QUAID-E-AZAM'S ORDER DISOBEYED
When the news of the State's fraudulent accession to India became known on 26th October, Quaid-e-Azam who was staying at Government House Lahore, ordered General Gracey, the acting Commander-in-Chief, through Sir Francis Mudie, the Punjab Governor, to despatch, immediately, detachments of the Pakistan Army to Srinagar to capture the air-port. General Gracey expressed his inability to obey, without prior clearance from Field Marshal Auchinleck, the Supreme Commander. It appears that Gracey's excuse enraged Sir Francis Mudie who told him angrily to carry out the orders. Mudie, it may be recalled, was widely credited of pro-Pakistan leanings as Governor of Sind. Gracey telephoned Auchinleck at Delhi; he came post-haste next morning and had a long meeting with the Quaid-e-Azam. His argument was that since Kashmir had, due to accession, legally become a part of India, induction of Pakistan troops may lead to a total war and that in accordance with the British Government decision, taken on the eve of partition, and known as the "Stand-down order", British officers of the two armies would have to be withdrawn in such a situation and since Pakistan Army had a large number of British officers, its efficiency would be adversely affected. Auchinleck simultaneously prcposed that instead of sending troops to Kashmir, the Governor-General may invite Lord Mountbatten and Pandit Nehru to an immediate conference to search out an 2greed formula for a solution of the problem. It is very likely that Auchinleck may have cleared the proposal with Mountbatten before flying to Lahore. There, however, seems to be no doubt that the Quaid- a-Azam must have been assured of the acceptanca of his invitation by New Delhi and may have got an impression that an agreed solution was likely to be found out.
Quaid-e-Azam, therefore, withdrew his order and formally invited Lord Mountbatten and Pandit Nehru to a conference at Lahore for the 29th of October.
Sardar Ibrahim told this writer that when he met the Quaid-e-Azam in January 1948, on the eve of his departure for the United States, the latter told him that when he told his Cabinet that armedforces besenttoJammu and Srinagar, "my Cabinet got cold-feet". This shows that although Gracey had initially opposed the sending of Pakistan troops and communicated it to the Supreme Commander, the matter also came up in the Cabinet and it was not merely the opposition of General Gracey who could be over-ruled as a Service Chief but it was more due to the opposition of the Cabinet that the order to send troops to Kashmir was cancelled by the Quaid-e-Azam. That the opinion of the cabinet was a grave mistake is borne out by history but it is possible that they opposed the move for fear of an Indo-Pakistan war which in their opinion posed a graver danger to the existence of Pakistan.
What happened in Delhi is important as it shows that Pandit Nehru and his government never really intended to enter into any meaningful discussion except on terms that would have stamped the fraudulent accession with approval.
Mr. Mehr Chand Mahajan reveals that Pandit Nehru asked for an Oxford dictionary to make sure that the meaning of the word referendum which he was going to use in his broadcast on 2nd November, also meant elections.
For several years all that was known was that the invitation was accepted by both; that Sardar Patel and several other members of the Cabinet were stoutly opposed to its acceptance; that Sardar Patel compared Mr. Nehru's going to Lahore to Chamberlain's visit to Munich but that the Indian Prime Minister had 'manfully' stood against these pressures and told them that after all, they had not gone to Kashmir for the purposes of "acquisition". It had, therefore, been claimed that Mr. Nehru suddenly fell ill, was advised complete rest and that it was for this reason alone that he was unable to accompany Lord Mountbatten to Lahore. The departure of Mountbatten which was to take place on 29th October, was, on this pretext, delayed till 1st November. Mountbatten telephoned the Quaid-e-Azam on 28th informing him of Pandit Nehru's illness.
This version we get from Campbell Johnson. Mr. V.P. Menon, Secretary of the Indian Ministry of States and a great Indian himself, first published his book, the 'Integration of Indian States' in March, 1956. He
has given a part of the inner story. He says that after the meeting in which Sardar Patel opposed going to Lahore, he received a telephone call from Mahatma Gandhi's Secretary, asking him to meet the Mahatma urgently and that when he went to BirIa House, he found Nehru and Sardar conferring with Gandhiji. Says he:
"Gandhiji asked me what my objections were to Nehru going to Lahore. I replied that when this was mooted to me by Lord Mountbatten, I was entirely opposed to the idea and I gave reasons for my stand. While the discussions were going on, we noticed that Nehru was looking flushed and tired. It was found that he was actually running a high temperature. His going to Lahore was therefore out of the question."l
Lord Ismay who was on the staff of Lord Mountbatten to lend a helping hand in the transfer of power, was contacted by Auchinleck frcm Lahore. At that moment, a meeting of the Indian Defence Council was going on. Says Lord Ismay:
"Mr. Jinnah had cancelled his orders for troop movements and had fallen in with Auchinleck's suggestion that he should invite Mountbatten and Nehru to come to Lahore as quickly as possible and discuss the Kashmir problem. I congratulated Auchinleck on having intervened in the nick of time, and made haste to extract Mountbatten and Nehru from the meeting and tell them the purport of Auchinleck's message. They agreed to fly to Lahore the next morning. But the other Indian Ministers were highly indignant at the idea of the Governor-General and Prime Minister going `hat in hand' to Jinnah. Patel, who was particularly angry, said that it was reminiscent of Mr. Chamberlains's visit to Germany to plead with Hitler. I thought it right to point out that President Roosvelt had, on two occasions, travelled half across the world to settle war business with Marshal Stalin, and had not lost face by so doing. Nehru stuck manfully to his promise; but unfortunately he had to go to bed with a high temperature that evening, and was unfit to travel. The chance of striking, while the iron was hot, was lost."2
The proposed conference had been postponed from 29th October to Ist November, apparently on account of the so-called illness of Pandit Nehru. Without attributing motives to Mountbatten, it is more
1. Menon, p. 385
2. Ismay, p. 444.
probable that New Delhi wanted to watch and wait the progress of its military operations in Srinagar so as to tailor its policy to their needs. "The Great Divide" by H.V. Hodson, first published in 1969, gives the following account about Mr. Nehru's inability to go to Lahore:
"'tie Qrtcce Minister eventually agreed to go to a Joint Defence Council meeting in Lahore on Ist November, but on the evening before he was due to leave, he read in the papers a statement by the Pakistan Government to the effect that the accession of Kashmir had been accomplished by 'fraud and violence' and could not be accepted by Pakistan. He telephoned Lord Mountbatten to say that it was more than he could stomach, and that, if the Governor-General still insisted on taking him to Lahore, he begged not to be expected to discuss Kashmir with Mr. Jinnah. Lord Mount-batten excused him from coming, and went to Lahore with-out the Prime Minister, refusing himself to allow motives of personal pride or prestige to stand in the way of efforts for peace. Dog snarling at cat, and cat spitting back at dog, the interchange was all too typical of relations between India and Pakistan at this time."1
Conceding that Nehru had high temperature on 27th and even assuming that he was neither used to travel nor doing State business whenever the temperature was high (which, however, is quite untrue) and even assuming that the fate and future of the two countries was less important than the risk involved in air travel from Delhi to Lahore, there is no evidence at all that the temperature lasted till 1st November—six days later. It truly mirrors India's broken promises on Kashmir.
Mountbatten came on 1st November alongwith Lord Ismay. None of the Indian Ministers or the influential officials like Menon or Patel, was accompanying him. It was clear that India was simply bidding for time to consolidate its military build-up in the State while ensuring, through the hoax of negotiations, the non-intervention of the Pakistan Army. His arrival had been preceded by two telegrams addressed by Mr. Nehru to Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan. The first telegram sent on 27th October said:
to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or State must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view."
In the second telegram sent on 31st October, Mr. Nehru gave the pledge:
"Our assurance that we shall withdraw our troops from Kashmir as soon as peace and order are restored and leave the decision regarding the future of this State to the people of the State is not merely a promise to your government but also to the people of Kashmir and to the world."1
In their meeting at Lahore, the Quaid-i-Azam put forward the following proposal:
"I. A proclamation should be made by the two Governors-General giving forty-eight hours' notice to the opposing forces to cease fire and warn the tribesmen that., if they did not comply, the forces of both countries would wage war on them.
2. Simultaneous withdrawal from Kashmir of the Indian troops and the tribesmen.
3. The two Governors-General should be vested with full powers to restore peace, undertake the administration of the State, and arrange for a plebiscite under their joint control and supervision."=
Lord Mountbatten suggested the holding of a plebiscite under U.N. auspices but presumably he had nothing concrete to offer about internal administration. It was quite clear that with Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in power, an impartial plebiscite was out of the question because he was too pronouncedly committed to the State's accession to India. He commanded a large personal following and if a plebiscite were held with his extremely partisan administration in power, this writer may testify as a Kashmiri that large sections of our people could not have freely and in-dependently exercised their right of vote. That is why Quaid-i-Azam was insisting on either a neutral administration or an administration responsible to the two Governors-General. Mountbatten was unable to accept the proposals. That may be reasonably explained away on the ground of his being literally a constitutional figure-head, but nothing prevented him from accepting their reasonableness and promising to use his influence
&2. Mohammad Ali, pp. 295 and 296.
in Delhi for their acceptance. This writer has no hesitation in accepting the position that as free India's first Governor-General, the decision-making power had shifted to the Prime Minister and that on account of being an Englishman, he held a somewhat delicate position but even con-ceding all this, it remains undeniable that the line of action suggested above could have hardly hurt him or his delicate status. However, all that he could promise was that he would refer these proposals to the Indian Cabinet which rejected them. In his report to his Soveriegn, he wrote about this meeting:
"At the end Mr. Jinnah became extremely pessimistic and said it was quite clear that the Dominion of India was out to throttle and choke the Dominion of Pakistan at birth, and that if they continued with their oppression, there would be nothing for it but to face the consequences. However depressing the prospect might be, he was not afraid; for the situation was already so bad that there was little that could happen to make it worse. I pointed out that war, whilst admittedly very harmful for India, would be completely disastrous for Pakistan and himself. Lord Ismay tried to cheer him up out of his depression but he was not very successful. How-ever, we departed on good terms."1
With the rejection of the proposals, Pandit Nehru made a broadcast on November 2 pledging again that the government of India
"are prepared when peace and order have been established in Kashmir, to have a referendum held under international auspices like the United Nations."
The developments in Kashmir greatly disillusioned the Quaid-i-Azam, especially when a high-ranking British officer told him the very next day that he had seen Nehru as fit as ever the day before in Delhi. Says Chaudhri Muhammad Ali:
"The turn of events in Kashmir had an adverse effect on the Quaidi-Azam's health. At the time of partition, he had been confident of Kashmir's accession to Pakistan because of its Muslim population and geographical situation. "Kashmir," he would say, "will fall into our lap like a ripe fruit". Now he felt deceived, and his earlier optimism gave way to a deep disappointment. "We have been put on the wrong bus", he remarked."a
I. Hodson, p. 459.
3. Chaudhri Mohammad Ali, p. 297