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August 16, 2019

IHK: Pakistan striving to shake, test world conscience


August 16, 2019

ISLAMABAD: By seeking the intervention of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to undo the illegality committed by India in the occupied Kashmir, Pakistan is shaking the conscience of the world body to rid the suffering people of the indescribable miseries and hardships perpetrated by New Delhi.

Islamabad’s objective is to sensitize and remind the global forum of its responsibilities ordained in its own resolutions that have not been implemented for more than seven decades with the Indian brutalities on Kashmiris intensifying with the passage of time. The bottom-line is to get the UN resolutions about the oldest dispute on the UN agenda enforced in letter and spirit.

What the Modi government did on August 5 was the height of its lunacy. It was done in the name of bringing betterment in the lives of Kashmiris but what has happened in the occupied territory since then is not less than a hell.

Even some Indian media men, who have visited the occupied Kashmir despite unparalleled restrictions and curbs, have described it as a jail and a graveyard. The whole area is locked up, communication services snapped, residents frightened and children and women brutalized.

The Indian assault has made the occupied Kashmir as an unprecedented flashpoint that could trigger something unforeseen able between Pakistan and India.

This state of affairs made it incumbent upon Pakistan to rush to the world body with appeals to come in before it is too late. At home, pressure has been building up for a credible action in the international arena against India.

Pakistan will now know which permanent member of the UNSC stands where vis-à-vis Islamabad’s UN-sanctioned interest and the unheard of plight of the Kashmiris. China, the United States, Britain, France and Russian Federation are the permanent members, having veto powers. If any move is vetoed by any of these members, it goes.

At present, the ten non-permanent UNSC members include Belgium (2020), Côte d’Ivoire (2019), Dominican Republic (2020), Equatorial Guinea (2019), Germany (2020), Indonesia (2020), Kuwait (2019), Peru (2019), Poland (2019) and South Africa (2020). They are elected for two-year terms by the UN General Assembly.

More than 60 UN member states have never been members of the UNSC. A State which is a member of the UN but not of the UNSC may participate, without a vote, in its discussions when the UNSC considers that country's interests are affected. Both members and non-members of the United Nations, if they are parties to a dispute being considered by the UNSC, may be invited to take part, without a vote, in the UNSC discussions. The UNSC sets the conditions for participation by a non-member state.

According to the Pakistan Mission to the UN website, the UNSC resolutions of 1948 and 1949 provide for the holding of a free and impartial plebiscite for the determination of the future of the state by the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Their basic points are that the complaint relating to Kashmir was initiated by India in the UNSC; the UNSC explicitly and by implications, rejected India's claim that Kashmir is legally Indian territory; the resolutions established self-determination as the governing principle for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute. This is the world body's commitment to the people of Kashmir; and the resolutions endorsed a binding agreement between India and Pakistan reached through the mediation of UNCIP [UN India-Pakistan Observation Commission], that a plebiscite would be held, under agreed and specified conditions.

The UNSC rejected the Indian contention that the people of Kashmir have exercised their right of self-determination by participating in the "election" which India has from time to time organised in the Held Kashmir. The 0.2% turn out during the 1989 "elections" was the most recent clear repudiation of the Indian claim. Pakistan continues to adhere to the UN resolutions. These are binding also on India. The Simla Agreement of 2 July 1972, to which Pakistan also continues to adhere, did not alter the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory. Para 6 of the Agreement lists “a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir" as one of the outstanding questions awaiting a settlement and Para 4 (ii) talks of a "Line of Control" as distinguished from an international border. Furthermore, it explicitly protects "the recognised position of either side." The recognised position of Pakistan is the one, which is recognised by the UN and the world community in general.

Article 1 (iv) obviously refers to the Kashmir issue when it talks of "the basic issues and causes of conflict which have bedeviled the relations between the two countries for the last 25 years”.

India's forcible occupation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 is the main cause of the dispute. India claims to have ‘signed' a controversial document, the Instrument of Accession, on 26 October 1947 with the Maharaja of Kashmir, in which the Maharaja obtained India's military help against popular insurgency. The people of Kashmir and Pakistan do not accept the Indian claim. There are doubts about the very existence of the Instrument of Accession. The UN also does not consider Indian claim as legally valid and it recognises Kashmir as a disputed territory. With the exception of India, the entire world community recognises Kashmir as a disputed territory. The fact is that all the principles on the basis of which the Indian subcontinent was partitioned by the British in 1947 justify Kashmir becoming a part of Pakistan: the State had majority Muslim population, and it not only enjoyed geographical proximity with Pakistan but also had essential economic linkages with the territories constituting Pakistan.

In 1947, India and Pakistan went to war over Kashmir. During the war, it was India which first took the Kashmir dispute to the United Nations on 1 January 1948. The following year, on 1 January 1949, the UN helped enforce ceasefire between the two countries. The ceasefire line is called the Line of Control. It was an outcome of a mutual consent by India and Pakistan that the UNSC and UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) passed several resolutions in years following the 1947-48 war. The UNSC Resolution of 21 April 1948 - one of the principal UN resolutions on Kashmir - stated that “both India and Pakistan desire that the question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite”. Subsequent UNSC Resolutions reiterated the same stand. UNCIP Resolutions of 3 August 1948 and 5 January 1949 reinforced UNSC resolutions.

Since August 5, Pakistan has been trying to jolt the world conscience to save the occupied Kashmir from further catastrophe.