The State of Junagardh is another miserable tale of the partition of the Sub-continent. Pakistan could not win over Kashmir. It lost Hyderabad, Junagardh, and Manavadar, located in the Kathiawar Peninsula of Gujarat, and parts in the Punjab because of the political hypocrisy of the Congress establishment and the high-handedness of the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten. India was enlarged and Pakistan was shrunk by him. These were tactical moves and not the principles of partition.

In fact, India and Pakistan were largely not partitioned under the Indian Independence Act passed by the British Parliament on 18 July 1947 as mentioned in the 3 June 1947 Plan but divided by Mountbatten. The present map of the Sub-continent was drawn by him and was not authorised by the British Parliament to seek peoples’ mandate and the wishes of the rulers of as many as 552 princely states at the time of partition.

Pakistan fully committed to its Kashmir policy as a territorial, political, diplomatic, and humanistic dispute with India. There is no iota of doubt that India militarily took over part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in 1948 by promising, in the UN Security Council, to solve the issue by a people’s mandate, which was never fulfilled until to date.

The diplomatic and political battles continued between the two countries over ascertaining the legal status of the Jammu and Kashmir State. As a result of India’s hypocrisy of promising a solution through the UN intervention, Pakistan militarily lost the part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It was a tactical military lost.

The issue of the State of Jammu and Kashmir was not the only case Pakistan militarily lost to India; there were three other princely states whose case was also militarily lost by Pakistan. These were the States of Hyderabad, Junagardh, and Manavadar. All of these princely states legally acceded to Pakistan but India occupied them through naked military aggression against the wills of the Nizam of Hyderabad, Nawab of Junagardh, and the Khan Sahib Ghulam Moinuddin Khanji, rulers of these states.

Interestingly, the Junagardh completed the whole political process of accession to Pakistan. Pakistani leadership approved this process. The Nawab of Junagardh Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III, signed the instrument of accession with Pakistan on 15 September 1947 and Pakistani flag was raised in the State of Junagardh against the advice of Mountbatten. The Nawab exercised his free will. Following disturbances engineered by India, he flew to Karachi on 25 October 1947 and established the Provincial Government of State of Junagardh there. The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan endorsed the instrument of accession. The State Council of Junagardh endorsed the accession of the Nawab. The affairs of defence, communications, and foreign policy were entrusted upon the Government of Pakistan. What else the Nawab of Junagardh should had done? We must ask ourselves as a nation. The lost of Junagardh was a setback to the Pakistan movement.

Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, father of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was the Dewan (Chief Minister) of Junagardh, told visiting V. P. Menon, envoy of Mountbatten, that the accession was final according to international law and now only Pakistan Government was responsible to look after the affairs of Junagardh. When India started military action in the State of Junagardh, Bhutto asked Pakistan for all sort of help against Indian intervention.

The Indian Air Force bombed the State of Junagardh along with tanks and military vehicles and took over it on 9 November 1947. Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan accused India of violence as at that point that Junagardh was a territory of Pakistan and India was not authorised to intervene there. He stated that the Indian action was a breach of international law.

Junagardh was virtually a Pakistani territory for 56 days from 15 September through to 9 November 1947 but Pakistan could not militarily secure it. There was no military action from the Pakistani side.

After illegal military occupation, India insisted on the so-called plebiscite because of the presence of the large Hindu-population but denied the same for Jammu and Kashmir. Indian tactics worked out in all princely states and Pakistan overpowered by India. For both these princely states, Pakistan diplomatically lost the case in the United Nations. This has justified India illegal and military action in both these princely states. The case also reinforced India’s occupation of the Jammu and Kashmir State.

These were the richest princely states in the British Indian empire, hailing like today’s Scandinavian states. With an important port of Veraval and maritime location, the princely state of Junagardh was a trading hub for the rest of India. These states could have swiftly revived the economy of Pakistan, which had confronted a number of financial problems at the time of independence.

According to the incumbent Nawab of Junagardh, Jahangir Khanji, the instrument of accession to Pakistan is still valid and Pakistan must follow a proactive international diplomacy in the United Nations and in other fora to regain its right of possession of the State of Junagardh. The case of Junagardh is still pending in the United Nations. It needs to be revived. The Government of Pakistan should establish the Junagardh House in Islamabad to continuously raise the voice for its independence from India and accession to Pakistan as signed by the Nawab of Junagardh in 1947.

Historically, the military and diplomatic response by Pakistan to the wishes of rulers of these princely states posed several questions that were never answered. Why couldn’t Pakistan militarily occupied the territories of the princely states of Hyderabad and Junagardh when these states legally acceded to it? Why did Pakistan lose the diplomatic battle in the United Nations for acquiring these states? These are crucial questions and Pakistani leadership and Foreign Office must find out answers to them. What made them silent and adopt a lukewarm and tepid response to these vital issues of Pakistan existence on which the very foundation of the state was laid down?