Kashmir, the UN and the LoC

Lt Gen Raza M Khan (R)

PAKISTANIS often wonder in frustration, why the UN Security Council (SC) has failed to implement its own resolutions on Kashmir and how can the repeated Indian violations at the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir be stopped. Chapters V1 and V11 of the UN Charter are relevant if one is to find an answer to the first question. Resolutions under Chapter VI are intended to be followed and implemented via negotiated settlements, arbitration and conciliation, while those under Chapter VII are mandatory and invest the SC with power to enforce the resolutions.
India, sometimes claims, that as it had initiated the complaint relating to Kashmir in the SC in 1948, under Chapter V1 of the UN Charter, the UN resolutions that were subsequently adopted to resolve the dispute, are not mandatory. This claim is false, as the SC Resolutions of 1948 and 1949 on Kashmir, that provide for the holding of a free and impartial plebiscite do not specifically indicate the UN Chapter, under which they were adopted . Besides, the language of these resolutions explicitly and by implications, rejected India’s claim that Kashmir is an Indian territory. These resolutions also unambiguously endorsed a binding agreement between India and Pakistan, reached through the mediation of UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), that a plebiscite would be held under agreed and specified conditions. Mr. Nehru, who understood the spirit of these resolutions, made a dozen, on record promises that they will be honoured.
A ‘Four Power Resolution, prepared by Britain, the US, Australia and Cuba, on Kashmir in Feb 1957, proposing that Mr Gunnar Jarring of Sweden be sent to India and Pakistan to discuss the question of demilitarisation of Kashmir and suggesting that the Pakistani proposal of sending a temporary UN force to Kashmir be examined, was vetoed by the Soviet Union. The power of veto, wielded by the permanent members of UN SC has frequently prevented UN from addressing many pressing, peace and security issues, including Kashmir dispute.
The SC cannot pass any resolution against the veto holding powers, under Chapter V11, if they themselves threaten regional or world peace or commit aggression. Fundamental reforms in the UN Charter will be needed to ensure that the UN wields the necessary powers to ensure that all its resolutions are honoured by the member states. With the help of China and other countries, Pakistan’s mission at the UN must introduce the following restructurings. All UN resolutions passed under Chapter VI that could not be implemented within 5 years, must automatically become part of the Security Council Agenda for consideration under Chapter VII. This measure alone shall deter wilful defiance of the so-called non-binding resolutions. The UN General Assembly must have the power to annul veto by any permanent member of the Security Council, if in its opinion, that veto has been inappropriately used. For this, the consent of one half of the total number of member nations should be enough. At least one such precedence exists, when the UN passed its historic resolution ‘A/RES/377 A 3 of November 1950. This resolution was titled as the ‘Uniting for Peace Resolution’ by the General Assembly. It was passed by more than two thirds of the members, who declared that the permanent members cannot and should not prevent the United Nations General Assembly from taking any action to restore peace in cases where the UNSC fails to do the needful.
Now, a few words about the UN’s responsibility to prevent violations at the LoC. In April 1948, the SC decided to enlarge the membership of UNCIP. The UN then appointed a Military Adviser to support the Commission on military aspects and provided for a group of military observers, to assist him. This group was named as the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). Pakistan continues to lodge complaints with UNMOGIP about ceasefire violations at the LoC. However, since January 1972, India has restricted the activities of the UNMOGIP in IHK and does not allow UN observers to visit LoC.
This allows India to violate the LoC and to kill innocent Kashmiris on either side of the LoC or to blame Pakistan for initiation of hostilities. This arrogant attitude, utter disrespect for the UN Charter and deceitful behaviour by India, must not be tolerated by SC. So what can Pakistan do to stop violations at the LoC? The foreign office must write a letter to the President of the SC, lodging a complaint against Indian grave violations and provocations under Chapter V11 of the UN charter. The complaint must inform the SC , that such hostile actions are a clear threat to peace and are acts of aggression, posing great danger to the security of Pakistan. Unless stopped, such actions will compel Pakistan to respond to them in IHK and even inside Indian Territory. The complaint must include a warning that as these violations could escalate into a full-fledged war, India must be asked to immediately stop such aggression, or face action by the SC. If this does not work, Pakistan must up the ante and instead of responding to violations at the LoC, engage deeper targets, like those military headquarters in IHK, from where orders for such violations originate.
Since its inception, the UN has worked to bring together its signatory states, to commit themselves to a mutual obligation to safeguard peace for the people of the world. As the UN represents the collective will of the international community, all its resolutions, regardless of their nature, must be respected. Because of the nuclear overhang in the sub-continent, the need for implementation of the resolutions on Kashmir is of paramount importance. It is time that the UN is reformed, so that it can play a more effective, assertive and even dominant role in ensuring peace.
—The writer is former president of National Defence University, Islamabad.

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