28th day of curfew a reality check in Kashmir
Dr Syed Nazir Gilani
SEPTEMBER 2, 2019
Future generations in Kashmir and Pakistan in particular and in the rest of the world in general would judge the quality and merits of our response, to Indian occupation of the part of Jammu and Kashmir on her side of cease fire line. It is interesting that India has used military force a second time in her dispute with Pakistan since 1947 to seal an occupation for the time being.
Hyderabad acceded to Pakistan but India used military force, to undo the accession and occupied it forcibly. Kashmir and Hyderabad are both pending disputes at the UN Security Council. Pakistan has almost given up on Hyderabad at the UN Security Council. We have always avoided a reality check and missed to improve upon our strategy. It was first under the simplification process under rule 11 of UN Security Council Procedural Rules that we were told in September 1996 by the UN that since Kashmir had not been debated at the UN Security Council from November 1965 to August 1996, it needed to be dropped from the agenda. We ran helter skelter for a cover up, to keep our people in the dark. If Modi had not gone mad on Kashmir on 5 August 2019, the Government would not have accepted that it has taken Kashmir to UN Security Council after a lapse of 50 years. Many of the officers in the Foreign Office who credit today, the present Government for taking the Kashmir issue to UN Security Council, have in fact also remained involved in the cover up from November 1965 to August 1996. This generation of officers is always malleable in their own interests.
Kashmir militancy and Kashmir political Alliance (United Hurriyat of 31 July 1993) had driven India to her den and Kashmiris were prevailing. Indian administration in the Valley came to a standstill and collapsed for a good time. Prime Minister Narasimha Rao offered “sky is the limit”, Prime Minister Vajpayee offered a formula of “insaniyat, Kashmiriyat& jamhooriyat” and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered five working groups to make a comprehensive progress on the resolution of Kashmiris right of self-determination. Government of India or anyone in majority Hindus would not have even dreamed to lock down Kashmir in this way in August 2019, hunt down Kashmiris on the streets of India and give calls to their youth to get ready to take Kashmiri girls (women) as wives after the abrogation of 35A. It may be happening, as no one knows what has happened under the cover of CURFEW. The Hindu Ruler could not hold on to his first ever September 1931 curfew beyond 11 days. On the contrary Modi Government has been using curfew in Kashmir as a hobby. August 5 curfew is far different and one can easily liken it to Hitler’s gas chambers. Something urgent has to be done to vacate the aggression, occupation and curfew.
Pakistan is faced with a situation in Kashmir as it faced a similar situation in Hyderabad. The encouraging difference is that, here we have unwilling Kashmiris physically fighting Indian occupation
What has gone wrong that Modi Government turned its back on three previous Prime Ministers of India and decided to go in a bacchanalian mood to annex Kashmir? A reality check is highly desired. It seems that militancy was not authored as a means to a just and final resolution. Kashmiri militants almost got recognised by the Government of India as a legitimate Kashmir army, as a consequence of a dialogue offer. A smart militant and political leadership should have gone in for one or two or more dialogue session, to gain legitimacy and then pull out if required. Opportunity of gaining legitimacy, would have defeated India move to label them as terrorists. Our militants shelved their guns. Many of them took to Muzaffarabad-Srinagar trade, local trade activities and some even decided to seek refuge in Europe and other countries. Authors of military and political strategy were taken over by greed, corruption and private interests. Indian Government and its various elements kept their course. They kept a vigil on our failings. It ultimately boiled down to a mad, unlawful and unconvincing Indian action of 5 August 2019. Pakistan is faced with a situation in Kashmir as it faced a similar situation in Hyderabad. The encouraging difference is that, here we have unwilling Kashmiris physically fighting Indian occupation. Pakistan has a strong constituency in the valley and among Kashmiris all over the world. The question is would Pakistan be able to oblige and keep this constituency intact? Not easy but not difficult either.
Government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan have a fundamental role to play in helping the people of Kashmir out of this occupation. It needs a revision of past and a reality check of the present. We have a UN mechanism on Kashmir and it was on the basis of this connection with UN that Pakistan was able to seek a meeting at the UN Security Council. It has helped. The pending UN template of a UN supervised vote in Kashmir, is the first point of interest for any country or community to help us. Foreign Office keeps the same files as were kept during Mushtaq Gumani’s time or during the times of President Musharraf. A majority of officers also remain the same and their effort to press PTI Government mode button, would not help. We need to learn from the past and there is an urgent need for a fresh approach. It has to be knowledgeable and inclusive approach. The circle of wisdom could not be perfected without a convincing Kashmiri input. We should not use UN Security Council as a threat to force India for a bilateral dialogue. We should have full faith in the jurisprudence of UN package on Kashmir. Kashmiris right of self-determination should not be stripped of its merit, available to it under UN Security Council and UNCIP Resolutions. Kashmiri input could be assured and secured through the institution of “Plebiscite Advisor” envisaged in AJK Act 1970 and AJK Constitution Act 1974.
Under Act 1974 Government of Pakistan has accepted to perform duties under UNCIP Resolutions in Azad Kashmir. The office of the Plebiscite Advisor is directly linked to the main duty under UNCIP Resolutions of a UN supervised Plebiscite. It is discouraging to note that Government of Azad Kashmir has failed to discharge this constitutional duty of immense international interest for the last 49 years. JKCHR during its arguments in the High Court of Azad Kashmir(1992-1999) found that an appointment was made on 19 January 1991. The process appeared to be suspect and against the spirit of the constitutional duty.
It is high time that we appoint a Plebiscite Advisor to create an institution in equity with Kashmir Committee in the Parliament of Pakistan. The principles and criterion of the appointment have been set out in the full court judgment of High Court of Azad Kashmir given in the JKCHR writ petition Number 122 of 1992, decided on 2 April 1999. The High Court Judgement insulates the dignity of the appointment (a personality of high international standing and commanding general confidence) and keeps out any possible party or other interests. It is the principal constitutional duty which connects Kashmir with UN and this office should have been working on the jurisprudence of Kashmir case for the last 49 years. Sooner we act the better it is.
The author is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations