January 14: Plebiscite Front led by Sheikh Abdullah is banned by the Indian Home Ministry under Unlawful Activities Act to keep it out of State elections.

January 30: Ganga, an Indian Airlines Fokker Friendship airliner with 30 passengers and crew on board is hijacked to Lahore while flying from Srinagar to Jammu by two young Kashmiris seeking release of 36 political prisoners in Indian-held Kashmir, asylum in Pakistan for them and their families’ which are still in Srinagar.

February 1: The hijackers release passengers and crew who cross over into India.

February 2: Airliner set on fire and destroyed by hijackers before India can take decision on their demands. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, whose PPP has scored runaway victories in Punjab and Sindh in December 1970 elections, declares that the hijackers are “two brave men” and have shown that “no power on earth can stifle the Kashmiris’ struggle for liberation.

February 3: India holds Pakistan responsible for destruction of aircraft.

February 4: India announces that it has suspended with immediate effect over flight of all Pakistani aircraft, both civil and military over Indian territory. It also demands that hijackers be surrendered by Pakistan. Pakistan replies that the hijacking is directly attributable to Indian repression in Kashmir and also protests against continuing hostile demonstrations outside its Delhi mission and burning of some of its property. Meanwhile, political crisis in Pakistan deepens every day with no chance of compromise between Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s Awami League and Z.A. Bhutto’s PPP, with Gen Yahya Khan’s military regime acting most dubiously.

Meanwhile, G.M. Sadiq, Chief Minister of occupied Kashmir calls hijacking an Indian plot and one of the two hijackers is an Indian intelligence agent. This is confirmed by Sheikh Abdullah one week later. People in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, however, continue to view hijackers as Kashmiri heroes. Pakistan government believes entire episode has been staged to isolate East Pakistan and make it difficult for federal authority to ship arms and soldiers there.

March 25: Yahya Khan cracks down on Awami League which has for weeks been defying federal authority and demanding transfer of power. Army units fan out all over East Pakistan and there is much wanton killing, some of it in revenge for atrocities committed by Bengalis against West Pakistanis and Biharis. Hundreds of thousands of refugees pour into West Bengal and situation goes from bad to worse each day. Indians arm and train East Pakistanis extensively in coming months and province is plunged into violence with no sign of a political settlement since Yahya Khan has declared Mujib traitor. Indian infiltration increases and Pakistani garrison is stretched out and finds itself beleaguered and short on resources.

December 3: To relieve pressure on East Pakistan, Yahya Khan authorizes attack on India from West. This operation makes no headway, but gives India the excuse it has been looking for.

December 16: Full-scale military invasion of East Pakistan by Indian army gets underway and after some fighting Pakistani commander Gen. A.K. Niazi surrenders. Cease-fire declared in West.

December 20: Yahya Khan steps down and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto takes over as President of Pakistan. East Pakistan has meanwhile declared itself independent and is Bangladesh.

 

1972

June 28-July 2: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indira Gandhi meet in Simla, India, to deal with consequences of 1971. On the night of July 2-3, after what looks like a deadlock in negotiations between delegations, the two leaders find agreement and thus come to be signed what is known since as Simla Agreement. On Jammu and Kashmir, the accord renames cease-fire line as line of actual control – to reflect some minor adjustments that are mutually agreed on – and while it pledges both sides to respect the new line, a proviso added at Bhutto’s insistence says this will be “without prejudice to the recognized position of either side.” It also commits both countries to “further undertake to refrain from the threat of use of force in violation of this line”.

July 3: On return to Lahore, Bhutto announces that “on the vital question of Kashmir too, we have made no compromise, We told them … categorically that the people of Kashmir must exercise their right of self-determination. This was a question which can be decided only by the people of Kashmir. Neither Pakistan nor India had any say in this matter.” However, at Simla, no representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir from any side is present. Simla Agreement also speaks of bilateral relations being governed by principles and purposes of UN Charter and draws a distinction between the international border between Pakistan and India and line of control in State. India has argued since that Simla rules out referral of Kashmir to an international body including United Nations, while Pakistan maintains that Simla does no such thing and, in any case, bilateral agreements cannot override international agreements. To Pakistan, UNCIP resolutions on Kashmir remain unaffected by Simla, while India maintains that Kashmir has to be settled bilaterally without third party intervention as laid down in Simla Agreement.

June: Externment order passed against Shaikh Abdullah is lifted, followed by removal of similar orders against Mirza Afzal Beg and G.M. Shah, Abdullah’s son-in-law. Begum Abdullah has already been allowed to enter the State in April.

June 19: Abdullah returns to Srinagar and declares that people of Jammu and Kashmir have still to exercise right to self-determination. Of Simla Agreement, he says that neither India nor Pakistan have any right to decide State’s fate over the heads of its people. His utterances appear to suggest that he does not consider State’s accession to India in October 1947 as final.

1973

January 12: Ban on Plebiscite Front is not renewed when it expires.

May 17: Students in Anantnag, not far from Srinagar, protest against an image of the Holy Prophet in a children’s encyclopedia. By May 20, trouble spreads to Srinagar with strikes and marches, all with a strong anti-India flavour. Total strike in Valley with public transport halted. Police opens fire and there are some deaths. By May 27, 100 have been arrested and four have died in Srinagar alone.

November 10: Prime Minister Z. A. Bhutto of Pakistan while visiting Muzaffarabad, makes highly critical speech about India’s failure to hold plebiscite in Kashmir.

November 11: There are riots in Srinagar over renaming of a women’s college after Jawaharlal Nehru. There is further unrest in entire Valley, which continues for next two weeks.

1974

Early-1974: Series of meetings take place between Mrs Gandhi herself, her emissaries and Sheikh Abdullah and Mirza Afzal Beg over terms on which peace can be made with the once-estranged Kashmiri leader. Abdullah and Indian External Affairs Minister Sardar Swarn Singh meet several times in June, while Beg holds series of meetings with former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan G. Parthasarathi.

July 13: Day was observed as Martyrs’ Day – commemorating those who died in police firing on unarmed Kashmiris in 1931. There are serious clashes in Srinagar between Mirwaiz Farooq’s Awami Action Committee and Abdullah’s supporters. The former believed that as in the past Abdullah has sold himself to India and bartered away Kashmir’s future.

November 13: Mirza Afzal Beg and G.Parthasarathi agree on all terms discussed during series of meetings.

1975

February 12: Delhi Accord is accepted formally by Abdullah.

February 24: Mrs. Gandhi makes contents public of what has now come to be known as ‘Delhi Accord’.

February 25: Abdullah is sworn in as Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir after Congress legislative party elects him as its leader. The Delhi Accord, contrary to Abdullah’s wishes, does not return position as it stood before his dismissal in August 1953. It implies clearly that accession of State to India is final. The Accord’s key provision says “The State of Jammu and Kashmir, which is a constituent unit of the Union of India shall in its relations with the Union, continue to be governed by Article-370 of the Constitution of India”. The Union Parliament “will continue to have power to make laws relating to the prevention of activities directed towards disclaiming, questioning or disrupting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India or secession of a part of the territory from the Union.” Congress Party in State legislature elects Sheikh Abdullah as leader. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto calls countrywide strike in Pakistan and Indian held Kashmir for February 28.

February 28: Response to Bhutto’s strike call is overwhelming. He says Abdullah, who calls himself a champion of democracy is about to become head of government of a party to which he does not belong in an Assembly of which he is not even a member.

March 1: Pakistan protests to United Nations arguing that Delhi Accord violates both Simla Agreement and UN requirements for Kashmir plebiscite. China seconds Pakistan on March 12. Right-wing Hindus in Jammu oppose Accord and call for abrogation of Article-370 and State’s full and complete absorption in Indian Union.

March 4: Delhi Accord receives approval of Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) massively.

March 13: Delhi Accord is passed by Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament).

July 5: Abdullah revives National Conference after dissolving Plebiscite Front with himself as President.


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