Allow and encourage the Government of Azad Kashmir to start discharging its duties under UNCIP Resolutions

DAILY TIMES

Dr Syed Nazir Gilani
OP-ED

Allow and encourage the Government of Azad Kashmir to start discharging its duties under UNCIP Resolutions
Dr Syed Nazir Gilani

OCTOBER 21, 2019

United Nations has described Kashmiris as “people of legend, song and story, associated with snow-capped mountains, beautiful valleys and life-giving waters….These people, Moslems, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians, as farmers, craftsmen and artists, small shopkeepers, boatmen, bearers and other workers in areas now on both sides of the cease fire line have, through the centuries, been victims of exploitation and conflict.”

Modi has placed these people under lock and key for the last 77 days and has tried to make them invisible. Has Modi succeeded? The answer is no. UN has known these people for the last 71 years from 01 January 1948. How can Modi vanquish this nation, when 80 year old Suria Abdullah Ali daughter of Sheikh Abdullah defied the curfew and offered herself for arrest? There were many other women of all ages who offered themselves for arrest. The resistance in Kashmir has entered into a new phase, where Kashmiris of all faiths, condemn the political vandalism of RSS and Modi Government alike. The locked down people, are joined by people of Pakistan, saner elements from all over India, Europe, America and in many other capitals of the world, against the Indian aggression of 5 August 2019. It is a misunderstanding that Kashmiris became a subject of a UN supervised vote from 15 January 1948, when Indian Government surrendered its provisional accession at the UN.

In fact a UN supervised ratification or rejection of the provisional and conditional accession of 27 October 1947, is one of the main terms of agreement made between the Maharaja of Kashmir and the Government of India represented through the Governor General. If India had created any kind of link with Kashmir, it has been the agreement of 27 October 1947. It was taken over by the UN Security Council on 15 January 1948. The 5 August 2019 action by the Government of India, has made New Delhi an occupation force in Kashmir. Government of Indiaas a ‘desi’ colonial power, wants to rehearse the days of British Raj in Kashmir. A power that took pride in reporting to UN General Assembly that it had constructed 110 million toilets in just 5 years for its people wants to hold ‘people of legend’ against their will.When we examine the history of the fighting spirit of the people of Kashmir, we are assured that Indian aggression is unlikely to succeed. It is true that since after the first 2 day visit of UN Secretary General to Srinagar in March 1959, it has taken a long while for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to publish a report on Human Rights situation in Kashmir in June 2018 and an update in July 2019. Government of India was unnerved by these reports and it broke all protocols of decency and called the report biased and prejudiced against India. Although the author of these reports was not Hafiz Saeed, yet Indians had no hesitation in accusing the UN officials of having a personal bias against India.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is right to point out that Modi is riding a tiger and he does not have a clue what would happen, when curfew is lifted in Kashmir. We need not wait for Modi to lift the curfew, but need to precipitate and accelerate world pressure, so that Modi cannot hold the key any longer. There may be issues of content, yet it would be unfair to undervalue the merits of Prime Ministers speech made at the UN General Assembly. It would equally be unfair if we fail to admit the merits of two other speeches made at the 71st and 72nd sessions of UN General Assembly. Those speeches were not made by any individual but by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Pakistan has a strong constituency in Kashmir. If it corrects itself and rehabilitates its faith in the jurisprudence of UN Resolutions on Kashmir, India has no choice but to pack lock stock and barrel

Government of Pakistan has a higher burden of responsibility to see the back of Modi in Kashmir. It has to keep holding the thread of its announcements made on Kashmir, in particular that Ministry of Law was looking into taking the matter to International Court of Justice, Government was re-examining bilateral agreements with India (in particular Shimla Agreement) and that Prime Minister would be the lead Ambassador of Kashmir, of course a principal addition to the existing 200 Ambassadors functioning in various countries. There are many rumours making rounds, on the Kashmiris right of self-determination. These may be unfounded apprehensions. But what happened to Kashmir in Shimla Agreement, Lahore Declaration, how it became one of the eight outstanding issues with India and how it degenerated into a 4-point Musharraf formula, are elements for a mistrust. It is encouraging that Government of Pakistan handled the JKLF march to cross the cease fire line in full understanding of a difference between a Cease Fire Line (CFL) and a Line of Control (LOC).

Cease Fire Line is a subject of the UN Security Council and Line of Control an India-Pakistan subject. Pakistan was faced with a difficult task of de facto need to stop the marchers and respecting the de jure right of the people to cross the cease fire line.

Pakistan handled the situation with patience and maturity. We did not have any loss of life as was witnessed in 1992 attempt to cross the cease fire line. Everyone at home or abroad contributed to the wisdom of the decision. The de facto and de jure responsibilities were fully discussed and conveyed to the Government and the marchers. One needs to give credit to the JKLF leadership in Pakistan and outside Pakistan, who made sure that all sides reconcile without hurting the cause of Kashmir. Government of Azad Kashmir too has a share in the peaceful ending of the march. These are difficult times and social media is over loaded with opposing views. It would be the merit of a view that will prevail. We need to admit that the Azad Kashmir Government could not assume its full role as envisaged under UNCIP Resolutions. It was chained in Rules of Business 1951, Act 1964, Act 1968, Act 1970 and finally in Act 1974. The sudden disappearance of the Provisional Declaration of 24 October 1947 has been a wicked move. It has crippled the constituency of Government of Azad Kashmir and hurt its capacity. It is time that Islamabad revisits its Kashmir policy and updates it by correcting the irritants and bringing it in line with the jurisprudence of UN Resolutions on Kashmir. Kashmir policy has remained a hostage in A4 size files in the foreign office and in the files of various other disciplines. In particular the Kashmir policy from November 1965 to date has remained adhoc and suspect.

There has not been any free, frank and informed debate on the merits of Kashmir policy. It is after the lapse of over 10 years that we are told that chairman of Kashmir Committee has not done much for Kashmir. The chairmanship of Kashmir Committee, in fact, has been used as a political bribe in the previous Governments. We hope that the new chairman is able to prove otherwise. Pakistan has a strong constituency in Kashmir. If it corrects itself and rehabilitates its faith in the jurisprudence of UN Resolutions on Kashmir, India has no choice but to pack lock stock and barrel. One of the main steps to this end, is the status of the Government of Azad Kashmir. All that Pakistan has to do, is to allow and encourage the Government of Azad Kashmir to start discharging its duties under UNCIP Resolutions as accepted under Act 1974 (Constitution). Pakistan has committed itself in Act 1974 as a partner in the discharge of these duties under UNCIP Resolutions. Any advice to the contrary would be unfriendly. It will hurt the Kashmir case and interests of Pakistan.

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