After 50 years Kashmir is back at UN Security Council

DAILY TIMES

OP-ED

After 50 years Kashmir is back at UN Security Council

Dr Syed Nazir Gilani

AUGUST 19, 2019

Kashmir is an intra-disciplinary subject. The constituent disciplines need to go back to the drawing board and check the circles of their wisdom. They will find that leaving Kashmir unattended after the 1251st meeting of the UN Security Council held on 5 November 1965 to 16 August 2019 was in no way a wise decision.

It is equally unfortunate that Pakistan left “The Hyderabad question” unattended since 246th meeting of the UN Security Council held on 24 May 1949. Unless every constituent discipline conducts an internal audit of its part in freezing the issue of Kashmir and Hyderabad for 50 years and 70 years respectively, there would be no progress on these two issues.

India continued to use these 54 years to build its military strength and ultimately on 5 August 2019 came out with a sinister plan to place the Valley under curfew and dismember the State on paper. Government of Pakistan took the right step in requesting for a meeting of the UN Security Council and China one of the permanent members of the Security Council, stepped in to help out.

The most immediate benefit of the present reference to UN Security Council, has helped to reinstate or as rightly put by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, has reaffirmed the status of the Kashmir dispute as an outstanding issue at the UN Security Council. India has continued to run a mill of blackmail and has tried to unnerve Pakistan by blaming it, as a sponsor of terrorism in Kashmir. At the same time India continued to sweeten Pakistan by making regular references to a bilateral engagement. Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership may have made a mistake by overemphasising the need to have a bilateral dialogue.

The letter written by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan to the President of the UN Security Council is not in public domain. Those of us who have remained robustly involved in promoting the jurisprudence of Kashmir case, were not invited to make any input or consulted in improving the merits of the letter.

If the Foreign Office of Pakistan has taken on itself to stitch together the contents of the letter, without any input from the Government of Azad Kashmir as required under UNCIP Resolutions, input from the various schools of opinion in Azad Kashmir and in Pakistan and above all the input of credible NGOs with a special consultative status at the United Nations and the Kashmiri diaspora, one can suspect that the lack of non-consultation would be seen floating on the surface of the letter.

There is no denying the fact that consideration of the plight of the people of Kashmir by the UN Security Council has cured the disease of hesitancy and indecision in our minds. Pakistan has prevailed on India in the Security Council and the people have prevailed upon Indian on the streets around the world

The non-consultation is a serious issue. It would not be looked upon kindly by the United Nations, international forums and many other NGOs that support Pakistan’s advocacy of the people of Kashmir.

It is important to understand that a reference to UN Security Council should engage the interest of the five permanent members and ten non-permanent members collectively and severally. We have a new generation of diplomats at the UN Security Council and most of them (if not all of them) do not have a reliable knowledge of the contributions made by their respective countries at the UN SC from January 1948 to November 1965.

We knew that Security Council had designated agendaitem as “India/Pakistan”. It meant that the discussion would not be in continuation of where Security Council had left Kashmir at the 1251st meeting on 5 November 1965.It also meant that the Security Council would not discuss anything that remains repugnant to the holding of a UN supervised REFERENDUM in accordance with Article 1 (2) of the Charter.

The two OHCHR reports of June 2018 and July 2019 also recommend to respect the Right of Self Determination of the People of Kashmir as protected under International Law.Therefore it was easy to ask the Security Council to consider Indian violation of UN SC Resolution 38 of 17 January 1948 and Resolution 91 of 30 March 1951.

It is not clear whether the letter written by the Foreign Minister, has made any reference to any specific violations by the Government of India and what specific relief for the people of Kashmir has been sought in the letter. The violation of Resolution 38 of 17 January 1948 and Resolution 91 of 30 March 1951of UN Security Council and the three UN reports, two prepared by Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the third of 30 July 2019 prepared by the UN Secretary General, would have been enough to seek relief for a people placed under curfew by the Indian security forces.

President of Azad Kashmir Masood Khan, used a phrase “Takar Kee Safarat Kari” (high quality tit for tat diplomacy) in his TVinterview and it has merit. We need to argue Kashmir case, strictly in accordance with the jurisprudence of UN Resolutions on Kashmir and as it has evolved. It would have been a “Takar Kee Safarat Kari” if we had highlighted that India has surrendered its provisional accession (allowing it to control three subjects of the State namely Defence, External Affairs and Communication) on 15 January 1948 at the UN Security Council for aUN supervised vote. It could have been added that Indian army has violated all the seven restraints placed on it during its presence in the State.

A request could have been made to return to the Pakistani proposal to send a UN Force to Kashmir. This proposal was endorsed by Australia, Cuba, Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America. China has submitted “Article of Settlement” to resolve the dispute. The new generations of diplomats at the UN Security Council of these five countries, would not have known about the commitments of their countries to the Kashmir dispute, made way back in January 1957. It is our duty to flag their commitments made at the UN Security Council.

There is no denying the fact that consideration of the plight of the people of Kashmir by the UN Security Council has cured the disease of hesitancy and indecision in our minds. Pakistan has prevailed on India in the Security Council and the people have prevailed upon Indian on the streets around the world. Foreign Minister has said that all options are on the table.

It may be so, but options need to be thoroughly discussed with a fresh approach, different from the one, which is notoriously known as ‘copy and paste’ or tenure based. Kashmir Committee in the Parliament, Foreign Office, Government of Azad Kashmir, various disciplines and NGOs with a lead work on Kashmir, all need to sit together in the interests of the valiantly struggling people of Kashmir.

The writer is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations