Dr Muhammad Khan
DURING the first three weeks of 2018 (January 1 to January 20, 2018), there has been continuous firing from Indian Army and BSF across the ceasefire line (Line of Control). This incessant firing include firing from heavy weapons as well as small arms, killing dozens and injuring hundreds with massive damage to property and villages all along. From Sialkot, Working Boundary to Line of Contact, there have been violations of ceasefire through aggressive heavy weapon firing on unarmed and innocent civil population, violating the UN resolutions, the Ceasefire Agreement-2003 and above all the international norms of not targeting the civil population. According to Dr Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, there have been over 1300 ceasefire violation in 2017 only. He said in a statement, “In 2017, more than 1,300 Indian ceasefire violations, the highest ever in the recent past, have resulted in 52 deaths and 175 were injured. We have consistently stressed that Indian aggression is a threat to regional peace and tranquillity.”
In last four years (Since Modi took over as Indian Premier), there have been over 7000 ceasefire violations by India along the LoC, formally the UN sponsored Ceasefire Line. This pattern of firing across the ceasefire Line indicates “hegemonic conduct of India” towards region and particularly about Pakistan. It is crucial to know about the history of ceasefire line, now called the Line of Control in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. Following the Indian invasion of Kashmir on October 27, 1947, there broke-out a war between India and Pakistan which continued till UN directive of a ceasefire on January 1, 1949. Prior to that, India took the issue to United Nations on January 1, 1948, after it felt loosing Kashmir to Kashmiri irregulars and Pakistani Army. Later, through ‘Karachi Agreement-1949’ India and Pakistan agreed to establish a ceasefire, which was signed in Karachi on July 27, 1949. The Karachi Agreement formally called the Agreement between Military Representatives of India and Pakistan Regarding the Establishment of a Cease-Fire Line in the State of Jammu and Kashmir had the UN backing and was supervised by the Truce Subcommittee of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP).
It is worth mentioning that, United Nations Security Council Resolution 47, passed on April 21, 1948, had established, the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to resolve the Kashmir conflict through mediation, initially ensuring cessation of fighting and later arranging a plebiscite in Kashmir as per the will of people of this former Princely state. This UNSC resolution was indeed an up-gradation of its earlier resolution (Resolution number 39), adopted on January 20, 1948, and offered to assist in the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir Conflict by setting up a commission of three members. In Resolution 47, the number of the members was enhanced to five (with representatives of Argentina, Belgium, Columbia, Czechoslovakia and the United States. The Commission was directed to visit India and Pakistan for the restoration of peace and order and preparation for the plebiscite in Kashmir.
The Ceasefire Line Agreement was signed by Lt. Gen. S. M. Shrinagesh from Indian side, Maj. Gen. W. J. Cawthorn from Pakistani side and Hernando Samper and M. Delvoie, on behalf of the UNCIP. UNCIP role in disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir continue till March 1951, once UNSC through its Resolution number 91 (1951) formed the nucleus of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). Since then, UNMOGIP was assigned the role of supervising the cease-fire line in Kashmir. Its functions include; observing and reporting the ceasefire violations, investigating the complaints of cease-fire violations and submitting its findings to both India and Pakistan and to UN Secretary General.
Since the signing of Simla Accord-1972, between India and Pakistan, India has stopped the UNMOGIP to visit the ceasefire Line to monitor its violation or otherwise. Renaming ceasefire Line as Line of Control (LoC) and bilateral resolution of bilateral issues between India and Pakistan was an important outcome of Simla Accord-1972. However, through its misleading proclamations, India has been confusing the international community that, Kashmir has also become a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, thus, its future resolution will be determined through bilateralism. Whereas, the fact is Kashmir is an international issue under United Nations and its future disposition will be as per UN resolutions through a UN mandated plebiscite. Kashmir was neither a bilateral issue right from its inception. Besides Kashmiris, India and Pakistan, United Nations is an important stakeholder of Kashmir dispute. Since China has over 9000 sq miles areas of Kashmir under it, therefore, it is also a stakeholder of the Kashmir dispute. There is no bilateralism on Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan nor is the LoC a permanent border between two parts of Kashmir.
The ongoing aggressive Indian violations of ceasefire is indicative of two goals; first, to divert the attention of international community from the massive human rights violations conducted by Indian military in IOK and secondly to present Pakistan as the state sponsoring uprisings in IOK. Through this act of aggressive firing across ceasefire Line, India is trying to legitimise its massive oppression against Kashmiri masses, asking for their right of self-determination in IOK. In both cases, India mislead the world that, it is Pakistan which cause trouble by sending militants in IOK and provoking the Kashmiri masses for their right of self-determination. The fact is that, Kashmiris of IOK have decided not stay under India anymore and their indigenous struggle is being misinterpreted by India. Under the heaving fencing by India all along LoC, there is no possibility of crossing the ceasefire Line from Pakistani side. Through these illogical excuses, India is brutalising Kashmiris both in IOK as well as all along the Ceasefire Line (LoC). The UN and international community will have to take a note of Indian aggression, before; it is too late in the nuclear armed region of South Asia.
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.