotaged.
Presenting his proposal, Quaid-i-Azam asked for the immediate and simultaneous withdrawal of both the Pathan tribesmen and the Indian troops. Afterwards, he suggested that the leaders of India and Pakistan should take control of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and sort out all matters including the arrangement of a free and fair plebiscite.
Quaid-i-Azam guaranteed his counterpart that the two of them would be able to solve the problem once and forever, if Mountbatten was ready to fly with him to Srinagar at once. As India was not interested in the immediate resolution of the problem and wanted to gain time, Mountbatten told the Quaid that unlike him, he was not the complete master of his country and had to take the consent of Nehru and Patel. Thus the talks ended and the problem remained unsolved.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003