UN role in Kashmir
October 15, 2018
The principle of self-determination is prominently embodied in Article I of the UN Charter, explaining that, “All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” The de-colonisation of Indian Sub-continent was a historical event. Pakistan and India came into being as a result of this decolonisation. The major factor behind this decolonisation was the right of self-determination, granted to everyone through above mentioned provision of UN Charter. Whereas the bulk of the world nations got this right, Kashmiris were denied of their inalienable right in 1947. Failure to get their right, Kashmiri started their struggle against Dogra Rule through announcement of an independent (Azad) Kashmir. On October 24, 1947, Kashmiri formally established the Azad Kashmir whose resolution for accession with Pakistan was already announced on July 19, 1947. On October 27, 1947, Indian forces landed at the Srinagar Airport and then there was a war between Kashmiris and Indian forces. Surprisingly, even being an aggressor, India, referred the Kashmir case to UN.
Indeed, the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is the oldest unresolved issue on the agenda of the United Nations Organisation. From January 1948 to May 1964, United Nations Organisation passed sixteen resolutions and undertook many debates and discussions concerning Jammu and Kashmir. In all of its resolutions, including resolutions of United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), United Nations Organisation asked for a fair and impartial plebiscite to decide the future status of Jammu and Kashmir as per the wishes of its subjects. In order to implement its resolutions, UN appointed its missions, mediators and even nominated Plebiscite Administrators with various practicable suggestions and proposals to reach a logical solution of the issue. However, owing to inflexible attitude of India, all these efforts proved futile, resultantly, Kashmir issue is still unresolved and Kashmiri masses are suffering the worst form of human rights violations at the hands of Indian occupation forces.
Compared to cold war era, where US and West was supportive to Pakistani stance on Kashmir, there is total different scenario in 2018. At that time, UN representatives and its missions worked selflessly with devotion and dedication for working out a positive outcome to resolve the dispute. Unfortunately, at that time India and its strategic ally, former Soviet Union blocked all UN efforts for a solution of the dispute. Pakistan, however, has been asking for the right of self-determination of Kashmiris as per UN Charter and its resolutions. Since United Nations accepted the right of self-determination of Kashmiris, thus, all its resolutions, stressed for a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under it. India, however, fearing a defeat, resorted to delaying tactics to avert the plebiscite exercise.
Like always, today in 2018, the oppressed Kashmiri masses are looking towards United Nations to play a constructive role for concluding the dispute on logical grounds as per its Charter and resolutions. As an impartial world body, UN could have seen through the Indian design, which only desire to annex the territory of Jammu and Kashmir as part of Indian Union. India is doing all this while setting aside the facts of geographical contiguity, ethnic homogeneity and above all the wishes of the Kashmiris. It is India which has delayed the conduct of plebiscite in Kashmir against the UN Charter and wishes of the people.
Practically, there cannot be any accession of the state with India, since UN has passed two specific resolutions with a clear verdict regarding the powers and jurisdiction of the State’s Legislative Assembly. Through UN resolutions; March 30, 1951, and January 24, 1957, it is categorically stated that, State’s Constituent Assembly cannot determine the future status of the state, until there is a UN sponsored plebiscite. Pakistan and Kashmiris are concerned that, despite its clear directive through its resolution, India continued its illegal acts and this world body could not take any action against it.
After seven decades UN still seems to be undecided to take a decisive step for the resolution of this outstanding dispute. This world body did not delay actions in case of East Taimoor, South Sudan and many such like issues, which provides a pretext to Kashmiris to say that, UN is discriminatory and so are the major powers. Had, this world body been free and impartial from international influences, Kashmiris would have given their right of self-determination much earlier. Verbal condemnation of Indian occupation and Indian state terrorism over the people of IOK would not make much of difference. There is a planned genocide going on in IOK, which warrants immediate action by UN and major powers. The humanitarian dimension of the dispute has to be looked into by international community and United Nations for its final resolution, before the region gets into another conflict.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.