Page 8 - seniors today August issue
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– the then tallest leader of the largest political    the Muslim League wanted of him.
        party of Jammu & Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah             In October ’47, Pakistani Prime Minister
        stuck to his long-standing principle that unless      Liaquat Ali Khan asked Col A S B Shah,
        the people of Jammu & Kashmir achieved self-          Joint Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
        rule, no decision could be taken by its people to     Government of Pakistan, to travel to Srinagar
        join either of the two dominions. Obviously the       to meet with senior officials of the state. There
        two emissaries failed to persuade him, it was         he met with the state Prime Minister, Meher
        well known that Sheikh Saheb was threatened           Chand Mahajan. It is known that Col Shah had
        by Dr. Taseer that if required “other means           brought with him a duly drawn up Instrument
        could would be used”. They also “advised” him         of Accession to be signed by the Maharaja. On
        to visit Karachi and meet Mr Jinnah. Sheikh           his failure to get that signature, he returned
        Saheb did not travel but instead sent his close       to Pakistan. Soon after, a full-scale invasion of
        colleague Mr Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq to                 Jammu & Kashmir was launched on 22 October
        Lahore for these talks and discussions. Nothing       ’47.
        much came about as Mr Sadiq could only meet            In the forenoon of 24 October, New Delhi
        the middle rung of the Muslim League, and             received a request from the J&K government for
        not the deciding hierarchy. It was fortunate          armed assistance against an “organised invasion
        that he returned to Srinagar just in time (a day)     from Pakistan”. The next day the Defence
        before Pakistan launched an attack in the Uri         committee considered this request and felt that
        area to test the defences. It was as if was all       arms and ammunition needed to be rushed to
        pre-determined and pre-meditated. Some say            Srinagar for its defence immediately. It was
        that there was a plan to detain Sheikh Saheb in       pointed out at that meeting that it would lead to
        Pakistan and forcibly get him to agree to what        a full-scale war with Pakistan if such assistance

                Pandit Nehru speaking to the troops in Badami Bagh, 1951
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