Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat, president Muslim Conference, a constituent of Hurriyat Conference(M) has stirred a hornet’s nest by announcing publicly that UN resolutions on Kashmir have become redundant and are no longer applicable. I am afraid that is not the correct status of those resolutions.

To start with it needs to be stated that the right of self determination for people of J&K is not only contained in the UN resolutions, instrument of accession or the promise made by Pandith Nehru, the first Prime Minster of Free India at the historic Lal-chowk and reiterated by him on many subsequent occasions but is also contained in the first complaint petition dated Ist Jannuary 1948 through which India took the Kashmir dispute to UN under Article VI of the UN Charter. Para 6 of the said petition is reproduced below

“6. The grave threat to the life and property of innocent people in the Kashmir Valley and to the security of the State of Jammu and Kashmir that had developed as a result of the invasion of the Valley demanded immediate decision by the Government of India . It was imperative on account of the emergency that the responsibility for the defense of the Jammu and Kashmir State should be taken over by a government capable of discharging it. But, in order to avoid any possible suggestion that India had utilized the State’s immediate peril for her own political advantage, the Government of India made it clear that once the soil of the State had been cleared of the invader and normal conditions restored, its people would be free to decide their future by the recognized democratic method of a plebiscite or referendum which, in order to ensure complete impartiality, might be held under international auspices.”

The complaint filed by India under chapter VI of the UN charter , was forwarded to Pakistan which replied it on 15th Jannuary 1948. Thereafter the first resolution was passed on 17th Jannuary. It was followed by a stream of resolutions depending upon the exigencies of the situation and representation made by parties from time to time. The last resolution on the subject was passed in 1972.

Incidentally chapter VI of the UN charter deals with “Pacific settlement of disputes” between member nations and comprises of Article 33 to 38( both inclusive).Chapter VII deals with “action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression”. The role of UN under chapter VI is only suggestive & recommendatory while under chapter VII it is directive & pro-active. It is interesting to note that while India attributes the genesis of the dispute to naked aggression (Tribal raid) by Pakistan, it did not invoke chapter VII which deals with aggression.

Persons who talk of redundancy and inapplicability of UN resolutions in the present circumstances have generally in mind factors like “long time gap of sixty four years”, “political diversity in the State”, “continued bloodshed”, “Entrenched interests of India & Pakistan” & Shimla agreement etc. Looking closely at these metaphors or narratives it will be seen that these have mostly been advanced by politicians at different times to advance their own political interests of which 1975 accord is the classic instance. As against this no world leader or institutional head has said that the resolutions have become redundant. A good example of that is the recent statement of UN chief BAN-KI-MOON in india that Kashmir dispute should be solved in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiri people which essentially is what UN resolutions state. Had Kashmir not been on UN agenda, its head would have no right to make a mention of it? The presence of UN sub-offices in both parts of Kashmir further testifies to the fact that UN still considers J&K State as disputed territory and its solution in the resolutions passed by it. Further If media reports are to be believed UN security council is shortly going to discuss Kashmir issue once again, the Indian objections notwithstanding.

For those of us who refer to the decaying relevance of the Kashmir issue and call for the promotion of confidence building measures between India & Pakistan a retrospect into the past and an insight into the future would serve well for reality to dawn upon them. History speaks for itself. Pakistan & India entered into so many agreements like Tashkent declaration, Shimla agreement etc. etc.Similarly India & Kashmir inked so many agreements like Delhi agreement in 1952,Indra-Sheikh accord in 1975, Rajiv Farooq accord in 1986.But since none of these were held under the relevant UN resolutions and with all the three parties in attendance, these were doomed to fail and infact did fail.

The UN resolutions allowing self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir remain absolutely valid and provide a basis for settlement of the lingering dispute. The passage of decades cannot obscure the value of the UN Security Council resolutions, which clearly call for addressing the dispute in accordance with the will of the people.

The real question is what to do about Kashmir, and the simple answer is to ask the Kashmiris and that is what the resolutions are.

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