THOUGH the world continues to recognise Kashmir as a disputed issue, India is using underhanded methods to get the question of the held valley struck off the UN Security Council’s agenda. As reported in this paper on Saturday, India has asked the UN to remove the Kashmir issue so that it is not discussed during the upcoming General Assembly session, claiming it is an “outdated agenda item” and needs to be removed “permanently”.
Furthermore, New Delhi claims its illegal annexation of the disputed territory last year has ‘resolved’ the dispute, something millions of Kashmiris patently disagree with. As Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN pointed out, a member state cannot change the agenda unilaterally; this can only be done through consensus.
As New Delhi has failed to counter the Kashmiri freedom struggle through brute force and repression, it is now applying subterfuge at the international level to obfuscate the Kashmir issue. The fact is that even after illegally subsuming the held valley within the Indian union last year, the world community continues to see Kashmir as a dispute between Pakistan and India. No amount of legal trickery internally or internationally by India will change this reality.
The government has done well to raise the Kashmir issue at all forums, and such efforts need to continue to counter India’s efforts to remove this critical problem from the global agenda. Pakistan should continue to forge a consensus amongst Muslim states so that there is a unified voice on Kashmir. It would send a strong message if a high-level OIC meeting is held soon to discuss the issue and highlight the sufferings of the Kashmiri people, particularly after India’s illegitimate annexation.
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Other key states must also be taken on board so that efforts to remove Kashmir from the global discussion are frustrated. India feels that it can crush the Kashmiri desire for dignity and freedom. However, today many around the world — including independent human rights groups — are saying what Pakistan has been highlighting for decades: that India violates the fundamental rights of Kashmiri civilians with impunity.
The global debate on Kashmir must continue till there is a just solution — acceptable to the people of the held valley — to this over seven-decade-old problem. Pakistan must continue its moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris, while countering malicious attempts to have the Kashmir question removed from the international agenda.
Published in Dawn, September 7th, 202