THE recent statement by the Foreign Office and your editorial are clear about the position of the Durand Line. The matter was dealt with by the Supreme Court in the case of Zewar Khan (PLD 1969, SC 485). Sharifuddin Pirzada, Attorney General, appeared for the federation of Pakistan, and A.K. Brohi appeared for the respondent.

In an elaborate judgment, the court observed, inter alia, that in the international law Pakistan was accepted and recognised as successor government and the inheritor of His Majesty's government in the United Kingdom. The speeches of the Quaid i Azam delivered on July 31, 1947 and April 17, 1948, contained abundant indication of the fact that the accession of the tribal areas to the territories of Pakistan had taken place by the agreement of tribal jirgas.

This was made abundantly clear by the statement of the then Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations made in the British House of Commons on June 30, 1950: “It is his Majesty’s government’s view that Pakistan is in the International Law the inheritor of the rights and duties of the old Government of India and His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in these territories and that the Durand Line is the International Frontier.”

This was followed in 1956 by a statement of Sir Anthony Eden, the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, reaffirming the same.

The Council of Foreign Ministers of the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation on March 8, 1956, declared in their communique: “The members of the Council severally declared that their governments recognise the sovereignty of Pakistan extends up to Durand Line, the international boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Both under the international law and the municipal law, therefore, the tribal territories became part of Pakistan.

S.S. PIRZADA Karachi

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Comments (9)

December 11, 2012 5:20 am
It's the supreme court of Pakistan? Then of course they're going to rule in favour of their own country. However to any reasonable person it is clear that the land belongs to Afghanistan. Socially, the majority of the people living in the region are ethnic Afghans (Pashtuns). In terms of laws, even if the treaty was valid, it had a 100 year time period. That time period was finished in 1993, so under the treaty itself and by international law, that land is and should be Afghanistan's once again.
December 4, 2012 10:10 am
But Afghanistan never accepted it and it is the party in dispute
December 4, 2012 11:17 pm
Pakistan Never accepted Line of control as international border in KASHMIR and claims it to be disputed and similarly Afghanistan never accepted Durran line
December 4, 2012 5:51 pm
Why the UK Sirs are deciding which country gets what? THE people has to decide this. Also, see the language spoken in these areas, the traditions and all other similarities need to be considered. Thus it should have been a part of Afghanistan.
December 4, 2012 6:38 pm
Tribal territories became part of Pakistan only by the agreement of tribal Jirgas at that time. If the tribal jirgas no longer want to be part of Pakistan, then the border will have to be changed or it will have to be a loose federation.
December 5, 2012 1:21 am
One more thing to keep in mind is that this is not a matter to be decided by Supreme Court Pakistan. There is a procedure in International Law for this kind of problem. The first step would be for both Governments to agree between themselves. If that is not possible then this will be referred to an International Court for arbitration.
December 4, 2012 11:44 pm
We support Afghanistan's claim.
December 4, 2012 8:14 pm
It should be termed as core issue in the AF-PAK dispute
December 5, 2012 12:36 am
The first thing to note is that the Supreme Court of Pakistan is not and has never been a model of justice and fairness. The judgements have always been in favour of the ruling governments. So this judgement is no surprise. The second point is that the Durand Line was never supposed to be the International Frontier, and even if it was, the 100 year period for the agreement has expired. If Pakistan has inherited the rights and responsibilities of the Her Majesty's Government, then this agreement is also applicable to Pakistan. The statements of British PM and South Asian council is not the law. According to International Law, these territories belong to Afghanistan now. Much in the same way that Hong Kong was returned to China. The final and humanitarian point here is that making the Durand Line the international frontier has separated families and tribes , just like it was in East and West Germany. These are people of the same ethnicity and it is the law of nature that sometime in the future they will be together again. Most probably in a Bangladesh like debacle in which there will be atrocities but sooner or later this region will break away from Pakistan.
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