Kashmir and silence of the UN


Shahidullah Shahid

THE Kashmir issue is a long-standing dispute between Pakistan and India. It started in October 1947 when Raja Hari Singh, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, declared the controversial accession of the princely state of Kashmir to India. The accession was against the wishes of the people living in the vast territory of over two hundred thousand square kilometres. This forceful accession of Muslim-majority area to India was immensely protested by the local people. India resorted to force to curb the voices of three million people in Jammu and Kashmir, in the First Kashmir War (1947-1949). However, the UN intervened in the matter, after it was approached by Pakistan and India. The UN Security Council issued Resolution (47) in 1948 and asked India to appoint a plebiscite administrator, nominated by the UN, who would conduct a free and impartial plebiscite. Despite many promises made by the Indian government, especially by Jawaharlal Nehru, during the 1950s, the right of self-determination has been denied by them, until today. The Indian government has continuously defied the UN Charter, Geneva Convention, and many bilateral arrangements, such as Karachi Agreement (1949), Shimla Pact (1972) and Lahore Declaration (1999) by not conducting the plebiscite; violating the human rights; violating the Line of Control (LOC) and not agreeing to be a part of peaceful and meaningful dialogue.
Unfortunately on 5 August 2019, the Indian Government, through a presidential order, snatched the special status of Kashmir, granted under article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The Lok Sabah, India’s lower house, overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill with 370 to 70. Currently, the entire valley is under strict lockdown by around one hundred thousand personnel. The unarmed and innocent people of Kashmir are gallantly fighting for freedom. The fresh menace of violence and torture on women and children has turned the Valley into a military cantonment. Ironically, deep silence of the international community, on seven-decade long atrocities of Indian forces in Kashmir, vociferates that the matter has been politicized by them to serve their clandestine political and trade interests in India. On the other hand, Pakistan has already faced the violent Indian aggression thrice in the shape of full-fledged wars. The limited-war by India, across the LOC, is no time-bound. Pakistan still believes in a peaceful solution of Kashmir dispute, as per the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and in the light of more than a dozen resolutions of the UN on the issue. But, the post-August 5 scenario is challenging for Pakistan at political as well as diplomatic level. The words of Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, taken from his article, “Whatever it takes,” published by DAWN, well defined the current scenario. He wrote, “We can’t betray the Kashmir cause, especially after the loss of the majority of Pakistan’s population in 1971. It will render a country a failed state without meaning, purpose, a moral foundation and a future worth having.”
There is a dire need to academically trace the causes and consequences of historic and renewed Indian inhumane actions and motives of Hindutva nationalism. India is now ready to spread this by the admission of Kashmir in its union territory and introduction of illegal Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the country. This should, in turn, guide Pakistan’s future course of action. The very same use of psychology can be used for highlighting the atrocities in the Valley of Kashmir by brutal Indian forces. This is high time where the acts of barbarity, inhumanity and transgression being committed by Indian forces must be underpinned through direct and indirect use of publicity globally. The materialistic and interest-driven world has turned a blind eye to Indian violations of 11 UN resolutions, Simla Accord, Fourth Geneva Convention (where the protection of civilians under military occupation was assured) as well as the scrapping of its own Constitution by revoking the Article-370 and 35(A) through Presidential Order.
It is an open secret that Kashmir is burning. The silence of the world on worst humanitarian disaster in the persecuted valley is beyond comprehension. We should not forget that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan. It is our jugular vein. The people of Kashmir do not want Pakistan to fight a freedom war for them on the ground rather they seek consistency and commitment on part of us when it comes to launching a diplomatic offensive against Indian state terroris. Pakistan, at this critical juncture needs to knock dead conscience of the UN, OIC, EU and especially the superpowers. Furthermore, it should not take a pause even a single minute in its diplomatic struggle to grant some favor and ease to the people of Kashmir. It can, at least, use its political, diplomatic and moral cards intelligently to win sympathy of the world’s community in order to lift prolonged curfew and end enforced lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir. Likewise, the plight of innocent Kashmiris must be highlighted on global level publicity by involving intelligence agencies, media industry, foreign diplomats and Pakistani Diaspora abroad. The flag bearers of human rights must be sensitized by propagating the acts of savagery and iniquity committing by Indian forces in India-occupied region. This is the ripe time for Pakistani political leadership to make profound efforts for the implementation of UN resolutions that grant the right of self determination to Kashmiris without further deferment. Enough is enough.
—The writer is an Assistant Commissioner (UT) serving in KP.