Friday, 16 December 2011 14:54
NEW DELHI (July 11, 1947): "The Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference leaders, Chaudhary Hamidullah Khan and Mr. Muhammad Ishaque Qureshi had an interview with me and they informed me of the situation there which is making the people restive. They placed before me the question of the detention of the Muslim Conference leaders who have been in jail now for nine months without trial. Their only offence was that they held the Muslim Conference session in spite of prohibitory orders of the Government. But they soon dispersed, and did not proceed with their business. Only six leaders were arrested to which no resistance was offered and every thing went off peacefully. For such a technical offence they have already suffered for nine months and I see no justification for their continued detention.
"I hope that the Maharaja and the Prime Minister of Kashmir will realize the fast changing circumstances and wisdom demands that the feelings and sentiments of the Muslims who form 80 per cent of the population should not be ignored, much less hurt.
"The second question that is engaging the attention of the Muslims of Kashmir is whether Kashmir is going to join the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. I have already made it clear more than once that the Indian States are free to join either the Pakistan Constituent Assembly or the Hindustan Constituent Assembly or remain independent. I have no doubt that the Maharaja and the Kashmir government will give their attention and consideration to this matter and realize the interests not only of the Ruler but also of his people. We have made it clear that we are not going to coerce, intimidate or put any pressure on any State making its choice. But those states who wish to join the Pakistan Constituent Assembly will find us ready and willing to negotiate with them agreement for the mutual advantage of both. Those who wish to declare their complete independence may be beneficial for both and secure mutual and reciprocal interest."
Source: South Asian Studies: bi-annual Research Journal, Vol.17, No. 1 (Quaid-i-Azam Number) January 2002, PP. 84-85 Also cited in The Star of India, July 13, 1947