Dr Muhammad Khan
ESTABLISHMENT of the United Nations was a beacon of hope for the entire world, which
witnessed the brutalities of two world wars (WW-I and WW-II). Article-1 of the UN Charter clearly described the right of self-determination as basis of this world regulating body (UN). The article says, “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.” Starting from just 51 member states in October 1945, today United Nations have 193 member states, all enjoying equal rights and equal membership. Right of self-determination was the basis for this expansion in the membership of UNO ever since it was established on October 24, 1945. This world body provided opportunities for all these countries based on right of self-determination, even without having any UN resolution for their independence.
Unfortunately, despite having dozen of UN resolutions, the United Nations could not safeguard the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. After its illegal invasion to Kashmir on October 27, 1947, India referred the Kashmir case to United Nations on January 1, 1948, thus making this world body as a party to it. Thereafter UN was to decide the fate of this Princely state as per its Charter and will of the people. UN rightly passed resolutions for granting the right of self-determination to people of Kashmir. Two UNCIP resolutions (August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949) clearly laid-down the formula for the resolution of Kashmir dispute. India, however, did not honour the UN resolutions and its commitments with people of Kashmir. Since India took the dispute to UN, but surprisingly, in later years (after mid 1950s), it tried to relegate the UN role over the resolution of Kashmir dispute. Since 1972, India even blocked the ‘United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), to visit the Line of Control (LoC) for monitoring the ceasefire violations between the Indo-Pak militaries.
It is to be noted that, UNMOGIP was established in 1951, through UNSC Resolution number 91. It was in succession of UN Resolutions; 39 (1948) and 47 (1948), establishment and enlargement of United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to observe ceasefire in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier India and Pakistan signed Karachi Agreement, allowing supervision of ceasefire line by UN Observers in March 1951. Since its establishment in 1951, UNMOGIP has been performing its assignments efficiently in line with the UN mandate.
After taking over power, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took some of drastic steps to further undermine the UN and UNMOGIP over Kashmir. Since India is against any role of UN and UNMOGIP on Kashmir, therefore, it is all out to do away with the presence of UNMOGIP in India and Pakistan. In this context, on January 30, 2013, once Pakistan demanded the investigation of LoC violations through this neutral group of military observers, India refused. So much so, over a debate between Pakistani and Indian representatives in UN about the deployment and role of UNMOGIP, the Indian Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr Hardeep Singh Puri said that, “UNMOGIP’s role had been ‘overtaken’ by the 1972 Simla Agreement.” This indeed is a misquoting and misleading by India. The fact of the matter is, UN Charter and UN resolutions hold good over the Kashmir dispute, despite Simla or any agreement. Even the opening statement of the Simla Agreement states, “That the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the two countries.”
How can India undermine the UN role or the role of UNMOGIP? Mr Martin Nesirky, the spokesperson of the UN Secretary General clarified that, “UNMOGIP can only be terminated by a decision of the Security Council” rather by the assertion of one party (India). Today, the people of Kashmir question UN Character and UN resolutions over Kashmir. Was this all meant to linger on the settlement of dispute and benefit the India or a serious effort. Indeed, analysing from the tangibles, one can clearly declare the UN as having double standards in dealing with serious issues like Kashmir. Kashmiri feel that, perhaps, it was due to the apathy on the part of the UN that emboldened New Delhi to annex that disputed territory forcefully.
Even Chapter VI does stop a forceful UN role. Article 33 and 34 of the UN Charter states that “any dispute that is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security should first be addressed through negotiation, mediation or other peaceful means, and states that the Council can call on the parties to use such means to settle their dispute.” In case of non-settlement, the dispute can be referred to UNSC for settlement. UN Article 34, empowers the Security Council to investigate any dispute, or any situation that is likely to endanger international peace and security. The nuclear dimension of the Kashmir dispute clearly speaks of an immediate role by UNSC for priority settlement of Kashmir dispute, as it endangers the peace in South Asia and in fact the global peace.
There is need that UN should seriously revisit its role over the future status of Kashmir and give Kashmiris their right, as granted in its Charter and resolutions. The international community and major powers have to reawaken their conscious. India should stop violations of human rights and respect UN Charter and its resolutions on the settlement of the dispute. Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris and India should stop harping on its misleading slogan of calling it as its integral part.
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.