June 2000 News

Jethmalani to Pak: Take us to court on Kashmir accession

15 June 2000
The Asian Age
Aziz Haniffa

Virginia: Law and justice minister Ram Jethmalani has challenged Pakistan to take India to the International Court of Justice if it believes Kashmir''s accession to India was brought about by force and fraud. However, he conditioned this challenge with a caveat that if Islamabad fails to prove its case, it forever holds its tongue on Kashmir. Addressing over 250 Indian Americans at a function organised by a coalition of Indian American associations in the Washington metropolitan area, Mr. Jethmalani said: ''If you are to be our ambassadors, you ought to be able to explain to everybody that we have not taken Jammu and Kashmir by force and fraud as Pakistan claims.'' He said, ''If it was a simple issue of whether the accession was an act of force and fraud, I as a lawyer would challenge the government of Pakistan to go to the ICJ and have the issue tried. But I want a promise that if it is judicially determined that there was no force or fraud then there shall be no more talk of any claim of Pakistan to the state of Jammu and Kashmir,'' he added. Mr. Jethmalani said, ''No democracy can ask us to surrender territory to a non-democratic country and that too by the exercise of democratic methods, which are not in use in the country which claims to profit by them''. According to Mr. Jethmalani, India''s ''title deeds to Kashmir are not merely legally perfect but they are morally impeccable.'' He explained, ''The act of accession of that state to India was in accordance with the India Independence Act, which the British Parliament passed at that time


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