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September 13, 2020

Kashmir and the UN

Opinion

September 13, 2020

The Indian government, after ending the special status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and its subsequent annexation to the Indian Union in blatant violation of the UNSC resolutions, has been making strenuous efforts to have the Kashmir issue removed from the agenda of the UNSC.

Last week, India made yet another attempt by asking the UNSC to remove Kashmir from its agenda to prevent Pakistan from raising it at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, which begins in New York later this month. However, it failed to achieve its objective.

Pakistan’s permanent representative at the UN Munir Akram was right on the money when he said that Indian representatives were either deluding themselves or deluding their public by asserting that they would have Kashmir removed from the Security Council’s agenda. According to UNSC procedures and rules, an item once put on the UNSC’s agenda cannot be removed until the issue is settled or there is a consensus among the members of the Security Council to do so. Pakistan annually requests retention of the agenda item called ‘the India-Pakistan Question’ under which the Kashmir issue has been discussed since 1948.

No matter how hard India tries, there is no possibility of the Kashmir issue ever being removed from the UNSC agenda – even with the support of its strategic partners like the US, UK and France – unless the issue is resolved. Building a consensus for the removal of the Kashmir issue from the UNSC agenda while China supports Pakistan’s stance on the issue is next to impossible.

The UNSC has three times discussed the issue brought to the council by Pakistan with the support of China in the backdrop of Indian action in Occupied Kashmir and it has reiterated that the Kashmir dispute needs to be resolved in accordance with principles of the UN charter and the relevant resolutions. There could not have been a stronger rebuttal of the Indian moves and narrative than the report declaring Indian action in Kashmir as illegal. Further, the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan remains stationed in Jammu and Kashmir which is another affirmation that the Kashmir dispute remains on the agenda of the Security Council.

It is pertinent to point out that India has failed to sell its narrative to the global community and the UN that the issue of Occupied Kashmir is its ‘internal matter’. The international media despite denial of access to the state has regularly been reporting about the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir and the killing spree continued by the Indian security forces. The diplomatic offensive launched by Pakistan to sensitize the world community about the gravity of the situation in Occupied Kashmir and the issue being about the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as enshrined in the UNSC resolutions, has also contributed immensely to thwarting the Indian efforts to mislead the world.

For Pakistan, Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of Partition. The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was right in saying that Pakistan would ensure that the India-Pakistan question remains on the agenda of the UN Security Council until resolution of the dispute in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions.

One really wonders at the naivete of the Indian government in entertaining the thought of having the Kashmir issue removed from the UNSC agenda, notwithstanding the foregoing realities. The BJP regime, inebriated by the RSS ideology of Hindutva, has also adopted a belligerent posture towards Pakistan. It has violated the ceasefire agreement between the two countries along the LOC more than 1600 times this year to divert the attention of the world from its reign of terror in Occupied Kashmir.

Not only that, BJP stalwarts and Indian military leaders have also been hurling threats at Pakistan and even dared to send planes to hit an imaginary terrorist camp at Balakot in February 2019. That could have easily escalated into an open military confrontation between the two nuclear powers. But Pakistan showed remarkable restraint to defuse the situation reaffirming its desire for peaceful existence with its neighbours. Nevertheless, by downing two Indian planes and capturing one pilot it made a strong statement to India as well as to the world community that Pakistan is fully capable of thwarting any aggressive designs of the enemy.

The prime minister of Pakistan has repeatedly warned the world about the lurking dangers and Indian designs against Pakistan, urging the UN and the world powers to realize the gravity of the situation and pressurize India not only to rescind its actions in Kashmir but also implement the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir. That is the only way to resolve the dispute and ensure peaceful coexistence.

The BJP regime in India also must realize that they are treading a very dangerous course by doing what they are doing in Occupied Kashmir and adopting a threatening posture towards Pakistan. The Kashmiri freedom struggle is gaining strength with every passing day and cannot be subdued with barrel of the gun. Pakistan cannot be intimidated through aggressive actions and by the threat of more arms. It is a nuclear power and fully capable and determined to give a matching response to any aggressive action by India as it proved in February 2091, though it remains committed to peaceful resolution of disputes.

India, therefore, should have no illusion about the determination and capability of the Pakistan armed forces in defending their motherland. Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa while addressing an investiture ceremony held at GHQ on September 6 declared unequivocally that Pakistan is ready to respond to any misadventure with full might. Rightly blaming India for jeopardizing regional peace by irresponsibly changing the status of Indian-occupied Kashmir, he made it clear that Pakistan would never accept India’s unilateral decision.

General Bajwa said: “On the eve of Defence Day, I want to convey the message that Pakistan is a peace-loving country but would give a befitting reply to the enemy if war was imposed” India as well as the world community need to ponder over this.

The writer is a freelance contributor. Email: [email protected]