3.3 Pakistan: Successor State?

Another of Afghanistan’s claims is that the end of British Rule in India and their withdrawal from the tribal areas should come to mean the end of the previously signed treaties also, arguing that rather being a successor state to Britain, Pakistan is a new state carved out of British India (Grare, 2006, p.9). But according to Pakistan, it is the successor state after the withdrawal of the British from India, assuming obligations and rights under the various treaties concluded between Afghanistan and the British Government of India. This view is supported by the Noel Baker, the British Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations confirmed that, “His majesty’s government’s view is that Pakistan is in international law, the inheritor of the rights and duties of the old government of India and of his Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom, in these territories and that the Durand Line is the international frontier” (Hilali, 2005, p.48).
The British Government nonetheless said: “there are legal weaknesses in the theory that Pakistan inherited all the territory she now controls, including the un-administered belt to the east of the Durand Line. It may be that, in respect of a part of those territories, she cannot with full jurisdiction contend that all Afghan representations are inadmissible as relating to purely domestic matters of her own” (Revision of the 1921 Treaty between Afghanistan and the UK, 1954).
The British Government in 1954 admitted that even if this was the case (unfair) they were “in no position to make redress and nothing leads (me) to suppose that the Pakistani’s would wish to do penance for our sins” (Landymore, 1954). Since it did not feel it should interfere in the matter as the dispute was a matter for settlement between the two states.
This suggests that Afghanistan does have a valid point even though they issued statements insisting on Pakistan’s succession to the rights and obligations of the British administration.

Continue reading – 3.4 Geo-politics of a Settlement