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Representative Role of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Government

Representative Role of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Government, a Structural-functional Discrepancy

By Nayyar N Khan

It is a well-known fact that society cannot exist without social management as the method and rule of coexistence of human beings. From the other hand, a territory cannot be managed without a government system, which is based on the administrative, representative and sub-ordinate and represented relationship between the legal entity that governs and those who are governed. Authority and coercive control are typically exercised by governments. Governments are organizations of individuals who are legally empowered to make binding decisions on behalf of a particular community.

In order to carry out many activities i.e. constitutional, legal and administrative, governments have specialized agencies or structures such as parliament, bureaucracy, administrative agencies and courts. These structures are meant to perform functions, which in turn enable the government to formulate, implement and enforce its policies. The present day structural-functional mechanism came into existence after the Westphalian Treaty (1648). However, with the passage of time and an increasing interdependence to perform the social, economic, political and diplomatic activities, the Westphalian concept evolved regularly to strengthen the concept of nation states and sovereignty in International Relations. In the present day world system, nation states are considered to be of the prime importance and their sovereignty is a basic building block of the International Relations, The governments through their organs (structures) execute their responsibilities and duties (functions) both domestically and internationally. In the light of structural-functional Theory of political science, structures (the organs of government i.e. administrative, judicial and legal etc,) are of the representative characters in the modern day democratic system of governance to perform and execute their functions to protect the life, honor and property in their particular area of jurisdiction and as well as maintain the relations with the rest of the world following the principles and norms of mutual respect, dignity and co-operation and many other spheres of interactions.

When structures fail to perform the due functions in the wider interests of the masses and become mere stooges in the hands of external structures (outside the territory), they lose the moral, legal and political right of an authoritative government. That was the case and dilemma of Azad Jammu Kashmir government since its beginning in the last quarter of 1947. A date with the timeline of historical chronology reveals the fact that the belligerents of the region announced their own government structure on October 04, 1947 with its headquarters at Muzaffarabad, to replace the government of Maharaja Hari Singh in Jammu Kashmir. It is of vital importance to note that both insurgency and belligerency are important topics of International Law and international relations. Ghulam Nabi Gilkar was named as the head of this government. What happened to the fate of these belligerents and office bearers of interim government has always been the dark side of the newly painted pictures of the region. On October 24, 1947 another pseudo government was announced by the name of Azad (Free) government of Jammu and Kashmir State. The first felony of the newly installed government (off course by Pakistan) was to surrender its powers and legitimacy over the area and hand over Gilgit Baltistan to the direct rule of Pakistan (April 1949, Karachi agreement) It was a serious breach of the UNCIP resolutions and so called mandate of Azad Jammu and Kashmir government at Muzaffarabad. What exactly happened during the mechanism and procedures of drafting the Karachi agreement needs to be investigated as some of the individuals mentioned in this agreement did not confirm their participation publically?

Furthermore, the interim Constitution of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 1974 (still interim after 38 years, what an irony) limits the jurisdiction of structures of the government to deliver and function in the interests of her subjects. The induction of Kashmir Council (headed by the Chief Executive of Pakistan) and its role as a supervisory body was in complete contradiction with the UNCIP mechanism and further clashed with the functional mechanism of structural units at Muzaffarabad by shifting the centers of power from Muzaffarabad to Islamabad. The role of Ministry of Kashmir Affairs is not less than the role of viceroys and always has a big say in the internal affairs of Azad Jammu and Kashmir leaving no stone unturned to damage the role of structural units at Muzaffarabad by dictating and controlling these structures through its illicit functional practices. Although, the nomenclature of Azad Jammu and Kashmir government and its structural units portray it as a representative government by having its own flag, legislative assembly, prime minister, president and a supreme court, however, the functional mechanism does not confer any match to the structural norms to prove its legitimacy in light of structural-functional theory. The functions have always been performed by the individuals and organizations outside the territory and thus turning the territory as an occupied one instead of Azad (free) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir government (structures) as sub-ordinate bodies deprived of performing functions in the best interests of people living in the territory. The real victims of clash between structural-functional mechanism of Azad Jammu and Kashmir government have been the masses living in the territory. The people living in the territory have been facing a worst kind of situation in their economic, social and political lives. A detailed discussion on this topic needs a separate writing; therefore, I do not go in details on the chapters mentioned herein. Just to note that at least 1.5 million people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir are selling their expertise and labors in the hot deserts of Arab, Europe, Americas and other regions and countries of the world due to unjust structural-functional mechanism in the territory.

In the late seventeenth and eighteenth century, the so called Westphalian system of international relations was created through a series of peace treaties among major European powers. Adherents to the concept of a Westphalian system refer to the Peace of Westphalia, signed in 1648, in which the major European countries agreed to respect the principle of territorial integrity. In the Westphalian system, the national interests and goals of states (and later nation-states) were widely assumed to go beyond those of any citizen or any ruler. States became the primary institutional agents in an interstate system of relations.

The Peace of Westphalia is said to have ended attempts to impose supranational authority on European states. The "Westphalian" doctrine of states as independent agents was bolstered by the rise in 19th century thought of nationalism, under which legitimate states were assumed to correspond to nations—groups of people united by language and culture. The Westphalia system reached its peak in the late 19th century. Although practical considerations still led powerful states to seek to influence the affairs of others, forcible intervention by one country in the domestic affairs of another is less frequent in the present day world system. The Peace of Westphalia is important in modern international relations theory, and is often defined as the beginning of the international system with which the discipline deals.

International relations theorists have identified several key principles of the Peace of Westphalia, which explain the Peace's significance and its impact on the world today:

The principle of the sovereignty of states and the fundamental right of political self determination 2. The principle of (legal) equality between states 3. The principle of non-intervention of one state in the internal affairs of another state.

Although Azad Jammu and Kashmir does not qualify of being a sovereign as per Westphalian concept, however, its nomenclature misleads the inhabitants of the territory as well as the scholars, academics and political analysts outside the territory. Secondly, on 12th of August 1947, the then ruler of Jammu Kashmir State Maharaja Hari Singh offered a standstill agreement to both of the neighboring states of India and Pakistan and Pakistan in practice accepted it. Non intervention in the internal affairs of the State of Jammu Kashmir by Pakistan was the fundamental principle of standstill agreement. Now, if, however, Azad Jammu and Kashmir government claims it to be successive government of Maharaja Hari Singh, then the question arises “did it abandon the clauses of standstill agreement with government of Pakistan?” Political hegemony and controversy centre nowhere more acutely than in this question. This is one of those difficult questions upon which it is possible for many sharply opposed views to be held apparently with almost equal weight of reason. Its central difficulty is this, that it is a question which can be answered, if answered at all, only by representatives of Azad Jammu and Kashmir government at Muzaffarabad and careful wisdom whose conclusions are based upon the widest possible inductions from the facts of political experience in all its phases. Such wisdom is quite beyond the capacity of political players and actors in the field of politics in the territory; and the consequence has been that this question, perhaps more than any other in the whole scope of political analysis of the territory, has provoked greater mistrust among the political scientists of the region. The present day state of affairs in the territory and the nostalgia of chronicle timeline looking at the structural-functional Mechanism suggest that the people of the territory must pursue the structural units at Muzaffarabad to be independent enough for performing their functions properly in the best interests of the people of territory.

In the timeline of chronicle of Azad Jammu and Kashmir government since its creation in 1947, it failed to prove itself as an administrative, representative and executive body to execute its functions properly thus performing a mere role of non-functional entity depending entirely on the instructions and secret orders of the forces and organizations outside the territory. Such a limited role of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir government is not correct by virtue of the international Public Law and does not reflect real interconnections between structures and their functions. As it is evident that in the presence of 1974 interim constitution, government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir at Muzaffarabad have not and cannot execute its responsibilities in a proper manner; a systematic solution of problems and functional tasks should be expended and diversified in order to enhance its representative character.

The under representative role of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir government not only limits its legitimacy but also a huge hindrance in the social, political and economic development and advancement of the territory. Social fabrics, cultural heritage, linguistic issues, economic progress and political enlightenment have severely been targeted by the unjust “rules of business” and poor infra-structure of state institutions and government organs. Due to the lack of representative character and a contradiction in theory and practice, sufferings of the people living in the territory are deepening with every passing day and basic necessities of life including, clean drinking water, medical, education, electricity, jobs and means of communication and transportation remind the times of medieval ages.

One can argue that while Azad Jammu and Kashmir government does not represent a nation state then how it is possible that a “Representative Character” (if given) can change the social, economic and political spheres of the region? It is very important question to understand the present day mechanism of world political and economic system. Although, the role of nation-states continues to be important, there is an increasing important role being played by international and transnational organizations in the global community. There are a number of social, developmental and state-building issues becoming critical to global development and global security.

Social revolution is an essential ingredient for rapid social development, but social change is interrelated with representative role, good governance, political and economic change. Only in those countries, regions and territories where enlightened leadership promotes representative character and social revolution can hope to achieve an escape from human misery. This theoretical and hypothetical approach of social change through development is practically irrelevant to the regions, where people are struggling for their political identifications to secure their economic future and stand with honor and dignity among the nation states. Thus it is of vital importance for the enlightened scholars, progressive intellectuals, democratic politicians and others who believe on political advancement, economic development, rule of law and the norms and principles of mutual respect and dignity with an unconditional commitment to the social change that a “Representative Role” of Azad Jammu and Kashmir government must be restored.


Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, human rights, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

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