Ever since India reneged on plebiscite pledge which it promised to hold in light of Security Council resolutions, it strived hard to rob Kashmir dispute off its International Character. In approaching world body it accused Pakistan of aggression and presented itself as “savior” of kashmiris. But the United Nations after marathon debate on the issue, could not reconcile with the Indian claim as the claim did show visible imperialistic strands. In post-world war scenario the right to self determination gained a reference point in settling disputes and the Charter of United Nations accepts this in assailable right of the oppressed people. India in weaning fleeing autocratic ruler maharaja Hari Singh and sheikh Abdullah on its side had thought world body would legitimize Indian occupation of Kashmir and unilaterally ask Pakistan to withdraw its troops from the part of Kashmir under its control. But that was not going to happen. The UNSC not only accepted the right to self determination (RSD) of people in Kashmir, it devised means how to achieve it. The best possible, simple, durable, and honorable solution it prescribed was holding plebiscite under the auspices of an international body. The presence of United Nations military observers group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in J&K since 1948 does reflect that irrespective of the ‘integral part’ rhetoric of India the United Nations remains committed with its decision it took six decades before. The farce called elections Delhi Darbar conducts in presence of seven lakh troops and does not make an alternative of plebiscite as the continued and sustained struggle of the people for RSD stands witness to.
Recently Line of Control has seen a flare up in what they call “violation of ceasefire” in place since 2003. Both countries traded charges against each other including mutilation of dead bodies between two parties in dispute, the reasonable course is involving the third party. And the one most suitable to sift the falsehood from truth is the UN military observes stayed across the LoC. While Pakistan asked for the same, India rejected. The reference to United Nations force by Pakistan Foreign Secretary Abbas Geelani in a debate on peace keeping on 22 Jan 2013 was vehemently rejected by India’s ambassador Hardeep Singh who suggested that ‘it would be better to spend resources allocated for the observers group elsewhere in difficult economic times’. He grunted ‘suffice it to point that UNMOGIP’s role has been overtaken by Simla arrangement of 1972 between India and Pakistan, signed by heads of two governments and ratified by their respective parliaments’. At the end of the debate Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Masood khan, responding to Singh’s remarks said: ‘no bilateral arrangement between the two nations has overtaken or affected the role of legality of the observer group’.
Not only Pakistan, even the world body did not accept Indian diversionary tactics Indian authorities use to outstrip Kashmir issue from its international status. The united Nations ‘setting aside Indian demand’ stated that ‘its observers were fully active in Kashmir and the mandate of its military observer Group would continue to exist as only Security Council could decide to end it’.
Simla agreement, it has to be realized – more by Indians, has not in any way deactivated, much less ‘overtaken’, the significance of United Nations role in Kashmir, as it is not in conflict with what the stated positions of the two countries. In ‘Jammu and Kashmir the Line of Control resulting from the ceasefire of December 17, 1971, shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to recognized position of either side’ says the agreement.
The ceasefire line (as it was called prior to terming it is a line of Control) saw the UN military observers doing their duty in equal measure as they do it now. They are ‘observing’ how India is bludgeoning and unarmed civilians into submission. They are ‘observing’ how millions of people surged their hearts up in love of freedom. They are ‘observing’ how in a ‘largest democracy’ leaders like Geelani are detained in their houses and not allowed religious freedom or expression of dissent.
Kashmir exposes India and its democratic credentials. It will continue to haunt it. Wherever it goes and wherever it speaks. It won’t allow it to stay normal. It has to always play antics as its representative Hardeep Singh did play at the UNSC.
Strangely India is clamoring for permanent seat in Security Council and at the same time brazenly violates the Security Council resolutions and asks UN observer group to call it a day. Idiosyncratic behavior like this won’t win her a berth in the elite group. The root for that goes through Kashmir. In giving up rhetoric and obstinacy. In fulfilling the promise of plebiscite.