ISLAMABAD-Junagadh was one of the 562 princely states of British India before the partition of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. During the reign of Mughal Rule, Bahadu0r Khan Babi rose to a position of high influence. 

In 1748, Nawab Bahadur Khan Babi started ruling the state of Junagadh as Nawab. Since then, Junagadh state had been ruled by his ancestors. Before partition, Junagadh was a welfare state and second richest in British India. It was a strong state which ran its own Railway, while education was free for all citizens and hospitalisation and medicine were the responsibility of the state government. Facilities like distribution of free cooked meals to the needy were ensured by the government. 

It was the fifth-largest state with regard to revenue collection in British India. When the Indian independence Act 1947 came into effect, the Indian Princely States were given options to choose whether to accede to the dominions of Pakistan or India or remain independent. 

It was the desire of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that Junagadh should accede to Pakistan. Nawab of Junagadh at that time, Nawab Mahabat Khanji, after consultation with his state council, signed the Instrument of Accession with Quaid-e-Azam on September 15, 1947, and therefore, Junagadh became part of Pakistan as per canons of internal law.  It remained Pakistan’s part until November 9, 1947, when Indian troops landed in Junagadh and occupied it illegally. 

It was the first time that Indian forces occupied Pakistan’s territory. Junagadh is still part of Pakistan but is under illegal Indian occupation. The Instrument of Accession signed between Nawab of Junagadh and Quaid-e-Azam is an important legal document. The issue remains unresolved in United Nations to date. There are more than 2.5 million people belonging to Junagadh that are residing in Pakistan. 

Since the people of Junagadh excelled in business and commerce, they didn’t accept Indian occupation and many of them migrated to Pakistan. 

They have rendered a great contribution to Pakistan’s economy. Groups like Dadabhoy, Adamjee, Pardesi, Dawood, etc. belong to Junagadh community. 

Similarly, many people of Junagadh are participating in the banking sector and contributing significantly to Pakistan’s economy. There is a long list of their contributions. 

Unfortunately, the case of Junagadh has not received due attention. Initially, there were political and diplomatic efforts, but, a couple of decades after independence, the issue was not pursued by the successive governments. Even the academic and media debates disappeared with the passage of time. As per our wishes, the government has included Junagadh in the political map of Pakistan which is a welcome step by the present government. 

We urge the government and regional powers to give us our due right by practically completing the accession of Junagadh to Pakistan, as in the legal domain, it is already a part of Pakistan. 

November 9 is commemorated as Junagadh Day. Following the tradition, this year, we are also celebrating it in the National Library of Pakistan. 

We will urge the regional powers and international community to play their due role for the just resolution of the Junagadh issue. Especially, we request the Prime Minister of Pakistan to be the Ambassador of Junagadh and fight this legal and just case at the international level so that the dreams of our Quaid can be fulfilled. Pakistan’s case is strong and is in complete harmony with international law. We also request the government to establish a symbolic Junagadh house in Islamabad. Furthermore, issues being faced by the Junagadh community should be resolved. 

Moreover, it should be clarified that Junagadh and Kashmir are two separate cases with their own peculiar legal and political backgrounds and both should be raised at international forums separately as Pakistan’s stance over both cases is directly in accordance with the international law and the pledges of the international community.