Gilgit uprising 1947

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Ordinary Only for No. Dated23rd October 1933. Class for (telegrams   Express Foreign  Urgent Telegrams

Priority  Not for  Foreign  Telegrams

 

1st Reminder2nd Reminder

3rd Reminder

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Case or Diary No.

If post copy of telegram required

Date of dispatch of above

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To,The Hon’ble Mr. B.J. Glancy, CSI., CIE., Political Secretary to the Government of India in the Foreign & Political Department, New Delhi.
Code word for telegrams (My dear Glancy),
Since putting forward the proposals in my letter of the 13th June 1933, No. F.1-C/31, I have been considering the matter and had an opportunity of discussing it with Gillan when he was in Srinagar recently.
It is in my opinion quite clear that we should derive immense advantage from the acceptance of the Kashmir Government’s proposals to had over control north of Indus to the Government of India, and I think that the many obvious benefits are well worth the extra cost although I realize that at this time financial considerations rule most decisions.
I feel that this opportunity of ……………………………… might later on regret that this opportunity was not taken.I put below some of the points which have struck me:-
(1) The Mirs and Governors of the Political Districts have always looked upon the Wazarat officials and its administration with lively suspicision not unmixed with some contempt. Though expressly excluded from the interference of Kashmir officials, notwithstanding their being under the suzerainty of Kashmir, these Chiefs have never lost their fears of possible encroachment on the part of the Kashmir Government, and these fears were very definitely increased during a recent period by the obvious policy of the Kashmir authorities of endeavouring to gain some footing in their affairs and, in particular, of undermining the authority and prestige of the Political Agent. Howell’s summing up of the situation as he saw it after his tour of the Agency in 1927 was:- “the rulers and inhabitants of the Political Districts who are fair-skinned, followers of Islam and natives of Central Asia look to the Political Agent as their protector against aggression by the Maharaja, who represents to them the opposite of themselves in every way and the embodiment of all India has always stood for in Central Asia.
These feelings are………………………. Darbar was invariably defeated in its efforts to conquer them, and that they submitted eventually not to the Darbar but to Colonel Durand as representing the might and justice of the imperial Government.
They proposed change would undoubtedly cause feelings of general relief and gratification amongst the Chiefs and inhabitants of these Districts, upon whose goodwill and contentment we depend for the maintenance of this frontier on exceedingly economical lines.
(2) In purely military affairs (though the most important defence consideration is really that which I have just mentioned) the present dangers and inconveniences of divided command, divided responsibility and divided organization would automatically come to an end.
(3) The position of the Political Agent would be very much strengthened and the process of undermining it in Gilgit itself (and consequently his prestige and authority on the whole of this frontier) would cease once and for all. The dangers inherent in this process, which can only be said to be in temporary abeyance, have recently led to the very decided expression of his views by the Secretary of State for India (………………….)
(4) Under the existing system our administration of this frontier (civil and military) is based upon, and our military approaches contained in, an area over which we have no direct control, while such indirect control as we still exercise has been in itself the source of frequent ill-feeling and friction. The proposed change would immensely strengthen our control of the frontier as a whole.
(5) Geography, Race and Religion all demand that the Gilgit Wazarat should be treated similarly to the remainder of this Agency and be included under one authority therewith. Actually the Wazarat is administered as a part of Kashmir.
To quote again form Howell : – “Since 1919 it has been the policy of the Kashmir Darbar to employ Hindu officials in the Gilgit Wazarat ……………… officials of this class are necessarily wholly out of sympathy with the population with whom they have to deal. At best they are regarded with tolerant amusement. Very often they are hated and despised, and if the Gilgit had any infusion of the Pathan spirit, their lives would not be worth may days’ purchase”.
Admittedly the situation is better since Howell wrote these words but there is no guarantee that the situation will not deteriorate again.

 

 

 

CIVIL SECRETARIAT,

N.W.F. PROVINCE.

 

Peshawar,

The 3rd February, 1934.

D.O. No.

 

Dear Colonel Lang,

I am desired to address you regarding certain rumours which we have recently heard here that the Kashmir Government is considering handling over the Gilgit Agency to be administrated by the Government of India. Some of the rumours have embroidered this by adding the suggestion that the Gilgit will be included in the North-West Frontier Province. The rumours have now developed into articles in the local press, the last being a cutting which I enclose.

  1. Sir Ralph Griffith will be very grateful if you can inform him what has given rise to these rumours. Needless to say we have not heard anything about any such measure being under consideration either by the Government of India or by the Kashmir Government.

 

Lt. Colonel L.E. Lang, C.I.E., M.C.,

Resident,

Kashmir Residency.

 

 

(A.H.K.)

 

New file started 26th February, 1948.

Memorandum on Gilgit.

High Commissioner at Karachi’s letter No. 339 dated 4th February.

High Commissioner at Karachi’s letter No. 339 dated 19th February.

This may help to explain Mr. Gordon Walker’s telegram No. 445 about Hunza and Nagir threatening to join Russia.

Departure should put as brief summary of the situation as is possible for S/S’s information. It looks as if the Mirs may have become dismayed at the intrigues of the Azad Forces and the lack of energy on the part of the Pakistan Government’s representatives. But we heard in the Press a good deal earlier that the Provincial Government had threatened joining Russia.

I see no reason why the information given to Mr. Gordon Walker should not be assed on to Sir L. Grafftey Smith. If we are to give guidance, I think it should be that Pakistan should be encouraged to send a force to protect the Mirs and keep order but should not accept their accession while the Kashmir question is before the United Nations.

MILSIT telegram No. 429, New Delhi.

Mr. Gordon Walker’s telegram to S/S. (New Delhi No. 455 of 24th February).

  1. The telegram is for action in the light of situation as known. The two letters need not be read in detail for this purpose. Letter No. 2 has already been seen by Sir Archibald Carter. Letter No. 3 relates to previous period and fills in gaps. Before appreciation of the present situation the following may be read : –
    1. Paragraph 24-31 pf the Memorandum on Gilgit sent to the U.K. Delegation.
    2. The following additions of interest from letter No. 3 and No. 2. Although matters seemed to have started well after in the Pakistan Political Agent, complications soon developed owing to the activities of Major Muhammad Aslam an officer of the 8th Punjab Regiment who had been fighting in Kashmir under the name of Colonel Pasha. This officer first arrived in Gilgit on 31st November 1947, as the Azad Kashmir Government again tried without success to get volunteers from the Gilgit Scouts to invade Skardu, the Kashmir territory adjoining the Agency to the East. By 8th December Major Brown had returned from Rawalpindi with policy decisions from the Pakistan Government. Briefly, these involved the re-organisation of the Gilgit Scouts for Agency purposes and regrouping of Muslim members of the Ex State forces into an Azad Forces Unit (entirely separate from the Gilgit Scouts) to be used as a striking force as and when the situation might demand. Towards the end of December it was intimated that Major Aslam would relieve Major Brown. He did so on the 10th January and immediately proceeded to disobey the Pakistan Government’s directive by claiming that he was there as representative of the Azad Kashmir Government, and amalgamating all the forces (including the Scouts) into one command which he intended to use offensively. This situation was cleared up by a visit from Lt. Col. Khurshid, Pakistan Political Resident for the Tribal Areas on the North-West Frontier and Lt. Col. Bacon, Political Agent, Khyber and formerly of the Gilgit Agency. They arrived on 30th January and made it perfectly clear to Major Aslam that the Pakistan Government and Political Agent were the supreme authority in Gilgit and that the Scouts were under the Political Agent’s control in all matters of policy.

The attack on Skardu evidently developed (vice Milsit telegram No. 429 from U.K. H.C. New Delhi) and the State Forces column moving on Skardu (vide paragraph 30 of the Memorandum on Gilgit) reached Skardu by 11th February in time to beat off this attack.

  1. Situation in Hunza and Nagir. Pakistan’s Political Resident for the Tribal Areas, Lt. Col. Khurshid and Political Agent, Khyber, Lt. Col. Bacon received an enthusiastic welcome from the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir when they went there on 30th January (letter No. 2). It was then reported that the Mir of Hunza had resumed relations with the Chinese, which he had dropped while there was a British Political Agent in Gilgit, and had been granted the right to issue Chinese passports for travel to Sinkiang. He asserted, however that if there were any sign of Communist influence in Sinkiang he would sever his connections with them. Mr. Gordon Walker’s telegram emphasizes the restiveness of the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir at Pakistan’s silence regarding their accession. There had been a threat at the end of November of invasion by Chitral into Northern Political Districts. It is surmised that the existence of this threat increases the apprehension and annoyance of the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir at Pakistan’s delay in taking the whole Agency formally under its protection by recognizing the accessions.
  2. From all that is on the record about the attitude of the Mir of Hunza it would seem probable that his threat to accede to Russia is intended to stimulate Pakistan into activity. Whatever the outcome of the Kashmir dispute it must be obvious from what has happened since October that these States would never accede to India or accept its protection and in fact their formal protection by Pakistan is inevitable. But to accept a formal accession at this stage would again complicate the Kashmir discussions. If there were any chance of a settlement in India it would be in everybody’s interest for India to admit outright the complete loss of Kashmir state authority in the Gilgit Agency, and as a first concession to waive all objections to Pakistan formally accepting responsibility for this area. Any such development a draft reply to Mr. Gordon Walker’s telegram on the lines indicated by Sir Paul Patrick is put up.

Extract form letter No. PIN/19/49 dated 7th June from

D.H.C. Rawalpindi to U.K.H.C. Karachi.

 

  1. I understand that a platoon of regular infantry is being set to Gilgit to take over the fort and check post at Qalamdarchi beyond Misgar. Before partition the Gilgit Scouts manned this post but recently it has had to be abandoned as the Scouts were wanted elsewhere. The task of the picket will consist mainly of checking travelers coming into Hunza from Outer Mongolia. I understand that there are two or three intelligence officers, civil and military, in Gilgit and there is a marked desire to ensure that the Mir of Hunza does not entertain any undesirable visitors.

 

Extract form Karachi Saving No. 73 dated 22nd April, 1949,

Opdom No. 16 for the period 15th – 21st April.

———

 

STATES

  1. The mirs of Hunza and Nagir are at present in Karachi. So far as can be ascertained, no especial political significance is to be attached to this visit, although undoubtedly every effort is being mad to “sweeten them” in preparation for a possible plebiscite in their States.

 

Extract from – NWEP

WEEKLY REPORT NO. 12

Dated 26th March, 1949.

X         X         X         X         X         X

 

  1. The Pakistan Government seem to expect that any occupation by Communist troops of Sinkiang will lead to an appreciable influx into Pakistan of Muslim refugees. In Gilgit agency members of the Shia community are unhappy about general conditions there, and as a result of a meeting held on February 21st they decided to send a deputation to Karachi to endeavour to persuade the authorities that the Central Government should take over administrative control rather than the NWEP Government.

 

COPY                                                                                                 PERSONAL

UNITED NATIONS

NEW DELHI 28.03.49

Dear Algy,

I have just returned from a two week tour of Western Kashmir as Secretary of a Sub-committee which has been investigating the local administration, and I thought you might care for my impressions. They are of course my own personal reactions only.

“The Azad Government” has set up its headquarters in Muzaffarabad, the Secretariat being picturesquely but busily sited in tents on the side of a mountain. Their Cabinet seems rather a one man band. Ibrahim has fortified his position with local influence rather than with talent. The Secretariat, however, makes a favourable impression. The great majority of the officers and staff are former employees of the J & K State – thus, rather surprisingly, the Conservator of Forests had been trained in U.S.A.; the Director of Health Services had an English degree; and the Director of Education was a Ph.D. of Berlin. Pakistan has lent a young I.C.S. officer (a native of Jammu) as Secretary General, and two out of three District Magistrates are lent by W. Punjab Government. The Chief Justice and Finance Secretary are both retired Punjab service men.

All the police officers and 95 of the constables are said to have been formerly in the State police. Apart from the problems of war the District Administration looks quite familiar in British Indian terms. Most of the patwaris and several of the tehsildars have carried on from the old regime, and the revenue seem to be coming in.

One unknown quantity of course if the Azad Forces. As long as they are under Pakistan control, I see no reason to doubt the ability of the civil administration to carry on. But how much influence Ibrahim has over the ex I.N.A. officers hold some of the top positions in the A.K. Forces is problematical.

Then there are the refugees. Pakistan has at least 6 lakhs of them whom she wants to send back to make room for her own Punjab refugees. The “Azad Government” cannot cope with them even in transit pending the plebiscite, without outside help.

And finally there is the Muslim Conference. At present its headquarters is in Sialkot in Pakistan. Consequently it appears that the influence of the Party is less felt in day to day administration in Eastern Kashmir than it is in Eastern Kashmir, where the National Conference is very much on the spot. The Muslim Conference may demand more patronage if it moves into A.K. territory. At present, however, Ghulam Abbas seems determined to give Ibrahim a free hand.

After turning the “Azad area” (Muzaffarabad, Mirpur and part of Poonch) we flow to Gilgit. Here the Pakistan Political Agent administers the Gilgit Agency, the Gilgit sub-division, Astore District, the tehsil of Skardu and that part (about half) of Kargil tehsil which is in Pakistan hands. The Mir of Hunza, the Mir of Nagir and most of the Rajas of Gilgit and Baltistan rode in to see us and when they were not playing polo told us about their States and illaquas.

I think Pakistan is in a difficult position in these areas. They called Pakistan in to defend them from the Maharaja and India, and now seem reasonably contented. They represent a certain pro-Pakistan vote in a plebiscite but whether Pakistan will feel able to tell them that their future depends on the overall vote of the state is doubtful.

Moreover, refugees, are already trickling in from Kashgar in Sinkiang, coming to Gilgit through Hunza. We found everyone sensitive about that frontier, and it would seem a bad time to put Pakistan’s paramountcy in question.

Frankly, I don’t see how Pakistan can withdraw from Gilgit either its civil or military officers. If it did, I suppose the Gilgit Scouts would be the de fact authority. Apart from a few Pakistan senior officers, the junior officers seem to be mostly relations of the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir. The strength of the Scouts of course greatly increased since 1947 and now includes a contingent of Baltistan Scouts – I don’t think it would be proper to give you the actual strength.

The truce negotiations drag on. I shall probably not see them through, as I expect to leave the Commission about April 7th – 10th after the Sub-committee’s report has been considered. Juanita and I then fly to Paris spend 3 months improving our French in the South of France, and then look for a job, preferably in Europe.

Please give my warm regards to Paul. I am writing to you on the assumption that he has been adamant about retiring.

It is beginning to warm up in Delhi. I hope that will excuse my handwring.

Yours ever,

Sd. RICHARD SYMONDS.

 

 

DEPTL. No. …………………………. TOP SECRET
IMMEDIATE
DRAFT TELEGRAM No. ……………………………………..
CODECYPHER

 

From S/S. for Common Wealth Relations.

To. U.K. H.C. for Pakistan, Karachi.

Repeated to ………………………….

Gordon Walker has reported to the Secretary of State information given to him under pledge of absolute secrecy by Liaqat Ali Khan on 23rd February. Though this was intended for Secretary of State and Prime Minister only we feel you should be aware of it.
 

 

 

 

 

 

SEND …………………………………….

DISPATCHED …………………………..

2. Liaqat said that last November the two semi-independent Mirs of Hunza and Nagir in Gilgit Agency signed an application for accession to Pakistan. Liaqat stalled and sent an official to contact them. On 23rd February he received a telegram to say they were disappointed not to have received an official answer from Pakistan and that if their accession were not accepted they would accede to Russia. In reply to Gordon Walker question Liaqat said there are Muslims the other side of the Frontier under Russian rule.
COPY TO …………………………………………………………………………….. 3. Gordon Walker expressed his gratitude for the information and told Liaqat that what he did was his own affair. He agreed with Liaqat that it was unthinkable that Russia should get territory on the Indian side of the Frontier. Liaqat said that he had replied to the Mirs that Pakistan was considering the matter and that they must wait for a reply and must not act hastily. He said he wanted to act in  full sense of his responsibility

to Pakistan, to accede to India. The conclusions which we then came to was that Mangrol’s accession to India could not have been a good accession unless, between 15th August and the establishing itself de facto as an independent Indian State separate form Junagadh. The mere fact of the Sheikh of Mangrol signing an Instrument of Accession to India did not make him independent of Junagadh. The position in Gilgit, Hunza etc., would seem to be similar, with the important exception that it can probably be said that the area has now in practice established its independence of Kashmir. There can be no hope of the Maharaja being able to re-establish his control over Gilgit etc., unless the place is reconquered for him by the forces of the Government of India.

  1. Major Brown appears to have been an Emergency Commissioned Officer (late Indian Army) who was accepted for the Indian Police in 1916. He returned to India in July 1946 and appears to have been posted to the Scouts. Capt. Mathieson was an Emergency Commissioned Officer of the British Army. Both were volunteers for service under the Dominions from 15th August. The fact that they remained with the Scouts implies that they were serving under the Kashmir Government. Sir L.G. Smith now reports that arrangements are being made for their withdrawal from the Scouts (presumably by the Pakistan Government) and that Major Brown may be employed on Political work under Sir G. Cunningham. This is satisfactory.

Mr. Gordon Walker spoke to me today about the situation in Gilgit where, whatever may be the strictly legal position, the writ of Kashmir has ceased to rule and that of Pakistan is being obeyed.

Sir T. Shone in para 8 of his telegram No. 16 of 5th January, commenting on the tentative brief for the U.K. Delegation at the Security Council, has asked if the control now exercised by Pakistan in Gilgit, Chilas and the neighbouring territory which, on the withdrawal of Paramountcy, should have become amenable to the Kashmir Government, does not affect the military dispositions suggested in the brief. It will be as well to let the Delegation have a copy of the précis on recent events in the Gilgit Agency for information. Any standstill arrangement and subsequent disposal of Indian and Pakistan troops would have to take account of Pakistan’s de facto authority in this area, of which only the Gilgit Wazarat was directly administered from Srinagar under Paramountcy, the Gilgit Agency and the territory of the Mir of Hunza and Nagir being in practice administered under the authority of the British Resident in Kashmir by a local British Political Agent supported by locally raised Scouts. It is hardly surprising, as the people are 90 p.c. Muslim, that with our withdrawal Kashmir failed to establish its authority after acceding to India.

 

P.J.P.

6.1.48

 

 

COPY

Wormington Grange,

Broadway, WOROESTERSHIRE.

27.12.47

My dear Archie,

The enclosed letter from a boy who used to be P.A. Gilgit giving some fist hand information about recent events in that part of the world. We were completely in the dark on this subject when I myself left India; and it occurs to me that you and your folk might be interested.

Happy days in 1948, and my grateful thanks for all your kindness during the last few weeks.

Yours ever,

Pug

P.S. I do not want main price’s letter back.

 

 

SAVINGRAM

From : – High Commissioner for U.K. in Pakistan.

To : – Commonwealth Relations Office

Repeated New Delhi No. 92 SAVING

No. 95 SAVING                                                        Date: 18th December, 1947

 

With reference to the penultimate paragraph of my letter to Carter of December 15th, No. 339/47, about developments in Gilgit, I learn that arrangements are being made to withdraw both Major Brown and Captain Mathieson from Gilgit Scouts.

  1. Former may be employed later by Governor, North West Frontier Province on political side.

 

OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

SECRET

FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUILDING

WOOD STREET

KARACHI

15TH December, 1947

My dear Carter,

I send you herewith copy of a most interesting report by Major W.A. Brown, Commandant of the Gilgit Scouts, on events in Gilgit leading up to the repudiation of allegiance to the Kashmir Government and the declaration of Gilgit’s “accession” to Pakistan. Brown was recently in Peshawar and gave this report to my Deputy there.

As Commandant of the Scouts, Major Brown was technically an employee of the Kashmir Government, as was also his second-in-command, Captain Mathieson. But for these officers to have attempted to hold this remote area for the Kashmir Government would not only have been suicidal form their own point of view but could not possibly have succeeded. As it was it seems to me that they deserve credit for saving the lives of most of the non-Muslims in Gilgit, including the Kashmir Dogra Governors, and maintaining the peace, thereby saving the Gilgit Bazaar from wholesale looting and avoiding a general breakdown in any form of ordered administration. In dealing with the crisis of October 31st and November 1st these young officers (Major Brown is I believe, 24, and Capt. Mathieson, 23) showed sense and sound judgment and by their steadiness save a very dangerous situation.

The Colonel Bacon to whom reference is made in the report was the last British Political Agent in Gilgit until July, 1947, and is now in Peshawar as Political Agent, Khyber. The Pakistan representative, Khan Sahib Muhammad Alam who is performing the functions of Political Agent at Gilgit on behalf of Pakistan, is apparently a good man who has the situation under control and has restored confidence all round. The Pakistan Government have not yet announced their attitude towards Gilgit and the adjoining States of Hunza and Nagir. But I understand that at a recent conference in Rawalpindi presided over by Liaqat Ali Khan, Premier of Pakistan, Major Brown was confirmed in his actions and appointment, send back to Gilgit with instructions to raise the normal strength of the Gilgit Scouts from 600 men to 1500, and promised arms and equipment to resist any attempt by the Kashmir forces to restore the Maharajah’s authority in this area. In view of its extreme remoteness and the wild and mountainous terrain and absence communications except for a few pony tracks, regular military operations against the entire populace would seem so futile that event the Maharaja would be unlikely to try them, even if he could get the support of the Indian Army for the purpose.

These developments in Gilgit, Hunza and Nagir, which between them account for about one third of the total nominal area of Kashmir State, may well influence the negotiations in progress for a settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Presumably the Indian Government have some knowledge of what has happened, and with Poonch now practically in the hands of the Azad Kashmir organization, as well as other parts of the State, there would seem to be little that the Maharajah and the Indian Government can do except to seek to save face, unless they pin their hopes on a renewal of the offensive by the Indian Army in the spring and summer.

Mr. Duke particularly asked Major Brown if he had seen any indication of Russian activity in the Gilgit area, either by war of stimulating the recent disturbances or otherwise. Major Brown has been with the Gilgit Scouts for about 3 years altogether, though he had only fairly recently gone back to command them. He said that there had been no signs of any Russian infiltration of agents nor any Russian propaganda. He had heard, he said, of Russian troop movements in the vicinity of the Sinkiang border, but believed that the Chinese Central Government forces were still in as much control there as they ever had been. The mail was passing normally to Kashgar. But Major Brown mentioned that Russian Muslims have been coming down through Gilgit to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca. This is normal, but account for stories which have been published of large numbers of maulvis coming in to Kashmir doing Russian propaganda. Whether they have or not, they would provide a very convenient vehicle for such propaganda, since presumably Russian Muslim Pilgrims are not allowed to travel without official approval and assistance. If there were a complete breakdown in relations between India and Pakistan, and Russia were to seek to take advantage the opportunity to invade Pakistan, the Gilgit route from Turkestan might provide a possible line of advance for light guerrilla troops, especially if the way had been prepared by propaganda and the sympathy of the local population had been won. Major Brown mentioned that caravans returning towards Kashgar are taking only loads of iron, steel and lead for which they were playing very high prices, and it was rumoured that these materials might be for Russian tribal arms factories. Caravans normally took tea, salt and other rations.

Gilgit, not being an independent State, cannot, presumably accede to Pakistan within the meaning of the Act. The rulers of Dir, Swat and Chitral have acceded, and the Rulers of Hunza and Nagir have also attempted to do so. No reply has yet been returned by the Pakistan Government in the last two cases. The situation is legally a delicate on.

No less delicate is the position of Major Brown and Capt. Mathieson of the Gilgit Scouts. I am trying to find out whether these officers are amenable to British Army discipline e.g. as members of the Reserve, and thus amenable to an instruction to withdraw from their present employment. I have an impression that they are not in this position.

I am sorry that I am only able to send you one copy of the enclosure: time does not allow me to have copies made before the Bag closes.

I am sending a copy of this letter and enclosure to Shone in New Delhi.

 

 

Notes For Registry 1947 Initials
Under Secretary External Department
Secretary of State Committee
Under Secretary Ext. 8842/47
Secretary of State Perusal Pol. 1754/47

Subject: Situation in Gilgit.

In a demi-official letter the U.K. Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi quotes from Delhi Newspapers of 8th November that tribesmen from Swat had marched into Gilgit with the support not only of the Wali of Swat but also of the rulers of Chitral and Dir. The Government of India profess ignorance of the true state of affairs in Gilgit (28th November). Press reports also state that Chitral, Dir, Hunza and Nagar have acceded to Pakistan.

The Daily Telegraph report of 1st December does not confirm this reported attack by “tribesmen”. On the contrary, all seems quite in Gilgit.

 

Pol. Dept. Have you any further information?

War Staff (B.G.S.) To see.

 

The notes below – see especially that by Colonel Fraser – show that this may well be a delicate business. We should, I think, first ascertain from the Gilgit Scouts Officer mentioned by Col. Fraser to whom Major Brown believes himself to be responsible. We might then write to the U.K.H.C. concerned (with copy of his colleague) asking him to take measures to extract Major Brown if necessary from a situation in which he might prove a serious embarrassment.

 

P.J.P.

17-12-47

 

The Political Department have no information about the position in Gilgit apart from that on this file. I am myself disposed to prefer the version quoted in the “Daily Telegraph” on the authority of Major William Brown of the Gilgit Scouts to that contained in Sir T. Shone’s dispatch, which is I think, based on propaganda emanating from Srinagar. If this is so the future of Gilgit lies at present in the hands of Major William Brown, who is I suppose, an officer of the British Army on loan to the Kashmir State. As such I would be his duty technically to hand over Gilgit, when the Passes open in June, to whatever administration is then operating at Srinagar in the name of the Maharaja. If, however, Srinagar is then still under the control of India, this would be a very difficult thing to do politically, having regard to the completely pro-Pakistan attitude of the inhabitants of Gilgit and the probability that any such action would lead to incursion into Gilgit from outside. The right course may be for us to withdraw Major Brown in the Spring before he has to take this decision.

Notes For Registry 1947 Initials
Under Secretary External Department
Secretary of State Committee
Under Secretary Ext. 8842/47
Secretary of State Perusal Pol. 1754/47

Hunza and Nagar have not acceded to Pakistan, but have applied to do so and their applications are now under consideration by the Pakistan Government.

SUBJECT : Situation in Gilgit.

In a demi-official letter the U.K. Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi quotes from Delhi newspapers of 8th November that tribesmen from Swat had marched into Gilgit with the support not only of the Wali of Swat but also of the rulers of Chitral and Dir. The Government of India profess ignorance of the true state of affairs in Gilgit (28 November). Press reports also state that Chitral, Dir, Hunza and Nagar have acceded to Pakistan.

The Daily Telegraph report of 1st December does not confirm this reported attack by “tribesmen”. On the contrary, all seems quite in Gilgit.

 

Pol. Dept. Have you any further information?

War Staff (B.G.S.) To see.

I also am inclined to consider the Daily Telegraph Account as the more likely to be nearer the truth, though it is curious that British Officers should still be left in the air so to speak in Gilgit in command of 600 Gilgit Scouts. The Scouts were under the control of the resident and through him of External Affairs Department, New Delhi, officered by selected officers from the Indian Army and paid for in the Kashmir Residency, Gilgit, Budget. They were inspected by a senior officers lent by N.W.E.P. Government, usually the Inspector, Frontier Forces. They were all recruited locally, all men form within the Agency itself, organized in companies, and Indian-officered by leading men of each District, e.g. Hunza Nagir, Yasin and so on. To whom the control has now supposedly passed heave knows? However I think I can find out, for as it happens during the last weekend, staying with my father, I might have met a Gilgit Scout officer who was present at the ………..lowering of the Union Jack and raising of the Kashmir flag on which the whole populace immediately turned their backs and walked away. Unfortunately at the last moment this young officer could not come to tea, but if you want a first hand account I can get hold of his address and write to him.

OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM

6, Albuquerue Road

New Delhi

 

  1. We will let you have anything further that comes to hand though the closing of the passes on the Srinagar Gilgit road makes it unlikely that any very reliable or full news will become available for some time. Meanwhile, one night venture the very tentative opinion that it would be no bad thing for the two new Dominions if the Wali has in fact occupied Gilgit and can consolidate his position. By feudal, frontier standards he is a good Ruler and should be capable, if anyone is, of welding that part of the perimeter into a pretty tough obstacle if trouble should come from the North; Sinkiang is contiguous to Hunza, and only a thing finger of Afghan territory separates Chitral and Ishkoman from the U.S.S.R.
  2. A copy of this is going to Karachi.

 

 

 

(A.C.B. SYMON)

Deputy High Commissioner

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Abdul Hamid Khan is the chairman of Balawaristan National Front (BNF), a nationalist political party of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan), which Pakistan had purposefully named as Northern Areas to keep its disputed status obscured. Chairman Khan started a political struggle for the human and political rights of the deprived people of Gilgit-Baltistan, after the year 1988. However, in the depoliticized region under the Pakistani bureaucratic establishment he faced many difficulties.

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