At the outset, let me felicitate the people of Pakistan in general and the Pakistani Americans in particular on their 688h anniversary of independence. Let us hope and pray that Pakistan overcomes its turbulences and instabilities and touches new heights of peace, prosperity and happiness!
As Americans of South Asian heritage, let me remind you that when the Kashmir dispute erupted in 1947-1948, the United States championed the stand that the future status of Kashmir must be ascertained in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the territory. The United States was the principal sponsor of the resolution # 47 which was adopted by the Security Council on April 21, 1948 and which was based on that unchallenged principle.
So, the Kashmir question is one of the oldest unresolved international problems in the world. It prevails in what is recognized – under international law and by the United States – as a disputed territory. According to the international agreements between India and Pakistan, negotiated by the United Nations endorsed by the Security Council, the territory’s status is to be determined by the free vote of its people under U.N. supervision.
Now is the time for President Obama to listen to Candidate Obama who said on October 30, 2008, “We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis.”
Much is being made of the fact that six decades have passed since the principled solution for Kashmir was formulated by the United Nations with almost universal support. Mere passage of time or the flight from realities cannot alter the fact that these resolutions remain unimplemented until today. The United Nations resolutions can never become obsolete, or over taken by events or changed circumstances. The passage of time cannot invalidate an enduring and irreplaceable principle – the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. If passage of time were allowed to extinguish solemn international agreements, then the United Nations Charter should suffer the same fate as the resolutions on Kashmir. If non-implementation were to render an agreement defunct, then the Geneva Convention in twenty-first century in many countries is in no better state than these resolutions.
There are no insuperable obstacles to the setting up of a plebiscite administration in Kashmir under the aegis of the United Nations. The world organization has proved its ability, even in the most forbidding circumstances, to institute an electoral process under its supervision and control and with the help of a neutral peace-keeping force. The striking examples of this are Namibia and East Timor which were peacefully brought to independence after seven decades of occupation and control by South Africa; and three decades of occupation of Indonesia respectively.