Kashmir dispute is virtually as old as the UN. The Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru took the case of Kashmir to UN in Jan 1948 and Pakistan also filed a counter complaint. United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted certain unanimous resolutions for the right of self-determination in Kashmir. But then India started dragging its feet and rejected the UN resolutions and gradually started integrating the Occupied Kashmir with it by organizing elections. The elections were boycotted by majority population of Occupied Kashmir. UN also gave its verdict that elections cannot be a substitute for the plebiscite. The UN has always recognized Kashmir dispute the root cause of tension in the region. The UN Secretary General recently visited India and Pakistan and offered his services for solution of this dispute and referred to the necessity of solving it for peace and security in the region.
One kind of negative development has taken place in regard to the treatment of Kashmir dispute at the UN. It was on the agenda of the UNSC since it started but now it has been decided that any item will be on agenda only if the parties concerned inform the UNSC in advance every year. So by 1st January Pakistan has to approach the Chair of UNSC to retain this issue on agenda of UNSC. According to UN charter, if parties are not able to resolve any issue, brought to it, by peaceful means under chapter six then UNSC can suggest a solution. If that solution is not honored by parties then enforcement part of UN charter comes under consideration under chapter seven. Unfortunately the enforcement requires the concurrence of at least nine member states of UNSC including five permanent members i.e. it is subject to veto. So Pakistan has to press on the issue on right time.
The role of UN Secretary General should be reactivated that he should appoint a special representative on Kashmir like he has appointed on Syria, Palestine and Rwanda. Intra Kashmir dialogue should also be held, ensuring Kashmiri representation in any negotiation between Pakistan and India relating to Kashmir. Meanwhile the legitimate struggle of people of Kashmir for their right to self-determination has come under pressure. India started equating it with terrorism, but these attempts have not dented the struggle of Kashmiri people and international community also understands illegal stance of India. Another issue is raised that resolutions were adopted in 1948, and with the passage of time these are no longer operative. But UN Former Secretary General Kofi Annan clarified that resolutions of UNSC remain valid until those are implemented or the matter is solved by concerned parties. Similarly Simla agreement does not eliminate the right of Pakistan to approach the UN.
Human rights violation is another issue to be focused. On the issues of the draconian laws like POTA, TADA, AFSPA, PSA and the issues of mass graves, rapes and other human rights violations, we have to expose Indian atrocities and repression in Kashmir on international level. There is human rights council and opportunity to press India on the issue of the violation of human rights.
Pakistan should keep extending its moral, political and diplomatic support to this cause and should keep this issue alive. The past government has been raising this issue at the UN, and this is being done now more vigorously by the present government. Liberal elements and voices in India, which share the sentiments of the people of Kashmir, should also be engaged for the Kashmir cause. Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan should be properly represented in the Council of Common Interest, National Economic Council and National Finance Commission. Proper shares of the revenues generated by energy produced through hydro projects in those areas should be given to them. Pending the achievement of right of self-determination, these territories without making them province should be brought at powers factually in respect of their autonomy powers and privileges including representation in the Pakistani Parliament.
I would like to conclude on quotation of Josef Korbel, “The people of Kashmir have made it unmistakably known that they insist on being heard… The accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India cannot be considered as valid by canons of international law. The issue itself cannot be sidetracked, the history of the case has made it clear that time has only aggravated, not healed, the conflict, that neither Pakistan nor the Kashmiris will accept the status quo as a solution. But no high hope should be entertained that bilateral negotiations will lead to a settlement. The United Nations has a principal responsibility to seek a solution”. UN should perform equal to the promise which is penned down in the charter of UN, as it has done in the case of East Timor and South Sudan, so why not in the case of Kashmir.